Back in Tier 3

I can't tell you how good it feels to the the gym open again. Even just a little bit of "the old life" back is a good feeling, regardless of the level of tier your area is in. I get the feeling that the lock down has done the job and as long as the country is careful at Christmas, plus the announcement of the vaccine yesterday, then we should be on the right track. ūü§ěūüŹľ

Meet Austin

Picked up Alex’s pup called Austin. Frenchie and he is so adorable. Home safe and sound..

Spending some time with Mylo

As I am back in Suffolk, I am spending some good quality time with Mylo. I took this photo yesterday before this current storm arrived ūüź∂

I gave him a hand-strip at the weekend. Border terriers need a hand strip instead of a cut as they have duel coats. The outer coat is the coarse and the protective layer and there is the internal layer that gives him warmth. I had strip him every so often to clear the other coat and make him look all tidy


New cardio training

As I am back in Suffolk this week, I defo want to take advantage of being able to swim. Last week I had an open water swimming lesson at Salford Keys. Now I am allowed back in the gym I need to get my fitness up!!

Isolation for the Nation

I just wanted to take a moment to expand on the Covid-19 outbreak and how it has affected me. When it finally hit the UK, I was put straight into working from home mode. I guess we could have expected it, and maybe could have prepared more for it, but taking every day by day has been the correct approach. Work for me has been even more full on, as the digital and online world is more in use than usual.

Outside of my job, I have taken the time to teach myself new skills. Learning how to better use Selenium Webdriver, along with all of the small details of every action and element has been a large focus of my time. To this day, I am now well over half way into the course and it certainly adds a small sense of achievement when you figure something out along the way.

As most people know, I like to also make engaging music mixes for people to listen to while they workout or do any tasks that require a little extra element of motivation. I have even made an isolation special and you can find them on my Mixcloud page here. I managed to organise a community gig via live stream for everybody at Wilburn Basin, this turned out to be a surprising success.

But, what have I learnt mentally right now? I think that many people the country might have the same thoughts as me as to what we prioritise in life. I think for me, I didn't realise how well I actually manage when most of life's privileges are taken away from you. Exercise has been a big shift, as I am no longer able to go to the gym and I have taken up running as my cardio. Since our busy lives have slowed down, it has made us think of our deepest desires, who actually matters to us and how we can keep ourselves entertained. When the isolation finally lifts, I want to ensure that I remember back to this period and continue to hit the goals that I create myself during this odd time.

Leave me a message in the comments.

How are you getting on with Isolation?

Lifestyle Manchester

The move to Manchester – Part 2

Following on from Part One, I have finally moved into the city centre. One thing I have realised is how much I like a routine. So once moving from one area to another, I guess the challenge was to see how quickly I can generate my new routine. Its been so important for me to spend the time to find somewhere to live, a place that I enjoy in an area that I like. I think I've got it pretty spot on. To walk into the city centre is about 5 minutes, walking to the gym takes 10 minutes and then the Northern Quarter is just around the corner from the flat. Socialising has been at the front of my agenda. I have participated in a Monday night pub quiz, nooo not Rob DJ's Monday Night pub quiz but Mr Tom's. I feel the only advice I have learnt from this is to study the Radio 2 playlist and also when playing the higher or lower game is to think the opposite (I keep losing). Who said it keeps raining in Manchester... to be honest, I thought it would be a lot worse. There have been the best sunsets here, I have managed to capture a few from the terrace of the flat. [caption id="attachment_8077" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Sunset view from the flat[/caption] I have never been so used to having everything right on the doorstep. I sound like a sheltered kinda person when I say that but I'm used to going places all the time, I love visiting a city or just going on a road trip. I'm just used to having to travel to get to the nearest shopping centre, or getting a taxi home but its literally right on the doorstep. Just getting ready for a night out, realising that I need a new shirt to pop down to River Island has never been an option. I'm sure doing this all the time wouldn't work in my favour haha. I have been forcing myself down different streets of the city, each time trying to go somewhere different, realising that some of the streets I wouldn't walk down alone at night. I read in the news today that there are approximately 320,000 homeless in the UK, some of which are here in the city. It's the only major thing I have realised I have strong thoughts about. [caption id="attachment_8080" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Christmas Markets in the Albert Square[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8076" align="aligncenter" width="900"] The markets in Exchange Square[/caption] I have moved into the Centre when the Christmas Markets have been built around the city. According to some newspaper articles, its the most Instagrammed Christmas Market. The majority of the stalls appear to be in the Albert Hall Square and Christmas markets go, I have really felt they have a lot to offer. They attract thousands of people every day from all around the city and further afield. I've heard that they are particularly busy at the weekends. I have been to a couple of new restaurants including Yard & Coop, an independent version of Nando's (But not Nando's) and also an incredible place called V Rev, a vegan restaurant that serves really tasty fast food. Fortunately this week, I have had some holiday to use from work so it's given me some time to really explore the city. I have been to more corners of the city and my friends James and Freya have been up. I took them to Home Sweet Home for brunch and then a trip up 20 Stories for views of the city from above. Yesterday I visited the Science and Industry Museum, I learnt all about the city hydraulic industry. Something that I never knew was so big in cities, they used to harness the power of hydraulics before the electrical revolution. Selling hydraulic power as the power of the future and the fact that it wouldn't cause fires and had only one moving part.  Even the Albert Hall clock is still powered by Hydraulics... Ok, I could talk for ages on this. I have booked to go to the Warehouse Project on Store Street in December, I was itching to go after the incredible Elrow party I went to in the summer. Well, it's coming to Manchester and I wanted to see the Store Street venue before it is moved next year. I am more than likely to write up about this event so stay tuned.
Lifestyle Manchester

The move to Manchester – Part 1

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]With the hunger for more opportunity and a want for a bit of city life, I finally moved to the powerhouse of the North. After planning this big move over the past few months, finally, I got up here. I'm so incredibly lucky with the things I have in life and having to sacrifice some of the amazing things I have wasn't an easy decision. I feel that its just come to the point in my life to see something new, see something that could inspire me or edge me to achieve my goals even more. Without my family and my friends, I¬†wouldn't have the courage to be here. So on 30th September, I drove up after my brother's 30th party back in Suffolk. I have been staying in an Airbnb that I stayed at on the August Bank Holiday weekend with the most helpful host Jacqualene. She's lovely, a true Irish lady and she has helped me get my bearings in Didsbury, one of South Manchester's Villages. There seems to be a load of "young folk" that live in Didsbury, full of restaurants and bars, it's a village that is spread across the South. I have been living just on the outskirts of the main street. Supermarkets, pubs, and cafes are all within an arms reach of where I have been staying. [caption id="attachment_8060" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Dog & Partridge - a Greene King pub right in the centre of Didsbury[/caption] To get into the city there are many options, driving or by bus or tram. The tram stop comes straight into the village and they are every 10-15 mins.¬† I have now walked just about everywhere in the City. I had to find a flat for me eventually and visiting different places for viewings has been a great way to know where to head. I feel that I now have the ability to get myself to a certain area in the city without the need for help from maps on my phone. I particularly like Spinningfields, Manchester's business district and also Castlefield which is the quieter side of the city - this was home the industrial side which is now a great area for a walk around the canals, mostly this area is converted to flats, office spaces and the new home to Hits Radio. [caption id="attachment_8064" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Castlefield - the quieter side of the city[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_8063" align="aligncenter" width="900"] The Town Hall[/caption] Fortunately, with my job, I am able to work remotely and I have been to some cafes during the day to work. There are many up in the Northern Quarter and Ancoats, like the one called Takk. [caption id="attachment_8061" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Takk - 3 scrambled eggs[/caption] There are also a few bars such as TROF and one of my favourite so far is Cane & Grain, a very indie bar with their main famous food to be ribs. I haven't tried them yet. I have also been trying my hardest to keep the fitness routine going, as part of Pure Gym I have been going to Urban Exchange a lot. This is right in Ancoats and I haven't decided yet whether this will be my home gym. Spinningfields does have another gym that I'm interested in too. [caption id="attachment_8065" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Close to my flat[/caption] So I move from Disdbury in November, to the city centre to live with a couple of guys in between the Green and Northern Quarter. I will post again once I have managed the move. It will give me a good chance to properly integrate into the city. Part 2 coming soon![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Shifting my sleep pattern

We've all heard of the "we need 8 hours sleep" thing. Well I'm lead to believe that this is optimal, there is obviously a point to it. If you have less than this its believed to cause you to deteriorate in productivity, I think that this is down to the individual. I also think that with daily life and how busy people are this "8 hours" can be hard to get. From growing up, I have worked on a farm where sometimes work day length can impact your sleep time, especially during the summer months. So I feel that I know how much sleep my body requires to work to peak performance. I think that my body needs between 6.5-7.5 hours to operate without feeling to tired. This would only be valid if my body hasn't be subjected to exercise or high exertion. I have also worked in the event industry where I have worked a few super long days, one of them that I remember was 24hrs and I remember the impact of that on my productivity. Today, I manage to give myself the sleep I need, but I have always struggled to get to bed at the right time, also the fact that screen time from devices can also affect the brain before sleep. So now I have a strict during the week cut off, of 10pm. I began reading about wake-up times and discovered a few things:
Getting up early gives you more production time
Production time drops off in the evening as normally our brains and bodies get ready for sleep. Also after a long day our brains are in need of a recharge . Getting up early to work on something or even workout you will get so much better mind focus and attention.
You get less disturbances
Phones are quiet, emails don't arrive in your inbox and many are in bed. There are less distractions early in the morning, giving more time to focus.
The mornings can be beautiful 
There are just as many sunsets as sunrises. For most of the year they are really early and its great to see the sunrises as they can be super stunning
There is a club of people
Something I find, there are familiar faces at this time in the morning, if you like to acknowledge people in the gym its a great time to strike conversation. These people also have less distractions. There of course are many other benefits depending on the person. I have only taken my experiences into consideration. So how did I shift my sleep pattern?
Shifting my wake up time
Since the beginning of 2018, I have begun playing around with the time I get up. I have always managed to wake early for work on the farm growing up but I really wanted to continue getting up early. So in the Winter, bearing in mind that it was pitch black at 5am, I started to get up at 5:30am. Shifting the sleep pattern to get up that early during the winter was tough. I decided to start working out in the mornings, I had to have a reason for getting up and for a while it was hard to fixate on working out. There's no point getting up early for no reason. You need a motivation. It can be anything, writing a blog post, working out, walking the dog, reading a book. One thing I find is that it takes approximately 5-10 mins for the body to full wake but once you have got through this period its actually quite easy. I was reading an article about Mark Walberg visiting Good Morning Britain. He had posted his daily schedule on his Instagram. Its great to see how other people design their day. Although i'm not quite ready for a 2:30am start haha. During a Q&A with fans on Instagram, the Hollywood actor suddenly unveiled his ‚Äėtypical daily schedule‚Äô. It read as follows: ‚Äė2.30am wake up 2.45 prayer time 3.15am breakfast 3.40-5.15am workout 5.30am post-workout meal 6.00am shower 7.30am golf 8.00am snack 9.30am cyro chamber recovery 10.30am snack 11.00am family time/meetings/work calls 1.00pm lunch 2.00pm meeting/work calls 3.00pm pick up kids & school 3.30pm snack 4.00pm workout #2 5.00pm shower 5.30pm dinner/family time 7.30pm bedtime‚Äô Wow. As Wahlberg‚Äôs post promptly went viral, many assumed it must be some kind of joke. Surely nobody could possibly lead such a preposterous self-torturing lifestyle? They can. Wahlberg does. Six days a week, every week, every month, every year.  
Do you have a good sleep and waking routine?? Comment below!!

It’s a mental thing

So far over the last year or so, I have been really paying attention to my mental health. I have used my love for fitness to help me not just physically but also mentally. I have seen so many cases where depression and anxiety have been a large case in peoples lives. It's true that there is a problem, and in most cases these issues are not spoken about enough. Now, I'm not a specialist by any means nor do I class myself as depressive but as I go through day to day life I can certainly feel that certain aspects of life can cause high and low moods in myself. I like to try and acknowledge these moments, if I feel happy, motivated and energised I stop and ask myself why I feel like this. If I'm low, unmotivated and low of energy I also just remind myself that its ok to acknowledge and be this way. It really helps to try and workout what is making me feel the way I do. I have seen the advance in social media, and as its now looked at for hours a day by some people. I do use social media but I like to keep it to a regulated amount. I can see how it can be mentally distracting to many. Maybe I need to do a separate blog post on this as I feel that I could discuss it for hours. This is how I help my mental health on a daily basis.. If there is a "what I call" stressed situation at any point in the day I like to just think to myself that these situations can arise at any point and if I feel that I need a minute to two digest my thoughts then I will pull myself away from the situations immediately. Keeping myself emotionally safe is important. Way back in January, I challenged myself with attempting to lose a little weight and follow a programme that keeps me working hard. A lot of people around me feel that getting up at 5am most mornings to train is quite an effort, which I do admit, it is fairly. I have been so fortunate to grew up on a farm where I used to be at work super early in the mornings. Now I have a slightly later starting job, I have managed to keep up the early mornings but incorporated fitness. My fitness is way more than just a physical workout but it allows me to be hyper charged in the mind too. The fact that your mind knows its an effort to get down the gym for 6am, it actually satisfies it. The gym is empty, distraction free and I can just put on my favourite music just to get too it. I also really focus on my breathing techniques as I have realised the benefits for lifting power and staying in control. I continue these breathing techniques during the stretching and cool down period, again another area that calms my mind.

Shorts day one

I can't really work out if i think the winter has taken along time, we always say that isn't time going quickly "its already April" or "where has the time gone". As i look around i can see the anticipation of the spring. Yesterday i wore shorts for the first time (in the uk) apart from Lanzarote earlier in the year. It fell sooo good. Ive always been a shorts person, even the slightest rise in temperature encourages me to dig them out. I actually have more shorts than I do trousers. So I have finally recovered from my 'take down' flu what a pain that was. Even three days with no fitness has been a struggle, I tried HIIT training on Tuesday and my chest was not coping. I have never been frustrated after a workout before so odd how it has made me like this. Anyways i think i'm now back on full steam. So I have been focusing on the festival planning, I really have learnt that I love researching for events. Turns out we have a very good sound system being installed and I have been trying to find some our similar installs for the marketing plan with the team. Also we have had a DJ mix from one of my mates Oli Stuart. I was listening to it at work yesterday and that combined with the sunny weather and shorts put me in such a good mood! Great ingredients. Unfortunately, right now I cant tell you what the festival is called or location as its a private event. But I am planning on Live recording some of the DJ sets on the date of the event so I might post them up on here!

When you get pulled down

It turns out that during Easter I was taken down by the flu/cold. Ive never really workout what its really called because i've always heard that the 'Flu' is when you are 'bed bound' and cant move due to aching and fever. I felt like I had a little of that. If you don't know where it came from, you cant help but try and work it out, maybe from the gym, from work? Nothing really made sense. Turns out my house mate had similar symptoms only a week ago, so thats where I assume it came from. Not their fault of course :) So it pulls you down. Pulls you down from everything in your progressive path. It takes your focus away from anything when you least expect it. Rest becomes difficult and like me, you feel useless. My first major thought was that will it stop my progress with my diet and nutrition plan? Na, I should be able to recover from it. I made sure that I kept eating, even if it was food high in sugar and carbs because it would be better than nothing of course. Its weird, during sleep my brain was getting confused and was attempting to make ridiculous calculations and making me wake up. Sounds daft right? Maybe like a chemical in-balance? This whole down period has lasted 3 days so far. It does make me want to hit my training hard when I get back into it. I think having this downtime has done me good. Its made me focus more on my goals and targets. 6 weeks until the family holiday, thats my goal for the cutting plan. I have also redone my diet plan to include a few extra foods and removed some others. As soon as I can be back to 100% the game is on!!!

Thoughts, just on the edge of Winter

Now that the bulk of the winter season is out of the way, it seems that there is an element of picking up to do. I'm not 100% sure why I really think like this. I suppose I put it down to how winter makes people feel. Maybe a little restricted and with the weather being cold, a little de-motivated. The clocks are changing this weekend and then it will become dark again in the mornings, but now that this is happening it just tells me that spring is eagerly awaiting. Spring isn't my favourite season but it does hold the feeling of stability and clarity with moving forward. I have learnt so much over the past year, I have some new and great people that I have met. I find it so so important to include people in your life that add value to it. Some of the new people have given me inspiration, even in small areas of my life. I met two certain people last year and even though we are different people already I know we will hold a strong friendship, even for life. You know, you get that feeling? If you have read my previous blog posts you know how much I have been enjoying my fitness, well as I continually say... I will continue with this well into the Spring. I am following an author from the US called Mike Matthews. He has a fantastic book out called Leaner, Bigger, Stronger that I have been following. You can find his book in most online book stores or just follow his website I have been using a fitness plan to obviously aid me physically, but as a result of following a plan it has massive benefits to my mental health too. I see the big workout sessions as a break from everything thing around me. Its like a moment of focus. Really liking the results of that! Don't expect me to talk to you in the Gym ha ha. I am stepping down from my weekly radio show, primarily to focus on other projects round me. Im still trying to figure out how I can turn my thoughts into a podcast, as thats what I would like to do in the near future. Ok, its barely 10 degrees, but I really really want to wear shorts tomorrow. I don't know what it is about wearing shorts. I'm just going to tell myself that I run hot and that I need to have the ability to breathe, it could be a really bad idea and I may stand out but what the hell.

The Balancing Act

Just trying to balance all aspects of life can be a real challenge. You have your job, health, social and other people to think about to. Since the beginning of the year I have been faced with challenges and have been a little off the rails, but I promised myself that I would focus on the things that make me happy. Ok, so i'm being very vague. Like my past two posts, they have talked a lot bout my passion for fitness and creating realistic goals. Well, its now March, I feel a-lot more content in reaching goals and sometimes you just have to be extremely patient. I have managed to keep focused to lose a bit of weight and stick to an actual diet plan. For me the enjoyment is a little bit of discipline, getting up at 5:30am every morning has been a discipline. I have managed to loose a bit of weight, its certainly kept me motivated. Other than that I have been equally delegating my time between every thing around me. I have found that the implementation of my Google Calendar has helped, keeping me on track of social engagements and my fitness. What do you use to keep this in order?

The Millennial Question

I was just browsing around and came across this guy, Simon Sinek. Simon was originally born in England and then moved to America. He is an author, speaker, and consultant who writes on leadership and management. This is his Millennial Question. In short, he talks about the workplace and many aspects leading to generation issues (anyone born after 1984). What he talks about, feels incredibly truthful and I became drawn in when watching this video. If you have a bit of spare time I really recommend this and you may think differently after watching. Please share!