Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Representing the Games as a London Ambassador

The Games
Can you believe it has been 7 years since London was selected to host the 2012 Olympic Games? It's scary to think about how much the country has prepared for this monumental event, and with less than a month to go, the expectations of the country will finally be put to the test as the games begin on the 27th of July.

Talk about pressure! As they say, 3 is the magic number, and funnily enough, this will be the first occasion that a country has held the games for a third time. I feel privileged to see the glorious colours of Great Britain reign victor as the host of the Olympics atleast once during my life time. Incredible.

I can't begin to explain the wonders that the games are going to do for the country. One of the most important things in my opinion is our reputation. With the recession still looming and England still recovering from the riots of 2011, we haven't exactly been witnessed in our best light. Funnily enough, I feel responsible for enforcing that reputation! The reason being is that I am one of the 8,000 London Ambassadors who will be welcoming visitors from all over the world. To be honest, I can't really say it better than the website:

London Ambassadors will welcome visitors from all over the world during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. We're looking for volunteers to be the face of London; people who are passionate about the capital and want to tell millions of people about the hidden treasures that makes London one of the best capital cities in the world.

The country has stood together, and many citizens of London have agreed to volunteer their own time for the good of the country. If this doesn't speak for itself, then I don't know what will. In terms of the games, these mostly full into 2 categories;  London Ambassadors and Game Makers.

Team London Ambassadors
My journey began during early 2011 where I saw the Game Maker scheme randomly advertised on a bus. Excited by the prospect, I went straight to the website where I was unforunately welcome by a 'Applications now closed' message. How annoying. However, when one door closes, another door opens. I was linked to the London Ambassadors program which I'd never actually heard of before. After getting through the first round, I was taken to a group interview in Camden. In summary, I had to find London landmarks on a map, role play as a drunk visitor, and then explain the word 'colour' for 2 minutes! Not your most stereotypical of interviews!

Months later, I was happy to find that I had been chosen at one of the 8,000 London Ambassadors who would be representing. What an honour.

The help and training provided to us has been amazing. Rather than being considered another one of the bunch, we have truly been supported and I feel that it can't be appreciated enough. After 3 modules of training which expanded on what we would be doing, where we would be doing it, customer servie training by John Lewis and other suck perks, we will finally be put to the test as our volunteering schedules begin to start. Not to mention the incredible gifts for giving up our time such as a free ticket to a westend show, a chance to be in a world record treasure hunt, and even a free ticket to see Saracens vs. Harlequins. I was lucky enough to be one of the Ambassadors chosen on the day to speak for us all. What was I feeling you ask? Fear. Pure fear; but at the same time, I have never been so proud. It was the most surreal moment of my life.

We are introduced at about 3.18, I speak at 4.58!
We were told that we needed to simply state our names, where we were volunteering, and what we were looking forward to most for the Olympics. Easier said than done!

With less than 3 weeks to go until my volunteering schedule at Wembley starts, all that I have left to say is that I am optimistic. After all of the training and preparation, and after witnessing the technical rehearsal of the opening ceremony last night, I can only hint at the surprises that will be revealed to the public of London 2012, possibly making this the greatest Olympics to ever exist. #savethesecret

Here are a few from my phone last night before my phone died!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Scrawny to Sturdy Week 0: #1

It's bad enough that this post had already been delayed over a week, but week 0?! How does such a preposterous period of time make sense? Well, contrary to popular belief, we all do start somewhere, and my first week was a failure. A shame I know. My excuse is that I was extremely busy with interviews and such, but at the same time, it's my own fault I didn't balance my own time. My bad.

There is no failure, only feedback - Robert Allen

Pretty promising stuff really. When a door closes, another opens right? I would like to think so. This is why I am calling the first week 0 as I did get some stuff done, but nowhere near the amount as I would have liked. Very annoying. But why not detail what I did do? That is always fun!

My first run of the regime. I wasn't exactly going for speed, or for a personal best for that matter. This is my usual route, starting at my home, just over 4 miles around a loop, then back to mine. I tend to do a bit of a warm up first, a warm down after, and then some stretching. Seems to help with the fatigue afterwards. Actually, the chance of pain doesn't usually hit until a day after. After a run, I feel pretty good!
As you can see; eh. Nothing special. Nothing too hard. I've kind of grown accustomed to this run. I did this run over a week ago, so it's pretty hard to remember exactly how I felt. But yeah, point A to point B, and I did it.


And then things started to go down hill. As stated, I had interviews this week, and didn't really have much time for myself. I ended up only doing one set of my workout rather than 3. Unfortunately, I didn't even break a sweat. I don't really know why I didn't carry on. Perhaps I was just being lazy. I won't even detail it. How embarrassing.



What the hell man!? I know; as stated this is week 0 because of my failure to keep a promise to myself. I suppose it takes time for these transitions in lifestyle to really take place, or make an actual change. 3 is apparently the magic number to stop smoking. 3 whole days. Maybe 3 weeks of this and I won't be able to sleep without it? Hopefully.

Because of Thursday's pathetic excuse, I wasn't going to let nothing happen. Annoyingly, I was to get up at 5am the next day because of an event called Rezzed I agreed to volunteer at. After being in London all day, I ended up doing some cardio exercises with a skipping rope for about 20 minutes. Skipping is pretty hard if you're not used to it, but man does it tire you out. I will surely integrate it into my regime some more at one point. Afterwards, I was still at a friend's house, so I thankfully borrowed some weights to get some of my muscle work done. Better than nothing I guess.



Well, to be fair, I was up at 5am and standing all day. My legs were turned into mush and I decided not to push myself in case of injury. It sounded good at the time, but it's annoying now to think about the work built up to it for no reason. 



I know right? Once again, I was on my legs all day and decided not to do anything. Ridiculousness. Whatever, it's all in the past now. Nothing I can do.

Rest. Really? From what you ask? Don't ask me. I think I was in the mindset that I had already had a bad week and would start fresh from Monday. Oh well.


It just goes to show, the snow ball effect I mentioned in my first Scrawny to Sturdy post can happen to anyone at any time. Even the most determined. If you let yourself skip one work out, then what is the harm in missing the next work out? You only begin to regret what you have done after you have skipped it. You are so distracted during the time you should be working out that you don't really think about the consequences, but they come. They most certainly do come.

With the olympics coming up, this is a pretty motivating time to start exercising. It's pretty hard not to get bitten by the bug, so I recommend anyone right now to get involved in anyway they can! Congratulations to all of the recently announced team GB athletes anyway. What pressure. What glorious tasty pressure!
In summary, bad week; bad! Week 0 will remain as a reminder of what failure is. Perhaps running (no pun intended seriously) was far too soon of a challenge for me. Crawling is so much more appealing at the moment. We will see how this fleshes out in the next couple of weeks. Wish me luck!
How depressing.

Monday, 9 July 2012

This is a Test

After a few issues trying to setup my blog with the University of Hull's Comptuer Science student's library of blogs (what a mouthful!), I think everything is working now. Test test test testing; 1 2 3.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Scrawny to Sturdy

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall."

One of the hardest things that I have had to battle in life is myself. My commitment, my drive; dedication to one investment of my time. I have jumped from obsession to fad to activity, always losing interest or eventually just moving on to something else letting the cycle start over. I am envious of those with years of practice in a specific pursuit, and respect them all the more as it is truly a hard task as most would know.

And then there is exercise, the ability to withstand pain and push your body to its limits. 

But as I said, commitment is my personal downfall, and I know for a fact that it is a condition that plagues many other people too. It's far too easy to relax after a long run. The hard bit is getting out of that mindset the next day and keeping up what you have already built. It's these things that snowball into bigger problems. What's the issue with missing 2 days if you can miss 1? I've been that guy.. I am that guy. Alright.. tomorrow; next week.. month..

- summer? Yes, summer. Which is exactly why I am writing this blog post. As far as I am aware, it's summer (though the English weather begs to differ), and I must now live up to the 100th promise I have made myself. I have had a workout regime planned for a while now, but as stated, I have really let myself down by finding excuses and letting other things get in the way.

But enough yipper yapper and inspirational nonsense. This blog is going to help me keep working out and to remind me of the progress that I gradually make, and I hope it does the same for any others also in my position. I plan to regularly update the blog with my progress, how specific sessions went, anything I learnt that helps etc. I feel that writing it about it would really help to encourage the process, and I support others to get something like this going too. I might try a few other things too. Maybe a vlog? A vlog on my run? That would be awkward, but doable. Being able to see a considerable amount of difference in the next few months wouldn't be so bad either! But without further adieu:

  • Monday - Running (currently on 4 miles per run minimum)
  • Tuesday - Scooby's Teen Workout Plan (altered for preference) - (Chest (20 pressups, 20 dumbbell flys, 20 dumbbell press), lats (20 pullups, 20 dumbbell rows), abs (20 crunches, 20 situps), biceps (20 sofa curls), lats (20 dumbbell french press)) x 3 for all exercises with 4.5KG weights when needed
  • Wednesday - More running (4 miles to start, will increase when comfort rises)
  • Thursday - Same workout as Tuesday
  • Friday - Final run of the week
  • Saturday - Scooby's Killer Ab Workout (Yes. Killer. But seriously, pretty hard)
  • Sunday - The day of rest
SpongeBob is a baws.

In terms of diet, I try to eat fairly healthy anyway. I am a sucker for the occasional fast food, but most of the stuff that goes into my gut isn't too processed. I may invest in body supplements too at one point, but for now, eggs will do for protein. Though thinking about it, I feel like I am going to watch my food now with this blog starting up. We will see.

As a final note, I wouldn't say that I am unfit. This isn't some miraculous journey as that would be fiction. I have tried to keep fit over the year, running and working out occasionally, but unfortunately, never keeping to it. As I said, it's hard to stay motivated, but alas, that is the past, and this blog is the future. No excuses.

Come August, this calender should look rather messy with successful sessions. Otherwise, I have let myself stand in my own way again. Not this time buddy; get motivated and start running.
And yes; that is a naked calender. I was Mr. September as part of the Athletics club at my university. Don't worry; it was for charity!

Hopefully come September, there is an improvement on this physique. A great man once told me, a six pack on a skinny person is like breasts on a fat person. Oh how true that is.
stand in line ladies