The Gentleman’s Blog

The blame game

The big mindset switch for me, the thing that has helped me the most, was from when I was studying psychology.


It was something that resonated with me and has been so important in my perspective of life. Thinking about it today it’s almost like a secret that I’m so glad came to hear about.


This secret, this Bastian of power is taking responsibility. No longer believing that other things were to blame. It was down to me. Thinking this was flipped the narrative and meant I took charge of my life.


I believe that no matter what happens to me I created it on some level. I am responsible for it. It it’s not there because of my physical actions it’s there because of my mental action. Thoughts of things which I’ve attracted.


And here is why you might want to adopt this belief system, because the alternative is scary! Let me explain. If you’re not in control of your life, you’re not responsible. If you blame others or circumstances, you’ve got a big problem! Because you have no power to change it. You are impotent.


But with the belief system I’m proposing to you. the belief that you are not a victim of circumstance. If you believe that whatever has happened is down to you generating it on some level. Then if you don’t like it you can change it!


Do you see where I’m going with this? My point being that I’m not trying to make you feel culpable. But I’m empower you, so if you don’t like how things are going you know you can change them.


In victim mode the following things or circumstances are responsible for your health:


Carbs

Thyroid/slow metabolism

Big bones

Lack of time

Body type


When you take control /responsibility what you’ll see is that your poor health and fitness is down to:


Lack of self control

Unaware of energy balance

Overestimating your calorie expenditure

Rewarding yourself with food

Poor food choices

Poor stress coping mechanisms


Now I know it’s easy to play the blame game. I’ve been there. The universe, him, her, this, that and everything else but myself, was to blame for why I wasn’t where I wanted to be.


But once you take responsibility for everything, good or bad. You can take credit for the wins. But you must also take responsibility when it doesn’t go your way. Knowing that you can change it!


You are 100% in control of your health and fitness!

Baptism of fire

I remember when I first started in a Health Club many years ago and I had a consultation with a new client.


When I asked him about his goals I was a little taken back by what happened next.


He went to his bag and out from it he pulled a copy of Men’s Health magazine. He held the magazine and pointed to the bronzed Adonis on the front cover.


‘I want this guy’s body’ he said.


In my head I was thinking ‘this is something one would do in a barbers’.


This was one of my first consultations and turned out to be quite the baptism of fire. The rest of the consultation was spent managing expectations and understanding why he wanted this man’s body.


I mean the chap on the cover looked great and I could see the appeal. In my teens I would have had copies of these magazines and trying to emulate the model on the cover. Thinking this is what I need to look like.
Needless to say I never came close (partly because the info in the magazines was so confusing). Partly because of what I’m about to tell you next.
His goal, although endearing, didn’t make sense. He wanted to look like someone else!


I had to the explain to the portly, middle aged gentleman sitting in front of me. The professional model on the front cover had spent years training and nourishing himself to achieve that physique. It was his job to look like that.
Also the model would take extra steps in the months leading up to the shoot. Lighting, tanning, makeup and airbrushing would do the rest.


I told him that ‘the guy on the cover doesn’t even look like the guy on the cover!’


I explained to the gentleman that it would be prudent to focus on himself and getting his body to the best it can be. And we agreed on goals that were going to make him feel good about his body, improve his confidence and health.


This instance wasn’t a one off. I noticed more and more guys were proposing the same thing in consultations. And I know why. It’s because we are constantly subjected to these images of physical perfection. Magazines, advertisements, commercials etc. And we compare and contrast. We look at other people’s chapter twenty and compare it to our chapter one. This seldom feels good and it seems so far removed and unobtainable we become apathetic.


Now, if you didn’t already know; comparison is the thief of joy! So don’t do that! It’s not going to help. Yes you can appreciate the time and effort these people have devoted, but that is all.


When setting your goals concentrate on improving yourself. Becoming a better version of you, then put your energy into the small steps to achieve that. Things like:


*Eating better, without dieting or feeling deprived.

*Being active, no matter what shape you’re in now.

*Ditching the food rules, dropping the fad diets, and conflicting advice. *Building fitness into your life, without it taking over.

*Achieving and maintaining your goals, even when life gets busy.


Which will see you:


*Losing the weight/fat you haven’t been able to shed for years.

*Building physical strength and confidence in your body.

*Gaining mental confidence, no longer hiding your gifts and talents.

*Letting go of food confusion, learning what to do, how to do it.

*Getting off the diet roller coaster once and for all, and never looking back.


So, stop comparing yourself to others and start comparing yourself to your previous self.

What alchemy is this?!

You see your co worker, friend or family member at meal times and they seem to have a lot of food on their plate.

This isn’t the first time you’ve noticed. You ask yourself ‘how do they eat so much and stay slim?’


It feels like you’ve got hardly anything on your plate but you’re stuck in XL clothing. Nothing you’re doing is going to get you back into your suits. And now you’ve had to bite the bullet and buy the next size up.


All sorts of reasons come into your head to make sense of what is happening.


Maybe they have one of those fast metabolisms?!


‘Their meal seems to be low in carbs maybe that’s it?!’


You want to put an end to your curiosity but a thought stops you:


I couldn’t possible ask them how they are eating so much and stay so slim that would be rude.


So you there you are, left in wonderment.


Let me explain what is going on and put you out of your misery and confusion.


This is the majesty of energy balance at work.

That person has an equal amount of energy coming in as they do going out. Over the long term.


What you are seeing is a snap shot of that persons day, one food serving. You don’t get to see what they do for the rest of the day.


Unbeknown to you that big meal that you saw them eat could be the only meal they are consuming all day (calories in).


Unbeknown to you they could be a super active person through the day. They might also exercise in the morning a bit more in the evening (calories out).


In answer to your question; their energy intake matches their energy output over the long term. Calories in match calories out.


Your body is very comfortable in this position and won’t try and convince you to move from this point. Only when you start changing your weight will your body push back and convince you to stop.


The most important thing to take from this is; if you are trying to lose weight but it doesn’t seem to be happening. It’s because your calorie intake is matching your calorie output.


So what you need to do is tip the energy balance scales in your favour. To see you expending more calories than you are consuming. This is what is known as an energy deficit and is the mechanism that every weight loss diet works on. Every single one. It’s only the methods to get you to achieve this that differ from diet to diet.


When looking to lose weight you need a starting point! And you want to keep it as simple as possible. You need to know your energy requirements for weight loss (a daily or weekly target).

Then you need to record what your energy intake is. (Don’t say I’ll tot it up in my head, you are not rain man, plus you’ll be way out). Use something simple like a tracker (MyFitnessPal).


Sticking to this will see you achieve weight loss, but that’s only one half of having a healthy diet. The other is making sure that 80% of the energy/calories you are consuming are from nutrient dense foods.


Stick with this and it won’t be long before you might get someone plucking up the courage to ask you;


‘How do you eat so much and stay so slim?’


If you need more help with this get your copy of my Guide to Vitality.

Sleep revenge!

You don’t need me to convince you of the benefits of sleep and I’m sure you’ve heard about them:

  • Boosting your immune system.
  • Help prevent weight gain.
  • Sleep can strengthen your heart.
  • Better sleep = better mood.
  • Sleeping can increase productivity.
  • Sleep can increase exercise performance.
  • Sleep improves memory.

But getting the hours of sleep required to see us recover and be at our best can be a challenge. This is because we have various demands that battle for our finite time attention and energy.


And it’s usually a case that choosing one of these commitments will see us miss out on another. And we humans don’t like thought of missing out, so we make decisions to avoid missing out.


For example did you know there is such a thing as revenge bedtime procrastination?! It is the decision to sacrifice sleep for leisure time that is driven by a daily schedule lacking in free time.


When your high-stress job takes up the bulk of your day. Revenge bedtime procrastination is a way to find a few hours of entertainment. It’s very easily done. After all this time is where you have currently assigned time for yourself to wind down. Or it could be time with you spend with your other half.

Even though it results in insufficient sleep, staying up late to do what you want gives you a sense of control that you don’t feel you have during your work or family life. Even if the “revenge” is mostly on oneself.


Although revenge bedtime procrastination can be tempting. late nights followed by early mornings can directly lead to serious sleep deprivation.
Sleep procrastination can take different forms. One involves delaying the act of getting into bed (bedtime procrastination). Another is delaying the time of trying to fall asleep once in bed (while-in-bed procrastination). A person may engage in one or both forms of sleep procrastination, each of which can reduce nightly sleep.

Also with engaging in this bedtime procrastination and knowing/generally wanting to receive enough sleep, but failing to do so creates cognitive dissonance (mental conflict).


There is also the concept of searching for perfect sleep conditions that can cause sleep problems. Take for example if something doesn’t confirm with your idea of the perfect sleep environment. You could then lay there disgruntled and tell yourself.


I’m not going to get to sleep now without x’


This is where a night time routine can be helpful. A night-time routine can reduce the impulse to stay up later instead of going to bed.

  • Keeping a consistent bedtime (setting an alarm to start this night time routine) and wake-up time (sleep cycle app), including non-working days.
  • Avoiding alcohol or caffeine late in the afternoon or evening.
  • Stop the use of electronic devices for at least half-an-hour, and longer, before bed.
  • Developing a stable routine to use every night to prepare for bed.

Reading, showering/bathing, meditating, or stretching, can be part of your bedtime routine. Relaxation techniques may also decrease the stress that can drive revenge bedtime procrastination.


Also creating an inviting bedroom environment. One that is dark and quiet, has a comfortable mattress and bedding can also make going to sleep more appealing. And reduce the desire to sacrifice sleep for leisure activities.


Hope this helps.


p.s. Don’t let the bed bugs bite!

Danger on the climb down

I read a fascinating article yesterday about mountain climbers. It was the Headline that caught my attention;

Mount Everest record-holder says — ‘it’s the trek down that kills people!

Veteran Everest climber Kami Rita Sherpa — (who holds the world record for Everest summits with 24 to his name). Said all Everest climbers should focus on making sure they have enough energy to get back down the mountain.

And that’s the thing, most people don’t even consider the journey down. All their attention is on clambering up 8849 meters of rock reaching the summit and celebrating.

Which is the same when people are working on a weight loss goal, when they manage to meet their goal weight they fail with keeping it off!

Most people don’t even contemplate the part where it comes to maintaining their new shape. (That’s if they get there).

Which is why so many people rebound hard to a wosre postion than which they started. That’s because they only tackled the diet aspect of their lifestyle and not the other aspects which have an effect on their diet.

They are hanging by a thread. Until the other factors that haven’t been addressed (stress, poor recovery, poor sleep, inactivity) start to make an impact. Then the diet gives way, which sees the weight rebound.

Your weight management is an indicator that those other factors in your life are in a good place (excluding smokers). So it is prudent that those things are addressed as well as your diet.

Rather than all the attention put on your diet, getting to a certain weight, falling down the mountain and ending up in a mess at the bottom.

If you are in need of a Sherpa to guide you on the health and fitness terrain click here.

Cholesterol – The Silent Killer

Cholesterol is often dubbed the silent killer because it doesn’t manifest itself through symptoms or a person’s physical appearance.

It only get’s talked about when you hear about a co worker who keeled over on the treadmill at the gym or on his driveway cleaning his car.

Which may get you to thinking ‘how do I avoid the same fate?’

Here’s the low down on cholesterol and what steps you can take to keep it at a good level.

Firstly it’s prudent that you know what it is. Cholesterol is a fatty substance known as a lipid and is vital for the normal functioning of the body. Cholesterol is carried in your blood by lipoproteins.

HDL (High density Lipoproteins) which some people refer to as “good cholesterol”, and higher levels are better.

LDL (Low Density Lipoproteins) which people refer to as “bad cholesterol”.

Having an excessively high level of lipids in your blood can have an effect on your health. High cholesterol itself doesn’t usually cause any symptoms, but it increases your risk of serious health conditions.

Causes of high cholesterol include: Eating high levels of saturated fats (think cheese and fatty meats), smoking, having diabetes or high blood pressure (hypertension).

So how do you go about being in a position where you don’t need to worry about needing a stent or shuffling off this mortal coil a bit previous. Well, being in a healthy range of body fat (not a specific weight) will put you in good stead.

Eating foods with omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, mackerel, herring, walnuts and flaxseeds. Increase soluble fibre. Soluble fibre can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. Soluble fibre is found in such foods as oatmeal, kidney beans, Brussels sprouts, apples and pears.

Exercise, this should include resistance or strength training which has the most health benefits of all exercise modalities.

Cut down on your alcohol intake. Yes weekends of debauchery are amusing but what about the occasional alcohol free beer or mocktail?

It’s easier said than done to say stop smoking. However, have you ever considered vaping? Which is a step in the right direction. Then from there it could be patches a bit of hypnosis (if required) and before you know it you are off the cancer sticks and an ‘ex smoker’.

Fear of failure

Have you ever avoided something because you are scared of failing?
Of course you have. This fear of failure is something we pick up in adolescence or adulthood. It protects our ego.


Think about it, what do we tell our kid’s when they come to us and tell us that something doesn’t work? We tell them to try again and when they come back and say it still doesn’t work. We say ‘try again’. Is that what we do as adults?? Nope! If we try again, we make sure nobody knows about it we don’t want anyone to know that we failed, right?


How long do you give your average baby to learn how to walk, before you shut them off and stop them from trying anymore? 🙂 They get up and keep failing until they walk! That is the magic formula. That is why you are able to walk. You persevered until! Thousands of attempts and thousands of ‘failures’ to see you walking. You tried until!


Unfortunately over time people are deterred from taking action and persevering because of fear. Fear of failure!

What I would suggest to you is that you change your perception around failure. To discipline your thinking in a new way, new thought process. What I mean is I want you to think that;


‘there are no failures, there are only results/outcomes!


Ask yourself do I always get my goal? But do you always get an outcome? Maybe not the one you intended, but it is a result. So the truth is you never fail you always succeed in producing a result, now it may not be the one you intended but that’s ok.You can make a subtle change and produce a new result.


People that succeed are the ones that do not believe in failure. There is no failure only outcomes/results. This guides them to continually take the action that eventually produces the kind of results that most people only hope to produce.


The thing is you probably don’t feel good about failing, but you feel good about learning. So the way you are going to succeed from this moment forward is you are going to realise that there are no failures. Because you learn from every experience. You succeed by learning from every human experience.


You will learn far more from these failures than you do successes. And as long as you learn from the experience then you can change your approach to produce the result that you want!


Now what I’m going to put to you is, how about you remove all the time spent trying and failing? How about you expedite the result with a proven method that will see you transform your body and mind. Improving your energy and productivity. A method that will see you looking good and feeling great!


click here

Small commitments, big results

When addressing health and fitness the common misconception is that it you have to make some dramatic overhaul to your life.


That countless hours will have to spent at the gym on exercises you detest.


Your diet will have to be drastically adjusted and a large chunk of time will be spent with meal prepping.


Sleep, stress and recovery plans will impact your week placing even more time constraints on you.


When the reality is you only need to adjust what you are already doing. No more time required just optmising what you are already doing.


The time you spend exercising will not change only the exercises and how you organise that training. To ensure that you are building muscle and boosting testosterone levels.


The time you assign to your diet will not change only the choices you make with your meal selections. To ensure that you are energised and managing your weight.


Sleep and recovery can be improved so that your performance is better. Because improving your performance is not about how hard you can go at it. It’s about how well you can recover.


Knowing this is important because time is precious and what with juggling other demands. Working long hours. Caring for family. Trying to manage a business. And so on. The last thing you want to feel like is that you have to give more time to something.


With The Limitless Lifestyle Blueprint you have a Health Professional take care of everything for you. All the heavy lifting is done. No more guess work. No more time wasted doing redundant diets. Irrelevant exercise routines, or erroneous sleep and stress regimes. You have a plan to follow and support and accountability along the way.


The only extra time you need to set aside are for our weekly check ins. Where we go over what progress you’ve been making with performance and what, needs adjusting as your body changes and if your lifestyle changes.


Not more time, time better spent.

How to stay motivated

The most common questions I get asked are revolve around motivation;


‘how do you keep it going’,


‘how do you stay motivated’,


‘how do you get to the gym X amount of times a week’,


‘how are you so consistent with your sleep?’,


‘how do you maintain you physique?’.


The answer is…


…I have a plan! In my diary, everything is in there. My workouts, my meal times and my sleep.


Before I did this everything was so hap hazard and off the cuff. I was finding time instead of making time for the things essential to health and fitness.

That’s where the consistency comes from, having a routine! This structure and organisation omits the reliance on motivation. It’s overridden! My sleep regime, my exercise sessions etc. become a matter of course.


This plan for my lifestyle is one I can stick to and that I enjoy. because I have factored in the salient things and I do them day in day out, excellent health is the outcome.


By making time for the important things it makes motivation redundant. I do them regardless. Sometimes my motivation is high to do these things and sometimes it is low.


Because motivation is fickle, but routine and habit is consistent! And being consistent with your regime is how you achieve optimal health.


Another thing to consider is to make sure that your regime is realistic and enjoyable. Because if it is not, it is going to be difficult to stick to. And then you start bringing motivation into the equation. Motivation is what you don’t want to be reliant on/use.


Don’t get me wrong the times I’m motivated I embrace it and take full advantage of it. I’ll push myself a little harder, be more accurate with tasks and my productivity will be higher! But it’s not the foundation or the deciding factor in my actions.


The most important questions I ask my clients are ‘how often can you assign to this?’ ‘How many times a week can you exercise?’ ‘What’s a realistic bedtime for you?’ ‘What foods do you enjoy eating’ and ‘how many meal times do you prefer in a day?’
Because the best plan for your health and fitness is one that you can stick to! (And obviously one that gets you results).


Yes there are exercises that are going to be optimal for improving body composition. And to ensure that they are getting what their body requires for optimal function. And a few adjustments may have to be made. But you have got to be able to stick to it and enjoy it. And there in lies the secret sauce, adherence! It is the same with diet, if I tell you it’s chicken and broccoli for the rest of your days, you’re going to say ‘Andrew, kindly f*%k off!’.


This is why food plans are stupid. You’ve cultivated your diet over years and you eat at convenient times. To completely overhaul your diet is ludicrous! You won’t last very long before you throw in the towel and you are back with the diet you had before. But a nutrition plan well, that’s your diet tweaked to ensure you are getting the macronutrients inside of the meals you like.


I have had friends tell me that they had done a certain personal trainer’s, (let’s call him Joe) diet plan. And they lasted only a couple of weeks. Because ‘prepping like a boss’ (making meals for the week and putting them in Tupperware). And ‘eating clean’ is miles away from their normal diet. No wonder only 10% of the people that buy his plan complete it!


So when you’re thinking about sleep, stress management tactics, exercise and diet. Think about what you enjoy doing and you won’t need motivation!

Emotional Eating

When I first started working with C, his relationship with food was poor to say the least it. When addressing his diet. He told me he kept a stash of chocolate bars in a box in the cupboard.


We established that after a stressful day at work he would find himself going to the box of chocolate. He wasn’t hungry he just recalled that he would be stressed when he would do this. And the chocolate made him feel better, temporarily. Like dragging on a cigarette or getting inebriated does. His chocolate box was a kind of a ‘break in case of emergency’ box.


He wasn’t aware he was doing this until I asked the questions. And unbeknown to him every time he did this he was forming a habit. Get stressed > eat food to feel better (momentarily) and repeat!


Unfortunately after doing so he would experience guilt from eating so much. The stress would be replaced by guilt from lack of self control and he felt gluttonous.
Now, multiply that habit by a few years and it was no wonder his health and fitness was deteriorating.

Plus the other things he was experiencing as a result. Especially at work and presenting. He hated it as he felt uncomfortable talking in front of his peers and work colleagues.


He told me of how he got someone else from his team to present the project he had managed. And as a result he felt someone else was taking the credit for his work.


But he felt trapped from low self-confidence and uncomfortableness when standing in front of people, worried about people looking at him.


This issue had developed over time from the result of his emotional eating.
Emotional eating is a very big problem in society. What makes it particularly dangerous is not only does it work, as an effective acute stress reliever. (Because when you eat fun food, your brain releases dopamine. A neurotransmitter associated with pleasure). But it’s not obvious, compared to other stress coping mechanisms like alcohol or smoking.


Because it’s food! And food is good, we need food. The problem is the reason behind eating. You’re not eating because you’re hungry but because you’re stressed.
So when he and I began working together on the The Limitless Lifestyle Blueprint.

The first step was to create awareness. Listening and identifying the issue and making him aware of what he was doing. A lightbulb moment for him as he realised that he had been using this stress coping mechanism for so long. And it was the cause of his poor state of health.

Then I put in place a plan of action to get him fit and healthy. First was addressing the stress issue. So I put in place tools to alleviate/omit the stressors that were causing the problem. Then we introduced coping mechanisms that would be beneficial to his health. Rather than detrimental.


With other small changes to his lifestyle. This change has permeated through his personal and professional life. He now enjoys presenting his projects thanks to his new confidence and energy.