Dad Bod? Really?

I was sent an email by fitness expert Rusty Moore this week. In the article, he mentioned something called the Dad Bod. This relates to an article that went viral earlier this week on social media. The premise behind it is that women are attracted to a particular look where the man’s body is basically overweight. Some of the reasons listed include these men being more cuddly, more relaxed about their eating and fitness pursuits, and someone more likely to skip the gym and sink a few beers with friends.

Now let me preface the rest of this by saying that I have no issue with someone being overweight. I have been overweight in the past and I am not judging. However, the person who wrote the article clearly has insecurity issues because the reason given for finding this particular type of person attractive were very shallow and were more about how someone who had a better physique would make her feel.

From the article: ‘We don’t want a guy that makes us feel insecure about our body. We are insecure enough as it is. We don’t need a perfectly sculpted guy standing next to us to make us feel worse.’

‘we still like being the center of attention. We want to look skinny and the bigger the guy, the smaller we feel and the better we look next to you in a picture.’

There are other nuggets of non-sense in the article that expose the authors immaturity and lack of confidence. Basically, she is saying that she finds the dad bod attractive because of the way that person makes her feel about her own body. I don’t usually talk about relationships on here, but I have been with my wife for near 11 years so in this area I know what I’m talking about. Physical attraction is essential for a healthy relationship to thrive. There is no doubt about it. However, the physical attraction needs to be genuinely about that person. A relationship has next to no chance of surviving if your attraction to others is more about what you can get out of the other (money, confidence or status and the list goes on)

In the case of the author, she clearly is looking to get her sense of confidence from the appearance of her partner. This is a shaky foundation for self-esteem and will not work. What if Mr Dad Bod decides he wants to get into awesome shape? How would that work for the relationship from that point?

I am also slightly puzzled by the phrase dad bod. I think what she is really describing is sedentary bod or can’t be bothered bod. This does not represent the best fathers and what they show the world through their physical pursuits. I know many dads who treat their bodies with the care and respect it deserves because it is the foundation of their good health and energy levels. Great dads serve as role models for their children and pass on worthy virtues including having good health and vitality. I perform some of my strength training in front of my son deliberately so that it sparks his interest and so that he sees working out as a normal part of life.

I don’t intend on saying too much more about this, it worries me how something like this could go viral, when I see so many more worthy articles that deliver far more wisdom that many people never get the chance to read. Obviously, the subject matter touched a nerve with the public. It certainly did with me. Or maybe it just got on my nerves I haven’t quite decided.

Live and let live is what I believe, but sometimes you have to call someone out when you detect the smell of bulls**t in the air. To all the guys out there, being the strongest version of yourself will lead to the relationship and partner that you want. Whatever your body looks like, if we develop our characters and have a positive aura about us you will be attractive to others.

I wish you the best.

The power of words.

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Do you ever find yourself beating yourself up internally, telling yourself you can’t do things or stopping yourself from attempting challenges that seem difficult?
This is a daily reality for people with low confidence and can become a real difficulty. I can speak with authority about this because I was one these people for so long. I inherited a very risk wary mind-set when I was younger. This is especially true of my mother. I love her dearly and I had a great childhood, but my mum would be the first to tell you that she was and still is a huge worrier.
Her worrying nature is now a part of me. I hid it well from everyone, but when I was younger, it made me not want to sing. I am a good singer, so the talent was always there, but before performances I would get extremely anxious. I would obsess over one part of the song and worry myself sick about getting it wrong. This catastrophic thinking led to me eventually finding it very difficult to sing when people asked me to.
The problem here was the power of the words I spoke to myself. They massively changed my state of mind. When I reflect on the things I used to say to myself, I realise it was the power of the words that had me literally choked up:
You will look like an idiot in front of everyone if you get this wrong.
What if you lose your voice tomorrow?
Everyone is going to be watching you.
What if you forget the words?
What are the words again?
These sorts of recurring thoughts killed my enthusiasm for singing and I shelved it for a long time. It was a decision that I never thought through, but when I went to University and no-body knew I could sing, I just let that part of me lie dormant. I never spoke about it so it was never really an issue.
What we say to ourselves is massively important. If I could go back in time and talk to my younger self, I would have told him that I always have the power to change the words I speak to myself. Therefore I have the power to make myself feel immense:
No-body on Earth can sing quite like you do.
You have the ability to get up on stage and express yourself in front of 100’s of people. That is incredible.
You don’t even have to think about this. It comes as naturally as walking or talking.
Show everyone who you really are.
Be free.

Imagine how I would have felt saying those things to myself as a young man. I don’t think I would have ever stopped singing.
I am learning to change the words that I say to myself because they do have so much influence over what we do. How we talk to ourselves effects how we see the world around us. Of this there is no doubt. I now see the value of my voice as an expression of who I am. I let it lie dormant as I mentioned before, but I don’t regret this. If I had not gone through the process of learning how to manage my own state through the words I say to myself, then I would not be the person I am today. I would not be able to pass this lesson on to my children, and all those who may someday read these words. I’m grateful for the experience of discovering this process because now I can apply it to other areas of my life.
Do I still have a worrying nature? At times yes, and I think that will always be the case. However, it now does not have the power to paralyse me and make me second guess myself.
How do you speak to yourself? Is it positive and encouraging, or is it fixated on fear and loss.
Saturate your mind with positive words, images and thoughts and it will permeate your being and shine out from you. You deserve to have a mind that is working with you to build you up.
I now look forward to singing again with confidence and joy. I have been looking for a way to do this and think I have found one by joining a local gospel choir.

It’s your time!

I heard an inspirational song this weekend when I was cooking dinner for my family. It’s catchy and the lyrics are motivating. The premise of the song is to really go for what you want. It makes references to God being behind you and on your side. Now whether you believe in God or not, there is something to be said about belief and faith to power you forward. Whenever I have achieved notable things in my life, I’ve had to struggle and fight with fear and laziness, and kick them in the ass. Faith is the way to do it.
Faith is what pushes you forward when there is no evidence around you that things will work out. When watching high level performers, the unifying factor they all have is belief in their abilities.
Do you have faith that you are going to achieve the goals you have set for yourself?
Belief might be the most important factor.
Before I signed up for total warrior this summer, I was undecided about whether I was going to take part. As soon as I made the commitment and signed up, my actions became easier. I trained consistently, got into good aerobic shape and performed really well on the day.
I had faith in my ability to succeed and did not entertain the thought of not competing and giving it my all. Here are my top tips for keeping and strengthening the faith.

Unleash the beast!

Unleash the beast!

1. Take action!!!!!!!!!!! Activate your beast mode.

Before Total warrior, my fitness was not up to par, so I set myself a challenge. Every Monday, I would set myself the challenge of running to the bottom of West Vale, and then turning back and running back uphill all the way to the peak. To put this in context, This hill is constantly uphill for about forty five minutes. At points it’s so steep that I never imagined that I could get to the top. Every Monday I would lace up my trainers and go for it again with the simple mantra of one more step than last week. After two months, I conquered the hill. Not only that, but I started to thrive on the hills and enjoy the feeling of dominating what I once thought was impossible.
I have never felt so powerful from running and this pumped so much belief and faith into me that I couldn’t wait to get to the race day and push myself. Beast mode is a state of feeling but you can’t just tap into it straight away. You have to develop it through persistent consistent effort no matter what the memes say.
2. Have a partner in crime.
Having someone training with you or helping you develop a skill or capacity is extremely powerful. You have that person then who knows what you are going through and can encourage you, as well as keep you accountable to what you agreed to.

3. Visualise yourself succeeding.
I had never really practiced visualisation before until I came across the practice in Tom Venuto’s book ‘Burn the fat feed the muscle.’ It then seemed like every book I read on personal development and health talked about it’s power. I have not yet made this a consistent practice yet and it is something I am incorporating far more these days. However the early benefits warrant the reviews. It gives me clarity and purpose and is a daily reminder of what I want to achieve with my life.

4. Study those who have done what you want to do and learn from them (mentorship)
Nothing is more powerful than a role model. They give you the faith that what you want to achieve is possible because they have done it themselves. If you can speak with some of these people, then you are on the fast track to success because they can share their strategies and ideas with you that might make the difference between struggling alone and really blossoming into your true potential. My mentor has really helped to develop my mind-set and as I grow and develop, I will look to other mentors to learn even more from.

There are four strategies that would go a long way to helping you develop your belief and faith in yourself and the things you want to make happen. Now go get it!
Are there any other strategies that you would include in this list? Do you already use any of these techniques successfully. If so it would be great to hear from you.
I wish you the best
Shaun

New training regime

Change of course with training

I’ve decided to take a break from Kettlebells over the course of the summer and try something new. In my local park they have installed monkey bars, two sets of pull up bars, and something that I can use for dips. So I’ve decided to train with calisthenics and sprints for the next 12 weeks to see how it affects my body. I am also going to focus on building up to large numbers of reps with my movements to build muscular endurance. My hope is that I will strengthen and fortify my core and lean out a little more form the high intensity workouts that I will be doing. I’ve always wanted to complete a muscle up as well so I need to spend lots of time on the bar in order to make that one happen.

My nutrition is going to basically be lower in carbohydrate on non-workout days in the style of my insulin reset. On workout days I will have carbs either for breakfast, or after my workout.

I may do a before and after picture to show my progress. We’ll see. New training schedule will start on Monday. I will post it up for everyone at some point next week.

It would be really motivating to hear about other people’s training regimes or goals. What are you aiming for with your own workout schedules and plans?

I wish you the best

Shaun

A different perspective on exercise.

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A different perspective on exercise.

I have been following a new exercise regime with my kettlebells over the past few months. In the past, I would have workouts that would incorporate lots of different movements. This made me feel productive as I would feel the burn. I would sweat a great deal and this made me feel like I was making progress. Also, because I was focussed on burning calories, it seemed like the best way to workout as I was obviously expending lots of energy.

My perspective on exercise has now changed. As a result, my approach to exercise has also changed.

I use exercise as a way to build myself up rather than break myself down.

Now this may seem paradoxical since exercise does in fact lead to muscle breakdown, but I’m talking about building myself up in different ways.

1: My level of skill: I focus on a few exercises at a time and try to develop in these areas through regular and persistent practice. Within that practice the variables change i.e reps, weight, intensity. However my new goal is to practice my movements as often as possible throughout the week without ever going smashing myself to pieces in the process.

2: My level of conditioning/tolerance.

A direct result of training this way is that my conditioning has improved considerably from where it started.

Two months ago, I started focussing on some bodyweight movements but my main exercise was the kettlebell snatch. Initially I was working in strength ladders that went no higher than 5 reps per side on the hardest day.

Now, I use the same weight of kettlebell, but I work in straight sets. On my heaviest day, I work in sets of 15.

I deliberately started with workouts that were easily within me. That gave me the chance to get better at the skill of kettlebell snatching. This then led to a nudge type effect where my reps are lots more, but the effort feels similar to what it was in those early workouts. This is real progress.

If I had started out, trying to perform at my maximum, then I would have injured my body and not reached the level I am now at. Developing patience and awareness were the lessons over the past few weeks of my training. I surprised myself at how quickly I am progressing now that I am thinking more holistically about my training.

 

3. The effect that exercise has on my state.

I work out hard in sessions and push myself, but I walk away from workouts feeling energised, invigorated and strong, not shattered injured and weak. Over time, the amount that you can cope with will increase. Don’t force it.

This certainly works for me, and might just be the way to go if you have been apprehensive about staring a workout regime, or have stopped soon after beginning.

This perspective on exercise works no matter what exercise you choose to do. It also addresses the mental aspects of exercise which many people ignore but is probably one of the most critical determinants to whether you will continue. Bottom line is, if something makes you feel good, you will do it. If something makes you feel rubbish you will eventually quit. We must change our perspective to be able to see the benefit in every session we take part in. When I have a workout that is not my best performance, I remember that keeping consistent is the most important aspect so that workout has helped to develop my consistency. In that respect, it has been a success, even if no progress was made with numbers or setting PRs.

Action steps

  1. Pick an exercise that feels almost too easy and focus on consistency. This allows you to just show up and train without the fear if failure or injury.
  2. Increase the amount or intensity when you feel ready to do so. Do not rush the process. Think long term perspective. You want to stay active all of your life. This isn’t possible if you are doing hard core sessions every time. High intensity has its place, but so do low and moderate intensity workouts. Think balance.

 

Inspire through action.

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I went to the park to complete my workout today. It was an intense session complete with kettlebell snatches, chin ups and dips. I was focused on the session and really enjoying my workout. When the first person of the session said hello to me during my workout. He was an elderly man. i would guess he was into his sixties. “Well done” he said as I struggled and strained through a set of chin ups. 

About five minutes later it happened again. “Keep going” the next observer commented as I completed my set of kettlebell snatches. Later on, a couple of boys were making their way towards me kicking a football between them, as they made their way closer to me, I saw them stop and watch me for a little while. They then waited until I had finished training on the chin up bars and decided to make their way over and have a go themselves.

These little exchanges reminded me that sometimes it’s watching someone take action that inspires us to take some for ourselves. Those boys were intrigued and interested in what I was doing. As a result they wanted to have a go at doing some chin ups for themselves. I wonder how many times they have walked past that bar without stopping to try. I hope that the man who saw me earlier on in my workout decided to do something a little more active that day. It’s not always what we say, but who we are and the actions we choose that can inspire others.

Post 021: Don’t kid yourself

I’m exhausted today. I have been up all night with the little one and she is currently having a sleep whilst I get on with my day. I know this means I will make slight changes to how I do my workout later on today. I used to be someone who would religiously follow the plan given to me. This could lead to a mindset where nothing would happen if everything wasn’t just right. This use to lead to missed workouts and disappointment that I was creating for myself by not taking action on my goals. The problem was, I was setting myself up for failure with expectations that were not in alignment with how much I could realistically commit to.

I sketched out what my training is going to look like for the next few months last night. I got very excited when I penciled in all my strength training workouts, and got even more excited when I wrote out my cardio programme as well. Yes, it looked all well and good. Loads of opportunities to train were crammed into my week. There would be no doubt that if I followed the routine, I would make amazing progress.

Just then, I felt myself being slapped in the face very hard by reality and started laughing out loud. My wife Annemarie asked what I was laughing at and I told her the training programme I had planned for myself. She laughed heartily as well.

You see, I had forgotten that I’m not a fitness model and don’t have to train like one. I had myself down for 5 strength sessions a week and an additional 4 cardio sessions in the same week. This level of training, coupled with my hectic schedule at home and work would have led to burnout, fatigue, and stress and injury.

This is an error in judgement I’ve made before. When I adopt the mentality of more is better, it doesn’t work out too well. I become to rigid and dogmatic with my endeavors and sometimes lose sight of the bigger picture.

Also, if you throw everything and the kitchen sink at a fitness strategy, it’s difficult to then make tweaks for additional improvements. For example, I am going to start with three cardio sessions a week and increase it only if I have to. Starting with the foundation and then building on that is far more effective than building a house on weak undeveloped foundations.

The optimal training for me right now, is a schedule where I am working hard without burning myself out. I will strive for quality not quantity. The body sees all stress in the same way. With my sleep deprivation at full whack, my body is simply not operating at it’s best so hammering it with more stress will probably do the opposite to what I want and deliver no results.

So I cut my strength training down to three sessions a week. These sessions are much shorter, but focused on pushing my levels of intensity and increasing my fitness by beating my personal bests for repetitions in a certain time frame. This is known as density training. Density work is great if you enjoy working at beating your previous best, and also works well with kettlebells when you might not have a massive range of different bells to use at home. You simply take an exercise and perform it for time not reps. You then try to beat your score the next time. Simple yet effective.

I feel much better about the new routine I have sketched out for the next few months. The positive feelings about my training mean I am far more likely to keep up with the training without getting annoyed at myself and others around me when I miss a session.

I am trying to extend this thinking into other areas of my life. I’ve had the epiphany that I don’t need to be superman, superteacher, and superdad all day every day. I’ve got one life of which to make the most of. I don’t want to spend it stressing about my weight, how I look and workouts. It’s just not healthy mentally and it drains the spirit. I have embraced the idea that I am not perfect. Therefore, having hiccups with consistency or having some lower belly fat doesn’t mean that all is lost.

I’m trying to be the best version of myself that I can. That will be more than enough for me.

How do you manage to strike up a balance between setting goals that are attainable and yet really exciting?

Have you ever found yourself creating grand plans that were not in alignment with your true desires?

I find that questions help me. I ask a few that help me decide if something is going to work for me or not.

1. Do I have the time, energy and resources to commit to this?

2. Is there anyone who can help me achieve this goal?

3. Why do I want to achieve this goal? What makes it important?

4. How can I achieve this goal whilst attending to all my responsibilities?

5. Imagine how you will feel when you finally reach your goal?

Get your plans and mentality right, and success will follow. Here’s to yours.

Post 009: Why I don’t bother with the gym.

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I Love Kettlebell training!

For years I used to go to the gym on a regular basis. When I lived in Liverpool, I lived near an amazing gym where I used to go and workout using weights, kettlebells and cardio equipment. The experience was always great but there were issues. One of the key issues was the time it took to travel to the gym, get prepared to work out, set up my weights and everything else. It was quite a list. When my son was born, the time pressure increased and so I found myself trying to fit workouts in after work when in reality I wanted to be home spending time with my son. I know that successful people have to sacrifice certain things to get what they want, but missing out on time with my boy in his early months was something I didn’t agree with at all. I had to make adjustments. I wanted to work out and be in good shape, but didn’t want to do it at the gym. This was when I got seriously into Kettlebell training.

For those unfamiliar, Kettlebells have been around for centuries and although the origins are argued over, most people believe they were created in Russia during the 17th Century and were used as a device tio measure goods for ships.

They were later used as a means to develop strength with strong men and circus performers using them on a regular basis. During the early 20th Century well known strongmen like Arthur Saxon, Edgar Mueller and Eugene Sandow used kettlebells in their strongman shows.

Fast forward to today’s time, and kettlebells are popping up every where. I have seen them being used in video footage from commercial gyms, many sports teams and athletes use kettlebells, and they are very popular as a training tool in the world of Mixed martial arts.

There are many reasons why I love kettlebell training and why they may be useful for you to. Let me list some for you here.

1: They are simple to use.

The most useful kettlebell moves have the same starting point and travel through similar ranges of motion. This means that focussing on form reaps huge rewards and benefits.

2: They work the whole body.

Kettlebell work involves the whole body. With moves like the kettlebell swing and snatch, the body’s chain of movement is all engaged simultaneously. Basically speaking, your body works harder than if you were doing isolation moves like bicep curls and leg extensions.

3: Anyone can use them with correct instruction

The range of kettlebell weights is so vast that anyone can be taught how to use one with a weight that is appropriate to them.

4: They can be used anywhere.

This one is so important to me. Kettlebells allowed me to spend time with my family and get in shape at the same time because I could work out at home. I would train in the back yard, sometimes in the cellar. Sometimes I would throw the bells into the car and workout after work in the park before driving home. They are versatile, portable and fit in beautifully with a busy lifestyle allowing you workout exactly when you want.

5: Workouts can be short and effective.

Sometimes less is more. One of the kettlebell coaches who I follow (Geoff Neupert) is a huge fan of 15-20 minute workouts on a more frequent basis as opposed to the marathon workouts that people believe they must do to get results. My workouts are rarely longer than 30 minutes when I factor in warm up and training. This frees up much more of my time to do other things that I enjoy like reading, writing blog posts, teaching children and spending time with my family and friends.

6: You feel bad ass using them. In other words they build your confidence.

There’s something cool about taking a cast iron ball and being able to press it over your head or to be able to swing the kettlebell with one hand and swap the bell in mid air. You start to gain in confidence and belief. Then before you know it, you are ready to work out with heavier weights or double kettlebells.

7: Kettlbells encourage consistency.

Having the kettlebells allowed me to become more consistent. I schedule in when I plan to train and try and stick to that, but when life happens and you need to make adjustments, it’s easier to do that on your own terms rather than being a slave to the opening times of your local gym. Consistency is what I strive for now more than new workout programmes or equipment.

8:They encourage natural whole body movement.

With the Turkish get up for example, most muscles in the body are used.  This is important because it teaches you to move in a more efficient manner.  I found when using kettlebells, it allowed to move much easier and with increased athleticism and agility. I have eliminated my niggling lower back pain, have much stronger legs and my chronically sore shoulder is now much stronger. My cardio ability is also improving from using kettlebells.

9: You can do workouts that improve strength, increase cardio, or target both in one workout.

Kettlebell training has a wide variety of lifts that promote ballistic lifting (Fast explosive movements) and grind patterns (Slower strength based lifts). This allows you to target different energy systems within your body and allows for you to train with higher frequency by alternating between the two.

10: Having kettlebells around at home means my son is already getting interested in exercise.

The other day I caught my boy trying to lift one of my kettlebells as he has seen me lifting them every now and then. Because he is seeing exercise happening in his environment, he will hopefully come to see exercise as part of his day to day life. This influence was not really that present in my early years and I do think it’s important to instil the values of physical exercise early in life. I’m blessed that Nathan loves the outdoors, running throwing balls around and jumping. Maybe because I value it I’m trying to make sure he does to. I digress, but the point remains that Nathan seeing me exercise is inspiring him to be really active.

There are many more benefits that I could list, but ten seems like more than enough to write about.

If you have been looking for a new way to exercise and improve your health and strength, then kettlebells are an excellent option. They are just a tool like any other, but the principle I’m following is that you reap what you sow. Kettlebells allow me to workout out consistently which will allow me to reap the rewards far better than I have found with other forms of exercise. I do supplement my training with early morning walks and jogging as well as being conscious about my diet. These three things for me mean I can improve my health and fitness in a way that’s enjoyable and fun for me.

If you are interested in getting involved with kettlebell training, my advice would be to look for a certified coach who can show you correct technique and execution of the main lifts. If that isn’t possible, there are books and resources online that you can look to that can help you with learning proper form and technique.

Google search these guys for more on kettlebells as I’m no expert. All I can comment on is my experience. These guys are certified kettlebell professionals and will take your understanding forward much better than I can.

Pavel Tsatsouline

Mike Mahler

Chris Lopez

Steve Cotter

Geoff Neupert

Marianne Kane

Girls Gone Strong. G.G.S is a brilliant website that promotes health fitness and well being to women everywhere. They don’t focus specifically on kettlebells, but I’m sure you find some stuff there.

Till next time

Shaun

Post 006:My principles of health and fitness

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One thing that I have noticed during the years when reading about and participating in health and fitness is the myriad of choices, advice and confusing information that seems to be available today. One minute everyone is talking about manipulating your carbs, the next day no carbs, the next day high carb. High fat, low fat, no fat. It’s overwhelming! It amazes me that so many of us (including myself) have strayed from our intuitive sense of what is best for our bodies.

I have had issues with my weight in the past and have had periods of my life where I have been quite overweight. For years, I thought that the issue was that I hadn’t found the right information yet and so I kept on searching and searching for the latest and best information available. This allowed me to do two things. Firstly, it satisfied the human need to search for meaning and novel ideas. It was fun to find all of these different workouts and see which one looked the best. I looked forward to having a go and trying out new things.

Secondly, it kept me distracted  from seeing the real issue that was stopping me from achieving results. Basically I wasn’t consistent enough. I allowed my constant searching and hopping from one idea to the next to interrupt my focus on what I wanted.

Reading so much on the subject did have benefits though. It allowed me to search and find the golden nuggets inherent in each strategy that combined to create the basic principles that I now look for to check I am on track with my training and nutrition.

When I look to these principles for guidance rather than new fangled fads, I tend to find that they result in me having a changeless set of ideas which I can apply daily.

Principle 1: Nutrition is king. You would struggle to find a fitness professional or anyone with much sense to argue with this. What we eat is critical to our health and fitness. It’s as simple as that. When we are getting the best food we can and nourishing our bodies with that, you will feel better. What I did quite recently was rank my biggest challenges with my eating in order of negative consequences for my health. I then take one of these each week and focus on this single thing and nothing else. This allows me to really celebrate these small achievements and create a compounding impact on my health as these small changes start to stack on top of each other. This is working really well for me.

Principle 1.5: Drink enough water. It amazes me how many people I see at work and in my family circle who don’t drink much water. Ironically, you see people drinking all kinds of things that are advertised to improve your health and do all sorts of magical things. None of them will improve on water.

Principle 2: Try to incorporate strength training of some sort to your regime. There is so much depth to this one subject that I might write about this separately on another post, but there are so many different ways that you can incorporate strength work and progressive improvement into your training regime. Maybe it’s doing bodyweight exercises and being able to do them for more reps. It could be going to the gym and improving in certain lifts by lifting heavier or more times. I believe that strength training has lots of carry over into your day to day life and allows you to carry out tasks so much easier. If you think about the opposite, like when your body is injured in some way, you then really appreciate having your vitality and strength. So we should look to build upon what we have to create an even stronger foundation.

Principle 3: Movement is critical. Our bodies were designed to be active and moving. This principle was really brought home for me when I watch my son playing and interacting with the world. He is at an age where he is really exploring everything around him and he moves all of the time. It’s in his nature to do so, and within all of us is the inclination for movement and exploration.I wouldn’t get too fixated on how you do that either. Whether it’s a fitness class, walking, running, a sports club, dancing or doing some gardening, movement is movement. One thing that I don’t like about some professionals in the fitness industry is that they demonize some exercise regimens because they are not the most efficient way to lose fat. We are forced to think constantly about fat loss and surface level appearances, that we can sometimes forget that movement is natural and the way I see it, if someone wants to walk for their exercise it’s all good. My two year old son doesn’t climb, run and jump because he wants to be ripped. He does it because it’s what he loves to do which leads me to……………………

Principle 4: If you’re not enjoying it, you won’t keep doing it.

The best decision I ever made when it came to my health and fitness was to stop buying so many magazines and reading so many articles on the internet (Ironic I know). I decided what I loved doing, and I stick to that. Football (Soccer for any American readers), walking, running, bodyweight training, kettlebells, and lifting really heavy weights in the gym. I don’t do all of that all the time as changes in my life mean changes in my training. However, these are the activities that I come back to because I love doing them and that makes me consistent. The best thing you can do for your physical fitness is discover the activities that you love and make time to do them consistently.

Principle 5: Trust the process. This speaks for itself. If you don’t have any belief in yourself or the programme you are following, the chances are that you won’t find the success that you were searching for. Each day you stick to your nutrition that you set for yourself, each day you workout, each day that you choose to invest in your health and fitness brings you that little closer to your goal. It’s like watering a seed in the soil. In order to see the fruit, you must trust the process and continually give the seed the right conditions it needs in order to thrive. If you do that for long enough, you will start to see results.

Principle 6: Tweak and repeat. You need to check that you are getting the results that you intended. If things are going great, then it makes sense to keep going with it and keep everything as it is. However life is rarely a linear path, and you may find that you have to do some tweaking to your original plans in order to get the results that you want. This work is critical and having this level of awareness to tweak and change things slightly will make success much more likely. Being rigid with your approach will not help in the long term. Focus on the results you would like, and then commit to finding the path that gets you there. I believe this work is a work in progress for everyone. If we can always be aware of the need and benefit of having our health, then the task becomes less about do I have to?, and more about I must!

I wish you the best

Shaun