Ain’t no mountain the same!

Ain’t no mountain the same!

Fit for purpose?

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!

What’s missing?

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.

Work the core without the bore.

Don’t be confined!

Core workouts can be a bit boring or confined. OK, you might be one of those people who love the core burnout (I also fit that particular bill) but the movements in many a core workout are limited to floor exercise or lateral movements that focus puerly on the “core” with a seemingly limitless different type of crunches. The problem with this is that your core works hard all day long but most of that time is not lying down and movements are complex and composite. So if we want to explore the core and really improve its functionality then we should be working it in many different ways so it is developed to meet your personal needs.

What is the core?

First of all what is the core? Well, it isn’t just your abdominals – they are the set of muscles that are often mistaken for being core but the abdominals are just part of the story. The core is range of internal muscles such as the transverse abdominals, multifidus, diaphragm, pelvic floor, amongst others that are used to help stabilize and help transfer power as well as being a major factor in nearly every movemnt and posture we do.

How to work your core?

This bit is easy to say but not so easy to practice – just think about it! Literally just think about using your core during your exercise routine to improve its functionality. You can still add in a few isolation exercises making sure you hit the forward / backward folds (e.g. crunches and torso raises), the side bends (e.g. oblique crunches) and twisting (e.g. russian twists)  as well as static holds (e.g. the plank), but let your routine focus more on core. Deadlifts, push ups, pull ups, kicking, jumping, crawling, bench pressing; reagrdless of your exercise make the core a focus for controlling the movement and you’ll improve your performance in your chosen field as your core becomes stronger and more dynamic.

A tip to maintain core control is using the same muscles you use to stop yourself from urinating, just lightly contract them instead. The hips should pulled up and forwad, the belly button pulled in to the spine, the lower ribs pulled down into the your front pockets and the shoulder blades weigh heavy down the back. Don’t tense though, suybtle and comfortable is the key!

Why bother?

You might want to be the best you can be in your chosen activity, or you may want to decrease your chances of injury, it could be you are fixing ailments such as bad backs or you may want a six pack to show off. All these goals neeed a lot of work to attain them but one thing is for sure; your core is essential to reach these heights.

Conclusion

Let’s not ditch the crunches but it is possible to work the core harder by focusing on the role your core has to play in your workout or sport. It doesn’t stop there either, your core is used all the time even when you are standing up and sitting down. So keep the core tight, maintain good posture and you’ll be less prone to injury, ailments and have increased performance!

Stop counting Calories!

Well…don’t stop exactly but stop making it the priority number one! Many diets look at the calorie count of food and it seems the norm to check the amount of calories in food when shopping. Packaging even has marketing ploys on them that home in on this trait by declaring that there is “Only…” so many calories in this bar, dessert, snack etc… Outside the shop and it seems restaurants have sections on the menu that are specific to calorie intake such as the “Under 300 calorie menu” and magazines have article after article about burning those last calories or the most calorific foods. We are calorie obsessed, and it is all in the name of losing those few extra pounds. If losing weight is our goal then it is true that calories burned minus calories eaten needs to be a deficit number in order to lose weight, however, this is a very black and white view on dieting and the human body is a highly complex machine that requires more than just fuel to work optimally and to carry on working to it’s full potential for as long as we live.

Losing weight is so important to so many that being healthy (a word that seems to be losing credibility) can be sacrificed. The “calories is all that counts” attitude means many are missing the required nutrients for a healthy living diet. I have even heard of people missing meals so they can eat that cake later or go out on the pop with friends. Makes sense, right? You can only eat so many calories per day so cut down on food throughout the day because Aunt Jackie’s birthday party is on this evening and it’s going to get messy and wine, beer and cocktails. On the other hand there is the calorie compensation too; a cake has manifested in the works canteen…the piece and a half you had needs to be offset somehow, another 20 minutes on the treadmill will make up for it. Again, makes sense? I mean calories in from the cake have been burned off by calories out on your run but once again; the human body is not simple, it is a complex machine and calories only define energy consumed / burned and have no bearing on the nutrients.

This is the mentality of counting calories brings about, we disregard all the other factors. If you are serious about “getting into shape” then I may assume that you are out of shape and that it didn’t happen over night. It’s the same to get your desired body;it takes time and, let’s face it, it’ll be a long and arduous task but it’ll work and it’ll be worth it. Not only slim but healthy, strong, mobile and all round performance will improve in all aspects, not to mention you will look better as your body isn’t just losing weight but gaining muscle.

So STOP making calorie deficit your only goal and change your lifestyle; eat healthy, keep hydrated and exercise regulary and properly (and have fun) – you’ll have the body you want and reap a whole host of benefits and bonuses that come along with a healthy lifestyle!

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.

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!

 

 

 

Alcohol: a good slave, an awful master!

At the time of writing it ’twas the season to be jolly and therefore saw a flurry Christmas parties and shenanigans. This means even those who refrain from the weekly binge drinking sessions found themselves propping up a bar or leaning into a friends ear to tell them how much they love them. I was one of those people.

Now, I love a drink but I am much more of a light social drinker having the odd beer with a friend or wine with my meal or a tipple some evenings to wind down. So these evenings of copious amounts of alcohol aren’t something I am used to and although I hold my own on the night I am finding it increasingly difficult to handle the day after. This happens to us all right?! And it is of no surprise, after all your body has taken in a large quantity of the drug and you liver is working damn hard to process it and your immune system goes into overdrive as it fends off the toxin. But a day or two (maybe three after those whiskies that you were persuaded into downing) and you are back to yourself again where normal life can resume. Or can it?!

The problem is it had been a good three days after a celebratory drink and my body felt good again. I had hydrated, had good sleep and was back to a good food routine (or so I thought) so I was ready to hit the gym…or so I thought. However, after an optimistic warm-up I hit my reps only to be bewildered by the quick fatigue and diminishing performance – “What is wrong with me”! I rested, hydrated and hit the reps again hoping it was just a blip but things got worse. I have been training pretty much my whole life and acknowledge that some days, for varying reasons, you can’t quite get the performance you want or expect. But these days aren’t even close to what I was experiencing – my performance felt it was only just hitting 30% of what I am used to. I know my binge session with the lads was a big one but surely it wouldn’t effect me this much, especially as (I thought) I had completed my hangover stint!

Walking away feeling confused I wanted to find out why this might be. I found out that there’s more to alcohol than just dehydration and ridding toxins, apparently alcohol:

  • Hello Estrogen, Goodbye Testosterone – alcohol slows down your ability to process estrogen and this slump means a build up of estrogen which in turn means a decrease in testosterone as estrogen lowers the levels. We need testosterone as it helps muscles grow and repair – maybe I shouldn’t have danced after that fifth pint!
  • Vitamins and Minerals just wash away – large amounts of alcohol will see levels of vitamins A, C, the B’s, calcium, zinc and phosphorus which we need for many reasons such as energy, muscle repair and immune system rapidly decrease.
  • Snooze Quality – while alcohol can knock you clean out it doesn’t give you good quality of sleep, and as your body deals with the effects of alcohol. Sleep is the bodies downtime and much recovery is made during this time. So I may have been getting my sleep patterns back but I hadn’t quite got there meaning when the body was put to the test it didn’t quite have the “umph” needed.
  • Hydrate isn’t just water – I had hydrated…so I thought. But my body needed more than just water. It needed electrolytes – salts and minerals that help keep you hydrated.

So one thing is for sure, the hangover had gone but the effects of alcohol hadn’t quite overcome. Two days later I went to the gym and felt more myself – I’d got an early night, continued hydration (with electrolytes this time) and managed to get back towards my normal self.

This experience wasn’t anything ground breaking, but it reminded me of how excessive drinking can effect our bodies and functioning even after a couple days recovery. The instant “I’m never drinking again” feeling soon passes so I still enjoy a drink at home or with friends but the reminder helps me keep it balanced and enjoy it without detrimental effect to the other antics in my life. It’ll also help keep at bay any real health issues I might’ve had with drink in later life. So i’m going drink responsibly, because I’m responsible for making things happen in my life.

Cheers folks!

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!’

Workout 666 (Just missed purgatory)

This workout includes 6 cycles of 6 reps for 6 exercises which will total 216 repetitions. You can pick any exercise according to your level and increasing or decreasing the the time of rest will modify the intensity of the workout. Here is the exercises I did with some suggestions of alternative exercises if you begin to tire or need something to help progress you onto the main exercise:

[table id=1 /]

I did this work out with a friend at a local reservoir where we found some bars to play on. You can perform the cycles and sets as you please, alternating the exercises will give you some rest bite to some muscles and allow for minimal rest which will increase cardio intensity or you can concentrate on each exercise to work on strength a little more but either is fine. Due to needing to move around for equipment we completed the first three bar exercises first then moved onto to the others. I will be playing around with the order in future to keep things fresh.

It was great to get outside to train. Bars are in short supply where I live so was chuffed to find these at the local reservoir in Birmingham, UK. It was a hot humid day so quickly got the sweat going and the lungs working but the heavens opened up for a welcome cooling downpour…although from the looks of it passers by wasn’t so pleased as they ran for shelter. I’ve no doubt i’ll be back to the convenience of the gym at some point but nothing beats working out with the sky above and theres always something you do, even without a bar.

There is plenty of help on the web for all these exercises and help with progression and i’ll be providing some tips and techniques in my future blogs but to help point you in the right direction just google the exercise, I have included some resources from YouTube and BodyBuilding.com below:

[table id=2 /]

This workout is actually the easiest of three 666 workouts:

  • 666 (Just missed purgatory) – 6 cycles of 6 reps for 6 exercises (216 reps)
  • 666 (Entering hell) – 6 cycles of 66 reps divided by 6 exercises (396 reps)
  • 666 (In the bowels of hell) – 666 reps divided by 6 exercises (666 reps)

Today, I tackled the first of these hellish workouts. I did the second with help of Evolution of Fitness gym in Coventry the other week which was all pull-ups which was gruelling and i’ll get back to that at a later date.

In the meantime have a stab and feel free to comment or ask questions below. I’d like to thank YouTube (especially Frank Medrano videos), bodybuilding.com, http://evolutionoffitness.co.uk/, http://athletebox.co.uk

Born To Run. Born For Action.

Born to run. Born for action.

 

Vit1

Are we wasting the gift of our incredible human body? Something that has been fine tuned to perfection by virtue of over 4 million years of evolution to enable us to, for instance, outrun any other mammal on earth over long distances?

It was only incredibly recently in history that the large majority of us humans have been freed from having to do physical activity in order to survive. As hunter gatherers our bodies evolved over hundreds of thousands of years to be capable of walking or running at least 12-15 km per day. As a result our bodies are loaded with all kinds of features: short toes that require less energy to stabilize and generate less shock when running; the Achilles tendon that stores and releases energy appropriately as we run; the large gluteus maximus muscles that steady the trunk; and stabilization of the head.

Not really physical attributes required for spending hour after hour lounging around on the sofa, lying in bed until mid afternoon or driving the car to the shop around the corner instead of walking.

Illnesses such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease are being blamed on physical inactivity, our greed and over indulgence of inappropriate processed, sugary and unwholesome food and drink. Not to mention the negative physiological effects of inactivity.

Vit alt

Being active has proven scientific benefits to our mental health…..is it really a coincidence that social disorder and anti social behaviour are more prevalent in cultures prone to the above?

It’s also recently been proved that 75% of contributory factors to the onset of dementia are lifestyle related.

Do yourself a favour. Get out there, be true to your human heritage and celebrate what you have. Take it step by step…..treat it like your own evolution!

We all make mistakes

Our busy modern lives often distract us and make us less patient than we should be with those closest to us. Those that really matter. What makes a man great isn’t in the absence of making mistakes but in recognising them, apologising for them and striving not to repeat them.

Prioritise how you spend your time and remember, we’re hero’s through the eyes of our loved ones.
“Listen son; I am saying this as you lie asleep, one little paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your damp forehead. I have stolen to your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guiltily I came to your bedside.
There are things I was thinking, son: I had been cross to you. I scolded you as you were dressing for school because you gave your face a mere dab with a towel. I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called you out angrily when you threw some of your things on the floor. At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. And as you started off to play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a hand and called, “Goodbye, Daddy!” and I frowned, and said in reply, “Hold your shoulders back!”. Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I came up the road I spied you, down on your knees, playing marbles. There were holes in your stockings. I humiliated you before your boyfriends by marching you ahead of me to the house. Stockings were expensive-and if you had to buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son, from a father!

Do you remember, later, when I was reading in the library, how you can in timidly, with a sort of hurt look in your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at your interruption, you hesitated at the door. “What is it you want?” I snapped. You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, and threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, and your small arms tightened with an affection that God had set blooming in your heart and which even neglect could not wither. And then you were gone, pattering up the stairs.
Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped form my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. What has habit been doing to me? The habit of finding fault, of reprimanding- this was my reward to you for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expected too much of youth. I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years. And there was so much that was good and fine and true in your character. The little heart of you was as big as the dawn itself over the wide hills. This was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night. Nothing else matters tonight, son. I have come to your bedside in the darkness, and I have knelt there, ashamed!

It is a feeble atonement; I know you would not understand these things if I told them to you during your waking hours. But tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, and suffer when you suffer, and laugh when you laugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come out. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: “He is nothing but a boy. A little boy!”

I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. Yet as I see you now, son, crumpled and weary in your cot, I see that you are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother’s arms, your head on her shoulder. I have asked too much, too much”

Courtesy of ‘How To Win Friends And Influence People’, by Dale Carnegie.

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