Reject Mediocrity – How To Avoid An Average Life.

Reject Mediocrity – How To Avoid An Average Life.

Why is it that people everywhere are systematically wasting their potential, seemingly happy living their lives completely within their comfort zones, never experiencing what life has to offer outside of them?

Just because modern lifestyles are made physically more comfortable to due technological advances, is it acceptable not attempting to use our remarkable bodies to the limits they are capable of?
Acceptance Of Mediocrity is Like An Epidemic

How many people do you know that settle for mediocrity or even less when it comes to their health, lifestyle or physical functionality? Maybe you can even count yourself in this category or can remember the time you could.

It’s easy to see just by looking around you, whether at work, in the street or whilst out eating or drinking that it is the majority. They have turned their backs on their natural physical traits and lazily resigned themselves to never physically challenging themselves.

Maybe it’s symptomatic of a culture that no longer encourages healthy competition and a society that is conditioned to taking the ‘easy’ option at every opportunity and looks for excuses for underachievement.

Surely many of the negative health and social issues that are prevalent today exist primarily because society on the whole is nowhere near active enough and lacks the inclination to be so.

 

Buck The Trend And Reject Mediocrity

Because it’s how the majority choose to live their lives DOESN’T MAKE IT RIGHT.

It’s can’t be right to allow your body to fester in inactivity or without regular challenge. If this were so the human body would react positively to such environments and it clearly does not. The human body reacts positively to being pushed, to being tested, to being CHALLENGED! Not to mention the numerous positive psychological benefits too.

TrueSapiens reject mediocrity by repeatedly challenging themselves, pushing and striving to be the best version of them self. TrueSapiens respect and celebrate their physical abilities and seek opportunities to challenge it’s boundaries.

This is the TRUE spirit of the SAPIEN. Reject mediocrity, challenge life and BE TRUESAPIEN.

Are You TrueSapien? Are You Challenging Yourself?

Are You TrueSapien? Are You Challenging Yourself?

So are you TrueSapien? What makes people stand out in life versus those that are happy to merely exist?

There is no exact definition as characteristics will vary from one person to another, depending on their individual beliefs, passions and preferences. For example, what sport or fitness activities appeal to you may be entirely different to another TrueSapien. You may have certain physical traits that lend themselves to certain activities over others. How you choose to challenge yourself may be entirely different to the next person.

Whatever the differences, the following points are universal and common across all TrueSapiens……

  • Do you consistently challenge your existing perceived limits,attempting to be the very best you can be?
  • Do you refuse to accept mediocrity?
  • Do you know your overriding purpose in life and your ‘Why’?
  • Are you an ‘encourager’ rather than a critic and do you admire others’ achievements rather than be envious of them?
  • Do you appreciate, respect and admire the world around you?
  • Do you place a higher value on your own functionality for purpose over simply looking good?
  • Do you take any ‘failures’ as setbacks and use them as a positive learning experience?

Being TrueSapien isn’t like becoming a member of a club, body or an organisation. There’s no joining fee or annual renewal. You’ll know from the points described above whether you are or not, or indeed whether being TrueSapien is something in which you believe.

Being TrueSapien is about the attitude you demonstrate as you challenge yourself in whatever way you choose, from OCR or Triathlon Events, Calisthenics or Strongman disciplines, Marathon Running or Crossfit.

Read our Story page to find out more about TrueSapien.

Kettlebells. How To Get Started With Kettlebell Training.

Starting anything can be daunting and overwhelming and that’s certainly the case with adding new and alternative training concepts to your plan.

One of the most popular additions to many functional training programs is Kettlebell Training. The advantages of Kettlebell Training are widely recognised and much lauded. One of the standout attributes to this form of training being that outlay is relatively minimal and training can be performed almost anywhere …… but to get optimal results it’s vital to get the right equipment for YOU.

Jamie Lloyd offers this advice. Jamie is ‘The Total Body Breakthrough Expert’, an award winning health and fitness coach committed to helping people achieve what they had believed to be impossible.

 

Buying A Kettlebell

It used to be relatively easy to choose a Kettlebell as there were few companies selling them. Now they are widely available and you can even purchase them at your local supermarket! But they are not all the same….

As you begin with this form of training it’s possible to get great results from just one Bell. But which one? There are so many different shapes, weights and sizes to choose from.

Kettlebell Weight

Now I’m going to be very generic here with these recommendations. You yourself will know whether your natural strength is above or below average so adjust by a couple of kilo’s either way accordingly.

When starting out, this is what I recommend:

  • Women – 8kg (18lb) kettlebell
  • Men – 16kg (35lb) kettlebell

 

If you do have the available funds to allow the purchase of more than one Kettlebell this is what I’d recommend for the average male and female:

  • Women – 8kg, 10kg, 12kg
  • Men – 16kg, 18kg, 20kg

The Handle

The Finish

When you’re performing repetitive swing, clean and snatches with the kettlebell and it has a rough handle or seam running down it, it will be extremely irritating. So have a good look at the handle and ensure it is really smooth and even. It’s usually the cheaper ones that have a poor finish to the handle so beware, don’t just take a quick look, run your hands over it to ensure it is free from blemishes.

Handle Diameter

The diameter of the handle is really important, especially if you have large hands. Decent kettlebells have a handle diameter of at least 31-33mm going up to even 38mm for the heavier ones. Cheap kettlebells come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some have rubber or really thin handles which make them almost impossible to hold during swings and very awkward during snatches. Also, avoid plastic kettlebells at all costs!

As mentioned earlier, most handle diameters increase in size as the weight increases. My personalfavourites however are competition kettlebells which have a uniform diameter of 33mm which is great for consistency as you progress. These can be a little more pricey though.

 

Summary

So there you have it. An honest opinion of the key factors involved when deciding which kettlebell or kettlebells to choose when starting kettlebell training. If you’re still unsure and in need of further advice seek out and speak to a professional. not somebody who has taken a weekend course but one who preferably competes in kettlebells. Or alternatively contact myself Jamie Lloyd.

 

Thank you to Jamie Lloyd for this article. Jamie is available for Personal Training, Nutrition Coaching, Sports Massage and Group Fitness Training.

 

Smoothie Ideas For An Easy Nutrient Boost

Whatever the main objective, increasing your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables is arguably one of the biggest contributors to a healthier lifestyle. The excuse most people find for not incorporating more into their daily diet is usually around the matter of convenience.

A simple way is to introduce smoothies into your life!

TrueSapien friend Yemsmoothies offers these simple yet nutritious ideas to try. Let us know what you think!

1 Avocado, Banana, Broccoli [raw], Spinach, Pear

2 Apple, Banana, Purple cabbage, Lettuce, Flaxseed, Banana

3 Red Apple, Orange, Carrot, Ginger, Lettuce, Red Banana powder

Base used for all smoothies – Water

If you’re drinking smoothies for weight loss/detox  as one of your meal replacements i.e breakfast or dinner then keep your smoothies as green as possible.

Note that you’ll  still need to exercise, eat and drink clean to achieve your weight loss. A Green smoothie isn’t a magical weight loss drink!

Your  healthy or weight loss smoothies aren’t meant to be extremely sweet like ” cold stone or Wall’s ice cream ” so don’t plough it with overly sweet fruits. Your solid sweeteners should be either pineapple, mango, banana or 1 -2 dates.

Drink and taste the colour of your smoothies.

Worried that your breakfast smoothie won’t fill you up ? – then add 2 tablespoons of oats. We can guarantee you that you’ll be full to the brim after drinking it!

Use coconut / almond/tigernut milk, water, coconut water or even cool green tea as your base.

Yemsmoothies will be back again soon with some more smoothie recipes or tips!

The Gauntlet Pull Up Challenge – Update

UPDATE

Well, it’s June 8th so 1 week to go until the end of my Gauntlet Pull Up challenge. I set a 6 week timescale as I considered this short enough to be challenging yet long enough to make the required progress. However, I think I may have underestimated the challenge…

I have encountered a couple of setbacks. Firstly the pull up bar I ordered was unsuitable so I have been limited to simulating the pull up using my TRX cables. Not great but I don’t think this has hindered me too much. The only limitation it has is that I’m not able to perform the exact form of the pull up with my entire bodyweight. I figured though that it’s muscular endurance that I’m seeking rather than strength with this challenge as I’m already capable of lifting my bodyweight as demonstrated when setting my baseline for the challenge.
The major difficulty I found was fitting in the training without effecting my triathlon and martial arts training. As those were my priority and I viewed the challenge as secondary, if I was in a situation whereby I had to choose between my triathlon swimming training or my pull up training (pull up training would adversely effect my swim performance) I chose the swimming. This is what I must change if I’m going to succeed at this or future challenges. I mentioned in my initial post on this challenge the importance of accepting challenges that align with current objectives and beliefs. I initially believed that this challenge would help my swimming and martial arts with the increased muscular endurance it would bring. I should have stuck to my original belief rather than worried it would have detrimental effects in terms of fatigue. Either that or given myself a longer period to achieve the challenge so I could have fitted training in to my current regime more easily without the worry of fatigue.
Judging on my performance tonight I won’t be a million miles away on June 15th.
There’s a lesson to be learned in everything I guess!
Don’t forget to check out our YouTube channel to view video diary progress of this challenge.

THE GAUNTLET Pull Up Challenge

So the Gauntlet has been thrown down from a fellow TrueSapien. My challenge is to complete 20 consecutive pull ups. Considering I have only ever really been able to max out at 10-12 per set at this exercise means that it is a considerable challenge, effectively doubling my current capability, one that will require pushing myself in order to achieve. This is an excellent challenge for me as functional bodyweight exercises and calisthenics align to my main interests of martial arts and triathlon.

As with most exercise or fitness related challenges the first step is to set the baseline and see how many I can currently achieve. This is effectively a specific fitness test which can then be repeated to determine improvement and ultimately success.
Next stage is to set a timescale that’s both realistic but not too lengthy. I decided on 6 weeks, commencing on May 4th which gives me a deadline of June 15th.
Next is to determine the best way to increase my muscular endurance to achieve the required reps. As pull ups are an exercise I can currently do its not necessary to progress  to that exercise from easier variations such as assisted pull ups or suspended pull ups. If I were unable to complete pull ups then there is a wealth of information out there on progression exercises. My plan of attack will be to repeat my max number of reps every day. By Max I mean stopping short (1 rep) of failure as this may take too long to recover from than the 24 hrs. I will perform 3 sets of my max with a 2 min rest period between sets.
I’ll keep you posted on my progress, I’m planning weekly updates!

Small Life Changes, BIG Health & Fitness Benefits!

Don’t fall into the trap of over complicating your goals!

I recently read the results of a survey from a major British charity which focused on reasons why people didn’t exercise regularly even though they ‘wanted’ to achieve related health and fitness improvements.
The conclusion seemed to suggest that people considered visiting a gym or commencing a structured exercise routine as too daunting, resulting in resounding failure.
It’s tempting to discuss the ins and outs of the nations desire to actually recognise where their shortcomings are or where they could improve but that’s for another time.
The point is that there is a common misconception that self improvement in the area of health, fitness, nutrition or lifestyle in general requires a huge and emphatic immediate change.
Is this because our culture is an all or nothing one where we believe in immersing ourselves, ‘binging’ or ‘fadding’? Whilst focus and commitment to goals is important in achieving success sometimes the perception that such a huge commitment is required is enough to end it before it’s even started.
As with everything ‘simple’ is the key. Small milestones and adjustments should be focused on rather than the desired end result. For instance, someone wanting to ‘eat healthily’ may be totally daunted by the prospect of a radical crash diet and total reconstruction of their weekly eating habits. Using the approach mentioned above, a more successful method would be to make small, regular and manageable changes to a diet. Instead of 2 tsp of sugar in tea, maybe 1 for a week and then 1/2. Substituting an evening snack for a piece of fruit. White bread to wholemeal. Or maybe consider adding daily healthy smoothies into your diet. Small changes that can be maintained built upon.
Same with fitness. If you want to ‘get fit’ firstly define what fit means to you? If it’s to have a six pack then firstly make similar changes to ones mentioned above with your diet. Then choose a basic core exercise and do just a few repetitions each night for a week. Then another or more difficult version for the next week. They are all building blocks and moving you closer to your goal whilst building your confidence to achieve. Some useful exercises which can be done at home can be found in this useful Men’s Health article:
Use the principles discussed above on any aspect of your life and you can achieve anything!

 

 

 

Vegetarian diet. The step to Plant Power!

I’ve always believed that spur of the moment lifestyle decisions are often the ones that are most reliable, in tune with our inner self and less likely influenced by someone else’s agenda or that of the masses (the sheep factor). So when, three weeks before Christmas, I decided to eliminate meat intake from my diet and become vegetarian, I wasn’t at all daunted by the annual turkey and pigs in blankets festive binge period looming large on the horizon.

Why the change?

I didn’t go into it feeling like I was going to be denying myself anything. I had recently watched a short video on global livestock farming practices which had set my mind to work. I won’t divulge any information  from it as I don’t believe I am in a position to preach on the subject (I’ve spent over 40 years eating meat compared to 4 weeks not!) but it brought the subject from the area of my mind filed ‘taken for granted’ into an area more open for debate.

So how has it gone?

Someone asked me yesterday this very question and on reflection I have to say I have only missed eating meat on one occasion. Yes you’ve guessed it, Christmas dinner.
This fact alone suggests that it has been quite plain sailing. I do the majority of my own and my families cooking and have found it relatively straightforward to replace my meat with fish or extra vegetables rather than going down the route of meat substitutes like Quorn. I’m still cooking meat for my family.

How do I feel?

I was warned that I could feel weak or lethargic adopting a vegetarian diet. Far from it. I have stepped my sport training up over the period (swimming, cycling and running) and if anything have found myself more energised than ever. I also feel less bloated after meals.
There is a wealth of information now available to those looking at alternative diets,  for the health benefits or ethical beliefs, whether that includes meat or not. It’s not necessary to go down the full Vegetarian or Vegan route either, as I still eat fish and eggs my diet is currently that termed Pescatarian.
This change to my diet has certainly pushed me to broaden my intake of a wider variety of fruit, vegetables, pulses and nuts which can only be a good thing even if I decide to start eating meat again (although I have no intention of this at this point in time!)
My advice is to try alternative nutrition programmes and see if they work for you. Listen to your body and your gut instinct, the only way you’ll know is by trying.

Get Your Bike Set-Up Right!

Professional Bike Fitter Dan, of Midland Bike Bit discusses the importance of setting a bike up correctly, injuries and ailments it can otherwise cause and tell tale signs that your current bike set-up may need adjustment.

“As a bike fitter, I see a slightly ‘skewed’ cross section of cyclists that come to visit the studio – at least 75% of the clients that visit are suffering to some degree when they ride their bikes. We hear about all kinds of aches, pains, niggles and quirks during our pre-fit interviews that are causing you to feel uncomfortable on your bike.”

If you are experiencing serious discomfort on the bike that seems to only occur when you ride, then chances are something is not right with your positioning. When talking about pain it may be acute discomfort in a specific area, or a chronic ache / niggle that builds over time. It is a common misconception that riding a road racing bike means putting up with a sore neck or numb hands – these are signs that that bike position isn’t right. Below are the most common issues we come across;

1. Back Pain
This is the number one bike fit related complaint we hear in the studio, and I would say as many as 1 in 3 riders suffer from it (although we do see a slightly ‘skewed’ cross-section of the cycling population). Anything from a slightly sore lower back after a longer ride, through to acute pains that force the rider off the bike – we have heard it all! The static nature of a road bike position is prone to cause problems if your bike is not set up correctly – being hunched over for long periods of time requires either a reasonable amount of flexibility and functionality to maintain, or some work off the bike in the form of stretching and core strengthening.
One-sided pain is also very common. This is usually the result of rider asymmetry, such as a leg length discrepancy or a difference in flexibility between the left and right sides of the body. If left uncorrected these issues will not usually disappear on their own (unless you do a lot of work off the bike) and must be dealt with so as not to cause problems in the future.

2. Knee Pain
This can be the most debilitating bike fit issue of all. If you have ever suffered from knee pain you will know what I am talking about, and when it does happen there is no getting away from it due to the repetitive nature of the pedal stroke. The causes of knee pain vary so much from one rider to the next, that it can be very hard to find the exact root cause of the problem. Usually the location of the pain in relation to the knee joint can give an indication as to possible solutions – for example a pain down the outside of the knee is often related to the iliotibial band (ITB) being stressed, and common causes for this are incorrect cleat rotation, too much saddle setback, a saddle that is too high etc etc….. But it is not always this simple to diagnose. There are more often lots of layers of compensation resulting from a problem somewhere else which finally result in knee pain. I read about a bike fitter who had a client that was suffering from knee pain, and after months of trial and error they found that the cause of the pain was misalignment of the lower jaw – the tiny compensations resulting from asymmetrical jaw alignment eventually caused the knee to hurt! Fair play to them for spotting that one….!

3. Numb Hands / Tired Arms
Numbness in the hands is usually the result of having too much weight on the front of the bike. Correct weight distribution is key to a good bike fit, and anyone that has been in for a session here will know that one of the things I focus on during the fit is ensuring that the upper body is largely un-weighted, and that there is not too much tension in the arms. Not only will this reduce pressure on the hands, it will also make you more efficient at higher intensities as you are not supporting your torso weight on the handlebars!

4. Saddle Soreness
Some riders will get lucky and find that their perfect saddle is the one that came on their bike. Other riders may not be so fortunate. The best way to find a saddle that is right for you is to try a few, and use the one that feels most comfortable and supportive. Some fit systems measure sitbone width to determine saddle selection – this does provide a good starting point but there is no guarantee that the saddle you then choose based on this will feel right. At our studio we stock a rang of Fizik and Prologo saddles which are available to test out and take away for a few rides to see whether it feels right after a few miles on the road.

5. Neck Ache
I tend to find that most riders suffer from a bit of upper back / neck ache especially on longer rides, however for a number of you this problem is more than just a bit of a pain in the neck (ahem..), it can get to the point where even on shorter rides the pain is causing you to stop riding and stretch out your neck muscles. The most common cause is the handlebar position – too low / too far away will cause you to crane your neck in an effort to look up the road, giving you that ‘chin forward’ posture that results in discomfort.

If you want further information or have specific questions you may need answering please use our forum.

Plan To Succeed In 2016 With Your Resolution

So how do we do with New Years Resolutions? Not so well it seems. Although that shouldn’t be too much of a shock to you as you’ve more than likely witnessed failure first hand. Statistics show about 8% are successful and most fail before January is through.

Why is this important?

Well, in the top 5 most popular New Years Resolutions are losing weight, living life to the fullest and staying fit and healthy so it stands to reason there are a lot of people out there that are living their lives feeling overweight, feel unhappy with how they live or consider themselves unfit.
So if these are that important to us why do so many people fail?

Simple. The main reason is this. The goal that is set is too vague and/or too ambitious.
Targets (resolutions) need to be specific and measurable with timescales. ‘This year’ isn’t enough as it’s far too easy to start ‘tomorrow’ or ‘Monday’ as a year makes us feel we have plenty of time to recover a poor start.
The other reason is we focus too heavily on the big picture. While it’s great to visualize how you want to be or feel once you’ve reached your objective, goals are more easily achieved if they are as simple as possible.

Choose smaller ‘bite sized’ objectives that when repeatedly achieved will result in achieving the overall goal.

For example, rather than your resolution being ‘I want to lose weight’ first be specific about how much would be realistic over the year. Then break this down into 2 monthly periods so you have clear targets. Then it’s time to break your goal down by asking if you can simplify the goal. Rather than focusing on ‘losing weight’ ask if you can simplify. Maybe reducing ‘fast food’ from your diet would be a start? Or taking the stairs everyday at the shopping centre or place of work. Once you’ve achieved the mini goal, introduce something else.
You’ll soon be on the way to achieving your overriding resolution!
Make 2016 the year you make a better you and live a ‘life less ordinary!’