Friday, April 30, 2010

Results Day – Week 18: ARRRRGGHHHH!

Yeah, OK with my personality I shouldn’t be surprised that the data that came in today completely blows away the win of last week.

Nutrition Plan? Ha, I laugh in the face of you! Naughty stuff abound this week. My nutrition went completely out the window and I choose to blame public holidays!

The data:
Weight: 93.9kg – down by 300g from last week
Body Fat: 10.4% - UP by 3.4% from last week
Waist: 85-90cm – Up by 1cm and 2cm from last week

I know where the beer went! At least my weight itself did not change too much but it is not an excuse for me to rest on my laurels, absolutely not!

The month of May must re-set the nutrition programme, the exercise and weights programme so that weight, body fat and waist all stabilise instead of going up and down like a yoyo.

I’ll take some inspiration from the Australian Fitness and Health Expo which is on in Sydney this weekend and knuckle down to some serious health and exercise FUN!

Enjoy your week, and don’t forget:

...train, enjoy, laugh and then train again...


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Results Day: Week 17 – MASSIVE!

After a weekend of ‘standing climb’, ’seated climb’, ’ride easy’, ‘power climb’ and joyful choreography and technique followed by one of the hardest cycles of my life, I have taken a step closer to becoming a Group Exercise Leader.
This now translates to me having to listen to at least seven music tracks, morning, noon and night; in the car, on the bike, in bed, damn.... everywhere! Acting out the instructions, looking like a crazy man in the car, waving arms around, describing the feeling in the legs, the raised heart rate; engage those muscle groups.... ready for me to actually sit on stage in front of a bunch of expectant people, and coach them through climbing tracks, pace tracks and mixed terrain – I’m a bit nervous about that!

Anyway, the data:
Weight: 94.2 – up 1.3kg from last week
Body Fat: 7% - YES, 7%... no, no, no, no, NO! YEAH BABY... SEVEN percent! – Down 2.1% from last week
Waist: 84-88cm – down 2cm on guts out and 1cm on guts in

I’m a bit pleased, just a tad, a smidge, a mite, just a little...

Holy Toledo, I can only describe this as a totally amazing feeling. If I manage to sustain this result for a number of weeks I will be over the moon. I do suspect though that having cleared at least 2500 calories on the weekend just passed my result is skewed and normality may return after the coming weekend ;)

Nothing like a bit of brilliant feedback in the results though eh?

I’m on a high, so I’m gonna stop typing now ;)

Enjoy your week, but don’t forget:

...train, enjoy, laugh and then train again...


Thursday, April 15, 2010

‘We Shall Fight on the Beaches’

A Review of one of Churchill’s ‘Battle of France’ Speeches
20th March 2010

Winston Churchill made his “fight on the beaches” speech to the British Parliament in the House of Commons on the 4th June 1940. Churchill had recently been made Prime Minister on 10th May, and it was the second year of World War II. This was one of two speeches that he made to the United Kingdom, during the period known as the ‘Battle of France’.

Our group chose this particular speech out of the series because it carries with it a significant point in the War. Hitler’s armies were unstoppable; they had already sacked a large part of Europe and were over-running France at the time. Only the British Isles remained and with them the hope of preventing the Germans from domination of Europe.

Churchill’s address to the nation on 4th June 1940 remains one of his most memorable speeches. Delivered in the aftermath of the evacuation of the allied forces from Dunkirk which took place from 26th May to 4th June 1940, and in the wake of Churchill’s struggle to retain political power, this speech is renowned in particular for its unforgettable peroration - the incantatory and defiant call to arms against tyranny: “We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans...”. Churchill had to make the speech to temper the euphoria of the British people; although it was an amazing evacuation, there was still a terrible threat to the Britain, and indeed the World.

This paper analyses the use and effectiveness of the rhetoric employed by Churchill in this speech; first, through a reconstruction of the context in which it was delivered; second, through a focused examination of the audiences to whom Churchill was delivering his message; and third, through a detailed decomposition of the rhetorical techniques and style used in the speech itself. A key principle behind our methodology is that to better appreciate the power and meaning of this speech, it must not be read or listened to in isolation by a modern audience; rather, it must instead be analysed within the frame by which contemporaries would have experienced and interpreted it (Chambliss, 2004). When one re-reads or listens to a historical speech, one can marvel at and admire the preparation and craftsmanship in its composition, and if an audio or video recording exists one can further witness the nuances of its delivery. But they are not necessarily persuasive to us “because the occasion for persuasion has passed” (Toulmin, 1993). At best one can attempt to reconstruct some of the significant contextual aspects to conjure up a feeling for how the contemporary audience would have responded to Churchill’s speeches. The background to Churchill’s leadership assists in setting the scene for the speech; it helps identify the man behind the rhetoric, building the profile of a strong individual that had to oppose political parties and create a single, unified stance against the tyranny of Nazi Germany.

This analysis has defined Churchill’s thesis as ‘the nation needed to remain resolute and determined to succeed, no matter what the sacrifice’. Churchill wanted the British audience to accept the claim that while Nazi Germany was a force to be reckoned with, a strong, united nation could stand forever against such a foe. We argue that Churchill succeeds in achieving his goal through a combination of the vivid and detailed reporting of the events of the evacuation, a celebrationof military achievements, the rallying of national pride and subtle appeal to the United States to join the allies in the fight against Nazi Germany. He also used counter-arguments as a powerful technique in strengthening persuasive resistance (Perloff, 2008). Churchill’s success is further demonstrated through BBC polls the following day finding that the anxiously awaited speech was considered "courageous and hopeful" (Lukacs, 1999).


Winston Churchill was the perfect leader for this juncture in British history. Axis forces were rampant in Europe and had driven the British Expeditionary Force into the sea. The nation was demoralised in the face of a mighty foe. It was with this backdrop that Churchill assumed the Prime Ministership. How could he best steel his nation for a backs-to-the-wall final battle? He played to his strength – public oratory. Using the dual platforms of Parliament and the public wireless Churchill preached a message of hope. His thesis was simple: that while Nazi Germany was a force to be reckoned with, a strong, united nation could stand forever against such a foe provided they remain resolute and defiant. His audience was primarily his own nation, but also his allies and adversaries in Europe and a large potential ally in the United States.

Using skilful rhetoric and careful preparation in his speeches of the spring of 1940, Churchill effectively rallied the nation to stand up and fight. The subject of this research paper was the “fight on the beaches” speech, delivered soon after entering the office of Prime Minister and immediately after the successful evacuation of British troops at Dunkirk. This memorable speech set the foundation for his wartime public campaign and prepared his nation for the Battle of Britain. His achievement was all the more remarkable given that he was not universally supported. Churchill won support by connecting with the ground roots folk first and working his way up the social and class structure. His realistic assessment of the imposing odds stacked against them and his down-to-earth yet confident style built trust in his listeners, while his allusion to the great Britons of history stirred national pride. This speech culminated in delivering a significant turning point in morale on the island nation and showed a clear correlation between public performance and effective leadership; soon after, Hitler suffered his first defeat in the Battle of Britain.

“...we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.

Results Day – Week 16

Another week, another check in and I still get excited about what the data will tell me. This is the key to knowing how you are doing, the feedback tells the story and allows you to adjust, contemplate and celebrate!

This week slight shifts downwards reflects the fact that I have stopped eating Creme Eggs, and chocolate in general, plus my dedication to fitting as many beers in over the “Festival of Fred” (my birthday) as possible.

The data:
Weight: 92.9kg – down 600g from last week
Body Fat: 9.1% - down 0.2% from last week
Waist: 85-90cm – down 1cm from last week
 I thought I would take a look at my progress after three months, this gives an even better view on progress and trends...
The trend line helps me see that although I have some peaks and troughs in there, the overall direction for my weight is downwards, and I want to get to and then sustain 90kg (a good weight for my height, age etc).
Body Fat tells a similar story:

And again, overall heading downwards towards my goal of 8% and if I work hard enough, 7%.
 If you face the same issues I do, motivation to keep going, finding the time to actually exercise, taking on-board the wrong nutrients (beer, wine, chocolate etc) then take solace in the fact that if you do track your results regularly, you WILL find yourself wanting to get to the gym, your motivation is spurred by the knowledge you gain from checking in, NO MATTER WHAT THE RESULTS SAY. I would suggest that you may find the odd excuse for not eating properly, for not exercising, for not getting a cardio session in, but each time you check your results and hear the same excuse you WILL change, you will get to that cardio session (and feel so much better for it!), you will get to that weights programme (and feel the muscles giving you GREAT feedback, sore though you maybe).

Go on, track your progress – I dare you!

Have a good week, train, enjoy, laugh and then train again...


Friday, April 9, 2010

Results Day – weeks 14 and 15...: Still ROCKIN’

Due to having a birthday I got nowhere near updating my results last week. I did check in and I have the data but I then had a week of having Easter Cadbury Creme Eggs, alcohol and other Easter/Birthday associated ‘naughties’ that should make week 15 look a little ordinary...

Check in time:
 Weight: 94kg last week and now 93.6kg

Body Fat: 8.7% and now 9.3% (booo!)

Waist: this week 86-90cm (gone up from last measurement, I wonder where the 0.6% extra fat has gone!)

Muscle: 81.6 last week to 80.8 this week

Relatively speaking I mustn’t complain about these slightly ordinary results: I have enjoyed the last two weeks from a beverage and food point of view and so I should not expect miracles, even though I have still managed to go to the gym (missing two sessions out of five in each week though).

Back into the nutrition plan, back into the Cardio sessions and now I can use my arms in the resistance sets I can go whole body weight training again, yippee.

Some bloke from the UFC circuit, George St. Pierre, does plyometric push-ups and they are a great challenge, especially if you fit them in between a weight rep!

Having fun is an important part of your health and fitness and it helps you motivate yourself to get out and smash out the next session. Ask about different exercises so that you can mix up your training sessions, adding a bit of spice always helps!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Meeting minutes... to be avoided at all costs? ;)

A bit of fun with words.... completely made up:

Group meeting minutes:

“To facilitate the accruement of low hanging fruit it is necessary to momentarily shelve the big ticket items in strategic response to the overarching organisational objectives that have been realised by the leadership team during a number of off-site sessions that allowed all participants to erudiate each other in their own fields of speciality. What was eventually agreed was that whilst there were clear understandings across all functions, there was a clear need to illuminate the outstanding issues that had been brought to life via concise and constructive dialogue which thus allowed the creation of a number of programmes that were to be executed by the line managers that were not present. The leadership team agreed that a clarity of organisational vision, mission and departmental objectives was necessary to realise the organisational objectives allowing the big tickets to be stamped and the low hanging fruit to be picked. Identification of foundational building blocks, functional and organisational enablers along with the business as usual systems and processes was essential to the ongoing organisational success clarified via the key performance indicators previously agreed to by former members of the executive.”
The group agreed meet again at some stage in the near to mid-future to continue its discussions...

NOTE: these notes are simply a figment of my slightly warped imagination...