Change is coming


Over the last month I have been talking to some of the few people who have broken through my barriers and they helped me realise that I needed to make some changes in my life to get me back on track. Sometimes we need somebody to kick our asses for us to remember why we started on our journey in the first place. In this instance the person in question helped me realise it was time for me to find my own place again instead of living in a house share. A house share was fine when I left home at seventeen, however I am in my mid-thirties. I had my own flat when I was living in Louth and it was great, since moving back to Swindon I have been living in shared accommodation which was fine to begin with, however it is time I had my own space again. Another person who was able to break through my barriers said they were impressed with how quickly I can make changes in my life when I need to.
Changes in life to make them better do not have to be as dramatic as moving to a new house or in the case of when I moved back to Swindon moving 250 miles on a weeks’ notice. It can something as simple as taking up a new hobby. Whatever it is you choose to do in order to improve your situation give it your full attention and be prepared for the potential of set backs I missed out on the first place I looked at, however I did get the second so now its simply a case of waiting till June 22nd to move in.


Nutrition Ideas

A family member recently asked me for nutrition advice. Nutrition is one of my passions, so I was happy to help. Nutrition is an important factor in any well-balanced fitness plan. I personally feel that the saying of 80% nutrition and 20% training is complete rubbish. For me there are four factors to a successful healthy living plan, and they are equally important. These are:
• A goal specific exercise plan.
• A balanced nutrition plan.
• Rest between workouts.
• Getting enough sleep.
If one of the above four are not considered, you are setting yourself up for failure.
Key Points;
• To lose ½ kg of body fat a week you need to burn 3500 calories a week more then you take in. This works out to 500 a day. Use smaller plates to reduce portion sizes and be more active in your day to day life.
• Keep a food and activity diary such as myfitness pal.
• Keep processed foods and drinks to a minimum.
• Eat a rainbow of different coloured fruit and vegetables.
• Choose fibre rich food sources to feel fuller for longer and to increase bowl health.
• Aim for lean protein sources.
• Don’t avoid fat, choose healthy fat sources. Healthy fats are usually liquid at room temperature. Saturated fats are usually solid at room temperature. The World Health Organisation suggests that fat makes up roughly 20- 25% of total calorie intake.
• Take a refillable water bottle to work with you and keep it on your desk.
• Sugar in its natural form is fine such as the sugar found in fruit. Processed sugar should be kept to a minimum.
• Try to reduce alcohol and caffeine intake.
• Steam veg and fish when possible, grill meat and make your own dressings with olive/ rapeseed oil and add herbs or spices to taste.

Relapse Recovery


As part of my fight back from my latest relapse I am conscious of the fact that I have lots of barriers I need to learn to let go of. I have a constant battle in with my own head with Anxiety telling me all the things that could go wrong and the version of Michael who went to Japan by himself for a month in 2007. This version of Michael was able to hold back the Anxiety and try new things.
I have spent a lot of time recently reading the Dalai Lama’s book of wisdom and watching videos by motivational speakers. These videos are based around the concept of the Loan Wolf, something I have always found interesting as Wolves are pack animals. I guess that is the point of the Loan Wolf, breaking out on your own and being true to yourself instead of following the pack out of fear of being alone. Letting go of my barriers and allowing myself to be vulnerable is one of the hardest things I am going to have to learn to do. I can only count on one hand the amount of people I have let through them. Some of these people are still in my life and for that I am forever thankful. I guess that might explain why I can be an absent friend at times. I might not call or text my friends every day, however they are always in my thought’s. I also need to learn to listen to my own advice. I have lost count of the amount of times I have said to others that if somebody is worth having in your life, they will like you for who you are. This is probably the biggest barrier I need to learn to let go of.

March For Men

Yesterday I took part in the Prostate Cancer UK March for Men. It was a 10km walk around Blaise Castle Estate in Bristol. I completed the course in one hour forty minutes. Yesterday turned out to be the hottest day of the year so far which made it harder to keep my pace up. Prostate cancer kills one man every forty-five minutes in the UK. That is the equivalent of one in eight men. Like all cancer’s Prostate Cancer is curable if it is caught early enough. I suspect that one of the reasons many men are reluctant to get tested is because of the way Doctors check the Prostate. Having somebody put their finger in the anus to check the Prostate is not a nice thought, however I am told that it is the most accurate way of checking the Prostate.

I have a personal reason for wanting to take part in this fantastic event. Christmas 1999 my Grandad lost his battle with Prostate Cancer. He was 85 years old, a World War 2 Veteran and one of the greatest people I have ever known. All the way through I kept on telling myself that this march was for him. I had no doubt that I would complete the event and that I would complete it in under two hours. It was simply a way of keeping up my pace.

If you want to know more about Prostate Cancer simply visit the Prostate Cancer UK website.

Different Versions of People

different people

I was having a conversation with the Lifeguard Manager at work on Sunday and he said something that made me think. Although I do not remember how we got onto the conversation he said he couldn’t ever imagine me being grumpy. In a previous post I mentioned how easy it is for me to be Mike the Fitness Instructor and how he is generally a happy go lucky person. At different stages of my life I have been a different version of Michael. In a way we all are different versions of ourselves around different people as they bring out different traits in our personalities. We have the version of ourselves at work, the version of ourselves around our families as well as the versions of ourselves around our different friendship groups.
Mike the Fitness Instructor has not always been the happy go lucky person that the Link Centre has seen. When I was in my twenties the people, I was working with did see a grumpy version of Mike the Fitness Instructor who drank too much alcohol. This was a period in my life when I would have frequent relapses, at the time I struggled to find a Doctor that understood what was going on. When I finally did find a Doctor, who understood what was happening inside my own head I had already been accepted onto my University course and was making plans to relocate again. The version of Mike the Fitness Instructor we see today came into existence towards the end of my twenties when I Graduated University and found a Doctor who had experience with patients struggling with their mental health.
There is also the version of Michael that the members and staff at the gym I train in see. This version of Michael is the person who pulls his hood up and trains by himself without making much fuss. This version of Michael is focussed on what he needs to do to achieve the results he is after. This version of Michael is not unsocial, he will talk to people, its simply the fact that he has a clear goal in mind that takes up his focus for each workout.
The version of Michael that my friends see depends on which group of friends I am around. As I have moved around a lot, I have been lucky enough to gather a large group of friends. In some groups I am quieter as this group of friends has lots of big personalities. In other groups I am a bit more vocal. Whichever group of friends I am around I am still me, just a different version.
The version of Michael that my family see again depends on the family members I am around. Some of my family members have big personalities, others are a bit more reserved.
I am sure that we are all different versions of ourselves around different people without realising it. If you are a parent, grandparent, auntie or uncle then you will have an extra layer to your personality that your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews bring out in you.

Human Growth Hormone


Human Growth Hormone, (HGH) has been used as therapy for children and teenagers with an HGH deficiency since the 1950’s. Its use for other conditions was limited at the time as it was taken directly from the Pituitary Gland. With synthetic HGH now widely available the scenario of GH treatment has been changed enormously. Currently there is ever increasing list of indications of GH treatment in children, adolescents, and adults.
Efforts began in the 1940’s to acquire pituitary GH for the treatment of GH-deficient children. The results of these efforts was the purification of Bovine GH by Li and Evans at the University of California, Berkeley, and Fishman at Yale. Purified Porcine GH was achieved by Raben and Westermeyer, at Tufts, however these discoveries failed to show any significant biochemical or metabolic activity as GH is species specific. In 1956 HGH was isolated from the Pituitary Gland by both Li and Papkoff, in California, and Raben, in Massachusetts, however its biochemical structure was not elucidated until 1972. In 1960 evidence of the benefits of HGH therapy for children and adolescents with a GH deficiency became clear. Between 1963 and 1985 the NPA supervised almost all the GH treatment in the United States. And during this period about 7700 children in the United States and 27,000 children worldwide were given GH extracted from human pituitary glands to treat severe Growth hormone deficiency.

HGH and Exercise:
Levels of HGH in the blood can increase 10‐fold during prolonged moderate exercise. For more intense exercise where the build- up of lactate is at 70% Vo2 max for a short period of 10–20 minutes HGH will increase by 5–10‐fold. During short exercise durations, levels of GH will generally peak at 15–30 minutes after the exercise. It appears that HGH response is more closely related to the intensity of exercise rather than the total work duration.

HGH effects on the body:
The secretion of HGH is regulated by two hypothalamic peptides, growth hormone releasing hormone, which stimulates HGH secretion, and Somatostatin, which inhibits HGH secretion by back regulation. HGH exerts its biological effects on target cells by binding to specific receptors present throughout the whole body.
Women have slightly higher levels of HGH secretion then men, the highest levels happening during puberty. Over time secretion of HGH reduces at an estimated rate of 14% per decade. HGH levels are higher during slow wave sleep and are increased by exercise, stress, fever, fasting and, with some amino acids (leucine and arginine).

HGH and performance enhancement:
HGH has been used as a performance enhancing drug since the late 1980’s. Bodybuilders and strength athletes use it to speed up recovery and to increase size and strength of the muscles. HGH is efficient, hard to detect, and without major side effects if well dosed. The positive effects of HGH deficient adults are not that clear among athletes. This could be since athletes who use HGH will use it along side other performance enhancing drugs as part of a stack. Also, these athletes will probably be using higher doses then a Doctor would prescribe. HGH use is gaining acceptance in endurance sport in combination with methods for enhancing oxygen transport. Although there are anecdotal reports on the so‐called dramatic increases in muscle mass and strength after large doses of HGH (especially among bodybuilders) their effectiveness under controlled conditions is generally less impressive.

Negative side effects of HGH:
Long term risks of HGH use are currently unknown since epidemiological data regarding this type of treatment in healthy sportsmen are unavailable. Acromegaly, which results from a pathological increase in endogenous production of GH, is often cited as one of the major risks associated with excessive use of HGH. The major symptoms are swelling of the hands and feet, coarsened facial appearance, dentition problems, arthralgias, fluid retention, and excessive sweating. Diabetes Mellitus and hypertension that can lead to early death from cardiovascular diseases is also a risk for people who have Acromegaly.
HGH is taken by injection so HIV and Hepatitis could be a risk if the needle is not sterile.

Medical uses for HGH in children:
Growth hormone deficiency (1985)
Chronic renal insufficiency (1993)
Turner syndrome (1997)
Prader–Willi syndrome (2000)
Small for gestational age (2001)
Idiopathic short stature (2003)
Short stature homeobox-containing gene deficiency (2006)
Noonan syndrome (2007)
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