Back Yard Masterclass with The Beard

Well it all started when I went and marshalled a Dirty Dozen Races race in Essex in order to get a free place at later race. Before the event started I met the famous ‘The Beard’ aka Doug Spence the race director. Everyone in the OCR world knows of The Beard and talks so highly of him. I know fully understand why.

He can even bounce higher than me

Little did he know that I was in ore of meeting him as his ‘How to’ YouTube videos helped me pull my fat ass over loads of different types of obstacles but I think I mainly relied on upper body strength rather than technique. However by the end of the brief chat with him I had his business card in my hand and him saying he wanted to know more about my Fat Pat story.

So roll on a few months and the 1st full Dirty Dozen season is done and dusted. I was eager to catch up with Doug so contacted him and arranged to visit the now famous Back Yard for a master class. Yes he has an obstacle course in his back garden. I don’t care what you say that is just fucking awesome!!!

I rock up to The Back Yard and sit down for a quick cuppa & chat about how it all started. Doug’s main vision was and still is to help people lead fitter and healthier lives. Then I had to ask the most important question of if he is going to carry on giving out free bobble hats and if he will change the design. Do you know want to know what he said………Nope I can’t say a word.

He sensed that I was eager to go play on some obstacles, as I couldn’t sit still.

So he leads me off to what seems a hidden part of his garden where he has set up 4 wooden walls of different heights and tells me to jump over the 3ft one as I would normally. Easy up, over and you heard me land no problem.

Now Doug’s turn just as easy but I didn’t hear him land. That’s because he has mastered a technique to dissipate the energy you carry over the wall. Such a simple thing but mastering a landing mean you are set up to take on the next obstacle or get running saving vital seconds on race day.

Who would of thought how you land off an obstacle could be so crucial. With a few pointers from Doug I took my elephant legs back over the wall and was shocked that after a few times I was landing as quiet as a mouse. But the key is to Practice! Practice! Practice! So throughout the session I keep shouting out soft legs as I was landing.

The issue with this is that it has drummed in so far into my head I want to jump off anything and everything shouting soft legs. Well that kinda prefect for me I used to climb down the side of my train about 10 times a day. Well not any more. I save vital seconds changing from one cab to another by jumping of a 5ft platform down to the track shouting soft legs just to practice my landings. So thanks Doug…No more late running trains.



Next up we moved on the hang over wall, inverted walls, wall of hell or what ever name you want to give them. I’ve always seen them a wooden wall that is going to feel the full force of my upper body, along with hooking my leg up and over. I showed my amazing upper body moves off to Doug when he told me to get over it. Then once again he show me The Beards way of doing things but while doing it he just held him place in place and said I could hang here for ages no problem.

He once again took this right back to basics. Starting off with a heel hook and moving on to a knee hook. What powerful moves!!!

Time to try them out on the wall along with a few other tips (you need to go do a master class to find out what they are). I managed to get the ‘hang’ of the heel hook but struggled with the knee hook. Doug is a hard task master and I’m a true OCR racer I would not give up…….Well that is until about 45mins later and what feel like the 100th time of climbing over the wall trying to master the knee hook I had to admit that my legs were feeling battered.

Knee hooks aka leg batterings

Knee hooks aka leg batterings

Rather than wrap up the day we moved back to the 4 upright walls I learned to land softly in order to practice heel and knee hooks on a ‘normal’ wall.

Chilling out with the help of a few hooks

Chilling out with the help of a few hooks

Not as hard but then Doug pulled out the bad boy of bad boy moves to get up a wall where there is nothing to put your foot on. Again if you want to find out about these either give him a visit or follow me around an OCR and I might feel brave enough to use it.

So to sum up my 2-hour session with The Beard. In short Amazingly Epic.

Which translates to, I’m now looking at obstacles from a different angle as he broke down what I was doing right and more importantly doing wrong. Fine-tuned everything and I’m sure my upper body will be thanking me at his next race.

I will definitely be back to have more fine turning carried out by him and I strongly recommend you doing the same.




Bring on 2015

Back 2 the Trenches ‘Over the Top’ 10k

back2thetrenches-adventurerunWhen I was fully wrapped up in my transformation journey I decided to set myself a physical challenge to complete. That was and still is Tough Mudder in October 2014. When I signed up I convince 10 other guys to join me in this challenge. We all agreed  that we should do a few ‘warm up’ Obstacle Course Races (OCR) to ensure we are upping our fitness for it. However when it came round to booking up Back 2 the Trenches just after Xmas no one was up for it.

So I turned to facebook and asked a few friends who would be up for it. One came back to me and somehow she managed to convince me to sign up for the 10k instead of the 5k race. I hated her for this but thought it’s a great challenge to aim for. So I up my training and started doing a few runs (Only bit of running I ever done was mainly for food or when I made a mistake at work). Then just a week before the event she drops the bomb shell that she has hurt her knee and won’t be taking part.

My 1st thought was I can’t do this on my own, who’s going to push me and keep me going. All this was happening at the same time  I posted a picture of my transformation on facebook. I got a huge boost of confidence when so many people were saying well done and asking advise on how I have achieved the results.  All the positive feedback not only made me write my 1st blog but also made me think that I don’t need anyone to push me and keep me going. I’ve come this far on my own, so what’s another 10k!?!

10:40 on Sunday 23rd of March came. I was ready; I didn’t have any nerves; I haven’t set myself a target time to complete the 10k in; I just want to get round the course whole.

I started the Go pro recording and I was off. The course was very hilly in places; involved lots of running and of course plenty of mud. I pushed myself to limits i’ve never pushed myself to before. I crossed the line in 1hr 10mins 34sec. I had no idea how this ranked with others and had to wait a few days to get the official times and standings

When the Results were published  to say i’m over the moon is a understatement. Out of the 682 runners in the 10k race. I came 77th. YES SEVENTY-BLOODY- SEVEN. Never in a million year did I think I would be in the top 100 runners.

All in all I had an amazing time and I’m  hooked on Obstacle Course Races. I’m booked up for a Tough mudder in April now, Thinking about a a few more OCR between the 2 tough mudders and I will still be aiming to get the rest of the October team to join me on them.

Here is the edited footage of my 1st ever OCR. Enjoy!

Six Gallon Barrel Pat to Six Pack Pat

First off, thank for visiting my 1st ever blog. I’ve never had the urge to write one before, however recently I have been asked by many people in the gym, facebook and twitter how have I managed to go from 18 Stone to my current weight. Many have told me that I’ve inspired them to do the same. I’ve feel total overwhelmed by this as I have never been an inspiration to anyone in my life.

Just to give you a little background about me. I’ve always been a well-built guy and always carried my weight well. Throughout my 20’s I keep telling myself this and never saw myself getting bigger (who does as it a slow process). I remember when I was working in retail in my early 20’s my manager was always telling me that I will regret all the crap I’m eating and by the time I hit my 30’s I will notice it.  I hate to say that going from being on my feet 9 hours a day in retail to sitting on my fat arse driving trains, she was right.

Here is the proof, these picture were taken days before my 30th birthday out in Jamaica in November 2012

Trying to blow the fat away

Trying to blow the fat away

Six Gallon Barrel Pat

Six Gallon Barrel Pat

So what started my Journey I hear you ask!

Was it that I was fed up of being fat? No I didn’t really think like that.

Was it for health reason? No

Was it because I caught the Norovirus NYE 2012? Yes

I know it’s a strange thing to say but it’s true. I was unlucky to come down with it on NYE and I didn’t recover from it for over 2 weeks. During that time I lost a stone in weight and I’m not going to lie, It felt good looking at the scales think yeah i’ve lost a stone, but it was cheats way of losing weight.

Once I was fully recovered I decided hit Nutfield Priory Gym  I was already a member at.  I hated (and still to this day still do) doing cardio in the gym. I can’t think of anything worse than getting on a treadmill, bike or crosstrainier. They are the most boring bits of gym kit going. Instead I do spin and circuit classes.I love these classes as I feel that I’ve done a proper workout as I’m dripping after 45-60mins. I knew I needed to do something more if I was to shift more the pounds, So I decided to get one of the gym instructors to make me up one of them programs. David made me up a weight program and told me that by following it I will start losing weight. Yes I was the same as everyone else and stuck to for about a week or two. I didn’t see any change as the fat was hiding what was going on under the surface and thought that he didn’t know what he was talking about.

Over the next 6 months it was very much a mental battle. I was going to the gym one week and not the next. I was only doing spin classes (about 3 or 4 a week) and I was slowly losing weight. I had also slowly being changing what I ate. I use to love my fast food, all that easy processed food you find down the aisle of the supermarket. I  never used to eat any of that healthy stuff like salad or veg. But now I was starting to enjoy salads but haven’t started on the veg side of things. I had also started calorie counting by using  My Fitness Pal app again. This was great to keep track of everything from how many calories I was burning to how many I was putting in my body and how many I was burning off.. I also invested in a heart rate monitor (HRM). I found this very helpful while training as I push myself to raise my HR and burn more calories. I found the Polar watch a great HRM to start with as you can sync it online and see some great data like this

855 Calories in 62 mins

855 Calories in 62 mins

A hard Circuits class

A hard Circuits class

By August 2013 I weighted 15st 11lbs. At this point decided to set a goal. Which was 14st I knew that to achieve this I needed to up my game and start toning up. So once again I decided to go get one of them ‘dreaded’ programs made up again. I booked one in and turned up a few days later. I was waiting in the gym  and Ortis Deley (Yes the one off the TV) walks in. He had recently become a personal trainer and was working at my gym. Over a few days he made me up a Resistance (weight) Training program and also said to me that 70- 80% of what I do in the gym starts in the kitchen.

I knew that if I wanted to see more change I needed to change my nutrition. So yes no more fast food, no more processed crap, all freshly cooked by myself so I knew what is going in my gob. I’m not sure this is because a ‘famous’ person has told me this or just because I actually wanted to do it now I was coping with the mental hurdle, I hope its the latter. The same also applies to the program he made me. I stuck to it for over a month.

Oh yeah I have also giving up smoking since October 2013. Who said you put on weight when you give up smoking.

At the beginning of November 2013 I was down to 14st 4lbs and needed a new gym routine. I had been reading lots of different stuff online regarding nutrition and resistance training. So instead of getting another program made up, I made up my own 12-week training program. I download the Jefit App, which allowed me to add and track all the reps, weights and rest time between exercises. It started off with just upper body and lower body for 2 weeks and moved on to Chest & Arms days, Back & shoulder and the ‘hated’ legs days as my body was able to handle more advanced exercises.

My nutrition also took on a new challenge. I decided that I was going to go on a low carb ‘diet’ which meant cutting out bread, rise, pasta, and potato’s but having to up my protein intake. I use the word diet very lightly as I REALLY don’t agree with the word. Diets are things so many people do to achieve their goal, stop, pile the pounds back on and then repeat the whole process for years on end. I prefer the term healthy eating or eating clean as it’s a total lifestyle change not a short term solution.

As I was doing resistance training 3 to 4 times a week with most sessions followed by a spin class, I was worried that without carbs I would struggle for energy. Oh I was so wrong. I was full of energy, I don’t know if this was  because I wasn’t carrying around the 4stone I had previously lost. Whatever the reason I didn’t care as I love being trim.

My daily food intake was high about 2700 calories due to how much exercise I was doing. I used this site to work out my recommended daily calories. I was and still am eating every 2-3 hours; which is bloody brilliant, as I love eating clean healthy food now.

I shop in the around the outside aisles of a supermarket, where all the fresh food is. I also support my local businesses by buying eggs from a local ‘egg farm’ (You really don’t realise how egg should taste until you buy proper fresh eggs), I visit a local fish man & butchers. I don’t get buy any processed foods. I cook everything fresh that normally take 10-30 minutes to cook.

Before you say but it’s expensive buying locally, let me prove you are wrong. I buy 5kg of chicken for £30 from my local butchers, I get about 22-25 breasts weighting between 200-250g . Which works works out at £1.36 a breast. A 350g pack from Tesco’s costs £4. You do the maths! More importantly my breasts don’t shrink when cooked as they are not pumped full of water.

A general daily menu for me is:

Breakfast – 3 eggs (poached, omelette or scrambled) along with a mackerel fillet

Mid morning  – A protein shake with flexseed to increase the calories

Lunch – Chicken, Meat or Fish with Salad

After gym– Protein shake with flexseed to increase the calories

Dinner – Chicken, meat or fish with loads of Veg (I’m now eating any and every type of veg)

Evening snack – 100g of almond nuts or Protein cooked goodies (see below)

Drink lots of water, no squash, black coffee without sugar and NO ALCOHOL I have only drunk alcohol on NYE 2013 and then not again till a night out in March. I have been out and had just as much fun if not more without drinking (and my mates love it as I always offer to drive)

For anyone that knows me my biggest struggle is my sweet tooth. I love my chocolate and I have slipped a few times. However recently I’ve found a great website that shows you how to make/cook/baked stuff with protein powders. My favourite at the moment has to be Protein fluff as it quick, easy can be made with lots of different frozen fruit and most of all kills my sweet tooth issues.

By March 2014 this is what had achieved

Six Pack Pat

Six Pack Pat

I have passed my target of 14st and now weighting at 13st 6lbs. I had also drop down from 42% body fat to 19.8% and now have a slight 6 pack. My goal now is to get rock hard abs and down to 15% body fat.

I’m playing squash with David (yes the one who’s program I thought wasn’t working), and over the last few months have learned alot from him and grown to be a good mate. I’m now going to start outdoor training for the summer to just keep it fresh and interesting. Come the winter I will be back in the gym finding a new challenge.

More important I’m the fittest i’ve ever been and I’ve signed up for Mud Runs with the 1st one being on Sunday 23rd of March. Eeeek that’s in 4 days time.

If I go a few days without training I get moody, where before I could take or leave training for weeks on end. I love the new me and enjoy sharing my story with everyone as i’m proof that you can go from Obese to Fit when you put your mind to it.

One thing to remember just like putting on weight, losing it is a slow process that requires a lot of determination, mental hurdles and a total nutritional change.

I hope this has inspired you and please feel free to contact me via twitter if you have any questions. Also I will in time be setting up a new and exciting website so watch this space

When CAP took over Lee Valley

On Sunday 2nd of March, CAP the kayaking club I belong to returned to the magnificent Lee Valley Whitewater Centre.

Having seen it in action during the Olympics and a few members paddling it without the club’s involvement, it was time for the club to hire it privately to allow some of our newer members to try it out and see who could master it or get chewed up and spat out. (Which is turn would allow the recent members put in to practice the skills learned on their whitewater safety & rescue weekend) Everyone was a winner.

This is the fun that can be had on the course