A thought popped into my head the other day about why we love superheroes so much... I mean why, at the moment, is the world so captivated by the characters of the Marvel and DC comics? Upon some deep thought, and time spent people watching I think I have come up with an answer.... We can all identify with them because they share a some common ground; the common ground being humanity and wanting to be stronger versions of ourselves. Let's face it superheroes spend a lot of their time in movies understanding their past, dealing with the present and trying to make a better future... Sound familiar?
There is also a common recipe for a superhero:
1. Hardship/ inequality/ trauma.
2. Acceptance of oneself and the situation.
3. Making the most out of opportunities and becoming stronger each day.
My Point is we have all been through tough times over the last few years; I would be very surprised to come across someone who hasn't faced some form of stress or hardship - remember each person's hardship is hardship nonetheless. Therefore if you are looking for a superhero then go to the mirror and stand there for a while. Focus on every quality that you love about yourself, accept yourself and take that positive energy then use it to help yourself up. You are your own hero, so dust off your suit and make yourself proud!
It took me a long time to realise that I was my own superhero, that I had control and could save myself. Sure, I still have my ups and downs like everyone else, but I know how to help myself now. And deep down I believe everyone does too.
That's my food for thought this Friday, you might agree or you might say that it is easier said than done, but you'll only know how much of a hero you are when you get up, dust yourself off and face challenges with a smile on your face.
Have an awesome weekend guys, Stay Strong and BE YOUR OWN HERO!
If you have found this post helpful or thought provoking then please share with your friends and family.
Welcome back to another week, I hope that you have had a fantastic few days since last Friday's post. If you are not quite ready for the week ahead then I suggest you sit back and have a quick read of Cat's story, it might just lift you up.
Cat Elliott originally shared her story with the MindBodyGreen community in 2014; she wrote an article about her weight loss and how it transformed the way she thought, and how she starting to look after herself.
This picture (above) was Cat a few years ago...
She described her situation in her article and I knew that I should make contact as she seemed to have had a very similar journey to mine. Cat is originally from Australia but has been living in Glasgow for a while now, her life in this picture was not the brightest, she described herself as, 'obese, severely depressed, addicted to junk food, binge eating, and being a booze-fueled monster.'
I think the thing that really resonated with me is that Cat didn't find it easy to get out of the situation she was in, 'When I first set out to change my diet and lifestyle, I felt confused, lost, and frustrated with so many differing opinions on what’s good and what’s bad, what works and what doesn’t work.'
Cat simplified things, she learned what worked for her by finding foods that nourished her body and exercise that she enjoyed, she replaced her negative perception of herself and things with positive routines; learning to love herself was the biggest thing she did. I think if we all took the time to love ourselves each day by realising how awesome we really are then we could change the way we feel, the way we walk, talk and think.
This is Cat today:
Cat has lost 120 pounds (54 kilograms) she has transformed her life and now focuses her work and life on helping people change their lives. She has recently returned from Bali where she became a qualified Yoga teacher and offers a wellness program on her website, www.catelliott.com, a really great way for people to reach their full potential.
For me one of the most important thing to take away from Cat's journey is the way that her healthy lifestyle has helped her become, 'high on life.' I follow her blog and on Facebook and Instagram; she always puts a lot of thought into her posts and is very connected to the world. More importantly Cat is an example of how happy and positive your life can become if you take charge of your eating habits and exercise routines.
I like to think of the body as a machine, our mind and soul being the operating system, if there is balance and everything is well looked after then we work well. If things are neglected then we start to slow down and become clunky.
I am really happy to be able to share Cat's story and I'm sure there will be an update in time too, if you are interested in changing your life then start now, begin your journey to, as Cat says, 'Find Balance, Find Peace, Find Yourself.'
Have an awesome week ahead, Stay Strong and Keep Moving.
Recently I was talking to a person about starting their weight loss journey and I said that the most important thing they could do is show up and be consistent. My words were simple, "don't get overwhelmed by the goal, just come in each day and chisel away at it, after all a journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step." That same person then laughed at me... Fair play, the timing of a quote like that from Confucius was probably overkill; however I was trying to make a point…
You can’t go from zero to the body of a hero overnight, unless you are bitten by a super-spider and even then who would want to be Spiderman? In my opinion he is pretty much the lamest superhero Marvel has ever produced, he has all the cool abilities and yet is full of such doubt *sigh*... I digress...
My food for thought for this Friday is that if you would like to achieve something awesome then you need to be consistently working towards it. Sounds simple right? But it always amazes me how many times we can let opportunities slip from our grasp. In fact it is a lesson that I wish that I had learned earlier in life, I is obvious and around us every day. The people who are at the top of their game, or who have made serious changes in their lives only got that way because they were consistently working towards what they wanted. Often it is the case that we put ourselves in the mindset to progress but then we forget to show up and continue to chase the dream.
I can think of multiple times in my life where if I had just been more consistent I would have achieved what I wanted; with my weight loss goals multiple times in my life, with my goals to be a professional golfer, to be an artist, graphic designer, photographer and the list goes on... I always think of it this way, the majority of us show up each day at work and produce results, those results provide some sort of service to others. The company directors and managers (theoretically) guide the workforce to produce their results with the overall goal in mind. So each day we are consistent without even realising it.
This links closely to my previous post on Staying in the Moment, but small positive steps will result in a big positive goal. Let’s strive to be the best managers of our own lives from this day forward, to be the director of our personal journey and steer it in the direction of our goals. Let’s show up, be consistent and not shy away when we stumble. Whether it is losing weight, gaining muscle, finding a new job or becoming the best person you can be, show up each day with one thought in mind…. “I will keep working towards my dreams.”
Have a great weekend ahead, don’t forget to Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
Here's to a happy and positive start to the week!
If you tuned into the blog a couple of Monday's ago you'll know I wrote about Ben and his broken back. He had a motorbike accident in 2012 that left him fighting to walk again. If you haven't read about his inspirational journey back into health and fitness then I suggest that you - CLICK HERE - have a read and then come back to this post.
Ben was scheduled for surgery towards the end of this month to 'cage' his spine and straighten it out. During his pre-op check in (last week) with his doctor he was told that surgery was no longer necessary; the reason being that all the hard work that he has put in gaining strength and muscle has helped to support his back better than anyone could imagine.
The operation was going to be a tricky one; because of the angle of entry they would have had to take out a rib, go past his lung and risk permanent paralysis. I spoke to Ben just before writing this post because I wanted to make sure I had understood everything he had told me. His words were simple; "I feel like I have been given years of my life back with the decision not to operate, it would have been months of bed rest and even more months of rehab to get me to a level where I could start getting stronger again." "It is overwhelming news and I am more determined to move on with things now and become even stronger."
Ben has been pushing himself hard with ZUU training for a while now, and as a result has prevented invasive surgery by strengthening his back. In his own words he said, "the bear crawls helped me so much because it prepared and mobilised every joint and muscle in my body without putting pressure on my spine."
I am super happy for Ben and I hope that you are too; I hope that he can serve as even more inspiration and motivation and help you towards your goals. He has come up against some pretty heavy odds and pulled through stronger and happier for it. He is a shining example of what can happen if you focus on making yourself stronger each day.
If you found this post motivational and you'd like to learn more about ZUU then add me on Facebook by clicking here and you'll see the videos that I put up; you can then try the moves yourself! Let's make sure we fight to get back any mobility we have lost.
Have a great week ahead, go and chase down your goals!
Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
In 2012/13, when I lived in London, I was transferred from a coffee shop at Waterloo Station to a bar & restaurant on the South Bank. I worked there as a Section Leader for a while and then I was promoted to Team Leader, woohoo!
One night I was on shift when two older couples came to have a meal with us. They claimed to have a booking, which didn't exist. It was 7pm in one of the busiest parts of London and we found it really difficult to seat them. Eventually a table freed up, they sat down and started to look through the menu; but their dinner had not gotten off to a good start and they were a little grumpy. After a few minutes I went over to take their order, one of the gents was not happy and said to me that he would like to see the vegan options for his wife. I explained that we didn't have any vegan options on the menu, but the goat’s cheese salad could be changed by the chef to suit her needs and that it was a very nice option even without the cheese. I got an ear full from the gent and I reacted by becoming patronising and a little sarcastic, eventually they got up and left without paying for their drinks.
It was a very awkward situation, I didn’t feel bad that I couldn’t help; instead I was angry at the way they behaved in the situation. So many thoughts flew through my mind at the time, the biggest one was, ‘Why make your problem my problem?’ I vented my anger later with some friends over a cigarette, recounting the story made them laugh; my opinions came out in a flurry of swearing and pulse raising sentences. Being the large 22 stone pizza/ meat guzzler that I was, I thought, “Why don’t they read the menu and just ask for a reasonable change instead of expecting the world.”
Looking back now I feel quite embarrassed about my behaviour. Especially since I am now a vegan and have had a very powerful journey with food and exercise to this point in my life.
I learned two things from that experience:
I think the big lesson for me was realising that it is important not jump to any conclusions about things if you have never really tried to understand them. Sure everyone has heard the saying, 'don't judge a book by it's cover'. but it is only a saying until you have a moment that defines it.
Whether it is a diet, a particular kind of workout or even a person that you don’t know yet, you have to understand it/them before you can form your judgement. Time and experience can change you for better or worse and it is important to remember that we might view something/ someone as trivial or frustrating today but it/ they could in fact be the most valuable thing to us tomorrow.
I should have had much more respect, understanding and tolerance for the people at that table. After all, respect, understanding and tolerance will get us much closer to a happier world than unfounded opinion and anger.
I hope my ramblings have kept you entertained today be sure to have an awesome day! If you found this helpful or nice to read then please share it or drop a comment below with your thoughts.... And don't forget to Stay strong and keep moving!
I thought that this Monday I would share a little more on the topic of Positive Projection, which I have spoken about it in previous posts. I thought that the video below would help explain what I mean when I talk about Positive Projection. This also continues from last Friday's post about being a leader. Positive Projection is something that I am continually working on, I find it particularly hard when I am tired or stressed, two years ago I would have let the energy levels and stress overwhelm me; these days I try and focus on the positive things in my life when I feel low. I have summed up the video below, but give it a watch - you'll find it up-lifting.
Brendon Burchard talks about having 4 sub strategies for positive projection:
I hope that you can take something positive from this and that it makes your days brighter. I'll add my bonus point in now....
5. EXERCISE - whether it is a walk, jog or HIIT training session, just move your body and get the positive energy flowing!
Have a great week, Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
Over the last year I have seen friends from around the world settle into new families and start having children. The same friends that I went to school with are now raising the next generation of humans, the future of this earth. I think it is only fair that we take it upon ourselves and act as leaders for the youth of today. If we lead by a good example we can pave the way for a brighter and better future.
In some countries around the world up to 30% of children are obese. I recently visited a school where I met a few 16 year olds who were doing extra subjects to complete their GCSEs. They were allowed to have snacks in the classroom, (crisps, fizzy drinks and chocolate), which they munched on throughout the day. After my second day in the classroom I asked them if they had thought about bringing a packed healthy lunch, they told me that they have a healthy meal in the evenings. When I asked what their last healthy evening meal was they replied with, “Chinese Takeaway.”
It is not their fault and I am not judging them; I am however questioning why they have been led to believe that a Chinese Takeaway meal is healthy? In December 2013 it was reported that in Birmingham there was a 10 year old that weighed in at 22 stone (140kgs)! That is the same weight that I was when I was at my biggest. If you couple obesity with the sedentary lifestyle that is gripping the younger generation then the future of the world is in a spot of bother. I can testify that carrying a lot of extra weight was not only hard on my physiology it took a serious toll on my self-efficiency.
We can’t stand by and let this continue! There are so many good things that we can do to inspire and enable the children of today to be the strongest generation of tomorrow! Nathan Helberg, who you may have gotten to know through my previous posts, has set up a ZUU Chimps initiative that enables children to learn about movement in a fun and energetic way. He is delivering ZUU Chimps classes to schools around the world, FOR FREE! For those unfamiliar with ZUU then click here to read more. This is one step in making sure kids learn about being healthy, positive and having fun, another is in the home. I can’t stress enough how grateful I am that my parents taught me to cook, there are a lot of homes across the UK and the rest of the world where that is a dying tradition.
I know it is no easy task to get children to eat healthy meals if they are used to eating the more sugary treats; but we owe it to them and ourselves to get to grips with healthy choices before things get worse. We are all connected to each other through some form of social media and the ever-growing digital footprints that we are leaving in the world are the footprints that our children will be able to trace. If there ever was a time for us to lead by a good example it is now!
My food for thought today is this; through a click of a button we can share the funniest videos, craziest stories with all of our friends. Why don’t we make the next trend on social media a really positive one? Let’s set a trend that doesn’t focus on the problem but offers a solution. Collectively we can influence thousands of people by becoming the best leaders that we can be!
Let’s work each day to inspire those around us, help people make healthy food and exercise choices. The power is in our hands, we can use it to make things better or leave things as they are, I know that I would like to look back in ten years time and say that I tried to lead by example and inspire others to make the best of their lives.
Wouldn’t you like to do the same?
Have a great weekend, Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
When I started at Virgin Active a few months ago I remember seeing a young guy pushing himself really hard; sweating so much in a gym session that he'd have to change shirts half way through. This young chap is called Ben and his story is one that you'll definitely like to read about.
We train together in ZUU sessions each week and his work-rate inspires me, heck the fact that he is even training as hard as he is inspires me.
Ben was lucky as he came out of school and went into a good apprenticeship at 16 years old; he was also lucky as the company loaned him money to get a motorbike. This gave him the chance to travel to work earlier in the mornings and get to the gym in the evenings. In 2012 Ben left the gym on his bike, after a few minutes riding down the road a car pulled out in front of him; it caused the accident that changed his life forever.
Surviving the accident with a broken back (see below), Ben was given 6 weeks of bed rest before having to learn to walk again. Thus began his fall into anxiety and depression, something he has an ongoing battle with. "For over two years I struggled to leave the house or do the simplest tasks and often needed help with things. This was down to my lack of movement but mostly my mindset." From his late teens into his early twenties Ben went to some dark places, he finally came to the realisation that if change was going to happen it would happen from within. Learning to walk again was the simple challenge compared to the mental challenges he had to face, and still faces today.
"I took a long time but I realised the only way to snap out of things was using my gym rehab time to build confidence and stamina. It was hard getting a routine going with limited movement, low energy levels and an even lower mindset. All I knew and focused on was becoming better and stronger; plus I had the doctors saying that the possibility of training and being active again was slim, which made me want to prove them wrong!"
Ben has worked extremely hard with dedication and determination to get himself active again, to create a positive energy in his life and to make himself strong. He trains 6 days a week, lifts weights, swims and takes part in epic ZUU training sessions that make him mentally and physically strong; all the while with a broken back! He has an operation scheduled in the next month to straighten his spine and finally fix his back; which he has been preparing for, mentally and physically since his first day at the gym. "I want to be as strong as I can be going into the surgery so that I can start my 'second rehab' from a good position."
His fears no longer hold him back, they are the fuel in his fire. "I'm still moving forward, there are days where I stumble, that is to be expected, I use them to learn more about myself, to find peace; as with change, finding peace comes from within."
This is simply a snippet of Ben's life; it is a part of his journey that I thought could help motivate and inspire you. It might help you realise that the worries of today can be changed by focus and positive action tomorrow! Everyone has a struggle, the trick is to use what you find hard in life to fuel your fire to move forward.
Have an awesome week ahead, Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
We are now living in a world where technology has brought us closer to everything; we can look at our phones and draw inspiration and knowledge about almost anything that humans have ever known. Or we can look at cat videos and laugh… Nevertheless, it is quite easy to get overwhelmed today; whether it is with exercise to be the best, biggest or fastest. With work, to be a success, to build an empire or just to make ends meat. Sometimes we need to just turn off, and I don’t mean zone out in front of the TV or go on an adventurous holiday. I mean take some time to just be; to rest and recover.
The great irony is that I am writing this using technology and a form of social media to relay my message, one of the things that has taken us into the future by making us busier. When the great innovators of our time decided that technology would allow for a more productive and connected humans they forgot that in doing so it would lead to more demands on our time.
I write this today to help you but also to remind myself that it is alright to have a break from the world every now and then. I walk around each day and see people on their phones, or distracted by them, I am terrible at it too. I guess what I am getting at here is that we all lead very hectic lives these days, we all have a little bit of F.O.M.O (fear of missing out) when, in reality we don’t need to stress about things. My first job where I had e-mail to my phone was in the pub in London and it was a nightmare, I was always working on my days off.
We need to have time to rest and recover: note the two words, REST and RECOVER. They are two different things, rest is about taking a break, some time out; recovery is about allowing for adaptations to take place, for our mind and body to revitalise themselves. Think of it like Yin energy and Yang energy – you need the two to balance otherwise eventually you’ll get over run with emotion, you get sick, lose motivation, can’t sleep or you make no progress despite the work that you put in.
Working the fitness industry has been a fantastic experience so far and it is a realisation of mine that I need to pace myself, I can’t keep trying to work out every day because eventually I will get tired. It is often alluded to in articles and by other trainers that rest and recovery is as important as the training that you do. I think that can transcend the boundaries of the fitness world and into our lives at home and at work. Sometimes it is good to unplug, let the battery on your phone die, find a place to relax and clear your head and regenerate your mind, body and soul. I have to take my own advice from time to time, but I am human, and I still fall victim to the same things as everyone else.
So why not make this weekend or part of this weekend about you? Turn off the phone, unplug from ‘the Matrix’ and give your body time to catch up with your mind. You don’t have to spend the whole weekend locked in a dark room, but set aside some time to chill and quiet the mind, try meditation. You might be surprised at how much better you feel after doing it.
As always I hope that you have a great weekend, Stay Strong and…. Well, keep yourself balanced!
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Brendan is the owner and head trainer at Raw Motion Fitness.