Using the coastal paths

Burry Port and Llanelli was usually known as an industrial town until quite recently in historical terms. £32 million pounds later and it’s one of the most beautiful areas you could ever run in to, or run on if you pardon the pun. Excellent running areas are the obvious straight lines from loughor to pembrey, these are excellent for beginners and walkers alike, as well as distance runners who want to get some serious mileage in.

After an individual i train has worked up their conditioning quite a bit, i begin to attack some hills and a great starting point would be the hills up to the monument in sandy water park. These are a true barometer of your fitness standards and will remind you how fit you are if you’ve let your fitness slip a bit.

Simply circling sandy water park in one go on a run is a great goal to start with, walking for 20 yards, running for 10 yards, walking for 20 yards, running for 10 etc etc, until you get to walking for 20 yards, running for 20 and so on, after a few short weeks you will be up to the standard of running round the lake in one go, as long as your diet is up to scratch, and you are following the advice in the diet section.

Moving on to burry port and you have some excellent runs around the harbour, and there point to point runs you can practice. For instance, from the lifeboat end to the yacht club and back will be a big accomplishment to many to start with.

Once you have some steady running under your belt, you may want to wander over to the sand dunes. There are some really steep ones and start off by running up 10 yards at a time, walk back down, then back up, take as much rest in between as you like, when you get your breath back, just give it a go again until you reach 5. You WILL  feel your legs in a big way the next day, but this workout is for runners of a much more advanced stage.

Cycling is a very popular option these days on the coastal path, and can be seen by the sheer numbers on a sunny day. The cycle path offers great views and a nice safe track to keep things nice and easy. It would be recommended if you start off gently with your cycling programme, and take into account that you can obviously cover much bigger distances on the bike. For example, a run of 3 miles can be beyond a lot of people, a cycle though can be relatively comfortable over the same distance. Just make sure you wear a helmet, wear some reflective jacket if you’re cycling in the winter like right now, and you set your targets achieveable, but still working up progressively over the weeks. Everyone can improve, as long as they eat well and put some effort in.

Please consult a doctor before beginning any exercise programme.

RBS fit for purpose?

On the day that Royal Bank of Scotland get another bailout, in fact making them the most bailed out bank in the world (some record at 45 billion!), saying chief executive Stephen Hester has his work cut out would be bit of an understatement! However, to get RBS in shape, the rather rotund Mr Hester has undergone his own serious overhaul. Knowing the RBS job would take untold amounts of energy and drive, hester last october took on a serious fitness regime. Tidying up the mess that Fred Goodwin made could him make a knight of the realm, and very rich (not that he needs the money), but anyone who can straighten out this once great institution will be a hero in many RBS shareholder’s book!

Hester now apparently is seen regularly jogging around Holland Park in London (where he lives), and the benefits have come in a 2 stone weight loss and renewed vigour to keep the government control at arms length. Most successful chief executives have got some kind of exercise programme in their lives. Whether it be yoga, weight training, swimming or running like Mr Hester, the chief executive’ mindset is usually highly competitive, and no stone unturned when it comes to maximising one’s performance.

More businesses are realising the value of getting their staff into shape. Working out regularly using a sensible, well designed programme will bring endless benefits, and the main benefits as seen through the company’s management will be seen in far less sick days, more employee enthusiasm, more company loyalty and re-discovering the drive that they may have thought lost for good! Studies show in the U.S. that for every one dollar a company spends on health and fitness, it usually gets back four dollars in terms of the benefits already mentioned.

As many of you know, i run company programmes myself, and am still surprised to see how many positives it brings into the company, and into the employee’s life. Good companies are the ones who realise the staff are human beings, and not just a number. Good staff are huge assets, and if they are fitter and healthier, they can become amazing assets that can speak volumes for the business they represent.

The word is in the city that Hester is a good man, and will succeed in turning this financial behemoth around. This will be great for RBS and more importantly, lend to solid businesses and get us out of recession that much quicker.


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?!