Hillwalking Team
Hillwalking Team

As with my learned wisdom on food I do not in any way claim to be an expert on Physical Training. Nor do I in any way claim to be an expert on biology or the workings of the human body. I am simply a former Infantry Officer whose very job description required of me high levels of fitness with as rapid recovery from injury as was possible, as to fail a physical fitness test while in command of soldiers, and meant to be leading from the front, would not do. I also, of course, had a responsibility to ensure that all those soldiers under my command were trained to the very highest level and were delivered into operations as fit as possible in order to ensure the greatest chance of success. Therefore I took a deep interest in the physical training of myself and my soldiers, and in the process I learned a lot from the advice and guidance of the Army’s brilliant Physical Training Instructors. I was also fortunate enough to be selected, as a young officer, to undertake an intensive 18 months of full time training with the British Army Modern Pentathlon Team, in order to try and secure an Army team, as the male Modern Pentathlon Team for the Great Britain Olympic Team for the Sydney 2,000 Olympics. It was an extremely intensive 18 months of 12 hour days of physical training, tactics and techniques, and skills training over the 5 disciplines of Fencing, Pistol Shooting, Swimming, Horse Riding and Running, 6 days a week for 44 weeks in the year. We got to train alongside the national team and the greats like Steph Cook and Kate Allenby who went on to win Gold and Silver respectively. Sadly we never quite made the selection grade so did not go through to the Olympics, but I did most certainly learn a huge amount about the physical training of the body and fuelling it. It is this 20 years of learned wisdom that I brought forward with me as I was struck down by a beast of a brain tumour that had grown so very slowly, undetected for 15 years after a blunt force trauma sustained during my military service. A brain tumour that had grown to such a size that it could not be shrunk, killed or cured. It was so deep into the brain that they could not remove any more than 40% of the original bulk. So I was left with a tumour the size of a tarantula spider, or a small hand, that had pushed the centre line of my brain all the way over to just above my left ear. The brain had amazingly adapted and adjusted as the tumour grew so very slowly, which was how it had remained undetected until a chance discovery 9 months after leaving the Army. That chance discovery came in the nick of time as just 6 months after discovery the tumour jumped to a much more aggressive and faster growing beast that also triggered epilepsy. It was classed as terminal and came with a prognosis that grew shorter the more opinions I sought. Yet, while I have a further five years to wait until I can be absolutely sure, the beast that could not be shrunk, killed or cured, appears to have disappeared completely from the scans on which we had previously been monitoring it. I am completely convinced that I have beaten the beast through a process of intense medical treatment reinforced by a holistic approach to my healing through eating better and moving more. I arrived at the diagnosis physically fit after 20 years in the Army and being in the routine of regular physical exercise I continued with my practice of twice daily walks of the dog every early morning and evening with a period of physical training during the day. It was the only thing that made me feel in the slightest bit human during the longest 18 months of my life, as I went through brain surgery, a full course of radiotherapy, and a year of chemotherapy .

In a Canoe (day 95!) Callander Deanston
In a Canoe (day 95!) Callander Deanston

I tried taking complete rest to allow the body to recover from treatment, in fact I tried just about every physical and feeding flavour of the month when it came to beating cancer, and surviving through treatment and tried them all so intensely, that I not only needed an entire course of treatment, in order to put out the fires that I had lit within my body by shocking it so through food, but I learned a huge amount more from the advice and guidance of the brilliant consultants in oncology, diet, physical health, epilepsy and psychological health working within the NHS. From that experience, coupled with my military and athletic physical training experience comes much learned wisdom that I wish to share with you to give you hope, inspiration and encouragement, that you really can make the impossible possible and beat your beast. Any statements of fact come only from the three websites I found to be the best for advice and guidance on living with and beating cancer and will be attributed as such. The NHS Choices website, the MacMillan Cancer Care Website and the Cancer Research UK Website. Where it is just an understanding that I have developed from much research and experience I will prefix this with ‘My understanding is’. But the key point to remember is fundamentally that I am convinced that I have beaten the beast, but I have made many mistakes on the way that caused me much pain and discomfort. So I hope you will listen and act on this shared wisdom but stress that before you launch yourself on a strategy that you design to beat your beast, from the information that I provide in my website and these blogs, that you check with your GP or medical team first.

Skiing in Washington State (Archie, Right)
Skiing in Washington State (Archie, Right)

Why Physical Training?

In my 5 Fs strategy of Food, Faith, Family and Friends, Focus and Physical Training (Sounds like an F) I could have selected Fitness as a neater fit for my 5 Fs. But what I was not about in my drive to beat the beast and in encouraging you to do the same, is turning you into potential Olympians or marathon runners. What my advice is about is physically training the body to beat disease. As discussed in my previous chapter, your body has many incredible features, like the lymph system and sweating, amongst others, designed to remove toxic waste from the body, including the remnants of disease that the body has managed to defeat. But these systems require pumping and it is only physical exercise that can pump the systems for you. By conducting an enduring period of physical training and fuelling it correctly (see my chapter on food) you are training and fine tuning the body to beat disease and defeat your beast. Remember that my understanding is that we were designed and further evolved as omnivores that roamed long distances foraging for food with the occasional bouts of intense physical exercise in order to hunt for and capture prey, or to defend one’s territories. As such, to replicate those feeding and physical conditions maximises the potential of our bodies and minds to remain healthy, but also to defeat disease even once it is diagnosed.

Benefits of Physical Training

The quotes below affirm my theory about how man was designed and is meant to eat better and move more in order to stay healthy and beat disease once diagnosed.

Exercise is the miracle cure we’ve always had, but for too long we’ve neglected to take our recommended dose. Our health is now suffering as a consequence.
This is no snake oil. Whatever your age, there’s strong scientific evidence that being physically active can help you lead a healthier and even happier life.
People who do regular physical activity have a lower risk of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and some cancers.
Research shows that physical activity can also boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing your risk of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
“If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented,” says Dr Nick Cavill, a health promotion consultant.
(NHS Choices)

Horse Riding in the Borders
Horse Riding in the Borders

Regular walking has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, stroke and some cancers. (NHS Choices)

Keeping active can have a positive impact on your health and wellbeing, and help reduce the side effects of treatment. (MacMillan Cancer Care)

People who lead an active lifestyle with regular intensive exercise are less likely to die from cancer, a study by Finnish scientists suggests. (Cancer Research UK)

A small study in Austria has suggested that smokers who regularly exercise while trying to quit might be more successful than sedentary smokers. (Cancer Research UK)

Women who exercise and keep active are around 30 per cent less likely to develop womb cancer than couch potatoes (Cancer Research UK)

Two papers published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology this month add weight to the idea that people with bowel cancer might benefit from regular exercise. (Cancer Research UK)

Cancer Research UK scientists will highlight the role of exercise in preventing cancer and helping patients recover from the disease at a special briefing (Cancer Research UK)

Regular exercise can significantly reduce one of the early signs of bowel cancer in men, new research has claimed at The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre (Cancer Research UK)

Men who exercise often are less likely to die from cancer than those who don’t, new research published in the British Journal of Cancer* reveals today (Cancer Research UK)

You might be able to manage constipation through your diet and exercise! (Cancer Research UK)

Heather and James with Archie at Bredon Hill
Heather and James with Archie at Bredon Hill

It’s medically proven that people who do regular physical activity have:

  • Up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
  • Up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer
  • Up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer
  • A 30% lower risk of early death
  • Up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
  • Up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture
  • A 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults)
  • Up to a 30% lower risk of depression
  • Up to a 30% lower risk of dementia

(NHS Choices)

What Do I Mean By Physical Training?

Don’t panic, I am not about to try and launch you on a military training exercise or send you to a boot camp exercise class although they are most excellent tools if you wish to use them. Instead I will provide you with a very simple training programme and guidance that I used from the start of treatment and adapted from a training programme I designed to stay fit and adapted further to recover from injury during my service. My training programme was inspired by some advice in a book I used as a young officer to guide my physical training. ‘Fighting Fit, the complete fitness training guide by Adrian Weale’ I have a very modest income so have kept the costs to a minimum. There is no need to be extravagant.

How Much Physical Training Do I Need to Do?

Firstly I give you some parameters on how much exercise one should do as recommended by NHS choices.

“To stay healthy, adults should try to be active daily and aim to achieve at least 150 minutes of physical activity over a week through a variety of activities.

For most people, the easiest way to get moving is to make activity part of everyday life, like walking or cycling instead of using the car to get around.
However, the more you do, the better, and taking part in activities such as sports and exercise will make you even healthier.
For any type of activity to benefit your health, you need to be moving quick enough to raise your heart rate, breathe faster and feel warmer. This level of effort is called moderate intensity activity. One way to tell if you’re working at a moderate intensity is if you can still talk but you can’t sing the words to a song.

If your activity requires you to work even harder, it is called vigorous intensity activity. There is substantial evidence that vigorous activity can bring health benefits over and above that of moderate activity. You can tell when it’s vigorous activity because you’re breathing hard and fast, and your heart rate has gone up quite a bit. If you’re working at this level, you won’t be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.”

What Type of Activities Count?

Moderate activity will raise your heart rate and make you breathe faster and feel warmer. One way to tell if you’re working at a moderate level is if you can still talk, but you can’t sing the words to a song. A moderate activity is akin to a brisk walk or a cycle ride along a cycle path, or roller blading, or ice skating or cricket or golf. Anything that will raise your heart rate, make you breathe faster and feel warmer for a sustained period of time. Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi and Gardening are not examples of moderate activity. They are most excellent ways to relax and unwind, to improve balance and mobility and core strength, but they do not raise the heart beat and warm the body for sustained periods of time, so while they are most excellent activities to include in your healthy life, they must not replace brisk walks or cycling as a moderate activity

Vigorous activity makes you breathe hard and fast. If you’re working at this level, you won’t be able to say more than a few words without pausing for breath. Running, or hill walking, or cycling routes with inclines in them or length swimming, or an intensive strength training circuit, or a weighted walk with inclines in them or gym classes such as aerobics, or sports such as Rugby or Hockey all count.

Rugby Sevens - Just after I Scored a Try!
Rugby Sevens – Just after I Scored a Try!

So What Do I Need To Do?

The NHS recommends At Least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week to stay healthy. Note the use of the term at least. This means that we really should be doing more. And as I have physically proven in my fight back against a terminal disease, if you want to beat a beast, any beast, be it in the form of brain tumours, or neurological conditions such as MS or other brain related diseases such as dementia, or other diseases, conditions or ailments such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high or low blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, obesity, failure of one or more vital organs, the loss of one or more senses, back pain or joint problems or musculoskeletal disease, circulatory problems, a muscle-wasting disease, mental health problems, growing old too quickly, or a combination of problems, we need to be doing a lot more exercise, but by weaving it into your daily life and routine we ensure that it does not in any way become a chore, but instead become an enjoyable and rewarding part of life that makes life much, much, much better and healthier.

I give you below my training programme that I used to stay fit in the Army, to recover from injury when it happened, and that I used, in collaboration with eating better and in reinforcement to my excellent medical treatment, in order to beat my beast of a brain tumour.

Before You Start

This training programme can be adapted and be used by anyone from 10 years old and over with no upper age limit. It is not about training you to be an Olympic weight lifter or athlete or marathon runner. It is about training the body, your body, from the point at which it now is to be physically more capable of recovering from injury, keeping healthy and beating disease. As such, it starts very gently to allow you time to adapt your life into the daily routine. It starts very gently to allow your body to get used to the daily demands of daily physical training. It starts very gently in order to allow you to start at a level at which you feel the benefits, but that does not overmatch or exert you, but builds, very gently, from your starting point to a much healthier and exhilarating level of exercise. So don’t rush it. Set the correct level at the start and build it gently in line with my recommendations.

This training programme builds on delivering moderate activity in the form of a brisk walk of on average 20 – 30 minutes a day twice a day coupled with a period of vigorous activity once a day. It uses a variety of activity from walking, to running, to swimming, to strength resistance training, to aerobic circuits, to weighted walks, to cycling, to Sports of your choice.


  1. Seek the advice of your medical practitioner before you start to take regular physical exercise.
  2. Start at a very simple level that you can manage without assistance.
  3. If you require assistance, as I did after having my inner ear removed and losing all sense of balance as a result, then seek it. Your friends and family will be more than happy to help where they can.
  4. If you require apparatus such as sticks or a frame to help you to walk then use them and select routes that will allow you to do so but again do it.
  5. Regular exercise is the key. I structure my daily exercise around a 20 to 30 minute brisk walk for moderate physical activity first thing in the morning, proper physical training for vigorous physical activity just before lunch be it a run or swim or strength training, and finally a brisk 20 to 30 minute walk for a further period of moderate physical activity in the evening just before cooking tea.
  6. Two moderate sessions and one vigorous session of physical training, therefore three sessions a day gets the body working as it was designed and gets the bodies’ immune system and lymph systems working to get or keep you healthy, and can be structured around your working life.
  7. Use your imagination for ways in which to fit the exercise in. Take the bike to work or to the station, or walk half the way to work before getting on the bus. Seize any opportunity to take physical exercise, even if it is just taking the stairs rather than the lift, it all helps to get the body working as it should.

To build the activity into your daily life you will need to use your imagination, but it can be done, and when you do it, coupled with my advice on eating better in my chapter on food, I promise that it will make life more productive, make life more enjoyable, make you feel happier and healthier and be healthier.

So work hard, be determined, be obsessive, be true to yourself and Deo Juvante, together, with your family and friends, by eating better and moving more we can beat the beast or even better, stop it from happening in the first place.

Training Programme Notes:

            1. What is a Rotation?
              Rowing down in London
              Rowing down in London

              A rotation is a number of exercises in type and nature that ensures an adequate balance of aerobic and strength training across the physical training programme. A rotation ensures there is adequate time for the body to be exercised across the whole body and frequently enough to be able to achieve improvement. Therefore each new rotation will see a gentle increase in time taken in exercise and of the exercise levels to be used. Step by step, rotation by rotation my training programme, coupled with my diet, will increase your strength, aerobic fitness and build your immune system to defeat disease.

            2. Exercise Level According to Ability
              When I allocate a level on an exercise machine to be used or a weight to be used, or a speed to be used, I have started that level, weight or speed at the lowest possible level to allow the body time to get used to regular physical training at the vigorous level, to allow the body time to acquire the muscle memory for the correct bodily positions to conduct any strength training or aerobic exercises safely as the resistance level, speed or weight increases. Everybody is different so adjust the resistance level, speed or weight or number of repetitions according to your ability. For example, if you cannot lift 1kg safely start with a much lighter weight, even just a can of beans and build from there. Or, if you arrive at this physical training programme fit and can already do a high quality press up easily, add a further 10 repetitions to the suggested number of repetitions so doing 11 repetitions of each exercise rather than just 1. Or add 10lbs to the weight for the weighted march, or add a further kg to the recommended weight or a further 10 levels to the recommended activity level, or a further 10 lengths to the recommended number of lengths. The point here is very simply to start at a level you can easily manage and build with the programme from there.
            3. Listed Exercise Activity or Walk?
              Every activity is allocated a time. Use this time as your guide for how long to walk or exercise for. Every morning and every evening I walk a brisk walk according to the time allocated but at lunchtime I conduct physical training of the exercise type listed.
              After my morning and my evening brisk walks if the activity would have been a strength training session or a swim I also conduct my short strength circuit in the house afterwards if I have the time.
            4. Morning Walk
              Once you work out how to fit in your morning walk first thing in the morning you will find that this will be the exercise for the day that you will have to miss least so will become the exercise period that you move forward along the programme on much faster. As the time allocated to that exercise extends, find ways to make time to keep walking or cycling if you are including this exercise in your commute to work. Get on at a further bus stop or just cycle via a longer route but do try and find a way to maximise the allotted time in a brisk morning walk.
            5. Physical Training or Evening Walk. Timings offset
              I try and keep the morning walk as the most critical activity of the lot. But after that if you find that you are not going to find the time to conduct physical training during your day then sacrifice your evening walk in favour of conducting physical training. Do try and achieve a morning and evening walk and a period of physical activity during the day but don’t panic if some days it will just not all fit in. If worst case the only way to conduct the vigorous physical training period is in the morning period then do it if you can. Prioritise if you possibly physical training then morning walk then evening walk. As a result, as we do not live in a perfect world you will find that you will be moving along the physical training programme faster on morning walks than on lunchtime physical training which will of course be moving along the physical training programme faster than evening walks. This will have the advantage of offsetting the morning, evening walks and physical training lines along the training programme thereby ensuring some variety in time and distance and strength training through the day which in itself provides for variety.
            6. Can I do physical training first thing in the morning and walk later?
              Yes of course you can, especially if that is the only way to fit the vigorous activity into your day but I would not try and do it routinely if you can avoid it. First thing in the morning your body hasn’t warmed up and like any machine it takes a while for the engines to warm up and start working efficiently with the lubricants flowing. Equally it is dark first thing in the morning for half the year which makes it less safe underfoot to run and discourages a tired head from actually getting up and doing the vigorous physical activity. In addition doing vigorous physical training in the middle of the day breaks up the working day, allows the brain to gain perspective on what has been keeping you busy, puts your mental to do list in order, energises you for the afternoon and generally makes the afternoon more productive. That is why I advocate conducting physical training at lunchtime rather than first thing in the morning. Take the packed lunch from Archie’s diet (see chapter on food) and you have lost little time over lunch but gained massively for your health and output.
            7. Month 19 - Walking
              Month 19 – Walking

              What if I can’t Run?
              If you cannot run for your lunchtime session of physical activity walk or cycle or any vigorous activity that you can do instead. Remember the lunchtime session of Physical Training is your vigorous activity session so you should be breathing hard and fast and finding it hard to have a conversation. Include a hill in your route selection if you can.

            8. What if I can’t Swim?
              Well learn! You are never too old to learn to swim. Swimming is an excellent form of low impact exercise that exercises the entire body in strength, endurance and aerobic ability. It can also be particularly relaxing so learn to swim. It is fun and it might just save your life one day. If you cannot learn to swim for any reason, swap swimming for rowing on a rowing machine but receive instruction in the correct rowing technique first.
            9. Distance or Time?
              Time is the marker against which you conduct your exercise. So if it allocates 20 minutes for the activity, find a route that will take you 20 minutes to walk at a brisk pace or run if a lunchtime vigorous session. That way you maximise the physical benefits for all across the spectrum of capability. If just given a distance of 2 miles, some could walk it in 30 minutes, some in 40 minutes and some even longer and be utterly exhausted on completion. By building up time spent on each activity it allows for planning the day around physical exercise but also gives a benchmark against which all can start to improve their fitness. As your fitness improves, so you will have to extend your routes to make sure you are exercising for the correct amount of time and it is this benchmark of increasing distances against the same time taken that will clearly demonstrate improved levels of fitness.
            10. Average Speeds?
              This is a tough one to answer and your speed is set by you. Use your need to breathe as your benchmark. For me a brisk walk as a moderate activity is now planned at 4mph, that is one mile every 15 minutes. A run with hills in it is planned at 6mph, that is one mile every 10 minutes, A cycle ride with hills in it is planned at 10 mph, that is one mile every 6 minutes. I use these figures to plan my routes but have found that often I am now travelling faster than that so have a number of extension options around my house in which I can continue on to ensure I maintain the activity level for the allotted time.
            11. Route Selection.
              Try and vary your routes as much as possible and keep a log of what routes you have in a folder to refer back to when selecting routes against time. I use OS Maps over the internet to plan my routes because you can also set your walk, run and cycling speed preferences according to your fitness level as your fitness increases. Try and link up green spaces around you or use the footpath network to walk on. Try and form loops on each route and build up as many routes as you can. Make it as interesting and as varied as you can in order to maximise the physical benefits of each walk. If you walk the same route each time you will quickly get bored of it and your body will quickly become used to the route in which case you start to minimise the potential benefits of each walk. Variety in route planning and selection is the spice of life. As you plan each route, make a note of how long each route is, and how long it will take to walk or run or cycle, so that you can start to log your distances travelled on each rotation. Keep a log of all of this information and you will be surprised how quickly your distances add up.
            12. Strength Training.
              The entry for strength training on the physical training programme will include WU (Warm Up suggested time) I split the allotted warm up time in half and always do the warm up on the bike first and then on a rowing machine if in the gym. So if the WU is 2 mins I will do for example a minute on the bike followed by a minute on the rowing machine. If doing this at home then take a brisk walk, swinging your arms vigorously across your body for the allotted time, in this case 2 mins, before starting the strength training circuit. The programme will also include the number of Reps (Repetitions) for each exercise for that session and the weight to be used. Remember that the programme will build you slowly as you progress so don’t try and rush it. Take the opportunity here to get your daily routine squared away in order to make time for vigorous physical training, and take the opportunity to practice the correct body positions and postures for the exercises before we add too many reps or too much weight.
            13. Aerobic Circuit
              The entry for the aerobic circuit on the physical training programme will include the ET (Exercise Time) in minutes to be done on each machine, Lvl (Level) to be used on all the machines except the rowing machine, RwLvl (Rowing Level to be used on the Concept II Rowing Machines used in most gyms, RuSd (Running speed for the running machine). When selecting the type of workout programme always use the random programme in order to avoid the body getting used to only one particular programme. I start on the bike to warm up then move across to the cross trainer, then to the running machine, then to the rowing machine, then to a final fifth machine such as a stepper if the gym has one. If you do not wish to use a gym then the aerobic circuit could be substituted for a vigorous exercise class, or a sport training session such as hockey, rugby or football in which you will be exercised vigorously. Remember that the aerobic circuit is meant to be a vigorous training session, but I start you very gently to allow you to build up into it, but if you need to start at a higher level do so but exercise according to your ability and in accordance with your medical practitioner’s advice.
            14. Swim.
              Most pools have access to a 25 metre pool so when I give the No. of lengths to be completed as 2. If you are lucky enough to have a 50metre pool that equates to only one length so that whatever pool you are swimming in it will be the same distances covered. My swimming circuit is simply,
              Cycling with Heather, James and I
              Cycling with Heather, James and I
              1. Breast stroke warm up,
              2. Backstroke or front crawl,
              3. Breast Stroke,
              4. Butterfly or front crawl or a combination,
              5. Front crawl endurance,
              6. Breast stroke cool down.

              I allocate the lengths accordingly 2/0/0/0/0/0 You can mix it up as much as you want but do do the lengths specified and make your swim a vigorous circuit.

            15. Weighted Walk.
              This is just a brisk walk with weight in a rucksack. The idea here is to make your moderate activity walk into a longer and more vigorous activity while strengthening the back, abdominals and legs through the carriage of weight. Select routes that include hills if you can within the allotted time and some rougher footpaths. Get into the countryside if you can. Try to avoid carrying ‘dead weight’, pack your rucksack with clothes and other items that provide bulk and weight as the programme increases the weight. You will start with just 1lb so that will probably just be the rucksack itself. As the weight increases or if you wish to start heavier then add 10lbs to the suggested weight but you may have to make some weight bags made with freezer bags, dirt and tape in order to do so. If so pack them at the bottom but bulk them out with clothing and carry lots of water.
            16. Rest
              Rest periods are built into the training programme and must be adhered to. Do not become so obsessive about physical exercise that you refuse to rest. Your body does require a little time to rest and repair those little niggles every so often. I use rest periods as follows. If a rest on a morning walk I use it as an opportunity to have a relaxed breakfast with the family at home or I might have a short lie in. For a rest on the evening walk I will use it as an opportunity to catch up on the To Do list at home or to perhaps spend some quality time with the family at home. When a rest for physical training I will use that as a physical rest for the entire day. I will conduct no physical training whatsoever for the entire day. No walking, no cycling, no nothing other than relaxing and enjoying life with family and friends while taking the opportunity to have a short lie in or an early night. If you are exercising as you should you will have earned it.
            17. Strength Training Circuit
              As with the entire physical training programme do seek advice from your medical practitioner before including this strength training circuit. My strength training circuit has been designed to work and strengthen the entirety of the upper body while also working on your core strength. I designed it to help me prevent the onset of Osteoporosis in my year of Chemotherapy treatment and continue to use it as an excellent all round strength training circuit. You do not have to join a gym in order to conduct this strength training circuit. Each and every one of these exercises can be safely done at home. I include a link to a video of how to conduct each exercise safely just underneath the table of the circuit but if you can get to a gym for a session with a physical training instructor, please do so in order to ensure you can conduct these exercises safely. If doing it at home, the only equipment you would need to purchase is an exercise mat if you do not have an old camping rollmat on which to do your sit ups. You do not need a sit up bar. You can hook your toes under the front of the sofa in your sitting room to help if you need to, and you do not need a weights bench. You can use a solid chair that will support your weight or the exercise mat if required to lie on a bench. You can purchase very cheaply a set of York weights dumbbells. You only need dumbbells and they can be purchased cheaply from Argos or Sports Direct or even over the internet. Just ensure that you have the weights locked onto the dumbbell bar safely and have enough weights to be able to increase the weight on each dumbbell a kg at a time. But you do not have to buy them, you can even make them by weighing some sand or earth from a garden and pouring it into a freezer bag and taping it up robustly with black tape but you will find dumbbells more convenient if you can get hold of them. A pull up bar if you wish to conduct pull ups. If not, or a step too far they can just be left out. Again pull up bars can be purchased very cheaply from Amazon but don’t go for the cheapest. Go for a robust one then gently test it to ensure that it is safe to use, and then use it sensibly in according with the weight and usage restrictions given on the product. It is not a toy. Remember. Don’t rush it. Concentrate on body position for each exercise and go for quality not quantity. Put on some good tunes to work out to and enjoy it!
              Country Walk in Callander Crags Bracklinn Falls
              Country Walk in Callander Crags Bracklinn Falls
              • Pull ==> Pull-Ups
              • Push ==> Press-Ups
              • Abs ==> PFT Sit-Ups
              • Pull ==> Bent Over Row
              • Push ==> Dips
              • Abs ==>Half-Sits
              • Pull ==> DB Pullover
              • Push ==> Reverse Dips
              • Abs ==> Leg Raises
              • Pull ==> Reverse Fly
              • Push ==> Bench Press
              • Abs ==> Back Raises
              • Pull ==> Bicep Curls
              • Push ==> Shoulder Press
              • Abs ==> Crunches
              • Pull ==> Lateral Raise
              • Push ==> Standing Row
              • Abs ==> Bicycle Abs
              • Pull ==> Front Raises
              • Push ==> Chest Flies
              • Abs ==> Long Arm Crunch
              • Pull ==> Hammer Curls
              • Push ==> Tricep Kick Backs
              • Abs ==> PFT St-Ups

              Download these details as a PDF to print out.

            18. How to conduct these exercises

              The aspiration is to produce my own video that will walk and talk you through this circuit, but until then, and to get you started I give some links to suggested videos of the exercises for you to get you started safely. Take your time to study the videos and then practice each exercise in order to get body position right, in order to be able to conduct it safely and maximise the benefit of each exercise.

              Pull Ups

              Press Ups

              PFT Sit-Ups

              Bent Over Row


              Half Sits

              DB Pullover

              Reverse Dips

              Leg Raises

              Reverse Fly

              Bench Press

              Back Raises

              Bicep Curls

              Shoulder Press


              Lateral Raise

              Standing Row

              Bicycle Abs

              Front Raises

              Chest Flies

              Long Arm Crunch

              Hammer Curls

              Tricep Kick Backs

              PFT Sit-Ups

            19. If you need to start again.
              I have a couple of times, during my military career, injured myself and needed surgery to repair the injury. Having retired from the Army, when my brain tumour jumped to a much higher grade I was rushed in for brain surgery. Each time I would of course be required to rest after surgery, but being me, I didn’t and couldn’t lie in bed all day. I rested, in that I stopped work, but I ensured that I took myself out for moderate physical training, brisk walking each and every day. My walking, coupled with bed rest in between helped me repair and recover from surgery much quicker because it got the body working as it was meant to work, but it also meant that I lost a little fitness, so my rule of thumb was that for every week that I could not conduct vigorous physical training I would regress backwards in my physical training programme by one rotation. This ensured that I didn’t over train while building my strength back up post surgery/injury. After ear surgery, in which I lost my balance entirely with the loss of my inner ear, I had to go back to the start of the training programme because I had to learn to walk again, but used the physical training programme as a tool to help with rebuilding my balance. After brain surgery and with radiotherapy straight afterwards I just went right back to the beginning and started again, which allowed me to grow in strength physically and mentally, gradually, step by step, rotation by rotation, post surgery, and through the full course of radiotherapy and 12 months of chemotherapy. So listen to the body but don’t stop exercising, just adjust and adapt your activities according to your abilities. One thing is for certain. Your body needs to be exercised.
            20. Heather, Archie, Allie, Harry and Leaves on Bredon Hill!
              Heather, Archie, Allie, Harry and Leaves on Bredon Hill!

              Remember that there is no such thing as a silver bullet against whatever illness or disease may come upon you. Modern medicine has come on leaps and bounds yet is unlikely to be able to heal you completely on its own. Modern medicine can set the conditions for your healing, but it is unlikely to heal you completely unless you engage with it and do all you physically can to reinforce the foundations for healing that your treatment team is trying to give you. You need to become a key player in your own treatment team and in staying healthy.

              When talking about ill health and its healing, you will quickly understand that we are talking about percentages. Every percent in your favour that you can muster by the actions you take will quickly add up and, done over time, start to stack up to a massive percentage advantage in your favour. I can’t help you to beat your beast or to stay healthy. I can only advise, inspire and encourage you. Your medical team can treat you, but only you can help yourself to beat your beast and only if you take action. Don’t just talk about it. You must do it and start to do it now. But start slowly. Design your strategy and check it for its suitability with your medical team. Then get going. You will need to be transformational in your approach. Don’t dilly dally. You are going to have to completely change aspects of your life in order to have life, and better than that you will discover that it can start to become a better life: a much, much, much better life. It will require a huge amount of determination, flexibility and an obsessive seizing of opportunities. It is going to make you feel more tired at first and seem almost unachievable but YOU CAN DO IT. You can achieve your goal and even make the seemingly impossible possible.

              BUT THERE IS NO SILVER BULLET. You cannot do one thing and not the other. You cannot pick the bits you like and ignore the bits you don’t. You have to take a holistic approach and embrace this fleeting opportunity for a chance of healing.

Even if you are outwardly fit and healthy, we are all now acutely aware that the odds are stacked against each and every one of us. The chances are that we are all going to have to tackle some beast of a disease, whether mental or physical or both, at some point in our lives. Too many times I have heard people tell me that they know what they should do but they cannot find the time to do it, or that they know what vegetables they should be eating but don’t like vegetables, or that it is too stressful to give up smoking etc etc etc. We all know what should be done, so do it. I can say that as an ex-smoker under extreme stress with a terminal disease who managed to stop smoking and completely transform my life in order to have life. I am not saying that it will be easy but YOU CAN DO IT. So Acta Non Verba – stop talking, stop finding excuses, start doing. Start now to prevent the need for curative therapies which I can assure you, cause much suffering with little certainty of being successful. Modern medicine is incredible but it is not a silver bullet. Only you can take the action required to try and beat the beast before it materialises, or worse, try and beat the beast once it has materialised.

So I give you below the first 8 rotations of my Physical Training Programme in the hope that you will use it and then look forward to the next series of rotations that will take you all the way out to the end.

Yours aye


Archie’s Physical Training Programme First 8 Rotations

Download the Strength Training Details as a PDF to print out.