I like to challenge myself, find new ways to push myself out of my comfort zone, anyone can do comfortable.

Truth be told I hate running; always have done. That aside I have taken part in numerous obstacle races from 10k to 20 miles with up to 200 obstacles. Have run up and down Snowdon twice, which is 23 miles if I remember correctly and swum through freezing cold water at the bottom to add insult to injury.

Why do something you hate?

It’s all about the challenge, the fun in taking part and the friendships you make along the way.

The last four years I have taken part in Superhuman Games a mix of strength and endurance which pushes you way outside of your safe zone. At the end of the first one if you had asked me to do it again the answer would have been a flat NO … but one day later I was waiting for the tickets to go on sale and am addicted to it!

This year was different for me. Usually I do the same sex pairs but this year due to circumstances I did the individual events (first time they have been held). So many things were different which once again put me into the unknown;

  • The event was held in a different place
  • I took part as a Individual
  • My wife and daughter turned up (no pressure then)
  • Three members from my bootcamp suddenly appeared having driven two and a half hours to Bristol from Cornwall (still no pressure then?)
  • It was 24 degrees C with no escape from the sun
  • Still recovering from a shoulder injury
  • Went vegan in January so apparently would be weak and feeble with the lack of protein in my diet, after all I only eat lettuce and grass apparently.

So the variables all changed, did I survive, did I finish and achieve what I set out to do? Damn right I did.

 

It’s about the challenge, the challenge to see if I can overcome whatever is thrown my way. If my body can beat my brain when that oh so negative voice kicks in and says what are you playing at? You’re too old, too weak, not good enough.

Fuck you and your BS, I can and I will. Don’t want to be on the podium just want to know I can and have fun along the way.

Roll on next summer’s games and hopefully if I can pull a team together this winter too.

Bring it on, if I can so can you.

Remember I am here for you, if you want to do an event I will get you there as long as you are not scared of hard work.

We all know that nothing in life is free. There is always a cost and I don’t mean the money.

If you want to reach your goals you have to make sacrifices; you may have to give things up and work your butt off. Yes, I know it is easier for some than others but you cannot and will not get anywhere in life without putting your nose to the grindstone.

Don’t say you want to lose weight, turn up to a few fitness classes and wonder why you aren’t losing anything. Did you change your diet as you were advised too? Have you really been putting all your energy into the session when you turn up? Have you made those little changes we talked about in everyday life?

My guess, is NO?

Why the hell would you? Where is the pleasure in eating fresh fruit and veggies, lean protein and healthy fats? Why walk when you can drive? Why drink water when you can down a sugar filled fizzy drink?

God forbid you give up the fast food crap, booze, fags, the processed crisps, biscuits etc. etc. After all, life is too short – right?

However, think forward – carry on the way you are and you will not have to worry. You are what you eat after all.

Think what it must be like to enjoy those fat congested arteries with the possibility of a stroke or heart attack? Or having Type 2 diabetes and the list goes on. Am I scare mongering? No. Just saying it as it is. Your life, your choice.

You know the saying you can’t out train a poor diet. Listen to it, understand it and make small but positive changes to your diet. Be the person you want to be.

If you want to be fit, then turn up and put the work in. If you are new, injured or finding things difficult because you’re not feeling 100% all good trainers will adapt exercises for you … but turn up, dig deep and give it a go.

Spare a thought for your workout buddies: do they want to hear you constantly moaning?  Or would they rather have a positive ‘can do’ attitude alongside helping them to achieve more too? Try to train positive – it will help you focus and work harder plus it will be a lot nicer for your training partners.

You have to take it outside your comfort zone. So that means start easy, then change it up a gear. It’s all about progression; you can do it, just turn off that negative voice in your head.

How can you be a better version of you without working for it?

Be consistent: train on the days you say you are going to.

Turn up and give it 100% work.

Try and work it up to the next level, push a little bit harder.

Change that diet; no one said you can’t earn a treat meal or slice of cake. Try and pick the least processed version, or make your own, there are plenty of great cook books out there.

Walk to the shops or work when you can. Use the stairs not the lift or escalator.

Get up and move from the sofa or your desk, you can always slip in a sneaky exercise, a few squats or press ups.

Make the effort, stop with the moaning and excuses. Adopt a Positive Mental Attitude.

Be a better version of you.

New season timetable now available if you need an incentive to make a commitment to change! Or give me a ring to discuss your needs.

We all know that when you are following a strict exercise and eating plan it can get hard. There are times you want to skip the training session or fall off plan and eat that cake or chocolate bar.

To make a healthy lifestyle sustainable you have to see food differently: food is fuel, it heals, it supports the vital organs and systems within the body, and it keeps you functioning to the max. It cannot function well when you feed it crap. Therefore you need to learn to listen to your body; what your body desires to keep it fuelled and running efficiently.

How?

You have to become mindful of what you are putting inside your body by tracking your daily food and liquid intake.

  • Write down each meal you eat, what was in it, when you ate it, were you hungry/ full both before and after you ate?
  • Did you have any feelings beforehand e.g. did you have a headache, an energy dip or spike, bloated stomach or feeling tired etc.
  • Do this for a week; no two days are ever the same.
  • Take note of any anomalies, if you had headaches when were they? How were your energy levels at certain points in the day?
  • Make sure you track your fluid intake too, this can have a huge impact on eating habits and body functions.

Once you have reviewed the diary then look at what you want to change.  Make a list of short term goals (set 3-4 specific and easily attainable targets you can do over the space of a month). Start off small to reach your main goal.

Food tracking will increase your awareness of the foods you eat. Increasing this awareness will make you view food differently thus enabling you to enjoy and sustain a healthy lifestyle.

Of course we all deserve a little treat now and again but try not to always base it around food. Does it really have to be a sweet treat?

Why not lose those pounds, turn around the unhealthy eating habits, turn up for your PT session or your fitness class and then reward yourself with something non-food that will make you feel good? Treat yourself to a new outfit, a hair cut, try a new activity or a weekend spa break with your loved one or friends, anything but the greasy burger and fries or the sugary dessert.

If you would like more detailed guidance we have a range of programmes which could help you achieve your goals. See www.PaulCollinsFitness.co.uk for further information.Paul Collins Fitness superfood salad at Mordros Bude

What is Tai Chi (Taiji, Tai Chi Chuan or Tai Ji Quan) and why do it?

 It is often described as moving meditation due to the sequence of movements (both graceful and flowing) combined with deep breathing exercises which encourage both relaxation and inner peace.

As the form is performed chi or internal energy is stimulated throughout the body which is thought to improve health and longevity.

That said it is also a very effective martial art, which through its slow practice makes for a peaceful and non-aggressive methodology towards learning the art of ceasing, controlling and breaking your enemy.

Although there are several styles of Tai Chi they all seem to emanate from the roots of Taoist philosophies which some believe is translated through the movements themselves.

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 The above is one of my favourite quotes from the Dao de Ching and holds so true in my daily training as well as everyday life. Without taking that first step we will never reach our end destination.

For me Tai Chi is a daily journey of self-discipline, self-realisation and self-understanding. Like the movements of Tai Chi, once you set off on the path, there are no beginnings or ends it is a perpetual motion.

I make no secret of the fact that I suffer from depression on a frequent basis and that being physical is my way of coping. Those that know me are well aware that I like to throw the weights around but that can do more harm to my mental state at times and this is where Tai Chi plays its hand. The movement is soft, gentle, healing and at the same time grounding. But to really reap the benefits it must be practiced daily (understand no two days are ever the same).

If for any reason I end up missing a session of self-practice my mental health can suffer quite dramatically, upsetting my balance.

While the world around me turns to chaos one certainty is the peace of mind I will find through training.

The bottom line is that Tai Chi is a mind and body exercise encompassing martial arts and meditation. With its flowing movement and postures it promotes

  • awareness of the mind
  • breath
  • balance
  • coordination
  • relaxation
  • health
  • mind, body and spirt
  • flexibility

These are just a few of its benefits. Studies have shown the potential for Tai Chi as an aid for fighting depression and anxiety amongst other illnesses.  

Tai Chi may help reduce stress, anxiety and depression

Wang and her colleagues found that practicing Tai Chi was associated with reduced stress, anxiety, depression and mood disturbance, and increased self-esteem.

http://www.biomedcentral.com/search?query=tai+chi&searchType=publisherSearch    

http://www.news-medical.net/news/20100521/Tai-Chi-may-help-reduce-stress-anxiety-and-depression.aspx

Conclusion

Tai Chi is a gentle martial art form that promotes both mental and physical wellbeing. Daily practice alongside Qi Gung can have a profound effect on how you live your daily life, the way in which you move, and how you cope with demanding situations. Your outlook on life will change for the better but only through diligent daily practice.

Be kind and gentle to yourself and the world around you

If you want to know more about Tai Chi and take part in a session the contact www.PaulCollinsFitness.co.uk

 

Why do you do what you do?

What is your driving force, what makes you get out of bed each day?

What makes you turn up to the gym or your fitness session?

For some it is the usual new year let’s get it on and lose those extra pounds put on over the Christmas period. Others see it as a way to meet and socialise and perhaps are not really very interested in the benefits of exercise at all.

Then there are those that want to be a better person than they were before they walked into their session. If you want to get results then you got to get your ass in gear and sweat some; just turning up and going through the motions will give you nothing. Turn up with the right mind-set and the attitude of a winner and you are on the right path to achieving something good for yourself.

Remember though you have to better yourself each and every day. We can all be brilliant for one day but what about holding that thought and pushing it forward every day. Make each day better than yesterday; you can achieve anything you want so long as you are prepared to put in the hard graft.

  • Find a real sense of purpose,
  • Find the drive and enthusiasm to take you to the top of your game
  • Do not fear stepping outside your comfortable safe zone.

You see it so many times, people just going through the motions but achieving nothing.

You want to achieve? You want to win? Then set the target and work for it like your life depends on it.

That new body shape you desire won’t happen on its own – you have to earn it, sweat it out; you have to give up on some of life’s little pleasures. Now I am not saying you have to become a saint but you do need to live your life differently, eat natural wholesome foods, cut the crap from your life and yes your body may ache a little as you begin to tone and shape your torso.

It’s not just food and training that has to change, if you are going to train hard then you need to love your body some more; treat it with respect, stretch it out, roll it and rest it.

Sleep is just as important as training and clean eating, if not more so;

  • The average adult needs 7.5-9 hours’ sleep each night
  • The body goes through a detox process during the night; the brain begins to flush metabolic waste
  • Muscles begin to repair, etc.

For me I know that each day I must perform better than I did yesterday, no two days are the same, each day providing a new challenge, a new problem to get your head around.

Each time I step into my gym I know that session has to be taken to the next level, if it stays the same as yesterday then I have achieved nothing, my body just says oh that’s right we did this already and just goes with the flow. If I whack the weight a little higher or change up the tempo then I shock the body and it has to better itself it has to work it out and adapt to what I throw at it. I come out of that session feeling like I owned it. My goal is to own every session I do. Each session makes me stronger both physically and mentally giving me the edge on everyday life.

Take each task you do with the mind set of being your best and some and you will get the result you want. Just go through the motions then you may as well sit at home and sit that lazy ass on the sofa while you watch banal TV shows whilst feeding yourself the latest TV dinner packed with chemicals, sugar and salt!

  • Set targets, short term, medium, and the big one
  • Earn yourself a treat on the way (a smaller dress or pair of jeans)
  • Push yourself outside your comfort zone, stop playing safe
  • Work your ass off, get sweaty and feel the burn
  • Aim high
  • Believe in yourself
  • Always be better than you were yesterday, except nothing less.

At www.PaulCollinsFitness.co.uk we aim to make you a better version of you, helping you get fitter, stronger and happier.

Sometimes your best just isn’t enough