Some Thoughts…(And A Shameless Plug Of My Book!)

Last June I started the (ahem) wonderful adventure of writing my very first book. It was tough! Even tougher when you have nothing to say for yourself. Although that wasn’t actually the case. I have far too much to say for myself. I just believed that I had nothing in me. Who am I to be writing a book? I am a nobody, I don’t know anything, no one will care what I have to say.

All the self defeating talk that I had gone through for pretty much all of my life. However, I told myself I would just do it regardless and set to work. My plan was to write at least a thousand words a day for the month of June to create the first draft.

Once I realised that I was just repeating myself over and over, not to mention that I wasn’t overawed by what I had created, I knew that I needed to edit it and give it a fair bit of tweaking. Before I knew it, I had re-written most of it. Only this time there was a lot more structure and it just made sense. It actually felt like a book. It may not win me a Nobel Prize but I do believe it will provoke enough thought for today’s entrepreneur in regards to what they want out of life.

Before starting the writing process I was advised to write it for someone in particular. A friend or family member for example but most appropriately, a client. I decided to write it for myself if I am being honest. It is a reminder to me to ensure that I follow the five steps all the time. If anyone else can benefit from my ideas then that is a bonus.

What I didn’t expect from this whole process is what would come as a result of writing a book. The idea of so many more. I feel like I have struct oil and it just keeps pouring out. Last year I started blogging and in all honesty I was just writing for the sake of writing. Now when I write I know it comes from the heart. This makes a huge difference.

My whole ethos is around unlocking human potential. You get an undercurrent of that in my book. I believe that we have infinite wisdom that when we tap into it, the possibilities are endless. And writing this book helped me access more of mine. I don’t claim to be an expert in anything, I don’t claim to know everything. What I do believe, however, is that we are far more capable than we think we are. We just need to get started.

I didn’t realise it at the time but writing this book has been the springboard for greater clarity, greater insight and a more inspired vision for how I want to help to change the world. I have more and more certainty each day that I want to help people achieve their greatness. We are all here to serve a purpose, what is yours?

Writing, for me, has been so very therapeutic. I keep a journal of all my thoughts and ideas and I get as much out of my brain onto paper as I possibly can. By doing so I get even more content, more ideas. I believe that it strengthens the link to my inner wisdom. I highly recommend the experience.

Before writing the book I was told that it is such an incredible feeling to receive a box of them in print for the first time. I didn’t think anything of it to be honest. I lacked the belief that my book would be good enough to warrant that kind of response in me. Oh how wrong I was! It was the most amazing feeling. It was that feeling of self pride that so many people don’t get to experience. This, I believe, needs to change.

We are all amazing creatures. We are all worthy and we are all capable of greatness. When we love who we are for what we are then we are unstoppable. What I have learned from the whole process is that my ideas need to be shared with the world. I have so much to say and I love helping people. Something I never thought I would say because I was always so wrapped up with personal gain.

Everyday I fear less and less any criticism or judgement. Two things that used to paralyse any attempt I wanted to make at starting a business. I don’t claim to have all the answers but I have a lot to share. I am no longer concerned with how they are received. This is not as a result some kind of arrogance now that I am an ‘author’. It is a result self confidence and self assurance that I hadn’t experienced to this degree before. My intentions are good, and that’s all that matters to me.

I no longer feel a need to impress people. This is a feeling that is priceless. I spent so much of my life playing up to people in a ploy to seek approval. No one is perfect. Nor will they ever be. We all have our insecurities. I believe that it is time to embrace them, take ownership of them, love yourself for them and find out what they are teaching you about yourself. That is one step to enlightenment.

Anyway, enough of my ramblings! Go buy my book! ‘Bulletproof Entrepreneur’

Have a great week!

Why Do We Let Fear Control Us?

There are so many people all over the world that battle with addictions. Some can be very serious and others can be perceived as not that serious yet still have a huge effect on someone’s life. Though I have placed a strong emotional attachment to food throughout my years on this planet, my obsessive compulsive behaviour has meant that I went through just as many periods of restricting my eating as I did of bingeing myself into a sugary oblivion.

You could say that I was addicted to extremes? Going from one extreme to another. Riding the emotional rollercoaster they call life. One ‘addiction’ I do have which doesn’t concern me at all is that to Adidas clothing. Hear me out because I am going somewhere with this!

I have just finished training my first client of the day and decided that I fancy going into the Adidas shop to get me some more clobber. Not being open until 9am I pop into the cafe of a large UK retailer to grab some breakfast while I wait. It is first thing in the morning and there appears to be some kind of commotion.

From what I gather there is a health and safety visit from head office and all of a sudden there is this mad panic to ensure that everything is ticking over smoothly and all criteria is being met. All potential issues are wiped out and everything is great.

Or is it…?

I’m not so sure it is if I am being completely honest. Certainly not in the long run. In fact their whole approach to this visit is what is neither healthy or safe. Their procedures might be, their kitchen might be, their food might be. But in my view, not the individuals involved.

Everyone is in a mad dash ensuring that everything is correct. The staff are on eggshells and the thing that inspired me to write this is the fact that the manager involved appears one step away from being on a full blown war path.

I totally understand it. She’s stressed out. She wants everything to be perfect. She doesn’t want to be dragged into a meeting room to face an awkward conversation as to why she was not doing her job properly.

I spent so much of my life seeking approval from others. Be it in employment whereby I wanted to be recognised for doing a good job. With society for wanting to have lots of money and material possessions. And pretty much anything else you could possibly think of whereby I needed some kind of validation for whatever I did.

All this does is separate you from who you really are. It can make you feel de-valued and unworthy. It can make you loathe yourself. It can make you stuff your face with comfort food as I know all too well.

All I am doing is speculating but my views are that firstly, if this manager was confident and trusting in herself that she is great at what she does and is worthy then she would have nothing to worry about. All the criteria would automatically be met.

If she feels that she has to have a mad panic on the day of the visit then, again in my opinion, I would say that she isn’t inspired to do her job on a day to day basis. I believe that it is fear that put her in that job in the first place.

I have done so many jobs just for the pay cheque. Of course we have bills to pay and everything else but are we really going to go broke if we follow our bliss? I don’t think so at all. I think that we will be richer in all forms. I am not saying this to encourage people to abandon their job right this second. I am merely provoking thought.

When we are separated from our bliss we start to evoke fears. These fears grow and grow until we get to a point where we believe them. Even though they are complete rubbish. I have experienced more fears than I have had hot dinners, and I still have plenty now. But the truth is that I am still here. I am still growing. I am still achieving. I have shifted my mindset whereby I now hold the belief that I am infinite. That my ability is limitless and that fear is just an illusion designed to hold us back.

Should this manager’s health and safety visit not go to plan what is the worst that can happen? That she gets the sack. She can’t pay her bills. She loses her home. She ends up living on the street. I don’t believe for one second that any of that would ever happen.

We hold such a strong attachment to money that we constantly feel that we need it. Therefore we subordinate to others, bet pushed around and lower ourselves. I was taught that when we attach a need to something we will keep growing that need. We will find more and more reasons as to why we need money. We live in survival mode.

As I was building myself into more and more debt I kept exacerbating that need and spiralling out of control. I was told to let go of attachments. Let go of the need to make money. Just trust myself that I am on the right path. Being grateful for all the riches that I already have.

When managers act in this way they order staff around as if they are just sheep. We still live in a society whereby hierarchy dictates us. Yet the best leaders in the world are those that stand on the frontline. They get more trust and respect from their people. Leading to more inspiring work, greater profits and as much Adidas clothing you can think of. That’s my dream at least!

Why Does The Fitness Industry Use Scare Tactics?

Health and wellness is a very popular topic these days with more and more people taking greater notice of how they look and feel. However, with disease rates and illnesses on the rise is the concept of health wise to be so prominent in the public domain.

With depression and low back pain being the biggest issues that lead to loss of labour and the NHS being under constant strain, it would be fair to say that we are currently in the midst of a poor health epidemic. In my humble opinion, poor health hasn’t even started yet. That is, of course, if we carry on doing things the way we currently are in an industry that is supposed to provide positive health and wellbeing.

Of course I am using some scare tactics of my own to raise a very important point. That point is that all the fitness industry seems to do these days is tell us what is unhealthy and what we should steer clear of.

Being fairly gullible myself I got to a point where I was living off virtually salads. I have had issues with food for as long as I can remember. I would binge on as much sugar as I possibly could because it gave me a brief gratification.

In all honesty it was a response to my self-loathing and something I battled for quite some time. I fell for everything I read and attempted to go vegan via vegetarianism. I then gave up gluten, dairy and sugar for an extended period of time.

It was the longest that I had given up foods that I thought were bad for me. What I didn’t expect though was that it actually made me feel worse. Not necessarily physically, though I was ridiculously thin and getting weaker and weaker, but more to the point, mentally. I felt low. I felt separated during my social events, I felt restricted in everything that I ate and had to think quite a few days ahead to ensure that I avoided certain foods.

And that is the problem, avoid. The way the fitness industry is going there will be nothing left to eat! There appears to be so much attention on the things that are supposedly bad for us and not enough attention placed on the benefits of some of these foods.

Now I am not saying that a burger and chips everyday is a highly nutritious meal. What I am saying is that there are plenty of benefits in foods that we are told to avoid at all costs. Take dairy for example its loaded with vitamins and minerals yet we get freaked out by how cows are treated, how it is pasteurised and how many chemicals go into these products.

As an unorthodox Personal Trainer, I tend not to look at what we see on the surface. Instead I look deeper. By this I mean I look at the thought process. Our thoughts and beliefs create our reality. For me, health is a state of mind, not necessarily about what we eat.

Nutrition is important of course but the way we think will dictate the way we eat. We can use will power to override behaviour patterns but more often than not they will revert back to run in alignment with the beliefs we have of ourselves.

Therefore when we revert back to these so called unhealthy eating patterns we end up feeling bad about ourselves. We hold the belief that what we eat is bad for us which subsequently leads to guilt and inner resentment.

This is what leads to illness. The idea and belief that what you put in your mouth is bad for you, not necessarily what that thing is.

When I changed my views on food my whole outlook on life changed. I knew that whatever I was putting into my body was serving me in a positive way. Therefore bit by bit I started to naturally eat better. All those years of trying and failing at eating what are perceived to be the right foods but one simple shift in mindset and all of a sudden it becomes a piece of cake (excuse the pun).

I now eat guilt free. If I want some sugar, I have some. The interesting thing is that now I rarely have any. I just don’t fancy it. It used to satisfy an inner need but I have found that in myself now therefore sugar has become somewhat redundant.

I forgot how much I love milk. I now drink a pint of whole milk after a workout. Its full of good stuff and consists of carbohydrate, protein and fat. For me the positives outweigh the negatives.

Like everything in life there is a good side and a bad side. I believe that if we nudged our thinking toward the direction of good and create a more balanced perspective then all these disease rates will start to fall.

Start to love yourself. Everything about you. Know that whatever you do you serve your body to the best of your ability. You’ll soon start to notice a change in your habits. Not everything is bad for you, despite what my industry says.

Why Is The Fitness Industry So Judgemental?

I have just begun writing my second book titled ‘Personal Trainer 2.0’. The idea behind it is to help other Personal Trainers avoid the so very many mistakes that I have made in my time in the Health and Fitness industry.

In my humble opinion, the biggest mistake we as Personal Trainers make is having a lack of self worth. The irony is that I believe a lack of self worth is the catalyst for illness and disease. Some may shoot me down in flames for that statement but it is what I believe to be true.

Having educated over four hundred of the UK’s Personal Trainers, what highlights this the most is when they ask me what they should charge when they first start out. This is then followed by them suggesting lower than average rates and even the idea of free sessions to entice people in.

After a while I found these conversations to be very frustrating because I felt this approach would make a mockery of my industry. In my view, no one will value a cheap or free service therefore, realistically, the results will be virtually non existent and Personal Training is dealt yet another blow.

However, I knew that I needed to tame my ego. Reason being is because I was once in their shoes. I was haggled on my prices, convinced to give a few free introductory sessions and lacked belief in my ability to provide a great service.

The result was that I had to deliver so many sessions in order to make a living. I was up at the crack of dawn and getting in really late of an evening, scoffing some food before going to bed and starting all over again. The epitome of good health I hear you say!

Truth be told, I hated it. Every minute of it. The people were great but I was just constantly exhausted. I felt like I was doing them a disservice. Part of me thinks that every new Personal Trainer needs to go through and experience this for themselves. Yet another part of me thinks otherwise.

Churning out session after session I soon realised that my day was nothing more than a conveyor belt. Client after client after client. I just didn’t have the time to provide as much love and care for them as I would have wished.

Before writing my first book ‘Bulletproof Entrepreneur’, I was told to write it for someone in particular. A client, a friend, a family member as examples. I decided to write it for myself. It is a reminder for me to keep a work/life balance, keep myself healthy as well as my clients and ensure I have a lot of fun in my life.

The trouble with sending out messages to the world that are actually meant for myself made me come across as a bit of a judgmental prick. I am of course referring to all those ‘motivational’ phrases that you see my industry throw around left, right and centre.

Criticising people for having excuses not to train, or for being overweight. You get the idea. I was sharing those quotes for myself. As a reminder to me that I need to keep going. That I can have no excuses and that there is no gain without pain.

Striving for success appears to be hard. Although it really doesn’t have to be. This is something that I tell myself continuously. We are programmed and conditioned to believe that success eludes us unless we work our fingers to the bone. To sacrifice things and be dedicated and driven.

For me this is only partly true. I agree that being dedicated and driven are two key components of success but if something inspires you, are you really working? Can it be considered as work? Is it your calling perhaps? Your life’s purpose?

What inspires me the most is to reform an industry that sends out the wrong message. The amount of in-fighting I witness on a daily basis is shocking. It is as if we cannot criticise a peer quick enough. This person is wrong. That person doesn’t know anything. It is counter-productive.

Resentment, anger and hatred are the catalysts for poor health. Therefore if I go around sending out those feelings to others then who am I to advise someone on how to get healthier? I am just a hypocrite in that case.

Having spent the last 18 months undergoing some transformational life coaching, I discovered so much about myself. All my fears, my limiting beliefs, my confidence issues. I also discovered where they stemmed from and began the process of reconditioning my thought process.

We can criticise someone all day long for having excuses or for being overweight but until we learn the underlying reasons as to why then we serve no use to them in my opinion. People don’t need a kick up the arse, they need to feel loved. They need help in learning all they can about themselves in order to make any changes they feel they may want to.

Love is the top trump. It dissolves anger, hatred, illness, disease and anything else that negatively impacts our wellbeing. It is my hope that the health and fitness industry starts to see this fundamental component when interacting with others.

Learning Lessons From Fatalities

Last week I posted a picture of Buckingham Palace on my Instagram profile. I posted it because I was walking past it. I was walking past it because the Victoria Line was suspended. The Victoria Line was suspended because someone had thrown themselves onto the track.

The point I was making was that as Londoners it is very easy to find things to complain about. My response was that these things happen, I’ll take the scenic route. I wanted to get this point across because we get ourselves worked up so very easily, often over very minor things.

I wanted to raise awareness to the fact that we do not know what struggles this person faced which led to them making their fatal decision. My hope was that my post would help people put things into perspective and realise how lucky they are to have what they have in life and therefore that person didn’t die for nothing. They were able to provide some kind of learning for us all.

Just five days later, I witness the death of a Squash player in a facility I hire to teach my Personal Trainer students. He suffered a heart attack whilst playing and despite the great effort of the emergency services, it just wasn’t to be. He was 45 years old.

I do not want this post to come across in any way an attempt at scare mongering. I merely want to use this gentleman’s example to help others avoid similar outcomes so that he too has not died for nothing and we can learn lessons from him.

Whilst watching the paramedics do their work I noticed that he was a quite overweight and my assumption was that perhaps he doesn’t look after himself as best he could yet he goes and plays an incredibly intense sport once a week which ultimately triggered his heart attack.

I could be completely wrong. This is purely speculation. However it got me thinking. If this is indeed the case then what can we do to help prevent things like this happening?

When I train clients I go right back to basics. I feel that through years of, let’s say, neglect, it is very easy get out of shape, be prone to injuries and increase certain risks. I put my new clients through a comprehensive screening process and design programmes that will help build them from the ground up again.

This is a process that has been common sense to me for quite some time and one that I realise I take for granted.

Having taught upwards for 400 Personal Trainers, I have noticed that the material within the course I teach doesn’t place a big enough emphasis on screening procedures. Granted, we are not doctors or physicians of any kind but I do feel that it is our duty of care to understand as best as we possibly can what an individual can and cannot do.

As a result of freedom of speech we have so many components of the health and fitness industry that are way beyond the ability of so many people. High intensity workouts are just one example. Adding to that the desire of the consumer to be a particular way. Be it some kind of aesthetic goal or athletic competition.

What my industry has forgotten is the consumer themselves. What is it that they really want and why? How can we create a sustainable and realistic plan to ensure they lead a healthy lifestyle for the long term? Why, as an industry have we stopped listening to our consumers?

Sure, we can do market research to find out what they want but is that really listening? Is that really getting to the bottom of their motivations?

The venue closed early so that the gentleman in question could be taken away with no commotion going on around the area. As we were leaving I told my learners that there was a lesson in all of this. That was to understand that we have a duty to obtain as much information from a client as possible. To know exactly where we need to start them. The ensure that what we plan for our clients is relevant and appropriate.

Knowing that eight new Personal Trainers are going out into this profession with this mindset and attitude means that we may have some hope in salvaging an industry that, in my opinion, has some very flimsy foundations. It also means that this gentleman didn’t die for nothing.

Why I Gave Up Vegetarianism

So… having put a serious amount of thought into it for the last 2 weeks I have decided to bring my vegetarianism to an end after 10 months.

For quite some time I had always felt that nutrition had actually very little to do with health. I knew that it was incredibly important, of course, but for me, health was exclusively a state of mind and spirit. I am sure that there were many that may disagree or question my logic. I was merely coming from the point of personal experience.

That experience is something that I have never openly talked about. Ever since I can remember I have been battling ‘food demons’ whereby I would eat myself into oblivion because it gave me temporary satisfaction because I was never satisfied with anything else in my life. It also was self destructive behaviour brought about by self loathing.

I have always gotten away with my binge eating because it never showed on my body. I have always been slim and always keep myself fit.

The reason for my changing back to eating meat and fish again came about from going to watch football 2 weeks ago and not being able to eat anything from the food stalls around the ground. Coupled with the fact that I was doing dairy, gluten and sugar free eating at the same time, the only thing available was a veggie wrap. This obviously contained gluten. I was hungry and had to give in to it. I felt that I had let myself down in some way.

Later that evening I went out for a meal with friends and watched them eat something really nice while I could only pick a selection of things from the ‘sides’ menu as a result of my restrictions.

I thought to myself that surely this mindset of restriction is unhealthier than whatever food I could put into my system.

My reasons for turning vegetarian in the first place were two fold. Firstly I needed to combat low energy levels. Over consumption of meat left me feeling drained. When I gave it up I started to eat so much more raw foods and starchy carbs. Secondly, animal welfare. This is still an extremely important thing to me but I alone am not going to change anything just because I stop eating meat.

What I have learned is that everything serves in some way. If I do care deeply about animal welfare then there are plenty of other ways I can demonstrate that through things like loving my pets or raising money for animal charities.

This brings me on to morals. I made comments last week that politics doesn’t make a blind bit of difference. Granted that was my ego flaring up again and yes I had got on the Russell Brand ‘bandwagon’ a lot last year but I now admit that it was an extremely uninformed thing for me to say. The next day I heard Ed Miliband say that he wanted to improve the standard of vocational education, something I am extremely dedicated and inspired by as that is my current business. I thought to myself ‘holy shit, am I actually tempted to vote?!’ I do still feel very disillusioned with politics, I still don’t believe that my vote will make a difference but after an eye opening conversation recently I admit I am now in two minds.

Me having these ‘morals’ on animal welfare and politics made me realise something rather important too. That is, again, about restriction. I can’t sit here and preach about acceptance of others if I am somewhat judging people that kill animals and ‘lying’ politicians.

Going back to my eating. Vegetarianism has taught me about balance and moderation. Two words that get banded around the health and fitness industry left, right and centre but actually never get defined. What I have found is that my vegetarianism (along with another eye opening conversation) has made me feel that I am now in control over my ‘food demons’ and that I can enjoy food itself and not the brief feeling it gives me. And that I am now more equipped to eat ‘balanced’ and in ‘moderation’.

Around 18 months ago I kept posting these ‘motivational’ phrases whereby they mocked people that had ‘excuses’ to not be healthy and all that jazz. Truth be told I can’t judge people for being unhealthy, overweight etc because I was exactly the same but just in my own way. My metabolism meant that it never became obvious. Probably a worse thing because it meant that I could keep hiding and fall deeper in to self loathing.

My industry has still not caught onto the idea that there are much deeper rooted issues to people with poor health and visible signs of which. Much more than just a poor diet. This is what I want to change.

When I coach clients in a fitness setting I teach them how to develop an awareness of their body. How they feel, how they move. It is about listening in and paying attention, not just slinging a load of exercises together. I urge you all to read A Path To Wisdom by Tony J Selimi as his first chapter discusses ‘Knowing Thyself’. My vegetarianism taught me an awful lot about myself. That and my ‘eye opening’ conversations have helped me take on my ‘food demons’. I may not be out of the woods completely, and I may never be but I am stronger all the time and am so much more equipped to handle it. I feel like a whole weight has been shifted from my shoulders.

I would like to thank everyone that has been involved with me on this journey. The support, the comments and even the jokes. They have all played their part in some way.

The take home message is that to make changes in your life you need to start loving yourself. Who knows, you may even find someone else to love you too!