To think, really think .. is probably the hardest thing To do in life
I had a health scare.
Seven months before I won my 1st World Natural Bodybuilding/“Classic” Physique Title, I had a health scare. Every few minutes I would experience excruciating pain in my abdomen, especially whenever I ate something. The old experienced Surgeon (who was part of the first Medical Graduates at one of Sydney’s Top Universities & studied with an Uncle of mine) said I was lucky –
The pain I felt was the closest thing any man can come to knowing what giving birth was like for a woman
Less than 0.001% (or some very small number ) of the world’s population get this ailment
It can be RIGHTED.
Diagnosis: the point where my small intestine & large intestine meet had folded on to each other like a sock 🧦. The pain experienced was due to the food being squeezed through each time I ate. It was an emergency & he moved me up the waiting list.
The operation was successful.
From that experience & my life experience so far… I have concluded that Nothing a man can ever do can & will compare with the pain a woman goes through during labour, along with carrying a life in them for 9 months.
Find your light to show your son/boys their way
A good Father is a little bit of a mother.
A man can never be a mother, but I recall a mentor saying – a good Father is a little bit of a Mother. Each have different primary roles and can’t completely replace the other, without causing other unwanted consequences.
No matter who you are or what you have achieved, one thing is true about life : Fathers matter deeply in the lives of their children and ultimately in the life of our communities and nations.
I believe Fatherhood is the most tragically underestimated & misunderstood modern-day issue of our culture today. It has been now, for a number of decades. Fathers & dads should be honoured & revered just as Mothers are.
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
Our children deserve better.
Our culture (many modern-day societies ) often mocks fatherhood in various ways – I see it regularly on TV ads over the last 2 decades where Fathers & Dads are belittled or made to look silly & irresponsible. I’ve observed & experience this first hand in playgrounds.
This should not be allowed to continue as there is nothing funny about the number of broken homes & broken lives left behind by absentee (& abusive) fathers & husbands.
Our children deserve better and more should be done in society to educate and create awareness. Society needs to continue to provide reassurance and affirm the necessary role a Father or a Father figure has in the life of each child.
It seems that our culture today is at a crossroad. There are many epidemics afflicting us, yes – the covid & obesity as examples. However, we have diverted our attention from a major epidemic: the epidemic of broken families. You don’t have to look very far … this epidemic has grown at an alarming rate & has littered our streets with broken children.
Learning and absorbing our habits every single day of their initial phase of their lives is what our young Princes do. Teach them well.
The most vulnerable victims – our children.
Absentee and noninvolved fathers, who have given up their roles as leaders & mentors have taken their toll on the most vulnerable of victims – our children. Statistics about children from fatherless homes are alarming and we should be working towards reversing this growing trend.
A good father & dad is one who provides the launching pad for strong, successful and values – driven adults into the world. Adults who then make a positive impact in people’s lives.
It is truly an honour to be given the opportunity to have the honour of wearing the Father, Dad and husband hats so far in my life. I hope and pray that one day, my two children mention something along those lines in their eulogy speech at my funeral.
God bless my children and all the children of this magnificent world and to all the fathers & dads reading this that try juggling all those very important hats : father, dad amd husband.
God bless all the children of this world and what they have had to endure because of the covid epidemic.
My beautiful daughter and I enjoying “Daddy-daughter time” on the Ferris Wheel at Luna Park in amazing Sydney, Australia.
foundations of a gritty strong character Begins in the Family … in the home …
Everything starts with a thought … a boy born and raised in the Islands of Fiji (me) … thought/dreamed/imagined being on the World Stage in natural bodybuilding 10 years before it became reality. Belief in God and belief in myself helped me twice rank in the Top 5 in the world in my chosen sport…. and had a lot of fun getting there. No belief, nothing! With your thoughts and energy channelled in the direction of your goal, don’t underestimate what you can achieve in ten years. Vv.
The way you think will make your life a living hell or a living heaven.
Everything begins with a thought and where you end up in life, begins and ends in your thought. Everything starts with a thought. Do you believe this?
Every thought you think and every word you speak is vibrating throughout every cell of your body and into the world around. Your thoughts are what is moulding your universe into your experiences.
The way you think will either make your life a living hell or a living heaven. Do you believe in this?
We are told that mankind is living longer than ever before in our modern history. The question I like to ask is how much of this ‘extended life expectancy’ gives more joy, better quality of life? Or is it fuelled by the ever-increasing reliance on the many drug stores opening up around the place selling and hooking people on to the scores of products that are supposed to help people.
These drugs and drug stores are supposed to help people eliminate ailments such as stomach aches, relieve heart burn, stop diarrhoea, cure headaches, lose weight, overcome skin problems, bad breath, hypertension and fatigue. You name it – there is a drug that will ‘fix’ the problem.
Is this what the human race has evolved to?
Is this how far we have come as a race, even after all the scientific and medical progress that has been made in the last fifty years? I wonder, sometimes, how we came to be the way we are now? When I take a long hard look around, I am not impressed. I heard on the news or radio recently, that for the first time in mankind’s history, the current younger generations are more likely to die before their parents do. This is very sad if you asked me.
Me and a past member of my Family Gym and former pupil of my Valentine Infusion Programs Joel here was struggling to go past a certain limit on his deadlifts. He I learned some bad habits. He picked up that was stalling his progress & re- learned proper exercise technique. He not only exceeded his self-imposed limits but also lifted the heaviest weight by any man in my Familu Gym. His maximum lifting weight before that was 140kg. He deadlifted 224kg for 6 reps at a body weight of 110kg. He is not a power lifter (so does not do 1 or 2 rep maximum) Can anyone beat that?
Good health and good good intellect are the two greatest blessings in life.
Statistically, children – yours maybe, will not live to the age of their parents (you) will likely live, simply because of their inactive lifestyles and poor eating habits.
Here’s what I have learned after close to twenty five years of training and living a lifestyle of a natural bodybuilder: Good health and good intellect are the two greatest blessing in life. If you are born with health, as most of us have, you have one of the most important life-enhancing traits within you – HOPE! If you have hope, you have everything and you can quote me on this.
When people lose hope, they lose the will to live.
Without health, where is the joy in life, I ask you? I have found that maybe due to the pressures of ‘the way things have always been done in the past’, everyone is forced in to doing things that they have been brainwashed to thinking they should do. People work very hard in whatever profession they find themselves in and try to know everything there is to know about the subject. They become ‘experts’ in their area of expertise. All for the purpose of making money, commonly making the mistake of thinking money is everything – the be-all and end-all!
Many strive to be experts at everything else external, and yet are not experts at the most important thing: themselves.
This is where I beg to differ on all levels – from the philosophical all the way to the practical. Money and the hunger for more and more of it at the expense of everything else is very unhealthy and leads to unwanted disaster, sooner or later. Unfortunately, many do just this to satisfy the insatiable desire to acquire valuables they have been brainwashed into thinking by marketers, they should get because it adds to them as a status symbol.
Father-son same attire day. Children learn the BASICS of character from their parents… and parents should be open to learning from them, too.
There is no wealth like health.
Remember this: there is no wealth like health. Your health and fitness are way more important. Wealth cannot buy health. Wealth without health is a mockery. The healthy labourer in my opinion is better than a sick millionaire.
But you can, you have a choice to do something about it. Not tomorrow, today – now!
Why? Because your life is the most valuable thing given to you. When you make the decision to prioritise YOU and your life, you have a change of thought. Everything begins with a thought. When you make that decision to help YOU and don’t take life for granted, you choose your health. And when you have health, you have that most elusive thing of life, that intangible thing that some people have, that thing that is the essence of life: vitality.
I think it was Samuel Johnson, the English literary genius that said –
“To preserve health, is a moral and religious duty, for health is the basis of all social virtues. We can longer be useful when not well.”
Great words. So true. Have you questioned how moral you have been to YOU?
I don’t care how old you are, it does not matter. Whether you are man or woman, tall or short, fat or thin, young or not so young, my advice from my heart, is I hope you generate the DESIRE TO CHANGE YOUR MIND – TODAY! Change your mind to help that person you see in the mirror, help him or her move towards the healthier, fitter person you imagine yourself to be.
Implant that desire with a thought, a thought to help the most important person in the world to you: YOU!
Here, Ex-Australian Rugby Wallaby & living legend Phil Waugh using a ‘thumbless grip’ in a Smith Machine to do Bench Presses. His desire to be his BEST and get educated from the best allows him to embrace my better lifestyle framework and “build his bridge to where he wanted to be”. And he got there with my “custom-made” plan. Become aware; Apply action: Adapt accordingly.
People are creatures of habit.
Look around us, it is estimated that all the knowledge accumulated in the 20,000 years to 2003 is doubled every two days since then. Information, technology and knowledge has increased exponentially and the combination of exercise/weight training and good nutrition is better understood than ever before.
But why is the world suffering from an obesity epidemic? Well, I feel that, sadly, millions and millions of people are still not following a sensible path to ensure lifelong health and fitness.
People are creatures of habit and unfortunately it is more difficult to lose a ‘less-than-ideal (bad)’ habit then it is to adopt a good one. So much energy and effort is put in to hanging on to and justifying the need to retain a bad habit(s). If all that energy was transmuted in to focusing on and taking up good habit(s), we would have less preventable problems in the world.
Unfortunately, human beings are more reactive then proactive.
Focus: FEEL & CONTROL… with balance & elegance.
What you eat today will be walking snd talking on you tomorrow!
Why are millions not making the right choices given the knowledge and information available to them? A strong contributor is the increasing need for newer and modern technology and its use. These newer platforms of social media – facebook, twitter, text messaging, video games, increasing use of apps, all have one thing in common: they all encourage physical inactivity.
When I was growing up, I remember spending most of my waking hours after school with friends in the neighbourhood. We were always expanding physical energy with different games out on the streets.
Here’s another truth: what you eat today will be walking and talking on you tomorrow!
We’re all getting older by the second, yes, but some depreciate faster than others, mainly because of lifestyle choices. Today you may be relatively young but youth is always fading.
There are no guarantees in life, but if we choose well (health and fitness), we can live our days with healthy activities to get us near to perfect health, fitness and physique as possible.
If you have read this far, then it tells me that you are serious about making a change in your lifestyle. What I have always cared about with everyone that I have ever helped over the last two decades is their current physical condition and state of mind. This is exactly what I am concerned about with you, today.
To begin your change, your journey, you need to desire to change your mindas everything begins with a thought. But effort alone is not enough, you also need to dream, you need to liven up your imagination and set yourself some goals.
What is a goal anyway? It is a dream with a deadline.
Sometimes you need to stop 🛑… look at yourself in the mirror snd … take stock.
It is your thoughts and feelings that are creating the life that you are living.
You need to sit back and take a few minutes out of your busy day and ask yourself if you’re worth it? Do you believe that your life is valuable enough so that the rest of your life (from this point on) could indeed be the best years. Can you picture, imagine your remaining days? Maybe you’re so busy in your daily life, you haven’t given it much thought.
Remember, all of the data suggests that there is no such thing as luck or coincidence in a universe that we now know is based on energy, vibration and attraction. The universe is always lining up to the vibrational state that you’re offering. We all have our default frequencies but through effort, it is possible to move between frequencies – from a life-destroying one to a life-affirming wavelength.
It is your thoughts and feelings that are painting and creating the life that you’re living and drawing to you the situations and circumstances that you find yourself in. If you want to live a different life, you’ve got to start painting a different picture. You’ve got to start being a more skilful architect and use better design principles.
One thing I have always been fascinated about is life but in particular – people. I am a watcher of people, always have been and always will observe others with burning curiosity.
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.
Where do I begin?
Now, you may be asking yourself, okay Paul, where do I begin?
Well, you need to take stock of the most important thing you will rely on: your state of mind, in particular – your motivation. Being motivated is a wonderful gift and a lack of motivation is a hard nut to crack, so to speak!
Here’s what I tell most, if not all that have ever come to me for help: Find a quiet moment in a private room in your home that has a full length mirror. Lock the door and take all your clothes off. That’s right, everything. Now, just look at the image of you reflecting out of that full length mirror. Just stand there and don’t do anything but look. Absorb your full glory for 30 seconds. Don’t flex your arms or smile. Don’t even think about sucking in that gut. Relax that tummy and now….turn to the side. No sucking in, let it all hang out! Now, what do you see?
Need more motivation? Angry? Now, you have all the motivation you need. How could you let this happen to your body? You were born with the greatest gift of all: physical health.
Now, ask yourself this question: do you value YOU, do you value your life? Are you going to continue as you have to this point? Clogging your arteries, adding layers of fat to every part of your body, risking ill-health, aches and pains and an early grave – increasing your overall life risk?
Or … are you going to choose great health and fitness for the rest of your life?
Chris enjoying a well-deserved rest between sets. A ‘set’ as I define it is: a continuous progression of 15 to 45 sec ‘focused moments’. Effort + Focus + heart + visualization + simulation [Quality Plan + Quality Implementation] ===> Quality results. Vv.
A major turning point in Alan’s life was coming to me for help. I helped him, help himself … build his bridge from where he was to … where he wanted to be.
Saved his job … saved his marriage … saved his life.
Photos (below) : walking-the-walk snd practising what I preach … so I can “talk-the-talk” with all my students of my Peak Performance Academy
Muscle is precious. Build muscle then, do everything you can to preserve it.
Don’t believe everything you read, see and hear
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.
Have no doubt. Help yourself first. God will meet you half way … he ALWAYS does. All you ahve to do is: BELIEVE.
Key habit: Build muscle.
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 love Chess growing up. I beat the University Chess Champion once. Life is like a game of chess …. you’ve got to learn to think many steps ahead … but also be able to ‘play what’s in front of you’ A delicate but necessary balance to succeed at anything in life for that matter Become a better chess player of life
Train SMART. Live BETTER.
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. To do this you need to Train SMART. Live Better.
It is as simple as that!
However, like some philosopher once said, “the easy things are also the hardest things to 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!
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.
5 key areas to manage your living better … for better balance in your life
To assist in the quality of your life right now, consider improving on these 5 key areas to manage your living better – for better balance in your life:
Eat – well composed, portioned meals, more frequently. If it is green leaf (and not a frog), include it in your meals.
Water – drink adequate levels of water daily. An average adult should aim for 3L per day.
Move – a combination of weight training, cardio and stretching done two to three times per week.
Enjoy yourself – don’t forget to have fun and laugh at least once a day.
Socially engage with your community in person.
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,
Cheers & ahoy!
The old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk … & managing your weight during Christmas festive season and beyond
Be the best you can be for you, first, then by default, everyone gets the best of you. Vv.
Education through a perception of the truth. Increasing your awareness, taking sufficient and appropriate actions and adapting accordingly is key towards self-improvement. All done in my programs. I love 💓 helping people who strive to help themselves by increasing their awareness… of the power & ❤️Itality within themselves. It’s never too late to learn and UN-learn bad gym (& lifestyle ) training habits learned in different phases of life. Photo: Former pupil – ex Australian Rugby Union Wallaby Captain – Phil Waugh embracing new knowledge. Having a Growth mindset. Vv
I have been very fortunate that in over twenty three years of training in the gym I have not been seriously hurt in any way. I am very proud to say that in that time I have not seen a physiotherapist or chiropractor for any training-related injury.
I have always been a stickler for form and ideal exercise execution. Always. Accelerated increased awareness from the guidance from some of the best coaches in various fields such as martial arts, power-lifting, boxing, athletics, squash, soccer, hockey, rugby and resistance-training has also contributed heavily to me staying injury-free.
Mastering the basics in any physical endeavour is paramount to you excelling in and enjoying the experience while doing it. Everyone that I have ever helped over the years get educated in applying the basics of training all the time – not some of the time! This loosely applies to most worthwhile goals in life.
Getting injured is a pain. Apart from the physical pain, one has to endure days, weeks or even months of re-habilitation. It can drain one of mental and emotional energy too and be quite costly if the injury is very serious.
Hey, there are many professions that thrive on you getting injured – physiotherapist & chiropractors are two. So, if you’re stubborn in your old habits … just keep doing what you’re doing … & “open your wallets” to them.
Over the years, I have adopted certain routines with deliberate practise (habits) that I believe decreases my chances of getting injured while training in the gym.
Below are 5.5 key tips to help you lower your risk of injury:
My whole goal from the very first time I lifted weights was to build a more balanced and symmetrical physique. I believe this is one of the main key factors in me staying injury-free all these years. This is despite me lifting relatively heavy weights for most of this time (especially the two years when I trained for the World Championships in New York).
For example, a lot of people train the ‘mirror muscles’ more than they do the muscle in their posterior chain (muscles you don’t see in the mirror). This leads to asymmetry and muscle group imbalances.
Not a wise thing to do.
Focusing say, on your chest and shoulders and biceps (the ‘show-me-your muscles muscles) and neglecting your upper back muscles like the traps and rear delts and middle back can spell disaster. The most common gym-related injury for young men world-wide are shoulder injuries primarily because of this.
Muscle imbalances lead to increased risk of injury in the respective joints and muscles.
Besides, why do you want to be the strongest or biggest guy when you can build the most balanced and symmetrical physique for your frame. This is more aesthetic and more pleasing to the eye.
So, leave your ego at the door and work towards a better shape – a more balanced and symmetrical physique. If you don’t, you may regret it later.
Results with care. Here, Brad is ‘feeling the essence’ of the exercise and inching closer to his best self. He is in total control and ‘feels’ the muscle being worked. Vv
Tip #2: Be aware of your breathing technique.
I believe incorrect breathing technique is one of the main contributors to getting injured when training in the gym. Keep this in mind – for:
Pushing motions (bench press; shoulder press) – exhale at the point of contraction (when your arms are furthest away from you)
Pulling motions (lat pulldowns; biceps curls) – inhale when your arms are furthest from your torso.
Breathing also helps you with the next tip.
Ex-Australian Wallaby Captain – Phil Waugh performing a set of squats. Using good exercise technique(which includes proper breathing) is paramount to success.
Tip # 3: Focus!
Concentrating on your breathing and what you are going to do with the weight for those 15 to 45 seconds (a set) is critical to lowering your risk of injury.
Every fibre and cell in your body needs to 100% fully-focused! Don’t get side-tracked by other conversations and mentally block out all distractions. Focusing certainly aids you putting on good lean muscle. Period!
A slight loss of concentration could lead to less than ideal execution of exercise leading to increased levels of risk of injury.
I have developed quite a few formulas relating to peak performance over the years and one of the most important ones is:
“Focus = Results” (a shortened version of my formula).
Tip # 4: Always assess exercise execution with ‘risk:benefit’ ratio mind-set.
Exercise choice and safety – a particular exercise that may be safe for someone may not be for another.
High-risk lifting – improper execution of certain exercises can increase levels of risk for very small increments in benefit. The range of motion of exercises need to be tied in to the ‘risk:benefit” ratio of the exercise and the trainee’s goals
Always avoid “high-risk’ lifting. This relates to variables such as excessive weights; excessive number of repetitions; excessive range-of-motion and so forth.
There are many principles to building and keeping muscle and after 23 plus years in the gym I have concluded that the two above and this next two principles – 3) control and 4) feel are key towards lowering your risk of injury.
All beginners and intermediate trainees or less experienced gym enthusiasts should master these before ‘going heavy’.
When you keep it simple and focus on the full range of motion of the exercise with continuous tension, you increase your ability to build good, quality muscle.
Because you are 100% focused and are using the right weight for you to correctly execute the exercise, you have better control and feel. This allows you to ‘work the muscle, not the joint’.
If you can’t control and feel the muscle being worked, you’re not building muscle, only ego.
A lot of people still aspire to the ‘No pain, no gain’ maxim but I think you should not follow this. Listen to your body: never do anything that hurts and don’t train if you hurt yourself or suffer from an existing injury.
results. Vv. “> Chris enjoying a well-deserved rest between sets. A ‘set’ as I define it is: a continuous progression of 15 to 45 sec ‘focused moments’. Focus + heart + visualization ===> results. Vv.
Most injuries happen over time, through cumulative effect of muscular discomfort and micro-scopic tares and inflammation of tendons and ligaments around the joints. Most injuries are the result of an imposed force exceeding the structural strength of the involved body-part.
Don’t copy the super-stars and genetic elite who look and train the way they train because most of the time you don’t know their full story and so this may give you a false sense of direction and could lead to injuries.
Those who don’t do away with the maxim ‘no pain, no gain’ and try to train like the super-stars usually regret it, sooner or later. A better maxim to adopt is ‘No brain, no gain”.
Strive to Train SMART. What I mean by this is that I have always promoted a more conservative approachto training. My own experience and what I have learned from observing countless other trainees – has taught me that a more conservative way to training is not only the most effective but also the safest way to train not only in the short-term but more importantly for your long-term health.
Strive to stay injury-free. You’re in the gym to work on making that person you see in the mirror (you!) – better. Not for ego.
You want to still be doing this activity and off-setting the on-set of ageing (by building muscle) well in to your 80s and 90s if you live that long. It will certainly add quality to your life. Like I have said before, Muscle is the potion of youth!
All the best in your training this year.
Embrace my Triple A to self-improvement: be more aware; take appropriate actions and adapt accordingly to reach your goals in life.
Cheers and Happy January to you!
Until next time,
Just like friendship, genuine muscle requires a lot of time and hard work to be built and sustained. You do this by adopting an ‘adaptive strategy’ of self-tuning. Vv.
Here is Chris, approaching 50 and looking and feeling better than a young man in his 20s. Here, Chris is demonstrating a “side-chest” pose (with a smile).
Stand Tall … & deliver … to your end
We have been told over the last five to ten years that there is an ‘obesity epidemic’ and it is somewhat influenced by the increase in consumption of fats in our diet.
This is a goldmine for food manufacturers. All sorts of products were forced on to the market that had ‘no fat’ or ‘low fat’ or ‘99% fat free” on the packaging. Wow, said the consumer who enjoyed the same taste but with almost no fat. How good was that?! Eat all you can and not put on any fat!
A great sales gimmick that fed in to the pockets of many manufacturers and companies that control and own and sold these supposedly ‘healthier products’. What a load of – you know what! Your body needs fat, your brain will not function without adequate levels of fat. Everyone that I have ever helped over the years know that ‘fat burns fat’. Period!
So, if you’re going to have fat, go for full cream or full fat. Your body metabolises it better and appreciates the genuine article, not some imitation. Enjoy your milk, ice-cream and other densely-packed fat products in full. You will enjoy it more and you will likely eat less. Your internal organs would be greatful and would add to your longevity.
People ask – “why?” … I /My curiosity continually askS “why not?” Seek possibilities… always
You see, over the last 23 years in the gym (my lab), I have seen and helped a lot of people who suffered from back pain. One lady suffered from chronic back pain for 17 and half years before she met and started training with me. Read about her story in an earlier blog titled “No belief, no nothing”.
I helped her help, herself.
I helped create more awareness in her being, in her mind. I helped her help herself to believe again. To believe in the most important person in the world to her – HERSELF. That is the power of BELIEF, my friends.
NO BELIEF, NO NOTHING. Remember this!
You cannot give a ‘band-aid’ treatment to a problem such as this. That only treats the symptom, not the cause. Unfortunately, a lot of today’s current medical focus is on short-term fixes (seeing only the 10% of the ice-berg we see above the water level. What is needed is a more sustainable solution that addresses the cause – the 90% of the ice-berg that sits under the water line and that we don’t ‘see’.). A preventative approach.
Or better still, there’s always the current paradigm and practise – a drug remedy for all and every ailment you might experience. Thank God for the pharmaceutical industry, aye.
Here’s a little trivial information for you – did you know that Pharmaceutical companies spend over $100 billion on marketing their products, with a quarter of this – roughly $27 billion going to doctors in the form of gifts, meals and samples. Makes you wonder about the perception of independence and conflict of interest in the recommendation and dispensing of drugs.
Do you know what the main cause of back pain is? Well, I have been saying this for many years and I have deduced a very strong contributing factor.
It is simple: we are sitting more! There is an inactivity epidemic and an increased volume of sitting is a very high percentage of what constitutes this inactivity epidemic.
Take a stand … a stand of what you believe… IN… and know you have support of the angels
Back pain can be caused by many things but an increasing number of office workers are suffering from chronic back pain. Back pain, I believe, can be caused by too much sitting and no physical activity. Look around you, we are sitting almost all the time. We’re constantly sitting in our cars, sitting and watching computer and television screens. Sitting, sitting and more sitting!
Do you suffer from back pain?
What is the opportunity cost? You struggle to find time to use your bodies, the way it’s meant to be used. This appears to be the plight of the average Australian (based on the largest and most comprehensive health survey in Australia in 2011 – 2012 by the Australian Health Survey) and probably indicative of most countries in the developed world.
On average, Australians are spending between 45 and 55 hours per week SITTING – for work and travel and lounging around in leisure time. The study also shows that an average of 40 hours is spent on all other activities (which includes time for exercising).
Now, I think the medical industry recommend that you should move your body in a moderately intense fashion for about 30 minutes each day, which adds up to at least 150 minutes per week. Do you do that? Be honest now. I think Doctors refer to this as ‘sufficiently active for health” and associated lowers risks like: cardiovascular diseases, various forms of cancer, depression and other ailments.
Now, a common reason I have heard for not exercising or not going to the gym is “I just don’t have the time, Paul”. I’ve never bought that.
Here’s why I have never believed this excuse: the survey actually indicated that roughly 60% of adults did less than the recommended 30 minutes per day and of this, less than 20% actually engaged in daily exercise for an hour or more. Very small indeed!
So, can you see why I have never believed the excuse of not having enough time to exercise? It isn’t an issue of inadequate time because the study showed that at least 3 hours per day is committed to sedentary leisure like – socializing (in person and on-line), using the phone or the internet and watching television. It would be interesting how this percentages would change since the introduction of new technology and service providers like Netflix and Stan. More choices for consumers. More entertainment at our finger-tips. More chance of not exercising. There’s going to be an even greater epidemic of gigantic proportions – MORE SITTING!
Follow your truth… find your beauty … be The Light 💡… share & illuminate the world 🌎 from darkness
It’s not helping society. It’s harming society, the social fabric of it. It’s harming every single one of us – no one is immune to it. It’s harming our children. It’s harming every adult or it will eventually.
All this inactivity strongly exacerbated by the arrival of new technology will supposedly ‘raise our standard of living’ but it will slowly suck the vitality out of every person. It will suck the very essence of what life is all about. This is the real opportunity cost to society. The study showed that children 2-4 years of age are spending almost two hours per day sitting in front of the television or computer ipad/tablet.
A frightening statistic was that overall, physical activity decreased and screen-based activity increased as age increased. This trend is at a very high risk of rising and rising fast!
Now, the solution is simple: to fight this epidemic, each and every one of us can do our part to reduce this alarming statistic. Reduce the risk of our nation becoming a nation of ‘seat warmers’. Keep it simple: DO YOUR PART.
And how do you do that?
Well, play your part. Play your part for no one else, but YOU. Stand up and deliver. Stand up and start moving.
Start moving and may be everyone can unite in the moving and possibly create a ‘movement’ to MOVE. An ‘anti-sitting’ movement!
We’ve just had ANZAC public holiday commemorating the ANZACS 100 years. What a significant chapter in Australia’s history. I think we should all take a page (maybe a paragraph) out of the ANZAC book.
They, who gave their lives, their freedom for freedom, for the life you and I live today. They stood up and fought for their future – where we are now. That was their CALL OF DUTY.
If you’re not an Australian, that’s ok, I’m certain you only have to look back in your country’s history to identify a point or points where your forefathers went to war and sacrificed their lives to give you the way of life you live today.
Maybe, just maybe, each and every one of us need to treat this inactivity, all this alarmingly increasing instances of sitting as a serious threat to our life and that of the future lives of the citizens of our country. Maybe, each and every one of us need to imagine how the ANZACS believed in our freedom and rose to the occasion. Maybe, standing up from your sitting position and moving with intent could be seen as your contribution to yourself and your health but more importantly for the health of our nation.
Maybe, this is how we all need to ‘take a stand’ against this very important health crisis – one of increasing levels of sitting. We need to take a stand against this by literally, standing. Standing and moving to stand and deliver.
the key rests within you… in your belief system. Question them… turn them upside down, inside out… to embrace change better. Change that is happening to you.
Yeah, let’s all work towards a healthier YOU, a healthier society, a healthier nation, a healthier world, just by becoming part of the “Anti-sitting movement’. The health costs and damage caused to individuals and countries productivities by excessive sitting, I believe is far greater than any terrorist threat our world has faced or is facing.
The real terrorist rests within us – within ourexcessive sitting. It is killing the minds and bodies of man-kind slowly but surely. Incrementally killing you from within – a slow, invisible self-torture and most don’t realise the high risks associated with this, until it is too late. The real threat to each and every one of us is not an external threat from the caves in the deserts of some foreign country, no, the real threat is our personal habits, one of which is sitting.
The real threat to you is lifestyle habits, a big one of which is excessive sitting. I believe it is now an epidemic!
So, don’t sit back any more than you have to and before you sit down to view more and more television/tablet/ipad screens, think again. Stand up and give moving a go, you only need 30 minutes per day. It will do you a world of good and you may just like it enough to develop a new habit. A habit that will help fight this current epidemic of inactivity and excessive sitting.
Make it your personal CALL OF DUTY each time you stand up and step out of your home for that 30 minutes of exercise. Imagine that each time you strap up your sneakers for your activity, you’re getting in touch with the hero within you.
Now, this is a cause worth believing in. Worth fighting for, don’t you think? This will not only give you freedom of movement in your old age but more importantly lay the foundation for the ‘movement to move’ for our kids and their kids.
“Monkey see, monkey do” as the saying goes.
Let your children see what you do. Let your children learn from you (as they already do). Let them see their hero (you) walk the talk. Let them see what you are doing for you and your country. You don’t need to carry a gun and ammunition for this. You don’t need to blow up things. NO!
You just need to stand up and start moving.
Me & a member of my Family Gym. He strives to be his best every day and seeks to help those who need his help, to help them, help themselves. “Together we stand, divided we fall” Stand tall and deliver – Men!!
So, don’t sit down any more than you have to as your life and your children’s lives depend on this. Now, that is the ANZAC spirit in action. Make this your CALL OF DUTY – just stand and deliver.
One step at a time. Keep moving. Let’s fight this sitting craze. Let’s fight for activity. For movement. You join and get your family and friends to join this new movement called: “the movement to move, movement”.
Individually, you’re strong but together, with everyone doing their little part , united for a common worthwhile cause – this ‘movement to move’ could have the power to make our dreams of a better life – BETTER for us and for our future generations.
It might seem like a small matter today but I believe this scary trend has the potential to cause more deaths and social costs than the deaths caused by malaria, propagated by the tiny mosquito. We need to take care of the little things because these little things grow to become big things.
A wise man told me once that “Elephants don’t bite, mosquitoes do”. Very true indeed. A child dies from malaria every 30 seconds in Africa, caused by the little mosquito. Very sad indeed.
Remember to always take care of the little things in the important areas in your life. Little things have a habit of adding up to big things. Keep taking those little steps forward.
Become part of this movement TODAY.
Good on ya, ANZAC!
All the best in your decisions today for a better tomorrow.
I am sure by this stage in your life you have come across many health tips and are practising some and have not even considered others for whatever reason.
There is certainly no magic formula to optimum health and fitness but you can make your life a little more liveable by doing a few things a little better.
To improve your overall personal immunity.
What you are today is to some extent the cumulative compound effect of the habits you have decided to make a part of your life. Wonderful, I hope.
I have listed some health and hygiene habits I practise daily and I would like to share them with you. These are only 12.5 tips. I have found these tips to be both true and effective in cultivating outstanding health and fitness habits.
Habits that have added to my life and I am certain will positively add to your life rather than subtract.
Have a read and see if you think it beneficial to your life. It has been to mine so far:
Drink water first thing upon waking with a hint of citrus:
Try drinking a glass of water (250 ml) upon waking in the morning. If you can, try squeezing in some lemon and a drop of honey.
Try to do without white-based flour products and sugar.
Digestion starts in your mouth as you’re well aware.
Make it a little easy on your stomach muscles and digestive juices by chewing your food well. Take your time and enjoy the essence of each food you consume.
Try not to talk too much while you’re eating and focus on your food more. You should remember that it is not only important to consider quantity and quality of source of your food. You should also ask yourself how well your body is absorbing and assimilating all the food you’re eating.
Liken your digestive system to that of a factory. Have you asked yourself how much ‘wastage’ your digestive factory is incurring? How much of the input (food) you’re taking in is actually being used for and by your body? How efficient and effective is your digestive system? Well, you can reduce your ‘wastage’ significantly by simply chewing well or better than you are currently doing.
Apply good moisturiser to your skin after you shower at night:
Aim to use a moisturiser that has Vitamin E and soborlene for improve health and elasticity of your skin.
Stay away from other combinations.
Get enough fresh air and direct sunlight every day:
The health and vitality of you and your body (and mind) needs the sun’s rays. Even if you’re very, very busy at work try and take at least 20 minutes out to get some fresh air and sunlight.
Be sure to use a good sunblock too (if you’re fair skinned).
For people living in countries with very little sun, it is vital for your vitamin D production, the presence of which is necessary for your immunity against common ailments in addition to other benefits.
Do your plumbing (#2s) in the morning:
Try and get in to the habit of ‘sitting on your throne” and excreting your waste in the morning before work or your work out.
My children and I refer to this activity as the ‘boom-boom’! Call it what you will, train your body to do its plumbing first thing in the morning.
Keep your mind calm and have a positive attitude:
At all times, everyday.
Strive to never lose control in all areas of your life.
Make your exercise sessions a pleasure not a burden:
Use the hour in the gym as your ‘meditation hour’
Your time to work on your internal muscle and external muscles
Weight training in the gym is a must. The benefits to you is a no-brainer!
Follow your weights session with 20 to 30 minutes cardio of ‘power-walking’ ( I will elaborate in a future blog about how I do this and why I think this is one of the best forms of cardio you can do now and in to your old age) on a treadmill or outside.
Get adequate rest daily:
Make sure you get sufficient sleep every day
12.5 Keep good posture:
At all times – when seated and standing.
There are many more of “Life’s lessons” to live by hence the “12.5” (not exhaustive in any way) tips but these are some simple ones that come to my mind as I write this and could add a little more life in to your years. It could add more vitality to you. Take it as a reminder, a catalyst or whichever way you want.
One of my goals is just to make you more ‘aware’. The rest (action and adaptation) is up to you.
More vitality … better energy … better opportunities …. Better life to you.
Until next time,
Photo op with a local resident and her dog. Lovely.
In my experience, eating right can actually save you time. Save you, life.
It is winter in this part of the world (I’m live in the beautiful city of Sydney, Australia). Stop, project less than 12 weeks from now, when the next season arrives – ahhh, Spring. Picture this: people are getting out their spring/summer clothes from the cupboards and are feeling a little down because they can’t squeeze in to them like they remembered they did last year. It can be quite de-motivating for some.
Maybe , you’re in that spot of bother right now?
In this first blog of an 8.5 Reasons why Eating RIGHT should not take too much of your time.
My Tip # 1: Never Skip Breakfast!
In one of my earlier blogs, I state that imagination is key to the achievement of any worthwhile goal or goal you place value on . So, if achieving a more sculptured (tonned body) is what you desire you need to learn to use your imagination.
Yes, use your imagination to visualize (now) how you would like to look by summer. This is a very important step – ‘seeing’ yourself as you imagine yourself to be. Having a clear understanding of your destination (refer to earlier blog: “Don’t be a rudderless ship”).
The more vivid the picture of your destination is in your mind and the more it connects with your heart, the more drive and focus you will muster.
Champions practise a lot of visualisation and simulation. To create magic, you need to fuse the worlds of sanity (where you are) with insanity (where you dream/imagine you are, before you are). That is difficult. That is one of the key keys. Don’t stop. Trying. Believing. Keep on … keeping on. You’ll get there. Everyone always does. Especially, if you do it with your heart. and …. with LOVE.
And, with the help of “Coach Mo” (incidentally, that little voice on your shoulder, we can call Coach “Mo”) to start your steam train again …. Hoot … hoot … slowly towards your goal). Just like a steam-train, getting started in your body transformation goals, getting those wheels cranking at the beginning of the journey is the difficult part.
But when you pick up [Mo]mentum (Coach Mo), you, just like that steam train can smash through whatever obstacles that lay in your path. To smithereens! Because you have Big Mo (momentum) on your side.
Here we go again.
Its easy to put off things, to procrastinate. Don’t. Don’t leave it for September, it will be too late. That’s when the majority of people start panicking and joining gyms. Start now. Find your plan (or get help from the relevant professional) and work your plan. You don’t want Spring and then Summer time and Christmas to roll around and you not feel happy about the way you look in you clothes, now, do you? Or you can just buy bigger clothes to hide it all.
Up to you.
You’re the Captain of your ship through the seas of Life. Set you goal towards being your BEST and put a quality plan in place (includes your health & overall well-being) and set sail … Towards your destination.
Making better use of the 86,400 seconds given to us every day
I have said this before: no matter what your exercise goals are, eating healthy (well-compositioned meals), can help you achieve them faster.
And right now, time is ticking and time is your friend as we have just started Winter and have a little under 10 weeks to Spring. But, the question you’re probably thinking is how are you supposed to spend time preparing healthier meals. You barely have enough time to hit the weights, how are you realistically supposed to find time to watch what hits your plate? Right, I hear you …. that is why I wrote this blog to convince you to help you, help yourself more effectively.
Eating right is actually easier than you think.
Well, in my more than two decades in the health and fitness industry and helping hundreds of people around the world. It is one truth I have discovered. They have learned that, too. You can save more of your life. Here’s how …
I believe that spending a few minutes a day making the right decisions about your nutrition could save you from spending twice the time in the gym or four times as much time on the treadmill or aerobics. How so, Paul, you may be asking? I don’t have the time, you may say!
I argue that it typically takes less time to prepare a healthier meal than it does to work off the extra calories you would eat if you didn’t spend time watching your diet.Makes sense? Yes, it does!
Think about it.
You have 86,400 seconds of your life everyday to live, the way you choose to. But, my question is why would you spend more of those seconds sweating and exercising (and for many enthusiasts doing group classes – smelling intense body odour in small bacteria-infested rooms).
I pity these folks and their poor, poor nostrils. If you do like it, God bless you. Applying my tips could mean you spend less time doing those classes. Smelling those arm-pits. That would be good for you and your nostrils, wouldn’t it? Also, I see so many people lining up outside cafes and stressing about what they are going to have for lunch. How about I say, we take that wastage of time and thought pattern with my tip here?
Achieving a well-balanced physique should be understood for what it is: a masterful fusion of art and science. One should improve once’s “BODY Smart”knowledge. this takes time and deliberate practise.
Your daily eating habits
Ok, it isn’t always easy predicting how much time you’re going to have each day to pay attention to your nutritional habits. It isn’t easy. I realise that. Still, there is a smarter way you can make sure you’re getting the most from what ever number of seconds you can use each day.
What if I told you that there are ways to change your daily eating habits without making major sacrifices in your diet. What are you thinking now? For many people, they have tried everything, and ‘nothing works’ is a common frustration. What if I told you that these changes are very real and can be implemented in to your “all-day” eating routine. And the great thing is that you could implement these changes anytime you wanted to?
In the next series of blogs, I will be sharing with you my top 8.5 tips to successfully making changes to your daily eating habits with sustainability in mind. Changes that you can sustain forever. These Valentine Top 8.5 Tipsonly takes a few hundred seconds (a few minutes) to master, but I believe, when implemented, they can take months of unnecessary hard work off your schedule, provided you follow them each day.
This is the real challenge for you:Unlearning old habits that are not aligned with your new, ‘imagined self’ and learning these new habits, my Top 10 tips. Successful change is and can only be brought about through improvement in your self-regulatory behaviour . This is heavily dependent on the power of your imagination.
Changing habits – releasing bad eating habits and adopting some good ones is like facing an internal Predator. You need to ‘face the Lion’ within you. Having a conversation with a lion.
Spring/Summer/Christmas?New Year, here you come – You, only better!
How much time do you have a day to apply these tips?
How much time can you spare? Can you spare 30 minutes in your day or 1800 seconds of your 86,400 seconds? We will do a little maths exercise and count the amount of time each of these tips will take out of your day, starting with Tip # 1 in this blog. Doing all 8.5 of my tips would take less than 30 minutes tops each day. Yet they can give you everything you need to maintain a balanced diet. That’s not much time, is it?
Can you allocate that time to YOU? Simply because your life is important and you would like to do everything you can to not only add years to your life but more importantly, add Life in to your years.
It’s going to save you spending your valuable life, your valuable seconds, thinking and exercising unnecessarily to undo what you unknowingly – did in the first place!
How good is that?!
These tips are not meant to create more stress in your life, it is meant to help make your life a bit more manageable, a little less stressful, when it comes to eating a balanced diet with sustainability in mind. It is about making the best of whatever time you have. Allow me to show you how.
My Top 8.5 Tips will cover all main meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner and snacks in-between. We will begin with the first meal of the day – breakfast. So, I will go through your day, from sunrise to sun-set and piece together a sustainable, efficient and effective schedule for melting off fat, building muscle and having increased daily energy towards reshaping your body, not tomorrow or next week.
Spring/Summer/Christmas/New Year’s here you come. You – only better!
Sunrise – you rise.
Education through a perception of the truth. Increasing your awareness, taking sufficient and appropriate actions and adapting accordingly is key towards self-improvement. Funny thing is that the process also applies to relationships and response. In the photo, Former Australian Wallaby Captain listening intently to learn key principles of my philosophy in to being your BEST, ALL the time, not some of the time. Great student. Great Champion. Great friend. Vv
Tip #1: DO NOT Skip Breakfast.
It should consist of a mix of the 3 basic macro-nutrients: carbohydrates (oats), protein (eggs – 3 eggs/1 yolk) and a little fat (avocado, peanut butter, almonds).
Estimated time spent: < 5 minutes.
Why not skip Breakfast, you may be thinking?
It is one of the best advice our parents and grandparents have given us when we were children. Missing this very important meal creates more hunger later on and increases your risk of ‘bingeing’ and taking in more calories than you truly need in later meals. With no food in your stomach, your body’s response is to take in whatever calories you ate the night before – and whatever you eat later on and … bingeing at lunch and like many reading this – at dinner. Just before bed.
Result? Guess what? All these ‘extras’ TURNS INTO UNWANTED BODY FAT!
Yes, around the gut ( as some call a ‘spare tyre’) for most men out there after they turn 30 and deposits around the butt and legs for the ladies. Very de-motivating indeed. Not exactly what you want, is it?
So, I insist, make this first tip if you’re skipping breakfast a part of you life. Make it your first habit to master: take 4 minutes when you wake up and eat a meal for breakfast but make sure that it combines all macro-nutrients. You will get sustainable energy all day long and lower your desire for extra calories from other food to provide energy later.
This is a very good rule of thumb you should apply for every meal during your day. Ask yourself – do I have a good mix of carbs, protein and a little fat.
Use what I’ve told all my past customers – my “eyeball method” or ‘I see with my two eyes’ method. Look at your plate, ensure the macro-nutrients take up space on the plate in this ratio:
P:C:F = 0.4:0.5: 0.10. ( where P = Protein; C = Carbohydrates; F = Fats)
Steve Reeves was a Master Poser. He imagined and built the Best Built & Aesthetically beautiful body in the world through synergistic awareness. He understood that optimum health of body & mind required the fusion of art and science. Become a scientific artist of YOU … of your life.
Homework: Lets keep adding the time needed to apply each tip I share in successive blogs and see if it requires you to spend less than half an hour of your day.
Let me prove to you using numbers (minutes spent) that Eating right actually takes less time than you think over the next month or so. Let you in on a secret: I love Physics and Mathematics. They were my first majors in my first University Degree almost 30 years ago now.
Let me show you how these little but significant 8.5 Tips can and will encourage an optimum environment that is a fusion of art and science, allowing for Synergy. This synergism is KEY: it is in the combining of the elements that creates a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.
“Back Double Biceps” under the watchful eyes of my coach at that time (2 x Australian Champion, Mr John Daniels) – few days out from the Australian Natural Bodybuilding Championships Result: 2nd in Australia.
If you’re familiar with bodybuilding and bodybuilding history, there is a former Mr Olympia (one of only 13 men who have won the best-built body title in the world over the last 50 years), that made the phrase “Light Weight” part of gym lingo and folklore.
He was none other than Ronnie “The King” Coleman. An eight-time Mr Olympia, beating Arnold Schwarzenegger who won it seven times. Phenomenal achievement!
So, what he considered “Light Weight” would be someone else’s heavy (actually, it would be 99.9% of all gym goers definition of “extremely heavy”). This is what I am talking about here today.
I have heard many people ask the question “what weight should I use?” It really is a very individual thing. What may be less heavy for someone, may be too heavy for others. If you’re unsure of what weight to use, it may be wise to do a little “pre-exercise” planning.
Now, what I am going to explain below may be considered by many to be ‘quite obvious’ but for some, it may not be so. Here’s what I mean, for a beginner:
Steps before lifting weights –
Start with the bare minimum, in terms of poundage (leave your ego at the door)
Progressively increase weight with each set of the exercise
Stop when you reach a poundage that allows you to strictly perform the exercise within the required number of repetitions.
For example, some of the basic gym tools:
Start with 1lb dumbbells and work you way up incrementally – either 1lb or 2lb increments
Where the increments switch to 5lb increments, apply steps above accordingly.
Start with just the bar (no weight added). A standard weight bar could weigh anywhere between 5kg and 9kg. An Olympic bar would weigh 20kg (~ 45lbs).
Once the bar feels too light, start adding 2 ½ lb plates on both ends.
Increase weight incrementally by 5 pounds.
Start with the lightest (once again, leave your ego at the door). It may be 2 or 2.2lbs.
Once you feel strong enough to move up, do so. Keep in mind, however, that medicine balls typically increase in 2-pound increments ( 6 to 6.6 lbs, 4 to 4.4 lbs etc).
So, there you go.
Figure out how much time of your 86,400 seconds each day you can devote to a work-out (hopefully a minimum of 3,600 seconds twice a week). Find a results-specific workout type you would like to put your body (and mind) through and then just do it!
Don’t be afraid of the gym. You don’t need a degree in exercise physiology. If you’ve ever resented anyone for their physique, you can stop now. I want to let you know that sometimes the bodies that have earned your exercise envy may not be more committed to working out than you are.
It’s just that they’re smarter when it comes to HOW they work out.
Now it’s your turn.
There is no secret to getting in great shape. It is not how much time you spend exercising (there is a bare minimum though for every goal) but it is taking the time to exercising properly. Executing each exercise in proper functional manner, continuously asking yourself the question –
“How well am I doing this particular rep of this particular exercise?”.
Not knowing how to.
Not executing exercises with good form could be disastrous. One simple slip in form can transform a useful exercise into a useless one. The problem areas in your body are progressively neglected and you continuously stress and overwork muscles you would rather avoid or work less.
Don’t you sacrifice your ‘safety umbrella’. Sets you up for major postural problems in the future.
Remember, overworked and over-stressed muscles ( like shoulders for men ) lead to muscle imbalances which lead to (over time) – injuries. Injuries, yes. Some of which you cannot afford to have.
Seek help from a suitably qualified and experienced professional for guidance if you’re unsure.
Train safer. Train smarter.
You’ll enjoy the next 40 or so years in the gym, better.
Great sets make great workouts. The more shapely, smooth and safe one’s sets are, the more structurally sound they will be, like good engineering foundation to a building – the better one’s workout will be. Simple right?
Not so fast. Lets break it down.
A great workout needs to transcend ego training. It needs to rise above fear but stay within the safety umbrella. It needs to progressively take you beyond your tolerance levels. Your self-imposed limitations. It must, within the limits of personal experience in the gym and domain knowledge, allow the person to feel what I call the ‘essence’ of each exercise. The aim of a good workout is to gain as much as possible as economically as possible, within a specified time-frame.
A set could be short, right and nice. Some people prefer that.
A set is a little miracle and a critical link to a successful workout. A miracle because of the way it makes you feel, when you do it right and nice. A number of repetitions make up a set. A set in weight training refers to the way we move a weight from somewhere to somewhere else. It metaphorically tells a short story – of what is, of what happens, of who did what and of what is done, when it is done.
All sets have a definite finishing point. It carries a trainee from calmness to acstacy, from being dry to sweaty and pulsating. From nothing to something.
A set in bodybuilding is as critical to a workout as a river is to a whole catchment. Namely, everything. The part serves the whole, it is what the whole comes down to. You see, sets alone or sets of exercises laid out in no particular order may get you sweating and burn calories but does not fit in to an organized pre-designed plan: 2 sets of 10 reps of squats. 45 reps of dead-lifts. Huh? Why? For what purpose? What goal?
Oh, I get it. Sets are part of a story.
I like to think of a workout that a person carries out is a short-story. His/her story through physical expression. Meaning needs to arise. How does meaning arise? It may happen because a suitably experienced personal trainer puts the sets and exercises into an order that allows meaning and purpose. Why do we need meaning/purpose (refer to my previous blog: don’t be a rudderless ship for some insight).
There is in each and every one of us humans, an innate need for story, for storytelling, for relationships between disparate things. For causality. We all like to make sense of and recognise patterns in everything in life, including the performance of sets of exercises in the gym. A set in a workout needs to be structured with the correct number of repetitions, weight, tempo to allow the gym trainee to see and allows us to discover meaning to patterns – and for storing and repeating them in body, mind and spirit for the future.
When you see the interrelationship, when you observe and feel the connection between the set and the workout – it is like pure art. It is like beautiful music. Like sex. What you get is sets performed – simple, compound, complex and compound-complex. Interspersed with rest periods and water/liquid breaks/chat breaks/toilet breaks.
Like sex. Orgasmic, really.
Even when you think you understand the interrelationship between the set and the workout. You don’t. You realize you don’t understand the chemistry and mystery behind it that give meaning because every time you perform each set, keeping all variables constant, the feeling and result is different.
How is that so? One can learn patterns by which this simple-complex system, the set, works. But how you get different results, different effects from the same cause is as mysterious as the soul of a man or woman or the origins of the universe. It comes down to the different mental states people are in at any point in time. A mystery at the best of times.
A set as I like to define it is a “15 to 45 second focused moments”.
People can understand a whole workout program without ever knowing the ‘essence of the exercise’ when performing a set. I have seen this in people who have trained with weights for many, many years. When you perform sets of exercises in the proper manner, you have rhythm and when you do it well enough you not only get meaning but you make music. It is music in motion! Great sets make great workouts.
Great workouts include long and short sets. Long and short ‘focused moments’. Complex and simple and complex-simple.
Workouts of the rich and famous have gotten ridiculously short and everyone seems to be after the shortest workout in our every-increasingly busy, instant gratifying western societies. Workouts that include only short sets for an even shorter workout is to say the least, hypocrisy personified. People want to get all the health benefits of working out but don’t want to put in the work. Everyone wants to know how much less and less they can get away with fewer exercises when the are in the gym.
“Here it is”, an newspaper article or tv broadcaster would say “get the body you want by only spending 5 minutes in the gym once a week”. How ridiculous is this? Do you think Michael Phelps got the results he desired by spending only 5 minutes in the pool? Do you think Tiger Woods got the results he got by spending only 10 minutes out on the golf course? There are many more examples in every field in life. They got that way because they spent countless hours deliberately practicing certain habits within a structured and planned program over many years. Not 5 or 10 minutes!
Well I have news for you. There are many ways to perform a set, and a serious gym enthusiast should employ most of them, if relevant. Just as a golfer would use different golf clubs for different strokes, a gym trainer would use different sets. Some of your sets should be short – yes; some should be long; some may even be what I call a ‘midget-set’ – a sub-set of a set. Each set has a unique tempo to it depending on where they fall in the workout and purpose.
The point is to mix them up.
Mix them up within an overall workout goal and plan. You need meaning and purpose in your workouts to get the most out of them. Mix them up, like an ecosystem or local community, a workout thrives on diversity and mastery of execution. Just like a democratic society.
You see, I have had many, many workouts and have done many, many sets and spent many, many hours in the gym with deliberate practise over the last 23 years or so. One thing struck me as odd and interesting – some workouts took less than twenty minutes and were very short, some took almost all morning. Usually, these long workouts happened because I did not have any particular time set in mind to do them. Instead, I made a conscious choice to take the time. In the shorter workouts, I didn’t take the time. I got lost in the workout, enjoying the highs and lows of each set, sculpturing away.
Each workout still done with pleasure.
Each set and workout had no fixed intrinsic amount of interest. Instead each set and workout were interesting and pleasurable as long as I chose to focus and give my attention to them. Its similar to a surfer being out in the surf or a golfer out on the golf course for hours trying to hit a small ball in little holes. Or a swimmer doing laps in the pool or a person knitting a patterned jumper or a man spending hours servicing his car. Or a tennis player playing tennis. Why do they do it? How long?
Same answer as each of these activities would give – as much time as you care to give it. Not an infinite amount of time, but more time than you first imagined.
So, put away the clock and time-piece and lose yourself in your sets – your workout. “Feel” each repetition of each set of each workout. Make the last rep as good as the first. Give more meaning and purpose to your workouts.
Make music. Allow yourself to make music with motion. Find your rhythm.
Give each type of set a chance – a voice, sometimes without the constraint of time. Give your least favourite exercises a try – an avenue to be heard.
You may just like what you see and feel (and hear).
This is what I call a democratic workout. Try it sometime.
A number of years ago, a member of my gym ( I owned & managed a Family gym for about 7 years) came in for his usual once a week gym session like he had always done. I could not help noticing that he did the same training routine for the last three months, so I asked him what his goals were. He said that he was just doing it to ‘maintain’ his level of strength, health and fitness.
He was doing maintenance.
I asked him when he started this training program and he told me that he started it over twenty years ago. I was shocked. He did the same thing for twenty years. Wow! Familiarity, I agree, is one of the comforting things about life. I guess it gives us a sense of certainty and steadfastness in a world that is ever changing.
We all try to cling on to something that is familiar and seemingly unchanging.
However, doing the same training program for twenty years for ‘maintenance’ may not be serving his purposes now. Yes, the program may have served his purposes when he was younger and in his twenties for a brief time, but for a brief time only.
You see, it is common knowledge now that your muscles adapt to any exercise within five to six workouts. I told him that if his goal has been maintenance than working out with the same program for that long may not be aligned with that goal. The thing is many things has changed with him since his 20’s when he set his original goals, the obvious thing being his age.
Front double biceps at my favourite beach here in Sydney, Australia. Enjoying the sun and the creator that it is. Be not like the moon, be like the sun. Vv.
Studies show that after the big 3-0, your metabolism – the rate at which your body burns calories to function daily, begins to slow down, causing you to store more excess calories as unwanted body fat. A lot of men start storing a lot of ‘blubber’ around their gut and women tend to deposit it in the butt and legs.
What you wantand what you get can be poles apart because of this metabolic reduction.
Your metabolism drops for several reasons, one of them being that you progressively lose lean body mass (muscle) each year and your strength levels drop as you get older. That is why it is so important to ‘off-set’ this ageing effect or rate is by doing strength training and promoting protein synthesis and muscle growth. For optimal health results you would try combining it with some sort of cardiovascular exercise.
What qualifies as cardio or aerobic exercise? Any activity that elevates your heart rate and trains your lungs to become more efficient at delivering oxygen throughout your body.
Back to our story – familiarity is important for us all. It was important for my gym pal. I get that. However, getting stuck in a holding pattern and doing the same workout for years which is not aligned with the goal (in this case ‘maintenance’), could imply that they are too scared to stray from a routine that works. People who do this though are forgetting that the routine may have worked once, yes, but in the past. It may not necessarily work now.
A few happy High School dropping by the gym on their way to their High School Formal. Just to show off their beautiful outfits…. and hard-earned muscles making the clothes look great.
It could be holding you back.
The above could apply to many areas of life too, but in this instance, I am relating it to the successful achievement of your physical transformation goals. Whether your goal is to burn fat, build a stronger, bigger chest or put on mass. All these achievements is just your body’s physiological and biological response to the various stimulus you place on your body’s muscles in your exercise routine.
It is through adaptation that the body morphs or changes. These adaptations eventually cease as your body handles the stresses or stimulus more efficiently. The result? Well, the body’s response to the workout you have been routinely doing for twenty years or so is not doing you any good. Your body ‘knows’ your workout so well now. Basically, you are getting less for each successive workout.
Because your muscles are not being forced to adapt, your metabolism or ‘engine room’ drops and you start burning fewer calories. You wonder why you’re not losing weight or fat or putting on muscle like you used to. You use fewer muscle fibres during your workouts, and this would leave you an unsatisfying taste in your mouth as the results you get is less than what you desired. Not motivating. Very frustrating!
So, sticking with what works is not always the best when it comes to achieving exercise goals.
How do you break this awful cycle, you may be asking?
In a future blog, I will give you a few alternative exercises to the basic average beginner’s training program outlined in an earlier blog “How much time do you have for a workout?” This will add variety as change is needed.
You don’t need to make wholesale changes. Sometimes, just replacing one key exercise with an alternative can feel different enough to make your body think its trying something entirely new.
Change is always part of a good exercise program. Managing change is important.
A good workout program is like life: life is about change – if you’re not changing, you’re not living. So, don’t always stick with what works if maintenance is your goal. Instead, spice it up with a little variety. A little change.