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Tribesports User of the Week: Neil P

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Posted by Neil P under Running, Adventure Racing on 21 August 2013 at 11:00 PM

Neil P profileWhat has been your toughest Tribesports Challenge and which are you most proud of?

There have been so many different Challenges that are tough in their own way. When I first started last year I struggled to get through the core workout, now I’ve started to throw it in as a warm up or at the end of my workout.For me the 30 day Challenges have to be the toughest, not because of the physical challenge they represent but the mental challenge of doing them every single day for 30 days.

I think the 30 day squat Challenge stands out as a really good example, I made a point of doing the set number of squats everyday in one set because as the amount of reps increased it could have been so easy to break them into sets but I wanted the satisfaction of knowing that I was able to break down the mental barrier of seeing the number increase each day and just do them in one go. I enjoyed it that much I did it again the following month.

Another favourite has to be the No Chocolate Challenges, chocolate was a big addiction of mine, now I can just look at displays of chocolate in the supermarkets and not be tempted, oh and complete my first half marathon!

What's the story behind your #GameChanger moment? 

I was cheeky here and ended up with two #GameChanger moments. The first part about me proving my surgeon wrong goes way back into my teens. When I was thirteen I was diagnosed with a fracture of the spine, as a result I was put into a fibreglass cast for three months and was unable to do any sport. Once the cast was removed I had physiotherapy and a corset fitted but continued to have problems and was told I couldn’t take part in any contact sport to minimise the risk of further injury. I was still having problems when I was seventeen and it was decided that as there was a possibility of further damage that the only solution was to operate. When the operation took place it was discovered I had two fractures and my spine was fused and pinned.

Game Changer Neil P
I was in hospital for about a week and was told to slow down as I started walking again with the help of a frame. I was told that regardless of the success of the operation I would never be able to do any sport or lift weights. A year after the operation I joined my local athletics club, started weight training and the week before the hospital discharged me completely I had qualified to run for my county, the look on the surgeons face will stay with me forever – it was a magical moment. During my time at the athletics club I ran in many races ranging from 100 metres and road relays up to 10k during the national cross country championships, although I trained specifically for the 800 and 1500 metres.

The second part of my #GameChanger was joining Tribesports in my forties. Tribesports has literally changed my life, I had always felt like I had unfinished business sports wise but although I had tried to keep myself fit as I got older I never really did anything long lasting about it until I saw the advert for Tribesports on Facebook. That one click connected me with the most incredible group of people I have ever come across and with their encouragement I have been able to get back to a level of fitness I haven’t had since my early twenties. I cannot thank Tribesports or the incredible friends I have made on here enough. I just want to take a moment here to say how proud and grateful I am to have been selected as User of the Week, when I found out I thought it was an error, when I realised it wasn’t it I have to admit it choked me up!!

How are you preparing for your first Tough Mudder?

For the Tough Mudder I have been concentrating more on upper body strength than anything else, I’ve watched a few videos of other mudders and the ability to hoist yourself and fellow mudders up over obstacles seems to be a necessary evil. Over the next few weeks in particularly I will be taking more weight based challenges and workouts. I do think though that the Tough Mudder is going to be more of a mental than a physical challenge, especially the electrical obstacles, I’m looking forward to those!

Are you going with a group or facing the obstacles solo?

I actually have a choice of events now, I was originally going to do the Yorkshire Tough Mudder solo, however I also have the opportunity to do the South West Tough Mudder in a team with some of my brothers work colleagues so who knows I may end up doing both!

Medals won by Neil P

What's your target time for the Great Birmingham Run?

I am hoping to complete the Great Birmingham Run in under 1 hour 30 minutes, I was within a couple of minutes of doing that time at the Malvern Half Marathon in June so I think I am capable of knocking those minutes off in Birmingham. Again, it’s the mental challenge of a event like this that I like, it’s all too easy to let your mind wander off to places you don’t want to be and in October that place will most likely be somewhere dry and warm! I usually try to concentrate my thoughts on just relaxing, breathing easy and passing the person in front of me. I like to get from A to B in as short a time as possible whatever I’m doing so racing is just perfect for me.

What's your favourite weights exercise?

I have only really been using a set of dumbbells and just kept to things like bicep curls and standing dumbbell shoulder presses however I’ve just started to include barbell exercises into my workouts so I’m hoping to see some serious improvements on my upper body strength. I have a weighted vest and will be using that more on what would usually be just bodyweight exercises for more resistance, particularly exercises like chin ups and push ups although I am tempted to do the 30 day squat challenge again wearing it.

Where in the world would you most like to complete a Challenge?

I would love to take part in a polar challenge or perhaps in a desert, having to push yourself both physically and mentally to achieve your goal. I can’t think of a greater challenge than competing against mother nature in her most extreme environments.

Which Tribesports user makes your day?

I have made friends with so many incredible people on Tribesports that it wouldn’t be fair not to thank each and ever one of them, so I say to everybody who has followed me, encouraged me and those that have inspired me thank you so very very much. I would like to give special mention to Rick P and Eunice Y, two incredible people whose daily commitment to TS undoubtedly inspires many hundreds if not thousands of people to achieve and maintain their fitness goals, Steve M, Matteo R, Dave W, Russ B and Al W for their encouraging and kind words, true gentlemen in every sense of the word, Nuchi N and Anne Margaret S for posting some entertaining and unique challenges and Teresa D for inspiring me to keep squatting! I just wish I had the room to list everybody – once again thank you ALL so very very much.

What's your favourite quote?

It’s always too early to quit.

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