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This is the last simple principal that makes sure if all else fails that’ll have you to stick to your commitment of good health and leanness!

I recently asked the teacher of my first born how she was behaving at school? I asked this question in response to her disgusting behaviour we were witnessing at home. To my surprise the teacher informed us that McKenzie was a very obedient and well behaved....”Bull shit” was my reaction, but the teacher went on to explain the principal of peer pressure and the expectation demands  that her friends and teachers  wield....and my strategy is not much different ...

...Tell everyone what you’re doing! Yes, that’s right tell everyone you’re doing it....it’s easy to say things like “I’ll try my best” what a load of pathetic crap, grow a back bone and tell everyone that you’re doing it and then let the pressure to keep to your word motivate  you. This will help you through the days when it would be easy to quit...

So, practicing what I preach...

”I’m (Alex Mann) not going to bloat out this winter, I’ll give up eating biscuits, binging on wine and over eating in the evenings from today onwards in order to hold my weight under 70kg and this will assist me racing and placing in the nationals in October!”

Done...now you all can hold me too it...

In the comments section I encourage you to do the same and lets hold each all to account. Best of luck

 
 
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Ok so now you’ve started this exercising thing, you may have lost some weight but how the hell do I make sure I keep it up every day.... Two (2) things have helped me and many others...

Plan it

The biggest mistake I see many people do that want to establish any habit is this; “tacking it on at the end of your day after all you have to do and handle” ....FAIL; yes a big way to fail.

Let’s take today for an example, I have a meeting at 11am in Sumner about a 30 minute cycle ride away, already in my calendar is the time to shower, ride and quickly whip on my jeans before the meeting (click the screen shot to make bigger). After the two meetings I plan to ride back home the long way (my lunch break) and so instead of 30 minutes in the car I’ll get 90 minutes of riding!

Mix it up

Not everyday is the same boring routine, with immense satisfaction out of planning what each workout will contain, this has you look forward to(some)  workouts.

Another benefit of slightly more complex workouts is while doing them you’re too busy thinking about what you have to do next that before you know it you’re finished!

 
 

Another key to lasting results with your health and fitness is immersing yourself in the chosen activity. For myself, I read every book and magazine article I could about cycling. I went to the bike shops and tortured the staff by asking all the dumb questions I could muster.

Why, well think of the thing you most hate or feel is the most boring thing (for me its Bridge the card game). Then ask yourself how much you know about it?... for me the answer was NOTHING.

The way to become more interested is to learn more about something. You must remember a time when you meet an expert in some field that you knew nothing about and then as they shared with you I bet you found yourself becoming more interested...so...

In order to increase the chances that this lifestyle of fitness is enduring, you’ll need to become an expert. It psychological and it makes a huge difference to how you view what you do and that in turn changes how you will act.

 
 

My anecdotal evidence based on my association with top cyclists and business people revealed that successful people don't have to work hard at working hard, let me explain... until I was 33 years old I struggled with implementing exercise in my life it was sporadic & fleeting, have you experienced that???.

When I analysed the activities of past and then subsequently quit (Karate, Golf, Body building and running) there were two defining faults; [1] I was not good at them and [2] they never got easily implemented into my day to day life. I certainly had a passion for the activities but that did not deliver lasting results.

So how do you find that activity that’ll leave you fit and lean...

1.       Do things that fit your natural abilities. Are you tall, muscular (or could beJ) coordinated, and or exhibit a natural competitive attitude. I was too solid to be running and it left me fatigued and regularly left me more knackered than invigorated. My experience with cycling is that I return feeling better than when I left and that how it should be for you. My coordination is adequate but not natural enough to really get good at karate and team sports, but you don’t need super coordination to cycle well. I’m also a left brain person and so the technical aspect of cycling is also interesting and easy for me to understand.

2.       Do things that fit your life. Be realistic, if you’re the CE of a public company, have 6 kids & civic duties, or if you have irregular shift hours and work weekends then team sport maybe hard to commit to. After I graduated from University and started work, I made the decision to commute to work. This fulfilled my need to exercise and get to work (Cheaply).
Think about the activities you could fit into the regular flow of your day, as an example do you work near a gym? Then maybe a lunch time visit is easy to fit in. Do you live near great running tracks which eliminates the need to finish work - drive home - get changed- drive to the park/hills - then do your work out – then drive back home... It’s the hassle of the activity that causes us to be inconsistent not the activity itself, try and eliminate it.  Good planning can be all that is needed so that if you do go to the gym you do it first thing in the morning, shower at the gym then go straight to work.


 
 

This is just the intro... so remember come back here every day this week. If you've had success please post comments and or advice that others would benefit.

Here are my techniques to being fit, healthy and lean. I’ve found that following these simple steps I DON'T have to work at it... its automatic, fun and sustainable (I’ve been lean for 14 years now...I was 96kg now I’m 68kg)

 I’ll expand on one of these each day this week...

  1.
How to pick something you just love to do

  2.
How does the “expert” principal help

  3.
How to guarantee you’ll do it just about every day

  4.
The power of peer pressure & making sure it works

 
 

How do you get stuff done that you hate doing?

Well there are only two ways?

1.       Give it someone else, this is called delegation and it’s rather effective. There are a couple of things that you must take into account and those are firstly the time that you have to spend organising for the task to be done and the second thing whom will you get to do it?

2.       Reframe the task/job, this is the somewhat more difficult thing to undertake but in my experience with a little discipline and practice can really have you feeling peaceful about things you have to do. How?

a.   Ask these questions in relation to the task you don't want to do

                 i.      Why should I do this?

                                                            
        ii.     
What result would I get if I did this job?

               iii.      Who would benefit if I did this job?

                iv.      How would I feel if I did this task?

b.      Vocalise or write down the task as if you have done it along with the result...as example

“I followed up on my new prospect and have secured a profitable new client”

“I did interval training this morning in order to beat my cycling mates”


This process starts to help us understand why we should do the things we have to leaving us feeling more powerful when doing those tasks

 
 

Don’t attack too early

My biggest fault in cycle racing is the temptation to get excited and attack too early, this only serves to wear me out, leave me exposed to other counter attacks I can’t cover and ultimately leaves me with no legs to sprint when it really matters.

Time after time you often see the race being won by the wirily vet that sits quietly in the bunch seeking shelter, cleverly looking like they’re working and then sprint past us all at the end. What lessons can we learn from these patient old sprinters?

1.       Prepare for the long term, don't work 12 hour days year after year thinking that success is around the corner, sure be a hard worker but how many millions of employees on fixed & low incomes work hard and long... heaps, so don't confuse success with hard work. Understand that hard work is just one of many components of success.

2.      Surround yourself with great people, employ them, socialise with them or be mentored by them. You don’t always need to be the most talented to win. This is heartening for those of us that don’t posses natural talents (like Tiger Woods or Lance Armstrong) but in order to be delivered to the finish line you had better follow the talented closely.

 
MAKE a choice 05/25/2009
 
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We only have the power of choice

“While we all have the power to create whatever we desire in life, it all depends upon our own choices that which we do solely create.”

This resent twitter sent by one my friends, is a commonly held truth to attain success both in cycling and life. As much as I would like this statement to be true I do feel that there is more hope than actual truth to the statement.

The first sentence assumes that we have all been given the same physical and mental talents.  Tell that to the Aids inflicted toddler living in Africa with no parents, no organised education system and no real stable economy. It is quoted by some fortunate and talented people “If I can you then you can too” in an attempt to justify their success. I’ve always felt that this is fuelled by the inability to accept Gods talents and blessings.

The truth in the statement that I totally agree with, and has psychological but also biblical backing is that we have freedom of choice.

So then how do we make the right choices....?

1.       As Tony Robins says it’s not the answers we should focus on but the questions we ask. Ask yourself lots of questions What and How are great to start with

2.       Have an end result, this has you focus on questions that may fuel the activity to get what you want, so you want to win the 7 stage cycling tour, you’ll be asking which stages do I need to place high in? Which is different to the questions a KOM winner will asking (in my case is this the hill with points??)

3.       Reduce asking Why, this can often lead to introspective and negative thinking which ultimately leads to either poor decisions or no decision and no action

4.       Ask more than one or two people, as a market researcher I face this most days and fight the assumptions of my business clients and their world view opposed to the view their customers may have.

5.       Once you have an answer make your choice and back yourself.

*My one disclaimer is that yes, the choices we make do indeed determine the heights that we climb, but it does not guarantee the level you may be aiming. Remember you’re making choices at the same time others are making decisions which is something you have no control over... 

 
Timing it right 05/24/2009
 

Wow what a great weekend (not), it rained for both days ...

The principal of Timing.

Whenever discussing this point with people it most often meets with some resistance, believing that I am preaching a sermon on “Luck”,  but first let me outline the concept.

Once again I refer to Malcolm Gladwells book “Outliers” in which he raises the point that Timing is a huge variable in the result of success. He maintains that we don't profit in a vacuum, and some stages of history suited differing talents and skills than at other times. A cycling example would be the resent rein of Lance Armstrong and the Tour de France,  not a great time to rock up to the Tour and try and win, he was intellectually, and physically talented with a determination that made even the best pro’s at the time look like weekend warriors.

But here’s a tip to having this principal work for you, ...

Don’t just wait for the right time, keep looking, stay in action and keep training as you don't know when that right time may pop up.

Tom Boonen was being interviewed after winning a stage in the 2007 Tour de France & was asked why he had not won for such a long time. He responded with “just hadn’t got into any breaks and today I did”, had he stopped racing, NO, he kept fronting up to races knowing that maybe this one was the one...

 
 

This is the first of several blogs drawing the lessons that I've learnt from road cycle racing for the last 12 years (Shit am I that old!)

The reason I love cycling is for the same reason that I love being in business, its all about strategy, tactics, psychology, anthropology & making money (yes we get paid money for winning in cycling)

Anyway here is the first principal..

Be Prepared

Very rarely have I seen a unfit and fat bugger come into a cycle race and win....hmmmm, nope never. They may have a great sprint on them but generally they just don't last the distance (I personally have much pleasure in making their race very painful by attacking out of corners, into side winds and up hills)


The fact is that if you want to win, either in business or on the road you have to have trained and PREPARED, there is no success for those that wake up one day and strike out in business and just become wealthy. In Malcolm Gladwells latest book he talks about the 10,000 hour rule read an exert here. Essentially he maintains that for anyone to become great they have to have practiced at their trade for approximately 10,000 hours.

So in order to become an specialist you may not need 10,000 hours, but you had better start to get some specific knowledge or experience.


 

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