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Posts tagged ‘Sports’

STFU, take your HTFU pills, JFDI and GSD…

Imagine a line…

In your mind’s eye (or grab a piece of paper and draw a line for real, if you like) imagine a line, horizontal, left to right, across a sheet of paper.

Draw a big fat dot at each end.

Over the dot on the left end, write “Here, now, where I am, the start point, my reality” or words to that effect.

Over the dot on the right end, write “My goal, my target, where I want to be, where I am trying to get to” or words to that effect, words that mean something to you, to signify the body you say you want, the energetic feeling you say you want, the weight you wish the scales said, the feeling, look, strength, muscle, fitness – whatever it is you said you want…a month ago, as New Year’s Eve was upon us. What was your goal for 2019?

Now you have a line, and the left end represents where you are, let’s call it the start point, and the right end represents where you want to be, the goals you set yourself a month ago, the way you want to look and feel and perform.

Now draw a big circle around the line between the two. (Actually, it’s probably not a circle, more of an ellipse or egg-shape, right?)

In the circle, or ellipse, along the line from the left hand end to the right hand end, write these words:

Lots of work. Hard work. Consistent effort. No excuses. Get it done. Make sacrifices. Sweat, Hurt. Achieve. Feel pride.

The middle bit [ain’t so popular]

It’s been my experience in life so far, that folks all know what the dot on the left hand end looks and feels like, I mean, that’s the here and now, the reality, of course they know.

And folks all know what the dot on the right hand end looks like – it probably looks like the images they see in magazines, or photos of themselves from 20 years ago, or their favourite athlete or sports star.

But it’s the bit in the middle most folks ain’t so keen on.

Folks know where they are starting from, and they generally know where they want to get to, they just don’t like all the hard work and sacrifice in the middle.

No one wants to do the hard work these days. 

If you are one of the few, who ain’t afraid to graft, then the last few lines won’t offend you, they’ll make you puff your chest out with pride and say “He’s right, it takes effort, that’s me, I do that, and I am getting results.”

If you are one of the many who doesn’t like the bit in the middle, the hard work and sacrifices, then the last few lines might have offended you, and if they did, then you can choose to be offended, and bugger all will change, or you can choose to take this blog post as a friendly-but-honest kick up the butt, and you can resolve to double-down on your efforts and get some stuff done.

A lot of folks have already given up on the promises they made themselves less than a month ago.

Seriously, it’s Jan 30th, not even a full months since those New Year’s resolutions, and many folks have already given up. Jeez, I made myself a promise on Feb 4th, 2006, to “change my life and become a healthy person” and I am still holding dead strong to that promise every single day, almost 13 years later. If you can make a month, that’s a pretty poor effort.

A lot of folks need to STFU and stop complaining about everything that’s ‘too hard’ or ‘I don’t like it’ or ‘it feels uncomfortable’ or ‘but it’s raining’ or whatever, and take their HTFU pills (you know, Harden The **** Up pills…) and JFDI.
We ‘Get Stuff Done’ (#GSD – maybe you prefer Get Sh*t Done….) when we quit complaining and letting our excuses stop us, and we knuckle down to the hard work that HAS TO FILL THE GAP to get from the dot at the left hand end of the line, to the dot at the right hand end of the line.

I’ve been #GSD for 13 years now, and I’m still firing on all 4 cylinders, more motivated and more driven than ever.

In that time I could have used every excuse going – young kids, building my business, ups and downs, almost hit bankruptcy, rescued that from the brink, fought and paid huge debts, marital ups and downs, family bereavements, emotional lows, injuries, accidents, financial stress, emotional stress, career success and failure – if you can name it, I’ve had to get through it.

Still here. Still fighting. Still winning.
More details on all that, and how to get the results you want, in this book for you.

We all know the dot at the left end of the line.
If you want to get to the dot on the right end, you have to be prepared to do the hard work and make the sacrifices, that sit along the line in the middle.

Short cuts are bull***t, just distractions. Imagine that line was a map, to drive from, say, London to Liverpool.
It’s about 220 miles to drive from London to Liverpool.
There’s no genuine shortcut. If someone is trying to sell you a “do it in just 50 miles” solution, you have to know that’s b/s.
It just can’t be done.
The only way you are ever going to drive from London to Liverpool, is on the roads, from A to B.

You can tackle it, by the most direct route, and just knuckle down to it and get the job done, and you’ll cover about 220 miles.
Or you can be distracted, by every b/s promise, false start, trick and gimmick, and keep going off sideways, seeking short cuts, quick hacks, and inevitably, you’ll end up spending your life wasting time on the side turnings, driving hundreds of miles but getting no closer to the end destination.

There are no short cuts.
You just gotta tackle the hard work, be consistent, stay motivated, stay on track, and go chase your goals and dreams.

Yes or yes?

So, if you need some help along the way, Mother Nature’s Diet is here for you, with tips and guidance to help you avoid the biggest mistakes that most people commonly make.

Time to STFU, take your HTFU pills, knuckle down and JFDI and GSD.

To your grand success, to you excellent good health!

Karl

Two of this, one of that…

I think today will be the shortest blog post I have ever written.

I am not good at brevity…but today, I will excel…

Today, the message is simple.

You know that old expression we have probably all said to our children, or had said to us by our parents “You have two ears and one mouth, use them in that proportion.”

Well, I have ‘Karl’s version’ of that expression:

“You have two legs and one butt, use them in that proportion.”

Try to spend twice as much time on your feet, moving, as you do sitting on your butt, inactive.

Words to live by.

Happy New Year, may the year ahead be filled with health and happiness for you and your loved ones.

 

Change, change again, and then change again!

Training!
How is your training going?

Core Principle 9 of Mother Nature’s Diet says ‘Exercise, daily. Move naturally. Variety, moderation, consistency and structure.’

Do you? Move, daily? With variety and consistency?

Let’s focus on the variety bit today.

As a set of basic guidelines, at Mother Nature’s Diet we encourage variety, we encourage you to do some cardiovascular exercise, such as running or cycling or swimming, at least a couple of times per week, and some strength training, such as weights, bodyweight calisthenics or similar resistance training, at least a couple of times per week. With a backdrop of walking every day, and a session or two each week of yoga or simple stretching, this makes for a good balanced week – that’s plenty of variety.

If you are currently inactive, or if you don’t follow any kind of specific exercise plan or training regime, then that basic framework described above should be a good goal to aim for, so get started and stick to it.

But if you are already following a training plan, you do already exercise regularly or play a certain sport, then you need to incorporate variety in other ways. We are talking about including more variety in your training from week to week, month to month, year to year, to keep your body and fitness growing and to keep you interested, fresh and making progress.

Plateau busting

All too often I meet folks who exercise on a regular basis but they are tired, not getting results, fed up because of a lack of progress. This is so common, it happens to almost everyone, and it can be such a frustrating place. Maybe you run and your 10k or half marathon just doesn’t seem to be getting any faster. Your PB has been stuck for two years and it’s driving you nuts. Or maybe you lift and you just can’t understand why your bench hasn’t improved in over a year, despite the fact you train chest twice a week without fail.

Being stuck is often a result of doing the same thing all the time and not creating any variety in your training. The runner who Read more

Step right up! It’s the miracle cure we’ve all been waiting for…

Step right up! It’s the miracle cure we’ve all been waiting for.

It can reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50% and lower your risk of early death by up to 30%.

It’s free, easy to take, has an immediate effect and you don’t need a GP to get some. Its name?

Exercise.

At this point, you might think this is b/s, you might think I’m toying with you. But no. I am in fact, quoting verbatim from this page, on the NHS website.

Not snake oil sales tricks, not hyperbole, not lies or sensationalism designed to sell you the latest miracle supplement or piece of over-priced exercise equipment. The NHS. A website giving you sensible advice paid for by your taxes.

Regular, varied exercise really is the miracle cure worth hundreds of billions of pounds that we all wish for…yet it is right there, freely available to us, and many ignore it.

Regular exercise can help prevent heart disease, the global #1 killer.

Regular exercise can reduce your risk of certain cancers.

Regular exercise can improve blood sugar regulation for diabetics.

Regular exercise can help prevent type-2 diabetes.

Regular exercise can help with diabetes management.

Regular exercise seems to help prevent dementia.

Regular exercise can help combat rising obesity.

Regular exercise can help reduce all-cause mortality.

The WHO, the NHS, Cancer Research UK, British Heart Foundation, Diabetes.co.uk, Harvard School of Public Health – these are not quack sources, not snake oil salesmen, these are the biggest names in public health. Exercise is the miracle cure, yet surveys suggest that only around one third of UK adults take the minimum recommended amount of daily exercise (and frankly, that minimum is set pretty low) and a full one third of UK adults get absolutely no exercise at all. Zero. Nothing. None.

Pound for pound, it’s the best and cheapest preventive medicine strategy available. I have written before that fitness is more important than fatness, and Mother Nature’s Diet includes Core Principle 9 – varied daily exercise.

So the questions is – are you doing it?

If not, why not?

To your good health!

Karl

Bumps along the road to success

The path to getting the results we want is never the smooth, easy road we imagine it is going to be.

For almost 47 years old, with a history of 20 years of smoking, heavy drinking and yo-yo obesity, now I am in pretty good shape for a guy my age. I’m healthy, full of energy, got zero health complaints, I’m fit-as-a-fiddle, I train every day and barring a couple of minor muscular niggles, I am fit and strong in every way. ‘Minor muscular niggles’, yeah I have a few of those, currently the main one is a rotator cuff issue in my right shoulder that’s been holding back progress on my bench press for almost nine long months. I used to get frustrated about the aches and pains, but over the years I have now come to realise they are just part of life training over the age of 40, I just have to live with them.

I was having this conversation the other day with a coaching client of mine, we were talking about working around the minor niggles. He was frustrated by a neck/shoulder ache that was stopping him doing his upper body training properly, and I was encouraging him to train more lower body while his upper body strength is compromised. This is life, the journey is never smooth, it never goes to plan, there are always hiccups along the way. My client was having a crap day, he was feeling down about his training, things not going to plan, progress too slow. This week he can’t train upper body properly because of this neck/shoulder ache, all last month he was off running because of a touch of shin splints, he was feeling exasperated, “I just want to get on a train hard every day! It’s not fair! It’s slowing my progress, all these damned injuries!”

The ups and downs

I can empathise, I have been there myself. The road to success is never the smooth journey we want it to be. When we start out on our health transformation, to lose the excess weight and get all fit and healthy, we imagine in our minds that it will all go smoothly. We imagine that after years of not doing the right things, not looking after ourselves, smoking, drinking, eating too much fattening food, not exercising, making the wrong choices, we imagine that once we start ‘being good’ and doing all the right things, then everything will be good, everything will work well, everything will go in our favour. We have some unquestioned mental faith in the depths of our mind that quietly assumes that we are switching from ‘being naughty’ to ‘being good’ and therefore nothing will go wrong, the quiet forces of the universe will line up in our favour and everything will be perfect, it will all go in our favour.

Then we start, and for the first month or two things often start out well, weight falling off, we get over the ‘OMG I am so unfit’ and start to find aspects of exercise that we quite enjoy. Days are early, resolve is high, results come quickly. Oh the joy of it all! And then we hit our first plateau. Down to Earth with an almighty thump.

Success

Two months in, two stone down, the weight loss slows to a crawl and we pick up our first training injury. And so the honeymoon period is over, and the real work begins. What can I say? It’s hard. People reading this who have done it, you’re nodding right now and saying ‘oh yeah, oh brother, I know just what you’re talking about’ and folks reading this now who have never been fat and had to lose it all, you folks who have always been slim, you have no idea what I am talking about.

Hiccups along the way

I had someone came up to chat with me in the lunch break at one of my seminars last year, and he shook my hand and thanked me for a good morning, he said he was feeling inspired and learning some great stuff, and then he said “…but it’s OK for you, I mean look at you mate, you’re in good shape, you’re slim and fit, you’ve got your pecs all squeezed into your tight t-shirt, you’ve got your flat stomach, you run marathons and you lift weights, you rock climb and you play squash, you know how to cook all these healthy meals, you know all about what not to eat…you know mate, it’s OK for you, you make it all sound easy when you are telling us what to do, but some of us have a lot more work to do to be able to do the things that you can do. We’re not all you!” He then went on to tell me of this injury he has to work around, that food allergy he has to watch out for, and this work commitments that he has to fit the rest of his life around. He told me of his unsupportive spouse, his career commitments, his lack of cooking skills and his financial pressures.

I really understand. I truly do understand all those things, all those headaches, hiccups and obstacles we face. Because I have faced them all too. When I am standing up there in my tight t-shirt delivering my seminar, I’m talking to a room full of people, many of whom are at Ground Zero on their health transformation, Day One of their own personal weight loss journey…meanwhile I’m standing up there at year eleven. Year. Eleven. Eleven years earlier I was at my own Ground Zero, Day One on my own personal weight loss and health transformation journey. At that time I too would have looked up at ‘tight t-shirt man’ and thought ‘well it’s OK for you pal, you’re all slim and fit and healthy…’ and I would have thought that guy didn’t understand the challenges I faced.

For eleven years I have overcome all those obstacles myself, every one of them. I have had a gazillion hiccups along the way and I can promise you the road to success is never the smooth, easy, endlessly-upwards journey we imagine it is going to be. I’ve had shin splints, a fractured right tibia, right knee surgery, a fracture in my left foot, a broken toe, every running injury in the book. I ran my first marathon with a fracture in my lower leg still healing. I ran that marathon with only 1 training run in the 12 weeks before the event. I fractured my spine on L2 and L4 in a training accident in 2012. I have had muscle spasms in my back so bad I couldn’t stand up straight and walk. I have had to retire from running completely because of a destroyed meniscus in my knee. I have broken a toe and several fingers in training. I fell over 200 feet down the side of a mountain in 2014 and bust five ribs. I have had pulls, sprains and strains in almost every muscle I can think of. I have had to stop training for a week here, a fortnight there, a month here and three months there more times than I can possibly remember.

I have had running injuries, climbing injuries, cuts, scratches, breaks and bruises. Bike crashes, expensive bike crashes. I’ve ripped clothes, ripped skin, busted bones and shed blood, sweat and tears. I’ve had to juggle it all with family life. Three young children, my own businesses, endless 15-hour workdays. I’ve been through losing my mother to cancer in her 60s, the loss of friends and family members. I’ve been through the sleep-loss of young children, the emotional ups-and-downs of married life, near bankruptcy in business, the highs and lows of recession, and more.

I always say I lost 7 stone 3, or 101 pounds of fat, 46 kilos to my European friends. In reality I have probably lost 200 pounds of fat, counting all the times it went up and down. You lose two stone, then plateau and put one back on again. Then you have to lose that one again before breaking new ground and losing more. And so it goes on.

Consistency

Hiccups along the way? I’ve broken bones, lost loved ones, built businesses and had almost every injury in the book. How come I get to be the slim fit guy in the tight t-shirt teaching the weight loss seminar?
Because despite all that shit, I stuck it out.

I didn’t let those hiccups stop me. I didn’t let the shitty days take me out of the game for good. I never quit.

When it’s all going wrong, we get demoralised, we feel down, we feel like giving up. We hit these plateaus and the voice in our head says “What’s the point? It’s not working any more, you might as well give up.” And “See, dummy, you’re injured again. You didn’t have all this hassle when you were a couch potato, this exercise malarkey is bad for you!! You might as well just stop and go back to the DVD and a tub of ice cream, that didn’t hurt, you didn’t ache all over then!” Those voices in our head would screw us over if we let them, they would stop us every time. We have to learn to master the voices and stay the course. It’s these ups and downs, these plateaus in our progress, these hiccups that derail most people’s weight loss efforts and cause most people’s plans to fall by the way side.

Success is not the smooth journey we imagine. The road forward is fraught with hazards and hiccups. I am sorry, that’s just how it is. When you actually start using your body to work hard after a decade or two of neglecting it…it grumbles back at you! It aches and moans, it creaks and groans. Now and then something breaks, you’re out for weeks or even months with an injury. You have to learn to train around your injuries and aches and pains.
Legs hurt? Train upper body.
Shoulder injury? Work lower body.
Can’t run? Cycle.
Can’t cycle? Swim.
You have to learn to do whatever it takes to keep making progress, no matter how slow.
Just don’t ever quit.

If you want the results, damn the hiccups, you have to find a way. The rewards go to those who stay the course.

Never, ever quit.
That’s how winning happens.

London Marathon 2014 – post-race report

Yesterday, I ran the London Marathon 2014.

If you have been following this blog and following my training, you will know that this was a test for me, using a low-volume training program.

This was my 14th marathon [or longer] and it was my first competitive marathon for 2.5 years, as I took a year off running and had knee surgery back in 2012.

Firstly, a very quick ‘race report’

I was awake at 4:30 in the morning, excited, and I couldn’t get back to sleep! A couple more hours sleep would have been nice, but it was OK on the day! We had glorious sunshine in London, wonderful blue skies, which really makes a difference. I know a lot of runners prefer it cool, but personally, I love being out running in the warm sunshine. I ran the marathon for an official time of 3:51:47, which was just 6 or 7 minutes off my target time, as I had hoped for circa 3:45, but that’s not much, so I’m pretty happy with that! And I got a nice medal too! Read more