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Praising your Wife.

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

Is your wife perfect for you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Freaky?

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

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

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

She was there.

My beautiful and amazing wife, Cathy Valentine.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

I couldn’t have done that without her support.

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

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

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

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

I just love this photo of my wife.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ahoy and until next time!

 

Yours in iron and muscles,

The Old Captain Viking Pirate Fiji Islands – born Muscle Monk

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

Mr & Mrs Paul e Valentine.

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Choosing a gym.

Training in my Old School Gym adopting Old School Training techniques with a modern twist. Know the basics. Apply the basics. Adapt to the basics. Keep it simple and keep it continuous. Its the most efficient, most effective and safe approach to building a muscular physique in the gym. Find a gym with minimum distraction if you desire results. Focus! Paul.

Training in my Old School Gym adopting Old School Training techniques with a modern twist. Know the basics. Apply the basics. Adapt to the basics. Keep it simple and keep it continuous. Its the most efficient, most effective and safe approach to building a muscular physique in the gym. Find a gym with minimum distraction if you desire results. Focus! Paul.

Your philosophy matters

A common fear among people who have never been to a gym and even current gym enthusiasts is feeling a little intimidated when they are there. The atmosphere of some gyms can be quite intimidating indeed for some.

I know I felt that same feeling many, many years ago when I first summoned the courage to enter a gym. After a few tries, you will get over this initial feeling of discomfort – something all trainees will have to deal with at some time.

Now, I could go through a top 10 things to consider when assessing which gym deserves your patronage such as – cleanliness, Equipment conditions, equipment in general, personal training services, locker availability and cost etc but I won’t.

Why? Well, you could easily do this yourself on the internet these days and maybe even get on a web-site that compares gyms and ranks them based on your buying criteria. A common method of deciding on a choice if you are that inclined.

However I believe that sometimes, in life it is more fruitful if you make your decision that is the best for you not based on your ‘need’.

No, sometimes in life, you need to base your decision on what resonates with your philosophy in life. If you don’t, then you may well find yourself (like hundreds of thousands of gym goers world-wide) jumping from gym to gym, searching. Searching for the gym that best suits their needs.

Your philosophy matters.

With Margaret and her guide dog. She was such a lovely human being. Never said never.
I trained her daughter (who was also partially blind) to represent Australia at the Paralympics.
She was one tough school girl with a lot of GRIT. Just like her mum.
Choose a gym that resonates and agrees with your philosophy of life.

Choosing a gym is an ínternal’ exercise, not an éxternal’ one

It is highly likely that you will not find your answer to your dissatisfaction by constantly switching gyms (for whatever reasons you generate). Instead you will likely grow tired and you will eventually feel de-motivated, like millions of trainees worldwide do. When this sets in, you can kiss your work-outs goodbye!

Sad, I know … but true.

After being in and around gyms for almost thirty years now and owning my own family gym for about seven years, here’s what I believe you need to do:

  1. Determine your philosophy on life – ascertain what you value in life, what are you principles?
  2. Find a gym that is aligned to this.

I am almost 100% certain that you will be content. This is not an exercise in ‘external search’ for a gym but it is an exercise in ‘internal search’ for the Real YOU. What I am trying to say is that choosing a gym is an internal exercise, not an external one.

For some, this search for a different gym and never being satisfied may be a manifestation of a deep seated fear of rejection that may likely go back to their formative years where they may have been subjected to ‘conditional love’. This manifestation becomes an obsession with what other people think and fuels this search for that elusive gym that meets all their needs.

Me and my family of extended family of members.
I created an environment to replace something I was missing living in a busy, big city like Sydney: the intimacy and connectedness of a truly local and extended family feel that I grew up with in my youth in Fiji.
I missed my éxtended family’ and this served my needs and the members needs too

The perfect gym does not exist

You won’t find that, a gym that meets all your needs, that is. It is like searching for “Mr Right” … or “Mrs Perfect”. They don’t exist like the perfect gym that meets ALL your needs does not exist. Accept that the Perfect gym does not exist. What exists is a person or a gym that meets most of your key needs and resonate with your philosophy on life.

I must warn you though: it is not an easy exercise. It can be a little scary. Remember though that all negative habit patterns can be overcome by giving your mind new nutritional thoughts. The most powerful, most nutritional thought we can think is “I like myself”.

A simple, yet profound statement of belief and I liken it to an anti-biotic for the mind. Makes you feel better after repeating the statement for a period of time. Try it, see how you feel.

A hallmark of a mature human being like you is the acceptance of total responsibility for your life and all the decisions you have made to date. The acceptance of total responsibility is a line in the sand in your life that from that point, you have no more excuses.

Your feeling of personal freedom and total control of your life and happiness is a direct product of your acceptance of total responsibility. This includes your responsibility to investing time in your health and fitness.

So – Accept. Totally.

Then ….

Me my extended family members; a group of members of my family gym.
They all loved training and being part of the extended family that was my gym

Join the club that chooses you

Join the gym that is aligned with your values and principles. Join the club that chooses you.  I prefer good old-school gyms (very few around these days) where there are a good selection of free-weights (barbells and dumbells) and good benches, a power rack or cage (to let the animal inside of you out).

A gym that has outstanding free-weights equipment and the best ambience wins, hands-down all the time for me.

Personally, I prefer a gym that doesn’t treat you like a number. Where everyone knows your name and your know theirs. Where people talk to each other instead of just connecting with a machine. A gym where if you’re absent, people notice it. A gym like they used to be – a social club. Like the gym I owned and managed for about seven years of my life, a real ‘family gym’. I was so connected to each and every member that they would tell me of their travel plans and almost everything about themselves and their families and ups-and-downs in their lives.

My life was intricately connected to each person, so much so that if I noticed that they hadn’t come for a while, I would personally call them up ( I wouldn’t get my staff to call them). If I didn’t get them (and if they lived alone), I would drive over to their residence to see if they were ók’.

Believe me when I say that I had intervened in many people’s lives and brought them back to this reality. There were people that no one called up on, except for me. There were people that, if I hadn’t knocked on their door of their residence to see if they were ok, they wouldn’t be here today. That was one of my roles as a caring, trusting and compassionate gym owner.

Members of my éxtended family’ also connected over food (protein for the hard-working muscles) and beer (for the biceps peak)
We were a family in more ways then just one (training together)

What type of Gym Goer are YOU?

Join a ‘type’ of gym goer. What type are you?

Feel ‘connected’ with a real person instead of being connected through technology mediums. Talk to other patrons of the gym (the way my old school gym was, where everyone spoke to one another and knew each other’s names. Just a big extended family, like I lived in my early youth, growing up in the paradise islands of Fiji.

You’ll probably find that you would have more in common with more people there then you would be different.

We’re all social beings after all and your time in the gym satisfies one of the most basic of human needs in a very healthy way – our innate social need.

And become the … the … social animal that you know you are but instead of swapping alcoholic recipes, you’ll be sharing protein shake concoctions. Realising this and accepting it in your life can make you look on the bright side of life more readily. It could move you closer to the elusive ‘happiness’ state … something that the world can learn from the Happiest Citizens on this planet: Fiji.

Just so happens, I was born and lived my early youth in Fiji and understand why Fijians are the happiest people on this earth, a few of the many reasons why are touched on in my words above. Find your gym by allowing the ‘fijian’ in you to speak to you.

All the very best in your choice!

Until next time,

Cheers & Ahoy!

 

The old Captain Viking Pirate …. & choosing the right gym for YOU

I love free weights like dumbells.

I love free weights like dumbells.

 

My Family of friends in my gym I owned and managed for 7 years.

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Plant your Oak Tree

The Oak – 7 x Mr Olympia, Arnold Schwarzennegger

Don’t just be any tree, be an Oak Tree

Have you ever thought of the Oak Tree?

I have. Thing is .. I like Trees.

Very early in life when my fascination with muscle and bodybuilding began, I learned that the great Arnold Schwarzenegger was nick-named “The Oak”. Just like the oak tree – big, enduring, aesthetically balanced and strong through the course of time, it weathered all types of weather. Oak trees can live up to 300 years old. The Oak Tree got me thinking about life…. how, maybe, we should not just be any tree, but … be an Oak Tree.

Imagine for a second what would it feel like to plant an Oak Tree?

Now, the actual planting of the tree would obviously give you a lovely feeling at that point in time. I mean, there is not a chance in the world you would be around to see the little seed grow in to the magnificent tree that it is to be. They live up to 300 years!

Now, imagine, one may be two hundred years on, some person may look up and admire its beauty and grandness but would never even think of you – of the person who made a conscious choice to plant that little seed in place. No one would thank YOU. No one would remember you for it. So, why would you even consider doing it then?

How would such an irrational action give you so much pleasure?

The Best decisions are always made with a  bit of irrationality … a bit of heart inclusion.

Well, there are many reasons, but I believe that maybe, just maybe, more of our decisions in life should be made with the Oak Tree in mind. I think we need to look at our life from a different perspective – a ‘long-term perspective’, from the perspective of the Oak Tree. Yep, the tree.

I think we should be making decisions that matter in life just because it seems right. At that point in time and would seem right in the days that you depart this beautiful planet. We need to make decisions from the Oak Tree’s view, one that is a long-term perspective.

To lead is to learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable.
This develops, amongst other things – GRIT.
An essential ingredient of all Champions, all Leaders and most importantly, all Champion Leaders.

To have an “Oak decision” means to make a decision with a long-term perspective

Ask yourself this question: how many areas in the rest of your life that has the ‘Oak Tree’ view or longer-term perspective?

Most people live their lives looking for short-term or quarterly business results; the next season’s trends, gadgets and fashion; the next season’s flowers or at best a crop or business investment that would have a two or three year pay-off. I understand that. It is a fact of life. However, why is it that the best and great family businesses have a more longer-term view or perspective in mind, always.

Well, from my small research in to longevitiy of businesses, typically, the founding business owners would make decisions that would have their children or grandchildren reap the benefits. Not necessarily, them. Their business growth, expansion, their bigness comes down to one of perspective, one of long-term strategy, taking the Oak Tree perspective. Something which, in today’s world most businesses find it so hard to cultivate.

This applies to individuals too. Like you, too. To have an Oak Decision meanse to make a decision with Long-term perspective. For example, when I picked up my first set of weights, I knew that I would include the weight training as a part of my whole life but I was also going to be ont he world stage competing against the best bodybuilders in the world.

I made my decision with a long-term perspective … an Oak Tree approach. I gave myself 10 years.

I got to 2 x World Competitions.

Me my extended family members; a group of members of my family gym.
They all loved training and being part of the extended family that was my gym
Relationship take time to develop .. just like an Oak Tree needs time to grow

There is no such thing as “Lay-By” these days

The short-term perspective is all around us – everywhere.

It is a disease of the modern age, but just like most diseases, it can be managed or better still, cured.

Instant gratification, that is. People don’t seem to practise delayed gratification anymore. There is no such thing as a “Lay-by” these days, when purchasing a product/want. People want new version of products now and pay for it immediately too. Great for business, but what does it say about the direction society is heading?

Lets have a look at politicians, for example.

Modern politicians live with constant need to win the next election, which is on average, two or three years away, if they are not ambushed out of government by their own before election day. However, parties that have better intrinsic values take office to decide on policies which may not produce results for ten years or more. Lets hope our politicians are adopting this Oak Tree perspective.

Most religions believe in life after death of some sort. Christianity believes in life after death. Maybe, it is the Christian way and message to live and make decisions now, so that others may benefit later …. So that there is life, after your life is gone, there is life – others’ lives after your death.

Imagination is power, as the saying goes … but I don’t fully agree with that statement –

I say –

“Knowledge is potential power. Applied knowledge is power’

… so try and imagine planting your Oak tree or trees today that represent your decisions in all areas of your life … and feel great about it. Not only just because it feels right for you, now but it is the right thing to do for your future generations.

Plant your Oak Tree, today!

Until next time …

 

Cheers & Ahoy!!

 

The old Cap’n Viking Pirate … & making decision with the long-term view in mind

Release the Hulk in you .. when appropriate

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Find your A-Team.

Retired Ex-Australian Wallaby & Waratahs Champion Captain & Leader - Phil Waugh. Setting his own standards of excellence in all areas of his life, following my framework. A champion such as Phil is celebrated because we recognize that he has overcome personal ambition through sacrifice and dedication to higher principles - higher standards. Great leaders & sportsmen and women like Phil, can awaken awareness of the principle of higher standards that rests within the heart of every man and woman. Awaken yours today!

Retired Ex-Australian Wallaby & Waratahs Champion Captain & Leader – Phil Waugh.
Setting his own standards of excellence in all areas of his life, following my framework.
A champion such as Phil is celebrated because we recognize that he has overcome personal ambition through sacrifice and dedication to higher principles – higher standards.
Great leaders & sportsmen and women like Phil, can awaken awareness of the principle of higher standards that rests within the heart of every man and woman.
Awaken yours today!

With regards to one area of my life, I’ve set myself an almost impossible task as of yesterday: keep all my future blogs to less than 500 words. Now, most of you would know that I can elaborate on almost any point in a blog, just to get my ‘message’ across. One of my 2014 goals was to say more, with less.

To express a certain belief of mine in a “little muscle nugget” for you to digest with the myriad of other information you receive in this information age, as you go about your day. I must admit I haven’t been as successful at achieving this goal as I had originally hoped. It is, however, a great privilege to be allowed to share my personal beliefs with everyone who dares to read what I write.

I try to express my thoughts through the ‘ups and downs’ in my life and try to look for the meaning and the moral in those happenings. Sometimes I try to look too hard and notice more than just one message, more than one meaning in that one blog. The reflections are just that – just reflections. Reflections on the life that has just happened and as I see it happening around me. Through my eyes and sometimes through others’ eyes. Here, you see, is where it gets interesting.

You see, these reflections carry no authority, they may well be heretical and they are not meant to tell others ‘how to think’. However, if they encourage and tempt readers to do their own thinking about certain aspects of life, of their life, so far, I will be content. It reflects a little bit about me each time and the way my beliefs about life and the meaning of life came to be shaped, as Homer Simpson would say “ so far!”. Well, there you go, there’s 270 words so far …. I guess, I am going to fail at my word count goal in this blog. I might as well fail BIG!! (refer to my earlier blog on “learning to love the F word more”) Here we go …

Blog starts here:

Most of you would have watched a few episodes of ‘The A_Team” in the 80s, with “Mr T” as one of the characters. I loved that TV show. But it made me think about what they had that was so special: it was entertaining tv – yes, but they had something else, they were a team and each person was an integral part of the jig-saw puzzle. Each fit perfectly to create the final product. Fantastic stuff! That is the topic today and your search for your “A-Team”.

“No man is an island”, I heard someone say once. As each day passes, I believe it increasingly. I can add that no man can attribute his/her success to himself alone. No man can truly say that he did it on ‘his own’. There would have been someone, somewhere or people that would have helped him progress towards his/her goal of success.

I also love noticing how champion football/basketball/soccer teams are put together. How each player has an integral role to play. Each player is selected for a certain bundle of talents that the coach sees ‘fits’ perfectly in to the team to achieve the desired results on the field of play. Of the competition. Sometimes they win. Sometimes they lose. Sometimes they have to lose, to ultimately win. The best coaches understand this very well.

This is the ‘essence’ of what it means to be part of a team’.

You see it in organisations, particularly successful large organizations or political parties. No one man can say that he alone can run a sporting team, political party or organization. Yes, as the CEO or head coach, he or she can have a huge influence but it has to be a “Team THAT WORKS”.

I believe it simply is not enough for each person to “WORK AS A TEAM”.

The question I have always asked myself is HOW GOOD the person is at running the team or political party or organization. Take the United States of America and its Leader – Barack Obama, for example or the current Presidential candidates like Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush. They would all have to have a great team to support their leader, their party and their goals.

Executing an exercise for maximum benefit and minimal risk takes a lot of practise, ideally under an experienced, watchful eye.  Remember: practise does not make perfect. Perfect practise makes perfect.

Executing an exercise for maximum benefit and minimal risk takes a lot of practise, ideally under an experienced, watchful eye.
Remember: practise does not make perfect. Perfect practise makes perfect.

 

Each person would be carefully selected for their unique skills. The most important thing, I believe would have to be the skill or art of PICKING the RIGHT PERSON for the job. The right jig-saw piece. This is not easy. This is where the true value is. This is the hallmark of any great Leader: Picking a “Team that works”. Not just slapping people in to a group and hoping they would work.

Teams need people of all sorts and types and talents. All shapes and sizes.

A problem for most leaders is then simple: trying to choose a team. For the rest of us, though, there is hope. It is fantastic news! I mean, it means that our individual differences, our different skill-set, no matter what they are or how weird it is, they may be an Asset – just what “a team” NEEDS. A team out there somewhere. A team that you need to find. A team that needs to find you and your skills.

So, if you’re not already part of a team, don’t lose hope. If you’re not already part of a team, don’t give up.

Persevere!

Yes, I know, some people are lucky and find a team early in their lives, but some don’t find their team, until very late in life. If you haven’t yet, don’t give up.

Persevere, I say.

There is a high chance there is a team out there, somewhere, sometime, where your unique personality, your unique talents, your unique skill-set … your unique YOU, could help.

My daughter has many beliefs so far in her young life. She appears to know one very clearly now and that is: to never, ever, ever, ever … GIVE UP! So, my friend, do the same.

Never give up. Never give up on the most important person in the world to you: YOU. Why? Because, that team that you’re the ‘right fit for (like a jigsaw puzzle piece) may just be the team that would bring you the success you’ve been searching for (whatever definition of the word ‘success’ you would like it to be).

Tip: increase your awareness in self and be patient.

Word count of the actual blog: approx. 1200. Failed by 600 words or so. An improvement on my last blog. Success for me today. I love it! I WILL succeed through failure. So should you.

Best of luck!

Until next time …..

Brad improving his muscle control through a traditional body-building pose: double-biceps pose.  I believe it adds to muscle growth. It assists him in realising his body re-engineering goals.

Brad improving his muscle control through a traditional body-building pose: double-biceps pose.
I believe it adds to muscle growth. It assists him in realising his body re-engineering goals.

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