I've been training and experimenting with various diets for health and fitness for over forty years. I'm happy to share my vast experience with anybody who is struggling to lose weight, get fit or just wants to be healthier...
Hello, my name is Paul. I’ve been training since I was a young boy in a variety of disciplines. I was always interested in doing something from a young age and would practice press-ups, sit-ups and bicep curls with bricks and anything I could find at the time. I can also remember trying to see how many times I could run around my parent's garden when I was around 9 years old.
I started boxing when I was 13 years old and although I only had a handful of fights I loved training and being really fit, it felt great.
I gave up boxing after a couple of years and started going out with friends when I was around 17 like most of us do at that age. I still went running and trained at home in the garage though, just to keep in shape. I also continued to watch what I ate and still weighed myself regularly too.
My Mother took that picture above when I was 19 years old. I can remember that was the fittest and best I have ever felt in my life, probably the best I've ever looked too! Youth is a wonderful thing.
When I was 21 years old I bought a full-set of weights, a bench and some squat stands. I also acquired a leg press from a friend of mine who owned a gym. I started weight training at home in the garage which I kept up for about three years. During this time I started to look at the effects of fat, protein and carbs in my diet more than I had done previously. Incidentally, serious bodybuilders know an awful lot about diet.
In 1990 aged 24 I decided to take on the London marathon and the following year too. The first time around I felt great all the way. This was not the case for the second marathon though. I would go so far as to say that I temporarily damaged myself as I couldn’t walk properly for about four weeks afterwards!
I shouldn't have run as I had suffered a niggling injury during training, but as it was for charity and I had put so much time into training, I stupidly decided to go ahead, silly me, a hard lesson learned. I have rarely run since that time, even for a bus!
As I've said before and will continue to say, DO NOT OVER TRAIN! And NEVER train on an injury of any kind.
When I was 26 years old I saw a programme on TV about T'ai Chi. My girlfriend at the time had a friend whose Dad practised and taught T'ai Chi locally which was very helpful, thanks Jim!
I went along and was introduced to the brilliant Tony Swanson who is well known in the martial arts world, or should be at least as he's a remarkable man, martial artist and teacher. I practiced for about twenty five years on and off under his guidance.
The style of T'ai Chi I was taught is known as the Li (pronounced ‘Lee’) family style that was first taught over here in the UK in the 60's by the amazing Professor Chi Soo who in turn taught Master Swanson. I had the privilege of meeting and training with Chee Soo a couple of times. He was an incredible master of the art of T'ai Chi and sadly passed away in 1994.
Within the Li system there are various branches such as; An Mo (Chinese massage), and Ch'ang Ming (Dietary Therapy). This Ch'ang Ming diet is a macrobiotic diet that focuses on all natural foods and basically consists of grains, pulses and vegetables as well as certain types of fish, seafood, game birds and chicken. Needless to say I went straight into it and combined the Ch'ang Ming diet with T'ai Chi, Taoist Yoga (Kai Men) and also the more traditional and widely practiced Indian Yoga.
I lost quite a bit of weight eating this macrobiotic diet and felt great for it too.
Another aspect of the Li family system of T'ai Chi is the art of Kung Fu. This taught me many stretching and fitness exercises as well as the many techniques required for defending and striking etc. I never suffered from weight problems, but I became very fit and slim through the combination of a clean and healthy diet alongside a healthy training schedule.
I love all forms of sport and have practiced many at various times in my life as a result. I've regularly played tennis, squash, badminton, cricket, golf and table tennis. Although not considered 'fitness sports', I've also played a lot of pool, snooker and darts. In my early twenties I even practiced hang gliding for a couple of years and had my own hang glider. I loved trying new things and had the energy to do it.
Soon after starting T'ai Chi and the Ch'ang Ming diet of macrobiotic foods, I stopped eating meat and became a full vegetarian. This was a relatively easy switch for me as I love animals, plus the fact there were many options available to replace meat and meat products. I only ate chicken and fish anyway due to my training and attention to health, so it posed no real problem for me to cut them out of my diet altogether.
Getting back to available options, I can remember being given a roast dinner with a Linda McCartney minced beef and onion pie by my then girlfriend at the time. At the first mouthful I spat the pie out as it seemed so much like the real thing?! I even had to go to the bin and check the packaging as I didn't believe it was veggie?
That was over thirty years ago which means it's even easier to go veggie today as there's lots more available options now on offer for vegetarians.
For some reason or another I felt the need to find out about fasting as I had heard about it in the past somewhere. I heard it was an aid to health and also to spiritual development. I came across an excellent little book called 'Rational Fasting' by the brilliant Professor Arnold Ehret who died in 1922 I believe. I had no internet at that time as it was just being developed, so the book came through the
post from an alternative book magazine I had subscribed to called ‘The Tao of Books’. How things have changed.
I went straight in again and did a four day water fast straight off, which looking back I should not have done! Fortunately, I had been veggie for a year or so and had always watched my diet so was in good shape internally so all was OK.
Note: Do not fast until you have read about detoxification first. People have died from fasting so it needs to be approached slowly, correctly and safely. I will be uploading a page on fasting safely soon after the exercise page is completed so please keep coming back.
I continued to practice short intermittent fasts alongside a cleansing vegetarian diet as taught by Arnold Ehret in his other book entitled 'Mucusless Diet Healing System'. I also continued to practice T'ai Chi, Taoist Yoga (Kai Men) and Indian Yoga, as well as many various deep breathing exercises. I have practiced this way on and off to this very day.
I have also studied and gained certificates in Chinese massage therapy (Tui Na) and acupuncture. I have also studied Chinese herbalism as well as the Chinese system of food cures which sees how foods interact with the body in the same way that herbs do from a Chinese medical perspective.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a very profound, time tested system that obviously holds a lot of truth or it would not have stayed around as long as it has. Having some knowledge of these things and putting them into practice all complements the entire well-being of an individual.
Although I do not have formal qualifications in diet and exercise, I have vast personal experience in both that spans some forty years.
Well that’s my story, I hope I didn't bore you too much. I will continue to upload new material in the coming weeks and months so please keep coming back if it isn't here now.
And remember, combining a healthy diet and physical training routine that's right for YOU, will definitely help you to lose weight permanently as well as get you fitter and healthier on the inside.
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