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Practise Perfect Posture – your life depends on it.

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Change your philosophy, change your life. Vv.

You see it everywhere you go. We all hear about it and we know someone who has it, but have you ever asked the question if you’ve got it too?

Bad posture, that is.

I think it is and has been a growing problem of modern societies today and I would claim, it is now at epidemic proportions. I believe it is a more costly problem to society than the well-known obesity epidemic that is gripping us.

But no one is talking about it, and yet, it is all around us! Everyone needs to practise perfect posture.

One of my key goals for twenty five years and one of the many reasons I love weight training is it allows me to continuously sculpt and design my ever evolving, dynamic physique towards better balance and symmetry. It never ends. Your body is never static, it is always changing.

I constantly apply my ‘adaptive strategy’ approach for this dynamic and complex environment/system that is the human body/mind/ heart and soul.

That is part of what I do and have done with the hundreds and thousands of students I have taught over the years. Design an improved version of themselves – they become a walking, talking, sitting, sleeping, living piece of art in motion with better balance and symmetry.

I help move people away from hate towards love. That is the essence of design, in my case, designing a new body – a new YOU. Incidentally, striving for improved balance and symmetry in my tailored programs, adopting my framework, indirectly and directly converts bad posture to good posture.

One of the many hidden benefits of my custom design bodies programs.

Good posture is needed for balance, symmetry and a healthy body. Take a look around – everyone that you see at the bus stop, on the train, on the street and even at home. If you’re brave enough, take a look at yourself. What is your posture telling you? Is it ideal? Can it be improved?

What you will see, is what I have stated in my first three sentences here – real impressive figures are few and far between. I look around and symptoms of the aged (like bad posture) is inflicting the young school children.

It is depressing to say the least. How did society get to this stage?

Not sure why children are being affected with this at such a young age, maybe because stooping low would gain more acceptance with friends. Standing straight, with good posture may offend someone, it may give an air of cockiness or a holier than thou perception.

Maybe. I don’t know, I was not one to succumb to peer pressure in teen years.

Sure, parents and carers notice this early on-set age-related ailments adopted by their teenage children. They must ask them to stand up straight but it seems that this habit is ‘set’ in by the time they arrive in their 20s. The poor posture is established and almost irreversible.

Sad, truly sad.

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Doing and being is essential to muscle building success for your health and muscle goals. Connect the two. Make them one. Vv.

The years of continuing bad posture has resulted in the less-than-ideal situation the aged population is suffering from now. A lot of people are living longer but spending the last twenty to thirty years after sixty five with delibitating posture and increasing immobility. Increase immobility leads to reduced sense of self-worth and increasing levels of mental diseases and worse.

We’re all getting older by the second, yes but could I suggest that we slow down the ageing process by firstly becoming aware of our posture every day. Everyone shouldn’t be too concerned with ‘living longer’! I think it is a sales gimmich, everyone should be aiming to:

“grow younger, not older!”

“Growing old” is a decision, afterall. A MIND-SET.

Is this possible? You bet ya!

First stage of any form of self-improvement is to increase your awareness. Then, consciously (in this case), you need to take ACTION – try to improve your way of standing, of walking and sitting.

I believe that correct posture helps manage stress and keeps us healthier. Poor posture on the other hand can have an adverse of effect on the internal organs, causing numerous aches and pains. The compound effect of this as we age results in the reduction of mobility which is an affliction of the aged population now.

I believe in striving towards ‘balance and symmetry’ of the body, through sufficient and appropriate weight-training, coupled with a sensible diet, stretching and cardiovascular exercise. The body works as one and you’re made up of a chain of muscles that are constantly contracting and extending. When one part of your body is out of alignment, the other areas are also off-set. The domino effect then takes hold.

A big mistake people make is thinking that the body will correct itself. No, it won’t! The body will grow to the shape and posture they consistently adopt and practise every single day.

Think about it – the more you slump, the more you lose flexibility so you not only move older, you FEEL OLDER and you APPEAR OLDER!

Now, why would you want that for yourself?! Aren’t we all aiming to ‘off-set the on-set’ of ageing as best we can?

I’ve said it before that a prerequisite for the elusive balance and symmetry (and health ) of the body (and mind, dare I say) is good posture. I will go as far as saying that a person who consciously carries him or herself with a proud upright posture is more likely to come across as a fit, energetic, and even a more attractive and hence more desirable individual.

Yes, you read that right!

Having a good posture makes you MORE ATTRACTIVE!

If this is the case, why aren’t more people doing it? Because it takes effort – it takes work and deliberate practise because to achieve good posture, you need to make a habit of checking your posture and correcting it if necessary.

It can be hard work.

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Fine-tuning the ‘mind-muscle’ connection through intense posing. Hold!

A few things to consider to help you work towards your ideal good posture:

  • Is your butt sticking out too much that it causes a sway in your appearance?
  • Is your shoulders slumping forward causing your scapulae to stand out like wings in your back?
  • Do you balance evenly on you feet?
  • Do you round your back when eating at your dinner table?
  • Do you tilt your head to one side when using a computer or while writing?
  • Do you allow your head to stick out in front of your body?

I truly believe that posture can reveal as much about a person as his/her face does. Poor posture can make you a billboard of insecurity and old age. Why add to the effects of gravity? Everything will sag in time – don’t accelerate the process, gravity does not need help!

I also believe that it is every human being’s ultimate responsibility to take care of themselves and do everything they can to slow the ageing process and the effects of gravity. This amazing, unrelenting force is tugging at you and me this very moment!

One way that is within your control and that you can fight this force is to have good posture.

If you want to instantly improve your attractiveness, you don’t need to run to plastic surgery or put on tonnes of make-up, work on your posture. Attraction is the greatest factor in love. It’s hard to relate easily to a man or woman you find unattractive. We all enjoy relating to attractive people.

I’ll say it again – posture is one key ingredient to this attractiveness.

So, you see, posture is the one thing we can all improve almost instantly. In time, you can then work on other significant changes.

Here are my top 3 tips for you to adopt to work towards good posture:

  • Quit overeating, over-drinking and smoking
  • Start exercising regularly – three to four times per week
  • Consciously check and correct your posture throughout the day

Then ….

When you walk, practise perfect posture and … walk as if you were seven feet tall!

I know I do (even though I am ‘slightly under six feet tall’).

Best of vitality to you!

 

Until next time,

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My beautiful daughter and I enjoying “Daddy-daughter time” on the Ferris Wheel at Luna Park in amazing Sydney, Australia.

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The big mistakes I see people making when it comes to muscle, fitness and nutrition.

 

Enjoying the sun at a local beach.

In my line of work, part of what I do is help people, help themselves with change as they transition through various phases of life. I help people, help themselves re-engineer themselves in to the person the imagine themselves to be.

A Life affirming approach.

I help men and women of all ages and sizes help themselves, find their best selves and work towards increased balanced and symmetry – externally and internally.

Someone asked me the question posed in the blog heading recently, and it got me thinking. Put simply, people don’t stop, start from a clean slate and prepare for the beginning and the end. Upon reflection of my experience over the last quarter of a century, I have attempted to answer it below –

I have found that ….

People don’t begin with belief.

People don’t begin with trust.

People don’t begin with hope.

People don’t begin with love.

People don’t begin with patience.

People don’t begin with a dream.

People don’t begin with their imagination.

People don’t begin with simplicity.

People don’t begin with continuity.

People don’t begin with gratitude.

People don’t begin with care.

People don’t begin with discipline.

People don’t begin with courage.

People don’t begin with balance.

People don’t begin with harmony.

People don’t begin with the end in mind.

People don’t begin with responsibility.

People don’t begin with their heart.

People don’t begin with desire.

People don’t begin with forgiveness.

People don’t begin by unthinking.

People don’t begin with acceptance of responsibility.

People don’t begin by aligning their philosophy with nature’s principles that is fundamental to Life and living well.

People don’t begin with the end in mind.

People don’t begin with the unconscious.

People don’t begin with their spirit.

People don’t begin by being still.

People don’t think.

People don’t DO.

Enough.

People don’t begin by giving….

So …

People don’t receive …

Enough.

But letting go of things you hold dear is very difficult and the little things, like letting go of a habit that is not life affirming can be very difficult. Neuroscience research tells us now that letting go a habit can take anywhere between 31 and 267 days. Wow! So, be patient and be kind to yourself if you’re thinking about making a change in the way you look.

The fact that you are ‘thinking’ about change is a win in itself. Before a change, any worthwhile, life-changing change can happen, you must want to have a change in mind-set. Now, to do this, even before you think about exercise, dieting or your fitness, you should firstly accept YOU as you are now, not the you – yesterday. The present self “is”, and your former self ‘was’, and in truth, your ‘was’ self is not identical to your ‘is’ now.

They are not the same.

People change, you change. Life is about change, if you’re not changing, you’re not living!

So, let go of the ‘was’ self (past) by letting go of any and all regret and guilt resulting from the past ‘was’ self. The past cannot be rewritten, but you can view it through different lenses and re-framing your view of your ‘was’ self. Tell yourself that past errors are mainly due to limitations in perception and ignorance and that they belong to that ‘was’ self at a certain point in the time continuum. It was all part of the learning process and gaining wisdom and was unavoidable.

This applies not only individually but collectively as a human race.

Most importantly, tell yourself – your ‘is’ self (now) that the habits that were acceptable in the past is no longer acceptable today and now. All regrets and guilt of less-than-ideal and less-than life-affirming habits that helped create the ‘was’ self is now boxed up and viewed simply as an error of judgement, ignorance, mis-perception or miscalculation. Put simply – an error.

All this brought about as a consequence of a limitation of human consciousness.

The first stage is self-forgiveness. This is facilitated by humility but also acceptance of this limitation (by letting go of the ego).

Solution: Begin with the right philosophy, filter and remove beliefs that are no longer relevant, acknowledge your soul and then reach out and …

Embrace the ‘is’ YOU with your whole being. Show you care. Feel your love. Allow the healing to happen – to you and those you value around you. Changes then become long-lasting and sustainable as you chart your new course through the sea of life.

All the best in your choices,

 

Until next time,

The right strategy –
” a quality plan + quality implementation
===> quality results. A quality strategy
of a balanced nutrition, exercise philosophy and rest of the body, mind and spirit helps you achieve a ”6-pack”.

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To know the unknowable.

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Do you know what love is?

Do you believe in it? Do you desire to share your love with others? Do you act on that desire? To ‘know’ what love is, is I believe, to know the unknowable.

But where do we begin?

It is too large a subject and too deep to truly understand and I believe there are insufficient words to describe what it is. There have been many attempts to define love and by now you will have formed your definition of love, from your experience and perception of truth.

I believe that to love – either oneself or another, you have to desire to and act on nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth. Yep, spiritual growth.

I have helped many people on their individual journey’s to become better versions of themselves, adopting my unique framework. I tell them at the start of the program that it is as much a spiritual journey as it is physical. What I have found is that each time I journey with them and helped them, help themselves, to extend their limits and evolve in to the person they imagine themselves to be, I feel profoundly satisfied.

Each and every journey and as they evolve and re-engineer themselves, I feel that I also evolve. It seems as though, through reaching toward change and evolution for someone we also evolve, just like it is in the process of adaption that muscle grows.

I know one thing for certain about love: we are incapable of loving others unless we love ourselves, just as we are capable of teaching our children self-discipline unless we ourselves are disciplined or just like we cannot be a source of strength if we do not nurture our own strength. We cannot teach what we do not own or know.

Ultimately, self-love and the love of others go hand in hand and more and more I believe that they are one and same. They are indistinguishable.

Just like love, muscle needs sufficient and appropriate stimulus to adapt. It is in the process of adaptation that muscle evolves/grows.

Just like love, muscle needs sufficient and appropriate stimulus to adapt. It is in the process of adaptation that muscle evolves/grows.

I have deduced though that many people think they are loving but when in fact, they are not! It seems that in our modern culture, many desire and have intentions of being loving but they are not in fact loving. How? Why? Well, firstly, the desire or intention to love is not the same as love. Let’s make that clear.

It is simple: love is as love does!

It is a choice, a personal choice. We do not have to love (and many decide this).

We choose to love.

So, it does not matter how much you think you are loving, if you have chosen not to love, you do not love! Full stop! You have made your choice despite your good intentions.

The topic of love is truly totally unknowable and almost unexaminable. To fully know the unknowable is one of life’s wonders and challenges.

However, in my experience, to love, to really love, I believe one does not have to feel love. I believe that real love is often present when the feeling of love may be non-existent or is lacking. Real love is what happens when we act lovingly when we don’t actually feel loving.

Try to get your head around that one.

So, back to my earlier definition of this unknowable subject – love is what love does.

In my heart, I believe that to love (whether oneself or another person), one has to help the person (including you) journey towards being a spiritually better person. This brings more balance back in to your life, amongst other things.

This is one of the major keys to life: balance. Without it, everything becomes more difficult than what it needs to be.

The act of helping another human being evolve spiritually is the foundation of knowing this unknowable, an important part of love. Even though, ultimately, you will only know a little bit of what love is.

But that is ok, persevere as life is short and like someone once said “… none of us will get out of this alive, anyway”.

Think. Desire. Act. Love.

Re-establish your balance within.

Choose well.

 

Until next time,

Work on strengthening the spirit within. It is par of the foundation of love - the unknowable.

Work on strengthening the spirit within. It is part of the foundation of love – the unknowable.

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If.

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Have you ever experienced immense sadness?

I have. Many times.

Have you ever felt deep, deep sadness? If you have, you are truly blessed, for I believe it is one of the paths to joy, true joy. Yes, I know it is strange but I truly believe it is one of the many paths to joy even though it may be the strangest.

Every one of us is searching for our truths, our individual truths of our perception of reality. We’re all searching for freedom – freedom from work, freedom to financial security, freedom from all forms of fear … all forms of freedom.

Many don’t realise that in order to move closer to freedom, you have to be aware of and accept where you are. Many people don’t see or even realise that they are prisoners and keep themselves that way as if they were blinded by their own ignorance. Ignorance to the existence of the higher force or God.

They are blinded by their ego in their self-imposed prisons, effectively making them prisoners in their own worlda.

These self-imposed prisons of pride are filled with self-made men and women determined to pick themselves up over and over again as they fail. It does not matter what they did, who they did it to or where they will end up; the only thing that matters is that ‘I did it my way” as the classic Frank Sinatra song goes. We could put some blame of this egotistic behaviour on old Frank.

We’ve seen and we all know these prisoners – they’re everywhere, you could be one of them! You’ve seen the alcoholic who won’t admit he has a drinking problem or that woman who refuses to talk to anyone about her fears. Or what about that businessman who vehemently rejects all help even when his business is crumbling.

Yes, perhaps, to see such a prisoner, maybe all you have to do is look in the mirror.

I believe one of the biggest and most profound words in the English language is the two letter word “If”. Why? Firstly, because it is a decision point, a place where you have to make a decision and not sit on the fence.

Another reason that I like this word if is that it is the essence of what I am writing here in this blog. What do most prisoners do? Most don’t admit failure, they don’t accept responsibility. It is the same for the prisoners of pride we see all around us, every single day. Admitting failure is exactly what all prisoners find it difficult to accept.

If only he or she admitted failure ….

Education through a perception of the truth. Increasing your awareness, taking sufficient and appropriate actions and adapting accordingly is key towards self-improvement. Vv

Education through a perception of the truth.
Increasing your awareness, taking sufficient and appropriate actions and adapting accordingly is key towards self-improvement.
Vv

Because of pride, many people deny they have any weakness even if there is evidence to the contrary all around them. Being a prisoner of pride blinds you to pretend you are right when you know you are wrong. To admit failure, to know what deep, deep sadness is, is one of the most courageous things a person can do.

This courage makes you ‘see’ again. This courage to accept failure and responsibility allows you to experience true joy again. True joy that can be had by experiencing the exquisite sorrow of sadness.

You experience genuine sadness by accepting your mistake, taking responsibility, admitting failure.

So, like I say to every young male that walks in to the gym, if their goal is to build good, lean quality muscle, one must ‘leave their ego at the door’. This also applies to your search for truth, your truth.

Your truth that will ultimately set you free from your prison – your prison of pride.

Become Aware. Take Action (acceptance and forgiveness). Adapt. My Triple A Approach to continuously develop oneself – there is no ‘standing still’, no neutral point. If you’re not progressing in life (however so minute), you’re regressing. So keep evolving towards your best you can be for you first, and then for everyone else.

The power rests in your hands if you want to be released from your prison. Release that Prisoner Of War (P.O.W) today! These three letters can mean other things depending upon one’s experiences and attitudes.

As you know, life is uniquely individual through the eyes of each beholder. So, if we choose the right attitude and if you repent and say sorry and if you released yourself from your prison, you could assign those three letters a different meaning …. “Psych of Winning”, of a continuous positive mind-set, every single day. This, funnily enough is a possible definition of ‘enthusiasm’.

So, be more enthusiastic for and about everything in life. Today, tomorrow starts today as everything you do today, is ultimately for tomorrow.

Here my friends and readers is one of the gems/secrets of life – turning that prison sentence in to another type of P.O.W. Such an individual is someone understands the principles of winning in life, and who can apply those principles to benefit himself or herself and loved ones. Adopting the psychology of winning will help you feel good, think constructively, look great, and expect the best.

If you do this, never forget this next single point for the rest of your life – it makes very little difference what is actually happening, it’s how you, personally, take it that really counts!

Put simply, basically it is how you respond to situations.

So, you see, I like the word if as it helps people decide. The decision you make on your definition of “P.O.W” you want to use, ultimately depends on your perception of your truth, the attitude you choose. And, as you know, it’s not aptitude …. But attitude that is the criterion for success in this Game of Life we’re all in.

If you change your attitude, you will win at life. Attitude is the answer

Like I said earlier, I like the word if.

 

Until next time,

Attitude is key at winning in the Game of Life.

Attitude is key at winning in the Game of Life.

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Your daily elevator ride.

Bodybuilding is not about how much weight you can lift. It is about creation and constant re-creation of a better YOU. It is about change and constantly embracing change.

Bodybuilding is not about how much weight you can lift.
It is about creation and constant re-creation of a better YOU.
It is about change and constantly embracing change.

Changeless change.

I like that phrase, something I have coined which means: to change within change – to have an effect of not changing. To remain constant for certain things in life. Certain things like – your values, your principles, your integrity, your dignity, your belief in the goodness of humanity for example.

We have been told that nothing stays the same, everything changes – we change and age, people around us change and age, nature changes, life changes. It seems that way for almost everything.

Change is good – for the most part.

I believe it is in every one of us – like a ‘worked’ muscle, we all have the desire to grow and develop into stronger, more powerful versions of ourselves, in essence – to change. It is in every one of us, the desire to prosper, to become better and strive to find the elusive happiness while we are here on this beautiful earth.

However, making the decision to change for the better can be very hard. Matter of fact, it could be just like having your daily elevator ride – mentally. It seems that we can consciously work towards moving ourselves upwards to a better place with our thoughts and actions and then, bam!

Some thoughtless person in your life keeps pushing the ‘down button’ and then your mental elevator ride lets gravity take you down. Sometimes, at speed. It can be a constant daily battle in your head. Even when you’re physically still, you’re having your daily elevator ride.

Don’t give up, don’t despair. Keep pressing the ‘up button’ and aim for the top – your version of the top. There will always be negative people everywhere, there will always be nay-sayers, and is just a part of life.

Part of what I do is help people become better versions of themselves – physically, emotionally and spiritually and am very successful at it for over two decades now.

"Back Double Biceps" in the heat of competition! Change from the gym to the stage is quite significant with management of key variables being extremely important. Placing: 2nd in Australia

“Back Double Biceps” in the heat of competition! Change from the gym to the stage is quite significant with management of key variables being extremely important.
Placing: 2nd in Australia

I’ve always believed that it takes a lot of courage and discipline and strength to say ‘no’ to foods and drinks at your mouth, foods that are less than ideal. Saying no is one of, if not the highest form of self-respect. Yes, that is real courage but I believe that it takes a lot more courage and discipline and strength to stand guard and protect the doorway of your mind.

This is the most important protective measure you can adopt – to stand guard to your mind, to stand guard to the doorway of possibilities. To protect the doorway to your potential.

Most of us have a protective side, I know I do. I’ve been told that I am very protective over my wife and my two children. I’m sure you’re very protective of your loved ones too. I don’t blame you.

However, I believe, before you can truly protect others, you need to protect yourself, in particular, you’ve got to stand guard and protect your mind – from negative people who press the ‘down button’ in your daily elevator ride.

So, keep moving – up, whatever gradient you’re travelling at! Keep changing for the better to be the best you can be – for you, first, then for everyone else like I tell my children almost daily. Remember, we never completely stand still, we’re either moving and progressing towards how we imagine ourselves to be or we regress to our former self.

Whichever direction you take, remember that you only have one life and ultimately, you’re responsible for everything – the questions that you ask and all the answers that you get, the incomplete information of which you will base your life decisions on.

To achieve goals in any endeavour, most people would say you need two key ingredients:

  1. Plan
  2. Implementation

I disagree. You need to precede those two ingredients above with the word – “Quality”. Yes, my formula is:

“Quality Plan + Quality Implementation => Quality Result (Goals Achievement)”

Quality Plan + Quality Implementation allowed Team Valentine (my wife & I) to beat the best in the sport here in Australia and stand on the stage against the best in the World.

Quality Plan + Quality Implementation allowed Team Valentine (my wife & I) to beat the best in the sport of Natural Bodybuilding, here in Australia and stand on the stage against the best in the World, placing in the Top 5 two years in a row.

To get these two key ingredients, every person should go through three stages of development:

  1. Increased Awareness
  2. Developing Actions (sufficient and appropriate)
  3. Continuously Adapt (using a self-adaptive/self-tuning habit)

It is quite a complex process but as you can see above, I have attempted to simplify the complex. Ultimately I simplify to Amplify. Every journey of change, begins with a single step towards your destination.

Try adopting my “Triple A Framework”  (above) to self-development/change.

While you’re on your journey towards your best self or any worthwhile project, continuously stand guard to the doorway of your mind. Always. Be the best bouncer/doorman to the club that is your mind you can be and don’t let ‘potential threats’ in to the club in the first place.

Get better at managing your funnel better. As someone once said – “the business of life is not business, it is about learning how to live”. Become the best student of life you can be and learn how to live better. Learn how to better filter out people and activities that do not add value to your life but instead continue to press the ‘down button’ as you travel in your daily elevator ride.

That way you can enjoy your daily elevator ride and have more movements upwards than downwards and live a life filled with celebrations (of success through failures and experiences), not collections (of material possessions).

 

Until next time,

World Natural Bodybuilding Championships - New York, USA. Standing with middle-weight (my category) and overall World Champion. Me - 4th placed in the world Competitor beside me - 1st place and World champion Right: My Team Partner and wife - Cathy.

World Natural Bodybuilding Championships – New York, USA.
Standing backstage with middle-weight (my category) and overall World Champion.
Left: Me – ranked 4th in the world
Right: My Team Partner and wife – Cathy.

Abdominal/thigh pose with the top 2 Natural Bodybuilders in the world in 2007.

Abdominal/thigh pose with the top 2 Natural Bodybuilders in the world in 2007.

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Learn to be more coachable.

Learn the basics of exercise in the gym. Learn to be more coachable - learn the rules so you know how to use them better in the future. This applies to most rules in life. Vv.

Learn the basics of exercise in the gym. Learn to be more coachable – learn the rules so you know how to use them better in the future. This applies to most rules in life.
Vv.

My gym experience has taught me a lot about people, about human nature. I love observing human behaviour in action, it fascinates me.

As most of you would agree, there is no doubt that people are different. We are all different and unique but we also are more alike than we like to think. We are all wired differently and that wiring lends itself to certain skills, environments and roles rather than other skills, environments and roles.

Some people find it very difficult to change. Some people need to learn to be more coachable, if they are to achieve their full potential and avoid some of the mistakes other people and previous generations have made.

There was this member of the gym I used to own for a number of years that was very stuck in his ways of training. I always tried questioning him on why he did things the way he did and he was very inflexible to learning something different. An alternative.

His reason: he had been training with weights for longer than me and he didn’t have anything to learn. Fair enough. I did not want to force him to stop doing harm to himself but I felt it was my role and duty of care to point out the potential risks he was putting himself and others in the gym, now and in to the future.

This a story about how too much of a good thing can be bad for you and relates to one particular exercise: the wide chin-up exercise.

Let’s call this individual “Dave”.

You see, he loved doing chin-ups. Some of you may know it as ‘pull-ups’. He loved it so much he did it every time he came to the gym for his ‘session’. He came to the gym about four times per week. He really loved doing very wide chin-ups and prided himself on lifting an additional 40kg dumbbell hanging from his waist for reps. He was certainly strong. He was very dedicated.

The one major drawback with his weight-training sessions was the fact that he loved doing chin-ups so much. Now, there’s nothing wrong with having a favourite exercise and this exercise is a great one.

Learn the rules of life. Learn the rules of training in the gym. Learn to be more coachable to manage your 'risk:benefit ratio' in life. Vv.

Learn the rules of life. Learn the rules of training in the gym. Learn to be more coachable to manage your ‘risk:benefit ratio’ in life.
Vv.

However, one should always be aware of doing that particular activity too often as it increases one’s risk of injury. And this is exactly what happened to our poor friend Dave. As we have all been told over the years – “too much of a good thing can be bad for you”.

I had a great chin-up bar. Matter-of-fact, I had another installed beside the original just because men had different size hands and preferred varying grips. It was a winner – for Dave and for every other enthusiast.

At the very start of his relationship with me, I gave him a piece of advice regarding his training regime that was rejected stubbornly every year for five years, before his accident.

Yes, he did have an accident.

My piece of advice was: don’t overdo an exercise.

I told him that he should probably cut back on the frequency of his chin-ups (doing it every day, every week for the whole year) to consider doing it in one workout every fortnight, that he should consider doing the many other exercise options available that would target the same muscles that chin-ups did but with minimal risk to his joints.

Minimising potential risks to his tendons and ligaments around the elbow joints. I basically tried to tell him to give his joints more rest and recovery, which in turn would probably see him spur on more muscle growth than what he was used to.

I suggested the traditional “Lat Pull-down” machine. A perfect alternative and there were a few ways of doing this exercise too.

That was unacceptable to him. Period!

He said that only ‘sissies’ did the exercise. I couldn’t believe he said that, calling everyone who ever did machine lat pull-downs a ‘sissy’, including me! I reminded him of some of the best backs built over time due partly to machine lat pull-downs. They used the machine lat pull-downs religiously!

He didn’t want to hear it. He was happy doing what he was doing and had been doing all his life. We went through this same conversation at least once every year. Me warning him about the excessive nature of his exercise choice of chin-ups and the damage he was potentially doing to his elbows further down the track.

Dave wasn’t open to other ideas, he did not want to be coached.

Anyway, in his fifth year of training in my gym, Dave went missing from the gym for about a month. I called up to see if he was ok like I did for anyone of the hundreds of members that I didn’t see for more than four weeks.

He returned to see me in the gym the next day.

Just like any activity, understand and always assess the risk of any exercise you do in the gym. Vv.

Just like any activity, understand and always assess the risk of any exercise you do in the gym.
Vv.

He wasn’t able to train in the gym, in particular he couldn’t use his arms without experiencing excruciating pain through the elbows. All pushing and pulling movements were no longer possible. He basically couldn’t train and he wasn’t coping with this lack of activity very well and didn’t know what to do.

Dave felt a little embarrassed and admitted it was one of the biggest training mistakes he had ever made – not listening to my little piece of advice over the previous five years. The high risk of injury I had made him aware of every year for five years had manifested and now he couldn’t do the exercise he loved to do but even worse, he also couldn’t train. Period!

He was a mess. Physically, emotionally, spiritually. He needed help.

I sat him down and let him rest his head on my shoulder. I said it was alright to cry. All grown men have a license to cry. He did just that.

I told him to forget about the past but to learn from it. I gave him two options to help him make his way back to where he was but I needed him to listen and let go of prior beliefs regarding training.

He needed to set new beliefs. He needed to understand and introduce a new paradigm. He needed to learn to be more coachable and unlearn some irrelevant old habits. He was going to have to accept the guy that looked back at him in the mirror now – not twenty years ago in his youth.

He needed to be agreeable. Kinder to himself. He needed to love himself more.

He did.

He learned to do this after almost twenty five years of training in the gym. Yes, he was training and gaining a lot of ‘experience’ but it was not getting him anywhere. He was just getting more and more experience of getting it wrong.

Not good. He trained mainly with his ego and did not leave it at the door each time he walked in to the gym. Does not get you anywhere and generally leads to disaster as his case showed.

I devised a plan of recovery for him and he got back the use of his arms, particularly his elbows. As the pain sub-sided and he started exercising after a little while, his whole demeanour and life improved.

As you know, ‘knowing is one thing, doing is another.’ A wise man once told me that ‘elephants don’t bite, mosquitoes do!”. It really does apply in this case and in many things in life, where too much of a good thing can be bad for you.

Dave did not take care of the mozzies (like the frequency of performing the exercise) and as a result, the compound effect of incorrect technique combined with unnecessary frequency leads to unwanted joint injury.

The message in this story could apply to all areas of life where too much of a good thing (chin-ups for Dave) can be bad for you. Dave learned the hard way and didn’t want to learn from other people’s experience. He didn’t allow himself to be coached. It takes courage to understand your faults but it takes even more courage to make changes to help prevent a huge mis-hap later.

Life is short. There are rules in the gym and gym training, just like there are rules of life. Learn the rules, so that in time you can have the wisdom to discern what is relevant and not.

Live life with quality and integrity and live it to the fullest. Know yourself and be true to yourself.

Have fun with your workouts and have fun with life.

 

Until next time,

In body re-engineering, fast improvements are the result of excellent feedback from excellent coaches. Here, constant examination of my physique by my coach (and 2 x World Natural Body Building Champion) allowed me to reach my peak performance and placing 2nd in Australian Titles. Learn to be more coachable to achieve your best in whatever area of life. Vv.

In body re-engineering, fast improvements are the result of excellent feedback from excellent coaches.
Here, constant examination of my physique by my coach (and 2 x World Natural Body Building Champion) allowed me to reach my peak performance and placing 2nd in Australian Titles.
Learn to be more coachable to achieve your best in whatever area of life.
Vv.

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a better life, accountability, adaptation, attitude, awareness, better choices, chaos, choices, Energy, responsibility

Blind spot.

 

Another view of the "front-double biceps' pose.

Another view of the “front-double biceps’ pose.

After the Lord, I’m first of all accountable to my wife, Cathy. I know and believe I can depend on her to tell it like it is. I believe it is the same for her too – she is accountable to me, after the Lord.

God always works through Cathy to affirm or negate whatever may surface (whether opportunities or obstacles) in my life. Spiritually, I am accountable to God – have always been and always will be.

What about you? Who holds you accountable? We all need someone to whom we can pour out our deepest thoughts and headaches ….

For those of you that drive, you are familiar with that part of your vision that is a ‘blind spot’, an area that cannot be seen in your line of sight. Just like this, we all have blind spots in our lives too. Areas in our lives that hinder our spiritual growth and personal development but what sets these areas apart from other areas is that – in these areas, we cannot see.

For example, you may re-act to someone in anger that is actually verbally abusive or rude. You may find justification for your reaction but another person may help you understand that responding with kinder words and tone might illicit a positive response from the person.

Accountability is very important. In almost every area in life – on all levels individually, community, state, country and the world level. Accountability is a foundation of trust and trust is a critical component of any meaningful relationship.

The world needs more trust. The world needs more accountability. Without individual self-control and accountability there can be no enduring liberty or freedom in our societies.

We can only be free only as long as we can use freedom responsibly and being accountable is a part of this – on every level of human existence, from the street cleaners to Sports Stars, to Olympians and all the way to leaders of governments.

Side Chest.

Side Chest.

As you know, if we are not accountable to someone else, we may never understand why people reject our advice or us because we do not understand the full consequences and implications of our actions. This is being true to ourselves – taking control, accepting responsibility.

I’ve always believed that feedback, any kind of feedback is an essential contributor to growth – in all aspects of life. Someone once said “Feedback is the food of champions!”. I have to agree with that. It is consistent with nature.

For a lot of people, getting feedback can be an uncomfortable experience. You would know if you have sat through performance appraisals for employers.

On a personal level, we must learn to accept constructive criticism of ourselves if we wish to take positive actions to adapt and grow. That way, we set ourselves better to overcome problems and hiccups as we journey through life.

There is a passage in the bible (I think from proverbs) that says –

“Stern discipline awaits him who leaves the path; he who hates corrections will die.”

Life is a continuous flow of feedback loops, which when embraced, allows for growth (order/new life) from temporary chaos (feedback).

We’ll all die someday, yes this is a certainty, but it would be wise to be aware of your ‘blind spots’ well before you kick-the-bucket. This may help you ‘see’ better and live a more fulfilling life, while you’re still alive. Responsible self-control and accountability is the path to mental health, and frequently, to physical health as well.

Be accountable. Be accountable to you, to your God and to at least one other human being you trust. Embrace and learn to accept feedback, even if it makes you feel uncomfortable.

I’ve always told my students in my programs over the years that we must learn to be ‘comfortable being uncomfortable’ even if it is just for a short time. Getting feedback and digesting it is uncomfortable. Learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable when it comes to being accountable and embracing feedback.

It builds grit!

47 year old Chris looking and feeling better than he did in his 20s. Living my Triple A Approach to Self-development using my "3-legged stool" framework. Self-tuning using my adaptive strategy towards being his best S. Achieved through being accountable to me.

47 year old Chris looking and feeling better than he did in his 20s.
Living my Triple A Approach to Self-development using my “3-legged stool” framework.
Self-tuning using my adaptive strategy towards being his best S.
Achieved through being accountable to me.

Use feedback (positive or negative) to continuously grow and adapt towards the best version you can be of no one else but – YOU. The feedback allows you to see your blindspot(s).

Be the best you can be – for you, first, then for everyone else. Being accountable and taking responsibility for your actions is part of being the real you, being human. Being accountable and discovering your blindspot(s) is also about being a winner.

Winners get behind the wheel, firmly in the driver’s seat. Winners take control of their thoughts, their daily routines, their goals and their lives. Winners embrace feedback for improvement. They create their own horoscopes and astrological forecasts. They spend their time Winning … knowing they have no time to Lose.

Be the winner that you are!

Best of vitality to you.

 

Until next time,

Ghana female sprint champion being accountable to me to help her achieve her goals. Vv.

Ghana female sprint champion being accountable to me to help her achieve her goals.
Vv.

Being accountable has allowed me to achieve the highest level in the sport of Natural Bodybuliding. Accountability is a critical component of achieving results and goals in life. Vv.

Being accountable has allowed me to achieve the highest level in the sport of Natural Bodybuliding.
Accountability is a critical component of achieving results and goals in life.
Vv.

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