Saturday, 28 July 2012

Tough Mudder Scotland 2012

Well the day eventually came round, the 14th July 2012 when Gordon and I were faced with the mighty task of Tough Mudder at Drumlanrig Castle. Here is The Official Map.There were 22 defined obstacles with a route of around 12 miles.

Gordon asked me to train him and his friends for this event back around Christmas 2011, I agreed. By January I heard he was to face it alone as his comrades had deserted him, so I offered to step up to the challenge. I won't go through the 6 months of torture I put us through but I will take you through the actual event.

Our set off time was 8:20 am and were advised to be there 2 hours early, it made sense, there were a lot of cars filled with spectators, participants and first aiders. Make sure you follow their advice and fill in your forms and have your picture ID available or you won't get in. The journey in was spectacular, beautiful rolling roads, and driving in to the castle grounds through the early morning Scottish mist. Ah.. makes you proud to be a Scot!

I hooked up with team mate Gordon, and he had brought some spectators. Being honest, I was so happy to see his partner and friends, it was a good moral booster. We checked out the other competitors and more to the point, what they were wearing. Superhero outfits, a jock strap (yep, that was all!), wet suits, t-shirts, vests and 3 guys had on a suit and tie with running shoes. They reminded me of the bad guy in 'The Matrix". Some people were off getting their mullet trimmed or a mohican which I believe was free if you were a contestant. Hmmmm. There were a few tents scattered round selling food, drink, protein supplements, Under Armour gear and a DJ tent. All good!

We checked in the little baggage that we had and watched as the first batch of Mudderers left after, in my opinion a terrible warm up given by the hosts at the DJ stand. Adrenalin high, testosterone on a whole new level and hearts a thumpin. Next it was our turn 20 minutes later.

We heard over the tannoy, we had to make it to the starting line. He didn't say we first had to climb over a 7 foot wall but that was no biggee. Thats it, about 500 of us were huddled together in a little pen, getting riled at the Start line. The commentator was playing "Eye of the Tiger" and strangely enough "Walk 500 miles" and shouting things to us so we shouted back. We were mixed with other veteran Tough Mudders from around the globe just wanting to tick off another one. American, Australians, Italians, French and I believe a Hawaiian. The count down was on 5, Gordon leaned in and said he felt a bit butterflies, I  began to question myself and found I didn't, and then wondered if it was good or bad. Ultimately I put it down to "well, we trained hard enough for it, we are as ready as we are gonna be". The air horn blew and we were off....

1. Braveheart Charge
This was simply a warm up just to get the legs, heart and lungs working together in unison. We had both agreed "slow and steady" after all this was not a race but an event for camaraderie and of course crossing the finish line still alive. Steady jog climbing slowly up hill, met by the occasionaly Broadsword weilding Scotsman shouting "ARR" and "OCH!" and a few other swear words I won't document here.
2. Kiss the Mud 1
This was a crawl under a mesh of barbed wire. Your objective was to keep your ass down, so if you are thinking about taking a bum bag or hydration system - don't. Theres plenty of places to get water.This works your core as you mainly use bent arms and a wee bit from your legs.
3. Artic Enema
Yes, this is a bad as it sounds. Jump into a container full of iced water up to your middle, wade over to a wall and plunge your head under, go through an opening in the wall and come up the other side. Make sure you know how deep the hole is and don't header the wall as I did, giving me another attempt in this icey hell. I made it, but by then my arms and legs were numb and cramping. I would say maybe about 3 minutes I was in but it felt longer. Where was Gordon, aw he was in and out before I could say 'bloomin eck thats cold!'. But remember as Bear Grylls says get your core back up to temperature asap, even if you have to do some star jumps. Preparation for this is cold showers, then cold baths no longer than 30 secs though.
4. Boa Constrictor
Now I know why there was a plumbing company sponsoring the event. They supplied the pipes. You had to crawl into pipes which led down into a pond, where you ended up about 60 percent submerged, you then had to climb up and out through the next, muddy wet, smelly pipe. I had on knee protectors, which were a good idea but not for this as they prevented me from being able to use me knees as I couldn't bend my legs the pipe was too narrow. Thats when I got a hefty push and appreciated push from another competitor coming up behind. Thanks mate - needed that. Again Gordon snaked through with the ease of a grass snake.
5. Walk the Plank
What can I say, climb up a quite dodgey looking platform so you are about 15 feet up , from a murky deep, cold, dirty, muddy, big pond. (Bearing in mind Scottish water only changes around 3 degrees throughout the entire year). Then YEEHA!!! Jump in!!! Great, always wondered what that would feel like and how far under the water line you go, and of course would I panic breathe in the water due to the temperature. The Answer is quite deep, and no, you just breathe when you get back to the surface. (Wanna do it again).
6. Kiss the Mud 2
Same as last time, get on your elbows and knees with your chest on the mud and crawl a long and slightly uphill under barbed wire (not razor wire, but not fake plastic wire either, as the holes in my new T-Shirt proved).
7. Cliffhanger
Now, it may have just been me (or the 10,000 volts)but I cannot recall this one, nor can Gordon. We couldn't have cheated as you follow orange tape almost everywhere but we don't think this actually existed. However there is another, I call 12A, see later. I will take this opportunity to say even at this point around 4 miles all muddy track so far has been practically uphill. Calves and thighs beginning to scream as the lactic acid builds up. Also there was a stream / river that we had to keep crossing and some parts were chest high deep and that was before you slipped. Watch out going under the bridge - bits of it are very deep and getting out is good old unforgiving mud.
8. Berlin Walls 1
2 walls at about 10 feet, with a tiniest of ledges at about 20 inches from the ground and the oly hand hold 10 feet up. The best idea, get help, especially if you are a bit on the short side like Gordon and I. I got Gordon up then he either pulled me or another competitor helped me, who I then helped too. Nice team work - thanks to all. Since this was after a water break it felt relatively easy.
9. Kiss the Mud 3
Beginning not to like this now, but am still ok, not really fatiguing yet.
10. Underwater Tunnels
Hmmmm...not quite. Underwater... Yes! Tunnels...No! Ooooh this was cold. This time effectively crossing yet another expanse of bottomless murky water, and ducking under tethered Big Blue Plastic Drums, 5 of them to be precise. You got to swim between them and then dive under and come up the other side. Not too physically demanding but if you are in the water long enough due to people before you, you just can't feel you legs or arms much towards the last third and to help you pull your freezing ass out of the water and up the muddy verge. Oh yeah, and I remember Gordon leaning to me as we were jogging only 5 minutes before this saying "I think we've got the worst overwith"
11. Mud Mile
Gordon and I were jogging along this thinking this isn't so bad, but yes its still uphill, but hey its ok. Then we realised, we weren't actually on it yet.... The next corner and stream crossing led us to the thigh deep sticky, smelly, sinking, gooey, shoe eating mud... he he it was fun. No photos here though I think the camera man was devoured in the black mineral dense mud. Thlwop! Splurge!!
12. Quagmire
Which means to me muddy marsh... and I was right. Lotta laughs here though. There were peaks and troughs carved out of a field leaving a fantastically undulating fromation of slippery muddy hills, embankments and equally deep water filled pools of mud to slip and slide into. This is where all possible array of microstones and mud make their way into your shoes and down your pants, etc. You get the picture. I watched as this big tall guy made it look easy until he jumped from one hill into what looked like a puddle only to vanish, Laurel and Hardy style, into the brown opaque liquid with no trace for a second, then pop back to the surface shocked.Hah hah, that made me laugh, even now I chortle.
12A. Devils Beard (not listed)
This was a huge cargo net that we had to crawl under. Not lying flat this time just bent over. If I can speak for Gordon and I, we found it a 'piece of cake.'
13. Firewalker
This was what appeared to be the first downhill jog to this obstacle, it could be smelt though for miles. Bails of hay soaked in kerosene and set on fire, a bit like the neighbours barbaque. Looked easy enough but you could feel the heat. It was a bit like something out of an old gunslinger movie, because you were hard pushed to see anything beyond 10 feet. We entered and I noticed Gordon beginning to lag. I slowed my pace and turned to him, "Are you Ok?" I said, he looked at me as if I was stupid and said "the flames are helping me dry off". To that I laughed and said, "Ok yeah, I see your point" and continued at a more scenic pace. Somewhat charred though.
14. Trench Warfare
A further jog uphill in the mud through a beautiful wooded area, we were then confronted with a queue. A long queue. Ahead of us were 4 seperate trenches hand dug into the muddy woodland. They started at a depth of about 3 foot bet gradually reduced to around 2 feet and narrow. The were also covered to make them pretty dark and claustrophobic with logs, sheeting mud and of course more barbed wire. There elevation was downhill which allowed a trickle of a stream to flow down them too. For added effect, the set up crew had a Scots Piper playing battle hymns on the bagpipes, with large speakers echoing the sounds of first world war and just to really soak in the atmosphere they also let off a few pyrotechnics. This was cool.
15. Logjamming
This was a series of logs you had to alternately climb over the under, with each one getting subtly higher, again complete with mud and barbed wire. This had the added bonus of a female, raising your blood pressure, shouting at you to move "faster", "get your leg over" and "come on, thought you were real men". We were all cursing her during the obstacle until at the end we saw she was pregnant. We met her with a smile, knowing that, what ever pain we were going through, she would have to endure her own torture during her up and coming child birth, very, shortly.
16. Hold your wood
Simply an amble round another pond, oh, yeah, but carrying a log. Remember and pick one that is challenging. I spotted a few with twigs, but conversely, I did spot a few with trees, and jogging.
17. Spiders Web
In the middle of a forest, we found the spiders web. Oooo, a vertical cargo net tidied up between 2 trees. Easy enough but make sure of good footing and good grip. And don't get kicked in the teeth from a fellow participant at the top as you switch from 1 side of the net to the other.
18. Berlin Walls 2
Aw naw... These were 12 feet high and as per the last set only offered you the teensiest of footholds at knee height, more of a joke than anything practical. Again I got Gordon up first, but my arms were beginning to fail. A fellow gave me a hand up and over the first, then on to the second. Same approach, Gordon up and over then ..my turn, no-one there... All of a sudden a guy who just completed it comes back around and helps me again great. With renewed spirit and by this time some spectators and flung myself up, Gordon pulled and the guy pushed. I triumphantly threw my leg over the top as Gordon got down and... uh oh... to much speed/aggression whatever. I was coming down on the top of the wall. Crunch, the only phrase that sprung to mind was 'crush a grape' I gasped, Gordon in horror looked up gasped too, as did the guy that helped me and about a dozen spectators. I leaned forward and slid off the wall like a pancake sliding out a frying pan. At least that was the last wall. We were on the downhill straight now.
19. Electric Eel
What fresh hell was this??? Much like Kiss The Mud you had to crawl along on your belly, no mud though, just a thick black plastice sheet like something Dexter would use. Also no barbed wire, no.. no ..no..no that was replaced be hundreds of little dangling wires. Some containing a few volts whilst I've heard others containing 10,000volts. Yep, I knew its only deadly if the current is high but 10,000volts is the equivalent of a tazer. Gordon and I stood at the edge just looking, wondering what the best path was, oh yeah and there was a lady with a hose spraying all contestant with yet more water to help the electricity conduct. We looked at each other and went for it. Gordon jumped in first and I followed hot on his heals. As I was crawling I felt my left hip be zapped and my leg kick out outwith my control. I paused and thought "that wasn't bad, I could handle that, its ok." I crawed on more, this time my right shoulder. Same power as my arm flew off to the side. Yep, ok, ok. I crawled some more, then all of a sudden I got zapped, I think on the right rear of my skull, my jaw shot open, and although I felt as though I froze it appear there was a blackout, but only to me. Just a fraction of a second, then a groggy feeling and blurred vision came back. In front of me was a sign and I was just beginning to be able to focus. I then remembered where I was and thought "gotta get outta here now." I crawled frantic and fast and within the last 3 feet zapped again, but that one was ok.
20. Funky Monkey
The Monkey Bars next as Gordon and I jogged towards it, he grunted "I'm no goin in that watter again" translated to any non scots out there is "I will not be falling in to that water again". I laughed, he also commented, "the gloves are comin aff" (translated "I won't wear my gloves") and that was us. I grabbed the first rung, tested it with my weight and grip. Its good, I'll manage. I got 3 rungs more then I straightened my toes to stop my lower body swaying too much - a trick I had been practicing. Then all of a sudden, the toes of both curled, the soles of my feet cramped. This quickly spread to my calves, my thighs and hips. I thought I screamed in pain but no sound errupted. Alas, I was falling, back to the murky depths of yet another pool. A deep pool. The ice cold water kept my convulsing limbs in torture, I couldn't use anything below my hips to swim. I got to the surface thinking. That guy in red(Emergency Team) will have to pull me out. But I thought "No" I didn't come this far. I tread water with my arms and breast stroke to the other edge. I made it. Then I thought, swing my legs forward and push off to get out of here. They still we locked an writihing agony. I had to spin myself around, and lift myself out backwards, but I still couldn't bring my knees up so I just collapsed back on to the platform. At last a contestant came over and helped me back to my feet. I turned back to see Gordon complete the Monkey Bars - DRY!!!Good on you!
21. Everest
I had to walk my legs back to normal and as I did with my trusty partner Gordon I looked at the structure that before us. I try not to swear but I may have murmurred something when I saw it. A greased quarter pipe, that was seriously some height. In the queue I witness some contestants with tissues quenching the blood after this structure befell them and the plunged face first into the quarter pipe. We were not looking forward to this. We tried, and failed, attempt 2- both failed. 3 again - failed. At that point I looked on as I watch others fail with some victorious and from that I said "I WILL DO THIS!!! IT WON'T BEAT ME!!!". Thinking of all people that gave me strencth and direction, both ficticious and real, I'm gonna do it! Attempt 4, 5, 6 all flew by but on my seventh attempt I made it - it was a glorious feeling. I quickly turned and threw out my hand for the next contestant, and the next and of course Gordon. I had helped 12 people complete that - Hooah as they say!!
22. Electroshock Therapy
Gordon and I trudged on, battered, bruised and exhausted and knew there was only one left. Well here is where our demons are left behind. Similar to Electric Eel but longer cables and this time you've to run through while dodging the strategic hay bails, of course with minimal shocks if possible. We stood on the edge, watched a guy in front of us go, who appeared to make it unscathed and as we were about to trace his path, "zap" he fell head first over a bail of hay with a whimper. Too late now to change path, go go go. I run Gordon followed. I was almost at the end when 2 wires crossed together like streams of light from ghostbusters and landed perfectly vertical down my forehead. "Zap", I staggered on, partly forgetting about Gordon till I looked up and read the amazing white letters on a black inflatable gateway F - I - N - I - S - H....Woo hoo I turned to Gordon so we could cross together. We were met by girls placing our infamous Orange Tough Mudder Headbands on, a tin of beer, a table of bananas, our Tough Mudder t-shirts, protein bars and foil sheets to keep us warm. We did it. Raising money for Dementia (over £1500) and Cancer Research (over £500).



If anybody is thinking about doing this next year and want training tips or a run down of the equipment I wore, then drop me a line. Will we do it again? ... stay tuned!!!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Diet Versus Nutrition


Due to it being the start of the year, I have now had a few people contacting me about their diet and what they should be doing. My first consideration is usually with their current build. Usually I say if you are of average build but want to tone up then consider resistance training and nutrition and not diet. Lets take no bones about it if you are chubby, or lets face it fat, then you gotta consider diet and resistance training. 

Whats the difference between Diet and Nutrition? Well, diet means usually cutting out certain things from your diet, for example if you are overweight, maybe you should consider a Ketogenic Diet (from Steve Maxwell) or a Neolithic diet where you eat primarily proteins with little or no carbos. Whereas, if I have mentioned to you Nutrition that means eat pretty much what you do eat but try and get the basics, in other words eat your Proteins, Carbs, Veggies and Fruit while they still look like the original thing. I don’t mean you should have a pigs leg on your plate but you should still be able to recognise a bit of meat without it being wrapped in pastry, shredded and mixed with potato etc, or smothered in some creamy sauce with sprinkles of parsley….

Now before you guys start reaching for the diet books, you gotta remember I have read a lot of these books and tried a lot of their advice and even tried cheating with Fat Metabolisers, Hydroxycut and things like Thermogenic serum. None of these supplements did any measurable good, however, I did find the Ketogenic Diet worked well for me so I suggest if you want to tone up a bit and drop a few pounds try this one out. Remember though this is only the case if you are overweight, chubby or fat. If you are average build but just want to tone go straight to the nutrition phase and just monitor your portions. Another thing that I have found is that everyone is shouting about how good this diet is or that diet. I think a lot of these diets work well individually for different people so not all work all the time for everyone. So, bottom line forget the diets for a minute even if you are fat, and yes, I do mean you reading this blog…In the words of the old masters – “CALORIES IN EQUALS CALORIES OUT!!!!” I can go out for a killer 20 Min HIIT Run burning around 300 cals in that 20 minutes to immediately get back to work and destroy it all in 3 minutes of eating a Snickers bar (and that’s the normal sized one). Whats the point??? If you are hungry, then at least eat something of good nutritious value and that won’t spike my insulin telling my body to store more fat.

Not all food is equivalent in caloric value though so really pay attention to that, however I don’t want you all to start counting calories either. Again see if you can eat pure foods, fish (not in batter in fact nothing deep fried), steak, pork, lettuce, carrots, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, apples, oranges, bananas etc. Celery is a negative calorie food, as you use more energy to eat and allow it to pass through your digestion than absorb from it. Good to know…If you are interested do a wee bit of comparison studies, go on line and compare some of your snacks with healthy alternatives and you’ll be impressed. My biggest, hugest, weakness is crisps, cos I love them, but equally I love Pop Corn (lightly salted or non at all) and that’s the homemade stuff (which is more fun) rather than the sticky stuff from the cinema or in pack from Tescos. The later will let you enjoy the odd snack (in reasonable portion size) without getting fat and having cravings.

Many books tell you, you must, must, must eat 6 meals a day to stabilise your insulin throughout the day … ehm…. No, your body is pretty good at coping with 3 meals a day provided you don’t overload it on SUGAR or STARCHY CARBOS. So if you want my advice, I suggest 3 portions per day of roughly the same size (breakfast, lunch and dinner), and the content is still to be Proteins(for the Greek Proteus meaning first), Carbos and Veggies/Fruit. Be carefull with fruit though as fructose is a sugar!!! Also although a potato is a Veggie its also very starchy – eat something that isn’t white is a simple thing to remember, what about some tasty Broccoli? You can still have a wee snack if you get peckish but try and make it healthy (1 handful of nuts, or seeds or pulses or a bit of fruit). But NO CRISPS, BISCUITS, CHOCOLATES, ETC…..!!! OK!!!

Next is the portion size, a good rule of thumb for me is the a normal dinner plate and the palm of you hand. Your dinner plate should be split in to thirds, each third should contain each of the following : Protiens, Carbos and Veggies. And each one of these should be no bigger than the palm of your hand (and not the palm of someone like John Wayne or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Now also notice that’s no starter and no desert unless you want to be fat and overweight blaming me and everyone else cos you haven’t seen your toes in a month as you choke down that Chocolate Éclair. If this is you, pick up that phone book and give yourself a good whack on the back of the head…. Pay attention!!! 

A quick note on eating out, do exactly the same as above, split your plate up and eat only what fits the solution above. Heck you may get a doggie bag to take it away for lunch tomorrow.

I guess I should have started with this but its boring so its ok here. I am giving you advice from what I have picked up with my own experiments. If you think it makes sense try it out, if not, that’s ok, just go and ask someone else. To some out there you may have diabetes or other health issue and you may need more than 3 meals a day, if you are you’d be better tracking down a Nutritionalist or Doctor. However, you may also be a Vegan or Vegetarian, well that’s just silly!?!? He.. He no, seriously that’s good too, and total Kudos to you, cos so far you are better than most other eaters reading this being able to stick to your own ‘Diet.’ The only problem is, sometimes Vegans or Vegeterians tend to be a little under nourished as the calorific value is less than the meat eaters and sometimes there are amino acid and vitamin deficiencies. This comes back again to balanced nutrition and either the palm of your hand or your plate in thirds. You can still get your proteins from nuts, seeds, pulses, etc, (and eggs, milk, etc for the non vegans). Try and avoid Tofu and Quorn as under scientific research have been proven to reduce testosterone in men – be careful men!!! I’m sure you can work out a testosterone drop isn’t just muscle mass drop….Work it out!!! If you want more info if you are Vegan or Vegetarian why not check out Mike Mahlers blogs cos he is a Vegan and is very strong and muscular.
If you are looking for supplements, keep them to a minimum. Magnesium Spray was suggested by Mike Mahler and I find it great (giving vivid dreams too). Vitamin C 1000mg when you feel like a cold is coming on (but don’t overdo it as your body can get used to it and it can do you no good when you need it). A fish oil or garlic oil (odourless) is good for your joints and hair too.
Finally, if you are all still with me, here is a secret that will help you all lose fat a bit more. Calories aren’t just in food!!! Calories are also in what you drink!!! Especially if you like milkshakes, frappaccinos, lattes, fizzy juice, soups etc. If you must drink fizzy drinks try and aim for the diet version (although it contains usually aspartame and sometimes formaldehyde so I’ve been told…) I’ll be sticking with my favourite (Mexican Lime cordial from Tesco – ok theres a little sugar but I make it weak). Mind you I also drink untold quantites of coffee, tea, green tea, diet caffeine drinks and good old H2O ( or water).

Well, I’ll wrap this up here, the next blog will be on resistance training. I hope this has been helpful, let me know…

Stay Happy, Healthy and Fit and remember save the planet - buy less, eat less, waste less!!!

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Food Intolerance Part 2

Ok, I have just received my email from Food Intolerance Uk inviting me to access my intolerance report on their web server. For this of you who have followed part 1 of this food intolerance project you should be familiar with the results of my Asyra Food Intolerance and Hormone Tests. If you are not please look at my blog I published earlier.

My goal was to compare both methods (blood test and computer probe Asyra) of testing mainly my Food Intolerances and hopefully highlight the fact that both tests reported common foods that I should remove from my diet to assist me in being a healthier individual. Additionally i would blog the results to assist others to decide if they wanted to do a test and indeed which test they would prefer. Now in simplest terms food Intolerances could cause or contribute to a multitude of health conditions such as M.E., Weight Gain, Weight Loss, etc. For more information on them please see www.asyra.co.uk or www.foodintoleranceuk.com.

The Asyra test was carried out at the Health Food Shop in Forfar and the Food Intolerance Uk blood test was done via a DIY kit they send you and can be seen here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1sJB3Gr-Qg&sns=em

Right, enough northers and now time for to contrast and compare the results. Hmmmm, I gotta be honest, I was a bit disappointed. From my previous blog regarding the Asyra tests you can see a considerable list of foods I am sensitive to and should either avoid or limit their intake. The blood test on the other hand, highlighted a total of 5........Now the blood test method concentrated on identifying any antibodies in my blood when subject to 131 foods, so between both test screenings I would probably opt for the blood test method being the truer of the 2.

And now for a listing of the five foods:-

I should limit the intake of Basil, Blueberries, Gluten and Plums. Ok, I think I can do that no problem, however here is the food I should actively remove from my diet:-



Coffee........ Noooooooooo!!!!!!! How am I meant to handle my day job now????

So as you can see there isn't much of a correlation between the 2 tests. When you consider the blood test cost £145 and the Asyra cost £90, I am sorry but I feel that I wasted my £90.

I hope my blogs have been of help to you or help you decide if you want to take a test or which test to take. To assist me in recouping some of my costs and your feeling flush please use the donate button below to donate anything, no gift to big or small....



www.topp1.co.uk





Monday, 28 March 2011

Food Intolerance Testing Part 1


As you may have already read in Facebook or heard from me directly, in the light of Mike Mahlers Hormone Optimisation lecture, I decided to go for a Food Intolerance test. I searched around a bit, surfing the net and asking around and found that there was to be held a Food Intolerance test in the local health food shop. It turned out that this was to be carried out using an “Asyra” Resonance machine. I again took this information back and searched the net for some inform on how the test is carried out and how it works and became more baffled and intruged by the minute.
At its most simplest, the patient is to hold a brass/copper electrode in each hand and after a few minutes the machine that is connected to the PC applies various electrical impulses through your body. It is apparently harmless and you feel nothing more than a slight pulse in your palms of your hands. The device that is connected to the PC has been calibrated to simulate various energies or wavelength signatures that relate to specific foods, vitamins, minerals, etc. I cannot explain this in depth and suggest if you are interested go to the manufacturers website for more information :- http://www.asyra.com
I took an hour for lunch from my day job, as the test should take around an hour. The actual resonance screening takes only a few minutes, but the initial questionnaire, the briefing of the assessment results and the unfortunate grilling I gave the poor lady that was hosting the screening took up the rest of the time. This all depends on how many of the Screenings you opt for of course. I opted for the Food Intolerance Test, with the Hormone and Metabolic Disturbances this came to the total cost of £90. I left with an 8 page report and a certain amount of appreciation for the test. Some of the results I expected while others did spread some enlightenment Here is a summary from my reports.:-

Energetic Baseline

Good (The following were tested and were acceptable)
Adrenal Gland
Appendix
Arteries / Veins
Bladder
Central Nervous System
Colon
Connective Tissue
Eustachian Tube
Front Sinus
Gallbladder
Heart
Joints
Kidneys
Large Intestine
Liver
Lymphatic
Maxillary
Parathyroid
Peripheral Nervous System
Pineal Gland
Reproductive
Skin
Small Intestine
Sphenoid & Ethmoid Sinus
Teeth
Thymus Gland
Thyroid Gland
Urinary Tract

Stressed (The following areas need a bit attention and can benefit from diet, vitamins and / or minerals)
Eyes
Hypothalmus Gland
Lungs
Spleen
Stomach

Weakened (The following is showing definite signs of weakness and will benefit from diet and supplementation)
Pancreas

The following list suggests areas that I need to 'Top Up'
Vitamin, Mineral, Digestive Function


Vitamin Deficiency
Inositol Weakened
Cyanocobalamin Stressed
Menatetrenone Stressed


Supplement Deficiency
Dietry Fibre Weakened


Enzyme Deficiency
Hydrochloric Acid Stressed
Methionine Stressed


Amino Acid
Glutamic Acid Weakened
Tryptophan Stressed
Carnitine Stressed


Fatty Acid Deficiency
Gamma Linolenic Acid Weakened
 

Hormonal Profile

Vasopressin Weakened
Leptin Stressed
Hydrocortisol Stressed

The following table highlights the food that my body has issues with. The number is out of 100 where the lower the number the less my body wants these foods. The words 'Occasional' and 'Never' are suggestions for the foods inclusion to my daily menu. Occasional is suggested 1or 2 times a week, while 'Never' is NEVER. As you read this, if you know me, there are some foods I am happy to leave out of my shopping lists, but unfortunately and equally there are many foods listed as 'never' eat that I don't know how I will manage to find replacements for.

Food Sensitivity




Grains

Wheat – Germ 58 Occasional



Beverages

Beer 59 Occasional
Herbal Tea 92 Occasional



Dairy

Butter 39 Never
Egg – white 75 Occasional



Meat & Poultry

Chicken 65 Occasional
Pork 65 Occasional



Fish & Crustaceans

Clam 39 Never



Fruit

Grapefruit 27 Never
Fig 34 Never
Watermelon 35 Never
Apple 60 Occasional
Lychee 64 Never
Raisin 76 Occasional
Blueberry 78 Occasional



Additives

MSG 25 Never
Preservative Mix 41 Never
Sodium Sulphate 42 Never



Spices

Black Pepper 37 Never
Marjoram 40 Never
Red Pepper 40 Never
Mint 42 Never
Salt 57 Occasional
Savory 62 Occasional



Vegetables

Celery 37 Never
Lettuce 39 Never
Cabbage 54 Occasional
Beetroot 61 Occasional



Cooking Ingredients

Vinegar 40 Never
Soy Sauce 69 Never
Tofu 75 Occasional



Nuts and Seeds

Almonds 30 Never



Legumes

Kidney Bean 62 Occasional



Sugars and Sweeteners

Brown Sugar 40 Never
High Fructose Corn Syrup 75 Occasional

Any foods or drinks not on the above list are deemed as acceptable for the well being of my body.
Well thats all I have for you readers at the moment. I will also be subjecting myself to the blood type food intolerance test but that is £145 from Food Intolerance UK (google it guys !!!). I will be posting my results from that test too and I am hoping that both sets of results can be collated with some common areas. I am also hoping to contrast and compare my results.
Since this is costing me quite a bit, if this has or is helping you decide which path you would like to take. Please feel free if you would like to donate something to my ever growing bill using koyote@o2.co.uk via paypal. I would appreciate it!
Thank you for your interest and reading this blog. I am hoping this was useful or helpful to you.

If you are interested in getting this test done yourself and stay in Scotland, please contact the Asyra Therapist on 07817 663209 or email tracey.e.brady@ntlworld.com
In Health,
Stefan

Friday, 11 June 2010

The Summer Fat Loss Challenge

Ok, here we are in mid June. How many of you in the passed few days have thought, "you know I'd really love to drop a few pounds for the summer"?

Well, you are not the only one, I too, and no doubt a few of you readers are thinking the same. So my challenge is, that provided you are in good health and have no medical problems, high blood pressure, diabetes etc., is to join me in this diet.

Oops, there I said it, "diet". First let me say don't count calories, do not miss meals, just for at least the next 2 weeks, change your eating habits and humour me by playing this game. Without getting too technical, it's called ketosis, I first was told about this from my Coach as he often prescribed it for competitive fighters. I have just recently found out it is remarkably similar to an Atkins Diet variant. It has worked for me in the past but I am aiming to have a little fun and spread the word. Remember though, consider this next section as a challenge of will, are you willing to stick to this 100%? Your will must be strong. Mind you in the same breath if you witness, feel, or show any side effects, Stop and return to normal. If it works for you, you may want to relax the diet for a week or so and repeat this cycle, but be mindful of your non diet weeks not to put on the fat again!!!

Ok, here we go:-

1. No cakes, no chocolate, no crisps, no chips, no biscuits even if they say low calorie or diet whatever! In fact this should be you new rule for life!
2. No carbohydrates!!! No pasta, no potatoes, no cereal, no rolls, no rice, no matter if it's special low GI, low cal, low fat, space food! NO!
3. Don't skip any meals. Try and take 5 or 6 per day, even if it means eat half now and the remaining half 2 hours from now.
4. Eat vegetables but cut down if not cut out fruit (contain too much sugars).
5. Eat more proteins, meat, fish, chicken, cheese, eggs and nuts. Ok, they do contain more fats but they help your body and provide energy in the absence of carbohydrate.
6. Finally get at least 30-60 minutes of high effort exercise 3 days a week, now that is high effort on your scale, not mine, not your friends, not some film star, your high effort! But come on I don't mean a leisurely stroll around the equipment with your friends down at the local Curves gym or for that matter any other gym. Get your ass in gear and get looking for the burn!!! If you can keep chatting while your training, you are wimping out, take it up a notch.

And, that's it, remember this is an experiment! If you want to give it a go, do it! If you do let me know what your results are! If you don't drop some fat, before you drop me an email look back at the six points above and if you can honestly say you stuck to them then drop me a note.

Finally, if you are as geeky as me you can purchase Ketosticks on amazon. If you stick to the rules above you should manage to reach a state of ketosis ( the Ketostick goes purple when you pee on it ) by day 3. This is where you want to sit for the remaining 11 days. Your body is in body fat meltdown.

Friday, 26 March 2010

The Cost of a Class

How much should I pay for training?
This is no doubt a question that has gone through many a prospective students' head. It matters not the subject but for this blog I am concentrating on Martial Arts and Strength and Conditioning classes. In my 25+ years of experience I have asked myself this question quite a lot in the many classes I have attended as a student/trainee. Unfortunately, sometimes the answer hits you like a falling anvil once the class or seminar is over. Hindsight is a great thing, so here's to making that time machine. I digress, lets look a little deeper.

It costs a lot, it must be good!?!
This is a phrase that too many people get hooked in, a strange mindset almost brain washing. If the costs are high, then ask why? Its simple. High Cost doesn't necessarily mean High Quality. Costs may be expectedly high, but, still affordable, for example, if there is a specialist seminar by a veteran instructor or coach. This is all the more understandable if this said host is entrusting you to by bestowing you with an instructor status to carry their name and teach their system. But, for the many of us, all we want is to belong to a class to learn something new, improve their physique, loose a few pounds, etc. This should not cost the earth. If it does, question it!

Beware of hidden costs!
As you enter your next class, whether for the first time or for the umpteenth, think for a moment of how much you are paying. Obviously many martial art and some strength classes have a need for student insurance, this is a definite tick in the box, so make sure you get something that is endorsed by a known insurance company or one you can google and read about and contact should you need them. Next, you may need appropriate uniform, gi, kimono or t-shirt. Many classes have a grading structure, and unfortunately, this is where I tend to have my own reservations as often I feel these costs can often be ridiculous. Often too, the gradings are set in stone to be every 3 months and range from 3 to 20 or more. Don't get me wrong, gradings are good for personal progression and to gain an achievement. I have also witnessed schools grading for the sake of making money, whereby students step through all the levels and reach black without ever failing despite their own feeling they did not do their best and are unworthy of their belt. Learning from failure is success in itself. Finally, classes often charge a fee by hour, session, day or some schools offer a by monthly scheme. This leads me on to my next section.

Should I pay per month or by session?
I have been saddened lately to hear of a class who charge a somewhat hefty monthly fee by direct debit and then charge their students per each and every session on top of that. This is strange to me and if you find yourself on the doorstep of such a school, ask a few more questions as to see really what you money is going on. Personally I offer both, pay per class or pay per month and my monthly fee is sweetened by allowing a few free classes so the student can really benefit. My advice to you is, if you are offered either, sit down with a calculator and work out what is the most beneficial to your pocket. If you are told to pay both, either question it or find another school.


What do I get for my money?
Ah, you're learning. Over the past 10 or so years many fitness schools and martial art academies have appeared all over. All claiming to teach the ultimate fighting system or be the only place where you can miraculously loose 3 inches from your waist and 5 pounds in your first night. Hmmm...if that were true why are there still so many people still clinically obese? Mind you some say they have the best state of the art equipment to give you a ripped and toned body in a week. Yeah, right. What you should be looking for in your class or rather in your instructor/coach is lineage, knowledge and practical experience. Who taught them? Are they just out of college or university with theory but little practice? Have they just signed up on-line / read a book / attended a 1 day seminar and miraculously they are "The Guru"? Mind you, if you are new to instructing or coaching then gain some experience teaching free, or at nominal costs until you have experience. Also, don't run out and buy a training hall, hire one - just make sure you got your PI & L insurance. At the other end of the scale is the wise grey haired master teaching from the other end of the room firmly stuck in a rut. An instructor / coach in my opinion should constantly challenge you, the student. But he/she must constantly challenge him or herself too, devising new methods of training and further training him or herself. A great instructor is but a student. My point in this section is, your money should be invested in your development and not harvested by a miserly instructor/coach.

Cost of a Class
In this final section, I would like to mention class size. As you know over the years, school room classes in primary, secondary and tertiary have been advised to reduce in size to improve the quality of schooling. This is an area that should be reflected in the sport industry too. I personally teach up to a maximum of 20 but preferably I limit my maximum class size to 12, as I feel larger classes will loose out on optimum instruction and coaching. Some schools split the class further to subsections where lower instructors teach the different subsections but again these tend to max out at 12-20. Beware if the class you attend is in excess of this.

Final Comment
I would just like to say thank you for reading this and I hope I have provided some useful advice.