Rishi announces Covid to be furloughed for Christmas

As we all predicted series 11 of 2020 is all going to end in tiers (boom boom).

The writers have gone with the somewhat predictable let’s put London in tier 2 and most of the North in tier 3 even though the North Wests R rating is lower than the Capital plot line. To be honest most of of us up here are just waiting for the day Boris announces the start of the Hunger Games in one of his daily briefings, I suspect this may happen in an early series of 2021.

Tier 3 means no group exercise (despite it being arguably the safest area of most gyms and proving that the people making the decisions are basing them on polls of Daily Mail readers) and the likely death of the hospitality industry as they miss the vital Christmas trade.

On the plus side BoJo has announced that Covid plans to take a 5 day holiday over Christmas when we can meet with Granny without killing her. Whether Covid will be furloughed in this time has not been announced. Of course none of this seems like a bit of a kick in the teeth for those who had their Eid celebrations cancelled the night before and nobody at all is expecting the plot twist of a third lockdown in episode 1 of 2021, honest.

As a side plot away from Covid the most pointless main character in the history of any show ever, Matt Hancock, smirked his way through a TV interview with Piers Morgan trying to justify why him and his mates should get a pay rise but the rest of the country should be grateful if they manage to hang onto their jobs at all. You know it’s bad when Piers Morgan starts sounding like he’s talking sense so we all wait with nervous anticipation for the final ever season of 2020… will it be jolly? Will it be miserable? After the last 11 series all bets are off on this one.

How To Get Fit

How do you get started with a fitness regime? How do I get back into a routine when I’ve fallen out of mine? Lockdown one and two (at what point did we start numbering them because it’s a standard thing now isn’t it?) have, for a lot of us, thrown our training and nutrition into a bit of a tailspin.

So what do you do if this is the case? Whether you are looking to get started or a seasoned gym goer in a funk there’s one key strategy to get going.

Do one thing.

Whilst we often state our lack of doing things is down to a lack of motivation, in actual fact motivation is more a case of momentum. We tend to find motivation from doing something and using that as a stepping stone to do more. The more we do the more motivated we feel.

So when we want to get started with improving our fitness or nutrition making one small change is the best way of getting started.

This could mean doing one short workout (10 minutes), going for a walk, starting to track our calories, committing to drinking more water each day. Once we start to feel the benefits of this it becomes easier to consider adding additional things into our routine.

On top of create an increased sense of motivation, doing one small thing at a time can also make building a fitness regime feel more achievable.

This goes against most of our natural instincts. We tend to have a desire to be perfect, the idea that if we don’t do everything perfectly is there any point of doing it at all is prevalent (hence why so many diets start on Monday, and when people have one slip they wait to start again the following Monday). We aren’t perfect though. Not even those people that really seem to have it all together (you know those people who seem to know how to adult), so we are far more likely to feel successful if we work on our goals in small chunks.

So as you start this week, if you are wanting to make a change to your fitness or nutrition, think about trying to improve one small thing and nothing more than that.

Lockdown 2 Training

I don’t know about you but I’m finding training in second Lockdown harder. During the first lockdown I did something almost every day, some days it may have only been a 10 minute run but I moved; I did Zoom classes, ran, walked, lifted, albeit limited, weights I had and used by body weight as resistance.

We’ve been in lockdown 2 for 11 days and so far I’ve run a total of 10km across four separate runs and that’s it. I actually struggled with my training when gyms re-opened. Having got into a groove at home I found making the transition back to working in the office and training around that hard. After teaching for around 8 weeks I’d just started to feel like I was getting back into some kind of routine again and bam – back into lockdown we went. My brain has literally and inexplicably decided it cannot be bothered, I’ve spent the last week kicking myself about why I’ve been so lazy when I know that training would make me feel better.

What I’ve realised over the last couple of days however, is that we are learning to react to constantly changing situations at the moment, with a great deal of uncertainty about what we will and won’t be able to do when. If that occasionally means that I have a week or two where not much gets done that’s ok, I can always get back to it. Training should be something done because we enjoy it, it makes us feel good not because we think we must. It of course was going to be harder this time round, as the weather and darker evenings make training outside much harder and less appealing, so this second Lockdown I’m adjusting my expectations of myself. When I do get back to training I’m sure it will feel all the better for doing it because I want to and not because I’m forcing myself out of a sense of obligation.

2020 – A brief interlude in the proceedings

Whilst we expected Series 11 to mainly be about Lockdown 2.0 the writers decided to break the tension with an episode with a difference this week, a bit like when the Crown did that episode that was just about the Queen and Prince Philips relationship in series 2. Yes, Bojo and Cummings broke up.

Apparently it was always going to happen in season 12 but something happened behind the scenes which led to a shock early departure and a well staged carrying of desk items in a cardboard box out of the door of number 10 (no back door to slink quietly out of, I take it).

The precise reasons why have only been hinted at which leads me to guess we’ll get one of those looking back episodes in a future series where we find out what really happened, but it appears to have been some kind of strange love triangle between Boris, Dominic and Carrie Symonds who apparently is “one of the few people around the prime minister who understands the Conservative party”, which given that he is largely surrounded by the Conservative cabinet is a bit disconcerting.

Anyway, we await to see who will run the country now Cummings has gone and whether, as I suspect, he has actually left to front a major Specscavers campaign.

One thing we can all be grateful of, at least all this in fighting isn’t happening at a time of national crisis, in the midst of a pandemic, economic recession and whilst we are on the brink of an EU no deal Brexit.

Expert v. The Internet

Today I read a post on a weight loss Facebook group. The person posting was disappointed because they had ‘only’ lost 10lbs in 5 weeks. They did note their clothes fit better.

I don’t tend to comment on these things but today felt I had to, not to go into lots of detail and be all preachy but just to remind them that a) they had actually seen a good weight loss in those 5 weeks and even better, could see it in how their clothes fit which is a far better way of monitoring progress and that b) many of the other comments offering advice, whilst well meaning, were not helpful.

There were suggestions that the person posting may be in starvation mode and that’s why they were not losing more weight, that they should have a cheat meal or cheat day to ‘reset their metabolism’. I’m not writing this to make fun of those comments, the people making them were trying to help, but ultimately they were passing on false information to someone who was looking for advice to follow.

The internet is brilliant for researching information on topics you need help with, but be mindful of where you look for your information. If you are looking to improve you fitness or reach your goals check the people you are listening to are qualified to help you so you don’t end up trying to follow guidance which isn’t factually correct.

90% Effective

Episode 9 of series 11 was a corker as we all got excited about a vaccine that could be 90% effective.

Good news. Except the UK has 10 million doses with 30 millions on order which, as apparently each person would need two doses, would be enough to immunise 20 million people. There’s 66.7 million people in the UK. Now I’ve never been great at maths but that doesn’t sound like it’s going to be quite enough to solve the problem to me, but Boris isn’t known for cocking things up is he so I’m sure he knows what he’s doing. Either that or he’s counting on Marcus Rashford to come up with some kind of solution, which to be honest sounds more likely. Or maybe clapping for those who don’t get the vaccine will work?

So if only 30% of the country will be able to get the vaccine how will they decide who those people are? Here’s a few options for Hancock and co. to consider:

🔘 You could win one with the People’s Postcode lottery

🔘 You could buy one on TicketMaster, with a presale for all paid up members of the Conservative Party to make it as ‘fair’ as possible

🔘 Regional Egg and Spoon races (socially distanced obviously) with vaccines for the winners

🔘 Everyone called Malcolm, Steve or Vera could automatically qualify

🔘 They could put golden vaccine tickets in chocolate bars aka Charlie and the Chocolate factory with the winners getting a vaccine (odds are I’d be a winner here)

🔘 You could collect 5 special tokens from the Sun like one of those £10 holidays (subject to availability)

🔘 Everyone who supports Manchester United or Liverpool could automatically qualify (this would cover a wide selection of the country)

🔘 They could sell them in the special buy section of Aldi

🔘 They could vaccinate the vulnerable and front line medical staff first of course but that seems a bit too boring and sensible so I just can’t see it

Don’t be a Fitness Jack of All Trades

If you follow a lot of fitness type accounts on Instagram / Facebook and scroll at any one time you’ll see posts telling you to eat clean, eat intuitively, eat in moderation, have that chocolate, fast, cut out carbs, eat a high protein diet, count calories, don’t count calories, train hard, train in a way you enjoy, only do classes, never do classes, do CrossFit, don’t do CrossFit, lift heavy, lift for reps, run, walk as the absolute key to reaching your goals. You’ll be encouraged to love your body as it is, lose weight, gain muscle, work on your butt, train for a PB, train for fun, never skip a Monday, not over train. You’ll see posts telling you to reach out to someone if you need support alongside positive vibe only quotes.

My point is that there are so many, often contradictory messages out there. That can make knowing what your goal is and how to get there confusing. It can make knowing when to push and when to rest hard. It can make dealing with your own mental health effectively difficult.

Let’s take exercise intensity as an example. Messages about there being no such thing as a bad workout and the sessions you really don’t want to do being the ones you should do are potentially useful for someone who is struggling to motivate themselves to train, hasn’t trained for a while and needs a bit of accountability. Yet if you are someone who trains religiously every day (or more than once a day), ae showing signs of injury and fatigue and really should dial back your training to avoid burnout, those same messages are not useful. For those people an exercise philosophy that encourages listening to your body and resting when you feel you need to works better. Of course if you flip it that message wouldn’t be useful to someone who often tells themselves excuses not to train as it won’t get them moving.

Of course your social media viewing is largely a prism of your own ideology- we choose who we follow but still not every post you see will be applicable to you, that can make knowing how to approach your fitness difficult. That’s where bringing in a fitness professional can be beneficial.

Most PTs have their preferred methods- things they believe will work best in terms of training and nutrition, however they will also have the knowledge to adapt plans to work for you. That means what your PT prescribes for you won’t be the same as every other client they have, because we are all different and what motivates you effectively won’t motivate every other person to the same level.

Social media is a great tool for ideas and inspiration but as much as we often hear about being careful not to fall into the comparison trap, also remember to not fall into the trap of trying to do every single thing in a quest for the ultimate level of fitness. The most successful people at most things are not successful at everything – they specialise, and in the same way the most effective way for you to get results is to focus on they key things that will most benefit you.

2020 Continues

Despite Lockdown 2.0 being released in the first few episodes of series 11 it hasn’t had the response from critics that the Government perhaps hoped for, largely because the plot feels a lot like Lockdown 1.0 and there isn’t enough originality to inspire the public this time round, but also because they’ve shut all the cinemas so we can’t actually go and see it.

Some notable changes from Lockdown 1.0 have included more people and businesses being fined as more people resist the restrictions, with at least a couple of gyms refusing to shut their doors.

Meanwhile students in Manchester tore down fences that were put up overnight in an apparent effort to cage them in. I can’t help but think that this could be a clue from the writers that student uprisings could be more of a plot focus on coming episodes.

Rishi, possibly in an attempt to redeem himself extended furlough until March – which largely just made a lot of people suspect we are going to be stuck in lockdown until then. The big Christmas finale to series 12 is starting to look a little doubtful.

The big focus of series 11 so far though has been the U.S elections. Despite the fact that many British people couldn’t explain our own political system we’ve all become experts on the American voting system (which appears quite frankly bonkers) in the last few days.

Unlike the UK the votes aren’t counted as quickly as possible in a church or school hall with results announced within hours of polling stations closing (largely because step aerobics will start at 10am the next day whether that counting is complete or not). There are no people dressed as a panda or other random character standing on a stage as the results are called out and we don’t take to the street with weapons claiming fraud because our team is losing.

Trump, a long standing comedy character, has performed predictably well, portraying a narcissistic crazy man with startling accuracy. You know it’s bad when news channels cut away from a live statement during an election stating that everything he says is absolute bollocks.

In the latest episode we see Biden win the presidency meaning we can look forward to lots of crazy Tweets from Trump, a legal battle, possibly the first every squater in the White House as Trump refuses to leave office.

Series 11 looks like it could be a surprising series with more twists than we expected.

Lockdown 2: Return of the Lockdown

Series 11 of 2020 kicked off today picking up where series ten’s cliff hanger left off.

BoJo had just announced that we must act now and have a second lockdown.

So we are acting now by waiting until Thursday.

This means you are safe to go out for food or to the gym tomorrow but on Thursday those things become far too risky.

The Government absolutely could not afford to pay 80% of the wages of those whose places of work are forced to close last week, when it was just the North affected, but now the South is going to also be closed they have found a bit of spare change down the back of the sofa and furlough at 80% is back.

It’s absolutely only until 2nd December, except Gove (not a new character, just one so bad we try to avoid thinking about him unless we can avoid it) has let slip that that’s probably another one of those lie things that Boris is so keen on.

So we now get ready for the premiere of Lockdown 2 ‘Return of the Lockdown’ on Thursday. Hopes are not high for another box office hit to honest.

Series 11 of 2020 is about to begin

As we enter series 11 of the crappiest series ever produced it becomes immediately apparent that despite the terrible reviews, falling viewing figures and utterly unbelievable storylines the producers (Westminster Productions headed by Cummings) have no plans to call an end to the dismal drama of 2020.

Series one started off well enough, if a little slowly. The outbreak of a virus in Wuhan seemed like it would be one of those filler stories as Australian wildfires, the possibility of world war three and the death of Kobe Bryant dominated.

Series two was equally as slow, focusing on a few individual cases of Corona Virus (back when we weren’t all experts and so didn’t refer to it as Covid-19). Boris was still a comedy character and Brexit threatened to be the focus of the next few series. Matt Hancock was still an extra at this stage and if we are all honest the casting directors probably should have kept him there because he has about as much stage presence as a mop.

Series three was where the drama really picked up, and looking back series 3-5 were probably the peak for this show. The Govenment held a Cobra meeting or two (when BoJo could be bothered to atend), bringing Boris, Rishi and Hancock in as major characters for the first time. The start of this series was a bit slow and not that much happened other than it becoming apparent that a disturbing number of people apparently did not know how to wash their hands, but the last couple of episodes were jammed packed with people panic buying toilet roll, pasta and Spam (because we all like spam right). Boris, Rishi and Hancock start to hold daily briefings, which become mandatory watching for everyone. We were told to work from home if we can, hinting for the first time that series 4 would massively focus on class and the vast gap between different sections of our society. Pubs and clubs and gyms and non essential shops are told to close, Rishi becomes the most popular character with his announcement of the Furlough scheme, Boris announced a National Lockdown and and we ended of a cliff hanger as Boris tested positive to Covid (Hancock did too but no one actually cared what happened to this character). Whilst all this is going on Cummings drove 250 miles to Durham whilst he should have been isolating, setting up one of the key storylines for series 5.

Series 4 was widely hailed as the most popular series in this drama. The weather was good, lots of people enjoyed being at home but a major theme was explored as we examined that (strangely shockingly for some unknown reason) massive social chasm between the people who could work from home, fully paid with family in nice houses with big gardens an those who didn’t have outdoor space, were no longer getting paid or lived alone and were socially isolated. Obviously most of the Tory voters fell into the former camp so this situation was largely deemed acceptable. Zoom becomes a ‘thing’, Boris ends up in hospital with the ‘Rona increasing his popularity as a character, the Queen made a cameo appearance just to ram home exactly how serious the situation is, Priti Patel fucks up her daily briefing appearance, a 99 year old war veteran is forced to complete 100 laps of his garden to fund the NHS, which the Government seem to hijack and praise rather than feeling even mildly bad that we require this sort of fundraising to buy ventilators and PPE. DIY becomes the new national hobby, followed a close second by day drinking at home. We all learn that old British pastime of queuing and find a love for standing outside and clapping at 8pm on a Wednesday.

Series 5 focused on the idea of testing and how bad the Government were at it. Boris made himself less available for filming in this series and so Hancock had to take a bigger role, which was unfortunate due to him having the charisma of a bus, but due to there being not much on to watch as all soaps had had to stop filming and were running out of episodes we largely stuck with him and kept tuning in for the daily briefings. When Boris did return to our screens it was to confuse the fuck out of the British Public telling us to go to work but stay at home and the slogan Stay Alert was introduced. Sadly the thing most people were now being alerted to was how inept the Tory party actually are. A highlight of series 5 was Cummings trip to test his eyesight at Barnard Castle from series 3 came to light, he was given a pretty hard time when you consider he clearly had a sight problem having mistaken a castle for the local branch of Specsavers.

Series 6 saw Black Lives Matters protests, shops reopening, that twit Hancock being seen not socially distancing in more do as I say not as I do behaviour, daily briefings stopped towards the end of the series and would be held only when something interesting happened, lots of people go to the seaside. Leicester gets locked down again.

Series 7 was a more light hearted series. Pubs reopened, people could get their hair cut again, later gyms also reopened, we suddenly decide that after all this time face masks might be useful, Manchester gets put into local lockdown and the Government then swiftly forget they’ve done it, because the cabinet aren’t really sure where the North is, so they stay in lockdown for the next few series. The frustration of a city at being left in a limbo is painted by the media as feckless northerners ignoring rules and causing a second wave because newspapers tend to prefer the south.

Series 8 saw Eat Out To help Out, which obviously definitely did not in any way at all contribute towards a rise in cases. No when the public were told to go out and spend money to boost the economy what they meant was go out spend money but stay in at the same time so really all the second wave shizzle is our fault. Do not blame Rishi ok.

Series 9 was where people started to become disenchanted with the series. Many felt that money and the economy was taking precedent over people’s health whilst many areas of the economy were feeling the opposite and that they were taking the brunt of the damage when the evidence that they contributed an extensive number of cases was low. Kids went back to school, universities told students to come to campus then locked them up and we all acted shocked that there now seemed to be more cases. It was discovered that Covid actually only gets you after 10pm so pubs were given a 10pm curfew. You also can’t get Covid in a group of 6 of less

Series 10 was utter shite let’s be honest. Boris bought in Tiers, which made no sense whatsoever. Liverpool and Manchester became the first cities to experience Tier 3, obviously the fact that they are two cities which are Labour strong holds and so the Torys have no interest in appealing to voters had nothing to do with this. The fact Boris forgot that Manchester had been in lockdown since July was also obviously not indicative of his disdain for the North. There was much debate about whether gyms should remain open and Manchester considered it’s own war of independence with new character Andy Burnham being crowned King of the North (some critics argue that it’s here with 2020 looking more like GOT that the drama starts to get a bit ridiculous). Anyway it turns out that all this Tier bollocks was pointless anyway because more and more cities started to be put into Tier 3 (well the whole of the North basically). Then they started to think that maybe London needed more measures so we stated to think about a National Lockdown – because when Boris says we follow the science he means we follow what is needed for the Capital, because the scientist have been calling for a lockdown for a wee while now haven’t they Bozza. Daily Briefings were replaced with us all watching the televised House of Commons announcements and we all realised that they announced everything there before officially announcing it later, and for the first time ever the phase ‘what time are they speaking in he house’ was often muttered. We also wondered why everything seemed to be leaked to the press, either the Government really need to sort out their guttering or they are using the media to play the public (couldn’t be that could it). Marcus Rashford shamed the Tory’s over their decision to let children starve over the school holidays, well I say shamed them, they obviously defended that decision because it’s not that children don’t matter, it’s just that poor children don’t matter. Rishi became a villan after his strong popularity in series 3 and 4 when it became apparent with his vote against feeding kids that he is in fact still a Tory.

And so we come to the last episode of series 10 – series 11 starting tomorrow. And in true cliff hanger style they’re about to announce a second National Lockdown – which is crap because we all know sequels are never as good.

The only good news about this whole 2020 drama is it’s been confirmed that there will only be another two series. Unless that is we get to the last episode of series 12 and at midnight someone shouts surprise and 2020 starts all over again.