Fitness Journey Of A Bearded Mud Lover. Being TrueSapien!

Fitness Journey Of A Bearded Mud Lover. Being TrueSapien!

Written by TrueSapien Matt Briscoe.

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!

We’ll be featuring posts from Matt’s Blog, ‘Fitness Journey Of A Bearded Mud Lover‘, on a regular basis as he continues his journey. If you want to read more in the meantime head over to his page!

CHALLENGE LIFE. BE TRUESAPIEN!

Don’t worry, be effective (and therefore happy)

Stress comes in many forms; the UK left the EU, England was dumped out the Euro 2016, the pound has dropped in value, a project at work is behind and they are laying off people and not to mention the a raging argument with the wife, my car vandalized and bills are piling up. SO safe to say i might have quite a bit to stress about, but so does everyone else so i’m not special or part of a small minority. Stress is a part of our everyday lives but what’s it really all about? I mean maybe we, as a generation, are stressing about things we don’t need to or prematurely?

There is a saying “Don’t worry about the things you cannot change” but i’d like to take that a step further. It is normal to worry about your own and your loved ones welfare so job security, financial problems and that looming dark cloud over you that is the unfinished argument with your spouse will cause distress and they are all things you can have an affect on. You are responsible for maintaining or acquiring a job and for the expenditure of your household and you can choose the best method to resolve the ongoing argument, and the stress these give you make them a priority in your life. With that said though, finding a solution for any of these issues won’t be found by further worry or stress. You’ll need a range of skills to help find resolution in any given situation but worrying isn’t one of them, the stress the issues have brought has done it’s job by prioritizing them in your life. So reword the phrase “Don’t worry about the things you cannot change, and concentrate on the things you can change without worrying!”

 

The man that brought to us “How to win friends and influence people” (which is excellent and a must read if you haven’t already) also put together “How to stop worrying and start living” which is a great insight into living efficiently and diminishing stress. Like the best seller before it the advice is timeless (published in 1948) and unlike other “self help” books it’s entertaining and doesn’t just rehash the obvious.

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!

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.

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!’

Men are from planet fitness, women are from slimming world!

Okay, maybe not Planet Fitness itself (especially with it’s unexplainable and peculiar rules and regulations) and maybe not the popular dieting programme Slimming World but when it comes to a healthy lifestyle, on a whole men gravitate towards the gym and women opt for a dieting regime. I can understand why too; the ideal body for a man is deemed as a muscular physique and women desire a slim build. Yes, woman want to have tone to them too and men don’t want the flabby spare tire around their gut but there’s priorities and feel good factors that drive the genders to what seems the ultimate plan of diet or gym respectively; Women’s priority is to fit into clothes that they bought in yesteryear and men want to fill out that t-shirt so their biceps bulge can be seen regardless of the fabric covering them. And the feel good factor? women like it when they see a few extra pounds have been lost over the course of a week and men like to endorphin rush and pump of a session at the gym.

This may be a generalisation and modern day trends means there are more women at the gym and more men opting to count calories. But theres a long way to go before equality is reached in both categories. But thats not the issue! The fact is that many seem to focus on a single aspect, whether it be diet or gym. The solution to the desired physique is rarely complete…maybe here lies the problem? Magazines and online ads are filled with tips and tricks to “lose the belly”, “slim for summer”, “pack on the muscle” or other calls for you to delve into their material for the latest or / and greatest information for changing your body. My point is, maybe we are asking the wrong question or rather have the wrong goals?! I’m not against wanting to look good, I myself love it when the benefits of a rounded training regime and a healthy diet are noticeable. But it’s a bonus of trying to attain a healthy lifestyle not the main goal!

If we aim for health rather than gratifying our desire for an aesthetically pleasing physique then perspective becomes much easier. Dieting fads are abolished as we focus on correct nutrition and a lopsided gym routine is left by the wayside as we have a much more rounded approach. There is still room for chosen disciplines – bodybuilders can still pump up for massive gains in strength yet can enjoy a slim physique and not tire out when running up stairs, endurance sportsmen & women can improve their ability, stave injury and hold their child aloft without fatiguing within seconds as an all round fitness and strength is attained etc.. etc.. The point is, ignore the calls for a great physique as this will come as bonus benefit of living a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Then Men and Women will be equal once more…well, at least they will share a common goal and we will all be fitter and healthier for it!

Don’t agree? Have another perspective? Or maybe looking for advice? Please get in touch as we would love to hear form you!

Last Man Standing? Is Manliness a thing of the past?

Do you feel as though you’re one of the last men standing?

Masculinity and Manliness are traits that are rapidy disolving in men today.

In days gone by manliness was considered a sought after quality, admired by fellow men and a source of inspiration and desired by the fairer sex. The more ‘alpha’ the male then the more likely he would be to succeed.

Men relished working hard, not afraid to roll up their sleeves, get their hands dirty and do what was necessary to put food on the table. They were more concerned with what they did than how they looked doing it, not afraid to speak their minds and challenged themselves and others in physical pursuits.

So what changed?

Through the rise in gender equality in all aspects of life, ironically the spirit of manliness was batted down, suppressed and critcised. Men went too far in their aim not to offend and to be more politically correct in a society increasingly aware of of gender equality.

Gone was their clear identity and core principles, passed down from father to son, generation by generation only to be replaced by a confused state of uncertainty of how a man should act in order to avoid criticism from the masses.

So what should we do?

Of course we don’t want to return to days of sexism, chauvinism and suppression, in fact we need to show even greater respect to others, elevate them, champion them and encourage them to greater achievements.

But we need to do this as men. We need to be proud of who we are and be true to what inherently drives us, without worry of condemnation. We need to reverse the emasculinisation process. Hold ourselves accountable for what we have in life and not blame any setbacks on others, the society in which we live or the government for making success ‘impossible’. We need to believe we are strong, mentally and physically and accept that nothing in life is going to be handed to us on a plate and that we are in fact ‘entitled’ to very little. We need to inspire and set examples by our actions and not just words.

In short we need to Man Up.

Metrosexual Man has gone too far…..

The average man takes 6 minutes longer to get ready to go out than the average woman….! Tell me this just isn’t true!

Modern men are in a bad state. They have a confused identity brought about initially by the rise of feminism and later by advertising campaigns of cosmetic and healthcare products, hell-bent on de-masculinising the male of the species for their own gain.

They diet, moisturise, self- tan, follow celebrity news and gossip and shave their chests for aesthetics!

Next we’ll be sitting down to pee. It’s time to stand up, be a man, leave the seat down and completely miss your aim! (Metaphorically).
Man Overboard

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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