This blog started as a personal challenge through a health/charity group known as My Peak Challenge (MPC). For those who are not familiar with this group, briefly, it is a fundraiser for cancer research in order to find a cure (Bloodwise); in addition, it motivates its members to set personal goals for their personal best in body, mind and spirit. This is accomplished through suggested guidelines. These guidelines include meal plans, with recipes, an on-line exercise program, constant group support and coaching using various social media like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Regardless of what level you are physically, mentally or spiritually, everyone is challenged to grow and achieve more.
I first joined in 2014. I heard about MPC through it’s founder, actor Sam Heughan. He is best known in his role as Jamie Fasier on monster hit: Outlander. Outlander is Starz’s most successful show to date. During the show’s first season, the stars, producers, and author, Diana Gabaldon, of the book series went on various publicity junkets to gain and attract new viewers. During some interviews, Sam Heughan would encourage his fans to join him in raising money for Bloodwise. Most of the fee money went directly to Bloodwise research. You can read more about Heughan and Bloodwise using the next two links:
A personal page on the Bloodwise on-line site
In the first year, membership cost less than $40.00. Nearly all the proceeds from membership salez went to the charity. By joining, each person received a goodie box that contained: a Bear Strenght tee shirt with the MPC emblem on the front (pocket size) and back, MPC awareness wristband, and a copy of a signed photo of Sam Heughan. That first year we were encouraged to sign up for runs or to organize some kind of fund raising event. To help the members to build stamina and strength, Heughan teamed up with his friend and trainer, John Valbonesi who owns a Glasgow gym: Fight Camp (now known as Everyman Gym/ Fightclub). John provided the conditioning and strengthening exercise-videos on You Tube. This helped prepared members (Peakers) for the physical challenges (Peaks). These events might be include hiking, camping, mountain climbing, marathon races, any sport …). It was always stressed that the challenge must be set by each member according to their ability and members must discuss their program with their doctors to make their goal and Peak program is adjusted properly for them. In other words, the Peak climbed for some members might be hiking a Munro (mountain) or taking the stairs or just walking to the end of a street.
When Heughan and Valbonesi teamed up, they also gained the sponsorship of a popular British sports clothes line: Bear Strentgh. Members communicated through Twitter, email or left comments on You Tube. In year 2014 – 2015, MPC raised over $60,000. The original goal was $10,000
By 2015, MPC evolved into so much more than just raising cancer and health awareness, collecting funds, increasing membership and participating in sporting events. By 2015, it challenged each member to not only to create a healthier lifestyle, while working with a team or individually, but to set personal goals that worked the mind and heart. A Cross Fit of the entire person, soul included.
In order to accomplish this, a health program was designed and a Facebook group was added and managed by Jordanna Brown, John Valbonesi, and visited by Sam Heughan, himself. The MPC prep course has been the best health support system that I have ever seen. People feel safe and really open up by discussing and listening to each other’s concerns and sound advice.
By 2016, Sam Heughan and Jon Valbonesi (Valbo), and others created a day by day, the whole year health program. This program is down loaded to your PC or tablet or phone. It has, in detail, the first complete month of meal plans, training manual and exercise program. Basically it includes a written member guide, video guide, food logs, macro diet suggestions, and even menus with shopping list. The program is a well planned and effective. All Peakers are invited to join MPC social media support groups. This provides not only a place of support but also accountability. Here, you can share your achievements, failures, concerns, on a myriad of topics that has had a personal impact on you.
The first Prep program video began in the kitchen. If you think about it, this is where all health matters begin. What food you put in your body should be nourishing and hopefully, delicious. Heughan looks very comfortable in a kitchen. He loves food and you sense he probably enjoys cooking. Since he is so comfortable, other aspects of his personality shines through. Both men, Sam and Jon, are very personable and humorous. Characteristics they both shared in abundance. While they film in the kitchen, you actually sense their excitement and joy in sharing this unique program. They are proud to not only fight cancer but help thousands of people in one way or other in their personal lives. Of course, they have every right to be proud. MPC is truly a “gift that keeps giving.” It will change your life and other people’s lives for the better, if you want it.
Finally, Jon Valbonesi motivates, explains, and demonstrates how to effectively do each exercise. It is easy to understand why Jon’s gym in Glasgow, Scotland is so successful. Everyone on the MPC coaching team is funny, inspirational, motivational, and educational. The 2016 – 2017 membership fee is around $89.00 US. Yes, the cost of membership has increased but so has the organization itself. Even so, one thing didn’t change: most of the proceeds goes to Bloodwise. For each yearly MPC campaign, a box of goodies is sent to each member
MPC improved by utilizing the FaceBook page. Women and men opened up with honest discussions where everyone wants to support each other’s successes and failures. Regardless how healthy or unhealthy the member, each, had common goals: raise money to eradicate cancer, challenge yourself to be better at every level while at the same time lovingly supportiing each other’s efforts. The coaching team of Sam, Valbo, and Jordanna Brown constantly advise and motivate MPC members. Joanna does most of the posts on FaceBook and twitter; but, all coaches interact at some point.
In addition to the Prep Program, FaceBook, and The Box, the goals for 2015- 2016 Peakers included non-athletic challenges. By challenging yourself everyday, you become a better version of you! By stepping out of your comfort zone and taking action on a dream, wish, or passion, you evolve into a better you. This is where my blog on life lessons is created.
To date, MPC has raised over $200,000. By the end of May or beginning of June, the final numbers will be tallied and reported for 2016. I predict they will have collected over a quarter of a million dollars. I was a little off. It was actually $200,000 at the end of 2015-2016 campaign.
So, my personal challenge has begun. I have taken my first step. I have actually written my first blog. I hope I get much better at it with practice.
If anyone is interested in checking out the new program this year, MPC 2017…here is the web sit😊. This site is available until January 2018.