Gym Bitches

talking

Following on from my post about fearing the gym, I thought I would share this story of when I did experience the thoughts of sheep.

I had recently finished a graduate placement – because of the recession the market for jobs in the sector I was looking for had dried up.

I had put on weight as I focused all my time making the best impact in my graduate placement, hoping that they would decide to keep me.  As that never happened I was penniless, out-of-shape and feeling low. Continue reading

Race Day Mistakes

From my experience of racing (i.e. running and obstacle races) I have noted a number of mistakes.  Because I am not perfect, I have even done a few myself:

Drinking the night before

drunkrun

This might seem an obvious mistake, but at nearly every obstacle race I have seen someone do this.

I find this surprising because if you read the philosophy of races such as the Spartan race, you would understand that they pride themselves on being self-disciplined, making lifestyle change and maintaining a regular fitness routine.

So I was shocked from seeing and talking to a number of racers who had been out drinking the night before.

There were a number of stag do’s who were treating it as something to complement a boozy night.  Some were even having a pre-race smoke!

These people struggle, coughing up a lung near the back of the wave – the only exception I have seen to this rule was a 6ft 4 marine who had been drinking to the early hours of the morning.  The last I saw of him was storming up the rope climb.  Most do not have the endurance for punishment that a marine has though!

 

Changing diet before race day

extremediet

During a 10k warm-up I overheard the complaints of a girl who felt sick during the pre-race warm up.

Her mistake?  She had eaten porridge before race-day, despite never having this normally.  Either she got her portion sizes wrong or the blandness of porridge disagreed with her (even I add a bit of syrup to help it go down).

I would say stick to your normal diet or make changes weeks or months before a race so you get used to exercising with something else in your system.

This includes supplements – quite often on a race day people will try things they don’t normally have such as energy gels.  There is nothing worse than something that leaves a foul taste in the mouth, feeling thirsty or worse of all causes diarrhea because you don’t know the side effects on your own body!

Quite often races will have sponsors who gives out free samples – I recommend sticking to your own tried and tested supplements and trying the free samples another day!

 

Over Exercising

overexercise

A week before any race I always take it easier.  I go to the gym and have a few short runs to keep the lungs and limbs a bit loose, but the purpose of this week is not to make any final gains.

I have made the mistake of leaving things till the last minute – so push myself too hard.  This did not cause any last minute improvements, I was just tired on race day.

If you have not achieved your intention (i.e. ran the required distance) it is way too late the week before.  Just keep yourself active and on race day pace yourself and hope for the best.

Drinking Caffenine Energy Drinks

energydrinks

I am a drinker of caffeine energy drinks.  Or at least I was – I have cut down and every so often when I am at work doing my desk job, have one to keep my mind active.

But I have never used them as a fitness aid before a race or workout.  The reason is that energy drinks are full of sugar and only have a short term impact.

Ever had an energy drink and felt that crash where you were even more tired than before you drank the energy drink?  That is that sugar spike wearing off – I would never want to create that sensation in a race.

Another thing with energy drinks is they are very sickly to run with – they are very gassy and cause bloating.  Not what you want before racing – stick to water.

Lack of location preparation

lost

I wrote about a run that I did and I was very unprepared – I only looked at where I was supposed to be going the night before (and didn’t really study it in detail).  I had no idea the direction I was going in and had not anticipated the poor parking facilities.  This was not very good in keeping my focus on the race and at the end I even lost my car because I forgot where I parked it!

Running the race is hard enough, therefore spend some time looking at the location – what is the best route?  Is there parking?  How much is it?  Are there any other facilities that make life easier (eg lockers?).


These are my race day mistakes?  Are there any other suggestions?

The danger of Fat Acceptance

With my weight gain, it made me realise how it easy to lose control and gain wait.  More worryingly I could neglect this or have an accident that stops my ability to exercise more than I consume.  Fortunately I have that level of control where I think enough is enough and do something about (usually looking at myself in the mirror and noticing I look fatter).

Surprisingly, not everyone shares these concerns about getting fat and the health implications that come with it.  In fact there are movements such as ‘fat acceptance’ and ‘body positive’ – where they embrace this increasingly worrying issue.

To me you should never accept being fat – getting fat is a sign that you have made many bad choices in your life and should take action to correct this.

The Fat Acceptance movement seems to treat themselves as the victims – those who mock them or merely suggest that they should make changes to their lifestyle get abuse – almost like they didn’t get themselves fat, it’s just they happen to catch fat like it was a disease.

They are in a delusional world where they make out that being fat is something that cannot be changed like the colour of someones skin.  They think people who criticise fat people hate them – here is news for you – we don’t!fatacceptance

Love – it’s not just men judging, everyone does!

The dangerous thing with fat acceptance and being body positive is it teaches people to not take personal responsibility and tell themself “I am fine the way I am, it’s everyone else’s problem”

So even for people like myself, writing something like this makes me feel like I am being mean and slightly shallow – but I shouldn’t because what I am saying is doing them a favour – whether it is avoiding diseases, looking and feeling good about themselves, being able to walk down the road without getting out of breath or even the embarrassment of not being able to fit in a plane seat (and note the author of this story blames others…)


There is no reason why you should not be watching what you eat and doing some sort of exercise regime.

Note that I said exercise – I go to the gym, run, cycle, swim, do obstacle races – but no one expects you to be a crazy bastard or maintain the standard of a fitness magazine cover model.

But you should be observing some sort of exercise and healthy eating regime to be a system of your life and that can be playing tennis, gym or just making more effort to walk to places.

It is worrying that there are people in their 20’s already having health problems – my concern is when they get to their 50’s, 60’s, 70’s or 80’s what sort of nightmarish existence they will live (if they get that far).


If you are fat and are trying to lose the weight – well done, I applaud you and respect you for wanting to make your life better.  If you are fat and do nothing but sit on your backside doing nothing but writing sardonic comments on Twitter while stuffing down Doritos down your fat gullet, then you really need to take a long look in the mirror and think – do you want a life of ill health, depression and feeling second best?

No thought not.


End Note: it too late to throw in the “I used to be fat, so it’s okay for me to say these things”?

The Song of the Ungirt Runners

If you’re looking for a really good underrated film, look up Clockwork Mice.

It seems impossible to get hold of, the limited copies seem to be extortionately priced.  But if it’s ever on TV, Netflix’s, or whatever other less than legal methods to watch it – if you really like your running films it is worth checking out. Continue reading

The Sacrifice of Alexander Hamilton

Recently I have been reading one of those free kindle books called “The History of the United States” by a gentleman called Cecil Chesterton.

It was published near the beginning of the 20th Century, so it is written in an old fashion way and occasionally you pick up on some views that where popular at the time (His views on the 15th Amendment particularly made me laugh as he would probably be called a misogynist nowadays).

It is quite a long detailed read (I have only read 25% and am only on Andrew Jackson).  But the lead up to Thomas Jefferson being elected as the third present really caught me and it was all to do with his rivalry with Alexander Hamilton – who in the book was described as Jefferson’s enemy.

ham

Alexander Hamilton


Quick Background

During the early days of the American political system to parties of thought where emerging – The Federalists, who wanted a government system similar to the British system with a strong central government of which Alexander Hamilton was part of.

Then there was the Democrat Republican party, which wanted the country to keep with the principals it was founded on as a Republic.

At this time when it came for electing a new president they went through the electoral college there was a tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr – who from Chesteron’s book is spoken of very unfavourabley.

Hamilton himself could not be President because he was not born in the States, but had much influence in the house (as it was mostly dominated by Federalists).

Although Thomas Jefferson was a fierce opponent to Hamilton’s beliefs, he recognised that Burr was the wrong choice – he was dedicate to the rise of his own career and he felt he would not serve the best interests of the country.  So he used his influence among the Federalists to back Jefferson, who won and became the third president and the rest is history.


What’s the lessons learned?

In a world where everyone seems to be out for themselves this account seems to be a lesson in humility, ego and recognising someones abilities (even if their principal beliefs differ).

And this really hit home for me.  Could I do the same as Alexander Hamilton?  Would I endorse someone who maybe talented, but views I disagreed with into a position of power?

Would today’s politicians make the same sacrifice and back someone in an opposing party because their leader is the wrong choice to lead?


So what happened to Alexander Hamilton?

Aaron Burr ran for New York State Governor in 1804 and again Hamilton used his influence to stop him being elected.  As a result Burr challenged Hamilton to duel and killed him.

This caused outrage and Burr was tried for treason as it was felt to be an abuse of the dualing privileged.  He was acquitted – but Burr faded into obscurity.

Hamilton made the ultimate sacrifice with his life based on his principals and as a result is usually thought of in a positive manner in the history books.


Want to Read “The History of the United States” for Free?  Click here

Read a more detailed background on Alexander Hamilton here

 

Blog Resolutions

I have decided to set myself some blog targets – this is purely to encourage consistency and good habits.

Routine

The Manifesto of Perfection will follow on twice a week publishing schedule Wednesday and Sunday, though I may publish additional adhoc content from time-to-time.

Readership

Make efforts to read the blogs of everyone who has liked, commented or followed my blog.  I used to be really good at returning visits – but with time constraints I have really been neglecting this.  My best approach is to find 10 minutes a day and use this to look at other blogs.

Commenting

To only comment if I feel that if it adds value – that can be anything from personal experiences to just saying that I really liked what a blogger wrote.

New blogs

I used to spend a bit more time looking out for new blogs – I don’t do this anymore.  I do like reading the works of others – it helps me improve my craft and sometimes inspires my own writing reading about others experiences.  It is good to add some new blogs to my reading list as other time certain bloggers stop writing – so I see less and less content on the news feed.

Explore new categories

I have kept my categories reasonabley water tight since I started, but the more and more I write I sometimes find it stretches the category.  This is a good thing as it is how my blogging and writing is evolving and growing.  Each day I find myself being tested and have produced more challenging to myself.

Stay tuned!

Fearing the gym

I read a number of blogs about many peoples first experiences with the gym, or from the perspective of someone who has lived a unhealthy lifestyle and is trying to find a new way.

Many of these are the fears they have – that people are looking down on them because of how they look, how quickly they exhaust themselves to others, or their perceived weaknesses.

As a 15 + year gym vet I will let you onto a little secret:

No one cares…

Continue reading

Ninety One Point Four Kilo Grams

Over the winter I had a horrid cold.

It sapped my motivation and drained my ability to keep up with a fitness schedule.  Noramlly when I talk about cutting a fitness schedule, I usually refer to a run – I wasn’t even going to the gym.

Combined with Christmas, New Year, an increase in snacking at work and generally a number of poor dietary decisions, I wasn’t looking forward to weighing myself. Continue reading