On the morning of Saturday October 12th history was made when Eluid Kipchoge become the first person in history to run a marathon in under two hours. Eliud Kipchoge ran 26.385 miles in one hour fifty-nine minutes and forty seconds. To put that in perspective he had to maintain a speed of 13.1 miles per hour. Unfortunately, this amazing achievement will not count as an official world record as it was not achieved under race conditions or as part of an official marathon race. It does however show what is possible when somebody dedicates themselves to achieving their goals, trains hard every training session and works with their coaching team to properly design and implement the correct training plan for them. Usain Bolt has shown what is possible in Sprinting with his world record 100-meter time of 9.58 seconds. Now Eluid Kipchoge has shown what is possible in endurance running.
There will be some people who will try and discredit Eluid Kipchoge’ achievement, saying that he was helped by his running trainers, pace runners, the conditions and the fact that he had a car in front of him with a laser guide to follow. My response to those people is simply this. It is easy to criticise somebody when they put in the effort required to achieve their goals from the comfort of a sofa and the protection of a computer. What is not easy is to get up every morning and put in the work required for this fantastic achievement. Eluid Kipchoge would have had to spend months at a time away from his family and friends, missing out on his children’s birthday’s, school events and probably live like a hermit to achieve this goal. He would have had to run-in all-weather conditions and go to the gym for his strength training every day even when he did not want to. This is why only a small amount of people ever reach their athletic potential in any sport. A champion does what they need to do in order to achieve their goals regardless of who is watching or winning. A wannabe will make excuses for why they are not prepared to do what the person they criticise is prepared to do.
A statement I have always lived by is, “Today I will do what others won’t so that tomorrow I can do what others can’t”
Western society has a rather hypocritical attitude when it comes to drugs. If somebody takes recreational drugs, they are a junky, if somebody uses performance enhancing drugs they are cheating, if somebody uses Anti-depressants, they are judged negatively. When it comes to alcohol however people are judged as boring if they don not drink it. It seems to me that in western society the only drug a person must explain not using it is alcohol.
Why is this? Why is one drug seen as acceptable to use yet others are not? For some people it is easier for them to explain why they do not drink alcohol then it is for others. If somebody is a Muslim, then they will not drink as it is against their religious beliefs. If somebody is allergic to alcohol, then drinking it could kill them. Other people may have grown up in a family where one or more members were alcoholics and have chosen not to drink as they have seen the damage it can cause, for other people who have grown up in a family with one or more members being alcoholic they may fall into the same trap. People have been drinking alcohol since alcohol was discovered. In the Viking age it was often safer to drink alcohol then water in built up cities due to lack of sanitation, so it seems to me that it is socially acceptable to drink alcohol in western society because of how long it has been around. Alcohol is also used to celebrate success, or to make people feel better about failure. In motor sport the top three all celebrate with bottles of Champaign, if a relationship breaks down it is common for people to get drunk to forget about how bad they are feeling. If you take to two examples given and replace alcohol with cocaine people would have a very different reaction, even though cocaine is being used for the same reasons, its just swapping one drug for another.
I am not Puritanical about people having a drink. People who know me know that I like to have a drink on special occasions. I just fin it ironic that one drug is socially acceptable, yet others are demonised.
This week I received a message from wordpress.com saying I have been using their platform for two years now. In those two years my life has changed beyond recognition. During those two years I have had my longest period of mental stability, returned to the leisure industry and was recently been promoted. My older brother got married, asked me to be one of his Ushers and asked me to be a witness to the signing of the wedding certificate. My older sister has also moved to Barcelona and made a great life for herself since I started using wordpress.com’s platform.
What began as something to keep me occupied when I was out of work has led to a form of therapy and an education, I wish I started sooner.
As we move further into the Autumn season the days become shorter and nights longer. The change in season also brings less chances to enjoy the sun and may make some of us want to hibernate until the Summer season returns. I feel it is important to use this time to not only recharge the batteries after the six-week school holiday, especially if you are a parent, but to use this time to asses how the year has gone for you. How much of your plan for the year have you achieved? What needs to be done in the last three months of the year to give you the best possible start to the next year.
http://www.netdoctor.co.uk have come up with seven ways to cope when winter effects a person’s mental health. These are:
1. Do as much physical activity as possible. Physical activity can do wonders for an individual’s mental health. Being outside, experiencing nature and being around people can be as powerful as medication for managing mental health issues.
2. Make the most of natural light. This will not only increase vitamin D levels, as sunlight is an excellent source of vitamin D, but going for a walk outside will keep up your physical activity. If you work in an office try and get a desk near a window.
3. Invest in a SAD light. Seasonal Affective Disorder/ SAD is a form of depression which can lead to feelings of low mood in the winter. Some people work in offices with limited or even no access to natural light, meaning that in the winter it is dark when they leave home for work and dark when they finish work to go home. SAD lights are used as a part of light therapy which involves exposer to bright lights for up to two hours a time.
4. Keep blood sugar levels balanced. Whatever time of year it is, it is always good to keep your nutrition as balanced as possible, keeping processed sugars to a minimum.
5. Be creative. Activities such as art, photography, writing and even playing a musical instrument can help an individual to switch off from their day to day stresses, and turn a negative situation into a positive one. Joining a social group based around an individual’s interests will also help with sharing ideas and promote a better work-life balance.
6. Increase vitamin D intake. As well as keeping the bones and muscles healthy vitamin D can also help with combating mental health issues. As previously stated, natural light is an excellent source of vitamin D, other sources include supplementation and many breakfast cereals are now being fortified with vitamin D.
7. Talk. Although Western Society is seemingly more connected than ever with the help of the internet, actual human contact is reducing. If an individual has difficulty leaving the house in the winter, weather that is due to a physical impairment or a mental health issue, something as simple as a Skype call or telephone call can reduce feelings of isolation. You could be the only person an individual struggling to get out of the house in the winter has spoken to that week is you.
It is important for me to mention that we all have days when we feel fed up. This does not necessarily mean that you have SAD, however if you feel this way for extended periods of time seek medical advice.
August 31st marked a sad day in the world of Bodybuilding, Strongman and Powerlifting, when two-time Mr Olympia Franco Columbu died at the age of 78. Franco was the best friend and main training partner of Arnold Schwarzenegger for 54 years. I learned of the death of Franco when I logged onto my Instagram account and the first story that came up was Arnolds dedication to his best friend. Arnold met Franco in 1965 when they were both living and training in Munich and hit it off straight away. In 1968 Arnold was brought to California by the Weider brothers who both founded the IFBB. In his dedication to Franco, Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke of how he could thrive without money, he could thrive without being near his parents, however he could not thrive without Franco Columbu. After being constantly asked for a year by Arnold, Joe Weider brought Franco Columbu to California in 1969.
Franco Columbu was born in Sardinia Italy in 1941. His sporting career began when he became the Amateur boxing champion of Italy. Below you will find Franco Columbu’s championship titles:
- 1966 Mr Europe, 4th
- 1968 NABBA Mr. Universe (Most Muscular)
- 1969 IFBB Mr. Europe (Medium)
- 1969 NABBA Mr. Universe (Most Muscular)
- 1969 NABBA Mr. Universe (Short)
- 1969 IFBB Mr. Universe (Short)
- 1970 IFBB Mr. Europe (Short & Overall)
- 1970 AAU Mr. World (Pro Short)
- 1970 IFBB Mr. World (Short)
- 1970 IFBB Mr. Universe (Short & Overall)
- 1971 IFBB Mr. World (Short & Overall)
- 1974 IFBB Mr. Olympia (Lightweight)
- 1975 IFBB Mr. Olympia (Lightweight)
- 1976 IFBB Mr. Olympia (Lightweight & Overall, first lightweight to win the overall title)
- 1981 IFBB Mr. Olympia
- Champion of Italy
- Champion of Germany
- Champion of Europe
Powerlifting best lifts:
- Bench press 525 lbs / 238 kg
- Squat 655 lbs / 297 kg
- Deadlift 750 lbs / 340.2 kg
World’s Strongest Man competition:
1977: World Strongest Man, finishing 5th place, after dislocating his knee during the fridge carry.
- 2009: Arnold Classic Lifetime Achievement Award
It is worth noting that Franco Columbu stood at five foot five inches tall, had a competition body weight of 185 pounds/ 84kg, he would regularly outlift Arnold Schwarzenegger and is considered by many to be the strongest Mr Olympia champion.
As well as being a competitive athlete Franco Columbu also worked as a Chiropractor and had supporting roles in some of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s films. In Pumping Iron, you can see Franco lift his Dad’s car and blow up a hot water bottle until it burst. During the 1970’s and 1980’s he trained Sylvester Stallone for both the Rocky and Rambo movies.
Franco Columbu was a huge inspiration to many bodybuilders; he was able to prove that you could be a shorter person with a lighter bodyweight and still win bodybuilding competitions. He truly was the first “Giant Killer” Rest in Peace Franco Columbu.
Its earlier than I planned however I have entered my first British Weightlifting competition. It is in Birmingham in the last weekend of October. I know I won’t win as I will be going to against people who have competed for years and that is fine with me. It is not about winning or where I place. For me this competition is about the experience of competing. When I weighed myself on Monday, I was eighty-six kilograms. To have a realistic chance of placing high I would need to be competing in the below eighty-one-kilogram category. I have decided to compete in the below eighty-nine-kilogram class as I feel that to try and drop six kilograms in eight weeks would be too much of a strain on my body and could possibly make me weaker. If I enjoy the experience, I will compete again next year and give myself plenty of time to make weight for the event.
What does this mean for my training moving forward? No more slacking in the gym, consistent workouts, consistent nutrition and no alcohol till I have competed. It also means being around more experienced lifters leading up to the event for advice and keeping in contact with my coach for constructive feedback on my progress. Finally, it means perfecting my technique as I want all my three attempts in both the Snatch as well as the Clean and Jerk to count as good lifts. If it means lowering the amount of weight I lift so be it.
As I turn another year older, I reflect on what I have achieved and the changes in my life this past year. Thirty-four was a year when I moved into my own flat and got promoted, which led me to move to a different centre with in GLL. Thirty-four was also a year where I learnt how to perform the Olympic lifts correctly and made some important decisions on how I want my life to be. Now I am Thirty-five it is time to put those decisions into action. I have noticed that there are lots of people who complain about how bad their life is yet do nothing to make their lives better. Lots of people seem to have big plans for what they want to do with their lives yet fail to take any of the required steps to turn their plans into reality. It is understandable that people are scared to take the first steps required to turn their plans into reality. The grander the plan the greater the risk of failure. It is easier to worry about everything that could go wrong instead of focussing on what could work out. I am guilty of this. Some of the biggest changes I have made in my life have failed to turn out how I had hoped. Since turning twenty-one I have moved relocated four times in order to build a better life for myself. My last relocation brought me back to Swindon on one week’s notice. 2017 was a rough year however 2018 and 2019 have been much better. There are still some areas of my life where I spend more time worrying about what could go wrong, instead of focussing on how good it will be if things work out the way I hope they will. This is something I know I need to work on. Breaking a habit takes time, however I will give myself till the end of 2019 to break this one.