Parent Fit – Part One

Is it possible to stay healthy when your world is turned upside down?

When children arrive, all your health goals go out of the window right…?

In February of this year, my wife gave birth to our first child, a beautiful young girl named Lily. If you’ve ever had children, you’ll understand the emotions that come from nowhere when you hold your child for the first time. Everything changes, forever.

The plethora of advice

When it comes to people willing to give advice on a subject, I thought the diet industry was the most prolific. But it’s got nothing on the baby industry! As you may have experienced, from the moment your wife is pregnant, advice flows in from all angles and I must admit, as a complete novice in the area of raising human beings, it all sounded good.

What I’m not such a fan of however, is what usually comes with the advice, the ‘matter of fact’, or ‘world view statements’ such as ‘well that’s the end of you training 3 times a week’ or ‘healthy eating goes out the window with a baby’ or ‘putting weight on is natural when you have kids’.

I understand that many people have good intentions when they say these things, and are often just making polite conversation (the things we say to make small talk is a topic for a whole other day!) People rarely however realise the power of their words. We are a result of our beliefs and core values, and often these can come about merely because they are everyone else’s beliefs and core values.

Have you ever noticed yourself picking up small habits or sayings from the people you hang around the most? Another example is that many people’s weight will actually fluctuate to match the average of the people they hang around the most. These days, the weight usually goes up, and it is justified with world view statements said within the group like ‘well, it’s natural when you get older’.

So shall we just shun everyone and go live on a deserted island with our family? Absolutely not. We are designed to need each other and work together. What I’m suggesting, is we must be careful not to fulfill our need to fit in by taking on other peoples negativity.

Why am I saying this?

Please read this in context, raising children is of course a great challenge and does change everything (at the time of writing this my daughter is only a few months old, so many of you are way ahead of me). You realise how selfish you were and how much time you actually had to spend alone with your wife or give to hobbies.

But I cannot accept that having a child automatically meant you had to sacrifice your health.

So I thought I’d put together a compilation of observations and ideas I’ve had so far, that support a healthy lifestyle whilst raising children.

We’ll kick on with this next week. Until then, I’d like you to question the situations in your life you’d like to change, but you are accepting them because ‘that’s the way they are’. Sometimes we don’t even realise we’re doing this. Hopefully this will be far more than just a guide, it will encourage you to challenge the way you do things for the better.

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The Wheel of Health: Part Two

The Wheel of Health: What it is and how it can change everything! Part 2

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Have you ever noticed that you can get really good in one area yet you let the others slip? Or you get great results for so long and then you plateau but you can’t think why? The wheel of health can help…

As we talked about last week, the wheel of health is a spider diagram allowing you to mark yourself out of 10 in several areas that affect your health. Why does this help? Many times, when people are trying to improve their health, they do very well with their exercise but after a while the improvements plateau. This can be very frustrating, especially when you feel like you’re doing ‘everything’.

What this tool can do is give ideas on how to break through the plateau, e.g. your exercise is going very well (you give yourself 8/10), but your sleep could be terrible (2/10). So improving the quantity and quality of your sleep could be the next challenge you take on.

But what is 10/10 sleep??

Marking yourself out of 10 in each of the categories is not an exact science, so please don’t worry about ‘doing it wrong’. It is more to help you get a rough picture of where you are in your journey today and everyone will be different. For example, if David Beckham exercises 3 times in a week he may only give himself a 3/10, but for someone just starting out that could be a 9/10.

Everyone will be radically different, but to help you get started, here are some generalised guidelines for each category. Working towards the following would help improve your scores (and therefore results) in each area:

Sleep: Getting 8-10hrs/night (the earlier the better), having your room as dark as possible with no electric devices on (this crucial category is often neglected but can turbo charge your health and fat loss goals) and how you feel in the morning are good indicators here.

Attitude: This can be a very difficult one to quantify, but one useful way to monitor this is by using a journal and asking friends. See how often you are using negative comments about yourself or situations and how you react to stressful situations.

Water: Any increase in this area is a good one. But as a general guideline you can use the formula Bodyweight (KG) x 0.033 to find a top target (in litres) to aim for.

Breathing: How often are you breathing with your diaphragm? The more the better, read here to learn all about it http://www.alphapw.com/is-this-the-worlds-most-valuable-substance-and-its-free/

Food: You can either mark your food intake as one column or break it up into meals. Whichever suits you best. The obvious markers of reducing processed foods, sugar and increasing colourful vegetables are ways to increase your score here.

Movement: This is deliberately called movement not exercise, as often times a good walk is as beneficial as a gym session. Increasing how much you move is one way to increase your score but a big positive is learning what movement makes you as an individual feel better!

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The Wheel of Health: Part 1

The Wheel of Health: What it is and how it can change everything! Part 1

Have you ever noticed that you can get really good in one area yet you let the others slip? Or you get great results for so long and then you plateau but you can’t think why? The wheel of health can help…

If you’ve read enough of our articles or worked with us at any time, the chances are you would have come across the wheel of health at some point (by the way, if you can come up with a catchier name for it please let us know!)

The wheel of health is a very simple yet powerful tool you can use, firstly to assess where you are in regards to your health goals and secondly to track your progress.

Why do I need to assess and track progress?

Paul Chek says “if you’re not assessing you’re guessing”. Whenever you plan a journey with your GPS you need to put in two things: your start point and where you want to end up (get ready for a couple more cracking quotes):

“You can row as hard as you like, but it doesn’t matter if the boat is heading in the wrong direction”

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there”

Love a good quote.

It sounds silly with the GPS example, but it’s very true and it’s the same with your health, without knowing where you are or where you’re going you’ll waste a huge amount of effort and probably won’t get to where you want to go.

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The wheel of health is a spider diagram allowing you to mark yourself out of 10 in several areas that affect your health. Why does this help? Many times, when people are trying to improve their health, they do very well with their exercise but after a while the improvements plateau. This can be very frustrating, especially when you feel like you’re doing ‘everything’.

What this tool can do is give ideas on how to break through the plateau, e.g. your exercise is going very well (you give yourself 8/10), but your sleep could be terrible (2/10). So improving the quantity and quality of your sleep could be the next challenge you take on.

But what is 10/10 sleep??

As you can imagine we cannot cover all aspects of using this tool in today’s article. So next week we’ll go through how you can mark yourself in each category, hopefully giving a clearer picture of where you are and what things you could work on that will really take your health to the next level. Have a great week.

 

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The low-tech diet

The low-tech diet

Here’s how a 6 week experiment without a phone taught me how to have more energy and better health…But don’t worry, you don’t have to give up your phone!

There are a few constants in this world, things we can do very little to change. The development and increase in use of technology definitely seems one of them. Another area that seems common to many is the desire to look and feel healthier.

The desire to look and feel better has been around as long as there have been girls and boys on the same planet. Modern technology however is a more recent thing. This technology has brought about fantastic ways to benefit our health. We can now access top class coaching through YouTube, we can monitor our diet and track our training like never before. But:

Are there any downsides to the new ‘high tech health age’?

One of the top requests I hear from people is they want more energy. If I went into all the reasons why someone is often feeling tired we could be here a very long time. One major reason we will discuss is the body taking on more stress than it can handle.

System overload

Your body cannot tell the difference between the stress you feel from a large electricity bill that’s just come through the door and the stress your body feels from a lack of sleep, it’s all the same to the body, it all gets poured into the same ‘stress jug’. Your body is such an amazing design that it can handle a lot of stress, but as you can imagine the system can get overwhelmed and break down.

What does this have to do with technology?

With all the technology we have now people can get hold of us anywhere, anytime. This is great, in an emergency, not when your friend has just updated their facebook status telling the world they had lasagne for lunch. A crazy mindset has developed that says it’s ok for people to contact us 24/7, and even crazier, there is now a sense that a reply to any alert must be made NOW!

This causes your body to always be ‘on alert’ and causes a constant stream of small stressors to the body, eventually overwhelming the system. It was for this reason, that when my phone broke, I thought it could be worth going without it for a few weeks and see what happens. I found that the world DID NOT fall apart. In actual fact, people did less last minute schedule changing and stuck to their original appointments. The feeling of reduced stress and not being tied to a gadget felt very freeing and like a weight was lifted off my shoulders (giving a lot more energy). What can we learn from this?

  • Modern gadgets are extremely useful and many people are highly attached to them so please don’t think I’m telling you to give them up. What I have found useful though is for you to be in control of it not it in control of you. Setting time slots to go online will make you far more efficient (and your relationships will improve as well!)

I challenge you to have a ‘reduced tech’ 2 weeks and see how you feel!

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Restoration First

The KEY that’s even more important than weight loss… believe it or not!

What’s the one thing that many experts believe to be the top priority when we think about improving our bodies?

When we look to improve our bodies, many of us will go straight for the jugular and target fat loss (or muscle size, strength etc.) straight away.  Is this wrong? It doesn’t have to be, but I do believe we need to be careful. Why? Let’s use my relationship with my wife to demonstrate (obviously… 😉

If my wife and I have a disagreement and both of us are totally focussed on convincing the other that ‘we are right and you are wrong’, you can imagine that it would not get resolved quickly. If anything, the disagreement would probably escalate into a bigger argument where we are both stubbornly standing our ground and will definitely not concede. At this point resolution seems impossible!  Ever been there?!

To continue and grow in the relationship RESTORATION must be the goal, not who’s right and who’s wrong. The same must apply for our bodies.

We put our bodies through some amazingly tough challenges; Years of working, lack of sleep, toxin consumption, travelling, not fuelling or moving it properly, the list goes on. The fact that our bodies are so amazingly designed can actually lull us into a false sense of invincibility as the symptoms of our lifestyles may not show up for years.

If you buy a house that needs work doing to it and you just give it a lick of paint, it may look pretty good for a while but the underlying problems will soon rear their head! This is why, when we look to improve our bodies, we probably need to do a bit more restorative work than we think. So the primary goal must be restoration of health.

But I wanna lose weight?

Aiming to lose excess weight is a very good thing, but as mentioned above, health must be a priority otherwise any weight you lose will quickly return…! When we aim at restoring health, it may take a little longer, but the results will be more than you could ever expect, and weight loss will come as a nice side effect.

So how do I ‘restore my health’? Here are some quick tips

  • Resolve and release yourself from any emotional/relationship/unforgiveness issues straight away. These ruin your health and are not worth a second of your time.
  • Look at your schedule and assess whether you are getting enough quality rest e.g. do you have enough sleep, time to eat good food, water or relaxation time without email/work/stressful or distracting situations?
  • Get a professional to assess how you move. Going straight into high intensity exercises is not always the best idea. Learning how to mobilise stiff joints and move correctly can increase the amount of energy you have dramatically

 

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Finally we’re allowed to be childish! – Part 3

How taking tips from children’s movement, creativity and sense of play can help you get to your targets a whole lot quicker.

In this series we’ve been looking at the physical benefits of becoming completely childish again! In other words, how re-teaching our bodies some of the movements we find difficult (and that children can do without thinking about) can ease pain, help us lose weight and generally feel a lot more energised.

Now these movements don’t only have physical benefits

Western culture is very logical and analytical, which is predominantly orchestrated by the left side of our brain (this is a huge generalisation so please forgive me for chopping down a massive topic into 400words). This means our creative right side doesn’t get accessed as often.

If you use the right side of your brain more, your body becomes a lot more integrated. What does this mean? A body that is more integrated taps into stores of energy you never knew existed, allowing you to achieve more of your potential than you ever thought possible. It’s a bit like only being able to use half the throttle on a motorbike, then suddenly having access to the whole thing.

How will this make me feel better?

As all of us were ‘created’ you by nature are ‘creative’. So no matter what your teacher said at school you have a creative side. And if this creative side is suppressed, and it is commonly in our society by things like the education system and the workplace, you will not be able to vent your emotions properly, and just like a balloon that keeps filling with air without a vent, it will eventually pop. Lo and behold, things like depression, stimulant addiction, self-image issues are rife.

Going back to our topic, this is why I am so passionate about this subject. It is because learning to move like we used to, play, create etc can release a creativity in you that will improve your mood, energy, body shape so much you won’t know what to do with it.

So how do we do this?

This is actually a very good question, because for many of us, if we are not told what to do, we freak out! So today I’m going to really challenge you: I want you to pick two points in an open space and move between those two points with whatever movements you want. It could be rolling, crawling, jumping, dancing, twisting, walking on your toes, anything! I’ll warn you now, at first you won’t have a clue what to do and feel really stupid. But don’t care less what anyone thinks, this will take you to a level of physical and emotional health you’ve never known.

I’d love you to have a go at it, have a great week. Adam

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