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Getting fit in my mid 30s and the support of YouTube

So recently I blew out the candles on my 36th Birthday cake. As much as it was wonderful being spoiled and loved seeing my family all around me singing well wishes, as the smoke cleared I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror;  I came to a sudden and very demoralising realisation, I had gotten seriously out of shape.

It is fair to say I am not blessed with the best genetics. I would say that I am a stereotypical endomorph; I can put lots of muscle mass on quickly but sadly that typically is accompanied with an allied quantity of body fat.

I had seriously gone against the genetics and let myself go; I had blamed the fact that my clothes were being shrunk in the wash and had a heightened level of disillusionment about the way I looked. I noticed a correlation in the ‘friendly’ fat banter/comments being sent in my direction at work and in social settings was definitely on the increase. But the killer was seeing a side on profile picture of me in a seated position scanning a patient; I thought ‘what the hell has happened to me?!?’

Since my early years I had played lots of sports, rugby, hockey, swimming etc and gone to the gym. I was always a big guy and was always going to be the big guy; but it is important that there is a huge difference between making the best of what you have rather than settling for a what you have got and watch it slow degrade which I had fallen victim to. A lot of this was down to moving away from my home town and moving to a more rural area where Gyms weren’t typical open to cater for those who can only train during unsociable hours. After glancing at myself through the birthday cake mist had made me realise where I currently was at and what I now needed to do.

Straight away I got on to the scales and took measurements…….

I was 126KG, 5ft 10″ which straight away put me in the grossly obese section – now playing front row in rugby even at my fittest I had to cope with my BMI being somewhat off but if the measurements were right I could cope with……but they weren’t: I had a 20″ neck, 44″ waist and 54″ chest I was in bad shape – possibly the worst of my life.

At a loss of where to begin I started googling relevant articles and trawled YouTube trying to regain some motivation; and I found it.

Firstly I decided to do a 3 day water fast: Why? because I had read enough around the topic and seen enough transformation videos to know that this was, by no means the correct, ongoing way to be healthy, but it would give me an effective enough kick up the arse I needed that hopefully would allow me to see some quick changes and it did. I lost 8lbs and felt surprisingly ….ok despite the horrible coated tongue and reintroducing food which was much weirder than I expected it to be.

My ventures around viewing YouTube diet videos led me to associated topics,  one of which really caught my eye – Intermittent Fasting (I.F).

Now when I usually explain this to people, they say “oh the 5:2 thing?” in short…no not the 5:2 thing. The 5:2 seems to be based around calorie restriction 2 days per week. With I.F. and paraphrasing Terry Crews….it is more of an eating protocol than actual dieting and for me it has worked. The plan is that from your first meal you have a set amount of time to eat; in my case opt for an 8 hour eating window. It seems to work most optimally around prepping your meals as with any diet but can still be conducted in an unorganised day when utilising calorie tracker apps such as MyFitness Pal.

So although it is a long road ahead, I have seen very productive changes in body comp while adhering to this eating plan in alignment with a three day split weights programme. 19″ neck, 38″ Waist 50″ Chest. It’s the best I can do at the moment with workload load and home life but hopefully gym opening tiimes are soon to extend and home life will get more organised.

 

The only way is up.

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An interesting debate struck up the other day whilst I was packing up to eagerly get home to see the wife and sprogs. “That man is scum” said my colleague

A combination of the places I have lived & trained along with the job I do allows me to encounter people from all walks of life, from a myriad of socio-economic groupings and from a wide range of cultures and religious denominations. I have worked with some of the nicest, most kindest people on earth who would remove a limb to help a stranger, yet I have also directly encountered some people who have committed some of the most violent and depraved recorded crimes Britain has ever seen. One thing that I have concluded over my near 4 decades on this earth whilst encountering such people, is that I do not believe the majority of people are born good or bad, more that they are a product of their environment.

When I say a product of their environment, I mean those people which they encounter and interact with. Now all of this information in this blog is purely opinion-based and anecdotal, it cannot be supported by any rigorous quantitative/qualitative methods of evaluation and I do not doubt for second that people will challenge every component of this blog, especially the punctuation! but nevertheless this is my two pence over a subject that fascinates me. Three factual example I present to you:

Example 1: A happy, healthy working class family in South-East England have three children; of the three, two grow to adulthood with little problem at school, they played lots of sport, gain qualifications and contribute to society; they have their own houses and stable relationships and are now in the early stages of trying for a family. The third child, raised in the same way by the same parents, in the same house, with the same opportunities committed his first act of arson at the age of 11 and his formative years progressed to aggravated assault, car theft and armed robbery…..why? what was the difference?

Example 2: Fred West: Committed countless horrific counts of rape, incest and murder. Born into a family that conducted incest regularly, perhaps seen by the child as a normal activity? Additionally, in his late teens had a bike accident which allegedly affected the frontal lobe of his brain which (if affected) could further affect his decision making and inhibitions. Was he a product of his environment and the physiological changes? or was he made from evil???

Example 3: Sally X: Born into an abusive family where she was molested by her father, mother was aware of abuse but afraid father would leave and not financially support her if the secret was revealed neglected to inform anyone to stop it. Sally X, ran away from home at the age of 15 actively lost contact with her parents and moved in with a her boyfriend and his family. She went to college & university and is now married with two children and on the executive board of a successful multi-conglomerate before the age of 40.  Did her environment give her the drive to be independent? why did she choose this path?

Surely this provokes food for thought from many sides of argument but certainly suggests that our actions are far more steered by nurture rather than nature. As I said earlier my opoinion and i’m sure more learned people will be able to shoot me down.

Nevertheless an incredibly interesting topic.

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Ben opened his blurry eyes to what seemed like the mother of all hangovers. A quick assessment of the view from the light shining through the window showed the familiar silhouette of the uni campus’s clock tower: except it seemed to be from a different angle than he was used to. Standing up in a begrudged fashion, as if trying to reenact an extra from the walking dead he slowly rose to his feet and trudged towards the in-room basin. A quick assessment of his attire, or lack of in this case, showed that all he had on was his bright yellow bananaman boxers shorts; something that his dear old mum had bought him as a parting gift before moving to Bristol to get on with the next part of his life.

Ben caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror grabbing the forming love handles he had developed since coming to uni three months ago. Looking at his own reflection with greater attention, Ben squeezed the un-welcomed muffin top and didn’t know whether to be impressed at his increased tolerance for alcohol or disgusted at the dramatic weight gain that had accrued over since walking through the hall’s main doors 3 months ago. “Serious need to get in the gym fatboy!” he whispered to himself “too many kebabs and whole loaves of bread after the lidl beers”.                                                                                                                               Ben leaned down to splash cold water on his face in some vague attempt to reboot his vitality. As the final excess water dropped from his face and eyes came into focus he clocked a strand of pink tinsel around the outer part bot the mirror; that’s not mine thought Ben to himself with a reflective perplexed face staring back at him. Suddenly a damped out feminine groan of adjustment came from the bed. Ben turned towards the sound and saw two quite large feet with festive green painted toes attached to to two amazonian legs covered in ripped stockings…..Ben looked back into his reflection with a mixed look of fear and trepidation “you twat you didn’t”

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Reflecting on Retro stuff

So the second instalment of the Omnigeekjock is manifesting.

As I sit here nursing a very sore right shoulder, probably as a result of years of rugby hits, ultrasound scanning and weight training; I sit back, reflect and question, would I have been better just embracing the ubergeek in me? Perhaps spent my time building my Warhammer 40,000 Eldar army to heights of envy and superiority, or figured out how to create an emulator for my PC to reload and more importantly replay all those games from child hood that I played and/or wanted to play.

Maybe spend time trawling through the many fairs, car boots etc. trying to make a vague attempt at collecting a full original collection of star wars and M.A.S.K toys. But then, I look upon my three young boys who my wife Sam has blessed me with and in one scan of the room, I see them embracing multiple pastime’s that I have at some point over the near three and a half decades that I have existed on this planet loved very much.  Zac is staring at Star Wars and doesn’t seem to have blinked for the past hour, constantly asking the question “when does the new star wars come out daddy?!” Rhys is outside on his Bike practicing skids, trying to pass time until he can go to his rugby union open day and then there’s Dylan the baby of the family who is probably doing my absolute biggest love of all time….trying to eat anything that comes within reaching distance and looks nice.

I realise the shoulder pain was worth it; I have never been a small guy and without the hits in rugby, somewhat indirectly the ultrasound scanning but definitely the gym I would have still been a big guy but more resembling that of Peter Griffin than that of American Dad (well when he is in his pants with the slightly overhanging belly anyways). I wouldn’t have met Sam, she would not have had children with me and I wouldn’t be able to redo all the fun things I did as a kid whether it be geeky or sporty.

Starting to like being a Jack of all trades

Thanks for reading

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Ramblings

Omnigeek ramblings begin!

So here it is! My first effort at blogging: A weird, diverse and probably grossly inaccurately punctuated attempt at textually vomiting the random thoughts and theories of a man rapidly approaching his mid 30s.

For years I have thought about conducting this, my own version of self-directed therapy but never had the true time nor inclination to do it. It’s amazing how, for the first time of having a little quiet and being partially inspired by the clear benefits it has had on a friend from many years back, I decided to put finger to key and let it out; so here we go. I suppose the best way to start would be to give a little back ground about me; this may help to explain the title of my blog.

Born and raised in the very early 80s, in a small town smack dab in the middle of South England,  I developed into a loud fat kid who would not know when to shut up and would do anything to get a laugh from those around me, typically using humour to gain acceptance with the in crowd of school, sports club etc.

Although I wasn’t seemingly granted with the best structural genetics, I was blessed with very supportive, loving parents: A somewhat liberal mum who personifies optimism and refuses to see the bad in majority of the world; and a dad who, and I quote looked like “the bad guy from Popeye” but has always had a very settling smile and slightly right wing political stance(but not racist I would like to add). Dad didn’t have a very well paid job but always worked and played hard, making sure that his family never wanted for anything. I was always empowered by my parents that I could do anything I wanted to in life, if I wanted it bad enough.

My dad strongly advocated the need for me to not work with my hands but with my head. As an ignorant kid I heeded this solid-gold advice very little, as all I wanted to do was make people laugh and attempt at gaining the acceptance & admiration of those around me whether it be by singing, dancing, acting or incorporating a combination of said activities with a sporadic bout of slapstick. I became obsessed with TV, film and music, sponging up anything I could get away with seeing (and not in a lot of cases). I would attempt to mimic the voices or recall full scenes of movies/TV verbatim to impress my dad and his mates down the local rugby club. I was able to answer a vast amount of questions on Noel Edmonds’ Tele-Addicts show, questions  that should have been well beyond the comprehension of a child barely into his first decade of existence.

At the time this seemed great and provided very much the basis for my pastimes and massive distractions in school up to my early teens. Then suddenly 13 years of age, as with many a boy, things changed, not just biologically but definitely emotionally and psychologically. It was as if at this point I suddenly had a brain reboot well more like and upgrade; I started to embrace PE and all things physical without any excessive force from external things. But most importantly I was still able to be a closet geek.

For as long as I can remember, I was obsessed with all those things not of this world, sci-fi, fantasy, comics anything that meant I could pretend to be someone or thing else that would make me the centre of attention …..I am starting to think that I may be a narcissistic characteristics as I write this.

SO I think that is enough for a debut post and hopefully dangled the carrot in front of the donkey about what will hopefully come in the future. Just to emphasise, the intention of this blog is primarily cathartic and for no one else’s benefit but my own. However, I hope that this brief insight into the dark recesses of my omnigeek, uberhybrid will let me ramble about a range of topics that you will find funny and maybe even insightful. it will be my intention to talk about things geeky but also lots of things about training, science, sport etc maybe I could be deemed as a jack of all trades…but definitely a master of none.

Thanks for reading

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