Last week I went on a bit of a rant about childhood obesity and the fact that we have a problem with what is going into the diets of kids these days. If you missed it then click the link here : SUNDAY DRIVING : and it’ll take you to the post and then you can come back here and continue reading.
So, GOALS hey? That word that bangs around in the fitness industry like the noisy zip on your clothes in the washing machine. There are goals upon goals being set each day and in fact sometimes the word goals can send a shiver down your spine. In fact, I’ve written over 73 different blog posts, all with the word GOALS in it, that is a lot of writing about goals and if you count this post then it will be 74.
All in all it is a pretty good thing to have something in your sights that you would like to achieve when it comes to life, fitness and all things to do with your progression as a human being. When I sit with people to talk about Personal Training my first ice breaker is always about their motivation for wanting to change things up; invariably the conversation turns to achieving something that they used to have, have never had or what they think they want at the time in their life. 9 times out of 10 people are sitting in front of me trying to find the fastest way to be healthier and better.
This often leads us down a path that highlights a lack of balance, in fact, we all at some point in our lives will experience a lack of balance in the juggling act of living.
Today I thought it best to cover balance based on a series of coaching videos that I have studied through the CHEK institute. Life balance, yours and mine, can be broken up into 4 sections or 4 quadrants or 4 pillars, this is possibly the best way to ask and answer the right questions for longevity and health. I’ll create a video on this for next week’s post because I think that this is fundamental to life, vitality and us living as balanced as we can. For now the basics are as follows…
The four pillars to our health:
If we focus too much on one particular area then we run the risk of developing an imbalance in our health and vitality.
Let’s take me as the example 4 years ago - my diet was horrible, my movement was poor, I kept myself pretty busy and I was really unhappy because I hated my job. The sensation was my unhappiness and my intuition told me there was more to life than clocking in and clocking out of a job that I disliked. I felt very frustrated and that led me to think of ways to cope, i.e. eating lots and lots of comfort food.
Let’s face it, I didn’t get fat over night, I practiced quite a lot to get there, so we are talking years of neglect that led to the pillars crumbling away from my life. The rebuilding process is the toughest thing to start but the most amazing to watch grow.
I'm not suggesting you need or have to re-build your entire existence - what I am asking you to take from this today is that problems are easy to diagnose if you ask the right questions. If you are struggling to reach your goals there might be a slight imbalance in your life that you can work on.
What you can do this week then, is sit down with this blog post in front of you and ask yourself the questions in RED for each Doctor. If your answers are YES then that is awesome, if you are unsure or have a few NO responses then there is work to be done.
Next week’s video and blog I will spend more time discussing this model by Paul Chek, but in the mean time I will leave you with a couple of things.
I’ll leave you with a final quote from Paul Chek which is his definition of health, “Health is an honest willingness to engage your body-mind such that you engage body-mind challenges as an integral process of creating and living your dreams, and accomplish stated goals/ objectives.”
Ultimately your health is the most important thing that you can control, start your week well and complete the questions above, once you know where you stand you are in a great position to move forward.
Have a great week and I’ll see you in my video next week.
Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
Today’s blog is a little different to most. Don’t worry it will still have a motivational theme…
I saw something yesterday that threw me… My girlfriend and I took a leisurely Sunday drive to the Clent Hills outside Birmingham, we walked around the hills for a couple of hours and then decided to head back home for lunch. On the way back we decided to stop off at a monster Sainsbury’s shop, we got a roast chicken and some salad bits to create an epic Sunday lunch. Much needed after our walking.
We got back into my car to head home and as I turned the key the engine decided to remain quiet. There we were, alone in the car park with a chicken and little idea of how to get the car sorted. I called for breakdown to come as I figured that would be the best. As we waited for our hero to appear in his magical van and restart my car I decided to head to the cafe and get a hot drink.
I was in the queue for a while, and I studied the food menu in horror. Not because of the prices but because of the picture below. Have a look at it and see what stands out...
I’m not shocked at the choice of foods if I’m being honest, most kid’s menus are full of horrendous choices anyway. What I was and am still shocked about is the calorie count next to each meal, especially as the menu states that this is ideal for children aged 5-10 years old.
What the hell is wrong with the world? Calorie counting for children between the ages of 5 and 10 is something that has truly shocked me. Upon doing some research into this today, it seems that there is only some suggestion from government that this is a good idea, mostly they don’t seem to care. This is based on research that states that we are, as a nation, actually asking for this to be done to make healthier choices! (1) At the same time another study has indicated that only 15% of people actually used the calorie count to restrict their meals when eating out at restaurants by only 106 calories! (2) Now, looking at that menu again, it is like choosing the lesser of many evils because none of those foods are particularly healthy, and if you are telling little Timmy that the less number he eats the better, well then we are in a world of trouble.
Choosing something low in calories does not make it a healthy or unhealthy food. It just indicates the level of energy contained in said food. It is the macronutrient and micronutrient make up of the food that will determine the level of ‘health’ involved.
Regardless of the calories, macros and other labels that we seem to want plastered everywhere, and I use 'we' as a collective human race, governments, food companies and all. Why are we even having to justify the 'health levels' of any food that goes down children’s throats? Is it purely so that companies are covered legally when little Timmy dies from high cholesterol and a heart attack after eating his ‘daily allowance’ of cream pies from the local shop? - "But we warned you of the calorie count..." -
Childhood obesity is at an all time high, just with statistics in the UK alone: a quarter of 2-10 year olds are obese. One third of 11-15 year olds are overweight and obese. Chicken nuggets and pasta bake have been around longer than the idea of telling people how many calories they contain on a kids menu. When are we going to realise that the calorie count isn’t the problem and the actual processed rubbish is?
Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not sitting here writing this intent on making parents feel guilty for the choices they make when feeding their kids, although there is place for a serious re-think of what parents do give their kids everyday. In my view stress is the number one contributing factor in poor decision making, having a full time job, managing money and a household as well as providing good nutritious food for everyone can be a stressful task. We talk with our wallets and within surveys, if we are being asked if caloric information would help make an informed decision and we say 'yes' then companies will act on it. What you can’t bet on is the chefs that decide to give you a menu full of crappy options for you to feed little Timmy with.
I can also guarantee you that taking little Timmy to the emergency rooms 15 times a year because he can’t keep fighting infections and colds or has heart problems because he is obese will cause more stress than teaching him the value of good food. In fact if you read a book called Spark by John J Rately you’ll understand how promoting healthy eating and exercise in children can actually change their behaviour and improve interactions with others as young humans.
We are only as good as the information we look into, investigate and act upon, right now that menu is telling me that we have kids that are going to be growing up worrying about calories and not thinking about the rich abundant food that lies in the fruit and vegetable aisles of the supermarkets.
This obesity crisis in children and in general is not here because we lack information on diet, exercise and wellbeing. We are more able to read blogs, follow nutritional gurus and connect with people like myself who have lost weight many times over. The crisis is down to choice, we have the beautiful, wonderful, most awesome ability of free will - we need to harness that for the good of everyone.
We don’t need a menu to tell us what numbers add up, we need to wake up and realise that all these choices on that menu suck!
I chose to eat 20 cheeseburgers one evening when I was big, McDonalds didn’t have to tell me the calories of 20 burgers for me to know that I’d made a bad decision to order them. I knew it was but I was lazy, hungry and didn't really think of the consequences.
The choice is yours today to make your day healthier and happier. I can’t make you do it, I just write blogs and hope that they resonate with every reader; maybe enough to plant a seed so that some day things for you change. The same way I can’t make my clients lose weight or eat better, I can simply provide as much support and information as I can.
Last week I added a new video category to the We Move Fitness package on this website - this category is called “Family Workouts” and there is a video in there ready and waiting for families to enjoy - this is the first phase of introducing health, not only to individuals who need guidance, but to families looking to make a healthy change in their lives too. If you are interested in this then there is a 30 day trial running on the We Move Fitness Package at the moment and you can try it out absolutely free by clicking here.
As I said before, I don’t intend to make parents feel guilty with this post, I’m simply here saying that I know stress and ease can create choices and habits that negatively affect our health. We talk with our wallets and food companies listen. If we buy the good foods then the bad foods will become less on the shelves, at the same time our short term sacrifice of an extra 15 minutes to prepare a healthy nutritious meal for little Timmy can save us years down the line. Trust me, I’ve been in hospital and wasted my time and the time and resources of a very strained NHS, all because I was making poor choices.
Let’s start today to make good ones for our future.
Stay Strong and Keep Moving
When I was 16 years old I lived in Botswana and I had a car accident. I was pulling into my friend's house, possibly a little too quickly, I hit some sand and skidded into his wall. (I got my license in Zimbabwe at 16 so I was driving legally.)
It was quite a shock because everything went in slow motion from the moment I tapped on the breaks until I got out the car and screamed, “F#*K!” At the top of my lungs. The car wasn’t a write off, but the front left headlight was smashed and the bumper and bonnet needed replacing for sure. For a few moments after the accident, what seemed like eternity to me, I was absolutely crapping my panties trying to figure out the best way to explain to my parents what I had done. My friend and his sister were in just about the same amount of shock that I was in, although I’m sure they probably found it slightly more amusing. It’s not every day that your friend comes round and crashes into your house.
I managed to traverse the scolding from both my parents and drove the car home in convoy with my mum; much to my embarrassment a friend flagged us down on the way home to find out what had happened. I got through the next few weeks without being locked in a prison but the immediate accountability of the situation was a hard one to admit to. A few weeks down the line, I was still grounded and I knew that any stepping out of line would mean more punishment and probably even more disappointment on my parents part. In my weeks of being grounded I was still allowed to drive to school and to play some golf, but any other activities were strictly prohibited. It is funny that the anger parents exude from seeing you mess something up like crashing a car is far surpassed by the disappointment that they feel… The, “where did we go wrong” vibes were very strong.
During my grounded phase a family friend had gone out of town and an agreement was struck up that I would house sit for them, a fail safe to ensure that I behaved…
Once I was settled in the house for the first night and I had eaten some dinner I decided to call my friends and find out what time they were all meeting up at the Bull and Bush, our favourite bar. (Just ignore the fact that I was 16…)
I decided to seize the moment and stock up on some beer, load my family friend’s cooler box into my car and zip off into town to meet my friends. We’d often have drinks outside the Bull and Bush to save money the cooler full of booze would come in handy, along with the epic sound system in my car to provide an hour of entertainment before heading inside and meeting up with everyone else.
Later on in the evening I went back out to the car to get some more to drink, only to find glass all over the floor and in the car and the cooler box gone. The thieves had ignored the sound system and decided to steal the booze. I cleaned up the glass and then headed back to the house I was looking after, drank a little more then passed out. I woke up a few hours later with a stinking hangover and the anxiety of having to explain the broken window, and the missing cooler box.
I wished and wished the situation to go away, along with the hangover and I was really nervous and scared about the truth coming out. My parents were not happy, they extended the feelings of disappointment and frustration with my poor choices.
In the end, despite my antics and several hours left in paralysing torment about the consequences of my actions it was all done. I was just being a scaredy cat, sure I knew I would need to make amends for the wrong I had done, but it wasn't going to kill me to own up for my mistakes.
So how does this relate to you and your move to being the better you? Well, you can live your whole life worried about the chocolate you just ate or the bad weekend of boozing and never get anywhere wracked with guilt. (Me crashing the car and getting the window smashed in,) You can also spend your whole life worrying about the impending increase in waist size from said chocolate and alcohol. (Also me wondering what punishment I would endure.) When, actually then best thing is to get rid of the worry, accept the fact that it wasn’t a good choice and move on in the present to make better choices.
“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” Lao Tzu
Go out there today and get stuck in, make good choices for your health and your mindset and revel in the moment as much as you can!
If you have any questions or would like to join my awesome team of people working to be fitter and stronger each day then pop me a message or check out the services page!
Have a great week ahead :-)
Stay Strong and Keep Moving
Something that I have found quite useful recently is a mantra that I can repeat each day that gets my thoughts aligned.
You might think the word mantra is a bit spiritual or weird for me to talk about in a motivational and fitness blog, but hear me out. Or rather read me out...
A mantra, according to the english Oxford dictionary, is as below:
Yes, it can be spiritual, but it can also just be something that is said repeatedly. The reason I have been thinking of mantras is because I have found them a great way to start achieving some of the business goals I have set for the year. This hits on my personal goals too as my business influences my lifestyle.
I recently thought how this would have come in handy when I first moved to the UK in 2005.
When I came over to this country I had about £700 to my name and a fairly simple plan. Play as much golf as possible for a whole year. That seemed like a reasonable thing to want to do and it sure made me feel good. The only thing that I hadn’t bet on was, how to buy a car, register the car, pay for petrol, pay rent, buy food, pay golf membership… The list was endless, I was willing to get stuck in to get things done. The only problem was getting started.
I remember moving into a bedsit in Southampton, the room was cold, bare, and stunk of boiled meat. I could cook, open my fridge and lie down at the same time. There was no internet, there was only my first generation iPod and some tunes that reminded me of home. After the first couple of days things were looking a little bleak. I was walking everywhere because busses just didn’t make sense to me. On my way back from a trial shift at a new job (selling double glazing) I cried my heart out. I was down to a couple hundred pounds in my pocket and had spent the afternoon amongst a team of men who walked around neighbourhoods and got people very angry by knocking on their doors trying to sell windows.
It was all very bizarre to me as I was pretty sure that they had windows in their homes in the first place, I also had no idea when fascia boards were, in fact I still don’t know what they are. All I know is that I got a free lunch from the head honcho who I walked around with. He earned over £1000 per week and seemed to be able to sell just about anything.
It was an experience I would quite happily never experience again (I did however in London another time with Sky TV but that is another story).
Anyways, I walked home, jobless and with the idea that I could potentially never find a job other than walking around knocking on people’s doors and selling something that I had no idea about. Lying in bed crying myself to sleep I could have used a mantra, I could have done with having faith that there is always a way forward. Months later with the help of family, new friends and my own work ethic I had a job in a golf course and was doing something cool. The dream of professional golf was very far away. Each month I would suffer a crisis moment and I would go and sit by a river near a church in Andover and try to figure out a way forward, this often ended with the mindset of just muddling through.
I reckon if I had a mantra, or a few mantras back then I would have been able to get through everything with a bit more confidence in myself.
Of late they have proved their worth by helping out of some sticky spots, so here is a recipe for you to cook up your own.
It is a simple recipe and it aligns with spending positive time with yourself, this is something I covered in last week’s Personal Growth video in the member zone. In the last blog post I mentioned about how reading and listening to books has helped me grow. I one book I’ve recently listened to the author explains that what we think about the most we create more of. I feel like we live in a world where people are thinking about how stressed they are each day, how worried that makes them and how insecure they are because they don’t look or feel the way they think they should.
If you can add a mantra into your mind each time a bit of worry kicks in, or a bit of stress peeks around the corner then you’ll be filling your mind with positive affirmations that align with your goals. That doesn’t mean to say you’ll never had a bad day, or a moment of anger, it just means you’ll be able to recover from it better.
See how you get on with that recipe and let me know your results with injecting a mantra into your life, you might be surprised.
Have a great week.
Stay strong and keep moving.
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Brendan is the owner and head trainer at Raw Motion Fitness.