Wow! Express “breaks” a huge story!!!

The daily express today broke a very enlightening story today, “gentle exercise can dramatically cut the danger of an early death from heart disease, according to new research”! Just 30 minutes of jogging or cycling produced amazing results the study showed.

In all seriousness, the report is great but isn’t it something we already knew anyway and should not be regarded as “breaking news” any more? The express should be commended though, as they used to run stories about how a runner would “drop dead” or a weightlifter would “have a heart attack from all that weight training”!

These stories of course did not report the true facts at the time, often ignoring the fact that the runner usually had some pre-existing condition that could have been set off by just about anything, and the weightlifter was often taking some huge cocktail of highly toxic drugs, that would have fried some of his internal organs anyway, and the heart attack was the result of all the abuse, and not the weight training of course, even if it was a little extreme in the story. 

I’m going further on this one, when my father opened a gym in 1957, the people who sat on their backsides, often were spouting doom and gloom stories about the place. They would say you were vain, self-obsessed, bordering on a heart attack, have high blood pressure, cripple yourself in years to come, there were literally 100’s of stories about how about going  to a gym was “bad for you”.

The reality is now the opposite of course, it is good for you to exercise, science tells us that but way back then, the gym regulars secretly knew that and were proving it every day of their lives. They often lived longer, had excellent strong hearts, good joints and healthy strong bones, they had healthy levels of body fat and boundless energy, and were often commented on their physiques. They never really had to see their doctor’s due to healthy blood pressure ranges and no diabetes or serious disease, they were positive in life and had high expectations of themselves and family.

Now anyone who looks after themselves by exercising and eating well can expect the same benefits, there are exceptions of course but that’s what life deals us sometimes and there are plenty of ups and downs in life. The realities are that if you use your common sense, do everything in moderation, you won’t go far wrong. I have many individuals stories regarding people who have achieved success often against every obstacle going. This is one of the big reasons i do what i do, and often gets me motivated to get up at 4am for an exercise session!

I will regularly post these stories and if you have any of your own, then let me know!


Agassi and THAT confession this week!

Andre Agassi’s confession that he took crystal meth in 97 and got away with lying to testing officials took a little shine off the great man’s glare this week for many. Here you are talking about one of the greatest athletes of all time, on the most visible, one of the great champions, one of the few to do all the grand slams, and you would think he would be beyond a slagging off by anyone, but it seems this time he has gone beyond the line.

The reasons for confessing come handily with the release of the new book, his autobiography. He doesn’t need the money, he doesn’t need the attention, he is loved and adored by his fans and people outside tennis. Perhaps it was something “he had to do”, whatever the reasons, whilst not condoning drug use in any shape or form, the word is that it won’t deflect too much from the great man, his charity work in vegas is legendary, he’s supposed to be a great family man, the question will always be “why?”, and perhaps only the great man can answer that?

A litte background to the drug taking would be that agassi’s life was in a mess back then, relationship problems, the hollywood lifestyle, drinking, fell out of love with tennis etc etc. The story of how he came back from there is legendary. From being ranked 141 in the world, he climbed back to number one with the help of gil reyes, a legendary hard nosed vegas trainer who had him running running forwards, and backwards up 900 yard vegas sand dunes-until he was often vomitting!!!

His weight training was often legendary too, bench pressing 310 pounds, which is superb for not such a big guy, with previous lifestyle asnd fitness problems to say the least! The bottom line was that Agassi applied himself again to realise the champion potential he always had, which most of us saw all too briefly in his sole wimbledon win in 92.

His story is often inspirational, and unfortunately, this drug confession will only make his book that much more readable!! Will probably and go out and buy it myself today! If all this helps agassi come out and tell the kids in the world about all the horrible realities about crystal meth and all drugs, some good may come out of it?!


REAL workouts

The question i get sometimes is what i think about certain workouts, certain styles of workout, dvds etc etc. Here’s an easy way to judge your workout. On a scale of one to ten (one being sitting down doing nothing and ten performing at your personal best), you should be hitting at least a 7 occasionally, mostly hitting a 8 and now and again an incredible 9-10!!

Hitting a 8 means you are working out with purpose, that means whatever exercise you do, you are hitting it with some vigour and a lot of enthusiasm and you are keen to push your body to levels where you may get a little out of breath, but are not working so hard so you are blue in the face!! You will be leaving your workout knowing you have had a great session and really feel much better after a shower! There will have been some uncomfortable moments during the workout, but that inner feeling of accomplishment you will have afterwards can be amazing, as some of you reading this will know.

Your workouts should also show regular and gradual improvements. On a simple level, if you are doing 5 press ups in march, and then 20 press ups each time in july, you have significantly improved your fitness. If you start off running and can only run for 20 yards at a time, and then 3 months later you are running for half a mile, you have showed tremendous progress! In my experience, books such as run a marathon in 26 weeks don’t really work in the real world. Individuals need guidance and support, and need to take things one step at a time, literally, there will be setbacks along the way, in fact expect them! Overcoming those setbacks are part of the fun, and will automatically lead to more self-confidence and self-esteem.

Moving from one goal to another is a win win situation, you get fitter, stronger and much stronger mentally. Any stories you have on your own personal journey will be most welcome!


government exercise campaign

The government and its recommended exercise amounts

The government campaign to get the UK exercising more is admirable and to be commended. The suggestion that people exercise for 60 minutes per day or 5-6 times a week is somewhat unlikely for some though. Most people work though and many can’t be motivated to workout before work, its often dark by the time they come home, and often more excuses creep in such as it’s too wet, cold, icy, slippery, drizzly, etc, and throw in the fact that it’s too dangerous in some parts to walk the streets on your own during dark hours, and you have a lot of obstacles in people’s lives to never even approach the hour a day recommended.

The solution

Anyone who has ever trained with me, and if you follow this blog from time to time, will know that I recommend doing some resistance training (weight training/working against your own bodyweight) at least twice a week, and doing some cardiovascular work (walking/running/cycling/swimming etc) at least another twice or three times.

This is a formula that works every single time if followed every single week and with great consistency. The great news? Many if not all of these workouts never last more than 30-40 minutes. The key is intensity and working out with purpose, PLUS its far more manageable than the hour a day plan.

 I will go into much more detail in posts to come, but for now remember that there is another way, and its based on science. When you are follow a plan that many have followed before with often great success, you are assured of arriving at your desired destination feeling fantastic and knowing you have achieved something that will last with you for the rest of your life.


healthy strategies

Eliminating junk food usually goes hand in hand with your exercise programme. You may know by now that fast food restaurants along with most pastries and processed foods contain high amounts of fat, salt and sugar, and usually bad sugars at that. If you’re looking for any kind of performance aims for the week, then you can forget about most of them if you ate a lot of the bad foods, because you’re not going to have much energy to play with, and you’re going to set your body up for putting on more body fat so keep on eating the good stuff.

Another way to get NO energy in your life, would be to avoid drinking water. 10 glasses of water will give MASSES of energy so your choice.

Don’t avoid high fibre foods. Not only does high fibre in your diet help in the reduction of cholesterol, it also makes fats less likely to be absorbed in your body.

Don’t avoid your strength work. The more lean muscle you have, the more your body burns calories, even at rest. Your muscles will become stronger, your bones become more dense, and your tendons and ligaments also become stronger.

You can’t reach the standard you expect of yourself unless you adopt these strategies full stop so let’s use them.