Virtual Trainers

I can’t afford in time and money to go to the gym. I certainly can’t afford to have personal trainer. So what I have like most people, is a selection of fitness videos and podcasts. Therefore I have a number of “virtual” trainers. People in my life who regularly inspire and motivate me. but of whom I have never even met.

Here are the list of people who I have connected with over the years in the form of fitness videos and podcasts, the people who have made me as fit as I am today.

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1 Shaun T – Insanity

Yes, this is the man who started it off. From a recommendation I got bought the Insanity workout. My friend was doing it at the time. After a couple of months of procrastinating I finally took the plunge and stood the course.

The first Insanity is a 60 day programme with the first months workouts at 45 minutes a day and the last months workout over 1 hour.

It is worth it.

Shaun T is an excellent instructor, he has so much energy, and he motivates you with a sincerity and humour like no other.

I have stuck with the first programme and I have converted it to a computer file so I can put it on my iPhone. I use it as part of my weekly workout still.

Shaun T has produced other workouts since so find the one that works for you. You can find a full range of workouts at http://www.beachbody.com

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2 Laura – Couch to 5k

Even after completing Insanity I still couldn’t run. My friend came with me (he is an excellent motivator) and I still had to rest part way. But when I started to run on my own I struggled.

Luckily I didn’t have too. Because I met Laura.

Laura is the voice to a series of podcasts run by the NHS called Couch to 5k.

The programme itself is brilliant but it is made better with Laura’s expert encouragement and tips along the way.

In fact now that I have completed the podcasts I do miss that extra encouragement Laura offered.

I did the programme, and now I’m running 10k’s and marathons.

You can find the podcasts at –
http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/c25k/Pages/couch-to-5k.aspx

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3 Tony Horton – P90X

After the success of Insanity I was on fitness rush eager to consume new workouts. Advertised within Insanity is P90X. Now It is on my phone next to Insanity and again I take what I need from it when I plan my weekly workouts.

Tony Horton is one of the funniest trainers I have seen, he is quirky and humourous and very motivational.

The only problem lies with the programme itself. Unlike Insanity, (which you can pick up and do anywhere) there is a lot of equipment needed to perform some of the workouts. Also, some of them are over an hour and half long.

Like Shaun T, Tony Horton has produced more recent workouts that are shorter so don’t let that put you off. The P90x workouts work for me just great. I like the way they have a Kendo specific and Yoga specific workout. I use these regularly. And the weight training is brilliant.

Again check out http://www.beachbody.com for more from Tony.

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4 Adrienne – Yoga with Adrienne

Tony Horton got me into Yoga. Adrienne made me love it. Yoga with Adrienne is a series on YouTube. She runs 10 minute to 30+ minute yoga sessions. If you are a beginner or expert yogi she is worth tuning into.

Again I use my phone to watch the workouts so they are very accessible and you can find an episode for whatever your using for weight loss, running, or just if you’re in a bad mood.

Find Adrienne on YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene

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5 Jeremy – The Hockey Movement

Another YouTube channel, and this one really is a Hockey specific trainer. The channel boasts a lot advice on getting your techniques right through all aspects of the game. Jeremy clearly plays and loves playing the sport and this comes out in the care he gives in his tutorials.

There are also review of different equipment and training tools, as well as some really inspiring hockey related videos (like the wonderful journey he takes to Lake Louise to play pond hockey).

If all that wasn’t enough there are also some links to other excellent YouTube channels like the fantastic Jeremy Weiss (no relation).
Find Jeremy from the Hockey Movement at
https://www.youtube.com/user/HockeyReviewHQ

So there are my current 5 virtual trainers. I have never met any of these people in person but I see them every week at some point without fail. They have shaped my fitness into what it is today, and am thankful for their support and motivation.

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Do you really move up a rank when you’re a Parent?

When you become a parent do you move up or back down?

Ok so when you become a parent you traditionally expect that you are now the parent, your parents are now grandparents and your grandparents are now great grandparents, right. So everyone moves up one.

However this morning I sat down with my coffee and my toast. Put the TV on and realised something.

I was watching “Pip Ahoy” the channel 5 Kids show from Milkshake. I looked at my toast and realised it was on a yellow plastic plate.

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Those decisions had been just that. The TV hadn’t just switched on I had set it to that channel. There was plenty of other plates, I had chosen that one.

I wonder how many other choices I make where I pick the kids option over the adults.

I certainly had started making adult decisions before I had kids.

I think that it’s only when your older you can fully say that you have moved up into that level. I don’t think parents of younger children can make that step fully until the kids get older.

I don’t want to either. I love Ben and Hollys little Kingdom and Peppa Pig, and pretending to each imaginary cake, and build stuff with Lego or play dough or toilet roll tubes. Going to kids party and playing musical bumps. Singing songs about 50 robbers and farmer with a dog named bingo in the car.

I have to go now though. I have to put my suit on for work. So I’d best take these Hulk Pyjamas off.

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How Apple inspired me

When I talk about the positive changes I made last year I general talk about my fitness goals.

But really that was only one side of the change. I was also in conflict because I always wanted to be a writer, but could never stay the course and put things out there. I also found that part of a positive lifestyle was to give back to your community and help those around you.

Scouring the internet for inspiration I came across a series of adverts that Apple made to promote the iPad Air.

I found that I could relate to them and they inspired me into action.

Here are my favourites.

Robin Williams speech from the Dead Poets Society is a brilliant backdrop to the range of extraordinary things that apple present us with. It also had Ice Hockey in it which directly resonated with me.

Cheries Verse was good because of how she used social media to plan and record her journey. I really gave my inner writer some ideas on how I could begin my writing journey.

With an excellent backing track of You are Undeniable by Marvin Gaye with Mos Def this was the first video I watched. Jasons Verse spoke out to me about how a wanted to be. Riding around on my bike, rallying the community, writing on my Ipad. Brilliant.

Not only did these short clips provide a call to action but they also enlightened my a lot of new apps that I use today.

There are more in the series but these were the ones that inspired me. I hope they inspire you to.

What will your Verse be?

Have a good day.

My Father’s Day 2015

The night before my little girl was in bed and one hour after bedtime sprang out of bed and ran up to me gave me a hug and a smile and shouted  “Happy Fathers Day”. It was no surprise therefore when she spoke me awake at 5am with the same bright, cheer.

Phew, what a day.

The best thing about Fathers Day is that in a world that gives you little time to do the things you truly want to do, Father’s Day allows you time to spend with your kids and enjoy them without restrictions of time. 

They are all at an age where they make there own cards and gifts and I treasure each creative effort. This year they even helped make the traditional Fathers Day breakfast. I love this tradition, not just because I get to eat it all but because family based traditions were what I was raised on and I believe they offer a sense of unity and common purpose. Who’s ever day it is, a simple tradition of making breakfast in order to honour their achievements and exclaim our love of that person, is always a positive endeavour. My wife had made a special effort to cut flowers out of the toast and fill the middle with eggs. I heard her teaching the kids how to do it. So nice.

  

It was a full day filled with fun activities. My favourite was to play board games whilst eating pizza. I am trying to encourage us as a family to play more games together. My grandad used to encourage playing board games and cards, insisting it as essential to a child’s development.

I was in a rush to see my Dad but I had to take the oldest 2 to a party at the local laser tag centre. It was brilliant though because I got to watch on camera and my son came first twice. I had had an amazing day with my own kids, I couldn’t have been happier, but as luck would have it my day wasn’t over.

I finished the day with a cinema trip (this was my present to my Dad) to watch Jurassic World. 

  
What an epic film! No spoilers but I think it would be worth a review in a future blog.

It wasn’t just about the film. Being with my Dad we just naturally fall into our father son joker act. When the girl brought the extra large hotdogs, we asked if they were the small ones, we are just as bad as each other. 

And we got to talk on the journey there, on the journey back. We all have problems or niggles but my Dad seems to understand mine and responds by easily debunking them. Effortlessly melting them away. He is always so positive I always come out feeling better.

I love you Dad.

It was such a wonderful day. As I reflect on it I realise that where as it is celebration of you (as a Dad) or a celebration of your own Father, it is more simply a connection to the ones you love, which is ultimately one of the most positive things you can do.

Thank you to my Kids and Wife for my Fathers Day and a Happy Fathers Day, to my Dad, and all the Fathers out there.

Diabetes Awareness Week – Final Thoughts

So it is nearing the end of Diabetes Awareness week, and I just wanted to share a quick post just to thank everyone this week who have been involved personally and generally with spreading awareness.

It has been nice to see so much support within the Diabetic community we have just joined, there is so much help, advice and care out there for Type 1’s, I really feel my son is in safe hands.

I want to take this opportunity to thank out own Diabetic team in Burnley and Blackburn, they are now part of the family. I know 24 hrs a day they are at the end of a phone, and no medical team I know of previously has insisted on so much involvement.

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In the next year, we will be getting more involved, I already plan on running at least the Manchester Marathon for JDRF along with other similar fundraising runs, also Mrs Berg is already planning a sponsored cycle. I know the kids will also want to do some things as well.

It will all be in the blog, so keep reading and hopefully next year I will be able to provide a total of money donated and a list of helpful ways Bergs Place has contributed to such an impressive and doting community.

Tiger food

For Christmas instead of buying a present each per person we ask that people get us a family ticket to somewhere, Gulliver’s World, The Wild Boar park, something like that. In this case Mrs Bergs Father had bought us tickets to Chester Zoo.

As a family we love Zoos. We love nature in general and there is such a vast array of animals that we are all winners. We even managed to bring some hired help in the form of my parents.

To top it off it was a gorgeous sunny day, most of the animals was out. All except the tigers, my favourite, who seemed content to hide up in their treetop hideaway a good distance away from the zoom of my camera.

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That aside we had a brilliant time. Until disaster struck. We were on our way out, the wardens had been calling time and been ushering people to the exits and we had begun trailing back to the entrance.

A final check of everything revealled that Catty my younger sons favourite stuffed toy had been lost. After a debate it was decided that Catty must have been left at the picnic table, right at the other side of the park.

I did what any other devoted father would do. I made my way accross the 20 minute (at least) trek over the far side of the Zoo. I knew I didn’t have time so I jogged lightly, anxious that the lost toy may get picked up or moved.

Past the elephants, over the big bridge with the cheetahs underneath, past the seemingly empty tiger cage. I laughed as the Lion jogged along with me as I passed.

The Zoo was empty of people by the time I got to the picnic table. I checked on and under the table, around the park, on the slide my son had been playing on. But there was no luck Catty wasn’t here.

I tried to call my mum to tell her the bad news, but after a day of taking pictures my battery was lucky to be on one percent and as my signal finally caught, it ran out.

Sadly I began to pick my way back to the entrance. But without a soul in sight it took on an eery tone. The light faded too and I was tired and in honest a little freaked out.

I walked onward, and as I passed the tiger enclosure I looked up at the treetops to get a final view.

Suddenly I stopped. There in full view looking at me was a ginormous tiger. It was sat calm, watching me only 3-4 feet away at most. I moved my hand for my phone but remembered I had no battery.

I was suddenly aware that there was no-one else around.

Time stood still.

When my cats at home are playing I can see when they are playing with something they adopt a stalk pose, ready to stike, and you play a game when you hold your hand out and try to move it away in time.

Frozen in his gaze, I realised the tiger was giving me the same pose.
Frozen in his gaze, it felt like there was no cage between us. I was genuinely frightened. I could sense the power that the tiger had. Those moments felt like hours.

Then, the tiger pounced. In all his glory he leapt forward, teeth bared, claws posed and he bounced off the metal cage, roaring loudly.

My heart leapt and jumped back, shaking with excitement.

Had the cage not been there I doubt there was much I could have done to prevent myself becoming tiger food.

I smiled as the tiger wandered off into his cage. I had shared something that no-one in the park that day had experienced. A one to one with the mighty jungle predator.

I ran back to the entrance elated.

Thanks to my noble efforts as a father, I had been given a unique look at my favourite animal.

To round the day off, Catty was in the bottom of the pram the whole time. So my son went home happy too.

The Good Old Hockey Game

This year is my 20th anniversary of me playing Hockey.

So as the Stanley Cup comes into its final 3 games I would like to write a Hockey post.

Part of my positivity/fitness drive included a yearning to get back on the ice again.

Causally I exclaimed that I was doing it for fitness, and that I wasn’t that bothered about playing for team in actual matches. I was lying to myself.

Once I heard the scrape of skate on ice again I was hooked, and in that first session back I felt the anxiety of being past my time melt away and be replaced with the confidence of my past love of the sport.

Within my research in positive psychology, a fundamental theory is that of flow, also known as zone. It is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energised focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.

It is essential in the pursuit of happiness to include time spent in flow. Your own personal flow could be anything, I could be typing a blog or writing a novel, it could be running a marathon, going to church, helping others or simply organising a spreadsheet for work. In order to be truly happy, theory states that a regular engagement into your own flow is necessary.

Playing Ice Hockey is my flow.

So instead of “only every two weeks” I started to attend every training session. And as my hockey form returned I knew I wanted to push myself, to be the best I could be and work harder and harder.

Soon it was mentioned that the league was beginning, who was signing up? Who wanted to play? Me. I did. I signed up I put my name down for the game.

And I got on the team. I was on the roster.

I felt elated.

One of the reasons I left was because of the demands of raising a family. As my family got bigger, the opportunity to return became smaller, the way back vast. As such, my children had never seen me play.

Mrs Berg had another surprise, she had invited one of our friends family and my parents. All in all there was 12 people watching me. The pressure.

I sat in the changing room. Fully kitted up. My mind was racing. Wondering if I was really up to the job. I had also worked so hard so if I couldn’t keep up it might be a blow to my confidence.

Also the lines were not set yet. With a large roster of 23. Some were long term team players, some were younger players well practiced. Where would I fit in the team. Would I even get on?

The coach came into to room. He looked over to me.

“Defence. Line 1” he said.

Wow. Line 1. I was on the top line. The stating line. I felt accomplished. My hard work had paid of and the payout was that my family and my kids would see me play as the top defenseman for the team.

Consequently I played the best game of my life. My children loved it and now showed immediate interest in my sport.

All this gave me the ultimate message that to believe in yourself is one of the most important things you should do.

This weekend is Game 2 of the league and now I enter it knowing my confidence and form is back and ready to perform.

It’s time to get back in the zone.