Get up not stay up

So many blogs and Instagram stories centre around working as much of the day as possible in order to maximise progress, but quite a large proportion of these are either written by immortals or they are so rich that they have robot stand-ins, constantly we see posts at 4:30 in the morning and then posts claiming that they are still up at 12 midnight, whilst I accept that this can be employed as a temporary strategy it has no validity in the long term, as you become tired you will start to lose cognitive ability, concentration and physical ability will start to fade and you will eventually end up in a heap on the floor.

At which point all your plans, workouts and learning stops while you recover, as the vast majority of us will be holding down full time jobs as well as whatever other activities we are pursuing it serves us better to go to sleep a bit earlier and wake up earlier, this way all you are missing is night time activities which are largely leisure activities, these are the things to sacrifice in pursuit of goals both physical and financial anything else is going to harm you and as I said will ultimately end in stopping your progress completely for at least a couple of days.

If you go to bed at 10:00pm and get up at 4:30am you still get 6 and a half hours sleep, only losing out on half an hour of recommended sleep and you have a good 3 hours to get your goal pursuits in be that training, learning or practicing guitar (quietly of course) most of us finish work at 5:30pm so you still have 4 and a half hours to either carry on working on the future or spending time with the family, that schedule will also fit a lot closer with children so as you and the children start to sync a bit in your rhythms you could even bring some more harmony to that relationship.

Remember all sacrifice is for nothing if you become to tired and ill to keep pushing.

Amazing Downtime

I had an amazing time last night with the Mrs for her birthday, we went to York to a Thai Tapas restaurant http://phranakhon.co.uk/ to be exact and had arguably some of the best food I have ever had (certainly Thai at the very least) and the went on to see The Rocky Horror Show at the York Opera House, the performance was amazing and I even managed a bit of a time warp!

I was able to enjoy myself with an amazing woman in an awesome place with outstanding food and an unutterably good show.

And this morning? Did I go for a 5k walk and did I feel guilty about eating food that isn’t exactly “on plan” ? HELL NO! We got in late and I had an early start at work, so literally did not have the time, we put all the work in so we can cut loose, we eat a sensible diet tailored to our needs so when we go out we can indulge and we stay in shape so that we can enjoy ourselves until the early hours when the opportunity arises.

The only lesson, only lesson here is to work harder, work so hard you turn weekends into weeks, fun and enjoyment into simply “life”, I was feeling a bit deflated before going out but now ready to take on the world.

There is an adage about a struggling salesman buying a bigger car to help him sell, sometimes we need to just get out and enjoy ourselves to remember what we are working for.

Practice the Preaching ep14

So in the spirit of trying new things, I have introduced Coconut oil to my routine, initially as a way to “break my fast” but I then started researching and it turns out this stuff is awesome, it is good for the hair (mine and the dogs) and can keep me regular with bright teeth, but more important is how it programs the body to burn fat for fuel.

I am going to make my arguments in a dedicated post once I have got my science down but suffice to say that according to Strava my pace on the morning walk went from 10 mins/km to just under 9! And to be fair I felt pretty good.

It would appear as well that the Mrs was right and the response to the “Conversation with Mrs” post was good, but I discovered Coconut Oil on my own so I am counting that as one all.

Importance of Blogging

“Blogs are the cave paintings of the future and if nothing else they will convey an accurate representation of personal intent and community acceptance”

Me

Since starting this I have had the privilege to read many other peoples blogs, and as such I have had the opportunity to hear about other points of view, popular subjects that I never heard of and of course social comment on things that are important to me, not important to me and that I never knew were important.

There are a lot of blog posts offering advice on how to blog to become successful, often times these remain true to their intent, they are a considered and in most cases excellently executed instruction manual on the Process, they contain at length suggestions on when to post, what to post and how to keep an existing audience engaged as well as attract new followers, where this falls down however is when these same blogs start to question the moral ideals of the blogger, and the validity of the messages anybody chooses to put out, the two things cannot co-exist as a true-ism of the writers intent, in my opinion the offering of a formula to a process is to negate the ability to question the reason or validity of content, if you recognise a formula then you yourself have sat at a keyboard haunted by a blank page and the desire to satisfy the perceived desire of your followers, immediately you provide a mechanical process for producing content you negate the content and show it to be a fraud simply filling column inches for a pay day, be that likes or money.

It is of the utmost importance to blog and catalogue the changes of mankind, now more than ever the world is changing at a pace only the internet journalists can keep up with, the debate as to which drives which, the media driving life or life and society driven by the media they choose to consume is one for another day but no matter what is written it stands as a permanent and irrefutable documentation of the authors thoughts and feelings at the time, just as fake blogs to get likes are transparently obvious, the intent can be spotted a mile away when reading a shallow post or article.

Personally my intent is to provide an education to and provide a path for people to genuinely change their lives for the better, but have I put posts together just to provide some content? occasionally yes, and they stand out like a sore thumb along with the views and likes of the audience (lack thereof)

This is just my opinion mind you and I am sure that there will be people that agree and disagree, but my view is to let people write what they want, if at first it is a cynical ploy to simply make money by providing warmed over plagiarism people will notice and view the content accordingly, the worst case scenario is that the author will simply stop writing and move onto some other venture, the best case is that through luke warm reception they may just decide to write from the heart and put their message to the test.

I have only just started but for what it is worth, write what matters to you, what you have in your head and your heart, if that is dick and fart jokes so be it, if it is a commentary on society and a considered critique of that society then so be it, be you and there will be people to listen, be fake and you will gain acceptance at first but you will soon lose once the first painted layer of commonality between you and your readers is stripped away leaving lack of depth of knowledge for all to see.

Practice the Preaching ep12

I had a setback today, or at least it felt like one, despite not going outside my diet and following my exercise schedule to the letter (very nearly) I had only a 1.4lb loss when weigh in day came round this morning.

To some that would seem perfectly acceptable but I have been striving for more of a loss as I am still at the stage where no matter how much effort I put in at the gym I will not put enough muscle on during a week to cancel out any substantial proportion of fat loss,

If I do however find the magic bullet for fat loss I will share it with you all right after I share it with the copyright office!

Now the reason for the long story about how I was gutted at my weight loss is actually to lead into an example of how much I have changed since taking my health and well being seriously, prior to this the response to this morning would have been to have a day off doing any activities “To re-centre myself” then promise that when I begin again tomorrow I will work harder, now I see these events as triggers rather than failures, and anything that doesn’t have the desired result in your journey should do the same.

Failure (noun)

A failure has happened, it is an event from which there is no recovery, it is a noun and it has no part in anybodies vocabulary when talking about their life, or life goals, once uttered the event that gets labelled as a failure acts as a wall, a barrier between you on one side and what you were looking to achieve on the other, if you are lucky you can push through the wall should a random act provide a resolution to the failure, but you don’t want to trust your life and happiness to luck now do you ?

Trigger (verb)

In contrast a trigger is a reaction to an event that might not have played out as you expected, it is the response to a situation good or bad, and it forces us to react, in this respect it is a continuation to a destination even if the path has changed, it is not stopping, there is no lack of momentum or stalling of drive and purpose, you have a situation or result and that triggers you to shape your actions to either avoid the current situation and change it or to move further along the same path but with more or less effort depending on the reaction required.

Response

Well your response is your response and it will be a reaction to whatever events you are evaluating, but in order to qualify that I am not simply trying to think up inspirational stories for followers and page views, I will explain my response to this trigger, I started to react predictably with some negative internal dialogue along the lines of, “this is it I have lost as much as I am going to” and “well bit of a setback I will have a day off and change something for next week” but this did not last, I reminded myself that I have had that conversation many times and it has never improved my life, ever, it is solely responsible for the state I found myself in leading to having to ask a shop assistant if they had any jeans bigger than a 56 inch waist,

Instead I looked at the result, and evaluated the parameters, effort in Vs results out, and in this case there had been some return but just not enough, so my response to this trigger ?, instead of walking 5k this morning I walked 7.89 and it took me 1hr 21min, when I got back to the house everything was hurting but I felt good, and the feeling wasn’t just physical, there is a huge mental boost to having a disappointment and answering that not by shrinking away but by literally expanding to be bigger than it and steam-rolling over it.

My opinion is that there are always going to be events in our lives that will floor us, and I mean all the inspirational memes and pep talks and jumping up and down clapping will have no effect at all, fortunately these are usually very very few and far between, the vast majority of events that we deal with are not like that, although it may seem like it at first, normally if you stop and look around you and the world looks the same as it did a minute previously you are all good.

Little Superhuman update

When I set out with this part of the goal was to secure financial freedom as well, and I am currently working on an article about that very thing, but I have got to make just this one comment before that really to justify why it hasn’t been touched on before, so far I have spent on average 6 hours a week looking at different schemes and businesses online, and while I believe 100% that there is gold them wires, the process to extract is NEVER as easy as 99.99999% of these advertisers claim, as harsh as that is the vast majority of these “millionaires” that are going to share their secrets with you for free are either some douche recruiting affiliates to funnel people into a scheme that recruits affiliates into a scheme that sells the scheme, remnants of these schemes either still be flogged by desperate 100th level recruits trying to wring the last nuts out of the thing or simply videos and single landing pages put up and waiting for their hosting money or view credits for “live webinars” to run out before going all 404 on everyone and at worst just straight out scams, but I am looking at real plans for real people to change their financial position and future, I have many issues that we discuss at length with the current global financial suppression of humans, where we are taught from an early age that we need a job and a mortgage that we can pay off before we retire so we don’t owe any money when we die, apparently this means we have won and we have been good citizens, the reality however, is that if I work when I want and I own a house with no mortgage, follow the pursuits in life that make me happy and can facilitate the same fate for my children, then I have won.

Honestly I am not some crazed revolutionist that believes in world without law and responsibility, that would be chaos and very very dangerous, as I have said before I am a humanist and I believe in humans being able to live their lives free from oppression and conscripted debt.

Main Photo by Abhiram Prakash from Pexels

Practice the Preaching ep11

Appreciation through Contrast

So there was a small issue this morning when embarking for my 5k walk, due to an oversight on my part my headphones were flat, I have to admit that I cannot actually remember when I last charged them and being a gadget freak of course I do not own a wired pair that I could have used in their place.

I decided to set off without the aid of music ( I sometimes listen to podcasts and audio books as well ) resigning myself to a walk that would feel longer and more arduous due to the lack of audio input.

The exact opposite happened and I found that without my normal distraction my mind was looking for other ways to stop thinking about the pain in my quads ( I trained legs the day before yesterday and they are sore, I am in agony ) and I was able to take in the scenery around me, I noticed Deer in a field and Rabbits started to cross the path in front of me, what with the birds singing in the trees it would only have taken a brief glimpse of a Disney princess to convince me I was still asleep and I should get up to go for my walk!

The Silence of an empty road

My point is this, I am a materialistic person, I like things, I like stuff, gadgets and watches, computers and cars, but they are hectic, they are thrilling in some cases and high maintenance in others, but without contrast they become noise, just faceless ordinary white noise, we get used to things too quickly and they lose their lustre, so we start looking for new things, shinier and in most cases more expensive, because there is lack of contrast, if we compare like for like we can only look to increase the value of what we have to effect change, if on the other hand you look to balance experiences with polar opposites your appreciation of both sides becomes exponentially heightened, and you will start to see the added value in each with a fresh prospective,

As an example take a concert, you go and see your favourite artist / band and it is loud and busy, you probably get bumped into frequently, and spend what seems like 90 percent of the time with somebody stood on your foot but I bet you still can’t get the smile off your face, you enjoy it and when it comes to an end you are gutted, it is over and you are on your way home, but when you reach home and sit down with the beverage of your choice you really appreciate the quiet and the stillness, it provides the same pleasure as the concert but in a polar opposite way, the same can be said for pretty much anything in life.

Sorry for the quality, digital zoom

The walk this morning, although it actually took longer, as I say my legs are less than optimal, felt like it went by quicker, it was easier somehow as I had been forced out of wireless headphones and the ability to choose which particular rabbit hole I put my consciousness into and I was forced to look at the world outside my front door at arguably one the most peaceful and beautiful times of the day, so if you are feeling tired or bored with your immediate surroundings my suggestion is to get up and pursue if only for a brief moment the exact opposite of your current environment rather than look to increase your experience of the norm, we grow and thrive on change and adaptation, and popping out to the countryside rather than going on the internet to look for a bigger TV will also help you to achieve financial goals, as it is a lot cheaper.

Again, smash it each day 100%, invest in yourself and before you know it you will wake up where you want to be.

Main Photo by sergio souza from Pexels.

Practice the Preaching ep10

So tenth episode, I have to confess that I wasn’t that sure where I was going with the episode idea but it seems to have worked out fairly well, there is an odd sense of obligation when you have stated in print for the world to see ( or at least the three followers I had at the time one of which was me and another my wife), and in fact I credit a lot of the habits I have built up in the past few weeks to my self-obligated reporting of my progress to you my readers (and the wife).

So I would like to encourage anybody struggling to start a new regime, or move their diet to a healthier one to write down their goals and keep it somewhere they will see it upon waking, although studies have shown that it can be 18 to 254 days to form a habit, in those early formative days you will need the written reinforcement to remind of your goal, bear in mind that if you are working toward productive healthy habits I would be willing to bet there are several bad destructive ones you have to break as well!

So for the first few episodes there are ones missing, some posted late (for various reasons in my defence) and as we go further they become more consistent, when I first started I picked 4:30am as a waking up time because it seemed to give me the right amount of time before work to take care of what I needed to do, and I nearly made it for the first few days but not quite, the snooze button was remarkably easy to find with tired eyes !

Now however I am waking up nearly the entire week before the alarm goes off! much to my wife’s relief she doesn’t need beauty sleep but she does like it !

I thought additionally this morning as it is a Yoga day I would share what YouTube videos I follow below.

I do look at others but have found these two to help the most at my level, and I am progressing quite well.

So keep up all the good work you are doing and always move forward even if it is only a little bit, I have taken quite literally tiny steps in my journey but now on reflection have travelled some distance, just remind yourself everyday of the changes you are making, through a written declaration to yourself and before you know it, they will be second nature and you will start to feel odd if for some reason you can’t complete a workout or study session, this in turn will make those activities more pleasurable and once you start to enjoy something you start to absorb it.

Practice the Preaching ep9

It is probably obvious by now that, I am attempting a virtual 180 on my life so far, and a big part of this is physical, I got to the stage that I couldn’t do much really, even laying down in bed hurt my lower legs and I couldn’t keep up with my children when out and about, so I threw myself into going back to the gym, and now 7 and a half stone lighter and 11 months down the line I feel like I am more fine tuning my diet and exercise routine than trying to crack a rock with a toffee hammer like I was for the first 9 months or so,

As a result and as a demonstration of a way of making time rather than trying to find the time, I thought I would share what my workout program is starting to look like, I will start to expand on this shortly and go much further into the knowledge I have gained but for now, this is pretty much how it is starting to look.

Gym – Resistance training

Essentially as I am never sure if I can go on a regular scheduled basis, I decided instead to just break it down to body parts per session and make sure that they all followed each other, so I do the following,

  • Back and Biceps – Staple exercises are Deadlifts, Lat Pulldowns, Straight bar Curls and Preacher Curls, as well as two more exercises on each muscle group depending on how I feel.
  • Chest and Triceps – Staple exercises are Bench Press, Flat Dumbell Flies, Incline Dumbell Press, Tricep Pressdowns and behind the head Dumbell Extensions, again another two more on each muscle group.
  • Legs – Staple exercises are Front Squat, Leg Press, Leg Extension and Curl, Stiff Leg Deadlifts and Calf raises, I will try and incorporate lunges and Sissy Squats as my knees allow.
  • Shoulders – Staples are Dumbell Press Overhead, Side lateral, Rear Laterals, Front raises either with Cables or Dumbells.

On Gym days I will do my cardio first thing in the morning (4:30am when I manage to get up 5:00am when not) and that has become a 5k walk as I was originally spending 70 minutes on a treadmill on incline 7 at the end of my workout but this was taking up too much time from my Kids and bedtimes, so I moved it too the morning when they are sound asleep, it is worth noting that I did start running in the morning but that seemed to halt the downward trend of the scales for some reason so I stopped.

Non Gym Days

On days when I am not going to be at they gym I will do a full Yoga flow in the mornings, I still go out for a swift walk but I like to concentrate on Yoga because the benefits so far have been exponential, my posture, strength, flexibility and I would even go so far as my mental state as well as my ability to cope with stressful sometimes inflammatory situations at work and family life, I really cannot stress enough how much I have come to value Yoga and am always looking to increase my practice of it and advance as much as I can.

Everyday

Additionally on every day I always do a 20 minute flexibility routine, one thing that has always plagued me is flexibility and so when I put all my ill informed misconceptions about Yoga to one side and started to practice it I started to become more flexible and found that this alone made everyday life more comfortable.

And I always do a mini plank workout, a simple standard Plank followed by each side and a back Plank held for one minute and repeated 3 times in each position, I actually credit this for getting rid of the largest part of my back problems due to being sat at a desk all day.

In the future

Moving from here I am going to start incorporating intermittent fasting as well as tying down a more regular Yoga routine of my own design to provide something to really concentrate on practising to find progression, I am also going to put a day of more power lifting / strength training into my gym routine, that will include Farmers Walk, Deadlifts, and Tyre Flipping that type of thing, to try and pull my physique in tighter.

Practice the Preaching ep7

Morning All! , I have had a bit of a milestone this morning and I would like to share, my training has up until now been a little, shall we say “instinctive” by which of course, I mean that I pretty much did what I felt like doing, with a few things that were a constant, but the problem with that is that is is difficult to measure progress without any baseline to compare against, so I began running/jogging/fast walk, as alluded to in a previous episode, and today I reached what is seen (I think) as a bit of a Milestone target of 5k, now before I share my stats don’t get too excited as they need improvement but I managed it in 41mins 48seconds at an average pace of 8:05/km (according to Strava), I then figured a good accompaniment to this would be some stretching so followed a 20 min yoga stretching routine from PsycheTruth on YouTube.

One thing this journey has done so far is improve my confidence in all the paths of my life and I am shocked at the elevated mood that you get after running so will be keeping it up, I will be able to try some natural methods of increasing aerobic capacity and report on my findings there as well now, see if I can prove/disprove some myths or hidden wisdom often circulated around the NET.

So to anybody reading this (and I pray there is at least two!) have an awesome day and just like me this morning puffing, looking a little pale and wanting to be sick try and break into a metaphorical jog as often as you can and sit down tonight having achieved everything you set out to do today.

P.S or physical jog if you happen to be out for some exercise.

Practice the Preaching ep6

Do Real things for Real results

So up for a run this morning and it made me think a couple of things, one the world is a beautiful place and I can’t believe sometimes how much we humans have been known to take it for granted, and two just how much harder running in real life is compared to a session on the treadmill.

Yesterday at the gym I did 45 minutes running at 7.5km/h at an incline of 7, I burned (according to the probably highly inaccurate) calories counter just over 500 calories, and afterwards I had a minute to calm down and then I happily wandered to my car to pick up my daughter from her club she attends.

Today, I ran 2.5Km at a pace of 8km/h and burned 375 calories in 21 minutes (according to strava, I am not sure about the accuracy of their metric either but that works on the same information I fed into the treadmill) and the really awkward truth about this is that in all activities, making money, bodybuilding, getting fit, and I can now add running to that list in bold and underlined, we get better results if we don’t look for the easy path in, sure you should always consult a doctor and make sure you are healthy enough to push yourself, the goal here is to live long and healthy and if possible not to die trying, but a real walk in the real world will always beat a slow jog on a treadmill, free weights are always better than machines and coming up with a method to make money is always better than trying mimic somebody who has already made it, use these easier methods to educate you and help you up to the first steps but always think and feel for yourself.

And smash it every single day.