Where do I start?

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    I will keep this as brief as possible but start with some background.

    My name is Matt and I’m a former Royal Marine and now photographer/film-maker. I left the Marines due to knee and back issues, which happens a fair amount in the services. This put a stop to my running or walking long distances, without being in a considerable amount of pain, which is why I took up cycling some time ago. When in the Marines running, speed marches and yomping (carrying a lot of heavy equipment over long distances) was my strong point, I found cycling, as it’s low impact, really helpful in keeping the weight off.

    As with many of us the daily grind of life takes over and we fall into an unhealthy routine. I find myself either spending long days filming and even longer days sat behind my desk editing. Don’t get me wrong, I have a massive passion for what I do, but as result my physical health has deteriorated over the last few years, and I’m not that far off being 50. As for the bike…that disappeared some time ago and the weight piled on.

    If anyone has been in the same position, or has any genuine advice, I would love to hear it.

    My aim is to set myself an achievable goal; and to be able to enjoy riding around Dartmoor like I used to, in the first instance.Then I would like to set myself a goal to support a charity and make some good and positive changes for others.

    Some will say ‘just do it’ but it’s not always that easy…

    Thanks in advance


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      Barry Gray

      Great post and you are certainly not alone on this one. I have met many people in a similar situation but its like you said, easier said than done.

      I hope my comments below help in a small way and we also have some very credible and skilled coaches that will hopefully comment soon too.

      • Its important to focus and remember what a healthier and more physical lifestyle brings us. It makes us less stressed, more relaxed and focused, better to be around and more energetic.
      • Understanding your physical limitations and then list what sports or physical activities you can do. Cross off that list anything you hate and focus on those you enjoy or did enjoy.
      • Many former Marines or ex servicemen think they have to thrash themselves every time they exercise, this is simply not true and any exercise is good exercise.
      • It is surprising how little sleep we can get away with once in a focused routine. Try planning getting up 1 hr earlier than usual for 5 days and carry out 30 mins of gentle exercise. Short walk, short cycle, simple floor based strength exercise etc. It does not matter what it is as long as you raise your heart rate slightly and work a little harder. On completion eat a healthy breakfast and hydrate well.  You will be set up for the day and immediately start to feel better. Stick with it for 5 days and see how you feel. I’m very confident you will be ready to push on and do more.
      • Reach out, exactly what you are doing now, talk and engage with professionals, there are some great ones out there but also some bad so do your research. Hopefully this forum will help.
      • Have you tried walking football, I have quite a few friends now that do it and although sceptical at first they absolutely love it now and it has changed their lives. It’s also a lot more competitive than you might think. That aside its a social, great exercise, mixing with those in similar situations and a regular go to. I’m not sure where you live but would defo get on the net and see if there is a team near you.

      Good luck Matt, move forward in small steps and grow from there.


      Baz Gray

      Dean Burchell
      Hi Mattt, I just weanted to add to what Baz has said really. I was medically discharged from the Corps in 2015 after one to many shoulder dislocations and a neck injury! I had to really start thinking outside the box in regards to my phys! Short sharp burst of exercise works great for me, but I really styruggle with long endurance stuff. I now run a fitness and nurition company “db fitness and nutiriton” I’ve built a team of experts over the last 5 years which includes a chiropractor, nutritionist, 2 chefs and vegetarian expert and can now offer online programs as well as PT.

      As Baz mentioned, not only do we like to thrash ourselves in the Corps, but we’re never really taught the importance of nutrition. I could have you loosing fat with absolutely no exercise what so ever. We loose fat through a caloric deffiency, which is much easier to achieve through our diet than exercise.

      Funnily enough I took up tag rugby a couple of summers ago! It sounds gash, but it’s actually a really good crack, with lots of like minded lads and very competitive. Surprised me how slow I’ve got though!

      I’ve several clients in there 50’s and 60’s, one of which took part in his first Iron Man last year! What I say to all my clients regardless of age, is you have to prioritise yourself with regards to your exercise, put yourself top of the list, book it into your day like its an imporatnt meeting and where possible get it done early in the day as you will feel much better for it, you’ll be less likely to let it slide later in the day and I generally feel much more productive having exercised. With the diet and nutrition, it comes down to planning, it’s very easy to buy a sandwich or a pasty at lunch time because you havent taken your own food, but none of these foods are going to help you achive your overall goals.

      We run an online fitness and nutrition program called plan X. It’s a 10 week interactive plan, where we write you a training plan to follow within your injury restraints, diet and nutriton advice along with over 400 recipes. You’re also invited into a private group and weekly calls. So let me know if this would be of any interest, I’d be keen to help if I can.


        Morning Dean

        I’ve been looking at this holistically and totally agree with you and Baz about wanting to thrash ourselves, it’s probably where I’m getting it wrong in my own head. At the minute I’m saying to myself  ‘on Monday I’m going to go into beast mode and torture myself for a few months until I get the result I want’.

        I know that’s not possible now and I’d probably get injured, which I can’t afford to do, or just get annoyed with myself in the long-term. Being blunt, my diet is up and down all the time. I have good and bad days but am guilty of not eating for long periods of time…and then binging. As with most of us I used to be able to eat what I wanted, when I wanted, and burn it all off…those days have definitely changed.

        Thanks for the rely Dean…I will be in touch


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