If you know me already, you’ll know that I love a challenge. In fact, I’d go as far as saying I need challenge in my life. I think we all do. A life without challenge lacks meaning. I feel at my best in terms of energy, motivation, mood and mental health when I’m on a mission, whether that be in my own fitness journey, with my business or a particular life goal.
Day 3 – Skiddaw from Keswick via South Top, Skiddaw Little Man, Middle top, High Man
This one was not in the initial plan, but I’m so damn glad I changed my mind on it. I’ve heard about Skiddaw but I had never really read up on it, partly due to it being so far up North that I’ve avoided it due to travel time which turns out to be a bit daft…
After reading up on it the night before, Skiddaw towers over the north of the lakes and has views on a clear day of the north western fells including Scafell Pike to the right and then the Helvellyn range to the left with Blencathra behind. I couldn’t really resist it and the drive from here was only 45 minutes. So I committed and locked it in, the only decision I had to make was which route to take up this fine mountain.
Day 2 – Scafell Pike from Wasdale Head
I decided I couldn’t do a week in the Lakes without tackling the highest peak in England. I had conquered Scafell previously which happened to be in a very different climate. It was in November and as we climbed around half way it was covered in snow, at points in was knee deep. This was an incredible experience and something I would 100% do again, it was like being on a different planet, as you can see from the pictures below.
However today was a very different task, so much so that the previous outing had given me what I found to be a false knowledge of the task ahead. Having done it previously I just decided to take on the same route without any research as I knew the path.
After 15 long months without any holiday/annual leave, it was finally time for me to get away and switch off for a few days, something I find very hard to do, but I love doing and I do it best when I’m away from home. I normally like to visit different cities around Europe and of course my beloved Ibiza, but this time due to COVID (of course) it’s a little different. I booked 5 days in the Lake District staying at White Cross Bay in a lovely lodge with the hound, Nala. One of my other favourite pass times is hiking. It’s actually something I encourage all of my clients to get involved with too.
I wrote a blog on the benefits of hiking that you can read here.
I’ve also embarked on a big challenge next year in which I will be taking on a 7 day trek in Peru, South America on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. This will consist of 7 days of consecutive trekking of up to 6-10 hour each day – sounds a bit crazy right?
Sleep has to be one of the most under managed parts of our overall health so in this blog I want to give you 5 clear ways that you can improve your sleep duration and sleep quality. For some reason a lot of people do not place enough importance on their sleep management.
Sleep plays a pivotal role in managing health in so many ways. This includes your ability to manage your energy, your stress, your appetite, your recovery, your ability to grow muscle and of course simply to rest from our hectic lives. Yet most people still don’t manage this magical and important part of our life very well. In this blog I want to give you 5 actionable points that you can take away and implement into your own sleep routine to improve your all round health markers and possibly even be in a better position to aim for your weight loss (if that is your goal.
Can Sleep Impact Weight Loss?
I have to say that recently it has been an absolute pleasure taking on new clients who have previously not had experience or at least regularly used weight training as part of their exercise regime. There have been many people who have previously used classes as their sole means of training. Seeing these clients strength and also their love of this type of training grow is incredibly satisfying.
Exercises classes can provide a foundation to a solid fitness level for sure. However, they can often lead to long plateaus with results. This is due to the fact that past a certain point it is tough to include the principle of progressive overload (to make it harder) and especially tough to measure that. This is why weight training offers that simple solution to being able to do exactly that.
As I write this, it is #mentalhealthawarenessweek which is of course a fantastic cause to help raise the awareness on this subject which unfortunately is so rife in the world we live in right now.
If you have never been close to someone who struggles with poor mental health – by the way I don’t mean someone who has the odd bad day, I’m talking about someone who has been diagnosed with anxiety, depression or bipolar etc – you will simply never understand what it’s like to be close to that until someone you love encounters that and of course that can only make it more real. The real challenge is for those right in the thick of it.
Now, this is not the place for me to tell you what to do, or how to avoid it or how to fix it. It’s not my area of profession. I do believe that the things I do and the way I live my life supports my mental health and I am lucky to say that I do not suffer with poor mental health. I have bad moments but I am pretty good at changing my state very quickly and I am grateful for that.
One thing I think that is important regardless is to have a high self-worth and to be able to appreciate what you love about yourself because…
Without loving yourself you will never be able to be truly happy in life.
I’ve had a few suggestions for blogs that are based on the current period in time being locked down. In this blog I will talk about how it is possible to remain motivated whilst being at home, it is possible to continue to lose weight and also keep your sanity.
I will also let you into a little secret as to how those that consistently exercise, well… consistently exercise.
Over the past 12 months I have developed a huge interest in hiking and I want to share with you why I believe everybody should give it a go. I will be sharing the positives that I get from it but also the benefits that it has given those that have attended with me.
I, amongst others that have joined me have conquered the following over the last 12 months Coniston Old Man, Snowdon, Scafell, Pendle Hill as well as a couple more. The first thing that I love about hiking is that I see it as an achievement, I see it as that I have conquered something. I make it competitive, in the sense of it is me against the mountain, my full attention at that time is on exactly that and nothing else. I can look back on those events and know that I achieved something that isn’t related to work, family etc but it is something absolutely personal to me. Having achieved that gives me positive energy which lends to improving the other areas of my life, if I am feeling fulfilled then the rest of my life will follow, it helps me be better for those around me. I fully believe it is important to achieve things that do not involve work or mundane day to day activities and you can do this through hiking. That of course is the long-term feeling but the short-term euphoria once you get to the top and then back down is worth every step of being out of breath and feeling uncomfortable, not to mention the pint in the pub at the end!
A knock on effect of having your attention solely on defeating the mountain also means that your mind gets a break from all the other stuff going on e.g. work stresses, family issues, relationship worries and even anxiety and depression. I am not saying it cures any of the above but what it does do is take your mind elsewhere, it diverts your attention onto something else giving you total reprieve of all of those things. I promise you that when you are working hard to climb the mountain whilst engaging with other like-minded people that you will not worry about any of this, that is the beauty of it.
Speaking of beauty, of course a benefit of hiking is that you get to see some spectacular views, you really get to see what this planet has to offer, away from the four walls of the office and your house. You get to experience something different, it can be breath-taking at times. On a similar subject, most of us do not get enough fresh air and sunlight because we spend our lives in air-conditioned environments and away from the sun. The majority of the western world are deficient in vitamin D and although the UK weather doesn’t always lend well to support this, we can certainly do more to get outside. I bet there are days go by that you do not step outside for any more time than getting in and out of your car? Hiking provides a huge opportunity to change that.
On the subject of the great outdoors, it is absolutely free, all of the above benefits you can get for free, what else in life could you say is true to that?
Then of course there are the health benefits that come along with it, what better way to improve your heart health, lung capacity and therefore improve your fitness than in the great outdoors with beautiful views? The bonus is that along the way you will burn a fair amount of calories too which will more than make room for the post hike pint!
The final brilliant thing about hiking is that it gives you a new challenge every single time, because as soon as you have completed one, it leaves you wanting more, it leaves you wanting a bigger more challenging climb next time, which is why my walks have progressed to the biggest in the UK. On March 28th myself and a bunch of people will take on Helvellyn ahead of Ben Nevis in June. Once that is complete I know that I will want to venture further afield hiking in different countries around Europe and beyond.
I am not saying you have to be the person that spends hundreds of pounds on a Rab jacket and the best hiking boots nor am I saying you have to come with me into Europe (of course you are most welcome if you wish to) but I am saying that you should give it a go. As humans we are not designed to be cooped up in an office slouched into our computers, we are not genetically engineered to do that so if you haven’t tried it, maybe it’s time to get out of your comfort zone and use your body for what it is perfectly designed to do. It is going to be tough at first, I wouldn’t lie to you about that, but it is worth it and like with anything you only get better by doing and taking action. Maybe it is time you did something just for you, something that challenges your beliefs, something that challenges you both physically and mentally, something that pushes you out of your comfort zone but something that is so rewarding that you will never look back. And the thing is, if you don’t try it, you will never know…
“A life without challenge is not only a life not worth living but also a life devoid of meaning.”
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