Care for yourself

If you look after others, and most of us do in some way or another, you need to look after yourself to begin with. Family and friends, people you work with may rely on you more than you ever thought. When it all hits the fan, you’re bound to be in demand and how much energy you have will be crucial.

Your ability to look after, and help others will be helped a great deal by your own fitness and health, if you’re not fit and healthy and have some energy in reserve, how are you expected to look after others? If you don’t exercise, then you’re nowhere near the help you can be. If you eat badly and carrying around extra weight, are you going to struggle to do as much as you’re needed to do? You may let others down unless you have drive and determination to spare.

If you do train hard, you do eat well, and you don’t drink to excess, you have lots of energy and drive in the bank and you will be able to dig deep and give those who rely on you a much needed helping hand. You should look at doing this programme not only for yourself, but for those who rely on you too. Being fit and healthy means you are ready for anything, so let’s keep active and don’t let the snow become the latest excuse in your life.


Gym advice

Questions are coming in again so this is from Rhian who has just joined the site and wants advice on using the machines in the gym.

I have responding by telling her to build up gradually and the first month should be about building up slowly, and generally improving your general conditioning. It’s virtually impossible to go into a 6 day a week schedule if you haven’t done anything for some time. Your body will take time to get used to it’s new activities. Also, if you begin too quick, you are putting yourself at high risk of getting injured and will probably lose your enthusiasm very quickly.

So the perfect start for you rhian would be two resistance workouts per week, and two cardiovascular workouts (working heart and lungs more).

I have responded to your comments on my gym based workouts  posted some days ago, where you posted your question, and i have given guidance on using the machines you requested, such as the rower, exercise bike, stepper etc. I really think you should really make sure you form on the machines is first class before seriously upping your efforts on them. Proper form on ANY exercise is vital, and i cannot preach it enough.

So on a typical week, i would suggest this (i’m not exactly sure of your current physical condition but i’m playing it safe and taking it slow)

Monday and Thursday-start off with a 10 minute warm up on bike

Resistance workout

Chest press

Lat pulldowns

Lateral raises

Leg extensions

Leg curls

Tricep pushowns

Dumbbell curls

Aim for 8 repetitions on each exercise, start of just one set of each first week, two the second week and three the third week, keep it there then for a while and aim to increase the intensity of each exercise by adding a little more weight.

In your first 3 weeks, i would finish off with a rower for 5 minutes on the monday (noting your metres pulled), and finish off with the bike for 10 mins on the thursday, noting how many metres you have travelled, should be on the screen in front of you.

Tuesday and Friday

Your own personal triathlon

Depending on current ability and don’t be afraid to finish after 5 mins on each exercise, we all have to start/start back somewhere and the only way is up!

Start off with 10 minutes on bike

10 minutes on stepper/x trainer

Then 7 minutes on rower to finish

This should be more than enough to start with, try and increase intensity each week as you go along, but don’t push yourself too hard for the first 3 weeks. Go along at your own pace and the first month is never time for heroics!

Try and walk every other day on your own, especially the weekend, when there is more daylight and nothing better than fresh air!!

My own personal opinion would be that you could also use the home based workouts seen in my previous posts. They can be just as hard, sometimes even harder, you don’t have to travel from your house and they always get done. Some people on the other hand like going to the gym to get out of the house so totally up to you?

There are also endless outside workouts you can do and i have an endless list of those, so just ask.

The best thing about non-gym workouts is that they are free, you are only competing with yourself and you can tell us all about your progress on here, where others can help and encourage you, including me of course!

Any problems, let me know!


Snow energy!

I would never recommend this to others but i did get a run in down the coastal path this morning, and thinking it may have been milder this morning, i was wrong and it was all ice and snow, with the prospect of steady snow sunday and monday!

I can’t tell you how great i feel this morning after it though, i truly have tons and tons of energy after it and i’m fired up to post this early in the morning! It is sometimes hard to remember how good you feel after a workout when the weather is like what it is this week and last. It can sap your energy in a strange kind of way. The old saying that you can be more tired sometimes doing nothing is never more true! The dogs appreciated it too with me this morning, and from their point of view, their daily exercise too is essential and can seriously affect their mood and feeling of wellbeing.

Cyril posted today that he may be going out with the kids and sledge later, and that’s all good too. Let’s face it, if you tried cycling or running off road in these conditions, you are seriously risking some big injuries. The bottom line this week is that the week shouldn’t become a write off. The inside workouts can be taken to new levels, nothing wrong with going for a walk at all, as long as it’s safe of course and take your time.

This weather is also no excuse to eat badly, but if you do, put it behind you and start the next day as a new day, and you’re going to put it right. Like exercise, good food will do simply that, make you FEEL better and it’s been tried and tested. The healthy foods we all know about now are available in every supermarket in the land, there’s nothing stopping them come into the country and don’t buy into this rubbish that sugary and fatty food keeps you warm! I thought central heating did that?!!

And today, after a good shower and breakfast, i actually feel warmer and need less clothes for now. Snow doesn’t have to drain your energy away and make you eat a lorry load of chocolate and mince pies, it really doesn’t have to do that!!! Cyril, i want to hear how much energy you had after you came back from being out in the snow?!!!


Sticker or quitter?

Not being repetitive here, but noting from some of your comments/emails etc, many of you are falling for this old chestnut time after time!

Here’s a big tip that works, every time!

STICK WITH YOUR PLAN LONG ENOUGH TO ALLOW THE CHANGES YOU’RE BRINGING INTO YOUR LIFE TO COME INTO EFFECT. Simply throwing the towel in is not acceptable, and then blaming other people for it is really not acceptable! If making excuses is a way of life for you, then you need to stop right now or things will happen in your life that you’re not comfortable with, and change will not happen, that’s for sure!

Stop hammering/tearing yourself down for what you didn’t do and start praising yourself on what YOU DID DO!

If you remember one thing out of this post tonight, this is the one.

If you have just come off your good eating habits, what good is feeling sorry and crying about it going to do, you know you should be developing to tools, mental and physical to come from there by now. This site is about building yourself up and giving yourself credit. Appreciate that you’re doing something, or a lot of things to improve yourself, and if you start the challenge on the 17th January, then you be testing your mental and physical strength for a longer period than maybe you have ever done before, see it as exciting and not daunting!

This is the time to get it right and really look after yourself, to develop habits that can and will last a lifetime, it’s always best to make things simple, so not tearing into yourself for eating badly for one day is going to help. Praising yourself for making good progress is very helpful, nobody’s perfect all the time or even most of the time. It’s about doing your best and that should always be good enough. If you can honestly look in the mirror and say most day’s you’ve done your best, then how can you beat that? Nothing wrong with treats either, as long as they are in moderation of course and not every day. Learn to love food, and don’t see it as “i’m either dieting”, or “i’m flat out bingeing”!

The in between state of moderation is your key to long term success, so if you go off the rails, who cares, just get back to normal the next day and really appreciate the fact that healthy food makes you feel good, perform well and as long as you give it some time, will make you proud of your achievements!


Here’s a subject you have heard me bang on about a few times. So i’m not going to break the habit, let’s look at it again!

Eating well shouldn’t be that hard, you know if you eat an apple, a piece of chicken, a piece of fish, brown rice, a potato, a carrot, porridge etc, you know you are eating well and you’re not having any refined sugar. Are you still confused about eating well or do you need more education about eating well? I think all of us need to educate ourselves from time to time, and remind ourselves of what can really be destroying our fat loss plans!

Tracking sugar is the hardest thing for most people, and food companies go out of their way to hide it in your foods. Let’s face it, sugar tastes nice and can be addictive, and will sometimes totally put you off eating plainer, natural foods full of nutrients. You will naturally crave more of the sugary foods, so the food company will win all round, as they know you will come back every time for their sugar-laced products, and the products range from everything, from so called healther cereals, to sliced ham’s, to sugary drinks dressed up as orange juice.

So how do these food companies hide their sugar in the foods they produce? They have to list the ingredients that are the biggest portions of the product first, and work the way down to the smallest additive.  Sugar in its plainest form will be sugar or sucrose. Then it gets pretty sly on the sugary ingredients. Fructose, corn syrup, glucose, honey, cane juice crystals, rice syrup, molassses, caramel, cane sugar, fruit juice, inverted sugar are just a few of the ways addictive calories are added to your food and derail your diet, and your body’s performance!

Most cereals in the supermarket are great examples of these additives, and many of the most popular ones have some or all of these ingredients. They create your cravings for sugar, and this will transfer to other food groups too, before you know you will be ingesting an awful lot of needless sugar in just one day. Have you ever got used to eating like this and then you’ve been on it so long that you accuse anyone who eats plainer, more wholesesome foods as “boring”, i know i’ve been accused of that a few times!! Eating all of these sugary foods every day doesn’t make you the life and soul of the party either!! It’s time to get all this rubbish out of your life and right now if you want to make some serious progress and quickly, let’s sort it out now!!

The more sugar you take in, the more you’re going to want more. The average person in this country and the US takes in 20 to 25 teaspoons of sugar per day, directly or indirectly. This alone will add up to 40 pounds of body fat increase per year, so up to you?

The sooner you make your commitment to eating more natural foods the better, if it’s man made, you know it’s nearly always a disaster for your body! Think about it and let’s make it happen this week.