Uncover your inner athlete!

Every morning in Africa a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be eaten.. Each morning in Africa a lion awakes - it knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve.

No matter if you are the lion or the gazelle, when the sun comes up you had better be running!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Right advice at right time

The relationship between trainer and pupil in any activity has to be mutually beneficial to both parties, but more importantly, the pupil must have complete trust in that the advice and guidance they are getting is the most appropriate to them attaining the success that they crave and seek out.

This why I get annoyed at some of the advice that I hear being dished out to naive people who know no better and are in no position to challenge the information that they are receiving. Yesterday while running through my gym workout, I overheard one of the personal trainers telling one of his middle aged clients that she should be completely cutting certain things out of her diet in order to attain results. Now it was not the standard talk of cut out alcohol, chocolate etc etc, but instead he was recommending that she also cut back on things like fruit and milk.

Being a big believer in rather cutting back on things in moderation, it is my own personal belief that if the product is legal and of natural origin in our diets, then there is nothing wrong with consuming it in a reduced quantity and still being able to lose weight along the way.

Sure one would probably lose some weight by shocking the body in some way by drastically overhauling the diet as I did recently with my $2 a day diet. The challenging part then would be to maintain that weight loss as we all know that losing the weight is the easy part, it is the keeping it off that is the biggest challenge of all.

Not wanting to speak out of place while he was with the client, I did sneak a look at his credentials on the way out and nowhere did it state that he had any qualifications around dispensing nutritional advice.

When people find out from me that I lost heaps of weight, the first question is how can they replicate it. I am more than happy to help in my quest to eradicate obesity in the world, but my first words are always that it takes dedication, discipline and sacrifice to get the weight and more of the same to keep it off. If nothing else, I recommend starting with cutting out alcohol, soft drinks, sweets, lollies and cakes and drink more water. These moves alone will see your weight shift – I did it and anyone can.

Would love to hear some inspiring weight loss tales out there.

Running together (while losing weight responsibly) – stride for stride on a life changing ride!—Sean Muller

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Eating ourselves to death

Since I lost weight and got back on the good and healthy train, I have been extremely motivated to help others to lose weight and get themselves on the path to better health and a new life. It always makes me angry when I hear of so many stories of people literally eating themselves to death through a combination of no exercise and of merely shovelling vast quantities of junk into their bodies on a daily basis.

This is an absolute disgrace when you consider the opposite end of the spectrum in that majority of the people in the world are still living in abject poverty while we make sport and fun out of things like competitive eating and gorging on 2nd, 3rd and 4th helpings of food from the dinner table. No ordinary person should be eating that much on a frequent basis.

As supposedly the most educated societies on the planet, we in the west have been taken in by our own laziness and for chasing the quickest and easiest way forward. We are always worried about not having enough time to do things and exercise and eating take a back seat to stuff like work. Life is so short though and I am pretty sure that when all is said and done and we are on our deathbeds one day, none amongst us is going to be saying that they wish that they could have spent more time working.

Reading today about a person who had literally eaten themselves to death, I could only but think what a waste that is of a life. I am not sure where the answer lies just yet, but am working on a number of projects to try and combat this happening in the future. We have to get really serious about this as a society if we are to beat the epidemic of obesity. It has to be looked at from all angles and from the roots (in the youth) upwards.

I would be interested to hear about any community based projects that are up and running to help combat this problem.

Running together (while beating obesity) stride for stride on a life changing ride! – Sean Muller

Saturday, November 19, 2011

School of hard knocks and changing things for the better

This morning out on my run through the city I encountered many groups of young people in a very bad way after their nights out. This is not that unusual for me, although normally when encountering these sorts of things, I have been out and about much earlier. This morning these scenes greeted me at 7.30. Now clearly it is school and university formal season and xmas party season, so the numbers of these groups rise, but it was shocking to see the state of some of these young folks so early in the morning. Clearly many were on more than just the booze.

Passed out in their own vomit – searching around for shoes, many with ripped clothing or vomit down suits... Now I can by no means ever claim to have been an angel in my youth, but this trend is worrying. Then I hear of examples of cuts to funding school and uni sports programs and wonder if it is boredom or just a case of too much energy and lack of positive outlet that is causing so many to indulge so heavily? I don’t know the answers and know that it is foolhardy to think that everyone can be helped at the same time.

As with most things, a solution will only come through a joint effort. We can all play some part in helping to offer support to young people and continue to show them that there are alternate ways to live life. A prime example of this is 81 year old teacher Frank Dando, who I recently saw on 60 Minutes. Despite being plenty old enough for the pension (and some might say the retirement home), this spritely senior is still teaching at his school of hard knocks west of Melbourne. He takes in children (especially boys) who society has given up on and reforms them using a mix of discipline, sports and martial arts. It is quite phenomenal what can be attained using his methods.

Have a look at the 60 Minutes report and the video.

Keep being positive – keep motivating young people.

See change – believe change and act to effect change!

Running together, stride for stride on a life changing ride!—Sean Muller

Friday, November 18, 2011

Cleaning up the diet and thinking smarter

Talking at work this morning with a friend of mine, she reminded me of something that I am passionate about – that of eating as pure as possible.

We were discussing the plethora of protein powders, carbohydrate powders and similar laboratory developed (highly priced) supplementary powders and potions. Each day more and more of these products flood on to the market along with their promises to help us to grow bigger, stronger, faster and better. For the average person, these highly priced supplements may sound like the Holy Grail to attaining their fitness goals, but these folks may have not considered that there may be alternatives to these chemically produced foods.

In majority of cases, a healthy diet and plenty of fresh produce can deliver the desired results for a fraction of the cost of supplements. Eating 6 small meals a day and snacking on seeds and nuts as our ancestors did for many years suits our digestive systems just fine and

Admittedly I do take a few vitamin tablets to supplement my diet, but ever since following my $2 a day diet for World Hunger, I have dramatically altered my diet and perception of what is and what is not required. A large bag of powdered milk I have found is as effective for me as a supplementary drink as some of the highly priced powders out on the market. If you crave the different flavour, then just throw a bit of chocolate powder in to the mix and blend up for a great recovery drink.

Better still a small pot of natural yoghurt, some nuts and then a little while later a small sandwich with meat or tuna is ideal for refuelling.

Innovative thinking – innovative eating!

Running together – stride for stride on a life changing ride! – Sean Muller

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A positive day - a positive life way!

This morning was one of those where you run into people who you have not seen in a long time. One of the two friends that I ran in to this morning had only taken up running 2 years ago and was not sure if it was for her or not. She did struggle along valiantly through a few injuries and really not enjoying herself. In fact I was sure that following her shaky start in the sport, she would not last long in keeping going with things.

Was I surprised to see that she is looking amazing, but also running strongly each day and feeling heaps better about herself since losing weight and altering her diet completely. She did reaffirm my initial thoughts, by saying that there were times when she wanted to give in, but then (and I am most humbled to hear this), she reminded herself of my exact journey into the world of running and thought – ‘Hey if that Sam can do it – so can I’. And it really should be as simple as that - we are all human and have arms, legs, eyes, a brain etc - why do we choose to go on the negative at times is beyond me.

To have acted in some way shape or form as a motivator to anyone else is for me one of the greatest gifts in this lifetime. I would have never thought when meeting this young lady that I would have been able to act as a positive motivator to her, but then again in life and in running you never quite know what will happen.

I read a good quote this morning that resonated with me – ‘You are not doing anyone in the world any good by staying in your comfort zone – step outside and elicit positive change’.

Running together (while motivating others and staying positive – stride for stride on a life changing ride! – Sean Muller

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thank you

Talking with a friend at work, who had stumbled on my blog and provided some encouragement, I have renewed enthusiasm to devote more time to putting out the positive messages associated with running, motivation, exercise and health and positive thinking.

Ultrassams was started as a little bit of fun last year following a relationship end and in between a rare injury incident. It certainly helped to take my mind off of my injury and get me well and truly back on the road to recovery. Now that I am back running strongly, I manage it along with my other obligations and my enjoyment for the run.

It is pleasing to see how many interested runners and fitness folk have congregated through here and shared thoughts and insights. I have tried to make this something other than just another boring training blog and will continue to do so.

One and a half years on - thanks for reading and please feel free to share any ideas of topics to explore.

Running together - stride for stride (while spreading positive messages) on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mentoring support

Mentoring is an important part of what I believe life should be about. In life or in sport, we all need someone to look to and learn from to help us develop to the fullest potential that we are capable of. Having that one (or more) persons to bounce ideas off and discuss any problems with is invaluable.

Sometimes these mentors come along when we least expect them. An old friend of mine shared the following wisdom with me – ‘When the pupil is ready the teacher will appear’. So it was with my mentor – when I least expected it, I found them.

Sometimes it is just great to know in life that one is on the correct track. Once on the journey together mentor and mentee are like one – the narrow road one step at a time to a common goal.

Running together stride for stride on a life changing ride!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The value of doing your own thing..

At the start of this weekend’s Auckland Marathon, I set off with a young lady who informed me that she and her boyfriend were running their first marathons. The first marathon is always a special occasion for any runner and I believe that it should be one that if run comfortably, will ensure that that person returns year on year to complete more and more events.

Now this young lady went off haring after the 3 hour pacer (who went through the first KM in 3.30). She was at that stage taking strain and with still 15KM of uphill to go until it flattened out a bit, I advised her that she was better taking it a little easier and not blowing out all her juice. The poor girl was distraught as she informed me that her boyfriend (who she clearly adored) had told her that they were to run with the 3 hour pace guy and she was worried about him being ahead of us.

I tried to reassure her that it was better for her to have a comfortable first run than an amazing time and crawl over the line, but she remained unconvinced. Only when we started to haul in quite a few runners in the back 21KM did she start to believe that what I was saying could vaguely be true.

At 27KM we passed her boyfriend who had slowed to a standstill and gave him a little wave as we ran past. She crossed just behind me to register a comfortable sub 3.10 performance in her first marathon. I did think that for her there was a sense of a bitter sweet victory for her as man crossed some 20 mins later.

For her that was the correct moment that she deserved for her efforts and the smile on her face said that she would be back for many more of the same in the future.

Running together – stride for stride on a life changing ride! – Sean Muller

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Adidas Auckland Marathon

Sunday this previous week I was fortunate enough to complete one of my favourite marathons in the Auckland Marathon. This was the third time that I have completed this event and I am always astounded at the amount of people that they get for the marathon. The event attracted over 3000 participants for the marathon with a fair number also taking part in the half marathon and the 10 and 5KM events.

The organisers do an amazing job and have a great amount of really superb volunteers who are not only friendly and helpful but go above and beyond to assist the runners. Sponsorship is lead by Adidas who offer all participants an amazing amount of freebies. All in all so many other marathons can model themselves on the high standards set by Auckland. Just over $80 for a marathon and the chance to run over the Auckland Harbour Bridge – what an absolute pleasure.