Welcome to The Better Me Manifesto

Not ANOTHER health & fitness blog! There must be millions out there and here’s a new one from an ordinary guy, competing against all those muscle-bound supermen and toned, glowing models. Why?

I’m not a personal trainer. I wasn’t even into sports growing up, being more of a bookish type. I still look like a skinny nerd and can’t kick a football. I’m not a nutritionist. Much as I try to eat healthy, there’s still too many pizzas and curries creeping in for me to make out I’m a paragon of virtue.

Aside from compulsory PE lessons, the only kind of sport I did growing up was karate. I loved it – trained three times a week, lived and breathed martial arts, won a few competitions and got my black belt when I was 15.

But soon after getting my black belt, I discovered the joys of the pub. That and the eventual move into a student lifestyle meant all physical activity was dropped in favour of drinking, smoking and sitting around watching TV.

Jump forward a few years (OK, more than a decade) and little had changed. Working as a financial journalist means almost constant free alcohol and rich food. Lots of time sat in front of a computer and lots of time in bars, but not a lot of time working out.

Things changed in 2014 when I was offered a place in the Berlin marathon as a work trip. Going from zero exercise to running four or five times a week was a bit of shock, but I completed those 26.2 miles in 4 hours 17 minutes and felt amazing.

I have a few of half-marathons under my belt and, after running a Spartan Race Sprint last year, an obsession with obstacle races. I’m running the Barcelona Marathon in March and have a few other races in the diary.

From living off Chicken Cottage and other meat-based cuisine, I’ve switched to a mainly pescatarian diet. To use a trendy term, I’m a flexitarian – throughout the week I’m primarily vegetarian with the occasional bit of seafood. At the weekend, I might eat meat but increasingly don’t feel like it. That said, if I’m at an amazing steak restaurant with work I might trade one of my weekend meat days to make the most of it!

Over these past three years, training has gone from something I dreaded doing to one of the things that I look forward to the most.

I didn’t do as much as I should have ahead of Berlin and felt it on the day; now, I can’t wait to get out of the door and put some more kms under my feet. I’m not running, I’m using resources like Darebee and Freeletics to strength train.

So all the above is the backstory but it’s also the reason why I’m writing this blog. I’m an ordinary guy, not some kind of superman.

I still spend too much time sat in front of a computer in a busy, stressful job but have started to carve out time for my health.

Three years ago my idea of fun was a weekend of pub crawls but now I run 20km and crank out a ton of burpees before my neighbours have woken up. And I still have time for a lot of fun, otherwise what’s the point?

If I can do it, anyone can so I thought I’d share how I’m getting along with the wider world. Hope you enjoy the blog…

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