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 018: Training for a new dad.

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My training has had to change since January since my daughter Ava has been born. Because she is so demanding I messaged my trainer Chris Lopez and asked him how to maintain my training through this busy period of my life.

His reply was to keep sessions short, regular in frequency and focussed on strength. I then decided to split my week into 5 sessions a week that last only 15-20 minutes including warm ups. This has been helpful because it means that I can get the practice I need each day without burning out my central nervous system. Keeping up with my training was important because I want to improve my health and don’t see having children as an excuse to not workout due to lack of time.

I am using kettlebells and practicing my technique in a number of lifts including: the swing, snatch, clean and press and front squat.

For cardio, I am going running once a week and incorporating skipping into my strength sessions. These little tactics are helping me to stay consistent during a time in my life when I cannot guarantee a structured time schedule and regular sleeping pattern.

The main principles for me at this time are:

Try and fit some training in at some point during the day.

Maintain freshness throughout workouts and deliberately leave some energy in reserve to avoid burn-out.

Don’t attempt to break any records or hit personal records in this period. Focus on perfecting technique.

When things do calm down at home, I am going to increase my cardio regime and decrease my number of sessions so that I can push myself harder during those sessions.

Post 014: I’m no longer a scale slave.

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My training has been going great recently. Considering the time of year, and the amount of work that I have on at the minute I’m doing pretty well. My clothes are fitting better, I feel tighter and less chubby and my energy levels are up. On Wednesday morning, I decided to hope onto the scale. I was surprised to see that I hadn’t lost any weight and started to feel frustrated. I started to scrutinise my self more negatively and started thinking about all the changes that I could make. Then I took a deep breath, and just walked out of the bathroom. I made a decision that day that I was going to judge my results on other methods other than just the weighing scales. I realised I was falling into a negative programme of thinking just because I had weighed myself and I started judging the value of doing this.

I resolved in myself to see the scale for what it is. The scale is a form of measurement. It’s nothing more than that. How was it that in the past, my sense of self worth and confidence were so intimately linked to the number that popped up on the scale? It was because I was putting more meaning onto the result than I had to. Yes I have to face reality, but that doesn’t mean we have to irrationally heap misery and anguish to the result.

So screw the scales. I’m not a boxer so I don’t need a weight class. I would like a form of measure though, and so I’m going to use the tape measure as well as the scale to get more of a clearer picture of the progress I’m making. When I looked back and reflected on my results, it dawned on me that I have been working on strength training for a few months now, and the number probably reflected an increase in muscle. That makes even more sense since my clothes are fitting better although there has been no movement on the scale.

To be honest, because I have removed emotional attachment to the result of weighing myself, it will become a far more valuable tool. I will use it to judge my methods and not myself. I invite anyone out there who has had similar issues with weight to try the same thing. It’s incredibly liberating to be able to step on the scale and accept whatever it shows you. This approach to results is applicable to all areas of life as well, because it stops you from defining yourself by your bank balance, career, or any other external measure.

Don’t get me wrong, just because I accept something, it doesn’t mean that I will be satisfied with it and not take action. I now just choose to take action without all the emotional baggage.

I’m not convinced that your weight tells you the complete picture either. I feel energised, strong fit and healthy. In the past I have weighed less but looked fatter and felt worse than I do today. The scale can’t measure the amount of muscle or fat that you’re carrying. So it stands to reason, that the number on the scale can sometimes be unreliable. Bear this in mind when you do use the scale and whatever you do, don’t become a slave to the weighing machine.