When I was 26 years old, I decided to get into distance running. With a young family to think of, as well as myself, it was a sport that was cheap and took little time to participate in. I needed to learn about the sport so I bought a copy of Runner’s World and every month for the next five years I bought that magazine and read it cover to cover. There was no internet so Runner’s World was my go to for information.


After those five years, I realised that every month there was very little new to tell me. Each month the same articles were written in a different way but were telling the same message: run longer distances slowly, run intervals quickly, build mileage etc etc. Where I’m heading with this, is if you regularly read what I write, and you think I’m going to tell you anything new and radical here, then think again!

Now, 20 years later, I no longer run long distances regularly. Interestingly enough though, I have honestly just returned from a six mile jog along the river, and am sat here in only a towel, after my shower writing this!   That is because I have my best ideas when running and walking, so I’m taking advantage before I lose my thread! ……..I digress.

I no longer run long distances but I still keep fit; very fit. In fact, in everything besides distance running I’m still improving all the time. It’s a great feeling.

  • 1. Firstly make sure I completely over indulge in my time off because I deserve it.
  • 2. Decide enough is enough
  • 3. Look in the mirror and hate myself
  • 4. Stand on the scales and reaffirm that the only possible way I will be happy is if those scales read a particular number when I stand on them. That is by far the most important point.
  • 5. Eat salad and grilled, skinless chicken breasts as often as possible and give up everything I usually eat and drink that got me in the state I’m in in the first place.
  • 6. Go to the gym as many times as I can.
  • 7. Not seek help with my mission.
  • 8. Not listen or adhere to anyone’s advice  because I know best. (this one is particularly easy to do as I am a middle aged man and middle aged men know it all, especially when it comes to doing something as easy as eating salad and going to the gym!)
  • 9. Stick religiously to points 2-7 for as long as I can stand.
  • 10. Quit after 4 weeks.
  • 11. Resume points 1-10 as soon as the next Bank Holiday arrives.

At 46 years old the above is the surefire way I stay in shape, maintain a very high level of fitness and never ever become sick and I have operated that way for the last twenty years.

Over 12,000 Hours of Personal Training Has Taught Me a Few Things

Hmmm. Or maybe not!

How familiar do those points sound? How many times have you followed the points 1-11 and still stay in a condition of health and appearance you are not happy with?

And if you fail then do you blame yourself that you’ve just not tried hard enough? Trying to live by those 11 points to get yourself in shape are so common with people across the world but do they ever work?

If we look at each one individually we can see how they all could quite possibly keep you in long term poor health and condition.

  • 1. Indulge because you deserve it? No you don’t. You deserve to be happy. You don’t deserve to escape into over indulgence by consuming toxic substances.
  • 2. Enough is enough. Fair enough, you can decide to change. Sometimes this happens in an instant and sometimes it is gradual but deciding to change for the better is a good thing.
  • 3. Do not hate yourself. How do you expect to nourish, nurture and take care of something you hate? Love yourself. Once you love yourself then you can only grow and prosper.
  • 4. What the scales say in weight is utterly ridiculous. When we step on the scales we measure four compartments:
  • i. BONE: more is better.
  • ii. MUSCLE: more is better.
  • iii. SUBCUTANEOUS FAT: more is better.
  • iv. VISCERAL FAT: more is worse.

So what you should be interested in is reducing your visceral fat (fat around the organs). Your weighing scales take no account of this.

  • 5. If you radically change what you eat and remove everything you enjoy then the chances of you sticking to your plan are remote. Lifestyles, habits, rituals and behaviours are difficult to change in an instant. To gradually change over time has more chance of success.
  • 6. Going to the gym many, many times is the same as point 5 above. If you are not used to behaving that way then it is probably not going to last. Perhaps start with 2 or 3 times and see how you get on. If you like it then go some more or try another activity outside of the gym.
  • 7. You should seek help with your mission. If you are not an expert then let someone help you who is. An example could be the Kettlebell class I teach. Kettlebell lifting requires a learned skill and if you want to use bells you should learn the art. If I was teaching a helicopter flying class would you expect to rock up and start flying along with all the other pilots at your first attempt?
  • 8. Not listening to anyone’s advice is similar to point 7 above. Health & Fitness is an interesting subject because most of us think we know what to do but most of us have little success. If you wanted to build a house would you simply start laying bricks yourself and hope for the best? That’s the way most fitness campaigns work. Again, seek the help of an expert who can direct you the right way or at least give you options.
  • 9. Don’t stick to points 2-7 as long as you can. I was being sarcastic.
  • 10. The likelihood is you will quit if you behave that way.
  • 11. You probably will over indulge again once the next bank holiday arrives if you see no success from your last attempt.

So how do I plan to get in shape again following a bank holiday weekend?

Well if you know me and you’ve read my work before then you’ll know that it doesn’t really matter. I won’t get out of shape during a bank holiday weekend. If I eat and drink a load I’ll simply resume the behaviour I did before I signed off for work.

The trouble is that drinking and chocolate eating are seldom reserved for bank holidays these days and much more common as an every day staple. And if I do eat and drink loads then you can bet I’ll be taking myself for a thoroughly good bout of energy expenditure either before or after I consume to maintain the status quo.

So in the final paragraph above, there you have it – the same message rewritten in a different way to give you something entertaining to read.

Eat good quality meats and vegetables, drink water and exercise. Do not deviate from that plan until you die and if you do then get back on it straight away. If you need help with that then I’m here!