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Weight Loss can be very hard for some.

When Alan came to me, he was in a bad place – not having enough sleep despite seeing many “experts”, was on the verge of losing his job and his marriage.
With immense courage he undertook the plan I developed for him using my Lifestyle framework principles .
He not only started sleeping again (from 700+ apnoea per night to under 4) … he lost > 25+ kg and got his life back.

The cost to get to below 4 per-cent.

I learned something very early on in my foray in to the sport of bodybuilding (almost thirty years ago now) and the art/sport of bodybuilding & physique artistry: the leaner I got, the harder it was to lose body-fat!

I knew pretty early on that I could just ‘clean up’ my diet a little and chop and change here and there, and drop from 14% to 8% body fat in a matter of weeks. I usually stay below 15% body-fat year round, just something I’ve done now for the last 15 years at least.

However, I also learned that when you get to single digit body-fat %, it gets even harder to lose unwanted body-fat. But, I’d get on the treadmill and x-trainer or bike in the gym a number of times in a week and drop under 10% (you can begin to ‘see’ your abdominals clearly around 9%). I keep going and then I get down below 7%. Now, to keep dropping bodyfat to 6% and then to 5% can get pretty hard, especially when you’re doing it the ‘hard way’ … NATURAL and no assistance from steroids or performance-enhancing drugs.

Sometimes, the body just does not want to barge and literally stalls your progress. Let me give you a secret, it is fucken brutal to go below 5%. Very few people go ‘there’. It is a very ‘spiritual experience’ to say the least but it can also be a soul-destroying for those unprepared for the challenges.

So, there I am .. slugging away at the cardio machines on low-carbs, hypoglycemia and fearing muscle loss. Sometimes, I question – ‘what was I doing wrong?’ Isn’t a kilo a kilo? Being at 6% is quite an achievement but I wouldn’t dare boast about getting to that point if everyone else in the world would stop there too! Competitively, they don’t. Regardless of the cost, winners DO NOT stop at 6%. Just to make the Finals (Top 5) at amateur shows, you need to get to around 4%. That is just the standard that is at minimum.

The cost to get below 4% is different for everyone. That’s what I had to get down to to beat the best Natural Bodybuilders in the World at my first of two consecutive World Natural Bodybuilding Championships, almost 15 years ago now. Here’s a tip: you’ll look your best but you’ll feel the worst you’ve ever felt.

Quite ironic, I know. I’ve been there many times in my life. Not a nice to be for very long. I believe, it is the closest thing you come to experiencing death, without dying.

Teaching you to love yourself better and more. That the most powerful show of self-respect is to say ‘no’. Saying no to foods that are not aligned to your desired body image is the highest form of self-respect and love.

Genetics: a gift and a curse.

In the sport of bodybuilding, like most other sports, genetics can be a gift and a curse that either propels you forward or holds you back. I didn’t have the height genetics for example to play basketball and dunk but I certainly have a healthy dose of Type IIb muscle fibres necessary for explosive power, muscle growth and size. You may never have my back and lats insertions and I may never have your biceps peak, even though we both try and train to maximum.

The thing is genetics dictates muscle SHAPE. And muscle shape is muscle shape.

My daughter appears to have taken after my wife in body shape and my son appears to have my build. No amount of training would transform one in to another. They will just be bigger version of what they already are (what steroids and performance enhancing drugs do) – a person’s strengths will be even stronger and weaknesses will be enhanced too.

So, it is similar to body fat storage and metabolism.

Here’s the thing, in addition to this covid epidemic, we also have an increasing mental illness epidemic, a broken-families/home epidemic, an obesity epidemic etc. Conservatively speaking, two thirds of modern-societies are overweight and childhood obesity is consistently rising. If you dig a little deeper, something more surprising arises. Among the developed countries, though childhood obesity has increased that much in 30 years, the bottom 50% of the BMI (body mass index) hasn’t increased at all.  That means the leanest 50% of kids across the world haven’t gotten fatter at all, but the heavier you are on the BMI, the higher the increase in obesity.

Translation: if a child has the genetics to become obese, then due to today’s societal changes (mom’s not home cooking, greater than 60% of our meals being out now, less activity, etc.) they get even heavier.  But, children who don’t have the genetics to become obese, though they live in the same culture with the same foods and temptations don’t gain weight.

Keep your pendulum swinging … because to be stuck at one end is not life-affirming
To successfully transform your body, one needs to be a better master of their internal Balanced & Breathing.

Some Genetic Differences.

Have you wondered what some of those genetic differences are?

From my insatiable curiosity of the how the human body and mind works, and my experience of helping hundreds of people over the last 3 decades, here’ a few things I have found –

I have found a few things, firstly, as children, we go through two “filling up” and two “expanding” phases in our growth.  I can readily observe this in the two pre-teen son and daughter. The amount of body fat cells our body creates is mainly genetic but also is influenced by how much we eat during that first year of life and the period right before puberty.  An individual may have 20 billion body fat cells and another may have 200 billion.  All of the hormones that cause body fat storage now have 10 times  the load for the triglyceride loading.

And what is triglyceride loading? Google it and see what you find.

Let me share an example – You’re cruising along, the diet is going great, and then you read an article on-line that says once a week you need a “giant CHEAT meal” and load up with 10,000 grams of carbs for fear of muscle loss. What do you some people do, then? Yep, you guessed it … they visit their nearest Pancake shop and eat enough to break the world record.  Obviously, this is an extreme example and the ‘carbing up’ wouldn’t really take that much at all. This is also part of the reason I tell almost every person that has successfully transformed themselves NOT to be tempted to get any information from any source, except from me. There is less clutter and noise in their heads and so, better overall progress made to their original goals.

Do you want to know why this practice is a fallacy? Well, you can certainly fill up your glycogen stores with some fruit, that’s right … a simple apple or banana. And you can refill your liver with two lemon tarts?  Here’s a fact – 350g to 500g of carbs can pack all of your muscle tissue with all the glycogen it can hold? Any more and you could seriously make yourself feel sick and very uncomfortable.

Here’s the catch: after consuming all those mountains of pancakes to your tilt, your body goes in to reverse. You IMMEDIATELY stop burning body fat.  Normal circulating amounts of insulin are three times that of glucagon – your best friend in fat loss. That’s right, your BEST FRIEND in fat loss is the opposing hormone, Glucagon. Not Insulin! That means we’re three times better at storing fat than losing it.

Not what you wanted at all, right?

It is a great feeling to do this … but make sure it isn’t your ego that is leading. Beating genetics to get a certain result is a great achievement all in itself. 
Stubbornness, well that’s ok.

Evolution favours Survival.

When it comes to evolution and your biology, your body is made to be conservative and to hang on to every ounce of fat for possible future famines. Your body is designed to Survive. It’s main concern is not how your abs look on the beach or how you look in a coat of competition tan on stage at a contest, naked in front of a thousand people. No, your body is built for survival.

So, when you’re cutting back on carbs and in a state of ketosis, or calorie-deficit, your body’s primary objective is to continuously look for ways to store fat. That is just what the body does.

Insulin is your enemy my friends, brought about by you having an unscheduled “high carb’ meal/day(s). Glucagon production stops and insulin not only shuttles glucose to the muscle, but it also tells the liver to go in to the ‘glucose-to-fat’ conversion mode. The body basically begins hording the fat. That’s right, it shields the fat and makes it very hard for you to burn this. I’ve heard all the excuses, some were –

“But is was just one meal!  But my body needed it!  But I just had one dessert!  But I even though it was three cups of rice, it was clean food!”

Your body doesn’t care – it just wants to store.  Now, if I have 200 billion fat cells and you have 20 billion, who is better at storing fat?  Who can afford more slips on a diet plan?  Certainly not me (the person who struggles to get lean at 200 billion fat cells for example).

Balance & symmetry brings you closer to harmony … to beauty …closer to infinity. Just like mathematics does

Work WITH your body, not AGAINST it.

I believe the majority of people who venture into transforming their body, work against it. They don’t work with it.

There are so many related hormonal/biochemical reasons that some people are naturally thin and some are heavy. Working against your genetics is a hard day in the office, every day.   Yes, we can do our part to gain or lose weight despite our genetics, but it’s a real slug-fest … a real battle.  I’m oversimplifying and skipping important issues to make the point, but one more factor in weight loss that has been given much play is the hormone, leptin.  Leptin is secreted by fat cells and basically, let’s you know when you hungry or full. It is the primary signal carrier for hunger/satiety.  When enough filling occurs in the fat cells, leptin is released and tells the brain that you’re not hungry.  When not enough leptin is present, hunger is the king.

As you probably know by now, there are three body types – the ectomorphs, the mesomorphs and the endomorphs, basically the skinny, the stocky and the fat types. There is a marked difference in the endomorphs (obese tendencies) versus the ectomorphs in terms of leptin.  Experimental studies show obese children deficient in leptin eat dramatically less and lose weight when leptin is brought to normal amounts.

A friend and former student/client of mine who achieved the impossible. Following the Quality Plan I designed for him and adopting my “3-legged stool’ framework, Nathan went from 125+kg to 88kg.
A massive transformation given he is leaning towards the ‘endomorph’ type.
I have not seen anyone work as hard as this man.
Very proud of what he achieved.

So, what are the lessons here?

There are four but I will just mention two. Firstly, if you have a body-type which is, you came from a family of obesity and endomorphic, then you will be ‘carb-sensitive’. If that is the case, then, you are definitely not an ectomorph and WILL just have to work that little bit harder. Sometimes, a whole lot harder. You may have to drop your carbs very low just to release fat cells and then increase the probability of using them as energy. That is difficult.. but there are tricks available. Knowing when to ‘cycle’ your carbs is essential and you will need to do more cardio and be willing to suffer more. I have had clients like these over the years and I take my hat off to them. They are real modern-day warriors.

There is little consolation when you feel like you’re not getting anywhere with your body transformation and weight loss. The scale can be very mean to those endomorphs. It is literally a “David vs Goliath” and where David beat Goliath and the tortoise beat the hare for these folks. You have to hang in there if you’re a ‘carb-sensitive’ individual. Hang in there … and summon all the patience you can muster. You will need it.

You will WIN this race and achieve your goal. You will kill Goliath.

Know YOU. Know your strengths. Work to your strengths. Not some of the time … ALL the time.

Until next time,

Quality lean muscle that “flows” takes time & a goal of balance & symmetry

At 4.2% at my 1st world championships. Getting to 4% body-fat was very hard, staying there was harder.

The very popular “most muscular” pose. It brings the ‘house down.’

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I’m not a good Father.

You – a Father, are a Superhero, whether you know it or not.
I tell my kids that when I FUCK UP (and I do)… it is my human side that fucks up (5%) of me. The other times, I’m simply Super.

Finding the Silver Lining in the clouds.

As loving parents, one way we can honour our children and build value into their lives is to help them see the positive gain in troubled times, finding the ‘silver lining’ in the clouds. Do you find yourself doing that as a parent?

Whether we like it or not, before they leave our homes, our sons or daughters may experience moments or even days of doubt, discouragement, loneliness, disappointment or depression. That is all part and parcel of living and being fully human.

They may be betrayed by a friend, fail to get into the school or university the desired or the profession of their choice. You can reflect on your life or like I have, learned from other people’s (parents in this case) – that children could experience being dumped later in life by a girlfriend/boyfriend or spouse, or perhaps experience the disabling results of experimenting with drugs or alcohol.

And with each experience their child suffers, Mums and Dads feel the aftershocks in their hearts … have you felt that? Teaching them the necessary skills of how to respond to these life events and help them overcome these hurdles (if they do happen) is a big part of being a parent.

Teaching and ensuring they understand the life-skills necessary to move forward in life. If I don’t, I would feel like I’m not a good Father.

We all fall and fail in life. The main thing to focus on is picking yourself back up and …
Trying again.
That’s how most babies learn how to move from crawling to walking … and then to running …
and beyond.

Not wrong to avoid pain.

It is certainly not wrong to avoid pain when we can.

But it is wrong to deny problems, ignore them or try to explain them away or ‘push them under the carpet’. I come from a family line of confrontationists but my wife, on the other hand, come from one that ‘pushes things under the carpet’. No one says a bad thing if relates to ‘family’. With my family (extended), if there was a problem with someone or something, people raise it and bring it ‘out in the open’. They speak and ‘thrash’ the issue out amongst themselves and in many cases, individuals run out of words and let their hands/fists ‘do the talking’.

Did I tell you I come from a line of athletic sportspeople, with a strong emphasis on boxing? Anyways, I do. I grew up getting taught how to ‘box/fight’ from professional/semi-professional boxers. I was taught a ‘3-step’ method by my grandfather when I was a child and it has almost never failed me in street fights in my youth.

There are pros and cons of both methods of management of the issue – avoiding confrontation or seeking confrontation. The real skill is in assessing which issue is worth pursuing so as to bring less harm in the short and long term. Especially for your children and your relationship with them.

Most people take a lifetime to learn that art, if they ever do.

The interesting thing is that my wife has learned to be more confrontational and I have learned to be less. We have both learned something from each other. Finding that ‘mid-point’ is the true challenge.

That is one thing I am grateful for, for being married for almost two decades now – that we’ve both helped one another become better people, spiritually.

My wife and kids

Life is difficult and often unfair.

One of the all-time great truths is that ‘life is difficult and often unfair’.

The better we are at seeing through trials to what they can produce in our lives and our children’s lives, the better able we’ll be able to provide calmness, assurance and genuine love to our children, even in the midst of trying times.

In fact, trials have the capacity to bring strength, maturity, courage, genuine love, righteousness and perseverance to those who are willing to be trained by them.

Those are some of the qualities (along with others like patience and integrity, care and compassion) that work to re-enforce in my children and our family household. It is these intangible qualities in life that I hope my childrens’ character are built on.

Especially when the going gets tough in life, which an inevitable part of life. Not matter what happens, I tell them I WILL ALWAYS BELIEVE in them and WILL ALWAYS be in their corner. With these weapons, I encourage them to go out and give it a Try and … DO THEIR BEST. And even if they fail, that’s ok, because most people would not even try.

I teach them the most important thing – COURAGE, to attempt the ridiculous/weird or absurd. For nothing great or impossible ss achieved without courage. As M.C. Escher said –

“Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible.”

Leadership ability begins in the home … children learn character building in the home
Be the best character you can be … for YOU, first .. and then for your kids
my two children a number of years ago

What you fear will materialise.

I did a form of Martial Arts called Tae-Kwon Do for about eight years in my youth and achieved multiple Black Belts in that art, by the time I was 19 years old. Martial Arts is a kind of dance, with an opponent. You learn how to dance with your opponent(s) by using their energy and body patterns with and against them to ultimately get them ‘off balance’.

That is one of the keys to being a Father/wife or parent in this life – striving to keep a sense of balance, even as chaos reigns around you. One must remain calm and respond, rather than react to external stimulus that has the potential to ‘knock you off’ balance.

The very things we fear might happen to our children can make them stronger people, depending on their response and our response to their difficulties.

I strongly believe the key to remember as parents is – our children do as we do … not as we say. So, as a responsible parent, becoming a better manager of you – yourself, is an Key component.

Being the BEST YOU, is the building block on which your whole family, especially your kids will, model their behaviour off…when you hear people say –

He or she (referring to your child/ren … is a “chip off the old block’

Every experienced parent knows that bad behaviour in a child rarely happens with no previous signals and no past incidents of disobedience or defiance.

There are always signals of trouble ahead. I always tell people, be more aware of yours surroundings, they speak to you … you usually see the clouds before the storm hits, for example. Alert fathers and mothers notice such signals (in the child/children) in time to intervene and prevent the youngster from skidding into serious mistakes …

A ‘sick day’ from school day for us here, 4 years ago now.
Enjoying the entertainment at Sydney’s beautiful Luna Park.
I never let schooling interfere with my or my family’s education.
Children teach you better conflict resolution skills


Real Wisdom.

Your wisdom in controlling your youngster is one of the best measures of how much you really love and value her. She knows this, whether she has said so in plain words or not. My grandfather was such a parent for me in my childhood. I was blessed I had such a strong and morally upright Real Man to model myself off.

Children need to know that their mother should have a hand in controlling her/him too and her/his father should have an equal share in the job. In my family, my wife and I clearly and repeatedly say that we are co-CEOs in our family. Mummy has certain strengths and daddy has too. For example, when it comes to sternly communicating standards of behaviour, I communicate this very effectively so I do it more often.

Your personal examples are very important, too, along with your rules.

You won’t be able to sell her/him (your children) any double standards on the important issues in life. She or he will come much closer to following what you do and what you believe than what you say about these issues.

Your daughter or son does not have to believe that you are the wisest man in all the world to consider you as a good father. She or he does want to be able to come to you with important questions about life. She needs to see that you are learning and growing, too, that you are open to new ideas, new concepts.

That you have a growth mind-set and embrace change that is relevant and readily adapt.

The future Valentines with the talented Miss Ruby.

Teaching the hearts and minds that are learning how to make this world a better place in which to live.

Being a real father to your children is one job that no one else can ever do as well as you.

Good fathers deserve their full share of top praise, for they are helping to build the loftiest cathedrals in the universe: the hearts and minds that are learning how to make this world a better place in which to live.

 

Hanging out
They love making fun of me these days

Happy Father’s Day to all the responsible fathers reading this and beyond. Let’s not forget all those fathers who have come before us or have left prematurely. May God bless their souls

Enjoy your day and have fun,

Paul

 

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Does being a “Father” mean … being a “Man in the Shadows?”

    1. I am a Man.
    1. A REAL Man.
    This is my MUG.

An impossible task

It is an impossible task, being a parent.

Not just difficult … impossible.

To take a life from its first breath on through to maturity – to feed, clothe, educate, and all the rest. How could it be? …

What is a father’s role? I ask

If we turn to the Bible, we learn almost nothing about the man that would be cast in the role of father to the son of God. Though that infant was not part of his body, Joseph’s heart must have been stolen just as most adopted children have a way of doing.

How did Joseph do? As a dad?

Do you strive to better yourself in every way?
Are you a Leader?

Abba!

We know that Jesus made it to manhood with a very strong and simple vision of what ‘father’ meant. We could assume he learned it at least in part, from Joseph.

With his last breath, with a tormented man’s voice in the garden of Gethsemane, he shrieked –

“Abba!”

He cried out to God, not to his earth Dad, Joseph.

Jesus earth dad, Joseph, was a man of great patience & love 💓 and understanding.
A man that loved his wife, Mary, so much, he believed her story of Jesus being the son of God.
What a man… what a “man in the shadow”

Joseph, his Dad on earth, had no real purpose, it seems. The bible does not say much about him and gives very little significance to his existence.

Joseph, was simply, the ‘man in the shadows’.

In a strong way, that is the way most of society over the last centuries has evolved with regards to a mother and a father’s role in the raising of their children. Up until the age of twelve, we could assume that Jesus was guided by Mary and his earth dad, Joseph, in the shadows. Mary is elevated and rightly so.

The Bible has no account of Jesus between the age of twelve until his early thirties. There are many theories as to where and what he did but that is not the point Of this writer.

Young boys turn out just fine, it seems, even if most fathers are simply men in the shadows

So, don’t try and be a “mother” to a boy, just be YOU – a Real Man. Make him know and feel loved … unconditionally and don’t stress if you don’t think you have or cannot spend time with your boy.

God bless all you if you’re a Father and also all the Fathers and Dads out there who try their very best to be the best Role Model they can be.

For their sons … the worlds future Men and Leaders.

Until next time,

Popeye Pirate 🏴‍☠️ Paul … and the importance of being a Father even if you’re just the Man in the Shadow

Me & my son

 

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Notice me, Daddy!

Olivia and Zachary enjoying their time with Ruby.
Being a role model for my children is one of the most important responsibilities I will ever have in my life.
For the rest of my life.
Just like it is for every other dad out there.

A Poem: for All Fathers and Dads 

“Like all Fathers and Dads reading this, I am blessed in many ways,

One such way is having two very beautiful kids;

They are still growing and since their early days,

They know that they didn’t have to strongly bid.

to gain my attention or win my favour,

They know, they always have my attention.

When they do or say anything requiring my emotional labour;

“Notice me, Daddy!”

They know that I’m all theirs –

ALWAYS… there, like a Golfer’s Caddie;

All they have to do is to seek me out,

That is all it takes to grab a Father’s attention,

I’m as close as a joey is in her mother Kangaroo pouch;

That is all it takes to steal a loving Dad’s heart,

“Steal mine away!” I say.

For I will always be your Father, til’ death do us part,

Always be there for you, until that fateful day.”

 

My gift to you,

 

Kind regards,

Paul

 

Paul e Valentine

** Valentine Vitality **

My children striking their version of one of the seven compulsory poses in bodybuilding – the “Front-double biceps” pose.
… and strike!

Me and my children.
Children gives you a hint of eternity.
A true blessing to be graced with seeds.
Vv.

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The Christmas Nativity Story speaks to our need for Hope

Find your light.
Light your path.
It is YOUR path.
No one can ride that path with you, but YOU.

Your “Right” to something can be very different to doing the “Right’ thing

I am a human and societal observer.

I have been since I was a child and I love it because you learn a lot, just by watching.

Permit me to make this observation: we must be very careful in speaking of our ‘rights’. I think people who constantly refer to their rights tread on dangerous ground. You see this just about everywhere you go in our modern-day, fast-paced societies.

Your ‘right’ to something can be very different to doing the right thing.

That is part of our reality, or a perception of our reality, at least.

Where the land … meets the sea …. meets the sky

The Nativity Scene on Christmas Eve Mass

I signed up my son and daughter to take part in the Nativity Scene on Christmas Eve Mass a few months earlier. My 8 year old son, Zachary, said that I was wrong not to assume that he wanted to participate in it. He said that he was going to church but was adamant he won’t play the “Sheppard” role in the Nativity Play.

Initially, I was angry but then realised that I was at fault for assuming I had the right exercise authority over him, simply because I was his parent. I subsequently apologised to him and said he didn’t have to do it if he didn’t want to.

My wife, Cathy, subsequently persuaded him to play that Head Sheppard role. And he looked and sounded terrific on stage, saying his lines to Mary and the Angels (my daughter, Olivia, played the role of one of the Angels) at the time of Jesus birth. It was beautiful to see them along with other young children re-enact the scene of the Nativity and the birth of Jesus Christ, our saviour in front of a packed out Church.

My initial failure at persuading my son to do the Shepherd role in the Nativity play also reminded me of how difficult I have found when helping people, help themselves to do the ‘right thing’ as they move towards their best selves. Despite presenting all the evidence and logical reasons for making or choosing healthier options with regards to habits, doing so is very very difficult for many.

Thank you Zachary for the reminder.

Father-son relationships take work
A lot of work

Failing as a Dad

After that heated debate with my son, I contemplated my failure as a Dad in relation to what I was observing quite readily in society – that many were referring to and claiming ‘their Right” but not necessarily considering whether they were doing “the Right” thing.

I thought about these questions: do you have the unqualified right to the respect of your children? Do you have an unqualified right to the respect of your spouse for that matter? Do you have every right to exercise authority over your children?

The answer is – No, you don’t!

You certainly DO NOT have an “unqualified right.”

You have a parental duty from God and you cannot sever that right. So, let’s ask this question: –

“Does and should a person demand his rights?”

So, I believe, God grants us ‘our rights’, but in so doing, these rights are only that, and no more … these rights are only granted to fulfil his or her duties. I know I have failed my children many times in this aspect of parenthood and especially in being a Father. I am certainly far from perfect and still very much a Work-in-progress…. in being the Best Dad I can be and also a better husband to my wife.

What do you think?

Believe or not believe.
Get your ass off the pole of the fence (stop sitting on the fence!)
Choose.

Duty to God, first

As parents, we automatically get ‘parental duties’ imposed on us and most of us, embrace them. It should not be forgotten that these parental duties apply towards God and to our children. Then, and only then, should we speak of our ‘parental rights’.

Duty to God, first.

Bare your cross.
Then …
Help someone else carry their’s … only if you can manage both

To exercise and respect, Authority

Each generation speaks of and writes about the rebellious spirit of children and young people of the generation that comes after them. Why do think this is so?

On one hand, it is one of education, whereby I believe, the children have never learned respect for authority as their parents didn’t know better and had not exercised authority. However, on the other hand, it is very possible that these children did not learn respect for authority because the parents misused it. Or parents have completely different views of respect for authority and demonstrate this towards one another in front of the children.

I’m sure there are many of you out there who feel that you’re not respected by something your wife, husband, partner said or did. One or both parties then abuse their authority and supposed power over each other.

It is no wonder, that in life, we have so many examples of men and women, inevitably, abuse power when they attain so much of it.

With the next generation of Valentine males – Zachary.

Authority: a God-given Weapon

We had a major disagreement this morning – my wife, kids and I and some things were said that hurt each other. I needed ‘time-out’ to cool down so I listened to some ‘Enya”. Her musical frequencies (songs) has certainly resonated with my brain wavelengths since I first heard her musci in the early 90s.

All relationships take work and disagreements is simply what people who love each other do … very similar to building and keeping good quality lean muscle mass. You hurt the muscle area (through repeatedly lifting weights and increasing the load/hurt on the muscle over time)… then, feeding it with the necessary nutrition (love and care) and allowing the muscle/person/relationship to heal/recover and become bigger, more shapely and better.

That is a very simplified version of loving relationships.

I think I was guilty of abusing my authority as a Dad and raised my voice unnecessarily when arguing. I was wrong to do that and I demonstrated a lack of control and respect for my power in my family. Others were guilty of it too but I won’t go in to that here.

Authority should not be toyed with. A person that is given that power to wield this authority over others, should understand that it is a God-given weapon.

All who wields this Power (like us, parents), must be constantly vigilant on it’s use and abuse of it. One should always be ‘on guard’ lest you misuse it for selfish ends.

Authority, must never be exercised in an arbitrary, unreasonable manner.

The world is still crying out for more Leaders who exemplify the utmost discipline in the respect of and exercise of authority and power. Leaders that go from good to Great.

Praise the Lord!

My son, the Shepherd

Zachary’s role in the Nativity was – one of the Shepherds.

Got me thinking about the question why, the shepherds?

The announcement of Jesus birth went to the Shepherds, first. Why? I mean, God didn’t go to the Theologians or the elite? The first group would have probably consulted their commentaries and the latter, may have looked around nervously to see if anybody was watching. What about the successful, why not them?

Well, maybe, they would have consulted their calendars because they were so ‘busy.’

Instead, God went to the Shepherds. Why, I ask?

Maybe, it is because they didn’t have a reputation to protect or an axe to grind or a ladder to climb. They were simple men, who maybe, didn’t know enough to tell God that angels don’t sing to sheep and that messiahs are not found wrapped in rags and sleeping in a feed trough.

I have seen this re-enactment play out on Christmas Eve masses many times over the years but it is only yesterday in Zachary’s role playing, my son, the Shepherd … that I asked those questions.

Like my failure to persuade my son to take part in the Nativity initially, many things in life and what we call ‘reality’ is heavily influenced in being able to communicate effectively through storytelling. The Nativity is a great story and the Bible has a collection of great stories, written by wonderful storytellers. Stories that connect and move people. Even all these centuries later, like we do today.

Maybe, we can all learn how to be better story-tellers now and for the rest of our lives to be more effective communicators.

Me and my children.
Children gives you a hint of eternity.
A true blessing to be graced with seeds.
Vv.

Christmas is about … Hope … the vision of Life

Christmas is about many things, to different people. In yesterday’s mass, one of the 3 things he asked the members to consider was that Christmas was not just about ‘your immediate family’ but should be about others. About asking yourself what can you GIVE to others, in whatever shape or form.

I felt good that my family did give.

My wife helped encourage my children to practise sessions of the play leading up to the mass in which they gave their performance. I gave my voice as a member of the Church Choir during mass and helped set up the hall prior to mass. I was happy we ‘gave.’

Here, I am again, in the early hours of Christmas morning, giving you my thoughts … through my writing and I hope it add some value to you and your life, however, small it may be.

It is my gift to you, this Christmas Day.

Don’t give up, don’t give up on what you believe in .. . don’t give up, but use the chance to return to HOPE. Hope that everything will be better and as you imagined.

There are many good and bad things Religions of the world represents. However, the one thing that I believe Religions of the world provide is a strong pathway for the individual towards Hope. This belonging to a sense of Collective Faith is very powerful … which is reflected in Christians all around the world celebrating Christmas Day.

Hope, ultimately is all that we have in life.

Hope is ultimately, all we have in this life

Remember, to stoop in the presence of Greatness

In church, there are moments when we are required to ‘stoop’ or bow our heads or kneel when we are talking to Jesus and God. That is what you do when you meet or are in the presence of Greatness.

Jesus was a great man, a great Leader, a great Messiah. He still is, many centuries later.

As I see it, as you go through life, you can see the world and everything it has to offer – standing tall. But, to witness the Saviour, you have to get on your knees.

So …

While the theologians were sleeping;

And the elite were dreaming

And the successful were snoring …

The meek were kneeling.

They (the Shepherds) were kneeling before the One, our Saviour .. that only the meek will see.

That is the Nativity. That is Christmas Day. They were kneeling in front of Jesus, the son of God.

Remember, to stoop in the presence of Greatness, like my son reminded me in his role of a Shepherd in this year’s Nativity Play.

Thank you, son … for the life lessons you’ve taught me.

My prayer for my son …

I pray that from today forward, I may be the greatest example to you of someone (a Gentle Man in this case), who not only recognises and exercises authority when appropriate but also respects the power it allows me to wield.

In all areas of life, especially, as a parent.

Merry Christmas to you and your family,

 

From my family or Valentine Viking Pirates …

 

Cheers & Ahoy!

The Old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk … & Shepherd Lessons from my son’s Nativity Role

Find your strengths.
Society only rewards when you’re working from your strengths.
Work to your strengths.
Give your Gifts.
Live.
I like this hat.

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Santa

Another poem: Santa

Do you believe in Santa?

 

Crunch, crunch, crunch … sounds the eaten biscuits

As he puts the packaged gifts under the Christmas Tree.

“Stop! Is that you Santa?” the little girls softly asks,

The stranger in the living room moved about rather happy and free.

But there wasn’t much noise at all,

“Halt! Who goes there?”

That child’s second question almost made Santa fall.

 

A curiously old figure clothed in red,
He held a cane of coniferous pine.

An frangipani flowery – wreathe was worn around his neck,

“Stop!” please … is that you, Santa … do you like being fed?”

“Don’t go, please I’d like to give you a hug and a little peck,

For this is Christmas Night and

We need you to give us a sign.”

 

What is this sign this young girl seeks, wonders Santa,

After travelling through many lands far and wide,

The whole world – matter of fact, Santa does roam,

With his faithful reindeers, through the air they proudly canter.

To all the underprivileged souls at Christmastide,

From those who love them tenderly, I bring warm thoughts of

Home.

 

From Californian fires and a Fijian Hurricane,

From Australian droughts and Canadian Snows,

From those far and away lands that feels so much pain,

To those close by, you hold most dear,

I bring you my gracious greeting here.

From a Maple leaf of a Canadian Tree,

To the beautiful Australian flower – the Wattle.

It is my hope, thinks Santa, that all man will finally be FREE,

Of all and any oppression that gets the world in to a never-ending

Muddle.

 

“Little girl … I come from the Northernest Tip of the Globe and I bring you a wish devine,

From Christmas Blessings, I touch your head.”

“I love you Santa” the young girl said –

“But who are you … I can keep a secret, please give me a sign.”

He vanished – just like that

With a “whoosh” that echoed down home corridor line.

It was not ‘til the morning light,

That the young girl told her family that

She saw and spoke to Santa in the night.

Thing is, nobody believed her … but Old Santa

Did leave her a sign … he’s very own Santa hat.

 

—  The Old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk —

also known as –   Paul e Valentine –

 

I just love beauty.
In all its forms.
In cars and it’s design

Date written: 8th December 2019

Time taken: 1 hour to write initial draft + 30 minutes to edit and finalise

Total time taken: 1:45 minutes

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Substitute Parents.

The old Captain Viking Pirate & his Gritty Warrior Viking Pirate son … enjoying some ‘Father-son” experience.
These moments get etched into the memory bank of great experiences.
Build these up.

What’s on my mind right now?

Kids and being a parent.

Come into my head as I think and type to you my thoughts … (my typing speed is very, very fast … and I don’t look at the keys on the keyboard and type with very high accuracy … anyway)

What does it mean to ‘love’ your kids?

We all have our own definitions of this word and area of love. Good. I think loving your kids, means, in part, that you put them ahead of other concerns in your life (at appropriate phases of life – different for a man and a woman).

You see, what I have seen and observed (being in the gym talking to thousands of parents over the years … and actually owning a gym for 7) … what I have seen is that too many parents are caught up in getting ahead in their careers or that promotion. Or better still … buying a bigger house or playing golf every weekend or buying that expensive car.

I find that they devoted so much energy to those things that they failed to free up the time necessary to really listen to their kids and just ‘be’ with them. Not to be with them when you schedule in to make ‘quality time‘ with them in your busy diary …. no, just to be with them.

It’s no wonder kids are so angry. Their parents aren’t giving them the love and attention they deserve.

I believe if kids don’t see their parents making certain sacrifices in order to work at being good parents, or if they already tried to talk to their parents and have been shut up by them, then they aren’t going to keep trying. They’ll either seek out another adult (as substitute parents) who will listen to them or they will buy into whatever youth culture is telling them to do.

Note: don’t “palm off parental responsibility “ to so-called “coaches” in sport clinics, games clinics etc. not everyone wants to and can be a top sportsman/woman. That is a fact of life. One of the mum’s at Zachary’s Athletics club said to me in our initial meeting that she joined her son in the athletics club to learn how to be confident. She did this because she was told that that was what the ‘other parents’ were doing.

I said that was a misperception.

I told her that the best place to learn confidence and integrity and honesty and care and compassion is in the home. From her, the kid’s parent. Not at some substitute parental course (that was over-and above the skill level of the young coaches employed to teach sport skills … not life skills. They were not qualified Life Coaches, most hadn’t experienced much life yet!).

Give him the scaffolding in your son’s life to help him, help himself build & live a life of significance. With a foundation of good etiquette/manners.

You don’t learn self-confidence and have a healthy self-esteem from school or taking part in sport. You learn confidence and all the intangible traits of a well-adjusted citizen in the home. In a loving home with parents making themselves available. That is where I learned my confidence from … confidence large enough to be the BEST in my sport and compete against the best in the World at two World Natural Bodybuilding Championships. I didn’t learn this off substitute parents. I learned it off family, very close family. I learned how to be a Champion from Champions in my family, and guidance from some very good teachers.

Parents continuously not ‘being there’ for their children when necessary is one of the reasons the rate of sexually transmitted diseases – and the rate of teen pregnancy – is very high (and still rising).

Kids are not being loved by their parents (because parents make selfish choices & employers/organisations that don’t support flexible working ideas) …. so these kids accept a cheap substitute. To these kids (to many kids and this has been happening for generations) … it’s better to accept a substitute than to face the hurt of NOT receiving love from their parents.

If you have kids … make the RIGHT choice. For them, for you … and your future relationship with them.

In the years running my gym I have helped many teenage kids (where parents have tried everything) get back on their Life-Track. I have seen “A” students end up with the wrong crowd and end up in jail. I have seen delinquent students and failing students turn their lives around and are now successful business people.

Learning and absorbing our habits every single day of their initial phase of their lives is what our young Princes do.
Teach them well.

I have helped hundreds of kids, help themselves find their best /better selves. I have loved them and gave them that substitute love they never got from their parents. Simply because I cared.

I love mathematics … and I sum it up this way:

Less love and time given to your children in their young years (before 10) …. EQUALS ===> more time spent getting them out of trouble in their teenage years. There is an inverse relationship.

It costs parents more in time, money and heartache and pain in future years.

Make time NOW … before it is too late.

Don’t make the mistake many (previous generations made). There is Power in Two (your partner/wife/husband) and work together to manage the all-important time and love to your growing children.

It will be one of the best and most important investment decisions you will ever make in your life (more than that promotion or that business deal or )…. just like making time to ‘work/train’ your muscles … not just for now … but for your future/old age.

All the very best in your decision

Yours always, in iron and muscles,

Cheers & Ahoy!!

 

The old Captain Viking Pirate … and loving kids … and making the Right decision

A ‘sick day’ from school day for us here, 4 years ago now.
Enjoying the entertainment at Sydney’s beautiful Luna Park.
I never let schooling interfere with my or my family’s education.

Building a good foundation for your childrens’ character is like building good lean quality muscle.
It takes time and patience. Lots of patience but laser-like focus.
Proper exercise techniques and application of relevant principles , compounded over time results in the goal you visualise.
An morally-upright, free-thinking citizen of the world putting his/her hand up to lead if necessary.
As parents, be the best teacher you can be.

Me in my cowboy hat & enjoying a beer (still training my ‘guns’ … drinking my beer)

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Saying No … to say, Yes.

Beauty comes in many forms. Look at this exquisite beauty at an art show I went to. This Bonsai Tree is produced with constant pruning and shaping. A little like shaping a young male in to not just a Man but a Gentleman. It takes time, a lot of patience and high skill levels. I sit back and go “wow!”

My son is growing up in to a fine young man. He has a Tom Hanks character inside that young Arnold Schwarzennegger tough exterior already and he is only 8. He’s tough but tender when appropriate. Understanding yet stands his ground and confronts when required.

He’s my young Warrior Viking Pirate Prince.

He made me aware recently of a habit of mine. Good or bad, you decide. He said –

Dad, why is it, that you always say no when I first ask you for something… and then a little later change your mind and say yes?

Initially I responded – “Kaka!”.

This is a term I created to be all-encompassing.  A term that gives me an ‘out’, my little exit strategy if I ever get caught in a corner with my childrens’ endless questioning. To be used when I was just too tired to give them an answer or when I didn’t know the answer (which was very regularly) and I didn’t want them to know I didn’t.

Instead of saying ‘just google it”, I came up with my ‘made-up Fijian’ word which I said meant – it is just the way it is! I am not obligated to give an answer and this is where the conversation ends. Full stop!

They hate that word. I use it sparingly.

Then, I got thinking. I asked myself that same question, that great question he had asked me. Why Paul? I’ve always told my children from when they were able to speak, to not be afraid to ask questions and to question everything, even beliefs, behaviours, my actions and the way I do things, history and so forth. However, I’ve always reminded that the most important thing to do is to ask the right question.

This particular question from Zachary, was a right question.

Initially, I didn’t have an answer. I was stuck, in that corner no one likes to be. He got me. Gee … zus, and he was only 7 years old. What other questions is he going to be asking me as we progress through life I thought? Scary stuff! Luckily, I coined that ‘get out of jail’ term pass – kaka. Phew!

After reflection, I called him back and said –

“well, son, if I said yes first off and then said no later, you would be quite unhappy, wouldn’t you? You would probably think I’m cruel. But, if I say no first because when I do and then change my mind … to say yes, you won’t be disappointed and would most probably think that I am a nice dad. A nice man, that I am.”

I told Zachary my son, that this habit of mine was to ensure that I allowed myself time to reflect and think about my decision. This would make sure that, whatever decision it was, that I always came across as a Real Man … a Gentleman that I wanted to be, always. A role model that he, my son, would copy his behaviour off. A template for him to build on.

Father-son same attire day. Children learn the BASICS of character from their parents… and parents should be open to learning from them, too.


Preparing him for the changing post-feminite landscape

First impressions matter.

That is what we have heard all our lives. Even more so now. I want my son to understand that, I think he does already. Fairly or unfairly, people are going to judge you to be a gentleman or not within the first minute or two of meeting you. Having a template, a blueprint of good manners is important.

We all have a blueprint.

My blueprint … a template evolved (and continuously evolving) that is a cross between relevant ‘old school’ traditions that I still retain from my English Gentleman Grandfather and skills honed by me in these modern times. Skills that he, my father & grandfather would not know and didn’t have to because they lived in a different era, with values and practises that were relevant to that time.

Just like the way I train in the gym, a fusion of ‘old school training methods, combined with a modern twist”. I want my son to learn the old fashioned chivalry combined with a modern respect for women. I want to make sure that he puts the ‘gentle back into the man’ and keep it that way for his future. A future that will be embracing change at a pace that I or previous generations of dads would have never faced.

I need to prepare my son (and daughter) as best I can to believe in himself first, an important step to becoming a gentleman and that knowing that the real meaning of the saying “it’s ok to be a man’ is that men are capable of many dimensions. In other words, to be proud of who he is.

Putting the gentle back into man means nurturing the classic male qualities of kindness and thoughtfulness, patience, compassion and trustworthiness. A man that embrace intimacy qualities simply because he chooses to. A True Gentleman with manners does not have to have feminine qualities. No.

A true gentleman understands that manners matter. He is aware of social etiquette. I want many things for my son, and one of the important ones is that I hope make him conscious of this – in the way he looks, sounds and acts around others.

We all need a bit of guidance and reminder of what and why we are a man. It takes effort and the desire to be made aware. Manners in a Man, Matters. The great thing is that manners can be improved through increased awareness and practice.

Why is this important?

Because the landscape for men has been changing and has been changing very fast in the last decade or two. Men are very confused and unsure in many things, prime example is on how they are expected to be a man – a Real Man.

I want my son to grow up understanding good knowledge of manners and etiquette because it just makes for a better world and also because it paves the path to manhood. Being a man requires a certain amount of experience and knowledge.

I want Zachary to know that it is one thing being a male but it is a totally other thing to be a man, a gentleman. Granted, today the social landscape is not what it used to be when I was growing up as gender roles have blurred and continue to change dramatically. Many things have changed.

I want my son to embrace this change but be prepared for it. I want him to be a successful gentleman in this new landscape. A landscape that requires him to know how to act, how to dress, how to talk and how to date.

A man needs to allow himself to be coachable to help him, help himself navigate the challenges he faces in the Sea of Life.

 Being the BEST Dad and Father you can be

He is learning this from me, every single day. That is the pressure and responsibility that us men (with young children) and the men in society at large have. Helping create the New Men and beginning with teaching them the new etiquette. I have to admit, it is a little daunting as I tell them that I am their Flawed Hero, their Less-than Perfect Dad.

You see, from where I sit, saying no … before I say yes is only one piece of the puzzle of what it means for my son to grow into a modern day Real Man with relevant old traditional values with a modern twist, needed for survival in today’s world. A world currently filled with many confused post-feminite, re-constructed, new-age so-called men! Not Real Men, far from Real Gentlemen.

I remind him of what my father used to say to me ‘action speaks louder than words!’’ Yes, indeed. I want Zachary to understand that it’s one thing to say we need to change how we act, but it’s another thing to do it! A very necessary ingredient to successful body re-engineering journeys that I have helped people, help themselves achieve over the last 20+ years.

To get quality results in anything, one has to not only have  a clear goal but develop a quality plan and most importantly, ensure a quality implementation of the quality plan. A ‘scatter-gun’ approach will not give you the desired results.

Etiquette, after all, is more than knowledge, it’s a product of well-rooted self-confidence. That is probably one of the greatest gifts any dad or father can impart to their sons – that of self-confidence. They don’t learn this at school or the sporting fields, they learn this at home.

Children, like seeds need a lot of guidance and nurturing as well as the freedom to grow. However, with more freedom comes more responsibility. Teaching them life etiquette helps them manage their sailing better.

With regards to being a gentleman, I know that how we feel about ourselves is often how we present ourselves to others. You see and hear about it every single day. If you honestly believe you can excel at a job or in a game of football then the confidence will show when you talk to your boss or take a penalty.

People and society notice and reward good etiquette, demonstrated through appropriate self-confidence. Good manners matter!

So, there are many things I hope and wish my son will be and skills he would have practised through good behavioural habits. When channelled in to the right mediums, habits can be life-changing.

For a better life.

My ultimate wish for him is to have a fulfilling life of significance. I’m sure it is the same thing our dads had for us and I’m sure all you Dads and Real Men reading this feel the same as well. We’re all ultimately helping to mold the future Leaders of our world when we’re old, frail and silver. And not fall in to the trap of ‘do as I say, not as I do” philosophy that some of the previous generations of men have passed down. This is one that need to be put aside.

The skill all us Dads need to develop is the skill of continuously questioning beliefs passed down to us and filtering out bulls*it and values that are not relevant and life-affirming for this era. And the most important skill of discerning between what is helpful and what isn’t, based on relevance.

That takes time … and hard work/YAKA!

Let’s hope they are great examples of Real Men, men who have simply practised putting the gentle back in to man and have learned to say no … pause .. … then say yes.

Thank you Zachary, for asking that right question.

 

Ahoy & cheers my friends …

The old Captain Viking Pirate … & his thoughts on being a Real Gentleman

I had a family gym that was predominantly male (70%) for about 7 years. I encouraged the men to speak freely and communicate all their feelings and we shared stories and helped one another through tough emotionally difficult phases of life. What a wonderful group of ‘post-feminite new age gentlemen. Men that understood that manners matter.

Give him the scaffolding in your son’s life to help him, help himself find his light. To allow him to build & live a life of significance. With a foundation of good etiquette/manners.

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Praising your Wife.

In Darling Harbour, Sydney for her sister’s wedding.

Is your wife perfect for you?

My wife, Cathy is perfect for me. She always has been and we have been together for almost twenty years now.

We met at our place of work in the city, she worked on the 30th floor and me on the 29th. We worked for the same Consultancy & Advisory Firm but in different divisions. We all remember the first time we saw/met our wives, don’t we? I’m sure you can tell me your story of how you met your wife.

Mine, well, it wasn’t something fancy, it happened while I was using the photocopying machine. Yep, I fell in love with her smile in one of the photocopying/fax rooms. She gave me the best smile I had received from anyone in a long while … she smiled from the heart.

Working there was a funny time and one of the reasons was that we tried to keep our relationship secret for about a year. However, no matter how hard we tried, we kept getting caught together in the lifts and outside of work – in the city streets or cafes or even on University grounds (as my wife was completing her undergrad degree while she worked). Other work mates used to wonder if we were an item but had no evidence and we later heard that it was even included in the board meeting discussions by the Partners of the Firm.

It was a funny and great phase of our lives together.

Enjoying another habit of ours – eating at a holiday resort in beautiful paradise Islands of Fiji, where I was born and spent my early youth in.

During that period of courtship before marriage, we had more ups then downs. We still have our ups and downs and fights but I think we both knew in the first phase of our relationship that we would wind up married, best friends and partners for life.

Well, I sort of knew earlier on that we were ‘on the same wavelength’ in many facets of our being. I just shared this little story with my two children over dinner recently. The story of how their mum (my wife) and I both went out independently and without any knowledge prior to the fact that we went on the same day and bought a cd of the singer ‘Enya’. We then showed each other what we bought that evening and were both surprised that we did the same thing on the same day without saying a word.

We did this in the first year of our relationship. There were many other instances.

Freaky?

Nope, Quantum Physics says that everything is essentially comprised of waves and frequencies and so … we were figuratively and literally on ‘the same wavelength’ and have been (on most things) ever since.

She has a lovely sense of humour and is very thoughtful, with a thousand other beautiful traits. We enjoy each other and we enjoy life (for the most part).

In a big part and phase of our lives, she was in the background. For example, when I changed careers and pursued my passion of attaining “Peak Performance” in every area of life – physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally … and helping people. I didn’t like the way I saw Personal Trainers/Gym Trainers training people when I was in the gym and thought that I could do much better and give people what they deserve: a more efficient, more effective and most importantly, the most safest way of training and transforming a physique …. using my knowledge and experience to that point.

She was there.

My beautiful and amazing wife, Cathy Valentine.

She had always been in the background in the phase of life that took me to two World Championships in the Sport I love, Natural Bodybuilding, my drive to be not just the BEST in my suburb, my state, my country … but my hunger to be the BEST in the World. I may very lousy trying to be the best in the world at say, Basketball (that would be wishful thinking/delusional thinking) because I was ‘slightly under 6 feet and I couldn’t dunk).

But in the sport of Bodybuilding, I could beat anyone (I thought) on that stage, just like a boxer could beat anyone in the ring in the same weight category. I was born with the right genetics and so had a competitive advantage, just like a tall person playing basketball has a competitive advantage in playing basketball.

My competitive advantages : I was always abnormally strong and fast and the same muscles that made me fast (the Type 2b ‘fast twitch’ muscle fibres) as I learned in my studies of the human body, was also responsible for building quality, lean muscle mass.

Within a year of leaving the Corporate World to pursue my passion of helping people, help themselves, achieve something they care about …  with no ‘Plan B’ … I found myself competing in competitions. I found myself beating the best in my city – Sydney, then I found myself beating the best in my State – NSW. I didn’t stop there … I thought I may as well compete against the best in my country and I did.

I placed 1st runner-up in the Middle Weight NSW Titles and qualified for the World Natural Bodybuilding Championships where the Top 2 of each weight category qualified. I represented Australia and placed in the Top 5 (beating the guy who beat me in Australia in the Australian Titles) in the World two years in a row in the sport. The Sport I fell in love with almost 30 years ago.

 

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.

Leading up to that point I was an Accountant, managing a team of young clerks, Accountants and reporting to the CEO.

I had a lot of dreams (and still do) and of them was the dream of doing what I loved to do: to help people, help themselves be the best version of themselves. I knew I knew how and that I had developed my own unique philosophy and techniques “best bred” from all the great champions that have been in the Sport of Bodybuilding for over hundred years. Arnold Schwarzenegger being the most famous of legends.

It was difficult initially but I also believed I could achieve it, that it wasn’t wishful thinking … that I could beat the best in the world in my sport … that I could see myself standing with the best in the world because I believed in me. Luckily, she believed in that dream too. More importantly she believed in me. I developed a quality plan and I (with her help) executed the plan with quality. My years of developing plans for consulting jobs for large corporate clients was very useful here.

She was always there when I lived and breathed the running of my gym and helping everyone that I considered to be my Extended Family of members that just happened to be my gym members.

I couldn’t have done that without her support.

Her work was not as visible and maybe, to some people, not as important. But, my efforts and results would be nothing without a wife like her. What most people don’t realise is that something is as real and true in my family (I have two beautiful kids and a dog now) as it is in almost any man’s family:

What our wives do and have done is much more valuable in terms of eternity than anything we could ever do.

Ten years from now my name may appear in the Fiji Sports Hall of Fame or maybe Australia’s too. That may be part of my legacy. I am still a fan of the sport and almost all sports. I don’t get up on stage competitively like I used to but I still watch and cheer along with every other fan.

But my wife, Cathy’s accomplishments, unknown to most people, will be honoured for eternity. What she has done and is still doing for our family. She’s been there for my children in the early years of their lives … almost been the father and mother to them, when I spent years leaving the house very early (before 5am) and getting home late (after 9:30pm) when I used to run a gym for 7 years.

I just love this photo of my wife.

That is a phase of life I will always remember and appreciate. She was superhuman because she got help from no one as the gym and my extended family of members and my goals to be the best in the world took up my time and energy.

In the last number of years of this phase of life, she has learned to ‘fly’ again after having kids. She is now in the foreground and flourishing in her career as I take a backseat and invested my time in the children and develop other ideas that I see opportunities for.

I am excited for her and her growth in this phase of her life.

To all you men reading this, be and give the support your wife/woman needs and learn to adapt to the different phases of life.

God reminds me that yes, she is my wife and mother of our children and key part of my family but she is also Cathy Valentine – an individual, separate, looking for growth and progress in her being.

Husbands, be the wind beneath her wings. Sit back and see her fly … and go ‘wow!’

Thank God for all your blessings, which should always include your wife.

Ahoy and until next time!

 

Yours in iron and muscles,

The Old Captain Viking Pirate Fiji Islands – born Muscle Monk

Here we are … my beautiful wife and I.
at a dinner party.

Mr & Mrs Paul e Valentine.

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a better life, accountability, adaptation, ageing, awareness, balance, beauty, better choices, children, Energy, game of life, good posture, habits, life, long-term perspective, long-term strategy, mind-muscle connection, self improvement, self-image, self-respect, symmetry, taking action, Vitality, you, your life

Practise Perfect Posture – your life depends on it.

This elderly man, Jim, told me, having bad posture takes away from his Quality of Life

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.

it is killing people slowly and most don’t even know this.

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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