Archive for the ‘Psychology’ Category

Good versus bad, right versus wrong, left versus right, to do or not to do. We’re constantly faced with choices in our lives, these choices will dictate where our lives take us in all aspects e.g. our relationships, jobs, education and health. Yes that’s right, health is an option for us, it’s not a genetic gift that’s makes us either healthy or unhealthy (yes sadly there are anomalies), its not a luxury, it’s not fortune. It is however, in my opinion, worth it 🙂

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Here’s two choices for you, two lists of different things YOU CAN HAVE however you can only pick one list.

List a (anabolic):
– focused and energised
– satiated
– adaptation possible
– decrease in subcutaneous fat
– increase lean tissue
– nutritional needs met
– increase in anabolic hormones (anabolic means regenerative/recovering/adapting)

List b (catabolic):
– Decreased neural focus and concentration
– dehydration
– acute hunger
– impaired cognitive function
– increased subcutaneous fat
– lean tissue compromised
– fibrocystic breasts
– infertility
– lowered sex drive
– masculinisation (for females)
– feminisation (for males)
– mood swings
– depression
– night sweats
– late puberty
– male pattern baldness
– increased risk breast cancer
– depression
– Insomnia
– late menopause
– symptoms low thyroid

**all credit given to Phil Learney for both lists

Now, logically on paper every person would choose list A, however this is where the problem is. We now live in a society where people expect to be given everything instead of working for it. Hard work has been replaced with ‘amazing diets which will transform your life’ but still allow you to eat sh&t. Which every person knows deep down is just a BS approach.

The two lists above, and the items in each one, have all been linked directly to nutritional requirements in the body. So if you get what your body needs you increase the risk of getting everything in list A, however if you don’t give it what it wants then you fall into list B. You will probably have some of these symptoms (from either list) as well so you can start to appreciate what list your currently sitting in.

Let me drum that in, you choose every single damn day what goes into your mouth (nobody has ever been forced to eat crap food), therefore YOU are choosing where you let your body go and it’s therefore YOUR responsibility and YOUR fault if anything that happens to it.

“It’s my body and I can choose what I do to it”

As much as I agree with everyone having their own opinion, being their own person and having free will, THIS is definitely one step to far.
– It cost the NHS £4.2 billion last year on obesity and obesity related problems last year.
If you are overweight you will, if not managed correctly, have a MASSIVE chance of also costing our country more money on something fixable. Therefore you may have free will but if you have any morality and respect for the people around you then you’d stop the BS and sort yourself out.

Not enough?

This next point is my personal motive and if it doesn’t make you think and want to change then I don’t want to ever be associated with you….I think about when I have kids when I’m older, the very last thing I want is for them to experience is seeing me suffer. I want to see my kids grow up and develop unforgettable memories (grandchildren, holidays, family, friends, laughter etc). Also we know for a fact that a child will be born with endocrine dysfunction when the child is malnourished during its development in the whom. Therefore I strive to do everything I can to learn about how to optimise health and longevity to avoid any of these problems potentially arising. That’s MY MOTIVE.

Not enough motivation for you yet? Then please leave my page, look in the mirror and look at yourself in disgust and understand that you don’t deserve any help from this country and/or health care system. I am very quickly losing my patience and temper with people who don’t take this matter seriously. We’re in the middle of an epidemic and its only getting worse, obesity, heart disease and diabetes rates are bursting through the roof and too many people have developed an ignorance, arrogance and selfishness with their approach to life.

Life is their to be enjoyed from start to finish, don’t ruin that gift.

#DBA

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“5,000 to 10,000 people die prematurely from alcohol use a year” (www.avon.nhs.uk/alcohol/the_facts.htm)

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Most of you will say that this number is small and won’t effect you because you drink “in moderation” and only one won’t kill you. Now consider this:

27% men and 14% women drink over recommended units weekly and there are 40 million “social” drinkers. Now the definition of a social drinker is, according to medical-dictionary.com, “a person who consumes alcoholic beverages I.e. 2 standard drinks/day in a socially acceptable situation”. Cast your memory back to last Friday/Saturday night and think about how many drinks you had (assuming you can remember) and then compare that against the weekly recommendation:
– men 21 units a week
– women 14 units a week
(Beer = 2 units, spirits 35ml = 1.5 units, 175ml wine = 3 units)

I’m not condemning alcohol in this article (when consumed intelligently) however I do want to make the facts clear that what we currently deem as socially acceptable is slowly but surely killing our country. 8 units for men and 6 units for women is classed as binge drinking, alcohol costs the NHS £3 billion yearly and it’s predicted that there will be 210,000 alcohol death related deaths in the next 20 years.

“But I only go out every other week to drink”

Lets take a look at some of the physiological impacts alcohol will have on our bodies. Firstly, it will screw up our circadian rhythm (the daily activity of living) in other words our sleep pattern. When this falls out of sync it will cause a cascade of events within our body altering metabolism, fatty acid oxidation, hunger patterns and cravings (plus the potential dreaded hangover and memory loss).

HEALTH CONSEQUENCES

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In a review by Oscar-Berman et al (1997), alcohol consumption was linked to disruptions within the following:
– nervous system (CNS and PNS)
– neurological processes (temperature, sleep and co-ordination)
– cognitive abilities (memory, learning and perception)
– Korsakoff’s syndrome (memory disorder)
– changes within the limbic system, diencephalon (centre of brain acting as a station for nerves), cerebral cortex (intelligent behaviour and higher consciousness)
– impedes actions of neurotransmitters (chemicals allowing communication within brain)
– glutamate over activity (leading to cell death, linked to strokes and seizures and memory loss)
– GABA over activity followed by deficiency (withdrawal seizures)
– thiamine deficiency
– liver disease

I am very much out of my depth of knowledge and understanding to go into explaining and truly understanding the above links to alcohol so i wont kid myself and try, however all I know is that there is a STRONG one. I know from my own past experiences that physiologically alcohol has never done my body any favours for my body composition and health. So ill ask you all the following:
– would you put petrol in your diesel car because your car said (theoretically speaking of course, unless you actually have a speaking car) that it enjoyed the taste of petrol more?
– is short term satisfaction going to achieve long term goals if they have opposing effects and outcomes?
– if something isn’t broken would you try to fix it?
– would you ignore a wound on your body for several hours, knowing that the longer you leave it the worse it will become?
– is there a difference between WANT and NEED?

Now I’m not saying there is any obvious answers there, only interpretations based upon common sense 🙂 any situation you face in life, no matter how stressful, will ALWAYS remain no matter how much alcohol you consume. So saying you drink to take your mind off things will never help a situation. The sooner you tackle a scenario (no matter how daunting I.e. arguments with partners, money problems, job worries etc) the sooner it will get better. HOWEVER the longer you leave it and think about it (especially since alcohol will typically enhance the scale of the problem as you can’t think straight) the worse it will become.

The same goes for body composition goals, if your chasing a goal and you have everything sorted e.g. Nutrition and training nailed. Why would you want to add it in? Is it worth the risk? Do you want or need it? Yes, drinks like red wine, have shown some form of health benefit but can’t that be achieved via other avenues with less potential consequences?

I can appreciate some need a psychological break if they’ve been eating clean for so long for the first time, or time for celebrations (which in my opinion is a human inflicted stereotype that alcohol is needed to celebrate) but I fail to see any other reasons for NEEDING alcohol in your life.

Human beings have got such awesome potential to become something special and this, in my opinion, is hindered by social influence by others and there is only a small handful of people who have got the guts to do something about it and ignore the BS.

Moral of the article is to just stop making excuses and trying to justify having something you don’t need. Yes have it on the OCCASION if you really feel like you deserve a doggy treat however don’t try to make excuses. This is aimed at people who are trying to improve body composition and health and longevity 🙂 and just to make it clear this is MY current thoughts and feelings towards alcohol, which MAY change!

If people around you class you as being anti social or boring on a night out then chances are they’re either jealous of you, have minimal respect for themselves as a human or really don’t enjoy their jobs that they use alcohol as an escape when they should be doing their best to try to change that situation to do something they enjoy. As that’s what life should be about in my opinion…happiness, laughter and friends 🙂 not just living for the weekend just to pay the bills to just make it by in an environment you don’t actually enjoy.

Dream, believe, achieve 🙂

Okay my first rant about the general/normal population about the mentality and ignorance which surrounds it in regards to this country’s current level of health and fitness. I call the majority the general or normal however words such as uneducated and/or lazy all come to mind (not for everyone, just seems to be for most).

To start this off I’m going to give some statistics and than I’ll come back and explain each one:
– 1 in 20 people have diabetes in UK and by 2025 over 5 million people will have it.
– in 2012 23,000 people under 17 had diabetes
– over 25% of the adult population is classified as obese
– 3/10 boys and girls aged 2-15 are classed as obese in 2012
– by 2025 nearly 50% of male adults and 40% female adults will be obese
– average person consumes 68g sugars daily
– consumption of soft drinks has more than doubled since 1985
– average child aged 1-4 consume 57g sugars daily
– all of these problems can be correlated to increased risk of developing a serious health disorder

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If these stats don’t sicken you than turn away now because its only going to get worse (and if the thought of your kids kids growing up obese and ill doesn’t cross any moral barrier than you need to question yourself morally as a human being). When did we allow it to be okay to become a health decreasing nation who finds it acceptable to ‘treat’ themselves to a chocolate bar/cake/alcohol on a daily basis only to further neglect what their body needs in order to become well nourished, energised and healthy.

Tell me when the following has ever become ACCEPTABLE to our society:
– elevated cardiovascular problems e.g. Heart disease and strokes
– greater longstanding illness
– increased blood pressure
– increased dental problems
– greater cancer risk
– behavioural problems (abnormal psychological behaviour)
– birth defects (I.e. disrupted metabolism)

So why have we allowed such problems to develop through poor nutrition! It makes no sense to me! I’m guessing the following would be an answer if I asked people of the street:
– convenience (food choice wise)
– cheaper (healthy v fast food)
– taste

Lets break down these answers:

CONVENIENCE
In other words its easier to grab a chocolate bar, or cook a microwaveable meal than it is to cook up a home made meal. I 100% agree that yes it is a more convenient way of living and if it was physiologically advantageous to eat and live this way than I wouldn’t have a problem. But guess what? It isn’t, so i guess you no what I’m about to say next, but before I do think about this:

“Arguments of convenience lack integrity and inevitably trip you up” Donald Rumsfield

Kind of sums up what I’m trying to get across. Just because something is convenient, doesn’t make it right or acceptable. Basically just suck it up and make a decent meal so one day you won’t have to suck it in.

CHEAPER
This is a topic I can strongly reflect upon being brought up in a house where money was tight and obviously priorities of house bills and necessities such as the car and the mortgage took the bulk of income. HOWEVER it’s definitely not as expensive to eat healthy as people seem to believe, now I no most will be thinking “going organic is to much” or “I can’t afford 6 meals a day” but you can make so many more simple changes to what you put in your mouth without costs going up I.e. buy more vegetables instead of crisps, buy porridge for breakfast, buy meat in bulk at beginning of month and freeze it. I could put together a nice little menu for everyone but you can all use your own time for that if you care that much (if you’ve read this far than I’m hoping you do actually care).

If you want a few examples go and add Phil Learney on Facebook and look at his posted images where he has designed cheap and healthy meals for less then a £1 each!

TASTE
This one is the most frustrating to deal with, the taste and attachment people get associated with food for is classically from a carbohydrate source which means its giving you a very quick short term spike in insulin and increased energy followed by the inevitable crash after it wears off. Is that taste worth it? Was eating that one “tasty” muffin worth the rise and fall in energy and heightened insulin resistance leading eventually (potentially) to diabetes, heart problems, slowed metabolism etc etc. I’m not saying that eating only one will cause this (far from it of course) however why run the risk of getting into the carbohydrate addiction cycle and spiralling downwards there after. Just not worth it in my eyes. Obviously there are exceptions when people are aiming for fat loss when refeeds/cheat meals become appropriate but in the day to day diet it just shouldn’t be welcome in my eyes, as our bodies can’t deal with the current amount of sugar just because its a nice treat.

“Your not a dog, you don’t need a treat” Learney, 2013.

I just started writing this article because certain people and advertisements frustrated me and wanted somewhere to write up my anger, instead of taking it all out in the gym for a change ;). If you’ve read this far than I’m impressed because I’m definitely making this longer than it needs to be, even this sentence.

What can we do than?
I have no magic pill, all I have is basic tools to use which will be hard at first but hardworking always pays off!
– throw out any man made foods
– buy fresh vegetables from local farm market (2 x a week ideally)
– avoid dairy (to start with)
– eliminate wheat
– eliminate all gluten
– if you can catch it, kill it or pick it you can eat it (no not picking from the shelves, I mean from the ground – good try)
– wake up every morning with a smile

All my clients do the above and have ALL had success from it (body composition wise, energy levels and general well being) so why not give it a try?

Share like and comment guys!

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– J.K Rowling had twelve publishers rejected a manuscript, one accepted to publish it but told her to get a day job because their was no money in children’s books. J.K Rowling wrote the Harry Potter series.

– Walt Disney’s first animation company went bankrupt, fired by a news editor because he lacked imagination and got turned down 302 times before creating Disney world.

– Albert Einstein. Couldn’t speak until he was 4, couldn’t read until he was 7. His parents thought he was handicapped. He than won a Nobel prize and became the face of modern physics.

– The Beatles. Rejected by many record labels “guitar groups are on the way out”, eventually signed with EMI and became one of the biggest bands in history.

– Michael Jordan. Cut by his high school basketball team and turned out to be one of the greatest basketball players of all time.

Now think about how many times you said to yourself that they’re lucky, they new the right people or their genetically gifted. I’m willing to bet these people would strongly disagree with them comments. I personally believe that every single one of us on this planet are individually gifted, we just sometimes ignore our potential and become distracted by other things and lose sight of our individuality.

Success
“A person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains fame, wealth etc”

I haven’t achieved any large amounts of success, I haven’t achieved anything truly remarkably significant which I consider to have made a positive change on society so I am not writing this article based upon success, I am writing this article based upon my many failures and curiosity into how to become successful.

Looking at the above examples of famous people I notice that success is correlated with failure. When you watch a baby crawling around trying to stand up what happens? They fall over countless number of times, they will bang their head, they will hurt themselves and cry and guess what else they do…they persevere, they carry on trying, they don’t give up and then they can stand up, then they can walk then they can run. Personally that’s how I think all humans are born, with drive, with determination and with courage in order to attain a healthy stable living environment. Because we realise if we can’t even stand up than how would we be able to feed, wash and look after ourselves?

So what happens as we grow up? Many of us lose that venom to keep on succeeding in other areas of life. This could be attributed to desire and reliance, is there any need to gain anything else if we’re already in a sustainable environment? Why should I keep working hard when I have already got everything I want? I can’t lose fat because it’s to hard! The desire has gone and the bulk of people seem to run out of motivation and just adopt to living In an easy way of life where their life plateaus and they no longer have to take risks, or their scared to take risks just in case they ‘fail’ and lose what they had. Sadly society has seemed to develop into a lazy reliant nation where we our given our basic needs for survival for free and not made to work for it (money like benefits and convenient foods which are cheap and easy).

Motivation, in my eyes, can be broken down into two words “motive” and “action”, you need both to create motivation. Without a motive you have no action, without a desired end goal you have no reason to get up and do what you got to do. Now write down in front of you what you want to do with your life, not what you want to achieve but why you want to achieve it.
– so what if you become manager of your company? What’s your motive?
– so what if you win player of the year? What’s after that?
– so what if get a 1st class honours in your degree? What’s after that?
– so what if you buy that car you’ve dreamed of? What you going to do now?
– so what if your top goal scorer? What’s next?
– so what if you get a promotion? What’s after that?

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“God made man to go by motives, and he will not go without them, any more than a boat without steam or a balloon without gas” Henry Ward Beecher

What drives your action? What moves it? What’s the purpose? What’s your why? This article is a reality check for myself so ill use myself as an example. A typical day for me consists of 7 hours of sleep, so that’s 17 hours left in a day to become successful (or work towards it), than I prepare my food for the day which takes around an hour so I have 16 hours left. It takes about 30 minutes to get to work and back home so another hour has gone, 15 left. I spend an hour and half working out so that’s 13.5 hours left. I probably spend around 30 minutes on my phone, 1 hour in total eating all my meals and than around 30 minutes walking between gym sites, that’s 11.5 hours left. Ill do a gym shift most days for 8 hours, that’s 3.5 hours left. That’s 3.5 hours left to be successful and do what I got to do to succeed and read, learn, try, fail and repeat. The question to myself is can I become more efficient and use my time more wisely because I know for a fact I’m going to struggle to become successful from 3.5 hours a day, I need to have my end goal in sight and constantly working towards it.

“Time is free but its priceless. You can’t own it but you can use it. You can’t keep it but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you never get it back” Harvey MacKay

Success is intentional and deliberate, people don’t just happen to become successful by accident. You got to put in time to feed your motive, you got to wake up first thing in the morning and not hit the snooze button because you want to succeed, because you no what your why is. Now looking at myself, can I improve what I’m currently doing to become successful? Hell yes! Because at the moment I only have 3.5 hours left a day to do what I got to do, and if for one moment I think that I’ll become what I want to be by only working hard for that little time I got another thing coming and reality is going to come crashing down on me.

The above example of my day was me about 3 months ago, I’ve changed since than and I plan on continuing to adapt and grow and improve. Even though its only a small achievement, I am now the first personal trainer to make a profit from working where i am located, I have got the most clients any personal trainer has ever had working in this gym. What did I do that was different from above?
– I now listen to podcasts, audio tapes and read articles, blogs and research papers during my empty time (walking between gym sites, travelling to work, eating and making food)
– I download articles before bed to read for the next few days
– I make my food on two separate days and make enough to last the week
– doing gym shifts I try to apply and teach anything I have recently learnt by telling gym members. I get more interactive with people than I previously did.
– I have stepped up my game on how I deal with my clients, every single one of my clients in 2013 have dropped inches from their waist and/or gained muscle (I only have clients for body compositional changes)

Now don’t get me wrong some people are perfectly happy in their environment and don’t want to achieve anything else, that’s absolutely fine. This article is intended for those who get jealous of people having more money than you, or people who are happier than you, or people who are more successful than you. Just remember your not living your life for anyone else but yourself so go do what you got to do.

“Don’t ever let anyone tell you you can’t do something. Not even me. Period”. Will Smith (Pursuit of happiness)

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These are words that a client of mine said to me and have stuck with me pretty hard the last couple of weeks whilst I reflect on where I want to take my career, so I thought I would share my thoughts…

I got a personal training job, I have got an okay number of clients and I’m earning a wage which is just about survivable on, so reflecting my position in the current economical position we’re currently in I am quite fortunate. However. I don’t want to stagnate, human beings, I believe, are born to grow, adapt and thrive on opportunity.

I could easily settle for where I am which would allow me to become comfortable with my financial, personal and spiritual self but I ask myself do I want this? If I allow my day to day life become to predictable, repetitive and monotonous than how will I ever have a chance to grow and adapt to new surroundings and teachings? I wouldn’t.

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I decided to ask myself a bunch of questions, and after asking myself I would say to myself “so what if that happened”. These we’re the scenarios I contemplated:

– changing jobs and moving to a better gym (starting on a budget a lot lower than what I’m currently on)
– doing another educational course (which costs a LOT of money)
– changing my own training and learning from someone else

And these were the answers I gave myself:
– so what if I change jobs and earn less? Short term would I be earning less and have less to spend, yes I would. Long term is there a greater chance of being in a better situation than previously. Yes definitely. Is that guaranteed to happen? No. Will I make it happen? Yes.
– can I justify spending money I haven’t got on a qualification that will give me better credentials at the end. Yes. What if I fail the course? Ill re-take. What if it isn’t worthwhile in the end? I’ve done my research, it is. Is it guaranteed to make me a better trainer? No, but I am willing to put the time and effort into my studies to make sure it becomes worthwhile. Yes I am.
– can I afford to spend money on someone to train me? Only just. What if they don’t give me the results Im looking for? I ask simply, what If they do. What if they train me with a different approach to what I’m used to? Im always willing to learn new approaches to maximise results.

So guess what I done. I done all the above, I am now on a sports nutritionist course to become a certified sports nutritionist, I have someone training me (controlling my entire diet and training) and I am currently applying for other gyms elsewhere. I am making a gamble, will it pay off? Only time will tell. Has history shown us before that making changes to your norm make a difference? Yes over and over again:

– Harland David Sanders (KFC colonel) had his restaurant rejected over a 1,000 times and could have easily quit.
– Oprah Winfrey could have walked away after being told she wasn’t fit enough to be on screen
– Dr Seuss first book was rejected 27 times, he could have just walked away and changed career paths.

Even simple changes day to day lifestyle, from the food you put in your mouth, books you choose not to read and the little things you always forget to say to close people around you. Have I succeeded in where I want to end up? Not by a long shot. Do I want to return to my previous lifestyle, not a chance.

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Someone once said to me that we repeat 95% of what we said the day before. I don’t no how true that statement is but makes me realise that I don’t want to keep repeating the same thing.

What’s the point of this article? There isn’t one, I’m making it up as I go along without any thought. I just want to send a little probe or thought into your brain to see if your happy where you currently are or if there is anything you would want to change. I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t but just questioning whether your happy with where your life is right now or would you like to improve it. Because if you want to improve it than it won’t happen repeating everything day in day out hoping for a magical phone call asking you to come and get a job at whatever utopian, virtuous reality you dream of being in.

You can’t just think, you must act.