Living Better Never Stops

Living Better Never Stops

Alexander Pankhurst - September 09, 2020

A normal guy’s guide to achieving the impossible - in 3 simple steps.

I’m not an elite athlete, far from it in fact.  I’m just a normal guy, two kids, wife, mortgage, busy job and not a lot of spare time.  I do however share one thing with all elite athletes and that is the goal of becoming the best possible version of myself.  That goal, and the self-belief needed to achieve it, is not reserved solely for Olympians or the stars of Centre Court.  Being the best YOU is a state of mind.  It is living BetterNeverStops.

I believe we all have what it takes to achieve world-class goals (whatever world-class is to you!)….

you just need a dream and the courage to take the first small step towards it.


Becoming a Royal Marines Commando. A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt.  Rowing solo across an ocean.

I’ve always set myself goals that felt, at the time of conception, unattainable.

For me dreams should be big, they are called dreams for a reason.  They should scare you a little, make you nervous about telling others for fear of them laughing.  And they will.  But the biggest goals can be achieved if you’re prepared to sacrifice and work hard.

I’m just starting my journey to become a solo ocean rower.  I’ve never rowed before, been at sea in a boat or have the funds to even buy one.  But in 2022 I will row across the Atlantic Ocean.  I know this is the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced but I also know that if I put everything I have into this project I will make it to Antigua and my family will be there waiting for me.  It will be worth all the effort and on the way we will raise lots of money for a fantastic cause.

Now, you don’t need to row 3000 miles.  You might want to lose some weight? Learn a new skill?  Run 5km?  But I want to challenge you….

Why settle for 5km when you dream of running a marathon.  Start with a walk, then a jog, build up to 5km and then beyond.  Keep believing and working towards your goal and I promise that one day you will achieve it.

Dream bigger than you dare, start the journey and find the best version of yourself!


In an age of instant self-gratification, social media likes and sugar rushes we are all quick to indulge in stuff that makes us feel good right now.

But we don’t want good, we want great!  And great takes time.  Like building the worlds best sports brand for example!

Earning my Green Beret took 12 months of battling injuries, physical and mental torture and literally blood, sweat and tears.  And when I was handed it, at the end of my 30 miler and final Commando test, the Officer presenting it told us all that that was the easy part.  Maintaining the Commando spirit of Courage, Determination, Unselfishness and Cheerfulness in the Face of Adversity he explained, when there was no longer a reward was the real test of being a Royal Marine.  A lesson I have never forgotten.

Unlike many traditional Japanese martial arts, the path to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt takes time.  Over 8 years of continuous training and competing.  Early morning sparing, late-night training and weekends losing a lot in competitions all over the world earns you the right to be called Professor and to stand at the front of the mat.  It is a hard journey and most never make it.  But, every white belt is a black belt that didn’t quit and that stands true for whatever goal you are trying to achieve.


So you’ve had a big dream (like you want to row across an ocean) and you’re in it for as long as it takes.  What happens when it all goes wrong?

Let’s face it.  Life will get in the way.  You may get injured.  Not have time to train.  Miss out on a PB in a race you’d trained really hard for.  Stay focussed, remember that the job isn’t complete until you reach your final goal and achieve that dream.

I remember thinking that I was a world beater in my first jiu-jitsu tournament only to lose in approximately 30 seconds.  A mistake in a fight I have never made again.  It would have been easy to skip training the following day or to never go back.  Embarrassed, ego-bruised.  But I was in it for the bigger dream, the black belt not the gold medal.

In week 22 of Royal Marines recruit training I failed the outdoor rope climb.  Up to that point, I was flying and had been awarded the Craig medal for the best recruit in the first half of training.  I had to leave the troop and my mates and rehab for months whilst the rest of the lads went on the get their Green Berets before me.  Was it worth packing it all in and admitting defeat?  Why did I start the journey?  To pass without failure or to pass full stop, whatever it took, no matter how long?

The Atlantic Grappler Campaign is no different.  If I want to complete this project and row solo over 3000 miles then it is going to take hard work and sacrifice.  There have already been setbacks and I know there will be many more.  Right now it does seem impossible but I’m on the journey and I’m not the type to give up.  It’s difficult for a reason, I want it to be or else everyone would be doing it….the reward (as far as I’m concerned) will be worth it.

So if you’re just a normal guy or girl like me dream bigger, stay committed and expect bumps along the road.  Remember what motivated you to start the journey and focus on your end goal. 

Unlock that inner Olympian inside you and live the life of BetterNeverStops.

Mike aka The Atlantic Grappler

A massive thank you to Castore for supporting The Atlantic Grappler campaign.
I’m just a normal guy who believes that dreams should be big.

I hope my story will help you to discover YOUR big dream and to achieve YOUR impossible goal.

Follow my journey.

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