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

 

Enjoying the sun at a local beach.

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

A Life affirming approach.

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

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

I have found that ….

People don’t begin with belief.

People don’t begin with trust.

People don’t begin with hope.

People don’t begin with love.

People don’t begin with patience.

People don’t begin with a dream.

People don’t begin with their imagination.

People don’t begin with simplicity.

People don’t begin with continuity.

People don’t begin with gratitude.

People don’t begin with care.

People don’t begin with discipline.

People don’t begin with courage.

People don’t begin with balance.

People don’t begin with harmony.

People don’t begin with the end in mind.

People don’t begin with responsibility.

People don’t begin with their heart.

People don’t begin with desire.

People don’t begin with forgiveness.

People don’t begin by unthinking.

People don’t begin with acceptance of responsibility.

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

People don’t begin with the end in mind.

People don’t begin with the unconscious.

People don’t begin with their spirit.

People don’t begin by being still.

People don’t think.

People don’t DO.

Enough.

People don’t begin by giving….

So …

People don’t receive …

Enough.

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

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

They are not the same.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All the best in your choices,

 

Until next time,

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

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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.

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To know the unknowable.

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Do you know what love is?

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

But where do we begin?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is simple: love is as love does!

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

We choose to love.

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

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

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

Try to get your head around that one.

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

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

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

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

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

Think. Desire. Act. Love.

Re-establish your balance within.

Choose well.

 

Until next time,

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

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

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Eating and drinking in excess this Christmas and New Year can help you lose weight – a lot of weight!

Muscle is precious. Build muscle then, do everything you can to preserve it.

Muscle is precious. Build muscle then, do everything you can to preserve it.

Don’t believe the headline – eating and drinking in excess this Christmas will not help you lose weight!

But I am making a point as to how we can become needlessly fearful (because of all the conflicting views out there) of exercising with weights or eating certain foods or doing just about anything.

Everyone seems to have an ‘opinion’ these days with the proliferation of social media and a lot of these views have insufficient and inappropriate evidence (scientific) to back them up. This applies to almost everything, but especially, weight/fat loss and exercise and eating and drinking, because well, we all do these activities, more or less.

It seems that everyone is suddenly an expert.

Anyone can show how, by selectively citing some scientific research and blowing it all out of context, you can build a case for any argument, including the subject heading that I have used.

If you have a small amount of scientific nous, it is super easy for someone to give an opinion and by selectively citing some scientific research (based on some ridiculously small sample) and blowing it all out of context. You see this quite regularly on mainstream media as the ‘sensationalism’ of these stories sells ratings.

Below is the start of my view on fat loss and body re-engineering …

If you need to lose fat leading up to the festive season and summer (in some parts of the world – like Sydney, Australia) – build muscle. Naturally. Full stop!

There are countless weight-loss programs on the net and every where you go and read. Terrific for increasing awareness. However, fat-loss plans and weight-loss plans that don’t include strength training, fundamentally, rob the body of muscle.

Now, you don’t want to do something that robs the body of muscle because the process of ageing does this anyway. Ageing, is partly, by definition, the deterioration of muscles due to the reduction in protein synthesis.

Weight-training to build muscle ‘off-sets the on-set of ageing’. It is the potion of youth. It keeps people younger, longer. I know, because I have witnessed these people who seem to look and act five, ten, fifteen and twenty years younger.

The common denominator: they build muscle!

I’ve always told everyone I have ever helped over the last two decades that every kilogram of muscle is a fat burning dynamo! Yep, a fat-burning dynamo.

If you compare your body’s metabolism (the rate at which it ‘burns’ calories) to that of an engine of a car, when you build lean body mass (muscle), you increase the engine size and power of your body. Your car engine (metabolism) goes from, say, a 1.8l engine to a 4.0l or even an 8.0l engine over time.

Muscle loss reduces calorie requirements, makes fat loss more difficult, and creates increased obstacles to the maintenance of a lean body, once the excess fat has been lost.

Fundamentally, your ‘life-force’ (or vitality) will be sucked out of you and you will literally feel like cr&p! Every single minute of every single day. Now, why would you or anyone for that matter want to feel like that every single day. I could and still can’t understand why people still do this to themselves. Instead of doing ‘life-affirming’ actions, they instead do ‘life destroying’ actions.

Not smart. Not sustainable.

Put simply, and to sum up – always remember, to help maintain a lean body, build muscle.

It is as simple as that!

However, like some philosopher once said, “the easy things are also the hardest things to do”.

So, don’t think. Do!

If you can dream and imagine a much more improved physical version of you and believe in executing a plan to get you there, by all means go for it!

With 8 x Mr Olympia - "The King", Ronnie Coleman. Now, this man built and carried on his frame an unbelievable amount of muscle - 300lbs worth of it!

With 8 x Mr Olympia – “The King”, Ronnie Coleman. Now, this man built and carried on his frame an unbelievable amount of muscle – 300lbs worth of it!

And don’t worry if you have never entered a gym in your life or you haven’t done anything since your late teens or early twenties. It is never too late to start.

Regardless of your age, or how out of condition you may think you are at present, I believe it is never too late to start an exercise program. The power to decide rests in your hands (literally when you start lifting weights in a gym to help the person in the mirror – YOU).

You can transform your fitness and muscle strength at any age, along with your appearance, and health. I believe this is important because from my observations as a coach over the years, when people’s image improves, their performances improves too. Feeling good about yourself is an important part of being a well-balanced human being.

Make that choice – for you or a loved one. Make that choice to help you so that you can enjoy not just a long life but a good quality life by lowering the risks of early on-set of age-related physical and mental diseases. Respect and love the most important person in the world to you – YOU, first.

That way, by default, everyone gets the best of you, too.

You have one life, make the most of it all the best in the choices you make. No one else can make them for you, so choose well.

To assist in the quality of your life right now, consider improving on these:

  1. Eat – well composed, portioned meals, more frequently. If it is green leaf (and not a frog), include it in your meals.
  2. Water – drink adequate levels of water daily. An average adult should aim for 3L per day.
  3. Move – a combination of weight training, cardio and stretching done two to three times per week.
  4. Enjoy yourself – don’t forget to have fun and laugh at least once a day.
  5. Socially engage with your community in person.
  6. Get, learn and apply the basics (of life) right so that YOU can ….

Muscle is precious. Build muscle, then do everything you can possibly to do to preserve what you have. You will thank your lucky and wise stars as you age.

Don’t accelerate the ageing process as age does it for you anyway. Build muscle, as if your life depended on it (and it does). Build muscle as it is your personal preventative insurance against age-related diseases as your life ticks on … tick, tock, tick, tock!

Then, watch your energy, mental state and vitality soar to new heights and ….

Live, really live.

Until next time,

Be the best you can be for you, first, then by default, everyone gets the best of you. Vv.

Be the best you can be for you, first, then by default, everyone gets the best of you.
Vv.

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If.

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Have you ever experienced immense sadness?

I have. Many times.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If only he or she admitted failure ….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Like I said earlier, I like the word if.

 

Until next time,

Attitude is key at winning in the Game of Life.

Attitude is key at winning in the Game of Life.

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Your daily elevator ride.

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

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

Changeless change.

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

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

Change is good – for the most part.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Plan
  2. Implementation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Until next time,

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

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

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

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

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a better life, adaptation, asking questions, awareness, basics of training, Beliefs, better choices, body, breaking points, caring, change, choices, ego, Energy

Learn to be more coachable.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s call this individual “Dave”.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, he did have an accident.

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

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

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

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

That was unacceptable to him. Period!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He did.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have fun with your workouts and have fun with life.

 

Until next time,

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

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

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