Check In – Week 0 – So It Begins… Again

‘Sappanin people!!! It’s been a while guys, i know, but things haven’t been great at all. My mental health has been in the pan the past couple of months and it has left me back at the bottom of a big hill to climb. But a challenge is what makes life fun, isn’t it? Possibly… 

I have been suffering loads with anxiety for months now, making everything much harder than it already was. My work has suffered, my eating habits have been hocking and i haven’t trained in months. This last part is the thing that has hurt me the most. I love Taekwondo, i really do, I love the art, the challenge, the people, everything. Due to how I have been feeling I’ve missed 2 gradings and a summer camp. It sucks. But it’s not over and I am determined to be back training soon.

So we begin again at what is basically my Week 0!!! So lets get some baseline measurements to get started with.

Starting Weight: 318.5 LBS (Ouch!!)

Starting Measurements:

  • Neck: 50.5 CM
  • Chest: 138 CM
  • Belly Button: 133.5 CM
  • Hips: 132.5 CM

My goal weight is 199.9 LBS and i hope to hit that by the 30th of November 2020.

So every week I will check in and let you know how my battle with the fat is going and what I have been up too, keep checking in. It would be great if you could take a moment to share this blog please!!

To Bamboo or Not to Bamboo…

Lions and tigers and bamboo cups… oh my!!

I, like many others of you, am all for sustainability and reducing our impact on the environment. Hell, if we don’t act soon, there might not be much of a civilisation left for future generations. I love a morning coffee, no i need a morning coffee to function, and all those fast food cups where beginning to ad up. Which is why i jumped aboard the bamboo hype train. I love my bamboo cup, from the way it feels to the squishy rubber lid, and it loves me and the environment too right? So i thought. It turns out that we all might have been duped by good marketing.

After hearing that these mugs might have been built on a bed of lies and subterfuge, i decided to do a little digging. Well it turn out that they contain a plastic like resin, called Melamine, which along with not being bio-degradable, may actually be poisonous if used with hot drinks. Absolute madness that they can market these as re-usable coffee cups, when they are leaching harmful chemicals when hot!!.

The Issue

Recent research by a German consumer group called Stiftung Warentest, shown in this article, shows the concentration of melamine that migrates into drinks from these well marketed little bamboo-based, re-usable cups, is very high.

The research shows that consumers who purchased re-usable bamboo mugs, thought that they where buying a 100% natural, bio-degradable, product. When infarct all the mugs they tested where bamboo powder or fibres bound in a melamine plastic resin, which also contains formaldehyde. Both of these chemicals are known to be dangerous to humans.

The results showed that 7 of the 12 mugs tested where releasing high quantities of melamine and more where releasing quantities of formaldehyde into the drinks. Even more worrying, was that the amount of chemicals seemed to increase with usage.

“But FatNinja, there are chemicals in everything.”

You are correct young Johnny, but lets take a closer look at the adverse effects of these bad boys:

Melamine – This white crystal like substance, when ingested can cause crystals to form in your kidneys and could possibly result in renal failure. In China, 2008, the chemical was added to babies milk formula. Resulting in over 300,000 babies becoming sick, while 6 died or renal failure. So not the type of chemical you want to be sprinkling on your cornflakes.

Formaldehyde – If ingested this nasty chemical can cause corrosive burns to your insides, bleeding, low blood pressure, hemolysis (loss of blood cells), unusual  heart rhythm, irregular breathing, restlessness, unconsciousness, coma and death. It has been classified as a “probable human carcinogen.” by many organisations, with Leukaemia being the likely cancer caused by exposure.

So the bottom line is that these cups are a lie, they are not biodegradable, you can’t even dispose of them in the recycling bin, and even worse is that they may be harmful to your health over time. You may want to look at other options top help save the world, i for one will no longer be using my Bamboo cup.

Sources

White Collar Boxing and Me

This week marks the beginning of a journey for me. A journey that will conclude with me standing in a boxing ring in front of hundreds of people. Sounds exciting doesn’t it? Well it kind of is, along with being absolutely terrifying.

Ultra White Collar Boxing Logo

You see, I decided that I needed a challenge, something that will push myself and give me a sense of responsibility when it comes to my diet and lifestyle. So after thinking about a few different options, I settled on taking part in a White Collar Boxing event. The great thing about boxing is that the fitness work and boxing skills i will learn will be transferable to my Taekwondo training. Two birds with one stone!!

Cancer Research UK Logo

Alongside the chance to improve my punching skills, I have a great opportunity to raise money for a worthwhile cause. The chosen charity of the boxing organisation is Cancer Research UK. Every two minutes in the UK someone is diagnosed with cancer! It’s an awful, insidious disease that robs the lives of loved ones and the happiness of everyone connected. It is a cause that is close to all our hearts. So that’s where this amazing organisation comes into its own. These guys are great, they fund scientists and nurses to help cure cancer sooner as well as provide information to the public.They work together with small groups of researchers and scientists to make the most of the funds they receive to carry out world class research. Every pound these guys receive helps them get closer to beating cancer. From glass slides to stem cell research centers, everything i funded from donations. 

Team Kaobon Logo

So I guess this is where I come in, to help with the amazing work Cancer Research UK does i have agreed to undertake 8 weeks of intense training at the world famous Kaobon gym here in Liverpool. Culminating in three 2-minute rounds of rank amateur boxing on my behalf. I have  set a donation target of £250 pounds, but i am looking to smash that! This is where you guys come in, if you would like to donate you can either use the link at the bottom of this post or take a look to the right of the blog. Not forgetting that this is a challenge to me too, I will be setting myself some goals too, these are:

  • To have taken part in all 16 hours of boxing training.
  • To have lost 18 LBS between now and then.
  • To have stuck to my healthy eating plan (Time restricted eating – No food before 10am and try not to eat after 6pm, although with all my training late on this might not happen – with a macro breakdown of 40/40/20 – this is all flexible though).
  • To continue with my TKD training in preparation for the Scottish Championships the week before the boxing.

I will be posting milestone reports on here but if you would like to follow my journey through this then my Instagram is probably going to be the best bet.

If you would like to give to my JustGiving page then click HERE.

Anxiety… It’s the End of the World!

Anxiety Boy -Abel to jump to the worst conclusion in a single bound.
The Worst Superpower…

I have anxiety, well it’s a bit more complex than that. I actually have a personality disorder called “Borderline Personality Disorder”. This comes with a lot of stigma and baggage so i’ll talk more about this at a later date once I have realised what to write. One of the main symptoms this disorder so gladly bestows upon me is a cripleing amount of anxiety. I hate it, it’s insidious, it creeps into every aspect of your life and steals you dreams. And recently it’s been kicking my arse.

I have always suffered with anxiety for as long as I can remember, from the butterflies in your tummy before school to struggling with social situations. It’s constantly been there, like a toxic friend who sits on your back and steals your happiness leaving you with depression and suicidal thoughts. It makes you doubt yourself, your abilities and your self worth. It makes you paranoid, scared, reactionary and irritable. You spend so much time worrying about what may happen you lose the ability to take the opportunities in front of you. 

“Man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined anxieties about real problems” 

Epictetus

Since about 2003 I have been on medication for it, relying on Citalopram to level out the chemicals in my brain. And it worked for quite a while, i was never perfect, I had good days and days where I didn’t want to wake up, but i could function. However like most relationships that are one sided, unfortunately it can’t last forever, and more recently I have been less and less able to function in everyday life. I feel overwhelmed at the simplest of tasks, everything is suffering, from work to my diet. I am unable to keep focussed on anything and i feel like everything is closing in on me. Im hyper-aware, my heart beats so hard and when it is really bad i start to dissociation, which is really scary. Dissociation is where I feel that I am separate from my body and the world around me isn’t real.  So I decided to head to the GP and finally talked to someone about how things were getting worse. After a bit of a talk we decided to transition to a new medication and carry on with my CBT online course.

It bugs me how much of a vicious, self-feeding cycle anxiety can be. I know that I feel better when I train hard and eat healthy whole foods. I feel calmer and get to work off some of that negative anxious energy. But, unfortunately, when you are in the grip of it, trying to reason with your overwhelmed mind is anything but easy.

Cat drawing with "no bad thoughts, not today, motherfucker" written around it.
Not Today…

I’m hoping, no i’m determined that this medication change along with focusing on upcoming taekwondo competitions and my white collar boxing training,  will make a difference and i can refocuse on improving myself and getting fitter and stronger, both physically and mentally. 

Don’t suffer alone, there is help out there. No matter how bad things seem they can get better. Life is about facing these challenges face on and coming out the other side.

USEFUL NUMBERS

Anxiety UK – 03444 775 774
CALM – 0800 58 58 58
MIND – 0300 123 3393

Kevin


Nike’s Plus Sized Mannequin – Be Nice or Go Home

This week Nike seems to have created quite the stir when it debuted a ‘plus sized’ mannequin at its London store. Overall reaction to the new ‘inclusive’ range of sportswear has been positive, but obviously less then favourable comments where not far behind. It seems ‘Journalist’ Tanya Gold too great offence to seeing a larger plastic body on display, claiming it “encouraged fat acceptance” which she believes leads to obesity and illnesses related to obesity.

“The new Nike mannequin is not size 12, which is healthy, or even 16 — a hefty weight, yes, but not one to kill a woman. She is immense, gargantuan, vast. She heaves with fat,”

Tanya Gold – Obese mannequins are selling women a dangerous lie

While I can sort of understand where her logic is coming from, I have to disagree. This is not about making obesity and being unhealthy acceptable, it is about allowing people the right to exist and to feel accepted and being treated like everyone else. It is a well known fact that finding well fitting gym clothes is difficult a chunky monkey like me, so I assume its the same for women too. After all the people who are in that store and buying that line are clearly already looking to make a lifestyle change. And that lifestyle change, to be successful, has to come from a place of self-love and acceptance. And that is where the body positivity movement comes in.

If anything this piece of marketing seems to have been a raging success the incident has clearly helped increase awareness of the company’s plus-size range. Since launching this campaign, searches for Nike’s plus size range have increased by nearly 400%.

#JustSaying

So my overall opinion is to mind your business, attacking anything that will help get an already marginalised group of people feeling comfortable getting active has got to be a positive. And even on a more basic level then that, everyone deserves to be seen and treated fairly.

Coming Soon
Do you think Nike's plus size mannequin is a good thing?
Do you think Nike's plus size mannequin is a good thing?
Do you think Nike's plus size mannequin is a good thing?

Wildlife Trusts #30DaysWild

Next to Taekwondo and food, one of my favourite things is nature and i am always looking at ways to spend more time amongst it. This is why i love this idea.

This June, the Wildlife Trusts are challenge us to do something wild every day. That’s 30 simple, fun and exciting Random Acts of Wildness.

The #30DaysWild pack

How brilliant is this? I love nature, and as a father I realise the importance of passing on that passion to my son. In these worrying times of climate change and the mass extinction of animals it is imperative to foster an idea of responsibility in the next generation. Plus it is a great opportunity to get more active and spend more time outdoors.

We are incredibly lucky here in Liverpool to have access to some amazing city parks and wildlife areas. There are over 100 parks and green spaces in Liverpool, including four nature reserves and 10 listed Victorian parks – more than any other English city except London. This does not include the vast amount of green space just outside the city area.

If you are interested in taking part you can get your pack from HERE, although you don’t need one.

Review: A Killing Art – The Untold History of Taekwondo by Alex Gillis

A Killing Art: The Untold History of Taekwondo

A Killing Art: The Untold History of Taekwondo

This review was originally posted on my old blog.

Wow… What can i say about this book other then wow!! Alex Gillis takes you on a roller-coaster of a ride through the dark and murky depths of Taekwondo. Gillis is himself a third degree black belt in the Korean martial art, having studied under some of the pioneers of the system.Through this 256 page book, Gillis takes a hard hitting look at the history, myths and outright lies that have plagued this art. A must read for any practitioner, either ITF/WT, or any of the many splinter organisations.

From backstabbing to espionage, from bribes to assassination plots and death squads, the history of Taekwondo seems like a daytime soap opera. Gillis starts in that dingy card game where tempers where lost and fates decided, and takes us through the seemingly opposing political ideologies between North and South Korea. Along with the expected stories of the communist regime, I learnt a lot about the heavy handed dictatorship that ran the south of the peninsula. 

General Choi is an enigma of a character who seemed to have lived and breathed Taekwondo. On one hand he sacrificed everything to help  its growth around the world, while on the other hand he hurt and pushed away anyone who couldn’t help him, including his own son. The book takes you on a emotional journey from anger to deep sadness as we see Choi fight against the corrupt South Korean dictatorship, who will do anything to stop his version from growing, and sell his soul to the evil that is the North.

The claims of cheating, and ‘Branch Pruning’, that have occurred in Olympic Taekwondo is shocking. As recently as London 2012 there has been claims that judge’s would influence who made it through the early rounds with favourable, scoring.

The differences in spelling and format of Taekwondo, although explained, is quite distracting and the same can be said for the way the Korean names are presented. I would of also have like to have seen more information since the death of Choi, maybe this could be included in a future update? Personally, i would love to have seen more information on some of the other offshoot organisations, such as my own TAGB, but i understand why its not in there.

Overall a great read and one that i would recommend to anyone.

4/5 stars.