The Transition from Sport to Business

Elite Sport to Business

As a former professional athlete, I have learnt that controlling your mindset is one of the most powerful weapons to have in your arsenal. You can have the skills and the ability to perform but your mindset is what determines your success. This, I believe, not only helps athletes win championships, but also translates to any kind of profession, especially that of entrepreneurship.

From hard work to resilience, teamwork and competitiveness, athletes have developed traits to take them to the top. The ones who put in the extra work when no one is watching, who do more than expected and that bounce back from defeat to fight another day are the ones that ‘make it’. In order to come out on top, athletes will find their path to success, and it is no different in business.

As a business owner, you can have all the resources and contacts in the world, but if you’re lacking in your ambition, you will eventually fall to your competitors.

The same setbacks that occur in sports are similar to the ones that occur in business. A sale falls through, your promotion doesn’t go to plan or your client cancels the contract – it isn’t about what happens to you, it’s all about how you react!

No alt text provided for this image

4 Transferrable Skills from Sport to Business

Laser Focus:

Staying focused not only keeps your eye on the target but it prevents you from getting lost on the way. First you have to deal with the task at hand, as they say, “there’s no elevator to success, you’ve got to take the stairs”. Personally, my next training session was always the most important session, the first fight was always the first goal – if I didn’t get past the first opponent then there was no chance of getting to the final. The same goes for my first sale, or my first meeting with a client.

That doesn’t mean you’re not planning for the long term goal; it simply means you’ve anticipated each hurdle.

Now, are you going to stop after your triumph, or are you going to celebrate and use the momentum to expand upon your success? It’s also important to remember that it’s what you did last week that earned you the results of today.

No alt text provided for this image

“Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred-and-first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before.” 

Resilience: Controlling the controllable and learning from the situation.

Everyone will lose or make a mistake at some stage. It’s not about losing, it’s about whether or not you can bounce back after you fail. Failure is part and parcel of growing as an athlete and the same goes for business. As a start up or a new employee, failure is inevitable but those small defeats can’t consume you. They are minor hurdles when it comes to looking at the bigger picture. Head up, learn the lessons, knuckle down and crack on. “A positive mindset gives you control over your circumstances.”

Stepping back into safety, or pushing forward into growth:

 Are you scared of taking risks to save face, or will you put yourself out there? Comfort zones are great but nothing ever grows there.

No alt text provided for this image

“You are only confined by the walls you build yourself.”

People with a growth mindset use setbacks as a learning tool, and that is why they aren’t scared of looking stupid or failing. They put themselves in front of challenges and admit when they don’t know all the answers but are happy to test themselves in order to learn.

From practicing a new skill and looking silly, competing in an event, or running your first board meeting, you have to be willing to take that first step out of your comfort zone and into growth.

Show Up Every Day, Even When You Don’t Feel Like It:

No alt text provided for this image

To be successful as an athlete or a businessperson, you have to come to work, regardless of how tired you feel. This doesn’t mean you have to go 110% every single day, however showing up and getting the work done will make you stand out. Why? Because you never know what opportunity may arise that day, just for showing up! Perhaps you miss team advice that is imperative in your growth? Maybe you sit on the bench and discuss ideas with your coach? What could you learn that day?

You never want to miss out on an opportunity because you didn’t feel like showing up that day. 

Innovation is at the heart of the Health and Fitness Industry

JANUARY 18, 2021

COVID-19 has highlighted the healthier we are, the better our chance of fighting off infectious diseases. Although many companies have struggled during the pandemic, there has been notable growth in public awareness and demand for wellness, nutrition and fitness products and services. Whether it be a home workout program or a focus on healthy food, the industry has been under the spotlight since lockdown restrictions were introduced.

The human nutrition market is growing at a rate of 6.6% every year. Personalised nutrition through apps, testing kits, and programs is growing even faster at a rate of 15%, leading to an expected total market value of $465.4 billion by 2025. With so many nutrition trends hitting the market, you might ask where R&D fits in?

The recipe for reward

Recipe adaptations which have been researched and developed make businesses eligible for R&D tax claims. Hiring staff to implement changes to a product or recipe could also make you eligible for financial rewards. If you are making advancements in the field of weight-loss, including developing supplements, amino acids, probiotics, gluten-free and vegan alternatives, dietary fibre, natural sweeteners, vitamins and herbal extracts then your innovations could also qualify.

There are many ways businesses in the Health & Fitness Industry could be rewarded. Outside of recipe development, working with CRMs or online programming to allow for accessible, innovative, online diet plans would also enable you to make an R&D tax claim.

Alternatively, if you are an SME concentrating on food preparation or looking at ways to enhance food trucks and deliveries, perhaps developing new software so customers can track your live location or a website that publishes your exceptional menus, then such innovation could make your business eligible for grants and tax credits.

No alt text provided for this image

R&D at ProYouth Nutrition

In an article released in Business Matters Magazine, the story and success of Marina Wegorek came to light. The banker turned ‘mumpreneur’ was appalled by the sugar-filled snack options for children, both on the market and at children’s sporting events. Marina founded ProYouth Nutrition and developed a completely natural snack alternative for pre- and post-energy replenishment. Marina Wegorek has now been shortlisted for the Great British Entrepreneur Awards 2020 in the food and drink category. Talking about the shortlist, Marina said: “I’m absolutely over the moon to be shortlisted for this year’s food and drink entrepreneur award!”

For Marina’s innovation she could claim back R&D costs for:

  • Materials used
  • Staff costs (salaries, employer pension & NIC, reimbursed expenses)
  • Software used
  • Lighting, heating and water costs
  • Clinical trials and testing of the product
  • Subcontractors and freelancers

With the money claimed back from R&D, Marina would be able to:

  • Develop a new software for her brand
  • Move online and find new ways to interact with clientele
  • Create more innovative formulas or recipes
  • Improve her processes to become more efficient
  • Extend the brand to clothing or equipment and look at new material and product development

No alt text provided for this image

The cycle of success

Wellness, nutrition and fitness accounts for approximately 5.3% of global economic output with healthy eating, nutrition and weight loss holding a market value of $702.1 billion. It’s an exciting and lucrative time to be working in the Health and Fitness Industry.

Research and Development tax relief has been designed to incentivise innovation within the industry. Your innovation is rewarded – the reward fuels your next innovation – and the cycle continues.

By – Kelly Staddon

Pelvis Alignment, Posture & Muscular Imbalance

Back Pain

Statistics say back pain in the UK is one of the main reasons for missed work, low productivity and lack of exercise. The problem is, back pain is usually treated with pain killer and the advice to rest. If the cause of the problem is ignored, how do we expect it to ever go away?

Direct impact/injury to our back is an obvious explanation to the pain you may feel, however, most causes of back pain stem from other areas of our body. These areas often get overlooked meaning the root problem is never addressed

Pelvis Alignment and Muscular Imbalance

Any abnormal anterior (forward), posterior (backward) or side tilting can put added stress and strain through our muscles, ligaments and tendons. Pelvis tilts to the rear means your back will tend to be very flat. If tilted forwards, a sway back will be more prominent.

Posture

Forward head and neck – If your head moves forward and out of line from your shoulders, your neck must carry added weight. This postural problem can cause neck and upper back pain. It can also affect shoulder pain and lead to various other problems such as headaches or migraines.

Bottom out and chest forwards (forward tipped pelvis) – Tight hip flexors and weak hamstrings cause a tilt in the pelvis. This is usually seen in those who sit for a long period of time such as truck drivers and office workers. Sitting for this long will case weak glutes and core, as well as tight hip flexors.

The hip flexors help lift the thigh. When these get tight, they pull the pelvis forwards causing your chest to stick forward and your bum to push backwards. Hip flexors can also compensate for your core muscles if these are weak, increasing the risk of back pain.

Weak muscles:

  • Abdominal, Hamstrings and Glutes

Tight muscles:

  • Lumbar, Hip flexors and Quadriceps

Flat back, rounded shoulders – This is typically caused from slouching for too long which puts added strain on your neck and the muscles between your shoulder blades. Along with slouching, a common cause is due to a muscular imbalance, for example overworking your pectorals with little strengthening of your back muscles.

An imbalance in our muscles can affect our posture and lead to tightness and pain. Our muscles work in pairs. When one extends, the opposing muscle flexes. If one is weaker than the other, an imbalance will occur, making one set too tight and one set too loose.

Tips & Treatments

  • Stretch regularly – your hip flexors, glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, back and chest muscles regularly
  • Strengthen muscles equally (work in pairs, targeting the muscle and it’s opposing muscle). Strengthening the muscles equally means one side won’t have to compensate for the other which is the main reason for muscular imbalance.
  • Develop a strong core – your core is used in almost every activity you do in your day to day life. Having a strong core can prevent back pain and allows for an upright posture.
  • Practise correct technique when working muscles, lifting heavy things or standing for long periods of time
  • Mobility and activation exercises- consistent body weight exercises, weight bearing exercises or activation techniques are great for keeping your body ticking over. Try 10 – 15 minutes each day.
  • Regular muscle manipulation (massage or other forms of hands on treatments).
  • Severe cases may need specialised exercises or physical therapy by a qualified physician.

Steps to Correct Imbalances

  • Identify the cause – possible trigger points. For example, foot problems or poor choice of footwear, lack of muscular strength, poor flexibility, uneven leg length, uneven impact during exercise or day to day activities.
  • Start resistance training – develop your strength, endurance and muscle flexibility.
  • Seek professional services – Massage therapists, physiotherapist’s.

Mental Health Awareness – Body Image

Being in a fighting sport my whole life, I pride myself on being “strong” and that feeling down is “stupid” and that I need to “just suck it up and get on with it”. I thought admitting that I was finding things hard was weak and I preferred to deal with things myself… Speaking to others isn’t a sign of weakness but of strength. Having the courage to be ok with your feelings is the first step to any challenge.

This year’s Mental Health topic is Body Image so I wanted to share some things that I think are important in regards to appearance and health:

1. Comparing yourself to images you see on social media isn’t fair. Social media portrays an image that may not always tell the true story. The app also takes you from a 2 to a 10 with a few edits.

2. Genetics: Everyone is born their own shape & size so wanting to be exactly like someone else is a waste of energy. Your body is capable of amazing things, so why not work on improving your strength and functionality. Thrive with what you have and push to be the best you.

3. You can have the “ideal” figure, but feel like crap: Body image means nothing if you have no energy to live, or you’re always ill from eating 50kcal a day to “fit in”

4. Caring about your appearance is great, but letting it take over your mood is much less attractive. Work on your happiness and health and the rest should follow

5. Sport & exercise should be fun, not a chore: Exercise should be used as a form of mental health not just for a six pack (Nutrition does 90% of that anyway). Exercise decreases stress hormones like cortisol and releases endorphins, as well as serotonin (the body’s natural feel good chemicals).

6. You are not defined by your appearance or by a number on the scale!
You are worth more than that, and you are never alone!

Tackling Stress | Tips To Relieve Stress & Anxiety

Research shows that over 8 million of us in the UK will develop or experience anxiety throughout our lives. The sad fact is that in modern day life, it will usually happen before the age of 24. Anxiety & stress can take control of our lives without us even realising, slowly manipulating our thoughts, confidence and life decisions. Stress can cause hypothyroid symptoms such as weight gain, blood sugar swings, fatigue, decreased immunity, and restlessness.

Find your root cause

Fear – “an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm”.
The fear of failure in the past, present or the future is everywhere and is overwhelming our thoughts. Previous studies of anxiety in the brain have focused on the amygdala, an area known to play a role in fear.

Lack of Autonomy – Autonomy “freedom from external control or influence- independence”. Research shows that we crave a sense of control in life in order to be happy and healthy. Don’t be scared of taking charge.

Not living in the moment – The dreaded ‘what if’. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, over 18% of adults suffer from anxiety disorders, characterized as excessive worry or tension that often leads to other physical symptoms.

Behaviour effects

 46% reported that they ate too much or ate unhealthily due to stress. 29% reported that they started drinking or increased their drinking. 16% reported that they started smoking or increased their smoking.

Psychological effects

51% of adults who felt stressed reported feeling depressed. 61% reported feeling anxious.

Tips to help stress

  1. Work smarter, not harder – Prioritise! Make a to do list, colour code the most important. You can only tackle so much at one time.
  2. Have a support network – Have people you can turn to for advice or to help you relax
  3. Have some YOU time – Even if you have 1000 things to do
  4. Exercise- Exercise releases serotonin, boosting good mood and productivity.
  5. Accept the things you can’t change – and focus on what you can!
  6. Have confidence that you can and WILL get things done – Trusting in yourself is calming and prevents fear.
  7. Be positive – Take control of your thoughts. Glass half full?
  8. Take action – Feeling out of control is a huge cause of stress. Take hold of your life, don’t run from it!


Tips to avoid anxiety

  1. Avoid caffeinated drinks – caffeine is an anxiety inducer!
  2. Avoid or limit alcohol consumption – although at the time it may seem to be cure. Alcohol changes levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain causing anxiety symptoms to worse. Ever felt down or emotional the day after a heavy night?
  3. Meditate – Even as little as 10mins a day. (head space app is great)
  4. Use of fragrances in your houseLavender is known for its calming properties.
  5. Be ok with not being ok – It is a feeling that can & will pass.
  6. Drink more water – Dehydration can trigger heart palpitations making feelings of anxiety worse.

Is our gut the key to our health?

Researchers now believe the answer is YES… why?

  1. This is where we breakdown foods into the nutrients that our body needs. 
  2. The gut contains the highest concentration of immune cells within our body!
  3. The Gut is linked physically & chemically to the brain.

Recent studies have shown that our brain affects our gut health and our gut can even affect our brain health. The gut is an integral part of the nervous system, so the brain can easily affect gut function. Ever recognized the brain-gut connection?  such as butterflies or nausea from feeling nervous or stressed.

What we eat and how our bodies digest this food plays a significant role in keeping us healthy and functioning correctly. So why would we not focus on what we are eating?

80% of our immune cells are located within our gut! That is the highest concentration of immune cells in our entire body.  Every time we eat, we are exposed to the external environment and our bodies immune system kicks into gear. It decides whether the food is a virus or something we can absorb as nutrients for the body (for example, GLUTEN- if you have an intolerance to gluten, your immune system tags it as a virus which then causes reactions in the gut).

Food intolerance can be described as a difficulty digesting certain foods and having an unpleasant physical reaction to them. It can occur as a child or an adult. The actual cause is unknown but things chronic stress or trauma can trigger symptoms.

Steps to take if you suspect a food intolerance:

  1. Firstly, if you recognise yourself having more than one of the signs/symptoms of an intolerance to certain food groups (abdominal pain, reflux, sinus issues, bloating, skin rashes , itching, diarrhoea, change in bowel movements) it is important to seek medical advice and get a correct diagnosis.
  2. Keep a food & symptom diary to track certain triggers.
  3. See a specialist Dietician- follow a restricted diet for two weeks to see if symptoms resolve.
6 Areas A Leaky Gut Can Affect

Leaky Gut is a condition where the lining of the small intestine has become damaged. Small holes are torn in the gut lining. This allows toxins to leak into the bloodstream – causing symptoms and disease- especially malabsorption conditions like osteoporosis.

When the contents of our gut can “leak” into our bodies, our immune system is activated, and this creates inflammatory chemicals. These chemicals travel around our body and affect areas such as our joints, skin and brain. This high immune response also leads to GI problems (such as acid reflux, gas production and or multiple food intolerances).

Causes of leaky gut: The most common is caused by an imbalance in the bacteria in our gut (also known as the gut microbiome).  An overflow of harmful bacteria is usually caused by a poor diet, a long course of antibiotics or chronic stress.

Having good gut bacteria is important as it turns the food we eat into healthy compounds. These healthy compounds heal the tight areas between our cells and protect the lining of the gut barrier. 

So, what does this mean?  It means our diet does matter…The food we eat determines which bacteria will thrive (the good kind or the bad).

The good news is, we can repair our gut! Meaning a potential food intolerance may not have to last forever. The types of food we digest have the biggest influence on our microbiome, which is why we should always start by looking into our diet first!

So, in conclusion… Fuel your body well, have a happy gut and a happier, healthier life!

If you suspect you have Leaky Gut or any Gut Health issues I recommend you seek a professional diagnosis from a specialist dietitian or doctor who can then plan correct treatment. Treatment may involve lifestyle or diet changes, probiotics/various nutritional supplements and or medication.

Blog

Mental Health Awareness Week – Body Image.

Being in a fighting sport my whole life, I pride myself on being “strong” and that feeling down is “stupid” and that I need to “just suck it up and get on with it”. I thought admitting that I was finding things hard was weak and I preferred to deal with things myself… Speaking to others isn’t a sign of weakness but of strength. Having the courage to be ok with your feelings is the first step to any challenge.

This year’s Mental Health topic is Body Image so I wanted to share some things that I think are important in regards to appearance and health:

1. Comparing yourself to images you see on social media isn’t fair. Social media portrays an image that may not always tell the true story. The app also takes you from a 2 to a 10 with a few edits.

2. Genetics: Everyone is born their own shape & size so wanting to be exactly like someone else is a waste of energy. Your body is capable of amazing things, so why not work on improving your strength and functionality. Thrive with what you have and push to be the best you.

3. You can have the “ideal” figure, but feel like crap: Body image means nothing if you have no energy to live, or you’re always ill from eating 50kcal a day to “fit in”

4. Caring about your appearance is great, but letting it take over your mood is much less attractive. Work on your happiness and health and the rest should follow

5. Sport & exercise should be fun, not a chore: Exercise should be used as a form of mental health not just for a six pack (Nutrition does 90% of that anyway). Exercise decreases stress hormones like cortisol and releases endorphins, as well as serotonin (the body’s natural feel good chemicals).

6. You are not defined by your appearance or by a number on the scale!
You are worth more than that, and you are never alone!

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.