It’s your responsibility and your life

Every morning a Human wakes up, it knows it must solve the scarcity of food problem, promote its future gene pool, and conserve energy. For a quarter of a million years, the rhythm and cadence of life intertwined perfectly with these needs, when the sun came up we were running, when the day was done we conserved energy.

Modern society has moved us away from the natural success compass of health that we all naturally possess and thrive on. I co-founded transformU because I passionately believe that people have the power to change their life-long health belief systems, and to become the intrinsic drivers of their own health, changing their entire beliefs, behaviours and outcomes in the process.

Ian’s health story

“Ian, I would like to discuss a radically new approach to health with you, are you interested?” This was how Darrel Pugh, my co-founder and the inspiration behind TransformU started my journey into transforming my relationship with my own health. Only 6 months previously, I had suffered a major cycling accident: 4 broken ribs, major bodily trauma and had I not been wearing a cycle helmet I might well not be here writing this blog post. I was still struggling to recover any decent level of fitness, had just had to admit defeat and gone up a waist size to 38 inch trousers. I had ridiculously low levels of energy and there were still parts of me that stubbornly refused to move as they should. I had even begun to convince myself that I was becoming “old and should just learn to accept it as an inevitable part of the ageing process”. I hated my self-image and only the love of my family and friends was keeping me from suffering from another bout of depression.

“Interested?” I was completely desperate for a new approach to my health.

Taking my health for granted

Turn back to 1990. I had just completed the Richmond Half marathon in a shade under 2 hours. Not fast, but I had finished it successfully. I could run 10 miles at the drop of a hat and often did so. I was around 85 kilos and worried that I was too fat. Then business life got really intense – a move to Aberdeen, very long hours. I remember a comment from a colleague after I was there for a year or so “Ian, you have really put on the beef”. I worked hard, went out for plenty of beers, played golf, socialised and drank whisky with good friends. I got a pan European and then a global job, I travelled more, worked more, spent what spare time I had with family and friends and exercise and nutrition got squeezed out, last place in the queue. Why? I have no idea. When your health is fine and everything going well in life, you take it for granted, I reckon.

Oh so slowly, like the drip, drip of a stalactite growing imperceptibly on a cave ceiling, my weight began to grow. I occasionally went for a jog of a couple of miles, did some dieting and congratulated myself when I lost a few kilos. Then got bored of the diet, got busy and put it all back on again and more.

Now I have to do something on my health

Fast forward to 2015 and for the first time ever I’ve bought a 40 inch waist pair of trousers and have just weighed myself at 109 kilos. Not really exercising much, apart from the occasional short bike ride, because everyone else seems to be. Was it too late to do anything now? Was I destined to simply be that belly-hanging-down-over-the-trouser belt guy with a poor diet who, just like my father, had a heart attack at 60? It was all too much and I froze. Then my children got married, and grandchildren were being mentioned. I had to act. I went on an extended diet. I went to a personal trainer, started cycling seriously, routes of up to 30 miles, twice a week on average. I got down to 95 kilos, a 36 inch waist. It was all going OK and then the cycling accident and it all stopped and went into reverse

Becoming more purposeful in my approach

The call from Darrel was providential in its timing. I was ready to listen, and really take my health seriously, systematically. As he and I have explored the world of our health, I realised that I was “playing at it”. Whilst I had begun to eat more healthily, drink less, and had been exercising more until the accident, I had no real grasp of the interconnections between diet and exercise and so much more. No objective framework against which to say “is this course of action the best one right now for my long term health?” Then as I spoke to Darrel, and starting read up on it, I realised, with a potent combination of hope and horror that there is so much that is known about what “good health actions look like”.

More tellingly, most of us have failed to really have a compelling long term reason for taking ownership of our own health. I was basically rolling the dice of life, a day at a time, hoping that it would all be fine. Hope, as I tell my clients, is not a strategy. So, Darrel has taken me under his wing and is now helping me make that permanent shift to a healthy lifestyle. So far, so good. All the indicators are moving in the right direction, thank God. Welcome to TransformU. We want everyone to feel able to change their relationship to their own health. Do talk to us, as this will take many committed individuals to break through

Darrel’s Health Story

It’s the year 2000, I’m sat in the trendy Soho offices of the Football Association. The interview is about to start, as is my career in corporate London. I’ve been to the gym that morning, I am sat in a 32inch waist and 40 inch jacket, suit, weighing in at 12 and half stone and standing at 6ft. A stout corporate man who clearly enjoys a heavy lunch walks in, we both sip our Latte’s as we talk, and there may even have been biscuits to hand. Great news I get the job and it’s time to hit the pub to celebrate. I drink until 1am and miss the gym the next day, instead enjoy a greasy breakfast, but I’ll make up for it, after all I’m a qualified Sports Scientist, I know how to look after myself, what could possibly go wrong? 

It’s 2019 and I pull on 40 inch waist trousers, they feel tight, I miss breakfast again, sometimes a bottle of red wine the night before kills your appetite. The gym is a distant memory, maybe I’ll join the cycling brigade one day? I check the mirror, at least my beard and generous jacket can hide my middle aged spread. I’ve got a boozy lunch later, it’s all meat, cheese and more red wine, on the outside I’m pleasant enough; on the inside I’m fighting against multiple enemies and I’m losing the battle, in fact I’m nearly on the canvas, a quiet desperation but nowhere to turn to. But that’s been life for the last 19 years how did it go wrong? 

I wanted to do something about this

my gut instincts are telling me that there is something wrong with the world, intelligent people are making stupid decisions when it comes to their only real asset, their Health. So I begin, I use all my training as a Sport Scientist, and all my critical evaluation skills that I’d acquired in business to put my theories to the test. I wanted better, bigger answers and I wasn’t about to trust any company or any profession in the process

As I solve my own Health issues, it dawns on me that my mission should be to help the thousands and thousands of people who are going through what I have, taking their health for granted then realising they’d lost it, and having nowhere to turn. 

Your health isn’t something you lose overnight, it takes years, and you pay for the pleasure of it being taken away. Getting it back is an endeavour, it takes fortitude and bravery, the enemies are sophisticated; they come in the form of good jobs, nice restaurants, intelligent people, governments, Dr’s, Personal Trainers, Fitness Challenges, Diets and supposed well-meaning relatives and friends. 

Your health is important

I quickly realised that you have to stand up for your own health, you must recognise that it’s not going to just happen for you. Your challenge is to maintain a healthy psychology when it comes to your heath and fitness, it’s a conscious practice and lifelong endeavour, your challenges are daily even hourly, and you have to go through a psychological transformation, it’s the only way. You have to recognise the many many obstacles you’re dealing with and have a deep effective way of dealing with them. 

Mission and Purpose

I’ve made it my mission to shine an intense light on what’s really ruining people’s lives, why is Coronary Heart Disease the number one killer of people on this planet? If 3 billion people work for a company, why do we accept that they make us sit down for 9 hours a day? Why do we try to get fit by accepting literal marathon challenges that we will never adopt on a life long basis? Why do we accept Golf, Cycling and other popularist sports as the way forward when they clearly do not work? Why do we accept that animal protein will build us? How can a personal trainer possibly know how our brain works, let alone our bodies? How can the governments ideas on health possibly be true, when we are facing a sedentary obesity crisis? How have the worlds largest industries fed us the worst food, encouraged us to take in massive toxins, then provide us with expensive cures for the things they created? 

These questions and more I’ve faced up to, I’ve helped myself overcome many things when it comes to health, and I feel duty bound to help others work out how to do the same. We can all come back from many lost battles, failed marriages, failed careers, broken dreams in all areas of life, the one battle we can’t afford to lose is the fight for our health, there is no coming back from that one