Thursday, 6 November 2014

When All Else Fails -- Use YouTube

Try this "Buck Fifty" workout.

I've no car to get to the gym and I don't have enough time to walk in. It's also pishing down here (no surprise -- November in Northern Ireland, like) and I don't want to go out in it. Sad fact, but true.

Still, I did three sets of this Big Brandon Carter ab workout in around fifteen minutes (that includes how long it took me to roll out my wife's yoga mat) and I actually made a wee "whoop!" noise when I was finished. The dog looked confused.

By the way, I've let life interfere with my workout time over the last three weeks, so I managed this without being at the top of my game. My other challenge for the day will be to do 100 press-ups, 100 squats and 10 chin-ups (yes, that's ten, not 100 -- my shoulder is still letting me down).

I'll be fitting these in after I get some more work done. If I can squeeze in a trip to the gym when I get my car back, all the better. If not, that'll do. For today.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Restarts and Home Workouts

It's going to happen. You'll fall off the wagon. Maybe that little bit of definition that you've been trying so hard to gain and maintain got lost thanks to one too many cheat days, nights or weeks. It happens to the best, the worst and all in between.

From one inbetweener to another (and no, I'm not talking about the TV show or the movie), get back to it this week. I had a bad week last week, coming off a throat infection and whatnot, but that's just stored energy for this week!

So you can't get to the gym tomorrow? Doesn't matter. Try to do something in the house tomorrow instead. Anything! Even if it's press-ups, squats and sit-ups. 50 of each tomorrow. Break it up into 5 sets if you have to. There's no shame in that. None at all. Because guess what? You did 50 more than all the others who decided to sit or sleep for that extra 20 minutes.

Maybe you could try the WOLVERINE workout, a non-equipment routine that will rip up your core. Or you could visit the Neila Rey website for more of these great routines. Everybody will find a favourite.

Following a motivational text from Elite Fitness, I want to make sure I get to a couple of the new callisthenics classes this week. In the poor-quality video below, you'll see me doing an advanced core exercise at home (targeting obliques, mostly) that I picked up during my 10-week programme. You can actually hear the kids in the background. They hadn't realised I'd snuck off for a quick workout.

The windmill:

If I'd seen this video a year ago, I'd never have believed it could have been done without CGI. That was last year, though. And I've my sights set on a few more fun moves for next year.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Pay Attention To Your Mental Health Too!

I've just read an interesting article on suicide prevention in NI over on the BBC NI News website. You have to look after your mind as well as your body. As the folks at MyMy, a local suicide prevention organisation, like to say, "Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem."

Talk to somebody.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Feed Those Muscles

I plan to take part in a new weights and calisthenics programme being offered by my gym in September. My cardio ability is still pretty high, but that aul fat is creeping back on again with the sins of the summer mounting up. While the kids are off school we're heading out and about more often to keep them amused and that means missed gym sessions and a lot of diet no-nos. I don't mind too much (honest) because I know I'll snap back into shape when I get back onto a steady clean eating diet and workout regime again.

Except I want to stop calling my eating habits a diet. I'm talking about a nutrition plan, really. I'll not be starving myself or depriving my body of nutrients come September. Nor does my interest in health and fitness extend to waxing and false tanning. Nothing wrong with embracing all that jazz if that's your thing (and if you're competing in a body building thingy waxing, tanning and more are expected), but I'm trying to improve my quality of life and am concentrating on becoming the most efficient version of myself as I can be, which needs to take into account being a husband, dad, writer and student as well as the other aspects of my personality.

Here's a clip from a movie I watched on Netflix with my wife last night:

It's one of those food documentaries that really goes after processed food and shows us how so many Americans are overfed but undernourished. It applies to the UK and Ireland as well in my experience. The documentary helped put things in perspective. Processed food may seem cheaper and more convenient than the clean eating  alternatives (or raw vegetable juicing as Hungry for Change emphasized throughout). But if you think about it -- and I have to give credit to my wife, Michelle, for putting it in this perspective -- you can't consider processed food any sort of bargain if it doesn't provide enough nutrition. If anything, you're getting conned out of your hard-earned cash and your health. Fuck that.

We still have a way to go in our household to become a perfect example of clean eating, but every week or so we learn something new that sets us a little further along in the right direction. It may get to a point where we don't actually enjoy cheat days! Some day.

My main tip for changing your nutrition plan: if your food comes in a cardboard box, it's probably not worth the money no matter how cheap it seems.

Friday, 8 August 2014

The Sunshine Vitamin!

My friend and soon to be HSNI contributor found this one over at Found My Fitness:

Click the image for a closer look.

Great find, Gareth Watson. And if you read the info, you'll see how relevant it is to us Norn Irelanders. Yesterday it was sunny, today, it's pishing down.

I take vitamin D3, myself. Some people may say that all vitamins do is make your pee more expensive. I'm inclined to disagree. It hardly needs to be stated that I am not a scientist. I don't have the right letters after my name. But as far as vitamins go, I get along just fine with the the letters D and B (mostly B12), as and when I need them. Maybe it's a placebo effect, but it's feckin' powerful if it is.

For those of you interested, I also take cod liver oil, zinc and magnesium. Those are my supplements. Everything else (such as protein), I try to get from my diet.

Sunday, 3 August 2014


Since it's Sunday night, here's another example (again from Elite Fitness) of what can be done in a relatively short time. It's not easy, it's not a quick-fix solution, as it requires a lifestyle change on both sides of the six weeks, but check out this great progress pic along with a few words from Stephen Cleland on a programme he completed back in July 2013.

"Just completed a 6 week programme at Elite Fitness.

I've always trained at gyms of some sort over the years with basic results, but since joining Elite, I cant express enough the difference its made. Not just in my body shape, but in my athletic ability, ie strength, speed and endurance!


The motivation, direction and professionalism at Elite is fantastic, with no egos and a friendly environment. Just book, turn up, train hard, bitta craic, go home!

I'd like to thank David Rice for pushing me on to get me to this stage and looking forward to moving towards the next stage, I cannot recommend this guy/gym enough!


It was seeing Stephen's picture in July 2013 that first put Elite Fitness on my radar. You could tell this wasn't a fake photo because of the fading sunburn! It took me until October 2013 to actually join, and I didn't start my own 10-week programme until the Monday following Mother's Day 2014 (31/3/14), but I got there, and I'm still there. And so is Stephen, one of the 5PM class faithfuls.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Bully for Scully

Check out the results/gains made by Noel Scullion, AKA Scully, who worked his backside off at Elite Fitness. Here's how Scully described his experience:

"I joined Elite Fitness about 3 months ago looking to shed a few lbs for the summer as I was verging on becoming a bit of a chunky monkey. With the help of David Rice and Jamie Rice we came up with a healthy diet tailored for weight loss and a training program to suit it that consisted of fasted HIT cardio i.e TNT classes (Davy's own style of circuit training that incorporates weightlifting and cardio) in the morning and a short and intense weights session in the evenings. I'd like to give them 2 a bit of recognition as they really did help me go the extra mile! Even though it may have seemed like torture at the time, lol, cheers guys much appreciated."

"During that period I went from just under 16 stone to 13. 5, which I am over the moon with!! As for supplements, I kept them fairly basic and stuck with protein powder, BCAA's and L- Arginine."

Good lad, Scully!

Still need a bit of convincing to change your own life? Here's a wee motivational statement from Davy Rice:

"People wait until it's too late; wait on weddings, wait on holidays, wait until a new relationship sparks or breaks up before they get into training the way they want to. Grab it, hold it and shake it. If your mind and body wants to, don't stop it. Get in, get it started, and rip it apart! One thing for sure is when you are fit strong healthy and look the way you want to, you won't regret it!! 

It's Monday what are you waiting on?!"

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Falling off the Wagon

I'm pretty religious about my Monday workout session. Workout on Monday and I break the weekend laziness and atone for all the diet cheats (Cheats or treats? A topic for later in the week). And on the Mondays that I get this good start, I tend to be more enthusiastic for the rest of the week, and often squeeze in an extra workout or two.

Yesterday I missed my Monday workout and I'm feeling a bit of guilt.

I don't think that my guilt is a bad thing, it helps with motivation, and it's not like I'm whipping my own back or demanding decades and decades of the Rosary as penance. It's just a nagging feeling that insists that I've been a little bit weak. What I need to work on now, is making sure that nothing gets in the way of my workout today.

So I'm watching a motivational video on YouTube in preparation. Check it out and tell me that you don't want to do a shitload of jumping-jacks and press-ups:


Sunday, 13 July 2014

Healthy Blogging, an Intro

This was me at 32 before I realised how important diet and exercise really are:

By 2011, my wife and I were lucky enough to have three children. I often joked about my baby weight. Made excuses about getting older. Not having enough time (I was working full time in a job I pretty much hated and trying to figure out how to write for a living as well as trying to be a decent husband and father). Genetics. Blah-de-blah. The main problem, if I'm honest (and the photo sort of encapsulates it), is that I was a little too fond of drinking and sitting down in my limited spare time.

I like to think I've changed since then, but in truth, my weight/size has been up and down over the last three years. My fitness levels have steadily increased thanks to a local boxing club and a local gym that I attended over the last three years. Also, taking an interest in what I put into my body has made a big difference too. But I'm still learning. New attitude, new thoughts on diet, new lifestyle... the list goes on, and I'll be blogging about these things as Health Scene NI continues to grow.

The blog will serve two purposes. It'll give me an outlet for my thoughts and experiments in diet and exercise and it'll keep this interest separate from my thoughts and experiments on reading and writing. If you happen along this and want to ask questions, feel free to leave a comment.

Just so we're clear, this is about what has worked and continues to work for me. I don't intend to preach about the ONLY way to get fit or bash anything I haven't tried out, but I will probably say some stupid stuff as I go along. Feel free to challenge or question ANYTHING I say, but please, try not to be a pain in the backside, okay? I don't have time for keyboard warriors.

For now, this is my latest fitness achievement following a 10 week programme at Elite Fitness in Newcastle:

I'll share more progress pics when I write about my memories of that intense/crazy/fun time (which finished 6th June 2014, just a month and three weeks from my 35th birthday). Right now, I'm concentrating on maintaining these results while the kids are off school for the summer, but I may do another Elite Fitness programme in the near future and write about it as it happens. We'll see how things go.