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Leading by example...

Today is International Men's Day, and this year's theme is "Positive Male Role Models".

As such, I thought it was a good time to write about the biggest male role model I have in my life...my dad.

Growing up, my dad was always there.  Always present in my life whenever I needed him.  Most noticeably on the sports field.  Between him and mum I don't think they missed a single football match, cricket game or athletics competition.

I think back now and wonder how they did it, with two kids, both of who competed in sports all year around and often on the same day in different parts of Wellington, if not the country.  But there dad was, week in and week out, supporting me, driving me all over the place and never making a big deal about it.  

Even when I made representative football teams and training was in Kapiti he would make the 45 minute drive, wait and watch training, then drive me 45 minutes back home again, often getting home pretty late at night after what I'm…

Do you still play?

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I have a four year old son who is a constant ball of energy and adventure.  It's been awesome to see him grow up and develop in his motor skills and physical abilities as he gets older.

Currently his favourite activity is jumping.  Mainly jumping between pieces of furniture or off anything that is high enough to be exciting.  Sometimes as a parent this terrifies me - what if he breaks something? But at the same time I understand he is testing his own limitations and capabilities.  Something we all used to do as children.



To him this is both play and learning, but he only understands it as having fun.  How high can I jump? how fast can I ride my bike? Can I do a cartwheel? These are all things we have done, and for the most part as adults we stop doing.

Some of us still get out on bikes and ride trails for fun, or rock climb, or kayak, or do gymnastics classes, but the number of adults who partake in these activities are few and far between.

I follow a self-defence and martial arts You…

Why 360 Degrees? The story behind the name...

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It may not be apparent to everyone, but I put a lot of thought into what to name my fitness business before I finally decided on 360 Degree Fitness.  It involved many hours of staring blankly at a piece of paper trying to pick names out of thin air before I decided to get a bit smarter about the whole process.




I sat down after about a week of being frustrated with not coming up with a decent name and started to go about it in a more structured way.  I asked myself what I wanted the company to represent, what it's aims were for it's clients, the  training/coaching philosophy that I believed in, and then I went to work.

I took that blank piece of paper that had been taunting me for a week or so and started writing.  Big ideas rather than detailed things - things like mental health not just physical health, not getting bogged down in the minutia of the fitness industry, meeting people where they are rather than forcing them into boxes, and so on.

What eventually started showing up t…

Your "why" matters...

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One thing that many people struggle with when it comes to health and fitness is keeping their motivation over the long term.

Motivational quotes and inspirational YouTube videos can help, but often only in the short term.  Of course as Zig Ziglar said: 

Rest easy...some sleep tips for you to try.

Last week I wrote about sleeping and how important quality sleep was in reaching your health and fitness goals.  So this week I thought I would write a follow up blog post, giving out some quick tips that may help you improve your sleep.  There are a few things to try and cut out of your routine, and a few things that you could look to add in to your routine.  As with most things health and fitness related, it can take some trial and error to find out what works for you.  SO feel free to try some of the things below and let me know how you get on.

Let's start with the seemingly obvious first.  Caffeine before bed is not the best idea for dropping off to sleep quickly.  So some things to avoid in the hours after 5pm (depending on when you go to sleep) are coffee, energy drinks, teas with high caffeine content, really anything that has a decent hit of caffeine in it.  

Some teas do not contain caffeine, and a number even claim to aid in sleep quality, this is one of those things that …

How are you sleeping?

One question that I always ask clients when they first start with me (and ongoing over the time we train together too) is how are you sleeping?

It is not just a question to fill in the time while resting between exercises, it is an important one to be asking.  How often do you think about your sleep?  Do you think about it at all?

Sleep is a vital component of a training program.  It is the time when our body refreshes itself, rebuilds itself.  If you are going through a phase where you are trying to build muscle, it isn't when you are lifting the weights in the gym that you build muscle, it is when you recover after those lifting sessions.

The training helps to break the muscle down so that when we rest and the body rebuilds the muscle, it rebuilds it bigger (if following the correct program) and stronger.  

Quality of sleep can also influence your success if trying to lose weight.  It does this in a couple of different ways.  Firstly, a lack of sleep can influence your cortisol leve…

Are you depriving yourself?

Recently I posted a photo on my Instagram page about changing the way we think about our nutrition.  It had to do with adjusting our thinking from one of deprivation to one of adding things into our diet.  I thought I would explain a little more deeply here.

It is often said that the most efficient way to make sure that the general public knows about something is for the government to ban it.  The same is true (if slightly stretching the comparison) about our nutrition.  If you want to ensure you have a craving for something, try thinking about not eating it for a while.

This is one of the problems with most diets - they focus on the removal of certain foods.  A few examples are - low carb, no sugar diet, low fat diets, no white bread/rice/pasta.  These all focus on removal of things that people would normally eat.  Which means of course that they are the things that are most on our minds when we are hungry.

There's not normally anything magical about these diets in how they are desi…

How rupturing my Achilles the first time was actually useful...

So in February this year I suffered a complete rupture of my Achilles Tendon while doing some sparring with some friends.  This was one of the most painful injuries and frustrating rehabilitation protocols I have had to go through (and I've been through a few!).  But it came with a silver lining.

In my first Krav Maga training session back after being cleared by my hospital physio, I took a step back and pop, it ruptured again.  While the re-injury was very frustrating - in fact it is possibly the most upset over an injury I have ever been - having been through it once before has taught me a few things.
The first thing I learned was that I am able to ask for what I want in terms of a cast, in some aspects at least.  When you rupture your Achilles Tendon you are put in what is known as an equinous cast.  This basically sets your cast in a position with your toes pointing down to bring the two ends of the tendon as close as possible.
While I could not change the position of my foot, th…

Are you doing dry July?

As we kick off the month of July, there may be a few of you who are considering doing dry July and giving up alcohol for the month.

I thought I would put together some thoughts on why you might want to consider reducing your alcohol intake a little for more than just a month.  

First I Want to say that I am in no way suggesting that you give up alcohol altogether, just reduce your intake a little bit.

One part of alcohol that doesn't get talked about a whole lot is the calories that you are drinking with each glass.  Obviously there are drinks that are better than others in this area.  Here are some examples: a 330ml bottle of beer has around 130 calories, so if you had 3 beers after work last Friday that's 390 calories added to your weekly calorie intake.  A glass of wine has between 120-180 calories depending on what type (red, white, sparkling etc.).  So those three wines on Friday night just set you back up to 540 calories.

The British National Health Service advises that we c…

It's time to put the gloves on again...

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It's been a while since I have written a post about my Achilles tendon rupture rehab so I thought I would bash out a few quick words on where things are at in my recovery.

For the last month or so I have been able to walk around in normal shoes again, which for anyone who hasn't had the pleasure of rupturing their Achilles is quite a milestone!  Having your toes pointed at the floor for 3 months or so has definitely been a bit of a pain, its amazing how a simple change in the way you hold your foot can cause a whole lot of other issues.

As a result of the normal shoes, my back, hip and knee pain have vanished almost instantly - a pretty clear sign that they were having to compensate for the change in my gait pattern.  Really just confirming what I already thought was the case.  But good to know that it wasn't anything more serious.

Something that I hadn't really thought too much about (but should have really) was the loss in my balance, especially the loss in balance on b…

How your body can help your brain...

Last week I wrote about my struggles with depression and anxiety.  I told you all about the way in which my depression and anxiety manifested themselves, and what I did to seek help to get through the issues I was having.  

One element which I failed to mention was the part that physical activity played in improving my mental health.  

Being active through my struggles helped me a great deal.  I always noticed on the weeks that I didn't hit the gym or play some indoor football I felt the impact of my depression more keenly, and I was also more anxious.  Now there is a double edged sword with physical activity, especially with depression.  One of the symptoms of depression can be (not always) a lack of motivation to do regular everyday things.  

This is a problem when it comes to getting into, say, a gym routine where you are trying to keep to a schedule, as some days even getting out of bed can be a struggle.  This is where having a gym buddy or a team that is relying on you to show …

Guys, why don't you take it easy...

As men, often when we train we focus on lifting big weights, training at a high intensity, and pushing ourselves to our limits.  While there is a time and place for this sort of training, we also need to balance this out with other forms of training which help the body to recover for these high intensity bouts of activity.

I have had a guest blogger write about the benefits of massage previously, a method of recovery which I put great value in. If you are interested, you can read about it here.

Another form of training I have been using for a while now and highly recommend for guys especially is Pilates.  I work one on one with Carolyn from Pilates by Design.  I began doing Pilates because I have had tight hips for a while now, and during my Krav Maga training I found it difficult to get my round kicks high enough.

Pilates has helped me to loosen up my hips and as a result get my kicks up to chest height (the plan is for them to get to head height, but one step at a time!).  I highly rec…

It's time to start talking...

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This is a tough topic to talk about, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't, what we need to do is to work harder to open up about it.  I'm talking about mental health.  This blog post talks about my journey through depression and anxiety, if this raises issues for anyone, please contact one of the numbers at the end of the article and talk to someone who can offer support.

It's men's health week this week, and I thought that this was the perfect time to talk about men's mental health rather than just looking at physical health.  Mental health is just as important as physical health and the two are very often closely interlinked.

Before you go and think that I am just talking out of a hole in my head about this subject let me put this out there - I have suffered from both depression and anxiety in the past, and still, struggle with depression at times.  While I never got to the point of having any suicidal thoughts or self-harmed in any way, it was by no means a…

What's the best that could happen?

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This week is Men's Health Week and it got me thinking about how we as men often neglect our health and put off going to the doctor to get things checked out, even though having regular checkups can be beneficial.  So I decided to blog about what benefits might come of being a little more proactive when it comes to our health.



The first couple of things to get checked out are ones that you can get done at your GP, or at least have your GP refer you for.  First up is a simple blood pressure test.  Now a one off blood pressure test is not of much use in itself - yes in an accident/urgent medical situation it is useful, but in general everyday life it is much better to have a number of blood pressure readings over time in order to note any particular trends that may be going on.

By noting trends you can spot early whether action needs to be taken in order to prevent issues down the line such as heart disease.  The same is true of the next test - blood sugars.

Prolonged high blood sugars …

The Long Journey To A First Step

So I had a big moment this week in my recovery - my specialist has advised me that it is time to start weight bearing again.

This is a huge step in my recovery.  After having 6 weeks on crutches and being unable to do so much of what most people take for granted, it was a glorious sound hearing those words from the doctor.  

But it was a difficult process getting to this first step.  There was obviously the initial pain of the injury and getting over this, which took a combination of rest, medication, rest, putting up with a cast, and some more rest.  This was both fatiguing and frustrating as I wasn't able to train my clients, or myself a whole lot either. 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank three groups of people.  Firstly, thanks to the group of people who have gone out of their way to look after my family and I.  Thanks to all of those who cooked meals, brought round groceries, dropped in to say hi and keep my spirits up, it has meant the world to me and to my family.…

Issues with injuries...

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So as you may know by now I'm currently recovering from my ruptured Achilles tendon injury (to see how it happened read this blog post, to see how I'm progressing check this one out).  The rehab is going well so far, the specialist was happy with what she saw and the pain has decreased which is a good sign.  But that doesn't mean it has been all smooth sailing.  

Injuries come with their fair share of associated problems, so I thought I'd outline a few of the ones I've been facing and how I've dealt with them, in no particular order of importance.

Firstly, pain.  Now there wasn't a whole lot of pain in the first week, which lulled me into a false sense of security to be honest.  Then the second week arrived, and the pain levels increased dramatically.  Now, I was prescribed some fairly good pain medication - Tramadol being the most effective (I got the option of getting Codeine but that messes me up in ways which I won't go into here). 

I am not a big fain…