Thursday, 31 July 2008

Anthony Robbins - Living Health

Anyone heard of Anthony Robbins? - Well I'm sure plenty of you have as his work is internationally renowned.

I have personally attended two 'Unleash the Power Within' seminars, both at the Excel Centre in London.

These three and 1/2 day seminars usually attract about ten thousand people and concentrate on providing people with the tools on how to live an 'extraordinary life'.

As many of my friends and family already know - I'm a big fan of Tony's and like many thousands of other people I've twice completed the famous fire-walk, without any major burns to my feet I must add.
Of course this is not just an entertaining 'party trick' (which I definitely don't encourage anyone to try at home) but an example of what you can really achieve if you focus your mind on something.

At this present time in my life what I'm particularly interested in, is to once again follow the Anthony Robbins 'Living Health' programme.

This particular information is usually featured during the last day of the UPW seminar and covers everything you need to understand about improving your overall health and gaining more energy and vitality.

I have to be honest and admit, that the first time that I followed the 'Living Health' regime in 2005, I found it very difficult to find anything suitable to eat afterwards, because much of what I had traditionally been accustomed to either seemed no good for my health or provided me with little in the way of nutritional content.

To cut a long story short, I became very obsessive with the programme and virtually starved myself to ill health. I became Iron and vitamin B12 deficient and lost almost 20lbs, which many people I'm sure would be proud of losing.

Unfortunately at the same time my energy levels decreased also, which is almost the opposite to what I had wanted to achieve.

I want to be quick to add that I'm not blaming anyone except myself for the results that I gained back then, because I'm quite sure that the information I obtained is always near on correct and presented as only guidelines for people to follow.

This time round I'm going to be a little more sensible about things and although what Tony says always makes incredible sense, I'm following this particular healthy eating plan with a little less intensity.

P.S. I'm currently listening to Anthony Robbins 'Living Health' on CD, which is always a great source of knowledge and information. - I'll keep you updated with my progress.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Hot Sunny Day

Today is another Gorgeous hot sunny day in East Suffolk with temperatures around the 25 degree mark. Doesn't the good weather in Britain make you feel so much more alive.

Alison and I went for a dental check up this morning and then decided to drive down to Southwold for a cup of tea on the pier and then a relaxing walk along the beach front, which was nice.

Although feeling rather chilled out, I did want a little more of a 'power-walk', so I came home and did 30 minutes walking/running on my treadmill in the garage.

I'm aiming at least doing a half-an -hour of aerobic exercise everyday if I can, set aside from my martial art classes every evening.

UPDATE - I watched the local evening news - to discover that there had been a protest along the sea front at Southwold today - Hundreds of people turned up to make there feelings heard to Gordon Brown (who is on holiday in Suffolk) about concerns over flood defenses along the Suffolk Coast.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Vic's Pic's

Victor Richard Ducker 1919 ~ 2007

Today, sadly is the first anniversary of my Father passing away, he was 87 years old.

As I think back to his funeral, many people paid tribute and remembered him for being a real kind 'gentleman' with a good heart and lovely smile. That's also how I like to remember him.

In fact I can honestly say that I can never recall a time when my dad ever became angry or upset he was always happy, especially in his later years.

When he was young man he served in the British Army during the second world-war with the Royal Artillery. During that time he did what most others had to do at the age of 18 or 19 years old, to serve their 'King and Country' in order to help make Britain and the world a better place.

As a young boy myself, I always remember my dad as being so calm and taking everything in his stride, if there was any squaring up to be done it was usually sorted out by my mother. (Maybe he'd already witnessed the worst of what human nature can dish up and decided to be at peace with himself and toward others.)

Apart from being an outstanding Father and Grandfather he was a man who could almost turn his hand to anything and his garden shed reflected just that, he collected everything including the kitchen sink. I often joked to him - that he should at least clean the shed out before he departed this life, so I didn't have to do it. We always laughed about that.

What many people didn't realise, Vic was also a superb artist. I have a collection of his work, which has never been displayed or exhibited to the public, so I thought I would pay my own little tribute to him today by showing off some of his fantastic drawings.

Can you guess what his favourite subject was?

Dad - We all miss you very much.

Monday, 28 July 2008

My Metabolism

I have heard many people say, the older you become the more your metabolism slows down, haven’t you heard that or maybe said it yourself?

There are many scientific explanations to describe what metabolism actually does, however the simplest and easiest to understand particularly from a health and fitness perspective is this; metabolism is the rate at which the body turns calories into energy. (Well I did say it was the simplified version.)

So what actually causes your metabolism to slow down? I was pleasantly surprised to read somewhere, that metabolism does not significantly slow down directly because of the aging process itself, it actually slows down due to a decrease in muscle tissue.

As I understand it, we are burning calories all the time even when asleep and not just when we exercise. Therefore the more lean muscles we have the more calories we burn, regardless of our age. The problem however does seem that the older we become the less physical strain we put on ourselves and muscle tissue significantly decreases.

So what’s the solution? Well there are several things that I’m personally going to try out for myself. First I am going to decrease the amount of calories that I digest. I’m not going to exclude meals or go on a crash diet or anything crazy like that. But it does seem pointless starting up an exercise programme if I am eating more than I burn-up and of course any excess calories are usually stored as fat.

For the last four weeks I have been running on my treadmill, at least three times a week for thirty minutes each time, but my weight hasn't decreased at all. I now realise that I now need to look carefully at what I’m eating. I need to balance my eating habits with my activity levels and the key is to give my body the energy it needs, but only the correct amount.

So I personally feel in order to boost my own metabolism it's important for me to do the following; always eat a good breakfast, consume smaller meals throughout the day, take different types of regular exercise, cut down on sugar, and drink plenty of water.

Start The Day - The Yoga Way

To start this morning I'm up early performing some Yoga routines.

I have practiced yoga previously a year or so back, but never this early in the morning.

My daughter does her yoga set religiously every morning before going to work. I suppose like anything else you have to keep doing it on a regular basis to gain the benefits.

Never-the-less I still maintain my flexibility by performing a body conditioning routine in my martial art classes that I teach most evenings.

Yes I can still touch my hands flat on the ground while keeping my legs straight, bending from the waist. Once again my daughter bends over backwards like a rubber band. (Like you can see by the picture above.)

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Beautiful Scenery - Beautiful Wife

Walking along the beautiful Suffolk coast is one thing - sharing that journey with my beautiful wife, now that's something else.

I'm so lucky!

Walking The Suffolk Coast

So Sunday morning it was cycling and Sunday afternoon its walking.

As you can see my aim is to once again become mega-fit.

After having a very light lunch at our favourite eating spot in a small place called 'The Nursery Cafe' in Dunwich, Ali and I decided to go for a four mile trek around Dingle Marshes, along the Suffolk Coast.

This route is recognised as one of natural outstanding beauty spots and many protected birds might be seen along route. (We saw a large Heron flying over).

Once again probably because of the intense (24 degrees) heat there were not many people walking today, lots more sunbathing on the beach instead.

Our walk lasted approximately 1 hour 15 minutes with a few stops along the way to admire the scenery and take some photo's.

All-in-all a very rewarding day and plenty of exercise too.

The Beautiful Suffolk Countryside

This picture was taken by myself during my early morning cycle ride. Looks lovely don't you think?

On Ya Bike!

This morning I was up at the crack of dawn preparing to jump-start my new fitness regime.

My first port of call was to cycle round to see my mum. Nothing unusual for me to do this on a Sunday morning.

Today however it would be slightly different, as I would take the longer more scenic route through the heart of the Suffolk countryside, some five miles out of my way.

At 8.30am the weather was already hot and sticky and the temperature was approximately 20 degrees.

I had cycled this route many times before as a youngster and have forgotten how beautiful the Suffolk countryside was, especially at this time of year just before harvest.

I estimated that by the time I’d finished the whole route and returned home after visiting my mum I had probably cycled between six to seven miles in total. The most amazing thing, I had only met three or four cars along the way.

Fantastic. Again this reminded me of my childhood days and how cycling was once my preferred form of transport, come to think of it, back then, it was my only method of getting anywhere.

Cycling is of course an excellent way of keeping fit, but I have to say when I’m riding around the countryside it just contributes more to the enjoyment and allows me to get back in touch with my natural surroundings.

I'll keep on Riding!!!

Friday, 25 July 2008

Health Check Up

Last week I had my health check-up, which took about twenty minutes of my time. The various tests consisted of blood pressure / heart rate, urine test for diabetes etc.

The good old stethoscope was then used for checking out my heart and lungs (I actually got listen myself). I also had my height, weight and waist measured, which converted my BMI (body mass index).

Another specific test called ‘peak flow’ records the strength of the outward breath by me blowing hard into a tube-like instrument.

Of course no health check is complete without giving up some blood. I always feel a little reluctant about this procedure, as I’ve discovered previously that I don’t like the sight of my own blood. However I have now found a great remedy to overcome this problem – don't look when it’s being taken.

So that’s it a ‘piece of cake’ no big deal and the results should be back very soon. Watch this space to see the details of my health check.

Monday, 21 July 2008

24th Wedding Anniversary

Today is my 24th Wedding Anniversary (21st July) and I'm so proud of the fact that I have reached this number of years together with my charming wife Ali.

I'm so looking forward to our 25th anniversary next year as I want to take her somewhere really nice to celebrate. Maybe it will be Hawaii or San Francisco, who knows where we'll end up?

You see, on our honeymoon all those years ago, we couldn't really afford to go anywhere exotic, we had to settle for a camping holiday in Hastings, Brighton and Salisbury, of course there is nothing wrong with these locations as we both love Britain very much, however we did cut our honeymoon short to go martial art training in London.

So I think I owe it to Ali, not only for putting up with me all these years, but to come up with something a little more
adventurous for her.

Any suggestions for our 25th?

Friday, 18 July 2008

Well-Man Check Up

In my occupation as full-time martial arts Instructor I consider myself very fortunate to have many wonderful students, warm friendly people who are always very kind and helpful.

One such person is Dr. Paul Squires a local GP in my hometown. Dr. Paul has helped members of my family and myself on more than one occasion with general healthcare advice etc. In fact even when Dr. Paul is practising in his martial art class he still finds time to offer advice and support to the other students. (I’m actually thinking about opening a small surgery for him at the Dojang.)

You see the thing that I’ve really noticed about Dr. Paul is nothing seems to be too much trouble. I know this for a fact, not just because he wants to gain any special favours so he gets an easier route to black belt. I have also heard from other sources that as far as GP’s go he is extremely supportive to his patients and always goes the extra mile.

I recently mentioned to the good Doctor about my thoughts and ideas for writing this blog. Knowing his expertise in the area of men’s health, I asked him if it would be at all possible for myself to undergo a general health check. The next thing I know I’m booked into his surgery ready to undergo the specific tests. - Watch out for future updates on these results.

I ask myself why is it us British men are so reluctant to visit the Doctor anyway? It’s a well-known fact that men in here in the UK are less likely to go for a health check when they have experienced a small health problem and more likely to visit an emergency clinic when something serious has developed.

So what does the well-man health check actually consist of? What I do know is that many GP’s in Britain do offer a free basic health check on the NHS. Of course you can pay for a more elaborate check via private health care. However what I recognise is that the free NHS screening covers most of the important areas, which determine whether or not you maybe harbouring any undiagnosed problems.

Before starting up any kind of new exercise regime it’s important to go for a similar health check. Enquire whether your local surgery does a health screening. You never know it could be well worth it in the long run.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Fighting Fit At The Age Of Fifty

Today’s date is the 15th July 2008 and it’s my 48th Birthday and the day that I’ve decided to get my life back on track.

Yesterday I looked into the mirror and I got a shock - a very big shock. I asked myself does the mirror ever lie, of course it doesn’t. I have observed my reflection many times before but for some reason on this occasion and maybe it was because of my impending birthday, it suddenly hit me like a bolt out of the blue, I realised - I didn’t like what saw, I was a little out of shape.

Some of you reading this might be looking down at your own protruding abdomen and tell me that I shouldn’t worry – ‘its just middle age spread.’ There will be those of you who have already reached this milestone of becoming fifty saying ‘it’s ok just accept it and grow old gracefully.’ Well to be honest I’ve got no problem about growing old gracefully, what I am really concerned about is still being fit and healthy when I eventually arrive at fifty years of age.

Now you’re entitled to think that I might be giving myself a bit of a hard time and of course you’re absolutely right I am. But for the last thirty years I have been practising the traditional Korean martial art of Kuk Sool Won and for the past two decades I have taught martial arts to many people as a profession. You see health and fitness is a way of life for me, its what I do best, it’s basically how I earn my living.

So what has happened to me, why have I ended up becoming out of shape? Well I haven’t become particularly lazy if that’s what you’re thinking. Could it be my metabolism has slowed down, well that might be one rational explanation? However I don’t think that is the real reason for my overall condition changing. You see something major happened to me last year, something that changed my life forever, an event that we all have to face at some time or other.

I do not want to bore you with the details, but you see early last year my father became seriously ill and eventually passed away in July 2007 almost one year ago. During his prolonged illness I gradually watched him deteriorate and I have to admit that it was heartbreaking to witness.

Through this period, up until most recently my head has been in a dark cloud. I’ve shut down emotionally in order to protect my inner most feelings. This I presume is quite natural given the circumstances. I realise each individual has his or her own way in dealing with their grief. Inevitably this has taken its toll on my overall health and I have to admit I have had no interest in looking after myself. I had totally lost my focus.

You’re probably wondering why have I taken the time to write this blog? Well that’s a good question. Apart from being a good form of therapy, which allows me to once again express my feelings, I also see it as a valuable way of being able to focus my mind. Also at the same time I just might be able to help someone else who is going through a similar situation as well. I have always believed that in order to help others you have to become a shining example yourself.

So there you have it, a brief explanation why I am writing this account. I want to share with you my own hopes for the future. You will be able to follow my journey, my individual quest toward reaching fifty in good shape, mentally physically and spiritually. Thank you for taking the time to read.


Martin Ducker