Choose who you are going to be, then make it happen.

Warning – I am passionate, I will swear – they are just words, grow up.

If you are reading this and can say you are honestly content, please leave, this isn’t for you.

Right now they are gone let’s get a few things straight. Content – the most god awful word I have come across, it tells me two things; 1 – You don’t dream big enough, 2 – You lack drive.

Be the person striving for more, pushing yourself till it hurts, finding the limits you’ve set yourself and breaking them down.

I decided who I was going to be, I even went as far as to make a plan, a plan I have fought for, suffered for, that sure as shit was never going to be easy and I am god damn happy that it wasn’t, a plan that does not have an end and has requirements where failure or becoming ‘content’ will take everything from me.

I sit here looking at a sheet of paper, a sheet that in essence says ‘step 4 – Tick’. I don’t take more pride than that in it, it is the sum of three years and hundreds of hours, but to me it is just another bullet point. So was the £450 qualification handled in two weeks, or the few thousand hours of training and studying, even the accredited masters that requires a bank loan.

We all have something we want out of life, but we look at the road it takes to get there and shudder, the idea of sacrifice or hardship terrifies us, and so content seems like a suitable plan B. Let me say something that will get a scorn expression from many – fuck content, fuck your fear. I have had my own hell and hardships, there are moments that I would give anything to fix or get rid of from memory, but my goal, my dream requires so much god damn more. State your dream, wait no, let’s really do this –

Right now, say your dream, in 5 words or less – Might be a job/place/mood/ anything.

Next, state the minimum of what it’ll take to get there – cost/ hours/ ears/ qualifications

Now, and take this part seriously, are you brave enough? Could you take that on and accept the struggle that entails? Let us be very serious, if you look at it now, before even the first damn step in that direction and can’t say with certainty you are willing, when those moments come around that bring you to tears, that keep you awake at night, that lose you friends, to accept that this is all part of the plan, then don’t even start, and get really fucking familiar with – content.

Oh and if I need validation –

– Every damn friend I lost

– The hundreds of hours needed just to change appearance

– The tens of thousands of pounds for my qualifications

– The utter failure come competition day

– The loneliness for 3 years

– The laughter and judging

– The five years of work to just get my foot in the door

– The agony every fucking day

– The scars, history to overcome

and the rest of it that frankly if you need to hear, you were never going to be convinced anyway.

Be brave because in reality, if you aren’t living for those dreams, what is the damn point?

Aspire to Inspire.

I’d rather be dead than average.

I’d rather be dead than average.

It sounds morbid, I know. Trust me, it isn’t a call for help or anything like that. The simple fact of the matter is that I can relate to this. I believe this quote is from Mike Bell, featured in the documentary Bigger Stronger Faster. Somebody else might have said it but that’s where I remember it from.

From time to time, I find myself wondering why we do what we do. Why does ‘average’ represent everything that so many of us don’t want to be? I’ve done average, I’ve done below average and frankly, being a nobody is pretty shit.

When I was 19 years old, I decided to make it happen. I decided to stop being who I had always been up until that point, a nobody. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not foolish enough to think that I’m famous or even terribly popular, but I’ll be damned if I’m still average, and that’s a start.

I went from having no passion, no drive, no ambitions and a very limited perception of a future, to having an exact goal, passion that would astound, the drive to work on it every damn day, the qualifications to get me there and achievements mounting up along the way.

I’m not sure if I can say that what I am doing is right, or will even work, but for once in my life I’m doing something and I’m proud of it. So why dead over average? Seems dramatic and bordering on naive, but here me out. Average to me isn’t what it might be to you. Average to me represents who I was, the mental state, the loneliness and knowing what that did to me, yeah I would choose to never be that/do that again.

I’d like to think that the experiences of depression and mental breakdown leave me in a mind set that will never again allow me to be ‘average’. I would hope that who I am now is incapable of functioning without a goal or some form of ambition. So this is me, literally living for a dream, it may not be normal nor accepted, but it’s me, and I’ll die before I give that up.

Aspire to Inspire.

Big and Strong

If you’re reading this article, I’ll bet I know a few things about you.

First, you probably have two overriding goals when it comes to weight training – you wanna be big, and you wanna be strong. And by “big,” what I mean is that you want to look the part – muscular and lean.

Second, I’m betting that you feel torn between these two goals. In other words, on one shoulder you have – “Screw what you look like, all that matters is what you can do!”

And of course on your other shoulder, another voice is telling you, “No one knows what you can lift, all they know is what you look like.”

I know these things about you because, well, we’re chasing those goals, and we all feel conflicted about pursuing two objectives simultaneously, trust me I am one of them.

Although there are exceptions, most bodybuilders admire the amazing strength of powerlifters, strongmen, and weightlifters, and most strength athletes want a physique that reflects their capabilities.

I’ve been torn this way since my early days of training. Granted I started focusing only on aesthetics. I wanted those damn abs. With a bit of time I came across for lifting heavy (in retrospect to my weight). Sure there is ego in there, but its an incredible feeling ripping heavy shit from the floor.

IT IS POSSIBLE TO HAVE BOTH.

So far I would say i’m pretty strong (220 deadlift today, squat 150 and bench 110) from pure determination with no coach or professional traing, just my own work. As for aesthetics, well i’ve worked for them too and compared to day 1? Shit I look like a god (by comparison).

I love to able to set an example, even if it has been done. But my beginnings, my methods, achievements and current abilities, maybe I can make my point – No matter what, you can do everything you want, anything you want, you just have to work for it.

Aspire to inspire.

Day 2 – Get shit done.

Another morning post as, well let’s face it, I have shit to do.

Monday mornings tend to be when the world whine, go through the motions and just try and make it through the day, I’m not one of those people. Nor am I one of those who eagerly await a Monday morning for a fresh start …  No I hate that too. Frankly if you are waiting for Monday to start a fresh, you’ve wasted too many hours.

I’m a different breed, I don’t usually know the day, very rarely in fact. I go at each day with the – What has to get done today. So what’s today for me? Today for me is cardio, study, heavy bitching deadlifts (so excited) and then more study. The list is more specific than that as every morning I write up my to do list for the day, mostly because there is rarely anything left from the day before unless it’s a larger project.

I think this is a methodology more people should apply to their lives. Living by calender days is a mistake and constructs your efforts for you. Waiting for a Monday can waste 6/7th’s of your life. I saw a concept in a film once (In time) where they talked about a life lesson, the idea was not to live each day like it was your last, its reckless and idiotic, we all want a future. No instead, live each and every day as if you had come back in time just to relive that one day, enjoy it, marvel at every little detail of joy and wonder, love it and don’t waste a damn second.

Aspire to Inspire.

What’s your why?

I think this is an important question for anyone chasing something. The answer can direct you, motivate you and inspire you. So what’s the question?

What’s your why? – Simply means – Why do you do what you do?

That is, assuming you do something specific, or are pursuing something or importance to you.

So what do I do?

A big question with simple answers. I train, for anything and everything, I pursue my dream of inspiring others, becoming as educated as possible in my field as work and having a platform to reach others (a gym, practice and becoming somewhat known).

So for me, the WHY for training seems a little bit more simple, to inspire  – doing all this is what it takes. But of course there is more. Why do I want to inspire?

That’s a little harder. The idea of being called inspirational started back when I was in need of a person like that myself. In my darker days all I wanted was that hand up, a person standing the other side of it all who would be there for me, understand, have the experience and be where I wanted to be so I knew it was possible. I never found what I needed and so I found my own way, slowly and rather painfully. However through my struggle I made a promise to myself. If (and considering how dark things got, I do mean ‘if’) I made it through it all, I would find a way to be there for anyone who was in or would be in a same place as I had been.

Now this wasn’t be saying, ‘I’LL BE A POWERLIFTING, RUNNING BODYBUILDER…THING’. Yeah that was just the road i’ve fallen down. But no matter who I become I stand by that promise. I love that its a sacrifice to commit my life in part to other. Why? Because as far as I’m concerned it’s the greatest thing I could do.

That’s my why, it’s why I will surrender friendships, embrace suffering and accept the opinions without that hand holding me up.

The point here is what is YOURS? Is your reason going to be enough to keep you going? There is immense commitment needed to pursue our dreams that we never realise before starting and you will turn back to that ‘why’ time and time again (trust me on that). Your ‘why’ MUST withstand time, doubts, failure and fear.

Aspire to inspire.

Cellulite.

To learn how to get rid of it, I feel it’s important to firstly understand what it is (beyond the displeasing aesthetic image). Cellulite is nothing more than fat beneath the skin, however; the fat grows in an “uneven” manner, which presses against your skin (creating that dimple effect). Cellulite is frustrating in the fact that it usually only appears in certain areas. For example, the areas of your body that aren’t affected by cellulite still have fat, however the fat grows in a “flat even” manner (as opposed to uneven bumps). Scientists believe that a genetic disposition determines where these areas are, this being said, you absolutely can still control your cellulite by mediating the amount of fat that presses against your skin.

Hopefully you know by now, you cannot simply target an area of fat. Performing Hamstring curls will not target your fat burning processes to the area above your hamstring (negate the location specific pain correlated with the curl). So what this means, is that to get rid of your cellulite, is to practice a disciplined approach to everything that entitles fat loss. The question is not how to get rid of cellulite, but how to minimize fat tissue is general (which could never be summed up in a single post).

Note: There are some other hypothesis regarding the inflammation of white blood cells & their correlation to cellulite though I’ve chosen to ignore it for my post (due to weak support).

 Aspire to inspire. 

I am here.

NO IT’S NOT FITNESS. Just so you don’t close it right away. Anyway, moving forwards.

If you came to a 7 foot wall, what would your first thought be? A way around it I’m sure. But that isn’t an option. So option two, you look for a hand up. Nobody there. At least for now. So lets assume by some miracle, gruelling effort and personal strength you make it over the wall after god knows how long, what’s next? Most people say if you are good at something never do it for free. Well in some circumstance that would be true, but to me, if you are good at something, you have an obligation to help others with that experience. 

Getting over that wall is my experience, therefore I believe I have an obligation to others to help get them over it. 

NO IT IS NOT AN ACTUAL WALL.

We all face obstacles in life, some more extreme than others, higher walls as it were. So sometimes we need a leg up, or at least somebody behind us if we fall. 

I came across my own obstacles which I am unafraid to share, plenty of them in fact. If you are reading this you are either one of my subscribers (so much love to all of you) or you are one of my Facebook friends (assuming I had the balls to share this, so be kind). It’ll be very easy to laugh me off and frankly that is fine by me, I am not here for approval.

I am here as that leg up, or just a voice to guide or an ear to vent. Everything I went through I wished I had that hand up, it was one of two times in my life I prayed. Sadly I never got it. Without that I found my own way over the wall and I promised myself no matter what, if I came across the chance to help anyone else in any situation I would take it.

So whatever you are coming across, no matter how well you know me, all I am saying is: 

I am here. 

 

Aspire to Inspire. 

Dieting: A Rant.

You ever go out with a bunch of people for dinner when you’re dieting? Isn’t that a fucked up situation? Let’s say you’re at a table with seven people and everyone’s ordering their food. You’re at the end so you’re ordering last. They’re getting ribs, chicken strips, spaghetti, and whatever. No one in the group cares what they’re ordering. The conversation stays the same. Then it comes to you and your first question is, “How do you prepare your chicken breasts?”

People start looking at you.

Then you order two plain chicken breasts with a side of broccoli with no butter or seasoning. The waiter writes it down and off he goes to the kitchen. Now everyone’s looking at you like you’re a freak. They didn’t care that your other friend was eating ribs. They didn’t say shit when the guy ordered his chicken strips. So how is your meal selection any different?

It blows my mind. If you ordered something that was complete shit, no one would say anything. But because you ordered something to help you achieve a goal, it’s a problem. And now for the next ten minutes you’re having that stupid fucking conversation.

“It’s so easy for you to lose weight,” they say. “I can’t do it.”

And you’re thinking, really? Here I am at a Steakhouse ordering two plain chicken breasts and broccoli — which is gonna cost me 20 quid by the way — and it’s easy? This is something I want to do? You think I want to sit here and watch you fuckers eat wings and ribs? I’m here for your company, not to give you dieting tips you’re not gonna listen to.

Rant over. 

Aspire to Inspire.

Which Wolf Are You Feeding.

“My child, there are two wolves inside of every man, battling one another every day. One wolf is evil. He is weakness, inferiority, ego, laziness, and entitlement. The other is good. He is strength, hard work, self-reliance, and humility.”

The boy thought about this for a long while, then asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?”

The old man replied, “The one you feed.”

I stumbled apon this only an hour ago but it seems to have struck a cord. Your level of success is largely derived from how you view the world. Your brain can be rewired to focus on certain patterns. In one study, people who played the old video game Tetris for hours began to see interlocking blocks in all aspects of their life, from brick walls to cityscapes. They’d encoded that pattern in their minds through the repetition of the game. Crazy right? but comprehensible. So this was known as the Tetris Effect. 

This can happen with anything in life we focus on. If our job involves looking for mistakes, then it’s hard to break that habit when we get home. Not good, because we begin focusing on negatives and overlooking the good stuff.

The good news is that you can engrain productive, positive patterns as well. Learn to look for the good and you will see more good, including opportunities for improvement. (As a side effect, you won’t be such a bitter douche anymore.)

With our lifting and physique goals, the Tetris Effect can be very powerful. Are you scanning the world for excuses or opportunities? Are you looking to rationalize behaviors that hold you back (“I can’t squat,” “I deserve a cheat meal”) or are you looking for ways to improve your diet and training? Both can become habits. One will accelerate your progress; one will hold you back.

What is your engrained “go-to” response to a challenge? Do you automatically look for ways to overcome it? Or do you automatically fall back on looking for an excuse for why you can’t meet that challenge?

I like to think that most serious lifters do the former. We understand that on the other side of every challenge is an opportunity. We learned that in the gym and we apply it to “real life” as well. You probably know people who go the other direction. And you probably think they’re kinda pathetic and annoying. (This is probably because they’re kinda pathetic and annoying, so don’t feel bad.)

Remember, because of the Tetris Effect, the things you focus on will begin to engrain themselves in your mind, changing behaviors, actions, and even your general outlook. Are you wiring yourself to see opportunities for improvement? Or are you programming yourself to find excuses?

In other words, which wolf are you feeding?

 

 

Aspire To Inspire. 

Travel Basics.

A list I found from when I did my first trip across the world. Simple, effective and damn right important. 
1. TORCH
Don’t be that person who returns to the room late at night and switches the main lights on; use a torch to make… your… way… quietly. I recommend the humble head torch. 
2. WET WIPES
They may seem a bit middle-aged woman with a handbag, but trust me — when you’re travelling, wet wipes are a gift. Use them to clean up scrapes and scratches, mop dust of your flip flops, wipe the sweat off your face (nice), freshen-up if you can’t have a shower (double nice)… the list goes on! 
3. DUCT TAPE
Use it to patch up any tears in your backpack! Secure your mosquito net with it! Repairing shoes – trust me I’ve seen it done. The point I’m trying to make is: duct tape is really very useful. Take some with you. 
4. CAMERA
Not only will your memories be preserved forever, you know you’re just dying to be that person on Facebook who makes everyone jealous with their travel pics. 
5. MONEY
Unfortunately, you can’t go travelling without having a bit of money. But instead of carrying loads of cash around with you, stick it on a Travel Cashcard. It works like a credit or debit card, but you preload your money on there, and there’ll be no getting into debt because you can only spend what you have. Genius! It can also be topped up by anyone (hi mum), anywhere, and you can also use it withdraw cash, so you don’t need to exchange currency.
6. CONDOMS
Young, free, single and — Anyway – promoting safe sex; so pack some quality condoms. You don’t want to be bringing any unwanted presents home with you, if you get my drift.
7. PASSPORT
You won’t get very far without your passport, but before you pack it, remember to check that it isn’t about to expire! Lots of countries — including backpacker havens Australia, Thailand and Malaysia — won’t let you in if your passport expires within 6 months of your arrival date. It’s also worth packing a photocopy of your passport, and other important docs. Email a copy of these to yourself so you always have them. Remember to check whether you need a visa to get into the country you’re travelling to.
8. DISCOUNT CARDS
Are you either a student, under 26 or a teacher? Lucky you! You’re eligible for a discount card that you can use all around the world on up to 40,000 discounts; including things like eating out, guidebooks, and getting around. It’s also worth grabbing a YHA card to save you money at all Youth Hostel Association hostels around the world.
9. DRUGS
No, not those kind of drugs though….– I’m talking about the medicinal kind! First up, we have paracetamol. Worth taking a stash with you, since your familiar brand is not always available abroad. Secondly, we have Tiger Balm. If you haven’t discovered this yet, now’s the time. It’s amazing for headaches and insect bites, and you can also slap some on your aching muscles. It’s widely available in Asia, so you can even pick some up on your travels. Thirdly, pack some diarrhoea medication. It’s likely that you will eat something… that, err… .
10. BABY POWDER
Baby powder… can be used from stopping your bag from rubbing, to soothing your skin, to keeping your hair clean, to stopping your shoes from rubbing… the list is endless! I don’t think I need to add anything to that.
11. SLEEPING BAG LINER
If you’re travelling on a budget, a sleeping bag liner is a must. It’s essentially a cosy thin sleeping bag, and it’ll protect you from any bed bugs that might be lurking in the slightly more questionable places you stay. Pop one in your backpack, and get a good night’s sleep instead of worrying about the state of the sheets. 
12. SIM CARD
Stay in contact with family and friends back home. Get aglobal SIM card and save big on international calls, texts and data use. Get coverage in 180 countries worldwide, free incoming calls in more than 70 countries and free Facebook notifications. Drop into store and grab one quick before you leave, or apply online. A global SIM is also a lifesaver (or at least a phone bill saver) when you want to contact friends you make on your travels about where to meet up with them later.
13. EAR PLUGS
Whoever invented ear plugs has definitely spent their fair share of time sleeping in dorm rooms. These nuggets of genius are pretty much essential if you want a good night’s sleep in a hostel. They’re also handy for sleeper trains and buses.
14. MOSQUITO REPELLENT AND MOSQUITO NET
No one likes to itch, and no one likes to be covered in bright red splotches. Even if you’re one of those really annoying people who never seems to get bitten (I hate you), it’s worth spraying on some mossie repellent and investing in a net, particularly in Malaria zones.
15. NOTEBOOK AND PENS
I guarantee that despite your good intentions to start a blog, by the time you get round to typing it up, you’ll have forgotten loads. Nothing beats lying on an isolated beach with a notebook in your hand, writing about your latest travel adventures and capturing how you’re feeling. It would be a shame if all those amazing things will be forgotten… and you can’t capture every experience in pictures or remember every detail forever. so I write them down!
16. TRAVEL INSURANCE
OK it’s boring, and yes, I sound like your mum, but it’s so, so important — not least because you can’t get it once you’ve left! Don’t let getting your iPod nicked or having to fork out for medical treatment ruin your trip. You can buy insurance from only 35p day – especially designed with the young and adventurous traveller in mind. Get covered for over 100 adventure sports and adrenalin activities free of charge.
17. IPOD/IPHONE
Or a similar smartphone with music-listening capabilities. Travelling without music on long bus journeys is no fun; plus, the songs you listen to will forever remind you of your travels. Plus, you can use your smartphone to access wifi. Google maps was invaluable whilst I was away. Before moving to a new town I would load the map area so when I arrived I could never get too lost! Especially useful when arriving somewhere late at night. Just remember to turn data roaming off, or risk being landed with a massive phone bill.
18. PADLOCKS
Take a couple of padlocks. They’ll keep your backpack secure, and you can also use them on lockers in some hostels.
19. TOILET ROLL
Stick some loo roll in your bag, particularly if you’re travelling around Latin America or Asia, where the public toilets may be notably void of hallowed roll. On a toilet-related note; start practising your crouching skills, as the public loos will probably be lacking in seats – squat toilets, anyone? You’ll soon get used to them.
20. SCARF
No, not the woolly winter kind; I’m talking about a nice big lightweight scarf – ladies call them pashminas. Gents, why not try a keffiyeh, or a less-politically-controversial-but-still-manly equivalent. Not only will a scarf keep you warm if the evenings get chilly, it can also double up as a beach blanket, and protect you against subzero air conditioning on a bus or train journey.
21. VISAS!
Make sure you’ve got your visas fixed up, or you’ll be waiting a long, long, long time at the border. If you have fewer than five days to go, no drama, that’s just about time to visit your local store and submit a fast-track visa service, for any entrance visa.
Aspire to Inspire.