Category Archives: Books
Making the nation fit, one book at a time…
By Julia Buckley
… But lets keep it real here – exercising is easy when you feel all fired up like you are now. Sooner or later though (usually around February) that January fitness fever will fizzle out. If you want to make sure those resolutions stick, you’re going to have to find it in yourself to keep going, ignore the excuses, and learn to get your workouts done whether you feel motivated in that moment or not.
It’s a tall order, but with the right strategy you can do it. Make a plan now for how you’ll think your way out of those excuses when they inevitably pop into your brain and you’ll be well on the way to making your fitness goals a reality.
Here’s how to quash a few of the most common resolution-killers:
I don’t feel like it today
We all have days when we don’t feel like exercising, the key is to get it done anyway. Just do 15 minutes, you’ll still get lots of benefits and you know you’ll be glad when that post-workout feeling hits you on the other side.
But if you’re ill or feel like you’ve been overtraining, of course, take rest.
I don’t have time
Really? Have you watched any TV lately? Read any books or magazines? Hung out with friends? … I’m not saying you should always be exercising instead of doing those things, but if you really want to get into shape, maybe it’s worth making getting your workout done a higher priority. A 15 minute workout is infinitely better than no workout at all. Get up 15 minutes earlier in the morning if that’s what it takes, or make it part of your day cycle to work, run around with the kids in the park, hit the gym at lunchtime. You may need to shift things around a little, but there will be a way you can fit 15 minutes into your day to take care of your body.
Why bother at my age? I’m too old!
No, you’re not. It’s always wise to get checked by a doctor before starting exercise and you’ll need to find a way of training that suits the condition of your body, but there will be something you can do to get fitter whatever your starting point.
Don’t go thinking that there’s no point either; yes, you might’ve missed your shot at the Olympics, but you can still get fitter, stronger and healthier and the benefits at any age can be immense
I’m not losing any weight so what’s the point in carrying on?
When people talk about wanting to lose weight, generally what they really mean is that they want to lose fat. It’s a pity fat has become such a dirty word, because this has led to a lot of misunderstanding which has been really unhelpful to a lot people’s health and fitness.
If you’re exercising hard and eating right, you’ll be gaining muscle. Muscle is obviously going to weigh something on your body, in fact, muscle actually weighs more than fat. So you could well be slimmer, firmer and leaner without the scales showing any change. This is one of the reasons I encourage people to take regular photographs for visual comparison and take measurements of their bodies.
I’m not a member of a gym
Well, you could join one, they’re not as scary as they look, I promise, and memberships are more affordable than ever. But you certainly don’t have to be a member of a gym to get fit. In my book The Fat Burn Revolution I’ve provided a 12-week fitness programme which has got thousands of people into great shape in their own homes.
I don’t like exercising on my own
So get a friend to do it with you or join a class. Or if that’s not an option, get online, there are literally thousands of people out there just waiting to support and encourage you. The list of sites and online communities are endless, for starters, come join my Fat Burn Revolution Facebook group. I’m completely biased of course, but if there’s a more friendly, supportive and inspiring online, I don’t know about it! Plus I pop by myself every day and try to answer as many posts as I can.
If you’re not a fan of Facebook, drop me a tweet anytime and I’ll be happy to cheer you on: @Julia_B.
Guest blog post by Julia Buckley, author of The Fat Burn Revolution
By Hollis Lance Liebman
It’s a brand new year. The slate is clean, the cache emptied and the reset button has been pushed. Now that you have your blueprint for success firmly in your hands, in Peak Physique, 2015 is finally going to be your breakthrough year.
It would seem every January is a somewhat reoccurring groundhog existence in your renewal and vows for a healthy lifestyle and physical excellence. In the days prior to January 1st, and of course with the holidays occurring, we often load up on processed foods in excess just before beginning our New Year’s Resolutions and thus our decision to reinvent ourselves for the coming new year.
And like many, what often occurs is failure and early failure at that. We simply set the bar too high and are too extreme in our methodologies and executions of arriving in peak shape. The result is often many attempting to cross the bridge, but few actually making it to the other side. Well, this year is going to be different. 2015 is the year of you!
These 10 tips will kick-start and help to ensure that 2015 will indeed be different. 2015 will be your break-through year in which a change of former habits will now result in desired and long sought after results.
1. EVENT PLANNING – The first step to the new-and-improved 2015 you is to clearly define your destination. Perhaps your goal is to be bikini or board short ready come the summer. Beginning in January will give you plenty of time to bring about a major change in your physique. Starting a journey without defining one’s destination is akin to driving the car to nowhere – you may never get there, when ‘there’ is not defined.
2. AVOID SELF SABOTAGE – The voice that says you can’t is not telling the truth. Living in the era of instant gratification, it’s all too easy to self-medicate with sugar and fat-laden processed foods when feeling down or to skip a workout to feel at best temporarily better. The self-defeating voice can be silenced and you and you alone have the power to do so. You have the power to keep clean and nutritious foods stocked in your kitchen and you and you alone have the power to walk into any gym and give your all and improve your physique.
3. CLEAR THE WEAK LINKS – Be it a non-supportive friend or non-supportive garment, it is imperative to keep a team in your life that shares your goals, beliefs and methodologies. This goes a long way to actually getting your goals accomplished. Hanging with positive people that are also working on bettering themselves creates a safe and friendly, “got your back” atmosphere that is completely supportive. Trim the fat, not just from food, but also from your life.
4. THE MIRROR IS YOUR ONLY COMPETITION – Besting the image in the mirror is your foremost goal. Not starving or attempting to achieve by any means necessary the images that the media deems desirable. Since you only have control over yourself, it’s best to keep your focus there. 2015 is about adopting new positive lifestyle changes and making them work for you – over the long-term.
5. DON’T SHOOT FOR THE STARS – Many 2014 resolutions fell short of reaching the mark because they were too severe, too extreme and too unrealistic in terms of maintaining them with regularity for any length of time. While you should be looking to become your best, realize that it takes steps and time and a consistent, measured approach to achieve. Saying you will work out every day for hours and eat perfectly and not drink is simply too unrealistic. Better to say, I will have a few wonderful workouts per week, do my cardio and eat mostly clean with a splurge here and there. You’ll be pleasantly surprised over the long-term how much more you will accomplish this way.
6. PACK AHEAD – You know the saying “failing to plan ahead is planning to fail.” Though most of us tend to live fast lifestyles today, leaving the house to go to work without packing foods to support your healthy lifestyle is almost sure to derail you. Taking the time each evening before work the next day to grill some chicken, steam some veggies and prepare some yams/sweet potato really doesn’t take too much time and will empower you in this ‘all or nothing’ society we tend to exist in. By bringing meals with you, you are also less likely to eat poorly and skip gym sessions since you will be properly fueled for performance.
7. WORKOUT PARTNER – For many, a workout partner ups the ante and makes it a commitment. Someone else is depending on you to get a common goal accomplished, as a team. If you find someone who shares your common need of improvement, latch on to that person, and make it a double. A workout partner can even create a friendly sense of competition.
8. PHOTOS/CHECK-IN – For me it has always been about showing a clear-cut progression, and nothing says progress more than visual proof. Taking photos of yourself at the start of your transformation, although perhaps highly personal and sensitive, is an amazing tool to show improvement and sustain motivation well into the New Year. Today, take photos of yourself from the front, side and rear and then put them away. I guarantee you that 12 weeks later following the Peak Physique Challenge you will see non-refutable change that will make you beyond proud. Additionally, perhaps try on a garment that is tight or too constrictive at the start of your 12-week program. I also guarantee that it will fit better, sometimes far better after the completion of your 12-week program.
9. CHANGE – The same thing day in and day out can thwart goals and challenges. That is why, armed with change, you’re suiting up not for a sprint, but for a marathon – for the long-term. Be it a different outfit to the gym, a different routine, a different spice on your meal, make it desired and interesting. For some, seeing the almost weekly changes in the mirror or improvement in exercise performance is more than enough change to keep you motivated and progressing.
10. A PROMISE – To yourself that this year, 2015 will indeed be different. You will achieve more than you have before. You will best the image in the mirror. You will adopt a lifestyle, not a fad. It has helped some to make them accountable by posting on social media one’s goals. Saying you need and will make a change in writing is a lot more powerful than wanting and trying to make said change. Your word, in the end, it’s all we have. Make your words turn into actions that count and make a difference.
2015 is about becoming the change you have always wanted to be. Now that you have Peak Physique firmly in your corner, you are not alone. You have a plan and most importantly, you have yourself. The creation of Peak Physique was my own challenge and call-to-action to get myself into top shape (it had been a while), and then to help lead others on this amazing journey to self-transformation.
We want to see your transformations. Post on social media #peakphysiquechallenge to show your progress and inspire others. Remember, transformations do come true, it just depends on how much you want them. Make it so.
Hollis Lance Liebman is the author of Peak Physique. Buy your copy today.
Want to look at what goes into a £9,000 pro bike? Our brilliant new book presents #cycling in a way you’ve never seen before!
Mixing cycling facts with expert bike tech insights, the Infographic Guide To Cycling gives a unique and intriguing overview to the realm of the velocipede, from cycling greats and kings of the road, the Classics and the Grand Tours, track cycling stars and velodromes, to digital training tools, sportives, top international pro teams, bike maintenance info and insights into the darker side of cycling – doping.
Want to look at just what goes into a £9,000 pro bike or who holds the record for the fastest ascent up the Passo Stelvio? Infographic Guide To Cycling has the answers. Witty, informative and astounding, this brilliantly illustrated book is a must-have for any cycling fan.
RoadCyclingUK is the UK’s leading online road cycling magazine, giving expert road bike reviews and the latest gear, tech, sportive and racing news.
Our new 2014-2015 Sports Books Catalogue is now available. Browse the catalogue and discover the many different sports books that we publish here at Bloomsbury, from our exceptional training guides to our award winning great reads.
We had a fantastic time at the Cycle Show 2014 at the NEC last month, even catching a glimpse of our favourite German pro-cyclist, the legendary Jens Voigt, fresh from setting the new Hour record. Here’s one of the less blurry snaps we got of him signing autographs on the Trek stand …
Just a reminder to all those cyclists we met at the Cycle Show (or indeed any of you wonderful people who might stumble across this blog) that you can use the discount code on our website to get a whopping 30% discount off our cycling books.
And for those less Lycra-inclined, you can still use the code to buy all those Christmas presents for your cycling-crazy friends and family!
All you need do is enter the discount code at the checkout when you’re buying your lovely cycling books:
Discount code: cycleshow14
Remember the offer ends at Christmas, so you better get clicking…
Here’s a few of our lovely cycling titles to inspire you:
The 6th edition of Sports Training Principles has arrived at Bloomsbury HQ and it looks fantastic. Thoroughly revised throughout, this comprehensive sports science textbook has been edited and authored by Dr Frank W. Dick OBE (President of the European Athletics Coaches Association) with contributions from:
- Professor John Brewer (St Mary’s University, Twickenham, UK)
- Professor Timothy Noakes (University of Cape Town, South Africa)
- Dr Penny Werthner (University of Calgary, Canada)
- Vern Gambetta (Sports Training Systems, USA)
- Dr Cliff Mallett and Dr David Jenkins (University of Queensland, Australia)
- Dr Scott Drawer (RFU, UK)
This textbook comprehensively covers the core aspects of sports training and coaching which can be applied to all sports and disciplines. It is the ultimate reference tool for all coaches responsible for training athletes to fulfill their performance potential.
the book covers the key sports science topics: anatomy and physiology; biomechanics; psychology; nutrition; performance analysis; training; and coaching theory and practice.
If you’re a lecturer interested in using the book on your course, email your full course details (Course Name, Level, Module, Number of Students and Start Date) and your academic address (Name, Position, Department, Address) to firstname.lastname@example.org and our team will get back to you.
Bloomsbury Spot are delighted to have two books longlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year. Rob Steen’s Floodlights and Touchlines is a superb social history of sport and Bill Jones’s book Alone tells the story of the life and tragic early death of John Curry, one of the most famous ice skaters in history.
Congratulations to Rob Steen and Bill Jones, as well as all the authors nominated.
Guest post by Ben Oakley, author of Podium: What Shapes Sporting Champions
First person autobiographical insights interest me since they provide examples of what shapes their path to the top. My fascination with these accounts, and my own experience as an Olympic coach (1988, 1992) and Open University academic, led me to research 25 autobiographies from serial champions. Amongst these were a number of teenage champions.
The youngest medallist at the Commonwealth Games was 13 year old para-swimmer Erraid Davies and the whole event narrative was dominated by young, up-and-coming athletes, many in their teenage years. Likewise the new Premiership season will no doubt see new 18-year-old, or younger, talents emerge.
Child champions’ breakthroughs are fascinating as they have no medal success at the top level to help build supreme optimism to succeed. They often defy the form books to breakthrough to senior success while still at school. Take Cathy Freeman who, aged 16, won a relay 100m gold medal at the 1990 Commonwealth Games. ‘[She] spent the first few days [in the athlete’s village] with [her] mouth open, staring at everyone and everything.’ Problems with dropped batons in practice meant self-doubt began to gnaw away.
But confidence to succeed has a social element. What others say and their behaviour around us matters. If others believe in you and make this abundantly clear, it is a real fillip. In this case it came in the form of the team’s top sprinter, Kerry Johnson, who had been Freeman’s number one supporter and looked out for the ‘baby of the team’. Johnson threatened the management that she would boycott the team unless Freeman ran. Her pre-race advice to Freeman, ‘I think we’ll win this today,’ arguably helped convince the schoolgirl that she deserved to be there. They surged to gold and Freeman’s life changed in that moment.
Coaches and hormones
Likewise, the other person that helped instil self-belief in 15-year-old Michael Phelps was his coach, who ignited his desire to become the youngest ever swimming world record holder. But natural hormonal support was also at play. In the preceding year Phelps experienced his most accelerated growth spurt – a two-inch height gain on the marks on his doorway at home. His coach lit the fuse by writing ‘WR Austin’ (World Record, Austin, Texas) on all the notes he left for Phelps over six months preparing to break the 200m butterfly world record. At the Austin meet he was the first ever to swim under 1 minute 55 seconds.
Ian Thorpe has also described growth spurts, which caused a huge five-second improvement in his 400m freestyle time between the ages of 15 and 16. Imagine the exuberance and confidence of seeing almost monthly gains in performance. Mix this with youthful naïvety and there is a recipe for great things. Describing winning his five-medals at the Sydney Games aged 17, Thorpe said, ‘I had been devoid of nerves – dazzled by the lights and attention, unaware of the true pressure of an Olympic meet and oh-so calm.’
At the 2012 Olympics a shocked 15-year-old Lithuanian swimmer, Ruta Meilutyte, emerged from the pool astonished and in tears at winning gold. Appropriately, it was Ian Thorpe who defended and rationalised her teenage success to a suspicious media.
When former England footballer Michael Owen spoke about as an 18 year old scoring a wonder goal against Argentina in the World Cup he captured the clutter free thoughts of youth:
‘When I did it I wasn’t surprised at all, now as you get older and look back you think what an attitude I had, I wasn’t scared of anyone, I didn’t even know who I was playing against. We’d have team meetings and they’d say you’re playing against this man and this man: I didn’t even listen, I didn’t care. I just knew that I was playing, that I was going to score … You get older and you start worrying about things, you know, you just worry too much … You only have that not being scared as a kid.’
Not being scared sums it up nicely – the benefit of being a child. As he reminds us, life gets more complicated as an adult – relationships, mortgages, media commitments, expectations, elevated pressure, the weight of history and other athletes gunning to beat you.
Child champions’ unique experience are all part of the complex mix that contribute to examining what shapes champions’ paths. My research and writing Podium has also been a real journey that often challenged my own beliefs.
Ben Oakley is the author of Podium: What Shapes a Sporting Champion, order your copy today