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MARRIAGE: The ULTIMATE TEAMWORK.

The 💝alentine tribe (minus our dog 🐶 – Mr Fuzzy/Fussy cuddles

Marriage is Teamwork.

No matter what a husband or wife happens to be or do, MARRIAGE IS TEAMWORK.

From my experience of being married for almost twenty years now and also from learning from other peoples’ experiences, marriage is a great example of ULTIMATE TEAMWORK.

I would go further to say that, given the high rates of divorce, marriages that last are not just because of teamwork but they have teamwork because they are a TEAM THAT WORKS.

Marriage is not about the hope of WORKING AS A TEAM, it is about two people WHO COME TOGETHER… & FIT … like 6 fits into 9, to make “69”.

Family.

God is an Amazing God.

God is an amazing God.

God gives many things.

God does not give individual gifts 🎁 to frustrate a marriage. No. God gives us unique gifts to ENHANCE the marriage. God does not lead two people into a marriage to see “sparks fly”, pulling a husband & wife in opposite directions.

No… God, leads them into marriage to blend and maximise their strengths, their usefulness.

Whenever this happens in my relationship with my wife, I pray to God for his help…. To give me the strength, courage & wisdom to make good decisions.

This is where our faith in God helps us during turbulent times in the marriage. There are many forces (internal and external) that work hard to tear a marriage apart.

If you believe in your marriage & what it represents is important to you, ask for God’s guidance and work hard to keep your marriage .

My beautiful wife of almost 20 years now. My love for this human being keeps increasing every single day.

The most difficult Act of Art of all.

As I see it, much of the problems & tension that occur in marriages comes from the INABILITY to BALANCE the ACT of GIVING to your spouse /other while retaining a SENSE OF SELF.

Mastering this balance, i believe is the most difficult ACT OF ART of ALL in life. I am still trying to master this after almost 2 decades.

In other words, the tension comes from grasping or holding onto what we consider our INDIVIDUALITY. I believe no matter what our gifts, talents or personalities… when they are given To god.

With strong belief in God, he will work & blend it all out and provide balance, because that is just what God will do.

No other team that you are a part of in life – business, sport, religion, politics etc … will ever be as IMPORTANT or benefit & challenge you like a successful marriage.

It takes WORK… a lot of real hard work. It is the complete & ULTIMATE example of TEAMWORK in life.

With God (part of the team, too).

Here’s a few questions for you:

1. Has there been a time when you put one of your individual goals “on hold “ so your spouse could pursue a dream?

2. Was the eventual outcome positive for you?

Until next time …

Yours in care, compassion & trust,

P.

Here we are … my beautiful wife and I. at a dinner party.
Loving & love in the Family provides key input for Balance.
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White Lies & Black Lies.

White & Black Lies should be minimised in families.

Withholding Truth

G’day & Bula & good morning/evening to YOU wherever YOU are in this beautiful planet 🌏!

I was thinking 🤔 about life, as I usually do & the concept of “truth” in particular and lies as well as they seem to be two sides of the same coin.

Lying 🤥, we all do it and have done it over the course of our lives so far.

We lie to others & we lie to ourselves. I guess we could split lies up in to two main types:

1. White lies

2. Black lies.

The 💝alentine tribe (minus our dog 🐶 – Mr Fuzzy/Fussy cuddles. As parents we try to be as truthful to our children.

White Lies & Black Lies.

A black Lie, as I see it, could be defined as a statement we make we know is false. A white lie is a statement that we make that is not in itself false but that leaves out a significant part of the truth.

I think white lies can often be more destructive than black-lying. Think 💭 about it, we all do it almost every single day of our lives , as we consider white-lying more socially acceptable in many of our relationships because we “don’t want to hurt people’s feelings.”

Yet, people complain that their social relationships are generally superficial. Is this the right thing to teach our kids – that, as parents, part of being loving is feeding them heaps of white lies?

Is it right and truly beneficial for the children to not be told the cold truths about matters of life? Should parents continue (& I see this happening every day and have witnessed in many families over the last 3 decades of keen interest) “white-lying?”

So, parents tell each other everything but feed their children white lies. For example, that they fought with each other the night before about their relationship, or that their dad resents their grandparents for their manipulativeness & lack of caring over the years or that mum has a medical problem.

Rational behind white lies is – a loving desire to protect & shield their children from unnecessary worries.

The thing is , the children will know anyway.

Her heart ❤️ (& his) belongs to me … for now.

Protection or deprivation?

The reason to protect the child/children is, at best, a genuine form of misguided love 💕. Protected from what?

Is it really helping & protecting the child/children? Or is it detrimental? I think it would be more the latter.

White-lying is not protection but deprivation!

Children are deprived of many things –

⁃ knowledge about the situation

⁃ Their parents

⁃ Their grandparents

⁃ Life

⁃ People in general

So, ultimately, it comes down to what “version of the truth” are we willing to share with the world?

Can you see “me” in my son? Can you see you in your son?

Is Love the answer … is it Discipline with Discipline?

It also comes down to love and how we define love for ourselves. To tell white lies, do we love more than not telling white lies?

How do you define “love?”

This is a hard one ☝️ as love 💗 is just too large, too deep even, in my opinion, to be truly understood or measured or limited within a framework of words.

The bible tries to explain what love is but I don’t think 🤔 or at least I haven’t come across a truly satisfactory definition of love.

I know what love is not!

Contrary to what we’ve been told , love is not a feeling.(I will elaborate on what l mean another time)

I think love comes down to the desire to nurture one’s own or another’s spiritual growth. And this takes discipline, lots of discipline.

Discipline that needs to be constantly disciplined.

Discipline with discipline!

What do you think? Food for thought 💭.

End of the week … hang in there and continue moving forward in the roles you play in your life.

Gotta go now … have a great day!

Cheers 🍻!

– GURU Paul 💝alentine –

My gritty Viking pirate 🏴‍☠️ princess 👸
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Businesses of the future need leaders who are Entrepreneurs of Imagination. Physique Artists are Champions at this. This is how:

I AM.
I an Entrepreneur of IMAGINATION.
Through Mastery of Self, I am able to be an Agent of Creative Destruction to allow the release of new ideas … new thinking … and a new Meaning.
Meaning is the NEW MONEY.

Building a Physique of high quality dense muscle that is balanced & symmetrical on a human being takes an high understanding of striking a balance between control and creativity.

Successful Businesses now and in near future need leaders who understand HOW to strike a balance between control and creativity in organisations…

.. if they are to survive and thrive. Business Leaders need to think like Physique Artists ... like designers.

”Businesspeople don’t need to understand designers better. They need to be designers.”

– ROGER MARTIN, dean, Rottman School of Management

Here’s how the principles of physique artistry can be used in the Corporate World.

Believe.
Embrace Creative Destruction.
You never know what you’ll discover.

What it takes.

My sport found me at 19.

It was and is the hardest sport an individual can participate in. The sport name is : bodybuilding. The great Arnold Schwarzenegger is the most famous bodybuilding champion and has done and still contributes to the wellness & fitness industry. 

I like to refer to it as : Physique Artistry.

To master the “Art” you need to master – YOU.

It is the fusion of science 🧬/engineering and art(design/creativity). 

I got to the Top of my sport. Representing Australia to two consecutive world 🌎 NATURAL bodybuilding championships in New York, USA.

It was a 10 year goal (To stand on the world stage against the best in the world). I developed and managed the best execution of a 10 year plan. I achieved (& exceeded) the goal in that time by making the Finals (Top 5) in both championships.

It took /takes a lot to build muscle.

It took much much more knowledge to Sculpt a “physique “. One that leans towards “ better balance & symmetry “. Consistency, focus, persistence and belief got tested in the journey towards my best. It took learning to  listen” to the myriad of feedback signals the human body and mind Gives you, positive or negative feedback. Being “in-tune” with yourself is key 🔑 to success in this sport.

Sticking to the plan and making changes based on feedback signals ⚒️ I have (the mirror, the scale, energy levels …) where and when necessary to changing circumstances was part and parcel of the journey. It was science 🧬 & art constantly fused together. It is one of the reasons I love the art/science of physique artistry – it feeds in to my thirst for learning.

I know “what it takes.” A big part of this is the “connection “ I have with me … and my enhanced listening /detective abilities of the myriads of feedback my body gives me.

One of my Top 3 Physique Artists of all time.
Balanced & symmetrical ==> beauty.
And when you CREATE your beauty my friend is …
When you discover your TRUTH.

Tomorrow’s Organisations need to create a culture that supports feedback and embrace creativity and “Imagine BETTER”.

In creating a physique that is worthy to represent your country against the best in the world, you need a very good understanding of balancing Control and creativity.

As a physique artist I am constantly tearing down the old me … designing the new me, from within… I have to continue to let my imagination and heart lead me. I am constantly trying to IMAGINE BETTER.

That is what business leaders of tomorrow need to be: Entrepreneurs of Imagination. By testing and exceeding our own personal limits, can society’s horizons be expanded and enriched. That is the way all civilisations innovated .

As Fredrich Nietzsche (1844 – 1900) said –

whoever must be a creator always annihilates”

As a Champion Physique Artist I need to not only continually monitor what can be controlled in the “micro-environment “ but also the macro-environment. All this is balanced with the creativity and freedom needed to “push-boundaries “ in training and nutrition.

Excelling in physique artistry requires you to continuously assess actions and evaluate feedback from your body. You need to embrace feedback, whether it is negative or positive and constantly ‘tweak’ existing or create new processesses to and environment that is very dynamic and rapidly changing.

And what is ‘creativity?”. The artist, Rassouli said –

“Creativity is the manifestation of the playful spirit of a creator having fun.”

As a Physique Artist, I see the whole body as one but I see it as having many moving parts. An important task I have to do is ensure that all the parts ‘flow together’ and are in ‘harmony’ in an ever-changing environment. Depending on feedback received and assessed, I will be able to have the courage to try new things or ‘new ways’ and still achieve the desired results or better. and ‘getting it right’.

In organisations, there are lot of different parts/divisions and they need to all work together, in relative harmony and effective communication in these relationships, between these divisions is the key.

All good and effective feedback has a strong 💪 foundation of strong 💪 relationships. Feedback should come from someone the recipient respects and has built a good relationship with.

In my experience, for feedback to be most effective, however, it helps that the  parties involved need to see the persons as “people” first and foremost instead of titles & roles. This allows people to let their guard down and feel comfortable to take risks and fail. It is the ‘fear of failure’ that stalls new ways of thinking about doing things and this is emphasised by some organisations in bad performance reviews.

Freedom to be vulnerable is a contributor to creative thinking. This freedom is not encouraged by many organisations. Those that do encourage this freedom and build processes and systems that encourage and foster creative-thinking idea formulation will increase their chances of remaining competitive in fast-changing, increasingly uncertain world we live in.

We need business leaders to encourage “Creative Destruction “ … and Entrepreneurs are essential to economic growth because only they disrupt the status quo to challenge conventional business models.

Just like I have done for many many years as a physique artist and an entrepreneur.

These are Key ingredients for successful creative thinking & innovative behaviour.

Keep your dreams alive .
Snd if you’re going to dream … Dream BIG.
You serve no one by being and thinking small.
Think BIG!

Get your hands dirty, to find the diamond.

A key part of effective organisations is having well-oiled processes that are aligned with the overall mission of the organisation (make profit, increase market share etc). This is the same for building a Physique that is beautiful, that is, ‘flows’ with balance and symmetry. A physique that exudes great design.

There are many Systems for feedback that I  use with physique artistry. One of my key systems, I call it the “3-step to showing my diamond 💎 to the world“:

  1. mining – how I manage (mix n match all the variables – how much cardio, how long, what type? Best food combos ? ). Organisations  need a process of how employees are to voice grievance with others . Maybe write down “why”. Here’s where you “get your hands dirty “.

2. Re-fining : making sure that I make the right substitutions at the right time (from the larger goal … to monthly and weekly and daily goals). This is where the bulk of my time is Spent – in the beginning when working through the process of setting goals.

Organisations need to separate the “facts”‘from emotions and “he says” – “she says”. Leaders and participants in this “feedback “ process, needs to Spend time here. Refining.

3. Defining: once my goals (micro & macro employees should have the ability to re-write what they wrote initially after learning about all the other information in the two stages. This is a stage of reflection. How can you do or say things better?

Processes of feedback could be done this way, for example. 

In their book, “Thanks for the Feedback”, Douglas Stone & Sheila Heen stressed that feedback is about the quality of relationship, as I mentioned earlier –

Feedback isn’t about the quality of the advice or the accuracy of the assessments. It’s about the quality of the relationships, your willingness to show that you don’t have it all figured out, and to bring your whole self – flaws, uncertainties, and all – into the relationship.”

It is the formula I use to project manage my building of muscle &  the design & creativity I apply. I need to keep introducing these principles to encourage muscle growth and burn fat.

I love this quote. Increasing your awareness is parameters to having clarity and success in your life.
SEARCH. Become the BEST ‘searcher’ you can be.
One day .. you may find ALL the answers you’re seeking for YOUR questions to give ‘meaning’ to your life.
A wonderful book says –
“Seek and ye shall find;
Ask and ye shall receive.”
True.

Feedback: Food for Champions. Organisations to allow “feedback” to be seen as “Opportunities to learn”.

That is exactly the approach I take when listening to the various feedback loops my body gives me – the micro and the macro: I always see it as an opportunity to learn.

I see all feedback as “food for champions “.

Personally, I’ve Always had a “feedback – seeking behaviour. I subsequently found out that it is a self-regulatory trait in learning & orientation. Probably explain why I’ve always believed in learning from someone who “has skin in the game” in every key area in life.

To me, it is part of a “Champion mindset “. Being eternally curious  like me, demonstrates an awareness of feeling psychologically safe enough to proactively seek out feedback with the intention for self-improvement.

Organisations and its leaders need to emphasise a “learning environment “ instead of one based on fear.  Evolving a “Culture of Learning’ is key to success and emphasising the importance of having a ‘growth mind-set’. Having a growth mind-set is part-and-parcel of being a great Physique Artist. 

But, bear in mind there are no perfect learning people, even if you have a close-to-perfect feedback system like the human body.

To dig deep, you have to dig deep. To find “YOU “, you need to Mine … for your diamond 💎…Re-fine YOU… and then Define … your BEST YOU.

Feedback is essential to enhancing effectiveness and creativity but the feedback process needs good design. 

There are no perfect feedback systems. All business people need to be good designers.

Most adults are wired to fear failure. It’s drummed into people by our archaic outdated education systems.

Organisations suffer because staff are afraid to take risks as there isn’t an environment that encourages this. In physique artistry, it’s important to feel the freedom to take “calculated risks” on key aspects that will have a dramatic effect on your final outcome.

just like I need to create the right environment, an environment that encourages an anabolic response from muscles 💪, an organisation needs to create a culture where failing is not the focus.

Businesses will need leadership has the ability and fortitude to experiment with novel combinations. This inspiration-centred approach will inevitably have many mistakes but the journey from innovation to commodity is so swift that individuals and organisations must be relentless if they are to remain competitive.

For a organisation, The question is what should you do with the failure? What can we learn from it? A great physique artist learns to have a strong 💪 “connection “ with his self … it is a strong relationship, one based on experimentation, process and reflection and assessment (using the mirror is a key component – the mirror does not lie).

As Trevor Baylis, INVENTOR said –

“The key to success is to risk thinking unconventional thoughts. Convention is the enemy of progress. As long as you’ve got slightly more perception than the average wrapped loaf, your could invent something.”

That is, what organisations need to do through the feedback process : to focus on the human connection… the relationship and building that “emotional labour”. Developing and going through the process of reflection and “looking in the mirror “ and actually asking the RIGHT questions:

  • why do they do the things the say they do?
  • Is there a better way?
  • What are their intrinsic values ?
  • Are these values tied to their purpose
  • How are they giving value to their loca & global communities.

Most Innovation and inventions and breakthroughs come from reassembling existing ideas in new, creative ways.

I love Trees. Be like a Tree. Let go of old ways of doing things … like trees let go of their leaves … each season to allow for new fresh ones (ideas) to evolve.

Neurons that wire together, fire 🔥 together!!

The leaders of tomorrow’s successful organisations need to create and maintain an environment that fosters support for risk-taking and creativity.

This will lead to innovation.

The organisation needs to encourage vulnerable behaviour, openness…. this evolves from More trust, more care and more patience. And this should come from the top and filter down through all the levels of the organisation.

The culture is to be fuelled by a change of thinking … a re-wiring of the brain 🧠 to create a way of thinking that does not fear failure. And not just with words or “window-dressing “.  It should be authentic.

The environment should be one that fosters “Champion Feelings and Champion Thinking. An organisation that focuses on feedback being a learning experience and opportunity, like a good physique artist does with his self.

Lesrning to have Champion Feelings and Champion thinking is Something that all employees can learn to be better at. This is encouraged with feedback processes that is there to enhance learning. Organisations where employees are allowed to be themselves and be comfortable being vulnerable.

Build your bridge from where you are to … where you desire to be. A lot of times, it pays to get help from an experienced builder… who “walks the walk” ..& not all “just talk”


Mr Vulnerable, where are you … come out, come out … wherever you are!

In much of today’s modern society, allowing oneself to be vulnerable is not something that is encouraged. There are “pockets of this kind of behaviour “ here and there, but on the whole, It is frowned upon.

Men should never show weakness and vulnerability. It requires a lot of courage from employees (especially men). What is needed is undying support from leaders of the organisation.

As we know, learning can be painful (and i have learned many painful lessons lifting weights in the gym). The key thing is to allow yourself to learn to be better at “being comfortable being uncomfortable “.

Learning, like muscle growth, needs stimulation and involves  change snd adaptation. It is the process of adaptation that new muscle grows (.new exercise techniques to maximise growth). In businesses, change and adaptation happens when it wrestles with new ways of doing things and continually asking questions.

Questions that forces them to question the way they do things, Even what they think is “what’s best” or “correct “.

Here’s something I learned along the way to the Top of my sport of Physique Artistry:

“You have to be willing to be wrong! That is what leaders of tomorrow’s organisations should be focused on to foster environments that encourages more creativity.” And why is Creativity important? If you’re not exercising creativity, you may as well be dead.

“To cease to think creatively is only slightly different from ceasing to live.”  (Benjamin Franklin)

Less fear, happier employees, more creativity. Better productivity? Better profits? Is there a strong correlation, at least?

I know there is.

But, here is the thing: you don’t have to believe me. Matter of fact, you don’t and should not believe anybody- professional or not. Don’t even seek their opinion, forecast or recommendation. Just ask them to show you what they have or don’t have (in their trophy cabinet) or portfolio.

And what do I have in my cabinet? I’ve got – not one, but two world championships Trophies 🏆 & medals 🏅. I have been a business advisor to many businesses for about 10 years, as a former Accountant.

I have designed and I have run (& still) several successful businesses in my portfolio.

So… here is my question to you: HOW CAN I HELP YOU … help you, BETTER.

Cheers

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

 

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Living BETTER, not just longer.

I love this quote. Increasing your awareness is parameters to having clarity and success in your life.

My LIFE LIST: to live Better, not just longer.

You may begin with part of my Life list … one that helps lower my overall Life Risk. Taking the necessary actions and giving me peace of mind that my a life Risk is lowered to an acceptable level. Having peace of mind knowing that a healthy heart 💔 & healthy lungs stave off many diseases.

Despite the prevalence of public outcry on the aged – that much has been  focused on the vast numbers of baby boomers unprecedented toll on our health care system, mainly in the form of dementia & other costly Heath problems…

One of the KEY factors to reducing your LIFE RISK is to work on actively working on nourishment for the body, heart & mind. On helping YOU. This will directly lower the toll on the health care system.

Do you dance?
Do you sing?
Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moon-light?

Living BETTER, not just LONGER.

I still have faith that more and more people will come to recognise how their lifestyle choices can improve their health span — living BETTER, not just LONGER.

People will, at the very least stay active. And when they realise that exercise is as important for the brain 🧠 as it is for the heart 💓, more and more people will commit to it. I’ve said snd seen that the best exercise for the brain is – exercise.

I’ve got a framework I’ve developed & used to help people over the last 30 years – help themselves, find their best selves.

My fridge magnet.
Have courage. Continue to fuel your courage … every single day of your life.

My “3-legged stool “ : a framework that works.

I have a tried and tested framework to life/body/mind re-engineering. A framework that works. 

A framework that as a former client of mine (who worked closely with the former President of the United States 🇺🇸, Barrack Obama) Scott simply said –

“your framework is Genius, Paul! It’s simplicity masks it’s complexity.”

“thank you”, I said … it is built on the shoulders of giant thinkers before me. One thing I’ve learned from helping thousands of people over the last 3 decades is : Everyone is different.

It is called the “3-legged stool to self re-engineering “. The first and the leg 🦵I would like to speak about here represents:

Life is NOT about Time Management, it is about ENERGY MANAGEMENT. Learn to manage energy better by becoming a better conduit of energy, the better at life, you become.

The 1st Leg: EXERCISE.

I’ve always asked everyone I have ever helped (with over 84% success rate in them achieving their goals or better) to –

*Ask yourself : HOW WELL are you doing the exercise & are your exercises are SUFFICIENT and APPROPRIATE and most importantly, aligned with your goals?*

I should stress that the inclusion of Weight-training in your exercise routine. I believe that muscle is the  magic potion of youth.  You should also change your paradigm of thinking about body weight. To me, it’s body shape, not body weight, that matters.

After almost 30 years of helping people in & around my lab 🔬 (the gym), Here’s a few reasons I believe the 1st Leg: EXERCISE- keeps you going (& you should keep going until you’re 6 feet under) ….

1) It strengthens the cardiovascular system . Main benefit in the long term is there is less strain on the vessels in the body and the brain 🧠. Basically,  the organs and cells don’t have to work very hard.

2) Better management of Energy (glucose is more efficiently & effectively used). The Main benefit here as I see it – exercise increases levels of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), which regulates insulin in the body & improves synaptic plasticity in the brain 🧠. 

3) Reduces risk of obesity. The Main benefit in long-term: not being overweight halves the chances of developing dementia. So, countless studies show that managing your weight, through smart lifestyle choices is Vital to the health of your brain in the long-term.

4) Raises your tolerance to stress. Exercise makes protein that slows down the ageing process & life stress.

5) Exercise makes you feel good (lifts your mood). Studies show many things – more neurotransmitters, neurotrophins, & connectivity shore up the part of the brain 🧠 (hippocampus) against the atrophy associated with depression & anxiety.

6) Boosts the immune system. Exercise brings “balance & symmetry “ back into your immune system. This helps stop inflammation & combat disease.

7) Compacts your bones 🦴. It’s never too late to start doing weight training to off-set the on-set of osteoporosis as you age. Largely a preventable disease. Note: by age 60, women lose 30% of their bone mass unless they do weight training & take calcium.

8) Encourages neuroplasticity. The best way to lower the risk of brain 🧠 diseases is to build a strong 💪 brain 🧠.

 Now, you could probably add more benefits to this list, even write book on its benefits.

Courage is the springboard to success in anything worthwhile.

The RIGHT ENVIRONMENT. 

People have asked me about what the secret is to having a “6-pack”. I tell them that there is no “secret”. The key is to increase your awareness of self and creating the “Right Environment “ for you.

How do you know and what do you do to create this “right environment ?” There are a number of ways – by yourself, getting help from someone/something that knows how to diagnose and design solution that is tailored to you.

the latter solution is what I have been doing to help people “build their bridges “ from where they are to where they desire to be. You could say that I have been an “Life-body-mind Re-engineer “ for at least 2 decades.

Become increasingly aware … take actions (sufficient & appropriate) and adapt accordingly.
My Triple A to self – development.

What are the other two legs and the seat that make up the “3-legged stool” ?

If you’re in your fourtees and above, Ask yourself if you would like to lower your Life Risk? Ask yourself If you would like to slow down that ageing rate? Ask yourself if you deserve more love for you? Ask yourself if you can allow you to be more vulnerable and LOVE YOU, more? Ask yourself if you value life and living and if you have the courage to HELP YOU, manage your energy, better. To manage your life, better.

Ask yourself if YOU deserve more respect? More respect from YOU? Ask yourself If you don’t only deserve to die with dignity but more importantly, you deserve to live with dignity?

All elements of my “3-legged stop” is vital for your success in building that bridge from where you are to where you would like to be. If you would like to know more about how I can help YOU, help yourself, achieve something you care about: you living better, not just longer …

contact me. Don’t let the life seep out of you … create the right environment for you to continuously infuse You with VITALITYthe “essence of life” 

Also, If you would like a copy of my FREE e-book: “A little book of Vitality: 27 keys to a better life”, just email/contact me.

Until next time,

P.

Who are “YOU?”
Learn to love ❤️ YOU, first.

 

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Weight Loss can be very hard for some.

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

The cost to get to below 4 per-cent.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Genetics: a gift and a curse.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some Genetic Differences.

Have you wondered what some of those genetic differences are?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not what you wanted at all, right?

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

Evolution favours Survival.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Work WITH your body, not AGAINST it.

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

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

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

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

So, what are the lessons here?

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

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

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

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

Until next time,

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

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

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

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Care/Neglectful & how it relates to Building bigger muscles & relationships

Balance & symmetry brings you closer to harmony … closer to infinity


Balance & symmetry 

Here’s how weight training for muscles 💪 with balance @ symmetry as a goal can be likened to a solid caring relationship.

When you train with care, your sets are sound (theoretically, principally & logically), unambiguous & smooth.

I have always believed that the care you take with what you do (in & out of the gym) is a virtue of every great Bodybuilding champion & leader. This also applies to anyone who is passionate about something or someone. 

Do everything with care. Don’t hurt others & most importantly, don’t hurt YOU

Purpose ambiguous or uncertain 

In contrast, neglectful training is carelessly made: your sets are awkwardly executed; your choice of exercise is dodgy & your number of repetitions of each set is awry; your logic faulty or difficult to understand; your purpose ambiguous or uncertain.

This leads to countless unnecessary premature injuries. And in the relationship side, people get hurt and you get hurt too by saying and doing things with less care and compassion that they needed. 

I say, “unnecessary” because I have stayed INJURY-FREE since I began training with heavy weights in the gym.

“How?! You may wonder. Well, it is not because of ignorance. No, there are many key factors .. one is simply learning from all the greats that have come before me … learning from other people’s experiences and being humble enough to be more coachable.

The latter (neglectful training) is what I observe with the majority of trainees in the gym.

Learn to be a better builder.. to build your bridge from where you are to where you desire to be. It can only be done with care, trust & compassion. Three things that this world needs more of

That kind of care

The moral: take THAT kind of care, even though you’ll think you don’t have to (especially if you want that relationship with that special someone to last). And if you’re not handicapped, take extra care.

I’ve always believed that everyone should keep these two primary goals in mind when trying to build good quality muscles 💪

  1. control
  2. Feel

It takes courage 

It takes courage to be patient, to forego instant gratification for long-term benefit. It takes courage to do the Right Thing. It takes courage to do what the majority are not doing. It takes courage to Lead.

As a mentor told me –

You cannot be truthful if you are not courageous. You cannot be loving if you are not courageous. You cannot be trusting if you are not courageous. You cannot inquire into reality if you are not courageous. Hence courage comes first and everything else follows.”

Our ability to string a few sets of exercises together without difficulty may blind you to the many other ways of stringing them together …

BETTER.

Your relationships you value most can be better . You deserve better.

Try the “care philosophy “ next time If you’re not already doing it.

Get in touch with me in 3 months and let me know how it went for you.

Thank you

yours in iron, mind and muscles 💪,

Paul e 💝alentine

A mentor told me once – “no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
Me & Glenn. One ☝️ or the hundreds of members of my Family Gym I once owned & managed for 7 years. They came (& drove past up to 15 other gyms in some cases…  because I cared. I gave them “results with care” (my slogan)

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

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The Gym, Reps, Sets, Synergy and Workouts.

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

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

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

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

The Gym

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The gym is, maybe, the TRUEST REALISM.

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

 The workout.

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

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

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

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

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

The Sets

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

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

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

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

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

It is the point, the ‘dot.’

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

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

I then derive meaning.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reps

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

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

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

Some people call this meditation.

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

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

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

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

Feel the essence, I say!

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

Synergy

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

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

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

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

What you get is synergy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Until next time,

Captain Viking Pirate Vaughn-Van-Valentine (VvV)

Collage of some bodybuilding poses

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t believe 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.

The thing is you should strive to not believe everything you read, see and hear. Manage your funnel better.

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”.

 

Don’t think. Do!

So, don’t think. Do!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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:

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

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

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

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

Live, really live.

Until next time,

 

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.

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

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a better life, adaptation, awareness, balance, basics of training, beauty, Body shape, Energy, Fitness, fundamentals, habit, habits, injury, long-term perspective, muscle building, safe training, strengths, symmetry, training, workout, you

My Top 5.5 Tips to avoiding injury.

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

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

Tip # 1: Aim for balance & symmetry.

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

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.

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.

What I mean by this is that you need to increase your awareness of the exercises and work on improving your risk assessment of the exercise relating to:

  • 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.

Tip # 5.5: Apply correct training principles.

I’ve always believed that building muscle is like LIFE. It relies on two principles:

  1. Simplicity
  2. Continuity

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 approach to 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.

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.

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ego, grip, habit, muscle building, training

What grip should you use when you train?

Learning how to properly execute an exercise with good form throughout the full range of motion is vital to muscle building and longevity.  Vv

Learning how to properly execute an exercise with good form throughout the full range of motion is vital to muscle building and longevity.
Vv

I was asked by a host of a function I attended recently about what grip was best to get the most out of your barbell bench presses?

Over the last two decades I have seen many variations of grips. I believe it is a matter of individual preference and your level of experience of training in the gym. If you’re a beginning gym enthusiast, it would be best if you used the ‘thumb grip’, meaning your thumb goes around the bar in the opposite direction to your other fingers, forming a secure grip.

If, however, you are more experienced and advanced, then using the ‘thumbless grip’ may be something for you. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term ‘thumbless grip’, it simply means that you move your thumb to the same side of the bar as your fingers.

If you had to assess the risk of the two types of grips, the ‘thumbless grip’ is a much higher risk to you and possibly others close to your training station. I know of a man who injured his sternum doing a bench press using this grip. The bar slipped off his hands during a set of bench pressing and fell on his chest. Very painful, not recommended.

However, this risk is lowered if the bench press is performed using a “Smith Machine” or similar. The thumb grip is safer.

It can also be argued that it is more productive to NOT use a thumbless grip when performing an exercise like the bench press. However, how productive you are depends on many other variables and in the list of key variables influencing your productivity during your workouts, the grip you use would have to be quite far down that list.

So, to sum up, if you’re a beginner, DO NOT use a thumbless grip, especially if you do bench presses with free weights. Period! The seasoned campaigner can give it a try if you are using a smith machine to mitigate the risk of the bar falling on you or have a good training partner.

But, if you are in it for the long haul, the use of a ‘thumbless grip’ isn’t going to give you much more weight doing your presses. I think your focus should be on more important things like ‘feel’ and ‘control’.

Two principles of building muscle: 1) Simplicity and 2} Continuity. Here, Ex-Australian Rugby legend Phil Waugh using a 'thumbless grip' in a Smith Machine to do Bench Presses. Become aware; Apply action: Adapt accordingly.

Two principles of building muscle: 1) Simplicity and 2} Continuity.
Here, Ex-Australian Rugby legend Phil Waugh using a ‘thumbless grip’ in a Smith Machine to do Bench Presses.
Become aware; Apply action: Adapt accordingly.

I tell everyone that if you’re not feeling the muscle and not in control of weight, then you’re not building muscle, you’re just building ego. Learn to leave your ego at the door if you’re serious about building good quality muscle and re-shaping the body you see in the mirror towards the one you imagine yourself to be.

Focus on doing each repetition of each exercise properly. Do this repeatedly as best as you can. This includes doing the last rep as good as your first. Not some of the time, – all of the time!

Feel the ‘essence’ of the exercise ( … and it ain’t vanilla!).

When you feel you’ve mastered this and the BASICS, then, and only then, should you worry about what grip to use when you train.

Understanding the basics and the principles of simplicity and continuity are more important keys to your success in training.

All the best!

Until next time,

_MG_9779-1

~~Life & wellness COACH~~

~~Life & wellness COACH~~

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