Develop a Gorilla grip and conquer the monkey bars

Are you taking part in Tough Mudder, Spartan or another obstacle course race?

You are probably aware that a mainstay feature of these races is the monkey bars!  Some people do this effortlessly but if you are anything like me then you probably have found them a struggle!

Keep trying, keep failing:

I have put a lot of effort into trying to improve my upper body strength to conquer this pretty simple obstacle – I did pull-ups, lifted heavy weights and would even jump in play parks and use those monkey bars (when kids weren’t around of course) and yet it still was the most excruciating pain going across something that was a measly three metres at best.

It became something I always dreaded when I was obstacle racing as I knew I was bound to come off and have to do a penalty.

By luck, I was having a walk with the family around a local beauty spot where it had a ‘trim trail’ which I took great pleasure in showing off.  Then I got to the monkey bars.  I felt that old dread but as I was only messing around I thought I might as well give it a go.

Much to my surprise, I worked my way across the bars with ease first time.  I wasn’t warmed up and I was probably about two stone heavier than when I last went across the bars in the peak of my OCR career.

So how did I get the strength to conquer the bars with so little effort? Continue reading “Develop a Gorilla grip and conquer the monkey bars”

Advertisements

Why do you want more money?

In my last post I discussed about keeping goals simple.  A major part of this is how important it is to apply a metric to any goals that you set so that there is room for measurement as you progress.

This got me thinking about a goal that is very easy to apply a metric to that I would say 99.9% of people in the self-improvement field possess.  Of  course, I’m talking about –

Money

Money goals come in many forms:

  • To get a job that earns ‘X’.
  • Be a millionaire.
  • Make ‘X’ amount a month in passive income.
  • I want to be rich.
  • I want to be debt free.
  • Increase my business profit.

Some of these read better than others, applying a metric is better than a vague aspirational statement saying –  “I want to be a millionaire” is worthless, as it is nothing but a dream without any clear plans in place or a clear why you want to achieve that goal. Continue reading “Why do you want more money?”

How to keep your goals simple

The Internet really over complicates goal setting.

If it is not recommending the ‘best’ app to record your goals, it offers a platitude of content at the users’ disposal.  Many a cunning person has exploited this, as if by applying a monetary value their advice is seen more impactful, when it is just another piece of the same old regurgitated advice from across the globe.

Here is how it should be:

  1. Choose how you want to record your goals.
  2. Come up with what you want to achieve.
  3. Make a plan for it and put this into practice.
  4. (After much effort and habit) get a result.

Continue reading “How to keep your goals simple”

Bubbles

“Everybody is talking about this issue, why are they not doing anything about it?”

Being an environmentalist, this was something I heard all the time at events like this.

My main issue with this statement is the assumption from the individual that environmental sustainability is everyone’s main priority.  The reason they (i.e. the politicians) were not doing anything about ‘it’ was the simple fact that everybody wasn’t talking about this issue (i.e. the environment).

The environmentalist can be quick to judge those not fully behind the cause as selfish, but humans are more complicated than that, with a lack of appreciation that the average man on the street has other conflicting interests and priorities such as work, health, and their families.

Continue reading “Bubbles”

Enjoy the journey

Upon undertaking the journey of self-improvement an individual typically finds they go through three stages of emotions in the quest to live a more fulfilling life.

Elation

When a decision to self-improve is made, one commits to deliberate effort addressing what they want in life; typically this comes in the form of setting goals and undertaking research to inform and inspire such as books, recordings etc.

This is a discovery stage, where everything is new and many of the ideas is all new information.  The improver will have feelings of elation as they embrace the words of great minds, gaining knowledge that is ‘life-changing’.

Because of its newness goals are achieved a lot quicker usually because niggling issues, ignored for years are addressed. Tangible improvements are seen to health, wealth and social life.

You think to how you were in the past and why you didn’t take control of your life years ago.  But there is a naivety as the results are only ‘quick wins’, with many bigger challenges ahead, which leads to…  Continue reading “Enjoy the journey”

The fit father

Prior to the birth of my little girl, I spoke to a work colleague how I would fit my gym routine around my soon to be changing life.

“Oh you won’t have time for all that anymore,” they said in an almost self-satisfied manner.

The gym has been part of my life for over 15 years and to say its something I wouldn’t be doing anymore was like saying I wouldn’t be doing any breathing anymore – it just was not an option – I wasn’t going to sit back with TV, comfort eating and a dadbod (vomit..) Continue reading “The fit father”

120kg squat

Around the beginning of November last year I set myself the objective to be squat 120kg one rep max by the end of January 2018.

120-squat

My one rep max at the time was 105kg, which I would say I performed with a “faltering” form.  The pressure of my weight pushed my back and shoulders too far forward when squatting that I imagine if I had upped the weight it would have looked like I was doing a good morning.

Video of a good morning weight exercise.

Because I underestimated the difficulty to maintain good form (even for what seems like a measly extra 15kg) and remembering that I was running the No Ego Challenge in March, I failed to achieve my January objective. Continue reading “120kg squat”

The sense of it all

My dad joked when my daughter was born “Facebook has replaced the newspaper for announcements”

It was a statement I couldn’t help think and laugh about (perhaps inappropriately) when I read about the premature death of a former work colleague.

The Internet is supposed to bring us closer together, I can read hundreds of unsolicited opinions on the President across the pond paying off a hooker; yet it took over a year for someone who I knew, someone who lived about 20 miles away was no longer of this Earth.

A part of me can’t believe that not one person said to me “James were you aware…”

I only realised after another ex-colleagues, made a one-year anniversary reflection post.  I had been living my life to miss the news first time around and I thought what I was doing to miss this; I think I was worrying about some problem at work… insignificant in the scheme of life.

I couldn’t help see the bitter irony that as one family mourned the end of a life, my wife and myself were overjoyed and preparing for the baby scheduled to come into our life.

As a reflex I texted a dozen friends and family members sending my love and asking how they were doing.  It’s funny how death sucker punches you in the face making you appreciate who you do have.

The disappointing thing about not knowing was it came off like I did not cared, I cared… Continue reading “The sense of it all”

No ego, No quit, No hate

Recently I had the pleasure of running the No Ego Challenge, a delightful five mile trail race that starts at 6.30pm.  Because of this noticeable caveat, it is pitch black, therefore a head torch is not a luxury, but a must to run.

As it was my first race in almost two years, No Ego was a new challenge, where I couldn’t predict how I would perform.

The darkness was a unique challenge making it difficult to see what was underfoot and I had fresh concerns about old injuries wondering if my plantar fasciitis coming back to bite me in the… foot.

The good news is I am writing this post, so I returned and am not still wondering about Dalby Forest lost.  No Ego was a race where I learned about the importance of mental grit. Continue reading “No ego, No quit, No hate”

Out of step (with the world)

Several years ago my life was a mess, despite ambition and a strong work ethic, I saw little to no results.

With hindsight my priorities were out of order I was volunteering for an environmental charity where I was focused on trying to make the world better.  This was not making life better and I was a burden to those who loved me the most.

This made me realise there is no point trying to change the world when I can’t even change my own life.

The next day I quit working for the charity, vowing to sort myself out. Continue reading “Out of step (with the world)”