House in the works…

start of house makeover

Floor boards!

 

start of house makeover

Bath in the bedroom?

start of house makeover

Bathroom without a bath!

 

start of house makeover

Whoa!

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Middle Age Training – Fitness for the Male Menopause

I recently listened to the Joe Rogan podcast, featuring Steve Maxwell, some great takeaways for the over 35s still training hard…

Super Slow Reps and Time Under Tension
Try not to worry about reps and weight so much, instead look to increase the time you can do an exercise for, without pausing in between ‘reps’.
For example, instead of smashing out chin ups; try slowing things down:
Take 4 seconds to slowly bring your chin up above the bar
Pause for 2 seconds at the top
Take 4 seconds to lower yourself down (95%, don’t lock out completely)
Pause for 2 seconds at the bottom
Then repeat for as long as possible.

Slow reps are less likely to cause injury, as is a lower weight.
I’ll do these reps for chins, then I’ll finish with one ‘explosive’ set at the end, as I still train in MMA and Jiu Jitsu, I need to be explosive in the ‘scrambles’ for positions.

Avoid Overhead Presses
Be very careful with your shoulder joints, these are almost always ruined in older guys who have trained intensely over the years.  Again use super slow reps if you must do overhead presses, and or use bands (my tips). Bands increase in resistance as you move/stretch them, so there’s less pressure on the joints.  I use chains when doing bench press, the weight is light when I start pressing, and gradually gets heavier as I extend my arms – and as the chain lifts off the floor.  This takes the stress off my shoulder joints a lot.

One Set Training
Something I was introduced to in uni, apparently Kelly Holmes would do one set training, as otherwise her running sessions would be negatively impacted.  Then Mike Mentzer has similar concepts with his Heavy Duty training system.  This is also good for middle aged men, warm up, do a couple of light sets, then one working set to failure. It works especially well if you are training for a sport – it’s easy to overtrain.

The best fitness for a sport, is generally doing your sport.  I love to do Tabata Intervals with a given movement from my sport.  For example, for wrestling I’ll do ‘sit throughs’ for a tabata interval.  Do 20 seconds of 100% intensity work (e.g. sprint like mad on a bike), then rest 10 seconds, then do another 20 seconds 100% intensity burst, then rest for 10 etc.
Repeat until you have completed 4 minutes in total.

Meriva Curcumin
Got this tip from Dr Rhonda Patrick. Found it great. Tumeric’s ‘active compound’ is curcumin, but it’s absorbed poorly. You can take it with black pepper to increase the bioavailability somewhat, but warpping in a ‘phytosome’ (Whatever that is) is proven to dramatically increase the absorption and anti-inflammatory effects.  More info here.

 

 

Enlightenment on a budget

So you finally ‘woke up’, you can see through all the marketing, the consumerism and the general BS that drives most of the economy.
But rather than feeling liberated and freed, you’re stuck in this kind-of cynical and depressing middle-ground.

So next step, you start meditating and going to yoga class.  To take things to the next level you start researching online and hear about all the yoga retreats that you can attend, and even read about ayahuasca retreats tripadvisor.

Ayahuasca, if you haven’t heard, is a herbal ‘drink’ that is often used by indigenous tribes in Peru.  It has been touted by the likes of former CNN reporter Amber Lyons as a cure (for want of a better word) for mental health problems including anxiety.

As good as this sounds, unless you have a spare grand or two floating round in your savings account, a trip to Peru to speak to ‘Mother Ayahuasca’ is probably not on the cards.  Other ironically expensive Buddhist-treats including flotation tanks, are beyond the budget of many of us too. So if you can’t afford to buy into the ‘enlightenment industry’, what can you do?

Flotation Tanks
You can learn more about them by watching this documentary:

 

American comedian, and martial artist Joe Rogan has one is his basement.  But he’s rich, and I am not.

Here is an alternative, which I’ve found a lot more effective for sensory deprivation than a floatation tank. Although, you will look proper mental.

Listening to white noise on it’s own, with sound proof ear phones is enough on its own, to normally produce hallucinations etc, due to the impact of sensory deprivation. Add the weird white-eye-mask to this, and you’ll feel ‘bodyless’ in about 20 mins.

 

Ayahuasca
Whilst ‘Mother Ayahuasca’ possesses the female energy, San Pedro and Peyote cactuses posses the male. 

 

You can’t use San Pedro or Peyote in the UK 😦

You can however get an Easy Jet flight over to Amsterdam, and buy and use Peyote or San Pedro legally. I have never done this myself, so cannot tout for the quality etc of what you can buy, but do feel it necessary to emphasise the importance of site and setting at this point. Don’t use it in the cheapest hotel you can find in Amsterdam. I’d recommend reading up and making some enquiries on Reddit.

Creating Positive Change

So I just watched this Ted ex video –

 

This screenshot pretty much summarises the take-away message form the talk:

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 20.19.20

Do these things for 21 days, and we should all be wonderfully happy…so here goes:

  1. My 3 Gratitudes
    Today I am grateful for:

My piglet

Elinor

2. My next door neighbour being a plumber after the sink decided to explode this evening.

3. My wife being an ace Mum

 

2. Journaling – I guess that’s what I’m doing now

3. Exercise – done today in work

4. Meditation – will do the ‘headspace meditation’ for 10 minutes on youtube after this

5. Small Acts of Kindness – ah hell, will have to find something nice to do before i go to bed!

Getting Focused on Work or Studying

Get a binaural beats study ‘soundtrack’ on youtube:

Proven (to a certain extent) to aid focus, mood, reduce anxiety and some aspects of creativity.

Set and start a Pomodoro timer – http://tomato-timer.com/

This allows you to work it ‘sets’ of 25 minutes, with 5 minutes break in between. Ideal for focus.  Wait until your 5 minute break to think about what else you need to do etc.

And off you go…

 

If you don’t like binaural beats, instrumental rock (or any music without vocals and with a beat) seems to work just as well for focus.

 

Here’s an interesting infographic too – cancel all meetings is the basic, underlying message by the looks of it!

optimizing-workflow-infographic.jpg

Image Source

 

 

Your Children are Not an Extension of your Own Ego

Having being brought up under the giant shadow created by, and constantly compared to Graeme ‘The Rock’ Sutcliffe, competitive parents and parenting has long been something that annoys me greatly.

Want to make your child feel not good enough?
Then quote your Mum-friends comments to your own children, and paraphrase their totally genuine anecdotes about how great their children are…and how your child must do better

Want to make your friends feel shyte?
Then tell them how great your child is, how they came 1st in every exam ever and are destined to be the next saviour of the free-world.
This in turn will no doubt lead said-friend to evaluate their child’s relative short-comings and pile tonnes of pressure on to their yet-to-fully-develop shoulders, so that they may then bask in the vicarious success of their own offspring when this fantastic parenting technique starts to pay off.

I’m working on some default responses for when a parent attempts to passive-aggressively put-down my child…these include:
“oh wow! your child is amazing! please tell me more…”
“Go away before I punch you in the throat”

Obviously, it’s best not to react to any type of boasting. It’s generally a sign of insecurity on the part of the person doing the bragging.
Just see it for what it is – a knobhead move

 

On a slight tangent – there’s a pretty cool article here  – If you want your child to perform well at Sport:

Based on psychological research, the three healthiest statements moms and dads can make as [kids] perform are:

Before the Competition:  

Have fun.

Play hard.

I love you.

After the competition:

Did you have fun?

I’m proud of you.

I love you.

 

 

How Watching Made in Chelsea is Consuming your Soul

Now I realise that TV producers find the biggest morons possible to make these shows more ‘entertaining’, and that the likes of Joey Essex pretend to be thick as pig-poo just to market themselves – for example by pretending he can’t tell the time – you didn’t believe that one did you?

Even with this awareness, watching horror/comedy programmes like TOWIE and Made In Chelsea is rotting your soul.
But Why?

Jealously!
Even though every philosophical book and self-help book tells us not to compare ourselves to others, we can’t help it.  Jealously is regarded as a secondary emotion. Triggered by anger or fear.  In this case, we all tend to get angry by watching a group of idiots, live amazing lifestyles that are way beyond most of us.

This ‘unfair treatment’ makes us angry – we work hard all week, and we can only dream of a lifestyle like that – unless we take out a ruck of loans that is.  Don’t do that.

Anger at what we perceive as unfair treatment, such as unequal-pay for doing the exact same job as someone else, is such an instinctive reaction, that even monkeys display it:

The only remedy to this anger is – not to watch the tripe in the first place, and find some intelligent friends who can see through the ‘consumerism culture’ and can enjoy doing things that don’t cost any money. Like blogging.Made-In-Chelsea--007

22 Things to Know for your First Day on a Building Site

Tips for new Construction Workers

Disclaimer – don’t actually do any of this stuff (but it is the kind of thing to expect on a building site)

 

1. Don’t worry about where you put anything. There is officially no official place to leave equipment; in fact, you’ll spend 60% of your time, running around looking for a bucket for mortar

 

2. If you worry about health and safety people will either presume you are a homosexual (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and/or some kind of snob. It is common for brickies to leave bricks for example, standing upright, on the edge of walls above you and it is also common practice to leave as much crap as possible, including packaging, broken bricks and cable ties strewn across the scaffolding for people to trip over

 

3. Say “f*cking” every other word

 

4. Establish yourself as the alpha male as soon as possible by being the first to take your top off at any glimpse of sunshine, and by shouting the loudest during the ‘banter’

 

5. Eat pies & pasties, smoke 20 cigarettes per break, and then tell the middle-class guy that his hemp protein powder is bad for him and going to destroy his kidneys. In fact, being a builder gives you superior knowledge and life-experience, so be sure to put across your strong opinions on nutrition, education and politics 🙂

 

6. If the boss tells you off, just say “I’m really sorry la, won’t do it again”. He will love you forever as most apprentices can not take feedback at all (feedback = getting a bollocking).

 

7. Lift exclusively with your back.  People who lift with their legs are also presumed a ‘posh bellend’

 

www.cafepress.co.uk

 

8. At break, talk about how hard your mates are, and smoke just inside the door of the portacabin to ensure that it is completely ‘hotboxed’ with tobacco

 

9. If you don’t smoke, it is assumed that you are some kind of shifty bugger

 

10. Never ask anyone’s name, or introduce yourself; it’s just not done.  Call the person “la” and “mate” until you know their life story and it’s too awkward to ask their name

 

11. If the boss ever has to go off site somewhere, stop all work immediately

 

12. Once you are an established brickie, it is important to remove your hard-hat whenever the site manager is out of sight

 

13. Try and pretend you’re interested when the older brickies tell you stories about hod carrying, and saying stuff like “when I was your age…” and “you don’t know you’re born kid”; whatever that means

 

brick1

 

14. Pay someone to spread a rumour that you once killed a gorilla with an uppercut. Or something similar.  This will make you less of a target for pranks and the high-brow banter

 

15. Stop watching documentaries and QI, and make sure your ‘read’ the Daily Sport and Star, just so you can hold a conversation with one of your associates. It is crucial that you hold aggressive right-wing opinions that are reliably informed by tabloid newspapers.

 

16. Be grateful for being given a chance.  Many people, in many types of work, never get chance to put their qualifications into practice

 

17. “Bucket of sh!te” = bucket of mortar

18. Energy drinks are compulsory for under 35s. If you don’t have an energy drink and 5 cigarettes in the morning, you’ll be deemed an outsider.

 

'Hank, can I level with you'

 

19. “Customer Service” is not a known term. Once the job’s done, it’s done.

 

20. Always rub your chin 3 times before quoting a price

 

21. Aggression is the go-to emotional state for any good tradesman, whenever conflict, misunderstanding or frustration occur. The more aggressive you are, the better tradesman you become

 

22. Passing the buck is an art form on the building site. Just don’t expect anyone to know what ‘passing the buck’ actually means.

 

 

A poem about the great men of the building site

O brickie oh brickie what will it be?
A tea with 3 sugars plus an extortionate fee,
A red bull with 5 fags is the fuel that we need, to lay those bricks 4 u at an exceptional speed,
Ale for us, no yoga or weed,
6 pints in town, its the way that we breed.

Cash in hand for our holiday in the sun,
No receipt 4 u tho its not how its done.
Customer service is our number 1 aim,
But if anything goes wrong, its the previous workman thats ta blame

builder

Baba Sling Review

Pro’s 
– Very quick to put on
– Support at the top for baby’s neck
– Attractive design (!?)
– You can breastfeed in it – although you do need one hand to support baby whilst you’re breastfeeding
– Convenient – nipping out, or driving somewhere and then nipping into the shops – quicker than a pram
– Close to your chest so baby feels secure and happy
– Good for attachment parenting

Con’s
– Weight is ‘across’ so not 100% evenly balanced
– Have to be mindful baby doesn’t slip down – small risk of suffocation

Baba Sling - great for breastfeeding
Baba Sling – great for breastfeeding!

 

A Few Things I’ve Learnt So Far…

…about babies, or at least my baby.

Don’t get tops that are anywhere near tight fitting around the neck – button up tops are much better. Baby goes proper mental if you try and pull a top over her head, she thinks you’re trying to kill her.  Loose fitting ones or button-up ones are much better

Music often, not always, but often stops her crying.  I’m guessing this is okay to do(?)  just wack on some music and it seems to distract her:

 

3. You don’t really need a pram if you have a sling. Never used it.

4. I also thought child-birth took about an hour, not 3 days! (if you include all the stop-start contractions)