Friday, March 5th

There will be times when people will sing your praises, or kick you in the teeth.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter one bit because life will be up and down and most people’s opinions don’t matter, but the grit you manage to show throughout, the combination of perseverance and passion for what you do, will always be enough to see you through.

At some stage, everyone will feel like “giving up” on exercise or anything worthwhile, “there’s no point in carrying on”, and many do, but what makes higher performers different from the pack is that they are prepared to grind no matter what’s going on around them, and keep on showing up.

It’s the capacity for hard work, work through setbacks, that makes a difference in anything you really want to achieve. 

Josh Sheehan, we all remember him at the gym when we was with Swansea City in the premier league, then he had an awful knee injury, Swansea released him and Newport picked him up.

He recently played for Wales in football years later, I asked him how he did it and how he stayed positive. He said “I always believed in my ability and I kept working hard no matter what”. That’s grit right there, it pays off big but only when you are prepared to work hard relentlessly even when big doubt is hovering all around you.

A great chef becomes that way through endless experimentation, and a relentless practice to master his/her craft over many years. The reward is usually never having to advertise, because the food and the love and care he/she puts into it speaks for itself.

Seemingly “hopeless” cases at the gym like Gail Rees from Kidwelly, became a champion with us even after major back surgery, being on her own raising 3 young kids, training straight after nights. Gail hit rock bottom, and when you hit rock bottom the only way is UP.

Her perseverance and passion, her deep reasons to get out of her back pain, of being sick and tired of not feeling good about herself became overwhelming, and she found if she kept on showing up to the gym, even if she had some lows along the way, she would overcome ALL of it once she proved to HERSELF that her capacity for hard work, plus some intelligent training would be truly transformational IF she stuck with it which she has done, and now she is the true inspiration to everyone.

These examples show other people’s options REALLY don’t matter at all.

It’s about YOU, your ability to knuckle down, constantly get better through relentless practice, keep on going even when everyone else may be doubting you, and become the latest success story even if it took you years and years, it’s often the ONLY way.

My top 10 ever books

For World book day-My top 10 books ever. 

Around 6 years ago, my radio bust in my car would only play my phone so I downloaded Audible, and started listening to books literally non-stop and massively changed me. In that time, I have listened to 211 titles, here’s my Top 10.

  1. Shoe Dog-Phil Knight

Incredible book by the founder of Nike. It tells of his incredible journey in building the company from scratch and all the highs and lows along the way. Everyone who I know has read this has said it’s their number one as well. MUST READ. 

2. The Third Door—Alex Banayan

To get anything worthwhile done, most of us experience doors getting slammed in our faces, but sometimes we got to try the “Third door”, the door that most people rarely try when all avenues seem dead and buried. A fantastic and true story of never giving up.

3. The Carpenter-Jon Gordon

Simple story about a Carpenter who went the extra mile with his work, always had plenty of business and how lives were changed with his life lessons. I’ve listened to this a few times! I have most of Jon Gordon’s book, they are short and all very powerful.

4- Purple Cow-Seth Godin.

I have almost all of Seth Godin’s books, this was the first one I listened to and spoke to me the most. This book encourages us and celebrates the fact that we are different, and we ought to make it a necessity and do great work. Life and business changing.

5. Change agent-Damon West

Damon West was a star college athlete who’s life spiralled out of controlled with drugs and crime, and got sentenced to 60 years in prison, his true story is mind-blowing and find out how he turned his life around under impossible odds to change his environment.

6. Monk who sold his Ferrari/Leader who had no title-Robin Sharma

Two books I know here, but had to get these two in the top 10 somewhere! Fantastic listens and very thought provoking, the two of these are must listens, two great parable’s that make you live your life differently.

7. Delivering happiness-Tony Hsieh

Hard to put this book down at no 7, but the message is incredible and visionary, exactly what most businesses DO NOT do because they think short term. Tony Hsieh recently passed away at 46 but leaves an incredible legacy-a must read/listen.

8-Steve Jobs-Walter Isaacson

A 25 hour listen but flies by on the incredible story of Steve Jobs, all the good and the bad. His times when he was totally written off, how he created magic (with Steve Wozniak), how he came back into Apple and everything in between, sad, uplifting, a man of many faults, but captivating all the way through.

9. How the mighty fall/Great by choice-Jim Collins

Two must read/listens again because they are truly amazing and so well researched. Most people focus on starting and building a business, but it’s a sad fact that most businesses go out of business over time. Jim Collins studies those who went bust and most importantly WHY, and how some of the very few stuck around and actually THRIVED. Learned so much from this one.

10. Greenlights-Matthew McConaughey

Exactly what you DO NOT expect. Full of life lessons on his unconventional road to the top. Another book you did not want to end. Doesn’t give a damn what he says but is always the truth, and how he pursued his life purpose after been pursued as a non-serious actor.

I have listened to a lot of great books and was so hard to get a top 10, but these narrowly missed by top 10 but are great books too.

Spark-John Ratey-a MUST listen if you want to know how exercise really affects your mind! So much hard evidence with this one, opens up your mind literally to a better place.

Legacy-James Kerr-A deep study on how New Zealand have been the number one rugby team/best sporting team in history, great takeaways throughout. One of the great sports and team books.

Meditations-Marcus Aurelius 

A story of stoicism from one of the greatest leaders in history. Mind blowing in it’s common sense and vision for that time, and applicable now.

Extreme ownership-Jocko Willink 

Nails it from the first page on how to take responsibility for our actions and how to lead and not blame others. Doesn’t pull any punches, no messing around here from someone who has been at the sharp end.

Magic of thinking big-David schwarz 

The people with the most talent or qualifications don’t always succeed, and the way we think often is a decisive factor. This is an old book, but made a big impact on me.

Tuesday, March 2nd

Here’s how playing a first game of the year of baseball or rounders in the park can either sharpen you up, or accept you may as well buy one of those “comfortable chairs” and watch instead from the sidelines.

I was playing lunch time with the kids, when a lady who trains with us at the gym shouted at me if there “was something wrong with me”. I hit the ball and ran around the bases as quickly as I could but obviously I was much slower than she expected!

The kids are MUCH faster than me at the best of times, but there was more.I then realised I was stiffer than normal, I had done a heavy live 45 minutes flat out core and cardio session earlier on, plus a pretty full on run at around 630am, so that explained the stiffness, and I was still suffering the day before, from another heavy live weights session, a run up the lookout and a weights session, plus football with the kids afterwards.

But then I realised I was making excuses to myself. It was the nature of the movement I was putting myself through that made all the difference.I hadn’t done flat out sprints for a good while, which are needed to run from base to base, once you hit the ball.

The stop starting too requires deceleration, which needs strong control from your tendons and ligaments to slow down in a hurry, again which I wasn’t used to on that level, especially as we were in teams of 2 and we were trying to win!So you can see doing different forms of training is vital, even when you want to still play recreational sport, and makes the difference between taking part, or buying “the chair” and arriving with a cooler box of food and drink rather than taking part!!!

Every kid wants their parent to take part with them in sport, every kid would have their grandparents taking part if they could, the question is how much you are willing to put INTO staying in the game by working on your fitness, what will you put into the ENJOYMENT and FULFILMENT of still playing, and the inspiration your kids/grandkids get from you still playing a full and active part of their lives.

The answer is we all have to work on it, to exercise at least 3 days week, put a range of movements in our training that mimic everyday life, and the fun stuff too like games.

This way we get the fun and satisfaction of still taking part, and never ever utter the defeatist words “my best days are behind me”, which sends a terrible message to your body and your mind that you needn’t even bother anymore. This was the first baseball game of the year and I can only get better, I had better step my training up!!

Monday, 1st March

It doesn’t count if you don’t have a go.I have all sorts of messages every day, and many of them are amazing, inspirational, moving, emotional and things I really to want to happen for you.

They are the things that you want to happen, the things you now exactly what you NEED to do to happen, but it’s like someone throwing a baseball at you and you fail to take a swing at it, you don’t even raise the bat, preferring to “think about it” some more,

The big news is the clock is ticking and time doesn’t wait for any of us. The power of a moment is all it takes.Those deep meaningful messages must move you, because you wouldn’t write them otherwise. We all want big things out of life and all our “big things” are different, we all have a different story to tell, and a different life to lead, so be yourself and go and make it happen YOUR way, but exercise will always be your SPARK.

Associate yourself swinging that baseball bat EVERY DAY and you will get closer to it, swing that bat every day for a few weeks and your self-belief goes WAY up, and things seem possible, do it for a few months and your dreams start to become REAL.Get used to swinging the bat so often you become unstoppable, nothing stops you.

Words of negativity or someone trying to put you off won’t stick on you anymore, practice at DOING becomes second nature and your progress will stager you.Next time the ball comes flying at you, get ready to hit it out of the park EVERY DAY just by having a go!!!

Tuesday, 23rd February

There’s 12 months in the year, right now we are in a VERY PRODUCTIVE and very intense period of those 12 months, despite everything else going on around us. We are clearly getting better every day, as long as you keep showing up, the trajectory and path to success is very clear indeed.What’s it like on the other side of the fence? In my experience, two weeks off, usually turns into two months off, and can often turn into 2 YEARS OFF. You are in a “growth mindset” when you are training and learning new things all the time, and your inspiration to eat well is very high indeed, because you don’t want to blow all that effort. You are challenged yes, but you are also excited about the changes to your body, which only bolsters your mind and only strengthens your resilience never to quit, you “get” the process.When you are out of training, your enthusiasm likely dips considerably, everything becomes too much effort, and you rely on some future date when “you will get your mojo” and life will somehow be exciting again.Life is either growing for you or you are falling back. No plant in the universe can stay the same, you are either growing or withering, it sounds harsh but life is a big effort and a constant grind, you either embrace that or life often gives you a big wake up call which MAKES you get going again in a hurry, and often from a far worse starting position than you maybe now, which makes the climb out again far harder!Your 12 months of the year are the best shot you have in life, when you waste a few of those months (and time WILL come and go), then you are ALREADY up against it and the odds are against you. Be the exception, be the one who excels and to do that, you need to keep showing up even on days you may be struggling, but you know your efforts are for the GREATER good!