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Habits – Helping out my brother

Facebook PostAt few weeks ago, I posted out on Facebook that I am writing this blog. I had kept it to myself and close friends. I was nervous about putting my writing out there, but the whole point is to get it out there, get some readers and help people. My brother, Andy read it and got in touch setting me a challenge of how I can to help him with simple fitness and eating habits with the aim of losing one stone. He is not in particularly great shape and like many, he works long hours, has a lengthy commute and has 2 children. So finding time is his main problem.

Andys text
Andy’s Text Message

Andy used to be a very good athlete. He competed at the British Schools in Triple jump and had a 100m sprint PB of 10.98 secs. Also at a high level in a number of other sports too. He used to be super competitive and the likelihood is that he probably still is. We constantly competed as kids, and that drove us both on. My drive was to beat him and his drive was not to be beaten by his younger brother.

There are many stories of brothers and sisters that competed as kids and that sibling rivalry drove them on and still does. I see “some” similarities in my brother and me in the Brownlee brothers. If you have watched the fantastic BBC documentary about the Brownlees, you will see that Alistair (older brother like Andy) is ruthlessly driven and thinks he knows all the answers and never lets his younger brother beat him. Jonny (younger brother like me) is mellower; willing to ask questions and has a big psychological hurdle. For much of his life, he has always lost to Alistair and he subconsciously defers to him.

That is a little like our relationship was. He would stop at nothing to win. I was competitive, but it was not the be all and end all. We do not compete any more, unless it is who can stay up latest and finish the bottle of red off!

Reflecting on this has make me think about a couple of things –

  • Does he still have that competitive instinct?
  • Does he still have the image that he is a sportsman?
  • Does he want to be that sportsman again?
  • Does he still think that he can beat me at any sporting endeavour going?

The answer to the last question will be yes. I am not sure about the answer to the other ones. If he is like me, he should want to change this. That was part of my motivation. To recreate that image I had in my head about myself.

There are also million stories of former athletes who have fallen by the wayside. But I heard something recently that made me think. It was “Don’t waste what you have”. When I was born, I was given the genetic gift of plenty of fast twitch fibres. I could always run fast. I may still be kidding myself about the slow twitch fibres, but I am still driven and I think that if I put my mind and energy to it, I could be a pretty good runner. I may not be winning races, but I could be a long, long way ahead of where I am now.

Andy and Iain Dubai 1
Brothers a few years ago living it up in Dubai!

I think my brother is the same. He was pretty exceptional athlete and I think he could be again. When he puts his mind to something he is rather excellent. He plays golf off a handicap of 8, and regularly turns up to golf tournaments and wins, having not played for months. I think with some semi-serious work he could be a kicking some ass!

I may be going over the top here, I am not expecting us to be challenging for age group Triathlon honours. But it would definitely motivate me to take him on in a 10km.

He will say “I was a sprinter, I could never run 10km” but that is what all sprinters say so they don’t have to run 10km. It is just a story we tell ourselves. To kid ourselves. To avoid the hard work. I am sure there are plenty of good sprinters that have then gone on to be moderately good distance runners or taken on triathlons.

This is not to shame him into action. I know how busy he is. I just want to get him running or get him on a bike! Can I get him to catch the fitness bug?

So what can I do to help my brother out?

I was going to write one post with food and fitness habits to help him, but I think I am going to break it down into a number of areas and dedicate a post to each one.

The first one will be Getting Started and Setting Goals. So look forward to the first edition of “The Andy Files”

Addendum – Sadly, Andy and the family are due to move back to Dubai next week so his health tip is likely to be on hold for a little while as he settles back in. I still want to help him out, so will still post the blogs, but the challenge and results may come a little later.

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