This time last week I was walking home in the ice and cold after another break down in the mighty Fiat Punto. I normally settle in to write blogs on a Sunday night and publish them before heading to sleep, but last week I felt super depressed and unwilling to focus. On the Monday I managed to get the car to a mechanic and for the second time in a month she was under the knife and getting ready to be road worthy again. I don’t think that cars were ever designed to be stress free.
Tuesday I was lent a car to drive for a couple of days and it really woke me up to the world a little bit, simply because it was a little bit like driving a tractor. It made me realise that I had a car that, despite breaking down, actually does a great job. Still feeling slightly down on the world I had to regain focus and move my week forward. Wednesday saw the return of the mighty Fiat Punto and on Thursday I spent the morning bathing her, washing her and treating her as if she were a brand new car. As the week progressed I moved into a new training phase for my fitness and Friday saw the most productive day of training I have had all year. I felt great, and feel like the direction of my training is finally where it needs to be heading.
Today, Sunday, I woke up and looked at myself in 3 different mirrors without a shirt on and hated what I saw. I was staying at my sister’s house for the night and felt a bit better about seeing myself in a different mirror to the ones at home. Despite feeling slightly better for a different mirror I still hated looking at my body.
I’ll be honest because that is what I like to bring to this blog, and I think that honesty is more identifiable than me saying that everything is hunky dory now that I have lost weight. Mirror gauging is a bit of an obsession, the first thing that I look for is the curve in my spine which, this is mostly a genetic hyper-kyphosis, but I hate my back because it earned my the nickname of “Quasimodo” back in high school. So I’ll spend a few minutes a day trying to pin my shoulders back and think about the positioning that makes me look less like a Disney character ringing a bell in Notre Dame.
The second place I go to is my belly and 'love handles,' I know they are there and I can feel them all the time. I’m still unsure if it is loose skin or residual fat and skin from weight loss or just fat. It feels different from day to day, if I’m having a good day then it is skin, if I’m having a bad day then it is fat and some days it’ll start as fat and end as skin depending on my mood or in particular what food I have eaten. If I know that I have had a good clean eating day then I’ll go to bed feeling lean and accomplished. If I know that I have over indulged, even when I know that my body is more than capable of dealing with the extra calories, I feel fat and horrible.
These aren’t thoughts that I write about easily, they are simple insecurities that are always on my mind, especially when presenting myself as a personal trainer in an industry that is hell bent on appearance and the ‘perfect physique’.
After deciding that today was a ‘fat’ day I put my clothes on and ventured down for breakfast and shelved the insecure thoughts in the back of my mind until my next passing of a mirror. After breakfast I went out to my sister’s garage where I had been keeping some suitcases and things from when I moved house 2 years ago. I said I would go through them and take what was there. I opened the first bag and the very first thing I found was a blue zipped hoodie that I last wore in 2013. For a bit of a laugh I put it on and then suddenly realised that maybe my recent condemnation of my body wasn’t something that I should be thinking about. Take a look.
Looking at the picture one could just focus on the weight loss and size difference, I jokingly mentioned the hairline that has receded even more since the first picture on the left. Truth be told the real value in the picture is not that I am so much smaller and fitter now, it is that I am alive to tell the tale and not dead at 27 because of a heart attack or heading in and out of hospital for chest infections, shingles and surgery.
The blue hoodie made me think that it is easy to get carried away with our imperfections no matter what stage of fitness and life we are at, it seems a lot harder these days to stop and appreciate what we have.
Is it healthy for me to be thinking about my appearance so much? No, I don’t believe so. Am I working on improving that aspect of my life each day? Yes. Is it safe to say that we could all appreciate our lives more and appreciate what we have, regardless of our current situation? HELL YES!
The blue hoodie and the really dodgy car that was lent to me last week made me realise that sometimes looking too far forward, comparing yourself to others and entirely dwelling on what you want rather than what is, can blur the mind and cause imbalance. I thank the blue hoodie and the dodgy car for showing up and reminding me that life is meant for living in the moment, that is why it is great.
My thoughts for you this week are to realise what you have and give thanks for having it. Whether you thank god, the universe, your parents or your pet fish, just appreciate the people around you and the life that you have to live. Then use that fuel of appreciation to take you places in the future, with good intentions and an unbreakable attitude.
Your week and your life will have ups and downs, a little appreciation or gratitude and you can feel right and ready to take on the rest of the world!
Have an awesome week, Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
There is a movie I watched in my teens called the Girl Next Door.
The basic premise of the movie is that this guy, finishing high school, falls in love with the girl next door and blah blah... They all lived happily ever after.
The most important note about the movie was a speech that he gives at his graduation ceremony. The speech is on Moral Fibre, when he wrote his speech it was before falling in love with the girl next door, whilst giving the speech he breaks away from what he has written and talks about falling in love. It is all a bit Hollywood but one line stands out, "in your heart you'll know that the juice is worth the squeeze."
If we take that sentence literally then you might ask yourself two questions:
1. Why would I squeeze fresh orange juice when I can just buy fresh orange juice?
2. What has juice got to do with motivating me?
To answer number 1, fresh orange juice is always going to taste awesome, it is just a bit harder to create.
To answer number 2 then ask yourself the question relating to your vitality and wellbeing. An example... Is your goal of change for yourself worth the input of time to achieve said goal?
Take a moment right now to close your eyes and imagine the feeling of reaching your goal, be it fitness, fat loss, dress size, money, happiness level or all of the above. Just close your eyes and imagine what that feels like. With that in mind hold onto the emotional sensation that occurs, the smile that might come across your face and then ask yourself, is the juice worth the squeeze?
If you answer honestly you'll find that it will be a yes.
The truth is that you are the only person that can change you, people can guide you but ultimately you are the one that has to realise the freshly squeezed orange juice is way better than the cheap store bought rubbish.
Go now and be awesome, go now and buy some oranges!
Have a great week, Stay Strong and Keep Moving.
The weeks are flying by now and it feels like summer is approaching fast in the UK. Despite the snow last week of course. We are in the weirdest month of the year in my eyes, mainly because there is a hiatus before holidays start happening. Christmas isn’t too much of a distant memory but a lot of people might be starting to 'fall off the wagon’ regarding their New Year promises to themselves.
This is the time of year where people start to question their healthy choices and gym members find that there is more space to breathe because the crowded gyms of January are starting to ease.
So why is this? Why do people start something and never finish? Are they getting injured? Bored? Sick? Maybe… I believe that it is because we are super hard on ourselves when setting out on any fitness journey, a lot of people want to see instant results but forget that physical change is best measured as a trend over time.
Sure, there are a lot of things at play when we talk about individuals and their success when altering body composition, and ladies have the hormonal factor to think about. The trend that I see is people getting frustrated because results fluctuate or are slow, there is nothing wrong with progress being slow because even slow progress will gain momentum over time.
I plateaued twice when I lost my weight and bear in mind I spent a year and a half really pushing myself, not just a few months. The plateaus were tough because it meant that I had to dig deep, trust the process and stay committed to my goals that I had set for myself. If I encountered a plateau or stopping point (I did actually get injured) I figured a way around it and re-adjusted my sights.
It worked for me and works well for my clients when they hit a sticking point. I’ll give you an example, Steve has been working hard each week with me in Ankorr sessions for over 6 months now. About 8 weeks ago he got sick, like proper man flu sick, he came back to training after a week or two off but it completely changed the intensity of our sessions. Targets I had set he couldn’t hit, his strength fluctuated and we had to re-adjust the plans. We have made an epic breakthrough in the last two weeks as his energies have returned to normal and he is able to push himself harder.
My point is that progress is never a straight line, there is always a bend in the road, you have to focus, not on the day, but on how far you have come and intend to go. Here is a video covering my thoughts below and just remember the quote in the picture of this post.
Keep leaping towards your dreams and don’t let drama and insecurity hold you back because you are way too awesome for that!
Have a great week, Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
I promised you a video last week, it is here! Below I talk about the pillars of health and some issues within the health and fitness industry that might be holding us back from thriving.
The time stamp reading 12 minutes and I would say this, if you believe that your health and your life is worth investing in then time is the greatest gift to give yourself. Set aside 15 minutes to watch this video and ask yourself some questions today. Be honest with yourself and you might just find out that balance is the key that has been missing in unlocking your true potential as a human on this wonderful planet.
Have a great week - Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
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Brendan is the owner and head trainer at Raw Motion Fitness.