Tuesday, 31 July 2018

MdS - Where do I start?

Trevor Binch getting ready for the MdS...
With less than 250 days to go to the Marathon des Sables, you may well be in a state of denial right now. From my own experience, the last 100 days to go in a flash and that's where the panic sets in. 

Right now, the Facebook sites and Forums are fairly quiet and although there are a few mumblings of training and meeting ups, there’s not much as yet about - ‘The Kit’.
This is where most of the blood, sweat and tears will be shed, in optimising what is and what isn’t the right kit to take and the best rucksack to use etc.
Funnily enough, I can’t remember many, if any DNFs from having the wrong rucksack choice - how much it weighs? Well that’s been a constant theme of my talks at The MdS Expo these past few years and one that folk have taken on board resulting in fewer and fewer folk packing the kitchen sink for a few days in the desert. For the record, you can get everything you need with enough calories for the week into a rucksack weighing 6.5kgs or less (after race registration). Believe me that every Kg you carry on 'Marathon Day' will add around 25 minutes to your normal Marathon time, (we did the research), if your feet are still in one piece by then.
‘So what', you say - I can do all of that next year if I have to, plus the uplift in training and how right you are...
What you can’t do is if you are a man well over 100kgs or a Lady well over 80kgs is lose the necessary weight to make your MDS a whole lot more manageable and enjoyable.
Over the last 15 years, the folk that have struggled the most are those that haven’t packed lightly, done the necessary training or are too heavy on race day hoping they can get by walking the whole race.
From my own experience, being 1.83m and weighing 85kgs the race is a whole lot harder than being a very lean 75kgs. The difference in race-time is hours and position is 500 v 150 as at 85kgs it’s difficult to run very much of the race,  whereas at 75kgs with the right training, you can run virtually the whole 250kms.
This is where you can start making a huge difference to the race you right now. 
Trevor Binch, from Coventry, is running the race next year. It’s been on his ‘bucket list’ for many years - only not at 130.5kgs as at that weight he stood no chance of finishing. I have seen heavier with Kobus from South Africa attempting the race twice - Once at 137kgs and the following year at a staggering 142kgs. Needless to say each time he managed a couple of days before melting out in the sun. To give him his due, he’s since dieted to an unrecognisable 80kgs and finished the Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon (a similar race to MdS in South Africa).
In only 200 days, Trevor shed an amazing 45kgs and is hoping to be weighing in the high 70kgs for the race itself. He’s already run a sub-4 Marathon and a respectable 22 minute parkrun so I’m sure he’ll do well in the sand, especially as he's now a lot leaner.
I know these are both pretty extreme cases but even if you have just a few Kgs to lose - my advice is to do it now and get it out of the way. It won’t naturally come off as you up your mileage as you’ll then think you need to feed the furnace more and in some cases I’ve seen, put weight on. This is a background kinda process that with 500kcals less a day going in, it mounts up to a 1lb loss every week, without really noticing the difference.
Of course the best attitude is to believe that you should be living the MDS Dream and in doing ‘The World’s Toughest Footrace’ you should live the life of an Elite Athlete. You don’t have to of course, but being realistic about your weight can make the MdS a whole lot quicker, more enjoyable and blister-freer from running and not walking.
BTW - If you are sweating in the heat of the UK, we classed 35c as a cold day in the race this year, so being leaner might be more of a hot topic than you'd thought. It's well worth a thought.
Happy Training...

1,022 Marathons - 248 Ultras - 15 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records

Monday, 30 July 2018


Broken - or feeling Shattered?
Taken from ‘Songs from the Big Chair’, Tears for Fears 1985, three times platinum selling album. BROKEN is the perfect accompaniment for today’s blog about acknowledging our shortcomings and making a positive route out of a negative situation.

‘Between the searching and the need to work it out
I stop believing everything will be alright’…

I’m sure everyone’s felt BROKEN at one time or another in their life. I know I have. And what it feels like to be at your lowest point ever – ‘Point Zero’, I call it. I know a few folk who are there right now but avoiding reality perhaps, and carrying on in a state of denial. Anyone that’s addicted is a good liar full of BS and the truth is, that they lie mostly to themselves. It’s always fascinating how folk, me included, just bury their heads and hope that things will magically get better… but they never do, do they?

‘Broken, we are broken’…

I’ve felt BROKEN at the end of the 145 mile Grand Union Canal Race - there’s simply nothing you can do, when your body is on fire after a couple of days of running down a canal towpath. I felt BROKEN with GuillainBarrĂ© Syndrome, probably more physically in the first stages but then more mentally when the realisation of the condition started to hit home and the magic remedy proved not to be forth-coming.

‘I'm walking uphill being turned around and round
Secret in motion when my feet are on the ground’…

That’s when the darkness can sets in. I’m not sure it did in my case as I thought early on about a route out of the situation that I’d found myself in and that’s where the self-honesty came in. Realising you are BROKEN and in need of help is a vital part of a much happier existence. Sure, losing 50kgs or becoming alcohol-free helps, it cures the symptoms but it doesn’t remove the problem that kicked off the depression that led to the addiction in the first place. Realising that you’re still BROKEN is imperative to a healthy future, both in mind and body. Hmm sound familiar?

‘Broken, we are broken’…

Nearly 9,000 days on from my BROKEN realisation, or in fact 9,597 from that initial ‘Road to Damascus Moment’ – I now realise I wasted 625 days or nearly two years, procrastinating my predicament. What an idiot! I could excuse myself and say I wasn’t in the right time or place to change my thought process – but I won’t, I simply became a victim. A victim of my own doing – just as you are perhaps?

‘In my mind's eye, One little boy anger one little man
Funny how time flies’…

‘Tempus’ does in fact ‘Fugit’ and I’m glad I found a route out. Next year marks my ‘Silver Jubilee of Personal Change’. Don’t worry, I’ll be writing a fair bit on the subject as feeling BROKEN can be a very positive thing – believe me.

How BROKEN do you feel this Monday morning?

1,022 Marathons - 248 Ultras - 15 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records

Monday, 23 July 2018

Shine - Years and Years

This time last year, I sat in a Client’s boardroom, recounting my career to date, explaining my vision for the future. At the time, it was only twelve months on from being ill with Guillain-Barre Syndrome and I felt happy that I’d salvaged the majority of the goodwill and reputation that ‘Years and Years’ of hard work had brought.

I remember us alone, waiting for the light to go
Don't you feel that hunger, I've got, so many secrets to show…

That day I was challenged to think beyond my present work repertoire, and rather than depend on my stock income, develop some new business lines and think completely outside the ‘Box of Comfort’.

At 55, it would have been too easy to take my foot off the gas and stick to the known line of sales and work through another year of coaching for folks various events and life adventures.

You can pull me under, you can raise everything to the ground
Everything I can arrange, every part of me you change…

The thought of engaging with folk in the UK, Europe, even the USA on a daily extreme weight-loss programme wasn’t really part of my plan. It certainly wasn’t necessarily what I was looking for as a Performance Coach. It has however, become an amazing success , namely ULTRAdiet.

It’s a fascinating and exciting thing to be part of that really started in March 2017, with my first extreme weight-loss client, Dan Mullin. If you follow my Blog or Facebook you won’t have failed in hearing about Dan’s journey. You certainly won't if you know Dan.

Anyway, his 237 day - 100lb weight-loss, gave me all the encouragement I needed to invest my time and energy in developing a programme that anyone could follow. With the right mindset and guidance anything would be possible. With the accountability aspect a big part of the process it’s turned out to a weight-loss winning lottery ticket for most who have used it.

Can you see me I'm shining
And it's you that I've been waiting to find…

My and do they 'Dazzle' - Dan’s journey soon became three more folk's journeys and many more have followed on, each bringing their own personality and dynamic to the programme. It’s actually a 'Double Whammy' as they become the thinner person they’ve always wanted to be or once were, and I get the satisfaction of changing and in some cases saving lives. It’s incredible to see folk’s transformations in just a few short weeks.

As for me, well my transformation continues and ‘Never say Never’ is my new motto as you never know where you'll get the chance to ‘Shine’ next… Thinking outside of 'The Box of Comfort' worked wonders for me as it can for you too.

There's now plenty of 'Living Proof' from everyone that's been part of 'ULTRAdiet' these past 12 months.

Can you see me I'm shining…

And if you want to shine and lose weight, email me and I’ll help you be the person you’ve been hoping to find… and when you do, you can 'Shine' too.

1,022 Marathons - 248 Ultras - 15 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Lose Yourself - Eminem

Grab those 'Sliding-Door Life-Moments'.

Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted. In one moment would you capture it, or just let it slip?..

Yikes, it’s 16 years since Marshall Mathers (AKA Eminem) hit the UK charts with the double-platinum selling #1 Single – ‘Lose yourself’. I feel it’s a great fit for today’s blog as I want to discuss a very hot topic in my ‘Average2Awesome World’ right now – namely ‘Weight-loss’. 

You see, the question I’m asked over and over again is ‘What’s a Good Amount to lose per Week?’  with a close second being, ‘How long will it take to get to my goal weight?’ Two tough questions, and not so easy to answer as no-one lives in a perfectly controlled nutritional environment.

But I’ll share my thoughts as how long is that piece of string? I mean, what is a ‘Good Amount to lose per Week?’. According to some of the well-established, weekly weight-loss clubs, it’s 1kg per week or about 2lbs. Is this limit as a health precaution or is it because they are looking for a slower weight-loss process to maintain their revenue stream? I’ve always been cynical about that one I’m afraid as I believe that a ‘Good Amount to lose per Week’ is more than that.

Let’s look at a couple of examples. Take a 100kg man - 1.83m tall looking to be 80kgs and a 70kg woman – 1.67m tall wanting to be 56kgs - I wonder how the 1kgs loss a week theory works out? Who gets to their goal first? 

Before you try and work it out, I’ll tell you the answer, the man takes 21 weeks and the woman 15. It’s a long time to stay super-vigilant and focussed and that’s why, I believe, folk get caught in the weight-loss yo-yo doldrums. Poor food choices and cheating breed nicely in these conditions and one of the slimming clubs even has a big picture of a bowl of chips on their promotional material to entice more dieters… no comment needed on what I think of that one? The success rate can’t be high with this encouragement.

With this in mind a 1kg a week loss is far too optimistic.

In reality a 1% weight-loss per week might be more realistic - but it’s an even longer period at 23 weeks for both sexes.

I therefore try and speed things up with a very strict diet and aim for a 2% a week loss for my clients to complete their goal in around 12 weeks – perfect timing in my book, and just the right time to keep folk posted.

But he keeps on forgetting what he wrote down…

Having that goal, really helps as folk never write their goals or vision. It means over time, they lose their way, get distracted and lower their bar of expectation. Even one week can be a deal breaker but with even the slightest amount of encouragement, the fog clears, and the weight-loss merry-go-round starts again.

Snap back to reality. Oh, there goes gravity…

And failure – what a killer yet funnily enough, the ‘Reality’ of what’s needed is there all the time, just like ‘Gravity’ it’s just that it’s ‘chosen’ to be ignored. Snapping back to it, well with the right team-talk, it’s easy. The right mindset is easy to reactivate and with the right encouragement, everyone can reach their target weight.

You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow, this opportunity comes once in a lifetime…

Everyone’s a winner, as after plucking up the courage needed for change, the open goal of success is there. A winning goal in the ‘Cup Final of Life’ there to be enjoyed every morning when you look in the bathroom mirror and catch the slimmed down version of yourself looking proudly back.

Without the courage and single-minded approach needed the ‘Good Amount to lose per Week’ question is immaterial. I’ll leave Marshall Mathers to put it to you in his own no-nonsense approach. 

And these times are so hard, and it's getting even harder, success is my only motherfucking option, failure's not…

Lose it, not necessarily to the book or at a particular rate – just lose it yourself. It’s a good message and I agree with him whole-heartedly.

You can do anything you set your mind to…

1,020 Marathons - 246 Ultras - 15 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records