Day 51 Use your imagination and let’s mix it up!

Day 51

One of the reasons why some people give up and some people keep with their exercise programmes is down to flexibility and variety. I’m not talking about stretching or anything such thing, I’m talking about being flexible with your workouts, and if you can’t do your scheduled workout, then do a variation of what you were aiming to do in the first instance.

For example, if you were planning to run for 30-40 minutes, and somehow you only had 10-15 minutes, and were still focused on great progress, I would rush over to the nearest most vicious looking hill, and hammer 6 sprints forwards, and 6 sprints backwards, each for a total of 30 yards of so. If you go flat out, you WILL get a great workout in!

Jean asked about interval training, should she do it? I think Jean already knows the answer, of course you should jean and show everyone what you can do! I always say that most people are only limited by their imagination when it comes to training variety.

Jean is talking about interval training, which could be described easily as jogging between one lamppost, then sprint the next post, then jog the next, then sprint the next one and so on. Now THIS is a workout that you will struggle to last more than 5 minutes each time, it is that intense!

Now we are starting to use our minds for our workouts, please don’t end up like some mindless zombie doing boring treadmill runs all the time, PLEASE, PLEASE vary it, not only because it brings great results doing different workouts, but freshens up your mind too!

One word of caution before doing ANY type of sprint work. In my experience, it is always advisable to do some kind of warm up before you sprint flat out, the always present threat of pulling a hamstring or groin never goes away, and the more weight you carry, the bigger danger there is. I’m not being prejudiced there, I’m just saying that I’ve done a million sprint sessions, and although you will get massive benefits from the session, the goal should also be not to get injured, in which case you probably wouldn’t run for a month at least!

The different ways of training are literally endless, and although you must still have a good structure in place, any type of workout is good as long as it’s safe and you’re capable of doing it. The more experienced you are, the more options you should have and as you should realise by now, it’s not simply a case of training for longer the fitter you are, that’s simply not true. It’s about doing “higher quality” training sessions in the time to suit you, and as long as you are improving physically, that’s a great sign surely you are doing all the right things.

Always stick to your fitness standards and we all have our benchmarks on how we are doing. Most people training with me may have a very tough hill as a benchmark, if they can do that consistently, they know they are in great shape. If you can do 40 press ups in one go, and your new limit is just 25, you know you have been slipping and you need to re-examine what you’re doing.

Being in shape physically and mentally can be easier than you think, as long as you know what your good standard in life is, and you try your best to stay there, even through the highs and lows that life often brings.

Day 50

Day 50

The half-century mark so a huge well done on those of you are sticking with the programme, congratulations and you should be proud of your efforts! You should be showing some serious improvements by now if you have given this at least 80% of your best efforts, that’s what it takes to be in the condition you really want!

So what better time to talk to those of you that have questioned yourself on the way, about could you do it in the first place, and why weren’t you losing so much on the scales throughout? Those of you who questioned yourself about could you really stick an exercise programme this long? Those of you who really wonder whether you can make it to this mystical day 84, can you really do it?

Okay, lets answer all these “mysteries”?!!!!

Let’s take the group I train in Arthur Llewellyn Jenkins in Llantrisant, in fact I was up there today putting them through their paces.

Let me say that this group has only been training for around 8 weeks, and they have been doing amazingly well, and if I revealed some of their measurements, they would blow you away on how well they have changed their body’s and the way they feel.

All of these measurements are confidential and I would never mention names but here’s some examples.

One lady has lost two stone in two months. Eight and half inches off her waist and seven and a half inches off here waist. She has applied herself tremendously and overcome challenges that she had to produce a great result that she and her family are rightfully proud of.

Another lady has lost a stone, and nearly seven inches off her waist and hips, and feel like her life has changed for the better in a big way, yet is still seeking more and more changes which she is very capable of.

All the  group has lost inches off their waist and hips, and those inches have been substantial throughout so I’m proud of their obvious big changes.

Then, those who haven’t lost so much weight doubt themselves about their progress, but when they see how many inches off their waist and hips they have lost and their clothes are much better, they soon forget about the scales as it tends to be such a negative measuring tool for many of us (as we have discussed more or less every day!!).

Those in the group who ask why they haven’t lost as much as the others, are asked are they really, truly honest about their food intake, are they still bingeing, are they still drinking more than they should, are they adding sauces to their foods, are they putting salt on their foods, are their portions sizes bigger than they should be, are they putting their workouts in and to their standard they know they can work to, are the workouts being progressed as I encourage, are the exercises being done properly, is there some walking being done or even running for those who feel they can do it?!!

Already you can see I ask some detailed questions if someone’s potential is not being reached and it pays to be honest, because I’m going to get it out of you sooner rather than later, and its in your best interests to tell the truth to yourself, because without the truth, we are unlikely to move forward and get you to look and feel your best .

So you can see there are no mysteries for you all out there, if there are, they may actually be in your own head. I am providing answers every day on here, and although I bring up the uncomfortable truth for some of you sometimes, its because I want all of you to reach your potential and do amazing things with your health and fitness, and from this you will always develop a level of mental strength that may have been previously unimaginable!

There’s no mysteries for any of you on how to get into your best shape but doesn’t mean you have to stop asking questions on why, in fact I encourage it because we are all learning after all, and we are here to help each other.

Remember I talked about the blind gentleman tuning the school piano in a previous post? Well, its like that for most of you, you don’t do just one workout, or eat well for one day and expect to be in great shape, its constant re-tuning your body and doing it until the best you can be, in fact, it lasts a lifetime and the better shape you get in, the more enjoyable it becomes, ask anyone!

Consistency is the key so let’s nail it again this week and happy day 50 to all of you!!

Day 49 The 4 minute solution!

Since we have hammered the point about not making excuses so far, we have hammered the fact that you need to take action, we have beat the drum on really training with purpose, we have pushed the fact that 80% of the time you need to be eating well and the good, fresh natural foods that are going to serve you well.

What happens if truly circumstances don’t allow you that day to put in your scheduled workout?

Here’s the best way to look at it. If you are really struggling, is something better than nothing? Of course it is!

Look at it from this perspective and you have to go back to the start to appreciate your starting point. When you first started training and 10 squat thrusts, 5 press ups, 8 arm dips etc could have been your standard, with breaks this workout could well have taken 20-25 minutes if you had taken your time if you did 3 circuits.

Now your standard may well be 80 squat thrusts, 25 press ups, 25 arm dips and another 3-5 exercises too in the same workout. Now this is mightily more impressive of course, and your body now is performing to impressive levels.

So one day when you’re trying to train, the kids are super busy, work is calling, the phone is ringing and everything in your day or week is going wrong, how do you get around that?

The value of doing ONE circuit at maximum intensity cannot be underestimated, and one circuit will take 4 minutes if you really push it and cram in the big exercises (squat thrusts, press ups, arm dips along will be good). Say your previous best was 25 press ups and for 3 circuits, chances are you will be able to do at least 30-35 or even more in ONE go, therefore expanding your abilities and reaching a NEW standard, all in 4 minutes or less!

Is 4 minutes enough? You know i encourage you all to work for 3 circuits which takes around 20-25 minutes which is still pretty intense i think you will agree. However, that maximum effort for 4 minutes will be enough to get your metabolism burning at a higher rate for that day, and will mean you get closer to your goals which is always good. I will repeat it again, if you beat your previous best, you have set a new personal best. Even if you don’t, you will have still done a very positive amount for your physical condition and got your metabolism racing and burning calories at an accelerated rate, and then you can get straight back to the trials of life!! How’s that sound?!

For example, my hardest cycle of the week was my ride from my house to sandy water park and back once a week, kind of a time trial where i judged my own personal fitness standards, if i was over 22 minutes, i was out of shape, if i was under 20 minutes, my condition was very good indeed. My best workout of the week and 20 minutes? That’s a fact.

I think the misconception is sometimes we all have to be in the “right workout clothes”, have the ipod looking trendy hanging from our arms, and wearing the right “shades! That’s absolutely not the case and some of the fittest people i know have some of the oldest workout gear there is, but they have an amazing attitude that would put some of these “poser’s” to shame. In fact, most of these show off’s lack any real fitness conditioning because they concentrate on looking the part, instead of really getting stuck in there and having an amazing workout!

Great workouts are about improving or at least doing your best, whatever the circumstances we have that day. Nobody i know has “all day” to exercise, that person doesn’t exist, at least i’ve never met them (and i’ve met a lot of people who some people think they have “all the time in the world)  and that way of training is the least productive anyway.

Nobody trains for 6 hours a day, nobody does that apart from pro cyclist in season so don’t let the papers and magazines fool you time after time, this way of training DOES NOT HAPPEN with these so called celebrities and actors, they are not only not capable of it, but where does that time come from!!!!

Whatever your circumstances, i think 4 minutes as an emergency measure is not too much to ask to make sure your body still gets a workout and still allows you to make progress on this challenge, and for the rest of your life?!!

Another big excuse taken care of!

Have a great sunday and let’s get going again!

Day 48

The news today in the papers that an anti-obesity drug is causing some worrying side effects should be of no surprise to most of us. Many of you who know me will remember that i predicted such worrying problems at least ten years ago. If you could take a pill and all of your worries would go away, then i think we all may as well start belieing in father christmas again!

It’s the same with just about anything in life, many people try to cheat their way to a result, and in the end, when they get found out, they realise they would have found it easier to put the work in first time around.

There is no substitute for hard work and doing things the right way, although many people will tell you otherwise.

You know that there’s another miracle diet book around the corner, you know there’s going to signs on traffic lights promising you to lose 30 pounds in 30 days, you know there’s going to be some kind of miracle piece of exercise equipment that promises to get you in your best ever shape, only to end up as a clothes hanger in your cupboard approximately two months after purchase.

THESE THINGS DO NOT WORK, get used to that fact!

There are celebrities who often get a free degree or an honorary degree from their home town university, but do you honestly believe that these people value that certificate the same as if they had studied for 3-5 years? Of course not!

There’s no such thing as a free lunch they say and that’s a very true statement. We have all tried to prove that wrong but it’s always come back to bite us once we thought we had somehow got that “free lunch”.

Hard work and efforts rules every time but the great thing about that statement is that the hard work gets easier once you are in a routine and focus on constant improvement. Once the first month is over with your exercise programme, you tend to get used to the exercises, they become a little easier, your food becomes a little more tasty, a little more inventive and this very natural process ennables you to feel that the whole thing becomes a lot easier than you ever thought.

The reason i write this every day is because a healthy lifestyle, like life in general is a kind of repitition every day, i don’t mean that in a boring way, each day is likely to happen for you so you may as well live it in the best quality way you can?!

We all know people who preach “only one life we have” so get down the pub mentality, and that’s true the first part anyway (the one life we have), but why live destroying your health every day which means you have even less of this one life! If you keep doing the simple basics every day of more fruit, more vegetables, your white meats and fish, enough water, some exercise and some good sleep, your life is likely to be longer not only according to me, but top scientists who are trying to make us not only live longer, but have a better quality of life too.

Nothing wrong with a couple of beers now and then, and all i’m asking is do the right things 80% of the time, that’s after all an 8 out of 10 success rate! Do this and the results will be spectacular over a lifetime!

Day 47

Day 47 and many of you are starting to get through some of the limits you had previously set on yourselves. It may have felt as if you have been dragged through a hedge on here sometimes, but some of the best things in life are like that.

Think of a woman giving birth, absolute agony that is unimaginable but worth it in the end! Think passing your hardest exams, horrid doing all the work for them but worth it in the end, and makes you proud of yourself.

 Some people I have trained for a marathon never thought they were capable of doing it, yet six months later they achieved their lifetime ambition, or one of them anyway! Absolute hell doing the longer runs sometimes, but prepares you for the big day and you can enjoy the scenery even more if you’ve prepared properly, and getting a decent time which is always good!

This challenge is a bit like all of those things for you, and the same end result will be true. A sense of achievement, a sense that you have overcome your own demons, your own previous physical limits, your own previous discipline levels, and most importantly in my view, you have discovered you have to take action for a sustained period of time to become truly successful.

This talk may be a little premature for some of you, but those of you at day 47 will have already become a lot more powerful mentally too, and hopefully, your life and decision making process will never be the same again.

Those feelings you had when you left school and anything was possible may have been extinguished by life’s twists and turns over the years. Maybe some of those feelings have come back to the surface again? Maybe you have discovered you weren’t finished physically, and you’re ready to become a warrior again, and are not prepared to be pigeon holed by people’s perceptions of you?!

Most people have opinions of us, and sometimes its hard for people to accept we are transforming ourselves from a couch potato to an accomplished athlete. You may laugh at that but that’s what you are, an athlete if you are following this programme. I encourage different training based on you being your best athletic self. You may not be at the next Olympics but you can be at your own personal best?!

There is not one person I train who has gone back in fitness due to their age, I don’t people in categories that because they are 50 or 60 years of age, they are finished! That is not true, and if you go out to southern California like I have many times, its not unusual to see packs of 70-80 year old’s running in packs, its not unusual to see new mothers running in packs with their prams and new born babies, it’s not unusual to see healthier menu’s as the norm in restaurant, and not just as a token gesture, this place is always true inspiration for me and gets me fired up every time I go there.

So what’s the difference over here? Do we have to take a different lifestyle view because we are british? Do we have to base our lives around the pub, around the takeaway, around supermarket ready meals, or have we got a mind of our own? Those of you who really want to change but are too afraid too for some reason, I urge you to do so right now and really don’t put up with feeling so lacking in energy any more, it doesn’t have to be that way!

Don’t put up with being too afraid to go to the swimming pool, don’t be afraid of the beach, don’t be afraid to chuck all that rubbish like the ready meals and all the junk in the bin and take it down the tip! There is a way out that really works, but it depends on hard work, and a lifestyle that you need to practice before getting used to it, this is what this challenge is all about!

Here’s a great example of someone who has changed her life in an instant, a lady called Caroline has joined the programme and eaten 5 bars of chocolate since the beginning of time. I challenged her to not eat chocolate for a week, she initially had headaches for the first 3 days as the chemicals leaved her system and managed the whole week without chocolate.

Most people expected her to go on a chocolate binge after the week, but guess what? She hasn’t touched one since and her training performance has literally gone through the roof. Her squat thrusts have gone from a typical 30 to 100 in a week! That is the power she has given herself and from a lifetime of sugar intake, she now has changed her life in ONE WEEK! True story and there are many like hers on here too. That is the power you have, so are you can be pigeon holed as having as someone who can’t excel in life, or are you going to join the many, many people on here changing their lives on here every day?!!!

The time is now so let’s turn it all around in an instant!