Tag Archives: sleep

Lent – what are you going to give up?

Lent runs from Wednesday 1 March to Saturday 15 April this year (2017).   By observing Lent, Christians are remembering the sacrifice of Jesus, who withdrew into the wilderness and fasted for 40 days before his crucifixion.  Traditionally, people have given up certain luxuries as a form of penance.

So for me, I’m going to give up the luxury of sleeping in until at least 6.30am each morning and set my alarm for 5.00am instead (in effect, I am giving up 90 minutes of warm bed action).

Giving up some sleep for Lent

Added to that, I am going to drag my sorry butt out of the front door and ride up the local hill, all before I normally surface.  Hopefully, I will see some nice pre-dawn scenes and even some sunrises as we progress towards spring in the northern hemisphere.

Finally, I’m going to be doing all this early morning riding on my Brompton Bicycle – a bike that is one of my favourites and enjoys a mad challenge.

Thanks for reading.  If you would like to get in touch, please follow me on Twitter and contact me via this social media channel.  If I am mentioned in your Tweet, I will always get back to you.  Thank you for taking time out to read my post.

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My Rules for 2016

I like to make up my own rules, so from this day onwards I am going to commit to the new fitandforty.org rules:

Exercise 5 days a week

Mountain summit


Take rest and recovery seriously

The 3rd Pillar of Health


Eat as healthy as possible, most of the time

Nutrition - the first pillar of health


Always spend less than I earn

Spend less than I earn.

Easy, how simple was that!

Have a great 2016.

If you would like to get in touch, please follow me on Twitter and contact me via this social media channel.  If I am mentioned in your Tweet, I will always get back to you.  Thank you.


The C word (and also the 4th pillar of health)

Either you do it or you don't - there is no inbetween.
Either you do it or you don’t – there is no inbetween.
So I mentioned in a previous post that there was a 4th pillar of health and that I would write about some day, and that day is today.
The C word, Commitment, is needed to get out there and do it.  Commitment is about being dedicated to an activity, such as becoming a fitter, healthier person, a better cyclist or a better runner.  Infact, Commitment is needed to become a better Dad, partner, lover, student, absolutely anything.  Call is dedication or devotion, it’s much the same thing.
So there we have it, the Three Pillars of Health and the C word should see you through.
I showed a commitment to hydration during my 12 hour burpee world record
I showed a commitment to hydration during my 12 hour burpee world record

THE BIG INTERVIEW: A pillar of health

This is a clipping from an interview that I did with the local paper, The Swindon Advertiser, a few days after my Burpee World Record Attempt

Swindon Advertiser: Jeremy RedfordJeremy Redford

Jeremy Redford, 41, recently took the world record for burpees – a form of squat thrust – by completing 8,089 in 12 hours. The ex-Army officer is about to start work at the Defence Academy in Shrivenham. He lives in Watchfield with wife Alison, and their daughter Lucy, 11…

IT’S probably best to start with a definition.

The burpee is said to be named after Royal H Burpee, the American fitness expert who devised it many years ago.

First you get into the squat position. Now perform a squat thrust, extending the legs well, and return to your starting position.

Now jump into the air, ensuring good ground clearance, and return to a squat.

Congratulations. You have performed a burpee. If you can manage another 8,089 in the next 11 hours and 59 minutes, you’ll be a Guinness World Record breaker.

Or you could just take some exercise – any exercise – and it will improve your life and put you on the winning side, as far as Jeremy Redford’s concerned.

“A lot of people are scared of exercise. They don’t know what the first step is, but the first step is just doing something, really.

“If I can inspire one person to put on a pair of shoes and take the dog for a longer walk than usual, that’s good. Exercise doesn’t have to be doing 8,000 burpees; it could be walking your dog for slightly longer or throwing a frisbee.”

Jeremy has a blog, fitandforty.org, which includes everything from fitness advice to dietary tips, as well as his exercise bucket list, from which ‘Set a Guinness World Record’ has now been ticked off.

There is also a contact page for readers in need of help to attain or improve fitness.

Jeremy said: “I’m not a sports coach but I like helping people.”

Jeremy was born in Leamington Spa, the fourth of six siblings. His father is a retired antique dealer; his mother, a member of Mensa, died when he was 11, following an epileptic fit.

As a student in 1994, Jeremy raised money for an epilepsy charity by cycling from Singapore to Sydney.

“I started in Singapore, went across to Sumatra, then Java, Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Flores, Timor, a plane across from Timor to Darwin and then Darwin down to the middle of Australia.”

His world burpee record also raised £1,900 for the Young Epilepsy charity, which he chose after his nephew was diagnosed with the condition.

After his mother’s death, the family moved to Cheshire and the local grammar school was followed by a geography degree.

“I thought I was going to work in hydrology and water management in the developing world.

“I really liked geography at school. I went to the University of London at college called the School Oriental and African Studies.

“Whilst I was there I had lots of opportunities to do travel and research in southern Africa, which I really enjoyed, and I thought, ‘Yeah, I could do something different over here – I could help.’ “I always wanted to help somebody, I think – do something good. I spent a bit of time in Zimbabwe and Mozambique in about 1992 and got a bit disillusioned with it. We had a project out there we were pumping quite a lot of money into. It was going well, but I thought, ‘If the political situation changes and we stop pumping money into this, we’re going to leave these people in a worse situation than their indigenous systems.’ So I thought I’d better do something else. Somebody said, ‘Join the Army,’ and the rest is history.”

Jeremy was commissioned to the Cheshire Regiment in 1997, serving in locations including Northern Ireland and Iraq.

Retiring as a major after 16 years, he spent several years helping to conduct seismic surveys for the oil and gas industry. His latest role, in Shrivenham, is in defence leadership and management.

Jeremy has been a fitness enthusiast since his teens, and specialises in endurance events. His achievements include seventh place in the 2007 Great Wall of China Marathon – the course incorporates 3,800 steps – and regular participation in the 38-mile Three Peaks cyclocross event in North Yorkshire.

He’s keen to emphasise that anybody can exercise and anybody can benefit from it. “I believe in three pillars of health: sleep well, eat well and do some exercise.

“Take sleep away and you crumble – it just doesn’t work. I could exercise all I wanted, I could eat the best food in the world, but if I didn’t sleep it would make no difference. It just wouldn’t work.

“The same goes for food. You could sleep really well and exercise really well, but fuelling the tank with nonsense, as in chemicals, processed food and stuff like that, you’re not going to get any better.

“The same goes for exercise. I could sleep well and eat well, but I’m not going to get better. There’s a fourth pillar that I’m going to write about on my blog very shortly when I get a couple of minutes, and that’s commitment.

“It’s just getting out in the fresh air. I’m not a gym person; I never go to a gym. I like working out in a park instead of a gym.

“It’s getting airflow through your body, feeling better about yourself.”

My 3 Pillars of Health

I like to keep things simple.  And I reckon that there are 3 pillars to health.  Take note of these 3 things, practice them as much as possible and you will be on the road to a healthy and happy life.


Nutrition - the first pillar of health
Nutrition – the first pillar of health

OK, if you have read the About Me section on this site, you will have seen that I am known as the Calorie Cowboy.  I really am not that bad, but I do try and eat a balanced, healthy and nutritious diet most of the time.  I try to eat well 80% of the time.  I  firmly believe that if you eat garbage, you are probably going to perform like garbage, that is unless your name is Usain Bolt, and I am sure that he doesn’t eat fast food (no pun intended) all the time.  It’s all about moderation and common sense.  I have some friends who eat healthier than me, but spend their lives preparing food, and go crazy if they can’t get hold of their uber healthy food, for whatever reason.  I can eat a hamburger, I’m not going to love it, but neither am I going to go into meltdown.  Laird Hamilton, the super cool extreme sportsman and big wave surfer and definitely fitandforty (plus a few years) makes a good analogy on his stance on feeding (and fueling) the body.  He likes being more like a truck than a high performance car, because if a little diesel or water gets in, it’ll cough or sputter a bit, but it will keep going to get through it and keeping running.


Exercise - just do something


Exercise is crucial.  Just get up and do some exercise.  I’m serious, just this simple act of getting up and being more active will potentially add years to your life.  You never know, if you are lucky, you may even enjoy it.


The 3rd Pillar of Health
The 3rd Pillar of Health

Rest and recovery is an integral part of training and being healthy.  Without this pillar, the whole structure collapses.  You need more sleep than you think to make you stronger and healthy.  Go on, go to bed early, bag a bit more kip than you normally do.  And you may even enjoy it too!  But seriously, studies are increasingly showing that sleep is super important and that missing it out on it can have real effects on your overall health, as well as your happiness and productivity.  A recent Harvard study said that chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.

And on that note, I will end this post and go and get some sleep!