What does being ‘TrueSapien’ and living a ‘Challenging Life’ mean to me? It’s more than just about aiming to be a little fitter. It’s more than intermittently participating in events and then sitting back admiring my achievement. And more than sporadically attending the local fitness class or gym in attempt to attain short term and short lived gains.
A Lifestyle Choice
The way I choose to live my life can only be described as a deliberate and significant lifestyle choice. I completed my first Ironman, Ironman Wales, in September this year. It was a tough but thoroughly enjoyed experience BECAUSE it was a way to TEST my chosen lifestyle. I have heard of several people that complete their first IRONMAN with insufficient training. Then they claim it is the hardest thing they have ever done, and announce that they will never be doing another. Shying away from the challenge rather than facing it heads on.
Born To Push Limits
My reply to these people is we, as humans, are born to push ourselves to new limits. There is something demotivating about accepting average, yet so many choose it. The TrueSapien ethos draws from the roots of evolution, which we as humans have evidently lost over the years. No longer do we have to fight for survival, in turn many people being content with inactivity and idleness.
There is something discordant with how we are glued to our phones, opting for a message over an in-person conversation. We are born to interact, with a need for others to keep us sane. Materialistic posessions only keep us happy short term. This is reflected in the waste we produce and the upsetting, yet dominant reliance on short life technology.
Wide Reaching Implications
The ever-growing population inevitably leads to further demands. At what stage do the resources start to run out? Is this the point when we will inevitably have to return to our roots and fight for our place in the world? There seems a reliance on needing the approval of others to feel ‘happy.’ A strong desire to be just like everyone else. I disagree with this, and will always remain true to who I am. The bright vibrant girl with the curly hair, and never-ending energy.
One particular infuriation of mine is the significant levels of food waste, including packaging we create. A reliance on foods that we can’t grow in our own country has led to the roads being full of large vehicles. This not only contributes to global environmental problems, but also ruining much of the beautiful countryside. Even worse, in the next year, the new HS2 network will be built on the fields around the back of my house. Further destruction of wide open land that we’d been blessed with.
The Real Competition
For me the path of least resistance is not the most rewarding and as a result not the one I chose. Other people motivate me, but do not see them as my competition. The only real competition is your past self. Desire to improve must to come from within, else it is not only unsustainable, but not enjoyable.
A Duty To Inspire
My dad has shared many stories of hardship that he had to endure growing up. This made him the strong minded human he is and led to the engraining of many significant values. My siblings and I were, in turn, passed these values. Pushing boundaries is something that can be done in every walk of life, not only sport, but in education, work and in one’s social life. I analyse the human population, and I see signs of devolving, our mental health not improving, but getting worse, and our resilience to much of life’s challenges bordering on non-existent.
I look at myself as a role model for others. I believe, the seemingly impossible, with the right mindset and determination, is in fact possible. In the words of TrueSapien ‘to fearlessly, passionately and grittily inspire an encourage others to unleash their own TRUESAPIEN!’
If you’ve liked what you’ve read and want to learn more about me please check out my blog Pocket Rocket Rach!
Why do the majority shrink and shy away from challenge? Has this reluctance to commit to personal challenge become second nature?
Whether it’s a physical challenge, career, personal or some other challenge, people everywhere are systematically wasting their potential. Happy living their lives completely within their comfort zones and never experiencing what life has to offer outside of it.
A Life Of Convenience
Yes, modern lifestyles are made physically and mentally more comfortable to due technological advances. Is it acceptable though, to not use our remarkable bodies and minds to the limits they are capable of?
The ACCEPTANCE of Mediocrity is a disease.
Think of the people you know. Not those that you ‘know of’ (that is an entirely different story, distorted by the ‘fake’ success stories on social media). Think of those in your circle of friends, family and acquaintances. How many people do you know that settle for mediocrity or even less when it comes to their health, lifestyle or physical functionality? You probably even know the shit excuses that many of these hide behind. One thing these people are great at is making their ‘excuses’ VERY clear and obvious to all around them. You may even count yourself into this category or at least remember the time that you could.
They are everywhere you look. You’ll notice them at work, in the street or whilst you’re out eating or drinking. It’s clear to see that they are the majority. They have turned their backs on their natural physical instincts and have lazily resigned themselves to never challenging themselves. In doing so, what example does this set for our future generations?
Maybe it’s a symptom of our society. Because it no longer encourages healthy competition even amongst our young children! As a result, I’m embarrassed every time I attend my daughter’s ‘Sports day’ to the point I hope it’s fucking rained off each year!
Surely such lack of competition will only accelerate the many negative health and social issues that are prevalent today. These issues are caused almost entirely by the lack of challenge and activity that competition is the catalyst for!
We are a society conditioned to taking the ‘easy’ option at every opportunity. As a result, we repeatedly make excuses for underachievement.
Because it’s how the majority choose to live their lives DOESN’T MAKE IT RIGHT.
Can it be right to live your life in the sewers and gutters of aspiration? Shying away spinelessly? Hiding in the shadows of the few that do repeatedly embrace and seek challenge? Never to feel the exhilaration and empowerment that pushing boundaries and experiencing the unknown creates? NO!
Is this an environment that our human bodies and minds are aligned with? If this were so our bodies would be thriving, virtually free from ailment and disease. But they are not. Lifestyle related illness is at record levels and projected to continue to rise at unprecedented rates.
I want to talk about Pacing. But what is Pacing? Basically, I run 13.1 miles with a flag on my back, sometimes a vest, often just a t-shirt. If I’m really special I get to run with a balloon strapped to my top!!! All of these pacer tools are relevant to the time that I will complete the race in.
My name is Delroy Taylor. Well that’s the name my mother gave me! Nowadays just ‘Del’ will do, unless I’m in trouble. I’m 41 and from Warwickshire. I have four of those small humans that I call “bank robbers”, some call them kids! Aged 21 down to 12 years. Married to my wife Michele, we obviously live happily together… when I agree with her!
Why Pacing? Since I was small I always wanted to help people even, if there wasn’t anything in it for myself. It was usually the snotty kid at school that had no friends, or the kid last in a race on sports day. Often it was the puppy with a limp that got my attention. Nowadays I’m a manager (boring to some I know)! My time is spent getting the best out of people. Understanding their weaknesses, helping them to grow and working with them closely to improve and achieve their goals. This isn’t that far off from being a pacer.
As a child I was a hurdler. I always wanted to be Colin Jackson. Mother said I was good at jumping over things. Little did she know this was a tactic to avoid being caught by anyone with an ounce of authority! It wasn’t until I grew up that I found long distance running despite being physically active since a young age. I played football from the early age of six up until the tender age of thirty, then when the younger kids got faster the only option was to retire and hit the weights.
Go Hard Or Go Home
I became a gym junkie. Protein shakes; chicken breast the works. The weight and muscle piled on and the mirrors and T-shirts seemed to get smaller and smaller. Who actually enjoys being inside looking at themselves in the mirror? Well, me maybes, at the time… GO HARD OR GO HOME the famous gym moto hey !! I went home alright ….two hospital beds and two operations later for the same stupid shoulder injury.
Next chapter was all I could think of and I needed that fix quickly. I’m not one to rest idle and I knew I needed the next challenge. Michele and I decided to go for a run one afternoon. It wasn’t too bad, but it wasn’t quick. Running is something I’ve never had an issue with but long distance’s I’ve never understood (boring or what!).
“Michele lets enter a half marathon” I asked two weeks after we’d ran three 5 kilometres and thought we were the next Paula Radcliffe and Mo Farah. That’s how the fairy tale started.
The first ‘half’ we did I can remember watching people around the pacer. He was surrounded like he was some sort of movie star, I kinda wanted a bit of that.. (jokes). I followed the group for ages and thought “that must be such a cool thing to do”. Once I returned home I started to google ‘pacing’ and read up about it and what it entails.
Once I get something in my head I struggle to let it go even if it’s out of my comfort zone. I wanted to learn how to pace and I wanted to learn now. The wife would say this is sometimes obstinate stubbornness and determination and wishes I applied it to home DIY!! I reactivated my twitter account with the thought that, if anyone can help, surely social media would be the place.
Passionate About Pacing
This blog is the first time that I’ve actually ever really spoken about how I got into pacing. I often get contacted by a lot people who want to try pacing and I always give advice when I can. The path wasn’t easy for me. I followed pacers on social media and contacted events myself, all 3000 of them! Only a couple replied positively. At the time nobody helped me despite them saying they would ( they must of forgot me in the midst of all the flat lays)! It’s like any sport or even job interview. We all have to take knock backs. It wasn’t handed to me on a plate. I wasn’t from this background and didn’t know anyone in this arena. Unless you have been around this for years and your circle of friends are involved it’s tough to get a foot in the door.
Pacing is so very definitely rewarding. Whatever time your pacing at. Anybody who enters a race has a goal. Whether it’s a sub 1.30, 2 hour or just to finish smiling. They are all personal to them. Runners rely on pacers to be even and each mile to be the same pace. This way they know if they follow you they will reach their desired time.
However, being a pacer isn’t about running the miles robotically. It’s about encouragement and engagement with those around you. Supporting verbally, sometimes with a song or two and often with a big dose of encouragement in the form of ‘YOU CAN’ being bellowed loudly. It’s never about the pacer, only those around you and the tick, tock of your watch!
Helping Others Achieve
There is nothing more satisfying seeing people try to overcome personal challenges. I am so very fortunate to be able to pace mostly the 2hr group in half marathons. It is a popular time and an obstacle for most runners to break. I don’t pace for the feedback, or nice comments on social media. I know how it feels to want to break a personal target and if I can help others then I will. I have relied on pacers myself. some good, some unfortunately bad, but everyone has bad days at the office. If I can help anyone achieve a goal I absolutely will.
There are some other perks to being a pacer. Occasionally we get free kit and trainers occasionally. However, pacing comes with a lot of pressure. one bad day or bad conditions can affect someone’s race. Sometimes this can lead to a back lash on social media, slating your efforts. This can affect your reputation as you are only as good as your last race. You also have to be brutally honest with yourself and completely selfless. I have had a tough year, pulled out of personal races and also pacing events due to injury as I knew I wouldn’t be able to help people.
2019 – Pacing Marathon Majors
Next year is a big year for me. I have spent a long time pacing half marathons. But for 2019 I have been fortunate enough to be selected to pace for two international races, the Virgin London Marathon and The BMW Berlin marathon. Not only is this a dream come true but works with my own goal of focusing on the 26.2 miles next year and improving my marathon time. I’ve started working with a coaching team, Purdue performance, founded by Charlotte Purdue the GB long distance runner and Adam Clarke, GB middle distance runner and Mo Farah’s training partner. I have never been too proud to ask for help and this has helped me value the role of a pacer even further.
I sometimes have to pinch myself when I say that I’m going to be pacing these events. I feel like a kid in a sweet shop!! What an opportunity and experience for me! From fence jumping, football dreams, protein bars and small t-shirts to international marathon pacing… wow! I will put all my effort and focus in delivering the time on my flag.
Nothing beats the smiles on people’s faces when they cross the finish and knowing you may have helped them!
Being TrueSapien is as much about challenging attitudes and beliefs as it is to be challenging ourselves physically. After all, the former is usually the catalyst to the latter, right? There is no right or wrong, only opinion based on your own core beliefs. What is important, in fact CRUCIAL, in enabling you to live your best life and setting a worthwhile example, is that you QUESTION YOUR BELIEFS, make them YOUR OWN, not just INHERIT them.
In the coming months, we will be featuring insights from TrueSapien and runner James Wilson on the above as additional food for thought. You can find out more on James’s fitness journey and the accompanying ideas and insights on his own site HuntingThirty.
In this first instalment from James, he gives us his insight into… ‘The Secret’ behind being fit and healthy….
You have a duty to be fit and healthy. Moreover, you have a duty to STAY fit and healthy.
This duty is: 1) to yourself – give yourself the best prospect of a long and vibrant life, free from ailments; 2) to your family – ensure you can ‘be there’ for them, and reduce the chances of becoming a burden (which would unfairly diminish their quality of life); 3) to the state – lessen the chance of being admitted to hospital or reliance upon health services, to minimise financial implications for taxpayers and the state.
Seeing through the myths
Many people talk of how you can get fit, stay fit or what training plans really work. They talk of how you can lose ‘weight’, keep it off, and what diets really work and an abundance of idle chit-chat about ‘miracle plans’, ‘miracle diets’, ‘miracle solutions’ and so on.
You could do worse than ignore this talk if you are a beginner who wants to improve their health and fitness, and fulfil their duty. That’s because all this talk is superseded by a goal that must be reached if someone is truly serious about changing forever.
What is the goal and ‘The Secret?’
Simply put, the easiest way for you to get fit and STAY fit, is to become DEPENDENT on exercise. Just as a compulsive gambler can’t resist a wager. Just as an alcoholic becomes desperate for a drink. If you exercise consistently enough, you too will acquire a DEPENDENCY. But it will be a healthy dependency. Once you stick at it long enough, and your body and mind begin to understand the numerous benefits associated with regular exercise. You will become DEPENDENT on it to make you feel good and keep you feeling good.
It won’t take long before your body and mind actually NEED exercise. And when you feed that addiction, you will indeed ENJOY the experience of exercising. From that point onwards, you will be the person you wanted to be, and you will begin to challenge yourself further. You will have to try very hard to break your new-found dependency and return to your old sedentary lifestyle. But why would you want to go and do that?
It’s a simple line. A line you choose to cross, then a line you must cross, a line that marks the start and the line that marks the finish.The problem with a Line is that it can have so many meanings. It can also be the line attached to the hook that draws you in …. then where do you draw the line ? A line you, yourself, have drawn in the sand….
Hello. They call me Rapid, or Rapid Rich if you want to be formal. I’ve been asked to contribute to this Blog because of my exerts. Not because I am an athlete, or a talent, or physically fit. Or even that competitive in my chosen sport, but because I cross that line.
I cross that line most weekends during September and October because that is when Hill Climbing season starts !
Before I explain the incredible sense of achievement and amount of effort that contesting a Hill Climb brings, I would just like to explain my story and how I became transfixed (some say obsessed), by this purest of sports.
Virtually 6 years ago to the day, I was 51 years old and creeping up towards 15 and half stone ( 98 kgs). Being only 5’8”, not only was I NHS ‘obese’ but much, much worse. I had to ‘un-tuck’ my shirt ! The other tell tale sign was that I didn’t recognise myself in photos. Surely that swollen featured human was not the ‘Rapid Rich’ that I had known since he was a skinny kid !
Although I did play a little squash and even went Fencing, I had no real fitness. I turned to ‘The Bike’. Initially I spent about £800 with the theory it was enough to keep me at it, but not too cheap that it was poor equipment. I need not have worried. I did a 6 mile Ride and fell off on my cleats as soon as I got home. It mattered not. As I lay, slightly embarrassed with a bleeding knee on the floor, I was hooked. That was the first Line I crossed.
My riding went crazy. From struggling to do 35 miles on my first ‘big run’ within 9 months I rode 200 miles in one day solo from Doncaster to Anglesey. And that was the day after my biggest Club ride of 126 miles! I even started Racing! I was getting fit for the very first time in my life since I lost my natural youthful fitness, and I loved it.
I found myself walking tall, feeling (and looking) good in smaller size clothes. I could even ‘tuck in’ again. Knowing very little about Cycling, the Sport or its history, a friend of mine introduced me to something you probably all know about now – STRAVA!
This was the next line I crossed. It gave me segments which are only ‘virtual’ start and finish lines, and this gave me quantifiable results and self drawn targets. I just had to improve. I had to go faster, harder. I noticed the best segments where I could excel were hills – especially short sharp ones. I simply loved the feeling of giving everything I had and as soon as I got home I would ‘upload’ my Ride to see my PBs, Cups and KOMs.
( You do however need to also consider this was in 2012 /13 and there were far far less people on Strava than there are today, so it was much easier to get top 10 places).
Now, I’ve raced Motorcross (badly), motorcycles and cars on the track (with some success). I’ve driven a Rally Car including doing the RAC Rally for 5 years. I threw away a brilliant result in 1995 of 27th overall in a 2 wheel drive non works car. Me and my Co-Drivers desire to drive ‘flat out’ resulted in a last stage crash with less than 12 miles to go. This meant we dropped down to 47th (still not bad). – gutted.
It is this competitive element to be the best or fastest that has not left me. As I said before, I am no athlete. The years are clocking up, but my brain is still of the 17 year old motorbike Racer that believes I am competitive. I am Rapid Rich!
Is this my problem? My brain will simply not accept that I am not competitive? So when I (almost accidentally) came across Hill Climbing, it was my brain, my competitive spirit that got me up those Hills. My brain, my desire to succeed, was my biggest muscle by far.
I’ve just finished my specialised, bespoke Hill Climb bike. Less than 5kg of pure beauty. A machine made to do nothing but go up hills. Fast. Although I have a fair engineering background, I’ve had great support, help and advice from Cycles In Motion on this project and it continues to develop.
A full season on Hill Climbing in 2017 gave me some fair results for my age. But seeing the efforts by the other talented Riders simply inspired me.
This was a sport that had no prima donnas. Each competitor was equal. Not in time and ability but in effort. That was the attribute I had most of; effort. The determination and an inner drive to make me push my body far, FAR beyond its own real limits.
The beauty of Hill Climbing is that even the top Riders give you total respect for pinning on that number. As long as you give it 100 % .I don’t mean 99%, that just does not cut the mustard.
I ride for 3RT Cycling. On Hill Climb events I’m usually accompanied by a couple of close friends and great competitors, Rick Bailey and Calum Brown. They have simply inspired and driven me to push myself even further. As a trio we are called ‘The Northern Shandy’s’ with the ethos of the name being ‘undiluted effort’. … As a true northern shandy comes without the lemonade!! #nails
So what is Hill Climbing ?
Well it’s a Rider and a Bicycle. Its two Lines. One at the bottom of a Hill, and one at the top. Oh, and a stop watch.
Its been part of the British Cycling scene for well over 100 years and usually tagged onto the end of the Race Season. But now it is a hugely important discipline in its own right. It’s a Time Trial basically with Riders setting off generally at 1 minute intervals on a Hill (obviously). The nature of the Hills can be very short and steep, 500m up to 5 miles. The longer Climbs are generally less of a gradient.
The short ones can have ramps of up to 30%. Most average anywhere between 10 and 15 %. Regardless, as you are still going ‘balls out’ and Racing they are simply the hardest single effort to do in Cycling. Pacing is more important on the longer ones, but the short ones are just a sprint against gravity.
No Quarter Given
You will see from the photos, that Hill Climbs demand maximum effort There can be no quarter given and they aint for the feint hearted. That said, however, there is a fantastic camaraderie between the Riders as we all know we are going to give our best on the day.
So how do you get involved I hear you ask ? Sorry ? SO HOW DO YOU GET INVOLVED ? That’s better!
Well you need a Bike. You also need to be a member of a CTT (Cycling Time Trials) Club and that’s it. It will help if you are good at hills or sprinting or you are very light but its not prerequisite. Neither is the bike. Nowadays there are many with bespoke Hill Climb machines built specifically for the job. Mine comes in at about 4.9kg with 11 speed and pedals and it was as much fun engineering this machine as it is contesting the event.
A light bike helps but as I have found out does not turn you into a winning athlete. It does help a few seconds or even a 10th here and there. The general consensus is once you got rid of the easy weight saving modifications like chopping bars, removing bottle cages, bar tape etc it generally costs about £1.00 to save 1 gram ! But this budget can be smashed with the fun of making, converting, buying second hand or borrowing parts. Most beginners simply stick with their Road bike and take off the bottle cages on the day. You make it as cheap as you want and its much more fun.
The other thing is first find a Hill Climb that suits you, there is no point entering a short sharp steep Hill if you are more suited to the longer Time Trial type of ‘sit down’ hill. Personally I love anything up to 1 min 30 seconds and after that I’m so far into the pain cave, I’ve lost my torch and cant get out !
If you are genuinely interested, try the UK Hill Climbing page on FaceBook which is full of friendly, helpful posters and great information.
This weekend sees the culmination of the Hill Climb season with the National Hill Climb Championship which is being held at Pea Royd Lane, Stocksbridge on October Sunday 28th at 11.00. 300 Riders will contest to win their various categories and have the honour of wearing the National Stripes for the next year.
The top contenders are simply stunning to watch and if you have ever ridden Pea Royd Lane you will simply not believe the speed and power these lads can hold. If your Strava time matches them, then I suggest you get entered for next year NOW !
I have my thoughts on this weekend’s Winners, but I will leave those personal. What I can tell you is that they will be crossing their own lines, they will be putting it all out and their best effort on the line and just hoping that they have done enough !
Whatever, they will put themselves through a completely different level of pain than you can ever imagine, unless you pin on a number yourself.
As I said before, I’m 57, I’m not an athlete, but I like to push myself.
For you stats people, I’m 5’8, about 78kg and can push about 1450 watts peak, 277watts 20 min FTP and can hold about 600 + watts for a minute. Although those are fairly impressive, I have no lungs or stamina and suffer with heart rate going straight up to 195 bpm + !
I was asked by a ‘non-cyclist’ the other day “Why do you put yourself through this pain?” I thought about it carefully;
Because it is simply the best feeling in the world !!!
You enter an event on a Hill that you are more than capable of Riding up but because you’ve entered, you feel sick for a week before with worry and you question your ability. I’ve even questioned myself if I can even get up it !
As the week goes by you’ve talked about it, discussed lines, gearing, weather, wind, tyre pressures and then ensured your bike is simply in tiptop shape. Sometimes you even recce the Hill and usually a sorrowful time puts you further into the depths of despair and self doubt .
Turning up on the day is a joy, maybe after a Road Trip with fellow masochists. It’s great to see the familiar faces of friends. Unlike many sports the Top Riders not only talk to you but give you mutual respect.
You Versus The Hill
The next minute you are on the start line .. it’s You vs that Hill …vs the Clock vs Yourself . All you want to do is see those number fall, stop the seconds, stop the clock. You want to use every fiber in your body, every muscle every breath, every beat of your heart, use up every ounce of energy that you have.
Once you start, the Hill fights you at every pedal stroke, it rears up in front of you when you think you have nothing left, it litters it’s surface with obstacles like change of surface or gravel, or pot holes that might slow you or puncture your machine. It sometimes teases you with a short respite, but as you attack again it’s riposte will be of another ramp to put you in a place of deeper despair.
There is only you. You and your machine that you have created, engineered and developed to work with you. Like a trusted steed to help you slay the tarmac wall of the monster that will kill you if you show any weakness. You feel at one with your machine, as the pain increases the distance to go always decreases, but the hardest is yet to come.
But you can see and feel progress. You are on top of your game, you will not be beaten and then you suddenly have allies – spectators. They can’t give you any more power or the oxygen that you crave, but the crowd are your friend. The encouragement, the faceless wall of noise, the recognition of your name, knowing your friends and direct opponents are all rooting for you. They give you your final boost, the catalyst that somehow, miraculously, gives you inner strength, the will to go on. The final push to the line, where regardless of time, regardless of the other warriors fighting the same battle and regardless of your position you have Won. You are a Winner. You have achieved and you beat the Hill. You crossed the Line ….
Fight To Breathe
It’s over but now another fight starts. The fight to recover, to breathe. The finish line is like a tap, an adrenaline tap that slams shut, and without this incredible, self dealt ‘drug’ you are a simple mess going through a natural ‘cold turkey’. But as the body revives, the feeling of exhilaration kicks in. The euphoria caused by endorphins flooding through your veins giving you another massive natural high. You see your time. You smile….
That’s why !!
Oh, and I’m not really that busy on Sundays !
The Dave Rayner Fund
This year, I have embarked on an idea to raise money for the Dave Rayner Fund, a fund set up to support UK talent to become professional cyclists.
The idea is called the #PBChallenge and I pledged £10 to the Dave Rayner Fund if I beat my previous years’ PB and £20 if I didn’t ! …. The only thing is, this really took off and people started to Pledge for me, so there have been tremendous donations. Out of the 11 contested so far I have PB’d 8 … 2 to go. Send me a pledge if you want!
Great talking to you and I hope I’ve inspired you to pin on a number.
Running Dads is the brainchild of founder Anthony Turner. It was born of his passion for running and the body and mind fitness benefits derived from it. But it doesn’t stop there. The aim is to also extend this passion and example to his son, so that he may also aspire to the benefits of an active lifestyle and to appreciate the meaning of setting personal challenges.
Anthony explains, You see, I am a runner. I’m a Dad. I’m a running Dad. And my idea is that, as I am not alone in that, there is a community of us out there who enjoy not only the body and mind fitness benefits, but also part of our motivation is to extend this to our children. Running Dads is a way to bring those people together; to share experiences, hints & tips, blogs or vlogs and to brag a little to those who will listen as to what has been achieved. Whether it’s a 5km or ultra, trail or road; it’s all relative to the person undertaking the challenge.
Setting the example
I want Ethan, my son, to know what it is to have an aspiration and challenge and be able to meet it. To achieve something through hard work, commitment and sacrifice and reap the rewards. To understand healthy mind and healthy body is equally important and that it isn’t about the distance; it’s the journey. That’s why I run. That’s why many of us do.
The Running Dads community
Running Dads has gathered much momentum in the months since its inception earlier this year. Celebrating achievements of like-minded people and offering advice through Anthony’s own experience and also from the wider community. They have a growing and varied social media presence and their blog is full of posts from the running community covering a diverse range of topics.
Are our streets a safe place to run or are you literally running scared? The onset of Autumn/Winter and the dark morning and evenings that accompany it introduces to some of us a most unwelcome barrier to our running plans.
What is the problem?
TrueSapien and ‘ExploreRunner’ Tim Caldwell addresses this issue and how fear of running in the dark may be overcome.
As a man, I don’t feel like I have to deal with anywhere near the same number of barriers that women face in today’s society when it comes to going out for a run. No-one seems to care what I wear, how I look, or that I am indeed exercising in public. No, I’m not looking for sympathy! I don’t go out feeling like I might be followed, cat-called, sneered at, spat at (yes, a running club member reported this!) or ridiculed for running. I also don’t worry that the clothes I’m running in might provoke verbal abuse. All of the above have been highlighted by women as having had an impact on their decision to run or experience of running.
How real is the threat?
Like every runner since the film came out, I’ve had the really original ‘Run Forrest, Run!’ shouted after me, but I tend to just take it as a sign I must be running at a good pace for the comment. My eternal optimism does have its good points!
For many of my fellow runners, often women, the possible environment and atmosphere is far starker. Every ‘blackspot’ between street lighting is a potential place for people to lurk. That person who crosses the road is a potential danger to be aware of. The cul-de-sac or other street leading to a dead-end is a big ‘no-no’ when running alone as a female.
The abuse I’ve heard reported by female runners from the general public, both men and women is sickening. I just don’t get it. Women who run are probably doing it for many of the same reasons I do: to maintain or improve fitness, for enjoyment and some ‘me’ time, to discover new places, to lose or maintain a healthy weight, to burn off the anger/frustration/problems of the day. Where is the respect for people aiming to lead a healthy life? I’m sure it comes down to jealousy, idiocy or ignorance. I find it deeply troubling in modern society, when we have so many ways to be informed citizens, that intimidatory practices such as cat-calling, shouting abuse, ridiculing people who exercise, or following runners is even a ‘thing’ that some people think it OK to do.
What can be done?
Changing the attitudes of the masses is highly unlikely in the short term. Whether out of jealousy, ignorance, sexism or a combination of all plus countless other undesirable attributes, it’s something that isn’t going away. We have to tolerate it and deal with it in order to pursue the way of life we have chosen.
Tim gathered some feedback and suggestions from friends and acquaintances on how to best deal with the dangers:
One of the major ways in which you can stay safe and be seen in the dark is by wearing a headtorch. Brighter the better! Anyone you’re running towards won’t have a clue what you look like. For people who may harbour an opportunistic threat, not knowing if you’re male or female may well be enough to put them off from trying anything.
If you’re female then more neutral colours are best. Why shouldn’t you wear what you like?! I agree with you – it is a sad state of affairs but one that needs exploring. If you’re wearing pink (and by the way, pink truly is one of my favourite colours), then an opportunistic low-life is likely to assert that you are highly likely to be female…
iPhone’s ‘find friends’ and Garmins ‘LiveTrack’ are invaluable and can give the user and your loved one’s additional peace of mind.
Run with a friend
Not always possible and sometimes defeats the object of the ‘alone time’ benefit so appealing to many.
Try to stick to busier, populated, well-lit areas to limit the opportunity for people to act in a disgusting manner towards you.
This is one I particularly struggle with. Sticking to an amount of time which you agree in advance with your loved ones at home. ‘I’ll be home in an hour!’ I’ve been known to say, coming back maybe two hours later. However, this could well be useful for you to try.
Change your route
One of the things that opportunists might use against us happens to be one of our strengths – our discipline. We also tend to be creatures of habit, adopting and following the same well-worn path(s) on certain morning or night-time runs, or heading out at the same time on the same nights. Change things up a bit, become less predictable and as such, the likelihood of you suffering any issues will decrease too.
This one can be so difficult, but being in control of your emotions, channelling them into your running and looking where you’re going is so important. Horrible comments, shouting and swearing are incredibly upsetting and it is during these moments that you need to stay strong and focus on your running. Avoid the temptation to rise to the bait, knowing you can vent later in a safe environment of family and friends. As hard as it is, don’t let it get to you. Some people reported having people run alongside them. This can be so dangerous, particularly for the abuser, as they would tend not to be looking where they’re going. If this happens to you, my advice would be to ensure you keep looking straight ahead, avoiding eye contact and ensuring you can see where you’re going. In this situation, your safety is paramount.
Abuse like this will continue and increase unless it is challenged. The more that this is reported, talked about and publicised, the more society will understand and appreciate just how unacceptable it is. Tell the police, inform your running club or your family. Building a picture of what is happening could be valuable in enabling action to prevent abuse.
The people who think it’s OK to hurl abuse at runners, mock them by running alongside them, shout from car windows, follow and intimidate, sadly are people who have families. They are known, they have friends, brothers, sisters, parents, children, just like the rest of us. If you know people who think this kind of behaviour is ‘funny’ or ‘a bit of a laugh,’ it’s really up to you to stand up to them and educate them. Schools already do so much to attempt to instil a degree of respect for others, so this education is more about society as a whole.
Flexibility (know your environment)
If something doesn’t seem right and you are able to do so safely, cross the road, turn around or take a different turning. It’s better to avoid a potential situation if you feel an instinct about it, than to regret having acted later.
Thanks to Tim Caldwell for such an informative post on a topical and sensitive issue. To read more from Tim, head over to his blog at Tim’s Running World.
Most of the human race are lazy. Fact. Most of the human race are motivated by shallow, materialistic and meaningless goals. Sad fact. They don’t examine or question it because they gain a strange and distorted comfort belonging to the MAJORITY. They resent those that challenge this way of ‘life’ because they represent a more desirable version of themselves.
It was about 7:30 am and I was nearing the end of an enjoyable early morning, pre-work bike ride. Something I’d do a couple of mornings a week. Roads had been fairly quiet as I generally avoid busy urban streets for such rides. It was a familiar route for me. As regular cyclists will know, routes you cycle regularly consist of favourable roads and not so favourable, depending on factors such as visibility, width, business (vehicles), scenery and road surface.
I hit one of my favoured roads. It was wide, very flat and the surface was beautifully smooth and not one usually travelled by large commercial vehicles. I could comfortably travel at 23-25mph on this road, and car drivers, if feeling the need to do so, could easily overtake even with oncoming traffic.
After only 20 or 30 seconds my enjoyment was abruptly halted with two long, deafening blasts of a powerful air horn. WHAT THE FUCK! Despite nearly shitting my bib shorts, I managed to steady myself and glance over my right shoulder. A cab of an articulated vehicle was literally feet behind me attempting to overtake. I pulled over onto the pavement, fearing for my own safety to see the driver leaning across to his passenger window shouting, “YOU COULD FUCKING PULL OVER!”, followed by more blasts on the horn.
To say I was outraged would have been an understatement. I must have looked pretty fucking ridiculous in my lycra, shouting obscenities at an artic, challenging the driver to a fight on the pavement to settle the matter. Fortunately the driver continued on his way. Either he was in too much of a hurry, had deafened himself as well as me with his fucking air horn or, more likely, was an out of shape, lazy asshole that was nothing once of outside the safety that his vehicle gave him.
I was a bit ashamed of my reaction. I was angry. As I contemplated on the remainder of my ride, it wasn’t anger for my own safety. It was anger borne of frustration. For me, the behaviour of the trucker embodied so much of what is bad about our society. To him, I was a hindrance. A nobody. A faceless prick on a bike getting in his way and holding him up from his date with weak coffee and full English breakfast buttie at the next roadside café. I wasn’t a Father, a provider to four young children. A fellow human being, with many of the same challenges in life as him. Someone that would treat him as I’d want to be treated myself.
The Real Problem
Or maybe that was the problem. Maybe I represented what laziness or ignorance prevent him from becoming. His rage was incited by the fact I was doing what he knew he should be doing. I was in his face, making him confront his ‘nemesis’.
We can’t make people see that there is a better way, that there are meaningful goals and aspirations in life. Some will be inspired to change. Others will, over time. Others won’t because their attitude and beliefs are so deep seated.
So what is the answer? There is only one. Continue to set and lead by example to those we can influence. Those closest to us. Make questioning life and challenging ourselves a way of life, so that it may become their way too. Be TrueSapien. Challenge Life.
With exception of the New Year boost that is apparent from every gym around the world (from my limited view anyway) it seems it just might. There are plenty of articles about SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, where the shorter the days impact someone’s mood. Just check out the NHS page on SAD where the look at what it is, what the symptoms are and how we may treat it. It is without a doubt that it is a “Thing” and with a change of mood is a change in motivation.
Avoid the Extremes…
In relation to your training days summer is by far the best time to get motivated, right? I’m not so sure myself. I am wondering if it is actually Spring and Autumn that are the best times of year to get motivated. After all, we aren’t battling the elements of extreme heat or extreme cold.
With winter giving short days and cold months you can see why it becomes that bit more difficult to have the “get up and go”. Summer on the other hand has the longest of days but with it comes the heat. On top of that there is the holidays and the temptation to join friends and family in social outings. This isn’t conducive to a prime time to motivate. Whereas Spring and Autumn days have a decent amount of sunlight. We have also not quite overcome by the buzz of summer or wound down in the dark months of winter.
…or embrace the challenge!
So, in relation to training and getting the most motivated it’s the less extreme months that allow us to start anew or push harder to reach goals. After all, the elements are in our favour. But Truesapiens enjoy the challenge, check out our “Be Truesapien” page. A run in minus temperatures is like waving a cookie in-front of a Sesame Street character; it just has to be done. It is a defiance of modern day living, its self-proof we can still brave the elements but most of all it’s exhilarating.
Keep it moving Truesapiens
It isn’t easy though when the cold gets bitter or it has been sweltering hot. I myself have fallen foul to the temptations of the temperature controlled gyms. Fact is perfect conditions allow perfection in performance which is great. Just like the invention of light makes us able to work and play at nights. With that said though, if we do not challenge our environment then why challenge ourselves. I’m a big fan of functional fitness but what is the point if I cannot test how I function the extremes!
The only thing I must stress is BE CAREFUL! Mother nature has no mercy and the likes of heat exhaustion or hypothermia is not something we should ignore. So gear up, fuel up and hydrate. Winter is coming and this may be when many may see motivation waver, but this is where TrueSapien’s can thrive!
What is an Ultra Marathon? Even non runners will be familiar with the term Marathon but what makes a Marathon ‘Ultra’? How does it differ from a standard Marathon and what does it take to complete one?
Basically an Ultra Marathon is any race that is longer than a Marathon (26.2 miles). Some are several hundred miles long but most are in the region of 30-50 miles. Often off road or ‘trail’ based, popularity in these events has soared as they represent a further and enhanced challenge for se that have completed a standard Marathon.
Here, TrueSapien and ‘Explorunner’ Tim Caldwell kindly shares his experiences and insights gained from his first Ultra Marathon, a 50KM version of The NoMad Ultra earlier this year. Tim, a teacher by profession and a dedicated Father is a keen and avid runner and explorer (Explorunner!). He’s also deeply passionate about encouraging others to be active and to appreciate the great outdoors.
The ‘Ultra’ Challenge
Tim is a regular parkrunner and proud member of Long Eaton Running Club. He had previously participated in events from 5km up to the standard Marathon distance before committing to the NoMad Ultra Marathon that took place in June 2018. What additional challenges would this event pose?
“I felt fairly confident that my legs could take me to the finish line, as I had run over 50k in a test-run a couple of weeks beforehand, made up of a parkrun at Belton House and then an attempt to run home from there (70km away)” said Tim.
“What I was less confident about was my ability to run/walk and navigate myself along the course, whilst remembering to feed and water myself appropriately along the way”.
Many Ultra Marathons aren’t fully marshalled, due partly to their distance and most aren’t on city streets like most Marathons. The additional requirement of good navigation certainly adds to the challenge! “After just 2 kilometres, a fellow Long Eaton RC runner and I had to shout towards the speedier starters as they’d already got lost, running away from the route and effectively about to join the path we were supposed to be running away from! Inside, I felt sorry for these runners, but also slightly smug that I hadn’t (yet!) got lost”.
The mental challenge
Due to the heat and terrain, even reaching the marathon equivalent distance of 42.2 km had been far more of a challenge to Tim than the Marathon he’d run only two months earlier. But Tim still had nearly 10km left to go….
“It was only the fourth time I’d travelled this far in one go, so it was no mean feat. What makes me smile now looking back, is that at this point, my mind was now going, ‘Great! You’ve probably only got 10k left now after you got lost and you can easily run 10k in 40 minutes, so a sub 5 hour time is still on!’ Yes, brain, thanks for that. Your optimism delights the sh*t out of me. However, brain, let’s get this straight. I’ve ALREADY run 4 lots of 10k, plus a bit more, and right now, I just want to finish.”
Beyond the Marathon
So how did the additional distance to his recently accomplished Marathon affect Tim and how did he cope? How much more difficult can 10k be??
Tim recalls “As I continued with those last 10 kilometres, it took sheer determination and a monumental effort to keep putting one foot in front of the other. My thighs were aching, almost feeling like they were detached from my bones and ready to fall off, onto the road. I was grunting like a warthog and it was getting warmer with every step.”Why is this the case? On the face of it an additional 10k should be fairly straightforward right? Wrong. Being an academic guy, Tim has this helpful theory for explaining the ‘actual required’ effort to cover this additional distance. “A 50k Ultra marathon is actually equivalent to 42.2km PLUS another 40km (i.e. 8 actual kms multiplied by 5 because that’s how it FEELS to your body). So in effect, you’re running 82.2km. Train for that and you’ll be about good to go and enjoy your 50k Ultra marathon!”
Other lessons learned
As well as this re-evaluation of the required distance for which to train, Tim also learned other valuable lessons. Regular calorie intake is essential to keep your body and your mind from shutting down. “The pink and white nougat bars that I’d brought with me were sensational. I’ve never enjoyed these more and I scoffed an entire one as I walked through a golf course on the route.” Another valuable lesson learned was that of effective hydration. At one point, inside the final 10km he realised he’d entirely run out of water! At that stage, due to the hot conditions, almost constant water intake is necessary. He’d failed to fully replenish his supplies at the last checkpoint! “I felt I had plenty left, so I’d just topped up conservatively. I won’t make that mistake again!”
Post race reflection
By their very nature, a true challenge should leave a permanent mark on you and improve you considerably as a person and be capable of inspiring others to emulate your achievement. What were Tim’s post-race reflections?
“I really challenged myself with this Ultra marathon race. I learned a lot from the process of training for it, getting and testing the right kit, talking to people, reccying the route, navigating using a range of different sources and seeing what I’m made of both physically and mentally. While I was disappointed with my finish time of 5:36, the fact that I’d finished it without anywhere near as many rests as in my training run was a big positive. I’d run further in one day than I ever have before and other than one navigational issue, everything else had gone really well.”
There is no “one-size fits all” workout routine, but is there a blueprint for the amateur-athlete to ensure we can continue to strive in our goals and maintain healthy lifestyle? In general, yes there is; in a nutshell it is strength, cardio and skill training. No matter what you do, what your goals are you must ensure you have all three – after all, missing the right muscles for the job, without the heart and lungs being able and a lack of coordination, balance, movement etc… then no matter what your chosen discipline you’ll be falling short of where you want to be.
Eat, Sleep, Repeat, Repeat
There we have it; our perfect routine should ensure your workout is focused on your discipline and contains the right amount of strength, cardio and skill training. Of course, this includes correct nutrition, hydration and enough hours in dream world to recuperate and re-energise but it also must include repetition. Adequacy is easily attainable, anyone can put in just enough effort to take part. But we are TrueSapiens and we are not content with mediocrity. To be the best you can be, to be the master of your art, it takes a lot of time, effort and continuous work. Yes, we must challenge the body and mind with different techniques but that in itself is repetition: hone specifics skills or continually challenge yourself, perfection comes to those who engage in repetition.
It’s a Lifestyle Thing
You have most likely heard the words “Consistency is the key” a number of times and there is a plethora of motivational quotes to get us out of bed and back at it (one of my favourites “never stop, never stopping”). It’s a no brainer this one, but very much worth a mention. One point is to not look back, Improvement is something that happens, it is a future state so no need to dwell on what we did wrong or who is to blame. But when there is no motivation left be a routine – we are not always motivated to go to work but we do because it’s our routine and it pays the bills. Let your workout regime be your lifestyle routine, there no opting out as it pays you, which is as important as the bills.
The Missing Workout Element
Most of us with a small amount of knowledge know to warm-up and cool-down. We stretch, engage in mobility exercises and of course consume the right sustenance post workout. However, I believe the perfect workout routine is not in the hours a week where we put so much effort in to improve our performance, it’s in the day to day. It’s our day jobs, our social occasions and our downtime where we pick up our worst habits and bad traits. This is not to ban or constrain what we do, just to be more aware that we are developing outside the gym as well inside. The missing element is the focus to be better day in day out.
We can all be TrueSapien
None of this is primed for elitist only – to be TrueSapien is to be the best YOU can be. If you are stuck to a sofa wondering how to get fit again, if your merely wanting to play with your kids, get rid of an injury or
Set your targets high, develop your strategy and commit to achieving. That’s the TrueSapien way.
Bodyweight and Calisthenics practitioner Richard Blakeway epitomises and embodies the TrueSapien spirit. He recently set his sights on achieving one of the ‘holy grails’ of his field, the One Armed Handstand. The parameters being that he must be able to hold the position for 10 seconds. His initial estimate, bearing in mind he can already hold a full (2 arm) handstand comfortably would be 8 weeks.
Will he succeed? Let’s take a look at the initial stages of his progress ….
Initially Richard did what most would do. Attempt to achieve the objective right away. When the expected failure resulted it created a starting point that allowed him to evaluate where improvements need to be made and how to make them. During his first session he was able to move from a standard handstand to one armed and back, only momentarily. It was clear that a strategy would need to be applied, with incremental steps toward achieving the ultimate goal.
During his second session, Richard worked on reducing the transition from full to single handed by reducing the assistance on what would ultimately become the ‘free’ hand. He did this by using just a thumb tip rather than the full hand. His theory being that this would increase the load on his supporting hand to a lesser degree as an incremental step. By day 3, during a lengthy training session, Richard managed a maximum duration of 20 seconds using this technique. But his enthusiasm took its toll. The additional, recurring load on the right, load bearing shoulder caused severe soreness and Richard wisely took a rest day from the personal challenge to recover.
For the remainder of the first week of training, Richard decided to take away the crutch of the assisting supporting thumb. The resulting attempts caused a roller-coaster of conflicting emotions. Mainly frustration, disappointment and anger, interrupted by only fleeting moments of Joy and optimism. This is how Richard summed it up himself…
‘When I achieve my goal, for which I will have worked so hard and suffered so much, I will open up this little pot where I have stored all this frustration and by then the madness and rage will have fermented and turned into a beautiful butterfly of happiness….remember the route to success is always through persistent failure’
We will update Richard’s progress over the coming weeks. For more regular updates check out Richards Instagram feed (@richard_blakeway) which also contains details of his YouTube Channel.
We have a choice. Either be inspired and achieve more than you ever thought possible, inspiring others in the process. Or be jealous, and live a shit, pointless existence in obscurity and mediocrity. It’s the difference between being average and being TrueSapien.
Let’s face it, it’s nigh on impossible these days to avoid noticing the achievements of others. Social media determines that. From coverage of the exploits of elite sports people, to friends or friends of friends participating in Marathons, Ultra Marathons, OCR events or Triathlons.
On some level, have you ever felt jealous of another’s abilities, what they have achieved and the attention, sometimes even adulation that accompanies it? Even if it’s some total stranger that you don’t know from Adam. ‘how good it must be to be able to run that fast, cycle that far, look so fit’ you might think.
Well, it would be no surprise and you wouldn’t be alone. It’s natural to want what others have, that you have not. This emotion evolved within us humans to inspire one thing. Action to Progress.
For the average though, the overwhelming majority in the modern age, it doesn’t inspire this action at all. Instead, in shameless fucking ignorance, they persist in idly and passively observing the exploits and achievements of the TrueSapiens. In a desperate attempt to justify their own lackluster half-life, the average even criticize and mock those not accepting of the same mediocre, inhuman existence. They continue, in blissful ignorance, to piss away their potential.
There is a fine line between jealousy and aspiration. The difference being how the feeling is interpreted and the response it provokes. For a TrueSapien, it serves as a healthy reminder or prompt to reexamine what is important, what we want to achieve and how we’re going to do it. It creates discomfort, enough to make us attempt to eradicate it, to avoid it and in the process live a life of challenge, a life of purpose.
The challenge to maintain a workout routine isn’t easy. Our 9 till 5 work day is getting ever extended, and for some is a thing of the past. Working hours are longer, shifts disrupt routine and for me; travelling for work really messes with my plans. Travelling, although often seen as glamorous (and it is not without its plus points) does mean you leave your loved ones behind, your favourite evening rituals at home and your exercise regime out the window. For the former two there is not much I can do…and for that matter neither is there much I can do about my fitness routine in regard to there being a routine, but there is stuff we can do to keep up fitness levels or at least stop me from getting stale.
Workout while moving
When I travel I don’t travel light, I travel equipped. For my carry-on bag I load the backpack with power devices, my laptop, books, notepads, toiletries, power adaptors etc… The point is I keep it heavily equipped so one I am ready for a heap of delays if necessary and two its weight training. I go to the gym and do shoulder press, farmers walk, weighted lunges and the likes and have always tried to focus on being fit for purpose…well, here is my purpose; day to day life.
I try to use day to day life to further enhance my fitness to push me further to my goals. Every day I take the stairs, I walk the long way around, I park at the edge of the car park to get that extra bit of farmers walk training with the weekly shopping bags. Point is life is full of opportunities to improve, if only we avoid what we have built as humans (lifts, escalators and other short cutting devices) and use what mother nature built.
Home workout in the Hotel
Travelling around on trains, planes and automobiles can mean a lot of travelling on foot too. This gives me plenty of opportunities to do all the above and with heavy bags in hand. Even better, a whole day or days can go by without being able to hit the gym or go out for a run so skipping those travellators to journey down seemingly endless airport terminals acts as a great replacement and is all in a day’s work!
These tips, however, just take the edge off. I generally do look for a gym in the destination around or in my hotel but time isn’t always kind and gyms can be closed, ill fitted or just stuck for time when I have 45 minutes to meet my boss in the lobby for evening meal. I have found the best solution is hotel room workouts. They truly are brilliant and to be honest, are now a part of my routine at home. The apps and online videos available are free, effective, quick, require little space and generally no equipment and all I need to do is follow the leader!
Whether travelling, low on income, a gym-o-phoebe or just stuck for time or inspiration then check out some of these resources for high quality, result driven workout routines for anyone from beginner through to advanced:
Yoga With Tim – a wide variety of YouTube videos (235 at time of writing) as well as a Patreon option, Tim Senesi has 30 day runs and yoga routines to fine tune or rehabilitate and push you to your limits or pick any single video from a few minutes through to full 90 minute routines
Millionaire Hoy – a massive array of videos (911 at time of writing) for all levels of fitness Millionaire Hoy will boost your abilities whoever you are and whatever your goals. All this for free or subscribe to his Patreon page for a complete well-rounded program that puts gym PT’s to shame.
MadBarz App – Mad Barz has been around for years and primarily focused on calisthenics it is far more rounded that it ever has been. The app is slick, has no equipment options and great community and metrics to keep track of your progress.
Self motivation isn’t the key to achieving success. In fact ‘self motivation’ is often the cause of failure or a complete lack of drive altogether…..
It is widely believed that self motivation and it’s successor ‘self discipline’ are the prerequisites to success and achievement. Many a self help or personal development book from the recent past has backed this belief up, providing countless methods and strategies for developing and maintaining a resilient and unwavering self motivation and discipline.
The consensus seemed to be, that in order to achieve success, you needed to consistently coach yourself, convincing yourself of the future benefits. Like this was the essential ingredient, determining ultimate success or failure. The reason this falls down is that it is that it completely misses a VITAL factor. It isn’t based on YOUR BELIEFS AND WHAT YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE.
Constant motivation and self discipline is only required when you are trying to achieve SOMEBODY ELSE’S objectives, or if you’ve adopted aspirations created by the beliefs of other influential people in your life. Examples of the above are clear to see in our everyday lives. For instance, those of us in employment are ultimately working towards achieving the aspirations of the owners of the organisation for whom we are working. Everywhere we look we see people attempting to appear stronger, slimmer, younger than they are, which is an adopted belief to conform to a socially accepted standard.
Self motivation and discipline is required in bucket loads to achieve the above……and when that can’t be maintained depression, disappointment and failure is usually the result.
TrueSapiens live life differently. Whether intentionally or otherwise, TrueSapiens have questioned their beliefs and LIVE THEIR PURPOSE. If they work for others they do so not to simply keep a roof over their heads, but to provide a better future for them or their family. Gains and improvements are the result of living a life in accordance with their beliefs and passions, as they strive to be their PERSONAL BEST through a life of CHALLENGE, not in order to conform to socially accepted superficial or materialistic standards.
A trip out with my better half kick-started a conversation about eating meat; the quality of meat we are eating, the morality around the methods of how we kill the animals for our pound of flesh and so on. Both being meat eaters it really was merely a general chat that got a little out of hand and ended up us daring each other to stave from eating meat for a month. As she gladly took the challenge (and to be honest, had no doubt she could do it) I had to follow suit.
Pescatarian for a Month
That was what initiated my pescatarian diet for a month and as we approached the start I felt happy to take the challenge on. I’m a fan of meat (big fan of pork and its plethora of varities) but love fish too so thought it wasn’t going to be too bad.
When I was home the variety was incredible. My better half (and this being one reason why she is better) went out and bought fish and seafood I had never tried before. From white fish to smoked variations, sea based to fresh water, meaty swimmers to sea faring molluscs, I’m pretty sure I didn’t have one meal with the same fish throughout the month. Looking into recipes (check out http://www.fishisthedish.co.uk/recipes) we found a mesmerizing array of fish dishes, take out any that included bits of meat was like taking a cup of water from the dead see to see the affect it would have on the salt content. A whole new world opened up to fish and seafood and the question left to us with is “why did we not know all this?!”. We knew the seas were plentiful with our watery delights but meat is prevalent, so widespread we’d just forgot…or just became the norm to go meat first.
Things got difficult…
However, the month we had chosen to do the pescatarian challenge happened to be a busy one work wise and was travelling around quite a bit. It wasn’t long before I noticed what essentially became the biggest pain of being a pescatarian; eating out while on the move (of which happened a lot) is woefully void of fish options. Restaurants were OK albeit having a somewhat limited menu there was always, something to try and some places gave variety but the take-out restaurants, e.g. sandwich stops and the likes to keep me going while jumping on planes, trains and automobiles or just grabbing something quick and easy to take back to the office, was plane old boring. It was always some low-quality tuna or prawn-based meal with the biggest variety coming from the bread used…oh and pretty much always a sandwich or wrap. Some places did offer some better quality and variety of options, but they were far and few between, seeing 8 types of chicken, 4 varieties of pork and 3 beef options next to a damp tuna mayonnaise (eugh, mayonnaise) and prawn Marie Rose sandwich was becoming quite annoying by the third week.
So what did I really think?
At the end of the challenge, which we both completed, I was looking forward to some meat. I was very much looking forward to having choices again but the whole trial has left a lasting impression. Sushi was such a saviour in bringing some variety, excluding bread and not lathered in sauce fatty sauces that it has stuck as firm favourite for eating on the go. I now find myself reviewing the fish options at restaurants when eating out and salmon has now replaced my cooked breakfast as a healthier, and tastier option. I have to say I still love meat, certain dishes are still favourites of mine but the dietary split has gone from 70/30 in favour of meat to the same but in favour of fish.
In conclusion I highly recommend giving it go. It is not without frustration and like me, you may have some failed dishes (anything with crab is a no for me) but this was to be expected when giving things a go for the first time. Main thing I felt was how much better my diet was, quality sustenance when we could get quality produce (frozen mussels weren’t too great) saw less lethargy after meals and easier digestion. A bonus was a new world of food, love or hate it was great to find out new dishes, new seafood and new diet that has stuck with me. Even if not 100%.
The fitness journey and changes I’ve been on have had a profound impact on my outlook on life and the kinds of challenges I set myself. I wanted to enhance my social profile and chose Instagram as my media of choice. I did not want to brag about the activities I was completing or to seem big headed in my approach. The aim of pushing my workouts and races was to inspire others to do the same for themselves.
In the relatively short time that I have been doing this (18 months) I have lost 3 stone and had a complete lifestyle change. Yes I still have cheat meals and drink (occasionally) but an overall change in emphasis has occurred and I am following a different path to the one I was on in 2016.
I stumbled across Truesapien as I was posting online and instantly jumped on board with their ethos and beliefs. Challenging yourself and not settling for mediocrity meant that I was being shown the progress of athletes online who promoted the brand avidly. Wearing the brand and going out of my way to improve myself has resulted in new personal best times in a number of distances during my training time.
Breaking through the 20 minute mark for the 5km distance, smashing a year old 10km PB and half marathon times have been a number of achievements this year. It has changed my mindset and caused my to strive for new challenges to test myself. The completion of 25 miles at Europe’s Toughest Mudder has now resulted in the desire to complete even more in Germany later this year. I now constantly find myself looking at events online which have the potential to be the next big challenge and the guys at Truesapien have been supportive at every stage.
Being Truesapien has been motivational and the community of others is there at every step of the way to encourage you to push harder and further to smash goals and targets set!
The Excuse Trap is a treacherous place and one not easy to escape from.
Our dreams, targets and purpose are all driven by attitudes such as resolution, perseverance and drive, all of which are at the mercy of excuses.
The mediocre, the average and the ignorant live a life where excuses dominate every outcome of their actions. In severe cases, excuses are already prepared in advance of action, in readiness for inevitable failure even before the outcome is known.
They allow themselves to make excuses for not following their dreams, or use them as reasons to justify quitting after routine setbacks.
The actual impulse to make excuses can become a habitual response to failure and for laziness. It is not a natural, human trait but one which has become hardwired into the brains of much of our modern cultures due it’s entitlement attitude. It is a learned behavior.
TrueSapien’s are by no means immune to the impulse to make excuses. They too have been subject to the same living environment as the average and mediocre.
What makes TrueSapien’s different, is the awareness and consciousness of this poisonous attitude and the havoc and devastation it can wreak to their drive to succeed.
TrueSapien’s HEAR it but don’t LISTEN. We take accountability and responsibility, we feel the pain that failure and setbacks cause and we own that pain. we learn and we grow.
Are we so blinkered in your fitness goals that we overlook our general fitness and functionality?
A recent trip to south wales for a break from the rush of everyday life saw me and my girlfriend standing in a car park looking across a stream and along the edge of ravine where a path meandered up the slopes. This was Penn-y-fan, one of South Wales most popular peaks and our plan for the day was a leisurely walk up to take in the view. Looking up the rocky ascent didn’t bring much cause for concern, the path looked stead and the mountain itself looked more like a large hill in comparison to the daunting peaks in the north. The sun was out and heat was cranked up but we had water, snacks and a will to reach the summit with no concern to the journey ahead.
The path up the mountain isn’t too steep, and the length isn’t too long either but it’s gradient is relentless and it wasn’t long before my back was aching, thighs burning and sweat was pouring. I’m no athlete but I am no slouch either – I cycle, regularly practice a range of calisthenics, Tabatha and HIIT training is core to my workout and now I have my FitBit i’m getting a minimum of 10k steps a day but this big hill was taking considerable toll on my body. By the time I was half way up I was stopping every few minutes. OK, it wasn’t the most gruelling challenge of my life, not even close, but it was clear that all the jumping, climbing and generally moving about didn’t seem to help me in this activity…in fact, if anything, it felt like it made it worse!
I have mentioned a few of my favourite exercises above and there are plenty more but I analysed everything I do and realised that everything I do requires a lot of energy in a short amount of time. Even my bike is designed for the short but hectic dirt trails of mountains and off-road cross country rather the long rolling hills of road cycling. Fact of the matter is; i’m just not built for it! I built this body of mine and the fitness challenges I have faced and conquered did nothing to help me scale a mountain. Of course, we all know this to some degree, for example train in Martial Arts and you can fight, train to lift heavy weights and get scarily big and may think you can fight but I’d still put money on the smaller but trained fighter.
My aim has always been to be promote overall fitness whilst try and challenge and improve in areas I am more passionate about. I have the workout days I do because I feel I need to and those I do because I want to…or so I thought. Walking trails and mountains when possible is one of my “Likes” but it seems I have been missing a big part of what I both need and want to do in order to scale those illustrious heights.
What to do?
Re-analyze, rework and refresh my workout plan, that is what is needed. That is also what I am doing. I might not always get it right but that walk in the country highlighted a big flaw in my training plan as well as a big flaw in my thought process. Not just for climbing mountains but for all walks of life. Why is it I am doing what I am doing? How should I go about doing it? What is it I am going to do to get the steps done? Many things come about we think we are ready for, think we can handle. Physically, mentally and emotionally but we should be careful, sometimes things that seem easy can cripple us.
This is not to sway from what we want and avoid those mountain paths, but to just appreciate the task in hand, recognise we may not always be as ready as we think we are and, like I will do with Penn-y-fan and a range of other mountains, go again and again and again.
The year is in full swing and my training routine is in place and running like clockwork. Each days activitires planned…until the gym I attend decides to put its members into groups and force upon us some challenges!
The Evolution of Fitness gym owner Jase Robinson, ex forces and pioneer of callisthenics as a sport (street workout) in the U.K. obviously thought things were going too smoothly and decided to shake us up a bit. With gauntlet down we awaited our orders; any body weight exercise turned into a movement exercise. Nice. With stand and handstand push-ups already done by my team (walking to the side after each Rep) I opted for squats. Take the squat add a jump in a direction, all directions. Squat, jump right, squat jump back etc…
Easy right. I mean I loved taking the norm and putting a spin on it but not exactly challenging…I think Jase must’ve read my mind. 24hrs later Jase gave us another challenge to complete by the end of the week: 100 Muscle-Ups! Ok, I can do muscle ups and I’ve got till Sunday to complete but I don’t recall doing more than 20 muscle ups in a single session so this truly is a challenge.
The plan was to break it into 2 or 3 sets over 2 or 3 days. I started the first set with some single and double reps to warm up then decided to break it down to 5 reps a set. I had aimed for 30 to 50 reps max but as I got going and started to analyse my form the reps just started to fall away. About 35 in and my excitement for completing the challenge was building, 51 reps and my mind felt elated. I’m only half way but the feeling of having less to do than I’ve done got me buzzed. I had planned to stop at 50, now at 51 I couldn’t help but keep going. Fatigue started to hit me quite a bit at 77 reps as I started to fail regularly but buzzing that I was a few reps away from the home straight. 9 reps left and form was going, single and double reps were all I could do but that final rep, the 100th muscle up I found myself fist pumping the air with a the rocky theme tune playing as background music in my head.
I completed a challenge I honestly thought I might not be able to, and I did it in a way I thought wasn’t possible. It made me realise that I may not be aware of what I’m capable of…maybe I’m not the only one. It took one person to challenge and encourage me and even though we didn’t complete the challenge together as a group we all did it and found the group mentality, the feeling of comradely and not being alone in what was a mountain to climb was a huge help.
What I say to all that’s listening; challenge each other and do it together. What I say to Jase at Evolution of Fitness; bring on the next challenge!
To celebrate we did five muscle-ups together in a group…