authenticness, awareness, balance, basics of training, beauty, better choices, Body shape, choices, Energy, Goals, long-term perspective, mind-muscle connection, muscle building, muscles, risk, safe training, symmetry, synergy, time, training, Vitality, workout, workouts, you

The Gym, Reps, Sets, Synergy and Workouts.

You perform your reps, sets and workout with one of the tools – dumbells, when you search for that ‘elusive pump’ feeling in the gym.

In my almost three decades in the ‘iron game’, I have learned many things.

About gyms, about people, about different training methods and styles, about perceptions, about limitations, about the mind, and about muscles, fat loss and body sculpturing.

I have learned a lot, filling my domain knowledge of subject areas that have always been fascinated about. And still am.

The Gym

I’ve always believed the gym was a micro-cosim of society. It is a metaphor for Life.

It does not represent reality – it tells (beautiful lies) about people. What it basically says, in my opinion, is I’m bigger or better than I really am. It is a kind of fantasy world.

But the gym is also not pure fantasy – it voices and indirectly describes and reflects, the real world (outside) by people the same people that make up the gym, by inventing little worlds that resemble it, loosely or closely.

I find it fascinating because, like Forest Gump said of life – “life is like a box of chocolate, you never know what you’re gonna get.” That is exactly how I feel before each visit to the gym. You never know what you’re gonna get, like who will be there, what equipment will be available when you need it, whether the gym will be “packed to the rafters” or quiet and empty.

No, you never know what you’re gonna get.

The gym alters reality to allow us to ‘see’ reality better.

What I find most interesting is that the gym lies (if it is a good gym), to reveal the truth to you (about the world outside the gym).

Each person in the gym has their own history, their own story, if you pause and ‘listen to what they’re not saying.’ Each person’s story is a metaphor for an aspect of the Real World.

The gym, in a sense, and among other things, is allegory. What it gives you (if you’re willing to listen and look and feel) is the real world – indirectly.

Maybe, that is why the gym is appealing to many of gym-goers world over. Maybe, it just allows us ‘let be.’

It allows the world each person is creating within their minds to come into being for themselves and everyone else in the gym … by leaving the real world (outside) well enough alone.

Just for those minutes or hours they are in the gym.

The gym allows each user the ability to create their own worlds in their minds. That is one of the reasons why, I think the gym has been so appealing to me all these years because it is fundamentally, how real life goes.

You see, most people proceed each visit to the gym with ignorance and uncertainty; then they get glimpses of the ‘truth’ – their truth, or moments of understanding. And, if you’re like most people, you rarely (and usually too late) get to ‘see’ the whole version of reality.

The gym is, maybe, the TRUEST REALISM.

Members of my ‘extended family’ when I used to own and manage my gym for seven years. Some of the best and hardest years of my life so far. I loved leading the members (predominantly males – 70%) and they allowed me to take them to unchartered territories for us all. The gym was (unlike today’s) a social place. An ‘inbetween home’ between your place of work and your home. That’s me on the extreme left.

 The workout.

Every workout is got to be about some part of the body or … I guess, these days, the ‘whole body.’ Every workout has got to be about something at the very least.

It doesn’t take much to do a workout – less still to do a set or just a handful of sets. In terms of action, I mean.

A workout to me is more than just a number of sets or selected exercises performed for a pre-selected number of repetitions. To some, a workout in the gym with traditional weight-training equipment is akin to a meditation hour or so. No, a workout is the pattern of a thing, a living thing – its rhyme and reason. It is what a moment or a memory or silence is about, if that makes any sense.

A workout does not need to be scientific. There are many types of workouts and I have tried and experimented with many over the last three decades.

To me, a workout is the genius of a thing. A workout could comprise just about anything, it may even be nothing. A workout is what you experience to write the story you are writing in the gym.

The Sets

A Set is simply, one tool a gym enthusiast might use to fulfil his goal to achieve a workout, the workout he or she imagines he is going to do. The set is, to some extent, a form of a workout in itself which uses action as its mode, usually in the form of a slight discomfort or pain.

The set intricately and closely connects one exercise to another, usually through a causal chain, ending in a moment of pain and pleasure or what I refer to as ending in a climax.

I have done thousands of sets since I began lifting weights in my late teens almost thirty years ago. To me, a set is a miracle and a mystery. A set is the track from somewhere to somewhere else – the start and the beginning of a mii-project, a small journey.

It carries the performer from silence to understanding, from nothing to something.

A set to a workout is like a river is to a whole catchment. Namely, everything. The part serves the whole; it is what the whole comes down to.

It is the point, the ‘dot.’

Sets alone or sets performed in no particular order mean something to the enthusiast but not much. I find that when I am doing a set, I am telling a part of my story, my life because what I am striving for ultimately is, meaning. And how does meaning arise when you’re doing a set?

It arises when I put the repetitions required to perform each and every set into an order in which I have learned to recognise a pattern of relationship (through the many thousands of sets and workouts I have performed over the last 3 decades).

I then derive meaning.

Over the years, I have learned to recognise relationships between sets and causality. We all have that gift for seeing and attributing meaning patterns – and for storing and repeating them in mind and workouts when recalling. We do this for almost everything in our lives, it is just easier on our brain as the brain relies heavily on autopilot, ultimately to conserve energy.

We humans, make sense of life that way, by learning how things interact, what causes what. The only thing is, like anything else, learning so, takes time.

Climaxing at the end of a set is one kind of pleasure, a lot of time, with pain thrown in to the mix. The completion of the pre-determined number of sets is not the point of the workout.

So, the point of a workout as I see it and story-tell, is in the ‘feeling.’

It is the feeling that allows one to build and soak in the ‘essence of the exercise.’ And how do you get the essence? That involves much, much more than just lifting a weight against gravity and moving the weight from point A to point B.

I will save that ‘find the essence of the exercise’ to another blog.

Providing a little bit of assistance. My pupil here ‘feeling the essence’ of the exercise.
All relationships require work and time .
Sometimes, its the little things, that determine your success in pursuit of a worthwhile goal.

Reps

Reps, is the shortened version of repetition. Part of gym lingo. It is the basic unit of a set and the building blocks of your workout. It is the number and tempo that dictates what kind of set you’re doing and the feeling you get at the end of the set (if you get any at all).

Not every rep is the same, just like not every golf swing is the same, using different clubs for different strokes.

Performing the rep is when you ‘get your hands dirty.’ It is when you feel the blood pumping excitedly through your veins. It is when you sweat. You sweat to earn those muscles. The rep is when you experience what I call a ‘continuous progression of focused moments.’

Some people call this meditation.

Everyone is at varying levels of meditation and are, ideally, working towards improving their meditation ability or what we, bodybuilders refer to ‘mind-muscle’ connection.

This is when you ‘feel the essence’ or what Arnold calls the ‘pump’. It is an elusive thing and not many gym rats get to experience this climaxing moment. It is the holy grail of lifting weights. It is one of the factors that separate real bodybuilders from the gym rats.

So-called self-help gurus have, for decades now, spoken about how one can ‘get in touch with one’s inner-self. Well, I have news for everyone, bodybuilders, real, authentic bodybuilders have been their inner-self for over a hundred years now.

Bodybuilders have a very highly level of understanding of getting in touch with one’s inner-self, because you couldn’t really get any more any ‘in touch’ with yourself then getting in to the individual cell, with vitality-infused blood.

Feel the essence, I say!

Fully focused!
A true warrior & champion. Phil applying principles in one of my programs and adopting my framework.
Focusing on making every repetition of every set of every exercise as ideal as possible.
Practise does not make perfect – Perfect practise makes perfect!
Photo: Retired Champion Ex-Australian Wallaby Captain & NSW Waratahs Captain and player in action under my watchful eyes.

Synergy

Sets alone or sets carried out in no particular order could mean success … but very little: Second set, 8 to 12 reps, power on the positive, control on the negative with a 2-1-3 tempo! Oh, I get it. A workout is completed; sense of achievement arise. How does that happen? It happens because the gym enthusiast/bodybuilder puts the sets in an order in which he has learned to recognise a pattern of relationships and so can derive satisfaction and purpose. It happens because of the innate human avidness of the human GIFT for seeing and attributing meaning to patterns – and for storing and repeating them in mind and body and spirit (dare I say, speech).

We humans make sense of our life and in the world we live in by learning how things interact, what causes what. The way every cause has its effect; the way every action has its actor, its object and its consequence. So, most gym rats learn that for every

What I am trying to say is that put a man and woman who like the look of each other in a place together and what you’ll get pretty soon, among other things, is someone doing something; and someone doing it back; and two people doing something together. What you get is ‘synergy’.

Sex; a relationship; perhaps issues. What you get is sets performed – simple, compound, complex and compound-complex, fragments and fractals.

What you get is synergy.

Anyone can ‘lift weights’, but unfortunately, not many can lift weights with synergy. And how do you do you make those reps, those sets perform their alchemy and achieve synergy and purpose.

I have found that one can learn the many different types of training ‘techniques’ and ways of lifting without ever knowing what the essence feels like. Just like you can understand the whole scheme of evolutionary history, without ever knowing why a minah bird moves exactly, and with such intelligence, as it does – why that is necessary and how it came to pass.

Achieving and feeling the essence and flowing with synergy in your workouts is another lively mystery.

A tip: one needs to learn rhythm. This comes after years of deliberate mind-muscle-heart-spirit practise. One of the greatest joys of doing a workout is not just achieving synergy but also making music within.

That is when you get hold of ‘that mystery’ and master that miracle within.

Good repetitions of good sets of good exercises performed well, amongst other variables, performed with synergy and music .. .makes for a good workout.

And the more balanced and elegant one’s sets are, the sounder they are structurally, the better one’s workouts will be.

You approach what I refer to as the ‘state of beauty’ … an enlightened state that brings you closer to balance and symmetry, a state of finite bliss. A state of enhanced balance and symmetry, when done correctly.

Not many gym enthusiasts ever get to that state. That is ok, most don’t. … and most don’t know how to, either.

 

Until next time,

Captain Viking Pirate Vaughn-Van-Valentine (VvV)

Collage of some bodybuilding poses

Collage of members of my gym in action … many, many years ago.

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.

Standard
a better life, anger, authenticness, awareness, balance, beauty, care empathy, Energy, forgiveness, game of life, genuineness, God, happiness, self-respect, spirituality, truths, Vitality, you

A Happiness KEY: Be naked, exposed and vulnerable.

bw3140

In the heat of battle at the World Natural Bodybuilding Championships, NY, USA. Me (4th ranked) and competitor (3rd placed) striking a “Triceps Pose”.

A wise friend told me once a long time ago that if you love life, life will love you back.

I have seen them, so perhaps have you – people who seem to have been freshly scrubbed or newly minted. They have taut skins and great smiles. How do they do it?

They do it partly through increased respect for their body, spirit/soul, heart and mind.

If you see one of these people, ask them their secret and then … get in touch with me and we can tell it to the world. Their secret would be worth more than a pot of gold!

Well, after twenty five years of helping people, help themselves work towards a better version of themselves, I believe a key factor is in better energy management and also that these lucky people have better experience of happiness, daily.

Managing energy better does not only refer to raw materials taken in and outputs expanded from the human machine that is the human body, it also refers to our state of mind and state of heart and spirit.

It seems that many people are of the belief that constantly ‘being happy’ is desired and so they spend all of their day choosing and stressing about being happy. I believe that striving to constantly be in a state of happiness takes you further and further away from the elusive happiness. They do so to such an extent that the drive to be constantly happy leads to unhappiness and an empty feeling.

Why is that so, I ask?

Well, it is because, a human being is also an emotional and spiritual being. I believe that to be truly human, one needs to be able to feel ALL emotions, not just being happy all the time. A human being needs to feel emotions including those that are unpleasant – like anger, hatred or sadness amongst others. One needs to FEEL the whole gamut of emotions in one’s life to be truly closer to happiness.

So, in essence you have to experience UNHAPPINESS to experiencing growth towards happiness in your life. There is no other way. This is a key to happiness.

There is a catch though, as (like anything worthwhile getting), it isn’t as easy as it sounds. To get closer to genuine happiness in your life, you need to strip bare (be honest and brave to oneself); be naked, expose oneself to the world and allow oneself to be vulnerable.

This is a difficult task and for some people, impossible.

Being vulnerable is liberating, it is a genuine taste of freedom. Being vulnerable is truth … it is peace. Being vulnerable is harmony and symmetry … being vulnerable is beauty.

I believe part of the reason people don’t allow themselves to feel the full range of emotions, particularly the unpleasant ones is that we’re all sort of brainwashed to some extent, that ‘getting in touch’ with your inner negative feelings is not recommended and frowned upon.

There is a high need and practise in modern day society to reason and provide an objective and logical explanation to everything, without any feeling. That is the key phrase – “without any feeling’. It seems that people think that they must express everything like this – giving well thought out, logical, step by step reasons for a situation without any empathy and feeling.

You see it everywhere, where people frown upon or look at you with surprise when you voice your disagreement, disgust, anger, frustration and so forth because you actually allowed yourself to experience that emotion.

Oh no, that’s not civilized, not good behaviour … you need ‘anger management’ help. A load of c%ap!

And why is this so?

Well, I have told my wife this many times over the years – that the lack of ‘feeling’ is increasingly a sure sign that peoples’ spiritual lives being poverty-stricken.

Basically, one cannot give and share what one does not have in the first place. In other words, we cannot mirror, cannot radiate the tenderness (of God/positive energy) because people have not experienced it themselves. Sad, but true.

If you believe in God, in a God, please understand one thing: I believe that God expects us to show all of our feelings to him – happy and unhappy feelings, everything. Nothing is off-limits!

However, I believe that before a man or a woman can really FEEL his or her own feelings and be able to express them fully, you have to go back to your past and deal with any hurt or anger. Ask for forgiveness and ask God (and your God) for your forgiveness.

There are few certainties in life – death and taxes are two of them. A third one and one that is relevant to my message in this blog is that God does not change, God is a certainty.

He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Because of this, if you believe in him and you believe in his healing power, you can let go. You can forgive and be forgiven for your past, because it can be UNDONE and off-loaded on to God forever, releasing the shackels you’ve put yourself in.

This is what is meant by being naked.

Allowing you to feel empowered again in your own skin – to be unarmoured … to come out from the wall of invulnerability on those deeply sensitive spots that hold you back from truly feeling the whole spectrum of feelings.

So, being naked, being totally exposed, ironically, provides you with the ultimate armour: increased spiritual connectedness.

A man or woman who has embraced this heightened spirituality, invites wonderful healing of painful memories formed in his or her past. This healing, in turn is the key to be more caring, more empathetic outward expressions (including unpleasant ones too).

Increased awareness of your spiritual part to your whole being allows you to let down the walls of invulnerability, allows you to drop the façade’. It allows the TRUE SELF to be set free, the TRUE YOU.

A great thinker once said that the most difficult thing for a person to do in his or her lifetime is to BE HIM or HERSELF, in a world that is constantly trying to make you somebody else.

So, building your spiritual self allows you to be more of who you really are, not somebody else, not a fake you. You get to love yourself more which ultimately shows in how you show love to others (outwardly), because you are now naked and exposed and vulnerable.

This vulnerability allows you to experience not only the happy feelings but also the unhappy feelings or the undesirable feelings and be more complete.

You see, to me happiness is more than simply feeling pleasure and avoiding pain. Happiness is about having experiences that are meaningful and valuable, including emotions that you think are the right ones to have (others may not think so). All emotions can be positive in some contexts and negative in others, regardless of whether they are pleasant or unpleasant.

Happiness is also about being content, a sub-set of happiness.

So, if your goal is to be more happy (and almost every human being has this goal) then to be more happy, learn to feel more. Learn to be unhappy occasionally (when appropriate), don’t be afraid to. It is human to feel these less-than-desired emotions.

To get closer to the elusive happiness – be naked (and honest with your spiritual self). Be real and authentic. Be You. No one else in the world can play that role better than you can …. The role of YOU.

Here’s to your happiness (and unhappiness)!

 

Until next time,

 

Standard
a better life, action, attitude, authenticness, awareness, balance, beauty, Beliefs, change, choices, courage, Energy, game of life, genuineness, man, perspective, real man, responsibility, self improvement, self-respect, symmetry, your life

Arnold Schwarzenegger exterior, Tom Hanks interior.

With my trophy – doing the “Abdominal/Thigh” pose.
Top 5 Natural BodyBuilder in the world.

I love observing life and society and everything around me. I am a student of life. In recent years (last ten to fifteen years or so), I have noticed that men are forgetting or maybe do not know or are unsure of what it means to be a Man anymore.

A Real Man.

I have a few theories about how this has reached a growing and worrying societal problem now and for the future, but I won’t go in to that in this blog. No, I’m going to dance with the idea of what a Real Man is or should be.

What should the mark of a Real Man be?

Status in society? Richness in money? Accumulated financial wealth? Power? A tattoo, maybe? I’m sure you’ll have your opinion and definitions.

One word: GRIT.

I believe this is one characteristic of a Real Man. And a sub-set of this word Grit (along with resilience, unrelenting, solution-oriented etc), is simply “toughness”.

But it does not end there.

What is more important than toughness? It is exercising the RIGHT KIND of toughness. Anyone can be tough and we all are at various points in our lives but not many people can call on the right kind of toughness at the right time.

Now this takes skill, this takes effort and work and deliberate thinking and practise to get it right. Now, this characteristic is the foundation of a Real Man . It is the building blocks of what it means to be a Real Man.

It feeds in to his strength of character.

But that is only half of what a real man is.

The other fifty percent should be intimacy, gentleness. Don’t you think so?

Put together, you have what I refer to as a possible definition of a real man. He has an Arnold Schwarzenegger exterior (toughness) and a Tom Hanks (gentleness) interior.

How should we go about attaining these two qualities of a Real Man?

Well, I believe each man should strive for ‘balance’. Everything comes down to balance – internally and externally. So, every man should consciously strive for balance with both qualities.

Knowing when to be tough is as important as knowing when to be tender.

The wise man has the power of discernment and knows when to exercise either. The art in the dance through life is in developing this power of discernment towards balance.

Balance is achieved when a man stops trying to be someone else but the man that is truly reflected through the eyes he sees look back at him in the mirror. A man needs to just be himself and believe in the Holy Spirit or his inner-self, his Real Self and not be afraid to let him out. To let him be vulnerable.

The more vulnerable you become as a man through increased positive self-awareness, the more ‘Real’ you become. The closer you get to becoming more authentic, more of a Real Man.

A man cannot just choose Toughness and no tenderness or only choose to be gentle (and a gentleman) all the time and not be tough. No, this leads to confusion with his self and also with his woman and every person around him. Simply, because he is not clear on his role as a man and what it means to be a Real Man.

A Real Man is partly defined by having both these traits continuously intertwined in his daily life. At home and at work and play. It is a never-ending, dynamic complex fusion of chaos and order to produce something unique: the Real Man.

Being just tough results in a man being cold, distant, intolerant, unbearable and impatient. What we’ve all been brought up hearing society (mainly angry women) refer to “All Men are As#holes! “. Very unfair because not all men are like that.

But, being tough and tender brings about something different, something elusive. It makes a man appear closer to what I refer to as beauty.

And why do I say that?

Well, being tough AND tender … results in gentleness, thoughtfulness and being considerate. The man is more attuned to the principles of nature which is harmony.

Being tough and tender brings you closer to the elusive balance and symmetry of life. Brings you closer to what I refer to as ‘beauty’. I love formulas and mathematics so here is a little formula for you, based on my hypothesis of what a Real Man is:

Tough + Tender => Balance + Symmetry ==> Beauty!

So, all you men reading this, ask yourself if you can be beautiful. If you strive towards balance and symmetry in these two strengths of character – toughness and tenderness, you run the risk of being referred to as a ‘beautiful man’.

And why not, the word beautiful should not only be reserved for women, cars, sculptures and paintings and flowers. No, men too can be beautiful.

Being referred to as beautiful is worth the risk because I believe a beautiful man is a Real Man.

Work on your beauty and not be just a “Gentle-man” or “Tough-man”, no, work towards being a Beautiful-Man.

A Beautiful Man is A Real Man!

Until next time,

Explaining the principles of training within my programs.

Standard
a better life, accountability, authenticness, awareness, belief systems, better choices, boys, choices, christian, courage, decisions, Energy, long-term strategy, love, responsibility, risk, saving, strengths

Save the fathers of tomorrow.

My son and I. Provide the best blueprint you can of what it means to be a man. He needs you now more than ever. Save him now so that tomorrow's world will be saved too. Vv.

My son and I.
Provide the best blueprint you can of what it means to be a man.
He needs you now more than ever.
Save him now so that tomorrow’s world will be saved too.
Vv.

Boys, young boys need saving.

They are saved by giving them a role model to follow.

When boys have a clear role model they intuitively know how to function when they assume the responsibility of marriage and parenting later on in life.

In my years in the gym and also owning a gym for about seven years, I have seen the effects of young boys who do not have male role models. They seem crippled and have no idea what it is to be a man.

All young boys have a hunger for that – for that role model of what it means to be a man. I have seen it in their eyes, their actions and their passion, their being.

I believe, one of my God-appointed tasks is to ensure that my son will be ready to lead a family, a family of his own when his time comes. To do this, I feel it is my role to equip him with the skills to do so. Why? Because, he, along with the many other young boys of today will be the fathers of tomorrow.

A good foundation of all young boys is to firstly know who they are and what they are. Two key questions. This is enhanced through increased awareness of self, which is ideally, facilitated by the dad.

Young boys then need to observe their role model in action. For my son, this is where I come in (and where all dads play their part with their son). This is when these young minds crystallize what it means to be a man.

This is when the ‘ball is in my court …. And in your court’, if you’re a father to a son or sons right now. This is where the wires of his brain is wired together to form the foundation of his future self.

It is our job to save our boys – the fathers of today to …. save the fathers of tomorrow! It is not the boy’s school’s job or extended family’s job. It is not society’s job and it is not the government’s role. This is not a job to be outsourced to other ‘so-called coaching disciplines’ like the countless activities coaches around today.

No, this is the job of today’s fathers. Period!

This is the role for you (if you are a father), for me. This is a job for what I refer to as today’s silent heroes. Real men, real fathers who are there for their son(s) through thick and thin, that play their role without fanfare or applause.

No, I am not referring to the heroic men who are idealised in the media – the men who go off to war, the men who climb the highest mountains, the men who win Olympic medals nor the men who run the largest of corporations, nor men who travel to other planets. They are good examples of men indeed.

No, I am simply referring to the real role models – dads like you and me. I see us dads who take this role with both hands as no different to those more common exhaulted heroes that make for good stories and tv ratings.

I see dads who strive to be their son’s role models just like heroes like those men who go off to war or represent their countries at the Olympic Games or the like. They are dads who give up their own selfish-bachelor ideals and career-hungry goals to be there for their son(s).

I see dads and fathers who take their role’s full responsibility as today’s silent heroes.

I am talking about the real fathers of today. Fathers who are simply there for their sons. Always. Fathers who provide the support and the impetus and template for the young boys today to be the men, the fathers’ of tomorrow.

The critical question is how are we going to do this, how are we supposed to give them sufficient, appropriate and relevant training to be the man they need to be? The man we hope them to be.

With the next generation of Valentine males - Zachary.

With the next generation of Valentine males – Zachary.

I have 5.5 goals for saving by boy. It is my job as his father to model for him the importance of:

  • Knowing and obeying Jesus Christ
  • Knowing and simplifying Godly character
  • Knowing and loving my wife
  • Knowing and loving my children, and
  • Knowing my gifts and strengths and the weaknesses and contribute to the lives of others and have fun doing all of this as well.

I have listed 5.5 as the list is not exhaustive and you could add to the list other goals of what you think means to be a man and a role model. That is totally fine. Every man is unique, yes, but I also believe, every man has more in common with one another than we care to admit and accept.

The important thing is for us to focus our attention on being the best we can be, for ourselves, first, so that our son(s) can get the best of us. This to me will increase the chances that more fathers of tomorrow will be saved.

For their sake, for their future families’ sake, for society’s sake and for the world’s sake, today’s boys need the best role models they can copy from.

Be the best man you can be. Be the best father you can be. For you, and for your future father(s).

The fathers of tomorrow need saving. I believe this so. They need saving before it is too late.

The fathers of tomorrow will only be saved if today’s fathers stand up, stand tall and deliver and lead by example – the example that will provide the best blueprint of what a male role model needs to be…. For their sons(s). Sons that will be leaders of tomorrow.

As you know, the focus for you and me is to strive towards being more of –

A Real Man. A Real Dad. A Real Father.

We are many, we are authentic. We are today’s silent heroes. Continue doing the good work and save the fathers of tomorrow.

Be the hero that you know you are!

 

Until next time,

Be the best role model you can be for you son - a father of tomorrow. Vv.

Be the best role model you can be for your son – a father of tomorrow.
Vv.

Standard
a better life, adaptation, attitude, authenticness, awareness, Beliefs, better choices, change, choices, courage, decisions, Energy, examined life, God, habits, life, love, no, respect, self-respect, taking action, you

The greatest expression of self-respect.

Say no. Vv.

Say no.
Vv.

The first twenty years of my life was a little more difficult than the second twenty years of my life and it was partly because of one little thing, one little ‘mosquito’.

That little mosquito I am referring to is the inability to say ‘no’. Sometimes, when left to grow, that little “mozzie” (Australian lingo for mosquito) can become huge problems like dengue fever or even the deadly malaria which has been responsible for more deaths than all the deaths caused by wars since the beginning of the world.

The ability to know when to and actually say ‘no’ is, I believe, the greatest expression of self-respect.

It reminds me of what a great wise eighty five year old friend of mine said to me before he died about four years ago, that –

“elephants don’t bite, mosquitoes do.”  Or in other words – Little things matter. So true, indeed.

What about you? Think about your life to this point. Did you suffer from this too? If you still do, you’re not alone because I believe that a large proportion of humans in the world still cannot get this “mosquito problem” under control.

For me, in those first twenty years of my life, not being able to say no sometimes felt akin to a dog chasing its tail, never getting anywhere and not knowing where the start and end of everything was. I strived to please everybody and their requests and was constantly disappointed.

It was hard – very hard. Until one day, I came to the realisation that you cannot please everyone and not everyone will agree with you and that is ok. Increased awareness is one very important step and then taking appropriate and sufficient action, finally leading you to adapting you or your environment or a combination of both.

I had a simple but significant change in philosophy. or the way I saw life and how life operates.

I realised that you don’t owe anything to anyone in life except one thing: love. And, contrary to what some believe, sometimes the most loving thing you can do is to say no to someone else’s request or simply saying no to an internal request – a want you need to immediately gratify. Self-control from or delayed satisfaction for oneself with regards to wants, is the greatest expression of self-respect you can give yourself.

An indication that you genuinely love the person who see looking back at you when you look at yourself in the mirror – you!

It is quite interesting but that is one of the most underrated traits in this world – simply, the power and strength to say ‘no’.

Saying 'no' to the maxim "No pain, no gain" could be one of the best things you can do for your joints and longevity in the gym. Choose your exercise and exercise execution wisely. More is not necessarily better. Vv.

Saying ‘no’ to the maxim “No pain, no gain” could be one of the best things you can do for your joints and longevity in the gym.
Choose your exercise and exercise execution wisely.
More is not necessarily better.
Vv.

The power to say no is empowering. The power to say no is so great, I have literally seen it make the impossible – possible in the lives of many people I have helped. The power to say no allows individuals to create their own miracles, to release the champion that rests dormant within them.

I have witnessed it, it is amazing – the power to say no is a miracle waiting to happen! You don’t have to climb Mount Everest to feel on top of the world. No, the feeling you get when you say no is even better, more profound, because each and every uttering of no, builds your ability climb all the internal mountain climbs you face in your life.

Mountains you will get to the top of. If I remember correctly I think it was Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb Mount Everest that put it:

“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.”

This is something that I request from and re-enforce with everyone that I have helped over the years. The ability to summon courage to start saying ‘no’ again within their re-engineering programs. I encourage each of them to say no to some of the excesses of life that they may have been used to experiencing to that point in their lives. I encourage them to say no to excuses.

I know it seems counter-intuitive to deprive yourself of what you desire to get what you ultimately desire but it is vitally important to achieving goals you place a high priority on. Even a little no with conviction is far better than a lame, weak ‘yes’. It takes a lot of courage to say no.

“Saying no to help you, help yourself, get what you care about, to get what you want!” is what I say to my students.

Saying no to self-limiting beliefs, thought patterns, words, actions, habits and character traits that are not aligned with their ultimate goal of how they ‘imagine themselves to be’ in the mirror. This is where the real struggles of real people in everyday living rests. This is where true grit is required. This is where you climb the many mountains towards success.

Why? Because it is often a whole lot easier not to do the simple things, the simple things – the little mozzies – like saying no! Just like many other mozzies in life, the little things that are important to do are also easy not to do, so a lot of people don’t do them for whatever reasons or fears.

Saying no empowers you to successfully climb the internal obstacles, the internal self-created mountains and get to the ‘other side’. This is not a genetic trait, nor one of talent. This is just sheer grit!

To overcome temptation, to say no to habits that you have indulged in for a big chunk of your life is a true sign of self-respect. Saying no allows you to use your 86,400 seconds in a day more productively and manage your energy better.

Like I said, I believe, the ‘no’ answer is perhaps the greatest expression of self-respect and ultimate representation of human dignity there is.  Your attitude is key to your destiny in life as it determines the actions you take (good or bad) . Ultimately, this all flows from you philosophy once again. What is the opposite of self-respect? Well, choosing to live a life of insignificance.

So, be brave and summon the courage that rests within you and proudly announce to the world ‘no!’ No to things, people and activities that do not help align you towards you being your best. No to things, people and activities that bring you down rather than elevate you. No to the naysayers.

If there is one very important habit that you can do for yourself is this little habit of saying no again. Don’t be afraid. Just do it! Remember, knowing what to do isn’t the same as doing it.

Say NO. Release the champion within you!

Start loving yourself a little more each time you say no. Don’t just live your life, consider living your life with the greatest expression of self-respect and say no.

To be alive and live is a gift so, consider living your life with the highest expression of human dignity there is and say no, when appropriate and relevant. Being able to say no without regret also allows you to say yes with confidence. Yes, what you do matters, but I think what you think and say to yourself matters too – I believe, even more so.

Think about it: what I have been speaking about comes full circle – what you think determines the source of attitudes, which is your philosophy.

As the great thinker Aristotle said –

 “Where we are free to act,

We are also free to refrain from acting,

And where we are able to say No,

We are also able to say yes.”

All the very best to you in your life choices. Remember, if you want to change what’s happening in your life, change your philosophy or how you see things. It is not some huge task but simply comes down to – you guessed it – small (mozzie) steps.

Little steps, compounded over time, do make a difference. this is real magic. That the little things you do every single day – the little things that don’t look dramatic, that don’t even look like they matter – DO MATTER!

Little things (like saying no) matters.

Dream. Decide. Do.

 

Until next time,

Side triceps pose. Contest: Australian Natural Bodybuilding Titles. Placing: 2nd. Saying "no" has allowed me to choose exercises wisely and understand that quality training is more important than quantity when it comes to getting quality results.

Side triceps pose.
Contest: Australian Natural Bodybuilding Titles.
Placing: 2nd.
Saying “no” has allowed me to choose actions which in turn became habits that allowed me to build one of the best natural physiques in the world.

Standard
a better life, action, asking questions, authenticness, awareness, belief systems, Beliefs, better choices, caring, choices, christian, decisions, Energy, examined life, faith, game of life, genuineness, God, grace, hope, life, long-term perspective, love, path, respect, significance, spirituality, truths, your life

A life of significance.

_O7A6309_C

If you are a regular reader of my messages, you will notice that I think a lot about life and I am constantly asking a lot of questions from life. I admit, I am a student of life.

My years of interacting with thousands of people in gyms, including seven years when I owned my own gym, I have learned a lot about life from other people’s experiences(OPE’s) and stories.

A question I have always asked is what does it mean to live your life, in particular – to live a life of significance? I feel that this is one of the most important aspects of a life well lived. What do you think? I think if I remember correctly, it was the writer Henry Thoreau that said something to the effect that he was afraid of coming to the end of life and finding that he had NOT LIVED.

I think Henry meant, coming to the end of your life and realising that you have not lived a life of significance. That was a genuine fear of his. Now, I am tempted to say that I am not genuinely afraid about anything – but that is not true. One of my main fears is insignificance. I am afraid, to put it simply, of living a life that does not matter. I admit I am afraid of leaving the world exactly as I entered and found it, no different for my having been here.

To not live a life of significance.

What about you? Is this one of your fears? Have you had a chance to think about this question in your journey through life so far?

From my observations of life so far, I have noticed that a lot of people think that “having lived” means experiencing a lot of adventures or a lot of fun and experiences or indeed – acquiring a lot of money. I think otherwise. I think these peoples’ perception of what it means to ‘have lived’ is slightly distorted and are missing the true significance of what it entails in my eyes.

Help people get what they want using your unique strengths and blessings. Vv.

Help people get what they want using your unique strengths and blessings.
Vv.

Along with spending about eight years in my early youth as a Catholic altar boy, assisting priests in church masses and bible readings, I’ve spent countless hours of listening to hundreds of stories through OPE’s, and am also a keen observer of life. I believe, this common modern-day definition of living has nothing to do with ‘having lived.’ The usual things people seek to guarantee importance in their lives – typically money, fame, power – just don’t last.

Money, fame and power don’t work very well and yet, generation after generation are still blinded and brainwashed to believe that they are the answer. History is littered with countless examples that it is a lie, short-term  and inauthentic.

These false drivers – money, fame and power all come to an end. Often, during the person’s own life, and certainly thereafter.

“So, how do you live a life of significance?” you may be thinking.

Instead of the individual’s endless pursuit of more money, fame and power, I believe living a life of significance comes with filling your life with things that last forever.

“And what are these things that last forever?” you may now be asking.

Well, these things that last forever are essentially VALUES. Yep, values! And what is the greatest value of all? Love! Put simply, you need to fill your life with love and lots of it! Love casts out all fears.

What is love? At this stage in your life, you would highly likely have some idea of what it is. Well, one definition is that it is an emotional attachment to the good things of life. So, fall in love with traits such as honesty, integrity, justice, goodwill, forgiveness, truth, grace and yes – success.

I think ultimately, you continue to live in hope in the joyous expectancy of the best, and invariably the best will come to you. Through God’s blessing.

It follows that to live a life of significance, you need to fill your life as much as possible with these values, attitudes and actions. So, start with trying to make someone else’s life a little better, using the God-given talents and strengths you have been given. This is a great start to significant living, as you have done something that lasts forever – in that person’s (his or her) heart.

Something that is eternal. A gift from you.

That impact you had on that individual or individuals is eternal because people are the only part of this world that will last forever …

Brad seeked; Brad asked the right questions; Brad knocked on the doors of opportunity towards the person he imagined himself to be. With my guidance

Brad seeked; Brad asked the right questions; Brad knocked on the doors of opportunity towards the person he imagined himself to be.
With my guidance

As we are constantly reminded daily by media, today’s modern world is filled with many threats – many imagined, some real – threats to our sense of security and safety. Today, more than ever before, you need to be in the right relationship with God. This is the ultimate security, the only true safety as he is the beginning and the end – God, as you know is the perfect giver of love.

If you are a Christian you will believe that God was there before the beginning and he has no end. He has known our fears and sufferings.

Life plays no favourites. God is life, and this life-principle is flowing through you at this moment, as you read and think upon these words. Believe that through him, you will be set free…. to live a life of significance.

Before I go, remember that you owe nothing to anyone in this world except love. In it’s simplest form, love is basically wishing for everyone what you wish for yourself – health, happiness and success (in that order) and all the blessings of life.

This is my wish for you, your family and your friends.

All the best in your choice of how to live your one life.

 

Until next time,

B&W3284

Standard
a better life, action, adaptation, authenticness, awareness, belief, belief systems, Beliefs, better choices, choices, decisions, Energy, game of life, genuineness, Goals, habits, life, long-term perspective, love, man, perspective, real man, self improvement, truths, you, your life

Being and doing.

Being and doing.  Strive to bring them together as ONE.  For a better you, a better life.  Vv.

Being and doing.
Strive to bring them together as ONE.
For a better you, a better life.
Vv.

My grandfather played a huge role in my youth.

I only have a few photos of him in a little photo album I bought almost three decades ago now. I was fortunate I had the foresight to put a few photos in this album for me and my family in the future – the family I have now.

I was about eleven years old when I put this album together. I bring the album out every so often to show my kids and tell stories of my childhood. They just love listening to these stories and the photos bring these stories to life – of the life I lived in the first quarter of my life. Stories of my grandparents, my siblings, my cousins, extended family members, my friends, my pets and my hobbies.

A different but beautiful phase of my life – a life my kids are so very far removed in their lives they live now. A time and part of my life that I will always cherish.

It was a different time, different era – a different place.

These are the only photos I have of some of the most influential persons I had in my life in my first fourteen years on this earth. Two of them were my grandparents. They were more like parents to me. They raised me as their child.

This blog is dedicated to my foremost role model – my grandfather. A man that melded ‘being and doing’ into ONE. Let me tell you a little story about him and how it relates to the title of this …

I don’t remember much about him now but I remember how I felt when I was around him. I felt loved. I know he was a man of love and always showed me he loved me every day.

I remember he was very strict and particular in everything he did. Everything had its place and everything had standards. Standards that we all had to adhere to.

Without fail. There were no exceptions.

He was very much a ‘black and white’ sort of a person with very little or no ‘grey areas’. He would call a spade a spade and wouldn’t mince his words if he had to get his message across by bothering with ‘political correctness’ as we do now.

He called it as he saw it! He was a Clint Eastwood “Old School” kind-of-a man. A man I looked up to.

Like I said, it was a different time, different place.

Setting his own standards through - Mind-muscle connection. 'flexing the muscles' in a "most-muscular' pose. Chris is an A+ student and the results show for a 47 year old man. On his way to realizing a physique and mind-set he imagines himself having. ... adopting my framework to body/mind re-engineering. No risk, no belief - no nothing! Vv

Setting his own standards through –
Mind-muscle connection. ‘flexing the muscles’ in a “most-muscular’ pose.
Chris is an A+ student and the results show for a 47 year old man.
On his way to realizing a physique and mind-set he imagines himself having.
… adopting my framework to body/mind re-engineering.
No risk, no belief – no nothing!
Vv

But he was also a gentleman. A real, genuine, gentleman. Dressed like one, behaved like one and thought like one. I only realized how fortunate I was to have such an influential person like him in my life after he died.

He died in peacefully in his sleep. It was a quiet end to a quiet man.

My beliefs, my values and principles and my perspective on life has been strongly influenced by this influential grandfather of mine. A simple but very wise man.

From what I understand (and to some extent, remember), he was a very quiet man. A man of few words. A man who spoke through his actions. A very authentic, Real Man.

One thing that I will always remember was that he never missed a performance that I was in throughout my primary and early secondary school life. I always saw his face in the crowd of parents and grandparents that came to watch. ALWAYS! This is a very tough standard to live up to now that I have kids of my own.

I found it very difficult to attend all my children’s school performances last year. And they are just starting out in their primary school. I will do my very best for the future years to keep up this standard.

At his funeral I was made responsible for meeting and greeting people at the door as they arrived. I could not believe the amount of people that turned up at his funeral, I mean there would have been over five hundred people that poured in. They came from all levels of society – senior government officials, doctors, judges, big businessmen, teachers and so forth.

Was this all for the man I thought I knew – my grandfather?”, I wondered.

It didn’t make sense”, I thought to myself. I remember seeing the tears in the eyes of all those hundreds of people (mostly strangers to me), who had come from everywhere to say farewell to this ‘quiet man’.

This moment and the funeral got me thinking …

I wondered and still wonder who would come to my funeral with tears in their eyes? Have you wondered this too? I remember thinking and still think about what one’s life is for and what is the point of our existence in this world? I asked myself what the definition of success was? We’ve all heard these questions before, yes. Most of us have read the philosophies.

But have you really applied them to yourself before? Seriously.

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

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

Well, I guess this gentleman I knew as my grandfather had somehow touched, in some way, shape or form – the hearts of everyone who paid respect at his. It only occurred to me many years later that one of the reasons why this quiet man influenced so many people was this:

He was a man whose beliefs and actions were very closely aligned, where his being and doing was almost the same thing. It was ONE. He was an authentic man. This is probably one of the most difficult things each and every one of us have to face in life – the alignment of our beliefs with our actions.

This is always going to forever be a complex, dynamic process because even though our individual beliefs may stay the same, our actions will be influenced by how the world changes around us (and the pace of change is quicker than ever before). We are now, more than ever, forced to constantly re-think and re-assess our actions against our beliefs EVERY SINGLE DAY!

The alignment of one’s beliefs and actions – of a person’s being and doing, is a very difficult daily battle with constant change. For most, if not all of us, this search for a stronger connection and search for this truth will never end. It’s almost a losing battle. The search for the authentic self, your authentic self. Your soul. But don’t despair, don’t give in. Persevere.

Strengthen your grit!

Since that realisation all those years ago, I have been trying to bring my being and my doing closer together. It isn’t easy. You could say that it has and always is a daily goal of mine and continue to be so in to the future.

Do you find yourself acting a part in your normal day-to-day which is not totally ‘you’? What about in your place of work, the organization you work for? I remember working in large multi-national corporations many years ago, doing a lot of travelling and consultancy. I thought then and still do now that everyone is basically a ‘role occupant’. Everyone in these organizations. This is necessary however, to have the smooth running of the organization.

Can you honestly say that your role or the roles you play/played in those organizations were a perfect match between you and the role? I didn’t think so.

Very few of us would.

An old school pose by an 'old school' believer. Vv.

An old school pose by an ‘old school’ believer.
Vv.

I liken it to my children’s fantasy role playing I see them enact when they play ‘pretend stories’. Part of the appeal of working for such organizations, apart from the financial incentives is that it forces every employee to escape from themselves for hours every day to play a role, a part.

It is normally fun at the start but damaging in the end, on many levels. I am raising this vital observation because I think it is very important, especially in this era we live in where we witness almost daily the damaging effects of people’s deeds not aligned with their beliefs.

Seemingly small, disparate choices made daily, that result in cataclysmic storms all because one’s being and doing is not ONE. Remember, elephants don’t bite, mosquitoes do! Pay more attention to the little things in life, things that are not seen with the naked eye – like your beliefs.

This, I believe, is a huge contributor to the deterioration of Trust in people and between people; in society and between societies; in the country’s leaders and between country leaders.

Here's me doing my favourite pose at the World Championships. Contest: 2007 World Natural Bodybuilding Championships held in NY, USA. Ranked: 4th Best Natural Bodybuilder in the World. Believe in yourself. Trust in yourself. Make your Being and your Doing - ONE. Vv.

Contest: 2007 World Natural Bodybuilding Championships held in NY, USA.
Ranked: 4th Best Natural Bodybuilder in the World.
Believe in yourself. Trust in yourself. Make your Being and your Doing – ONE.
Vv.

My hope is to point out what I observe and ‘see’ in the meaning of things and in the purpose of life. But more importantly, my hope is that I raise questions in your head in order to encourage you to find your meaning and your purpose.

So, I leave you with this question: do you live your daily life as the ‘real you’? Do your actions reflect your beliefs? What are your beliefs? How far apart is your being from your doing?

Is your being and doing strongly connected and ONE?

If it isn’t, you may want to start re-aligning them before it is too late. Make this habit. There is power in deliberate practise. There is power in habit. It begins within you and with you – with a choice.

Food for thought.

 

Until next time,

A little fun with my cowboy hat at home.

A little fun with my cowboy hat at home. I like hats.

~~Life & wellness COACH~~

~~Life & wellness COACH~~

Standard