A Period Of Reflection

Over the last 10 weeks, I’ve probably done more exercise than I have in the last 12 months. News that my Cardiac Cosultant will love.

During my long walks I’ve started to think a lot more about my past and my future. In previous posts you will have heard me talk about how we hate letting other people down, but that we should not forgot not to let ourselves down.

I’ve looked back over the last few years, or probably more, and realised I have let mysef down.

When I was 13 years old I crashed my bicycle and went head on into a brick wall. If you are familiar with how Newcraighall Road used to look, there was a long brick wall stopping people from accessing the old coal bing. Well I hit the kerb and launched myself into the wall and we didn’t wear helmets in those days.

A couple of days in the Sick Kids Hospital with concussion and then fast forward a few more weeks and my first Grand Mal Epileptic Seizure.

Diagnosed with Epilepsy at 13 years of age and my world was turned on end. It’s stayed with me ever since.

My mum, god bless her, wanted to wrap me up in cotton wool. I wasn’t allowed to do anything on my own. Swimming was a worrying time for mum, as was any time I went cycling with my mates.

For years it dominated what I could and couldn’t do.

When I turned 18 my mum expected the seizures to stop as some half assed doctor had told her years ago that it might be linked to puberity and that I would most likely grow out of it.

I didn’t……………….

So, I thought “to hell with it, I’m gonna enjoy my life and live it”

I started karate in 1986 and loved it, I was focused, it was my world.

For 21 years I took control of my epilepsy and I’m a firm believer my karate helped with that. Be it a Zen thing or simply that I had better control on my breathing and fitness.

I stopped karate in 2008 and to be fair for the last 12 years have not really done anything that comes close to it. Dabbled here and there in different things, martial arts, golf, crosffit. Nothing really grabbed my attention.

The end result of my letting myself down:

Overweight (very)

High Blood Pressure (very very)

Cardiomyopathy (heart’s knackered)

Insomnia (night hawk)

Stress

The realisation that a lot of the above could have been prevented in one way or another. The main thing would have been down to my own self discipline.

So, in amongst me popping pills galore for epilepsy, high blood pressure and water retention, I’m trying to mend what I have broken.

How am I doing that?

Support from my family and friends

More exercise including two personal training sessions as week

Regular meetings with my Mindfullness Coach

Trying to change old eating habits and make better choices.

Going to bed earlier than I normally would

Trying to make make my way back to the martials arts that have given me so much to aim for and such discipline in the past.

Only time will tell if I achieve my goals and manage to improve my health, but I know if I dont so something about it now. I might not have a future.

Fall Down Seven Times, Stand Up Eight

As a martial artist I spent 21 years getting to love the culture of the Far East and it’s discipline. 12 years ago I stepped back from my role as a karate instructor but I never forgot what I learned and never lost my love of Japan and its culture.

In 2020 I started down a different path with learning about sake and no, not just how to drink it. My studies are still ongoing as the COVID outbreak has hampered them slightly.

However, it became a catalyst that awoke thoughts of yester year.

Days when I was fitter, healthier and more focused. Oh I know I was younger too and problably more capable of doing things at a higher leve, especially fitness.

But it got me thinking. Why can’t I be like that again.

Perhaps it’s too late to ever think I can step back onto the mats in a dojo. After all, how many times have I said that in the past?

Tomorrow I start a mindfulness journey that will hopefully be the first step to getting my house in order. Getting back to being focused, to having a good work life balance, to caring better for my family and to sorting out my health.

If lockdown has given me anything it’s time to reflect. With so much negativity going on in the world it’s essential to focus on the positive aspects of life. Aspects that affect your life.

You only get one shot in life so it’s only right to give it your all.

Will I fail or falter? Yes, at certain parts I probably will, after all I’m only human and not perfect. However I’m not going to let myself down, I’m going to keep pushing, keep striving and in the words of the Backstreet Boys – Keep On Movin (thanks Jojo).

There’s an old Japanese proverb that I have always liked and if you want a musical equivalent, check out my old competition theme tune “Tubthumping” by Chumbawama (lol)

#findyourpath #health #fitness #throughthework #cardiacrehab

Back On Course

It’s been over as month since my last blog post, something I need to keep on top of.

However, its been a busy month and finding the time has been hard. No, that’s bollocks, I should have made the time.

Anyway, my rehab journey continues and I’m trying to do some sort of exercise every day. Even if its just walking the dog, its still exercise.

I also made the decision to start using a Personal Trainer and she has been great. Varying the exercises, pushing me further each time and most of all, being there to encourage me.

Post PT Session with Davina Downie

I’ve never done so much exercise but when I weighed myself, it kept going up and up. See for yourself.

Weight Progress In KG

My initial thought was “Christ, I must be stuffing may face during lockdown”. My weight had shot up to 113kg in a matter of days.

Then I wondered if I had started taking on more water in my lungs, especially as I hadn’t been visiting the loo as often.

I met with my nurse when I was get my bloods taken and we both agreed that my meds were fine for now. I continued to exercise, walking, cycling, attempted running and even a round of golf.

Then yesterday I weighed myself again and I was down 4kg – WTF!

I don’t know what’s going on in my body but will keep taking my meds and keeps tasking measurement updates.

I’m still exercising when I can, even if its only for a little while, something is better than nothing.

Today was my return to the golf course. The first round is a very long time. Score wasn’t great, managed to stay below 100 and finish with the same ball.

That Hurt!


My first run since being diagnosed with a f**ked up heart and boy did it hurt!

Not a long distance, short and close to home just in case and my wife even made me send the Strava beacon before I left.

I’ve been trying to keep active with cycling and walking but with my workload at this current time, consistancy has been the issue.

Last night I took a look at myself in the mirror and thought, drastics times call for drastic measures.

I hate running. I’ve done my fair share over the years, track, cross country, half marathons and marathons. I find it boring and draining.

However, I know it gets results so I had to est humble pie and try and go for a short run. Baby steps you know.

Despite it being short, it got the old ticker pumping away.

I was a bit scared at first, with some chest tightening but it eased off. Where I did feel it was the legs. Bottom of my left shin to start with and then the legs just felt like lead weights.

My daughter joked with me before I left that she could probablt walk fast than I ran and she probably wasn’t far from the truth (lol).

I needed to do something though and as much as I hate it, I will go running again. I need to, as I have a lot of wait to drop and I love my food too much.

I’ve even downloaded the PureGym app because these give you free, in house, no equipment, cardio exercises to do.

It’s all hands on deck and a positive mental attitude, so lets see what happens.

Finally, no I wont be dieting. I will try and eat a bit healthier with meals where I can but at the same time I’m not going to deprive myself of what I like.

Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, live life, enjoy life but stay safe.

#fitness #throughthework #fixthisheart #staysafe

Do Yoga – Me?

With the advent of us having to adjust our daily lives because of Covid19. I’m determined to still try and keep to some sort of training rehab plan.

I had planned to go for another cycle today but with ticking off a few other tasks for the household, I ran short of time. So, I replaced the cycle with a session of DDP Yoga via my ipad.

Timelapse version as I dont move that fast at my age

I enjoy DDP because you can take it at your own pace and moves can be modified. I’m just getting back into it so Energy 2.0 was enough for me.

Keeping active is going to be a crucial part of my rehab process but so are rest days. These are not to be confused with skiving, lazy days when you cannot be arsed doing something.

I normally use my WooHoo (think that’s what it’s called) heart monitor but there’s a bit of an issue with connectivity. So I used my apple watch which does not connect to the app (come on DDP sort this glitch)

The maximum heart rate during the session went up to 123bpm but not for any prolonged length of time, but that was ok for me.

It’s funny, as you remember in my last post I told you I had quite a low resting heart rate? Well I got a notification this morning that it dropped below 50 bpm, very briefly at 9am.

That’s two mornings in a row, during sleep, when its dropped.

Anyone have any suggestions?

See, not quite an athletic looking chap am I lol.

Loving the Project Rock gear and getting motivated by all the postings on social media from others. Check out the hashtag #throughthework

Stay safe people and keep active.

Back In The Saddle

This week, with everything going on in the world, I needed some “me” time.

I got the bike out the shed and cleared away the cobwebs (literally), pumped up the tires to accomodate the extra weight and off I went.

The cycle path from my house to Rosslyn is relatively flat but has a couple of inclines. Weather was great, the tunes were banging and I was feeling good.

Stopped at the halfway point, namely the Original Rosslyn Inn (does a cracking mac n cheese btw) and then headed back.

the place for mac n cheese

The only downside on the return journey is the fact that I live at the top of a hill. Not a massive hill, but a hill all the same. I tried to cycle up it but couldn’t and was worried about pushing my heart too much.

Compromise was to walk the hard bits and cycle the easy bits. Seven and a half miles all in so I was pretty chuffed with that.

Net day I still had the urge to be consistent. It was sunny, I needed a break from work and time to clear my head. Get the bike!

Same route as the day before, same halfway point but this time on the way back I went a bit further and headed away from the big hill that beat me the day before.

I still had a hill to go up, but there was less of an incline so it meant cycling it all the way. It also meant a bit more time and distance on the journey.

Being a bit of an app freak, I have all kinds of apps tracking what I do. I use Strava and all the Under Armour Apps but my main piece of tech is my Apple Watch.

The heart rate monitor shows me where I was taking it easy and where I was really pushed to the max. Now my resting heart rate hovers between 46 -55 BPM and apparently that’s around the althletes range (big smile on face lol).

I’m not an athlete. I’m overweight, I’m unfit, my blood pressure sits at 179/91 mmHg (I know, high isnt it) and my heart is fooked.

The bike ride took me all the way up to 157 bpm and I’m happy to say, with no adverse affects. No pains, no aches, apart from being old and getting arthritis in one finger, apparently. My aim is to try and keep it down to the 145 bpm mark so lessons learnt on pushing myself too much.

I felt great, energised, refreshed and my mind was clear. I will admit that during the ride my legs burned like hell as my muscles welcomed me back and we got re-acquainted.

There are times when I do fail. For example after setting my alarm for 5:30am to get up and go walking. Only to discover I am not a morning person lol.

Although I can find the snooze button in the dark so maybe that’s some sort of morning person talent?

Anyway, I won’t bore you with any more exploits for now and thank you if you are reading my posts. For me its a chance to express myself and perhaps share some information at the same time.

We are never alone.

We all travel the same road.

We all fail or fall at one point or another.

It’s getting back up and carrying on that makes us strong.

Here I Go Again On My Own……

Only I’m not on my own. I’ve got lots of friends and family supporting me.

Basically the problem is that I have sky high blood pressure and a failing heart.

Sad state of affairs

But hold up, it’s not all bad news. My blood pressure can be brought down and my heart can be mended.

It will be a long hard slog but I will get there.

So, what do I need to do. First of all I need to stay focused and determined. To this extent I’ve been reading up on inspirational people like Tyson Fury and Dwayne Johnson.

On the fitness side of things I’m attending a cardio rehab unit and building things up slowly.

I want to get back into the gym at some point so am taking the bull by the horns.

Be the hardest worker in the room

I do realise it’s all about baby steps thought and settings goals with milestones.

  • Get back into the dojo (goal)
  • Lose 25kg in weight (milestone)
  • Get fitness levels up (milestone)
  • Get more sleep (milestone)
  • Eat healthier (milestone)

With the support of my friends, family and health professionals I know I stand a good chance of achieving my goal.

However, the only thing that will stop me from doing it is ME…………

#fitness #throughthework #mytrialandtribulations #scottishpebble