23 December 2021

Fit in your 40s with an office job?

brightonfit bike commute

I write this post from many tried and tested methods to integrate a full time desk job with a desire to retain a fully fit and functionally strong body. Having spent 20 years on my feet all day every day at work, I found the transition to a desk job extremely challenging. At the start I could not even sit for more than 1 hour without an aching pain in my buttocks! After some time (about a year) this discomfort eased and I was able to sit for a day, around the same time I began experiencing lower back pain. Flashbacks of my clients complaining about lower back pain over the previous 2 decades popped into my mind and I realised I had gone from someone whose body was not subjected to the physical restrictions that modern life and work choices brings to someone that very definitely was….and in an amazingly short period of time.

I then tried all sorts of training schedules and styles in order to regain what I had lost which was predominantly functional strength and a decent fitness level. What ended up becoming a sustainable pattern for me combines an active living approach with sessions I dedicate to exercising. I ride my push bike (pictured) into work every single day (5 miles) come rain or shine (having invested in some Gortex waterproofs!); I aim for speed without stopping. I go straight to the gym and workout for an hour predominantly weight lifting except for one weekly HIIT session I put in on a day that I feel energetic! After work I ride home for food and maybe to tie up some work hanging over from the day. I try and get out every evening after this; I will take my mountain bike out alone or with friends or go to my local indoor climbing centre for a couple of hours. These types of fun, social sessions are best for me at this time of the day since I’m tired and it’s often dark and wet/cold so it takes something like this to get me out of the house. Of course once I’m riding around in the woods feeling alive and connected to the earth doing what I love, the thought of sitting on the sofa seems like a crazy alternative.

Weekends are a mixture of active and relaxing activity but intentionally without the routine of the week. The result has been that I have returned to pre desk job fitness and strength levels and I feel that both my brain and body are fuelled in an equal way. Of course I realise that having kids would make this much harder but not impossible if motivated enough….the key message here is that I encourage you to find something that works for you. If it means getting up earlier, preparing bags/food the day before, getting bike tyres pumped or climbing wall sessions booked it will all be worth it once you are in the groove – you really can have it all!!

17 May 2016

Harder to Kill

brightonfit personal fitness training

The slogan becoming harder to kill makes a good T-shirt, but is there a more profound meaning behind it? That’s what I set out to discover…

Survival comes down to functional training. This means how much of your training genuinely helps you in normal life, or what living wild would entail – picture zombie apocalypse where your running shoes are your best friend…

Obstacle course races have captured the imagination of our society, me included, and why is this? To me it feels like a chance to harp back to a bygone era, a primal time when your fitness was your weapon to survive. Perhaps it takes us being put into an environment where our survival of a course becomes the over-ruling concern to make us think of our fitness and health as being as important in our lives as it should be – I for one have certainly known of people who have rediscovered a desire to become ‘useful’ in their mind by doing such races, and that’s where I see the race’s purpose.

So what do we do with this new-found realisation? Probably very little but being an eternal optimist I can but hope. What we SHOULD do is not get bogged down in specialism – try to embrace all areas of fitness, especially the ones with clear transferable benefits to day-to-day life; and look at the training of the fittest, the athletes who cross sporting boundaries and the military personnel who train to meet any challenge, just to name two examples.

24 December 2011

Brightonfit Summer Olympics 2010

On the 3rd July 2010 13 brave olympiads turned up with about 100 of their friends and families for support (A rather amazing number of whom had bad legs, backs and necks thus preventing entry!)
There were 8 events spread between the outside track and the two indoor arenas.
4 of the events were purely physical ranging from climbing the garage wall to dragging a punchbag with a rider on it down the garden.
1 was logistical.
1 was a coordination test.
1 was a test of visual dexterity
and 1 was a mental agility test.
The diversity of olympiads was beautiful; a 6ft5″ 55yr old gardner, an english student, a gym bunny, and a couple of chancers….
The crab race was the first event. It brought all competitors together at the start of the games after which they were split into groups. The start was staggered and olympiads were behaving sportingly:

At the first corner, a few olympiads began josteling for position:

And from then on the day brought out the competitive streak in everyone. The drag and ride prooved to be the deciding event for the leg muscles of a few the next day or two. The winner (in an amazing 9 secs) was the half man half machine Gareth Edge:

Caber tossing took place in a shaded corner of the stadium, but the judges were no less vigilant and measured to the millimetre each and every toss that got a white flag:

…And just when everyone was nearly spent….they had to collect in arena 2 for some flexing of a very different sort of muscle in the mental agility test:

Machine man took first but a galent second place was awarded to Chris Angell:

And as the day drew to a close many of the “injured and wounded” raced over to Gareth telling him they were going to de-throne him next year….lets see how their injury rehabiliataion goes first eh?
Well done to all who took part competing, serving food and drink, MC’ing, cooking, judging and playing music to help make the day a really good laugh!