Physical Conditioning: a Key to Happiness and Motivation.

This evening on walking to where I am currently staying my mind was seriously active and was thinking about everything, literally everything was flashing through my mind – past, present and future. One of the problems I have always had, and I believe it must be a problem we all have is I have a proclivity of focusing too much on the past and the future…but seldom the present, the present I do think of is thinking how miserable I am feeling, a negative feeling bound to breed negativity as I went from being a bit more jovial than I have recently to thinking of happier times and wanting them back which made me miserable rather than happy, I mean…seriously. Aren’t happy memories supposed to be there to make us happy when we think of them?

I was thinking on what is going on within myself now and my physical fitness from the past. The fittest I have ever been, for purpose has been in my adult life in my twenties (the fittest I was as a kid was on the farm in Zimbabwe, but then I had no goals or purpose, I was a kid). If you have been following my blog for a while you will have seen in this post that I had been in the process of joining the British Army as a commonwealth applicant. This was in 2006, a year after I had come to the UK and after I attended my army presentation at ACIO (Army Careers Information Office) in Aldershot I put myself through an intensive PT programme – using training techniques I learnt from my father in my youth who had been a member of the elite Fire Force of One Commando, the Rhodesian Light Infantry. I conditioned myself and focused. It was the fittest I have ever been in my adult life as I had a goal and that was to join the most senior English line regiment, the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, 2nd Battalion (2PWRR) I reached my peak fitness of being able to run 1.5 miles in seven minutes without breaking a sweat and the time limit being way below the allowed maximum for infantry selection. I disciplined and conditioned myself. I worked on my martial arts (taekwondo & judo), and worked on my upper and lower body – not only did I focus on my physical attributes but also educational and studied religiously for my BARB test (British Army Recruitment Battery) which is what shows you where you are best suited. I did the practice test so many times and studied so much that I opened everything up (in theory) from infantry to trade regiments and corps to Intelligence Corps, to Royal Military Police, although I was focused on the infantry. I was focused and while I was so focused and conditioned, as well as determined to reach my goal my emotional status was also at its peak, I was never stunted and always had something to work towards. Anyone who has spent any time with me continuously since 2006 will tell you I was focused, self-disciplined and motivated. To cut a long story short the Army ended up not happening for me due to circumstances beyond my control, I however didn’t stop trying for years. There have even been times where I have decided to try elsewhere and as I speak a little French maybe try the Légion Étrangère (French Foreign Legion), but sadly again bureaucracy getting in my way as the requirements have changed somewhat and they are now a professional army, unlike in decades gone by. But my years of being a soldier have passed me by, now.

In 2014 however I found a better me and that version of myself that I discovered grew and grew, helped along by an awesome part of my life who saw the best in me, it was a version that has obviously always  existed as I had discovered how to get out of my own way. Somehow. I then returned to my fitness and became the most toned I have ever been in my adult life. Whilst I was training for the Army in 2006 I do not recall having become as toned as I did. But anyway, that all does sound vain, I must admit but what I am meaning was its fitness that helped unlock all that, both times. Actually, what helped 2014 and make me reevaluate life was a breakdown Christmas time 2013. But then I worked towards a better me and was helped along. Now I kind of feel I am slipping backwards, in a bad way, though some of it is self-imposed for what I feel is self preservation, but in an unhealthy way. Maybe time to apply some breaks and find that other version of myself but make it a better version.

And so earlier this evening I am walking along thinking about EVERYTHING, almost like…you know how you hear of people who have had near death experiences and their whole life has flashed before them? Almost like that but things from over the last few years, including me training to join the Army. And I realised something about all of us, myself included. I have been getting in my own way. A while ago I purchased a book by American singer, song writer, author, actor and motivational speaker, Tyrese Gibson entitled How to Get Out Of Your Own Way. And though I haven’t read the book yet, asides from reading the incredible introduction have realised something – that is the problem, I have been getting in my own way and whilst it is easy to let life do this to us maybe that is the key, we all, at some point or another get in the way of our own progress.

But, physical conditioning being a key to motivation due to the endorphins that are released into the brain at any given time we are doing any personal training and endorphins not only reducing our perception of pain but also trigger positive feelings in the body – I have never taken drugs but I imagine it is the same thing, once you exercise more the better the feeling and the more endorphins are released the more PT you crave making it a habit. To me that is the healthiest drug out there.

Are you struggling at the moment too? Do you feel that certain things are setting you back? Is there a version of yourself that you liked and would like back but an even better version? A better version for ourselves, our friends, our family, our loved ones. A better version for the future.

I will leave this in your hands to find what will work for you.  If you know of someone who is struggling, or if you are and have found this post to help you and feel that it might somehow help someone else. Please send it on.

Cheers,

G

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Guy Taylor

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One thought on “Physical Conditioning: a Key to Happiness and Motivation.

  1. Sometimes we need to fight hard to get where we need to be, and sometimes we need to ‘Go with the flow’. It can be very difficult to know which is the best course. Personally, I believe that some doors are just not meant to be opened, and yet we are meant to persist hammering on other doors. How we can know which is which is an enigma. When it comes to mental health, physical fitness is an important part of that, but as we grow older we need to adjust that to realistic expectations for an aging body. I’m nearly 60 now, and brisk walking, cycling and my exercise bike seem to be enough to keep me going (I don’t run, except for very short distances). I was among the top few percent of 200 metre sprinters in my school, but eventually age changes everything! From the mental health POV what I have found is I shouldn’t force myself too much. If I really feel more like reading than cycling, then that’s what I’ll do, even when it IS a beautiful day outside! The great thing with an exercise bike is that I can be reading, watching TV, checking Facebook or whatever, and exercising at the same time. I’d recommend an exercise bike, however it does need to be used a lot! Swimming is of course a good exercise but I tend not to do much of that because of the logistics of getting there, changing kit, etc., and for much the same reason I don’t go to a gym now (I used to, for a time). The bottom line is, if you can fit regular exercise into your usual routine, it’s easier to keep it up.

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