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The QUALITY of your Network is more important than your Quantity. Here’s why –

Who are ‘you?”

The Lifeblood of connecting 

Everyone wants to be rich. Right? Not you? Well, you’re special … 

Do you have a million dollars in cash laying around, what about a billion dollars? No, I didn’t think so, many don’t. Would be nice though, wouldn’t it?

What is ‘connecting’/networking” to you?

It would mean different things to different people. I’ve learned over the years that ‘good networking begins with the ability to start and carry on a good conversation.” We all have strengths and some people are better at ‘connecting’ than others. That is a strength of mine, has always been.

I don’t think anyone would get far in this world if you can’t make eye contact, act confidently, and engage in an intelligent conversation punctuated with give-and-take, back-and-forth dialogue. It begins with Trust, and the only word that describes trust, is, priceless. You can’t buy trust at any price but over time, with patience, you can earn that priceless trust. 

Here’s what I’ve learned over the years – if people you connect with, like you and they believe in you, then they will trust you, and if they trust you – then they may buy from you.

The lifeblood of connecting and the nurturing of relationships, stems from networking. Networking, to me, is your life skills and social skills combined with your business skills. Business pleasure done before and after regular work hours. …& during hours too (lunch meetings). 

There is life and happiness in sadness. Find it.

Good things come to those who have patience

To me, the ability to make conversation is an important part of nearly every relationship we have in our lives. The ability to engage in ‘small talk’ (have a listen to my tips in an early video), speaks volumes for you and leads to communication that deepens the relationship. 

So, “what you can do today?” you may be thinking

Here’s a place you could start from – try and perform one small act of kindness today without the expectation of getting something in return. Maybe pay for the coffee for the person who is standing in line behind you at the coffee shop? What can you do to brighten up someone’s day today?

In my experience, good things come to those who have patience and take consistent, persistent actions toward what they want or desire. They make committed decisions … decisions they ACT on. Just like what I’ve learned about building good Quality muscle with balance and symmetry. You need patience, above everything.

And do the right thing all the time, and respect will be yours. Believe in your heart that what you’re doing that the actions you’re taking is the best you can do – for yourself, first, and for others second. And always tell the truth. Here’s the thing about truth – no truth, no nothing. Full-stop!

I certainly understand the proliferation of social networking sites these days – they’re sprouting up everywhere. I also understand how it can help advance our careers (some of us) and help us meet like-minded individuals online.

But is it really good use of your time

I am very conscious of my time (just like many of you are) and I could see how a great deal of time spent on social networking sites can be unproductive and many times, online interactions are often superficial and unimportant. For me, I have a certain about of energy and I don’t like expelling it for less than life-affirming actions. I have seen that company mission statements mean nothing when the people they work for them are treated with disrespect. 

Let me ask you a few questions: are we really more connected today with all these technological gadgets and applications? In my mind, being ‘virtually’ connected and personally connected are two entirely different things. Sure, we need both in today’s world, but I would caution that the quality of your network is more important than your quantity. 

The jury is out on this one. Time will tell.

Believe in you. In what you have to offer to help people, help themselves achieve something they care about. Be persistent.

Reach out and touch someone

I’d rather have 200 ‘live’ people than 2000 “friends’ on Facebook.

Just like I approach adding and retaining QUALITY muscle, I retain ‘old school’ principles but add a ‘modern twist/flavour’ to muscle growth and sculpture. When it comes to networking and building quality connections in today’s high-tech world, you need to combine the new technology with the ‘old-school’ way of connecting. 

And how do you do this?”

Well, you can’t build muscle by thinking about or reading about it … you actually have to go and reach out and lift the weight and feel the muscle. Same for quality relationships, you need to go and ‘reach out’ and touch someone (I love that Noiseworks song “Reach out”). 

I’ve been in and around gym for almost 30 years now and have had over 30,000 + conversations and this is being conservative. I particularly had multiple conversations for 12 to 18 hour days, 7 days a week, with people of all ages and from all backgrounds in the seven years that I owned and managed my Family Gym. I probably have listened to more stories from individuals than the average person alive today has in the 100 year lifespan. 

I’ve offered my ears and shoulders to lean – on and cry on. I’ve wiped their tears, I’ve given them unsolicited hugs. I’ve offered good advice for free and I’ve made phone calls that many would not do. I’ve shared stories and made them laugh during their sad days and I’ve reminded them of the good times they had; I’ve driven to their homes and personally knocked on their doors to see if they were ok; they were pleasantly shocked and grateful for they weren’t in a very good place at that time; I’ve been the clown when I needed to be to infuse people with happiness and vitality … and also showing them that it’s ok not to take life and themselves too seriously all the time. 

Read that last paragraph again. 

I have mentioned ways in which I believe I worked very hard to be a source of comfort and strength and wisdom for the members of my Family Gym and others connected to my businesses. It was about building Quality Relationships, not superficial ones. What they were, are, what some people refer to as “random acts of kindness” (when no one is watching or awards given out) that you do, simply because you care about them. They nurture relationships and some develop in to quality and convey to others what it means to be a good friend. 

Like many things in life – like sex and chocolate and clothing … quality is better than quantity.

Do the Right thing, not some of the time .. but all the time.

Be an Active Listener

It is difficult to make connections but it is often more difficult to make important connections. The least understood element of connecting is that it’s a two way street. Yes, we always want to connect with someone else but the more important question is – do they want to connect with you?

What is your idea of being a ‘friend?” A Business/Life Mentor told me a long time ago that – 

Connecting is really all about being nice. Your friendliness is partly your ability to engage and your willingness to give Value first.” 

When you combine the attributes of niceness/friendliness with engagement and value, you will develop powerful connections that lead to RICH relationships. 

For some, the talking part of a relationship comes easy but there is another side of the equation in any relationship worth keeping and that is being a good listener. Do you think you’re a good listener? Staying engaged as an ‘active’ listener is very hard work because you need to stay focused and not let your mind wonder. I believe that as you become better at listening, you also improve your ability to win friends and influence others – and perhaps avoid a misunderstanding that can set relationships back years. 

I have seen this happen. Don’t let it happen to you. Focus on becoming a better listener, an Active Listener. 

I am a far better listener now than I ever was in my life, thanks in part, to my years of owning my own gym business. It’s easy to get complacent but I remind myself every now and then to be attentive when someone tells a long-winded story (like my 9 year old son … can he tell stories, must take after his Dad, ha ha ha!)

If you aim to be a top-notch connector or networker, it is essential that you become a more improved active listener.

If you don’t get what you want … learn why and seek another solution.

Powerful connection

The more people who are attracted to you, the MORE solid your connections you’ll make. Here’s a question – think about your most powerful connections right now. Make a list of four or five of them (Hopefully, you have that many)). Next, to each of them, write a sentence or two about how they have helped you, and how you would like them to continue to help you. Then, write a sentence or two about how you have helped them. 

Here’s an example of a powerful connection I have – Through my adding value to one member of my gym over six months, I was one connection away from the most Powerful Man in the world at one time – Mr Barack Obama. This man that came to me to help him, help himself be his best self was part of the President of the United State’s inner sanctum and advisory/support team. He was the best at what he did and was head-hunted by the Obama’s to help manage part of his 2nd term Presidential campaign because of the help he gave the Clinton’s prior to that. So, effectively, the value I gave to my client (and now friend) was (and still is) a very powerful connection to have, as it is only one connection to President Obama. 

Now, make a list of four or five people that you would love to meet because they could help your personal growth. Ask yourself, how can you give value, first. I have found that if you make yourself valuable, and memorable, people will desire to make you part of their network. Also, in my experience in helping people, help themselves over the last 3 decades, the important thing is just that: make sure you’re prepared to help someone else get better whether it is a one-to-one meeting or a networking event. 

The question you have to ask yourself is this: How can I help people, help themselves to achieve something they care about? That has been my mantra in helping people, ‘build their bridges’ over the last three decades. I’ve asked myself how can I make people better as a direct result of connecting with me? Now, this should be done with care. What I mean by this is that, you can use this strategy to connect with anyone, anywhere, and not just use it as a strategy to connect at a networking event.

Find your superpowers. Know your superpowers. Work to your superpowers (strengths)

Not everyone is a connection

I have learned that not everyone is a connection, and each person you meet is a valuable lesson in the art of connecting and networking. In my experience, when you begin to give value to the world, somehow the people you affect will find a way to tell you. Even if it takes a couple of years. I have experienced that many times over the years.  

We have been told that it’s ‘who you know that matters’. I don’t fully agree with this. I believe it’s ‘who knows you, that really matters’ in the long-term.

Realise this – the first stage of being liked and connected to is the person you see in the mirror when you look at it. As Dr Benjamin Spock said –

“Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.”

The person needs to be be loved, before he/she can give love. Then, give, first. Easier said than done some times, but to get what you want … you must give of yourself first – without measuring. 

Believe in yourself. Dig in and ‘get your hands dirt’ and become the person you aspire to be … a person of performance and ‘getting shit done!’

Sit back, thank God … and think to yourself ‘wow!”

Hope you found this helpful to you and your business,

 

Yours in iron, mind, heart & muscles,

Paul e Valentine

There is a Lion in you .. in every one of us. Find that Lion and overcome your fears … fears of rejection, fear of failure, fear of what others think of you. Believe in YOU.

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A Poem – Out of Love

Life: Connections upon connections. A continuous pathway to … nowhere.
Line Drawing – My Life: in frames
Your task: draw your life in frames.

 

A Poem – Out of Love

 

We held a family meeting at a restaurant in the big bright lights of the city,

Everyone hadn’t seen each other for a while and there was a lot of pity.

The shy waitress approached and tentatively asked if we would like to order a drink,

My grandson, big talker, yelled out, “yes, please, one beer!” as she wrote in her notebook with ink.

 

They say that I wasn’t “me”, that I was losing my memory,

Thinking it was best that they made decisions and that it was best for me.

The last time round, I heard them say the same thing,

What I needed was an ear and heart to be listened to, and allow me to sing.

 

So there we were; and, when everyone saw that my energies were up,

The waitress, a stranger in the group slipped up by me, smiling and asking if I would like to have a cup.

A cup of tea, I said “yes, please my dear” with the full satisfaction of a child in a candy store,

But still the others only spoke of themselves and what they wanted from me, hurting me to the core.

 

And so we sat; I spoke out loud and clear, without the least pretense,

Life is a gift” I muttered, “today this gathering here today makes a lot of sense.”

Disposing of me by rushing me to an Old Peoples’ Home, just because you think it is right –

My life is mine and mine, alone, just like yours is to you and as disappointing as it may be to you, I am not going to be put out of sight.

 

And when they stood, gasped and questioned my decision,

I politely said “sit, it is better on the energy for you” as this debate was kind of fun.

That same waitress walked into the commotion, laying down everyone’s drink,

Looked at me, winked and said she overheard the talk and that they should have a re-think.

 

Looking at me, she told them, she still sees life .. a lot of life,

That if I didn’t want to go, my wishes should be respected and to stop giving me strife.

For it is out of life and from me, they got everything they desired,

But the one thing I desired was demonstrated by the waitress the restaurant had hired.

 

It takes a lifetime, to try to understand love, to try to know the unknowable,

If only we could look in to the future, maybe use a crystal ball.

Love was what I was searching for all this time, what we’re all chasing,

But Out of love, I will do what they ask … thinking that Life un-loved is not a life worth living.

– Paul e Valentine

______________________________________________________________

 

Cheers & ahoy!

The Old Cap’n Viking Pirate … & love of writing poems

Allow your mind to ”connect’ with infinite intelligence.
With consciousness.
It is like nothing you’ve ever experienced before.
An example of this: this poem I have just written which took me only 30 minutes

I. AM.
GOD?

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Your thoughts and feelings (attitude) affect your performance and results in life.

Me, some of my quirks (showing off my muscles, posing at every and any opportunity and my desire to ‘over’ dress than to ‘under’ dress. In this case, a perceived “mis-match “ Of clothing items. Also, my quirk of love for dogs (and in particular, my pirate dog) and animals in general.

This is true for many things in life.

Matter of fact, your attitude heavily impacts on your performance in sport and life, in general.

Winning. I love winning, who doesn’t?

Winning in life stems from a winning attitude. Full stop!

Your attitude toward your potential is either the key to or the lock on the door of personal fulfilment.

Most of you are aware of this.

Getting control of my thoughts helped me …. reject the economic disadvantages I faced in my youth growing up in a developing country such as the Fiji Islands and this allowed me to enter a world where self-esteem and the esteem of others were abound.

There were also a lot of advantages: Fijians and Fijian Culture is very affirmative always uplifting. Not derogatory and ‘down-putting’ from a very young age, like so many western societies. Fijians are a very loving and caring and compassionate race, it’s in their/our blood. Fijians are very strong believers and very hard workers that don’t make whinging a part of their lingo. They also know when to take a rest.

Fijians love wearing flowers (wearing beauty of nature … & skirts) and understand how to ‘relax’.
If you want to learn how to relax and ‘slow down’ from your busy lifestyle and mind … just go to Fiji or speak to a Fijian.
They will give you tips on happiness that could change your life for the better.
Learn to be on “Fiji Time” when appropriate.

The decision and desire to change me for the Better attracted other like-minded/energy persons/champions in to my realm and me in to theirs. The collaboration (short and long) built a formidable team of many things but one thing bonded all: LOVE.

Every thought and act was done out of love, not hate.

Read that last line again. That is one of the keys to your fulfillment. Love.

How did I get to 2 x World Top 5 World Natural Classical Physique Bodybuilding Champion and be one of the BEST in my sport in the world? What helped me win?

Vv – wearing the last beanie I got ordered many years ago
And what does the “Vv” stand for? “❤️alentine ❤️itality “ of course.
Out for a park run /sprints with my Mr Fuzzy/Fussy Cuddles

I can and I will share with you, through storytelling, how a boy born in the small paradise and friendly islands of Fiji went all the way to stand on stage in New York, USA and beating the best in the world.

Many things contributed to me achieving my goals of being one of the best in the world in my chosen sport.

We are more alike than you think.

Two key things that got me there was desire and getting control of my thoughts: My Attitude.

My ability to think Champion Thoughts and feel Champion Feelings and my never-ending pursuit to éliminate ignorance (some people call this curiosity) ultimately resulted in my two World Championships, representing Australia. This fuelled my work and how hard and smart I worked every single day leading up to the Big Day, when I got to stand on the world stage in New York, USA and compete against the best from countries around the world.

Achieving a well-balanced physique should be understood for what it is: a masterful fusion of art and science.
One should improve once’s “BODY Smart”knowledge. this takes time and deliberate practise.
Top 5 in the world, two years in a row at a sport I love ain’t too shaby for an city boy from the beautiful paradise islands of Fiji
If YOU think you can and you BELIEVE YOU CAN … YOU CAN. WIth God by your side, you have NO DOUBT.

You’re a champion too, in more ways than one. Believe it so.

Here’s 3 reasons why I believe a Champion is in you, if you don’t already think so:

1)  Because you acknowledge the help of others – knowing you could never have got this far in life and do what you do – ALONE.

2)  Because you aim high – understanding that the quality of the goals you choose influences your character.

3)  Because you never give up – knowing that true ability comes only through persistence and consistency.

There are other reasons why I believe you are a champion, like, maybe you consistently give of yourself to other freely. This compassionate act is a champion act, fuelled by a champion feeling and champion thought.

You could probably list many more. Ultimately, winning is a way of thinking – a way of life.

Feel your emotions.
Think through and with your heart.
Listen to your íntuition

Mastering your Mind, controlling your thoughts.

Everyone knows they’re supposed to ‘be positive’ – to think positively, and to discourage negativity. Yet for so many people thoughts just seem to ‘happen’ before they know about it!

Thoughts don’t JUST happen – you think them!

YOU choose your thoughts.

Here’s the thing –

Learn the skills to take control of your mind, your thoughts. Before it is too late.

True?
Neuroscience is still at the level of where medicine was in the 1700s
A long way to fully understand who we are….
Who “I AM.”

Participate and compete in the game of life, don’t be a spectator!

Are you a ‘spectator in the game of life?”, like the majority of humans who watch life happens as bystanders.

They avoid the main arena for fear of being – rejected, ridiculed, hurt or defeated. They prefer not to make waves or get involved and would rather watch it happen on tv ( I don’t watch tv by the way .. haven’t for many years).

Most of all, I believe the spectators in life fear winning. You see, after helping thousands of people over the last 3 decades I have found that it is not losing that humans fear the most … it is the possibility of winning!

After all, winning carries the burden of responsibility and for setting a good example. That is too much for many and so … they sit back and watch other to their thing.

Don’t!

Be the winner that YOU are …. That YOU were born to be!

Winners set and achieve goals which not only benefit themselves, but more importantly, benefits others.

 

Practise thinking winning thoughts.

Winning is ALL in the ATTITUDE!

Not aptitude … attitude is the criterion of success.

You see, people can buy many things … cars, houses, businesses, people … but what they cannot buy is Attitude. You couldn’t buy attitude for a million dollars.

Remember this: Attitudes are not for sale.

Winning is no more than one’s personal pursuit of individual excellence.

Don’t forget, you don’t have to get lucky to win in life, and/or do you have to knock people down or gain at the expense of others.

No … winning is taking the talent or potential you were born with, and have since developed, and using it fully toward a goal or purpose that makes you happy. If you don’t, no one else will because no one else cares.

Feel and practice feeling good positive, winning thoughts

My grandfather always told me that Talent is Cheap. You can buy it, and recruit it. It’s everywhere. “But son” he says … “the world is also full of talented alcoholics.”

Education is not cheap, but it’s for sale and for hire if you have the time and money.

It seems people are still trying to get their BS, MBA or PhD in droves instead of investing in taking care of their attitude. People are still hanging their multiple diplomas on their office walls.

They don’t realise that their attitude is the thing that is their most priceless possession. This all fundamentally depends on their ability to sustainably control their thoughts.

To control their mind.

But as I remember my grandfather saying before he passed away –

Son, the world is also full of educated derelicts, unable to relate to supportive roles with others.”

He instilled the importance of having the right attitude, in me, from a very young age.

Education qualifications can be bought and most other things. But Attitudes are not for sale.

Read that last line again.

Attain the right attitude. That makes YOU Happy.

Are you happy?

Choose the right attitude.

All the best in your choice.

Cheers & Ahoy!!!

 

The old Captain Viking Pirate ….. & attitude … and control and … the mind

Champions practise a lot of visualisation and simulation.
To create magic, you need to fuse the worlds of sanity (where you are) with insanity (where you dream/imagine you are, before you are).
That is difficult.
That is one of the key keys.
Don’t stop. Trying. Believing.
Keep on … keeping on. You’ll get there. Everyone always does.
Especially, if you do it with your heart. and ….
with LOVE.

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Worshipping Work.

How many hours do you work? 30, 40, 50 … maybe 80 hours per week?

If you do, congratulations. I’ve spent a bit of time in the Corporate world working very long hours and ‘climbed the ladder’ so to speak for a number of years, almost 10 years to be exact.

Interesting climb to say the least.

Many workers today are sacrificing themselves for work or rather on the altar of work. In my years in Corporate consulting I saw a lot of things. Good and no-so good. I saw many tolerate hugely harmful symptoms such as anger, chemical dependencies and loneliness in a what seemed to be a blind pursuit of self-fulfillment through career success.

This may be pathological but it may also be idolatrous!

What I mean by this is that, if you’re a Christian, you’ll understand and agree that such a person worships his or her career as though it were a god.

Yes, I understand the importance of work but I think for many, work has been taken a bit too far. Like all idols, work is impotent in the face of true human need. Not sure if you’re familiar with a passage out of Psalm in the Bible (I spent 8 years as an altar boy, assisting Priests in the Big Catholic Cathedral in Suva City, Fiji Islands). Well, 115:4-7 puts it:

Their idols are silver and gold, made by the hands of men. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but they cannot see; they have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but they cannot smell; they have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but they cannot walk; nor can they utter a sound with their throats.’

Now, I don’t want to sound like I am preaching to you because I am very far from a priest. I just quoted a relevant text from the Bible. To get the story straight, I have to admit that I have been very guilty of putting ‘work before everything else’ in many phases of my life.

Many.

My version of the Hulk Pose. Sometimes we all need to ‘smash’ hard, old, bad habits to embrace growth and fulfillment by simply saying and acting ‘no’. Have no fear … like the Incredible Hulk,

When I ran the gym for 7 years for example, I never took leave and I worked consistently between 12 and 18 hour days every day for 7 years. Now, if that isn’t idol worship, I don’t know what is. So, what I am saying is that I am no better than you, I have travelled in the same boat and been ‘in your shoes’. I am just sharing a perspective of what we’re all battling in our lives: this work-life balance.

Back to that passage, what do you think it means? Yes, if you feel it sort of spoke about the powerlessness of idols, you’re correct. That is exactly what the psalm is trying to make us aware of and to take sufficient and appropriate actions, that work as an idol is just as powerless as an idol itself.

I think it also says that those who worship work as an idol are defenceless in the face of true need… as another passage/psalm states –

“those who make them will be like them, and so will all those who trust them. (115:8).

I have spent a lot of time with men of all ages, ranging from teens to men in their 90s. I enjoy spending time with men of all backgrounds and socio-economic status. My shoulders has been a pillow for many grown men to cry on over the years of owning my gym. Those moments spoke volumes.

Take ‘time out’ to reflect about where and what you’re worshipping.
Going on a holiday to Fiji is a great way to maybe, find some answers … and courage to act to change your perspective on life … for the better.
Work, but don’t worship work. There is a huge difference. That difference could be your relationship with you, your close family & friends … & could mean your life.

I have sat with grown men, exceptionally powerful men in business (I once had one of the top 200 wealthiest men in Australia secretly training in my gym and whom I called a friend). I learned a lot about business and property investments from him as I helped him, help himself become his best self. I’ve had grown men weep on my shoulders (luckily I have pretty solidly wide, muscley shoulders to hold down the weight of their heads and tears).

They shared their tragic stories. Some with so much success’ in the financial world but with personal lives shattered, others with families in shambles. Some with their character de-based or their business in doubt, their circumstances out of control.

At some point, I look into their eyes and I see an emptiness for a brief moment in time. The emptiness tells me that all their professional accomplishments, all the machinery of their companies, all their wealth they worked all their lives for …. Is of no help at all. It amounts to nothing.

Simple nothingness.

On a beach in the beautiful paradise islands of Fiji … where I was born and spent my early youth in.
The Fijians understand and live and breathe “Fiji Time” very well (& use it when appropriate/needed)  … and is the way of life … Fijians are some of the world’s hardest and smartest workers but …. they never to worship work like an idol. They only worship one God – Jesus Christ. Full-stop! ‘Take a page out of the Fijian’s Book of Life.’

I see nothingness in their eyes … their souls, as they say the ‘eyes are the windows to the souls’. I have seen many souls in my time. And I have travelled with them, helping them, help themselves find their way out of the depths of despair.

They were in deep trouble and their god (work) is impotent. Of no help in time of need.

I have grieved with such men (and to a little extent, women).

They have chosen the wrong God. How much do they have to lose to realise the emptiness, the sadness. There is power in simply saying ‘no’. The power of no. Use it, if need be.

Of course, I also respect the fact that the same thing could happen to me (and it has in the last 25 years and could happen to anyone).

Work is one of God’s gifts to us.

The problem arises, I feel, when we begin to worship and serve it rather than … the true God, God himself … and Jesus.

Or whatever Higher being you want to call God.

Choose well.

It is your life after all.

 

Yours in iron, muscles and nuggets of wisdom,

 

The old Captain Viking Pirate

Front double biceps at my favourite beach here in Sydney, Australia.
Enjoying the sun and the creator that it is.
Be not like the moon, be like the sun.
Take time out of ‘work’ to enjoy your surroundings.
Vv.

Appropriate outfit given the Rugby World Cup
Go the Wallabies & Fiji! Not excessive time at work/worshipping work allows you to invest your time in to your children. This is one of the best investments you will ever make. Remember this: less time spent with your children when they are young ==> more time in their late teens/early 20s … getting them out of trouble. It will cost you more in time and $$ and heart-ache too. Choose well … and be proactive, do it now.

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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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Real Love for The Real Man.

Every man needs to wake and release the 'champion' within him. Let it loose. Let it fly. Let it go. In his own way.

Every man needs to wake and release the ‘champion’ within him. Let it loose. Let it fly with wings. Let it go and serve others … In his own way.

I mentioned in my previous blog The Simple-Complex Man”, it is without doubt that being a father is difficult in today’s world but, I believe, being a man – a ‘Real Man’ is more difficult.

Look around us and the avalanche of images and messages that bombards us, every day, of what a Real Man is. In Australia and most of the developed world, it is heavily communicated in stereotypes in beer ads or car commercials. A lot of these stereotypes I find, conflicts with what most men out there think of themselves.

There are a lot of great men out there but many of them are confused. Confused of what it means to be a REAL MAN. Let me elaborate …

You see, from my experience in helping hundreds of men in gyms over the last two decades, a lot of men are so much more than what these narrow stereotypes convey. Really shallow stereotypes actually. What is even more concerning is the various messages of ‘love’ and what love means to a ‘Real Man’. The majority buy in to these stereotypes and meet disappointment in life – sooner or later.

Very sad indeed.

Like I said, it is very difficult for a lot of men out there. A lot of men who don’t know what it means to be a Real Man.

I must admit that I do not know the full answer but I do think that a big part of being a Real Man is that he is AUTHENTIC.

We learn many definitions of ‘love’ and we can think of many examples of what it is. Some think it is impossible to understand or define. Fair enough. It does not, however, mean we should not try to understand it.

You see, as I see it, for all you men reading this, “Love” for a Real Man is simply this: Action. Remember that saying “action speaks louder than words?”. Well, I think certain elements apply here.

There’s also another definition and for you Christians reading this – a Real Man will love a woman the way the Bible says it to. I think even the most militant feminist would not dispute a love like THAT!

I believe if every man out there just has one goal and that is: to be the BEST MAN HE CAN BE. For himself, FIRST and then for everyone else. And, when he leaves this world for the other world, he might just come close enough to be a REAL MAN.

From my interaction with men of all ages over the last two decades, I have deduced that Real Men have a few common traits –

  1. He treats his wife RIGHT (in all areas of life).
  2. He is a SERVANT rather than a MASTER ( I would like to think my wife and I are Co-CEOs)
  3. He will do the RIGHT THING (doing the right thing is quite different to do what he has the RIGHT to do. Everything he does, he DOES WITH 100%. Why? Because nothing else would measure up).

So, how are you faring with the above traits (they are by no means exhaustive but are 3 that first come to my mind, deduced from my large sample of men over the last two decades)? Are you a Real Man? When can you call yourself a Real Man?

Well, let’s keep it simple. As I see it, there is only one way: become a BETTER SERVANT. Even the great Mother Theresa said that we need to serve ’til it hurts. I think this should be every man’s motto for his love for his woman. Yes, all REAL MEN seek to SERVE. Keep giving of yourself to your woman. To give is to serve.

If you’re a christian, then just like Jesus Christ, our saviour served his beloved followers. All GREAT MEN seek to SERVE.

This can be quite difficult to accept because most of today’s men are told the opposite with all the unfiltered messages being absorbed in to their minds, their ‘thought factories’. These unfiltered messages tell these men that they should grow up and find a gorgeous wife who will take care of his needs.

He then spends his entire existence seeking out that someone, he is brainwashed in to believing that she will bring him happiness because she will SERVE HIM. In return for this fulfilment of his distorted delusions of what life and love is and what it means to be a Real Man, he is made King of his Castle!

Yes, he works very hard. It’s the ‘manly’ thing to do, after-all he is told. He works very hard and gives her everything HE THINKS SHE WANTS. 

But is that really what the woman wants? I beg to differ.

I have helped many men and women transition through very painful separations and divorces over the years and have felt the pain with them. It is very difficult for all parties involved. What I have noticed was that a lot of these women did get everything (from a material sense) that money could buy. A lot of these women had men who bought them everything THEY THOUGHT THEIR WIVES WANTED.

Costly mistake. I am appealing to all men reading this and all men out there to not make this mistake, like so many men have made before you.

What I found was that most of these women were miserable. Why? The reason I am about to tell you is something people don’t seem to talk about and may surprise some of you readers but I think it is one of the major factors in the consistently high divorce rates in society. Men reading this, I think the one very strong contributing factor that made these women miserable was that they were permanently PUT IN SECOND PLACE!

Not fair at all.

No one likes being in SECOND PLACE in anything for too long. Believe me, I know what it is like because I came 2nd in the Australian Natural Body-building Championships in three separate occasions. Came so close, within a whisker … but to no avail.

Very dis-heartening and demoralising.

So, what I have found is that by the time I help these men and women during these painful transitions, most of these men do not fully understand what went wrong. A lot of these men are a little confused and I don’t blame them.

They are confused because they cannot ‘see’ how they have put their woman 2nd all along. But by the time I see them, it is too late. These men just cannot put their woman first.

These men cannot because it goes against every fibre of their being. It goes against everything that they have been taught in all the messages society has pumped in to him from early child-hood. From within his family, his neighbours, his schools, his friends, his extended families and all the advertising messages and shows.

It surrounds him and blinds him. Chokes him. The Real Man is chained within, as he suffers silently. Like so many men in today’s world do. Suffer in silence with inconsistent definitions of what a Real Man is. His whole belief-system is distorted and he has been following blindly.

He cannot be blamed for total responsibility for this, if everything, everyone and his whole world is telling him that the distorted definition of Real Love is what it is. The world has inverted whatever that was made perfect by God. That of the real definition of love for a Real Man.

And do you know what the imitation is? Do you want to know what the counterfeit is dear readers? Do you know what the substitute is (just like there is for almost all genuine products out there)?

It is this: LUST.

It is everywhere and this is one of the many reasons I believe it is very difficult just to be A MAN in today’s world. Just like all non-genuine, unauthentic, imitation products and parts you buy – LUST can be cheaper, looks good and is just like the REAL DEAL. It can be very satisfying and bring excitement in to your life for a little while.

But, it is NOT TRUE LOVE!

You see – Lust, takes. Love, gives.

Lust is all about you, your selfish desires – your need to be the MASTER. Love puts your woman’s desires FIRST. Love puts SERVICE to your woman at the top of your ‘TO DO’ list.

Lust takes – for your selfish benefit. Love GIVES, for the one we love. This GIVING MUSCLE keeps growing if you feed and train it right. Strive to become a Real Man. All day. Every day. For the rest of your life on this earth.

Search for Real Love. Curb your enthusiasm for lust.

Lust is temporary, it will perish. Love is forever – in this lifetime and infinity. Even though you will return to dirt when you die, your soul – your spirit, your consciousness, will remain in the universe for all eternity. Your love will keep GIVING and you will be fulfilled beyond your desires.

… knowing that you were a REAL MAN while you were breathing and walked this earth. That you truly loved. That you were truly a servant to her – that you genuinely SERVED.

Those that you leave behind will have memories of this man. This version of a man that …. Went against the grain and was a … Real Man. To all Men reading this, I leave you this last message:

Be your AUTHENTIC-SELF. Tell the TRUTH. DO and BE YOUR BEST – ALWAYS. Take care OF YOUR FAMILY. RESPECT YOU – RESPECT OTHERS. Never stop DREAMING. Follow your DREAMS.

 

Until next time,

Connecting the dots through 'mind-muscle' communication via the nervous system strengthening. Hold!

Connecting the dots through ‘mind-muscle’ communication via the nervous system strengthening.
Hold!

 

~~Life COACH~~

~~Life COACH~~

All photos taken by Robert Walsh Photography. Visit “www.robertwalsh.com.au” for an authentic artist. A true professional. A lovely human-being that is Robert. Vv.

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Your CALL OF DUTY: Stand and deliver.

Here is Chris, approaching 50 and looking and feeling better than a young man in his 20s. Here, Chris is demonstrating a "side-chest" pose (with a smile). ** Photos taken by Robert Walsh Photography. Visit "www.robertwalsh.com.au" - Brillian Artist. Skilled Professional. Wonderful Person. Cheers Rob! Vv.

Here is Chris, approaching 50 and looking and feeling better than a young man in his 20s.
Here, Chris is demonstrating a “side-chest” pose (with a smile).

Stand Tall … & deliver … to your end

We have been told over the last five to ten years that there is an ‘obesity epidemic’ and it is somewhat influenced by the increase in consumption of fats in our diet.

This is a goldmine for food manufacturers. All sorts of products were forced on to the market that had ‘no fat’ or ‘low fat’ or ‘99% fat free” on the packaging. Wow, said the consumer who enjoyed the same taste but with almost no fat. How good was that?! Eat all you can and not put on any fat!

A great sales gimmick that fed in to the pockets of many manufacturers and companies that control and own and sold these supposedly ‘healthier products’. What a load of – you know what! Your body needs fat, your brain will not function without adequate levels of fat. Everyone that I have ever helped over the years know that ‘fat burns fat’. Period!

So, if you’re going to have fat, go for full cream or full fat. Your body metabolises it better and appreciates the genuine article, not some imitation. Enjoy your milk, ice-cream and other densely-packed fat products in full. You will enjoy it more and you will likely eat less. Your internal organs would be greatful and would add to your longevity.

People ask – “why?” … I /My curiosity continually askS “why not?”
Seek possibilities… always

You see, over the last 23 years in the gym (my lab), I have seen and helped a lot of people who suffered from back pain. One lady suffered from chronic back pain for 17 and half years before she met and started training with me. Read about her story in an earlier blog titled No belief, no nothing”.

I helped her help, herself.

I helped create more awareness in her being, in her mind. I helped her help herself to believe again. To believe in the most important person in the world to her – HERSELF. That is the power of BELIEF, my friends.

NO BELIEF, NO NOTHING. Remember this!

You cannot give a ‘band-aid’ treatment to a problem such as this. That only treats the symptom, not the cause. Unfortunately, a lot of today’s current medical focus is on short-term fixes (seeing only the 10% of the ice-berg we see above the water level. What is needed is a more sustainable solution that addresses the cause – the 90% of the ice-berg that sits under the water line and that we don’t ‘see’.). A preventative approach.

Or better still, there’s always the current paradigm and practise – a drug remedy for all and every ailment you might experience. Thank God for the pharmaceutical industry, aye.

Here’s a little trivial information for you – did you know that Pharmaceutical companies spend over $100 billion on marketing their products, with a quarter of this – roughly $27 billion going to doctors in the form of gifts, meals and samples. Makes you wonder about the perception of independence and conflict of interest in the recommendation and dispensing of drugs.

Do you know what the main cause of back pain is? Well, I have been saying this for many years and I have deduced a very strong contributing factor.

It is simple: we are sitting more! There is an inactivity epidemic and an increased volume of sitting is a very high percentage of what constitutes this inactivity epidemic.

Take a stand … a stand of what you believe… IN… and know you have support of the angels

Back pain can be caused by many things but an increasing number of office workers are suffering from chronic back pain. Back pain, I believe, can be caused by too much sitting and no physical activity. Look around you, we are sitting almost all the time. We’re constantly sitting in our cars, sitting and watching computer and television screens. Sitting, sitting and more sitting!

Do you suffer from back pain?

What is the opportunity cost? You struggle to find time to use your bodies, the way it’s meant to be used. This appears to be the plight of the average Australian (based on the largest and most comprehensive health survey in Australia in 2011 – 2012 by the Australian Health Survey) and probably indicative of most countries in the developed world.

On average, Australians are spending between 45 and 55 hours per week SITTING – for work and travel and lounging around in leisure time. The study also shows that an average of 40 hours is spent on all other activities (which includes time for exercising).

Now, I think the medical industry recommend that you should move your body in a moderately intense fashion for about 30 minutes each day, which adds up to at least 150 minutes per week. Do you do that? Be honest now. I think Doctors refer to this as ‘sufficiently active for health” and associated lowers risks like: cardiovascular diseases, various forms of cancer, depression and other ailments.

Now, a common reason I have heard for not exercising or not going to the gym is “I just don’t have the time, Paul”. I’ve never bought that.

Here’s why I have never believed this excuse: the survey actually indicated that roughly 60% of adults did less than the recommended 30 minutes per day and of this, less than 20% actually engaged in daily exercise for an hour or more. Very small indeed!

So, can you see why I have never believed the excuse of not having enough time to exercise? It isn’t an issue of inadequate time because the study showed that at least 3 hours per day is committed to sedentary leisure like – socializing (in person and on-line), using the phone or the internet and watching television. It would be interesting how this percentages would change since the introduction of new technology and service providers like Netflix and Stan. More choices for consumers. More entertainment at our finger-tips. More chance of not exercising. There’s going to be an even greater epidemic of gigantic proportions – MORE SITTING!

Follow your truth… find your beauty … be The Light 💡… share & illuminate the world 🌎 from darkness

It’s not helping society. It’s harming society, the social fabric of it. It’s harming every single one of us – no one is immune to it. It’s harming our children. It’s harming every adult or it will eventually.

All this inactivity strongly exacerbated by the arrival of new technology will supposedly ‘raise our standard of living’ but it will slowly suck the vitality out of every person. It will suck the very essence of what life is all about. This is the real opportunity cost to society. The study showed that children 2-4 years of age are spending almost two hours per day sitting in front of the television or computer ipad/tablet.

A frightening statistic was that overall, physical activity decreased and screen-based activity increased as age increased. This trend is at a very high risk of rising and rising fast!

Now, the solution is simple: to fight this epidemic, each and every one of us can do our part to reduce this alarming statistic. Reduce the risk of our nation becoming a nation of ‘seat warmers’. Keep it simple: DO YOUR PART.

And how do you do that?

Well, play your part. Play your part for no one else, but YOU. Stand up and deliver. Stand up and start moving.

Start moving and may be everyone can unite in the moving and possibly create a ‘movement’ to MOVE. An ‘anti-sitting’ movement!

We’ve just had ANZAC public holiday commemorating the ANZACS 100 years. What a significant chapter in Australia’s history. I think we should all take a page (maybe a paragraph) out of the ANZAC book.

They, who gave their lives, their freedom for freedom, for the life you and I live today. They stood up and fought for their future – where we are now. That was their CALL OF DUTY.

If you’re not an Australian, that’s ok, I’m certain you only have to look back in your country’s history to identify a point or points where your forefathers went to war and sacrificed their lives to give you the way of life you live today.

Maybe, just maybe, each and every one of us need to treat this inactivity, all this alarmingly increasing instances of sitting as a serious threat to our life and that of the future lives of the citizens of our country. Maybe, each and every one of us need to imagine how the ANZACS believed in our freedom and rose to the occasion. Maybe, standing up from your sitting position and moving with intent could be seen as your contribution to yourself and your health but more importantly for the health of our nation.

Maybe, this is how we all need to ‘take a stand’ against this very important health crisis – one of increasing levels of sitting. We need to take a stand against this by literally, standing. Standing and moving to stand and deliver.

the key rests within you… in  your belief system. Question them… turn them upside down, inside out… to embrace change better. Change that is happening to you.

Yeah, let’s all work towards a healthier YOU, a healthier society, a healthier nation, a healthier world, just by becoming part of the “Anti-sitting movement’. The health costs and damage caused to individuals and countries productivities by excessive sitting, I believe is far greater than any terrorist threat our world has faced or is facing.

The real terrorist rests within us – within our excessive sitting. It is killing the minds and bodies of man-kind slowly but surely. Incrementally killing you from within – a slow, invisible self-torture and most don’t realise the high risks associated with this, until it is too late. The real threat to each and every one of us is not an external threat from the caves in the deserts of some foreign country, no, the real threat is our personal habits, one of which is sitting.

The real threat to you is lifestyle habits, a big one of which is excessive sitting. I believe it is now an epidemic!

So, don’t sit back any more than you have to and before you sit down to view more and more television/tablet/ipad screens, think again. Stand up and give moving a go, you only need 30 minutes per day. It will do you a world of good and you may just like it enough to develop a new habit. A habit that will help fight this current epidemic of inactivity and excessive sitting.

Make it your personal CALL OF DUTY each time you stand up and step out of your home for that 30 minutes of exercise. Imagine that each time you strap up your sneakers for your activity, you’re getting in touch with the hero within you.

Now, this is a cause worth believing in. Worth fighting for, don’t you think? This will not only give you freedom of movement in your old age but more importantly lay the foundation for the ‘movement to move’ for our kids and their kids.

“Monkey see, monkey do” as the saying goes.

Let your children see what you do. Let your children learn from you (as they already do). Let them see their hero (you) walk the talk. Let them see what you are doing for you and your country. You don’t need to carry a gun and ammunition for this. You don’t need to blow up things. NO!

You just need to stand up and start moving.

Me & a member of my Family Gym. He strives to be his best every day and seeks to help those who need his help, to help them, help themselves.
“Together we stand, divided we fall”
Stand tall and deliver – Men!!

So, don’t sit down any more than you have to as your life and your children’s lives depend on this. Now, that is the ANZAC spirit in action. Make this your CALL OF DUTY – just stand and deliver.

Live it!

One step at a time. Keep moving. Let’s fight this sitting craze. Let’s fight for activity. For movement. You join and get your family and friends to join this new movement called: “the movement to move, movement”.

Individually, you’re strong but together, with everyone doing their little part , united for a common worthwhile cause – this ‘movement to move’ could have the power to make our dreams of a better life – BETTER for us and for our future generations.

It might seem like a small matter today but I believe this scary trend has the potential to cause more deaths and social costs than the deaths caused by malaria, propagated by the tiny mosquito. We need to take care of the little things because these little things grow to become big things.

A wise man told me once that Elephants don’t bite, mosquitoes do”. Very true indeed. A child dies from malaria every 30 seconds in Africa, caused by the little mosquito. Very sad indeed.

Remember to always take care of the little things in the important areas in your life. Little things have a habit of adding up to big things. Keep taking those little steps forward.

Become part of this movement TODAY.

Good on ya, ANZAC!

All the best in your decisions today for a better tomorrow.

Until next time,

 

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Is it safe for children to weight-train?

Working the guns.

Playing with weights is as safe for children as it is for adults. Like all things, boundaries and limits are to be applied.

I have been asked many questions relating to health and fitness and weight training over the last 23 years in the gym.

If I knew the answer to the question of when it is safe for children to weight train, I would be lying. However, after all that time and my love of deducing conclusions from simply observations of consistent trends around me, I would like to attempt to provide a solution.

I will use my powers of reasoning I have developed in my 40 years on this earth, so far.

Here we go ….

My son Zachary, doing weights even before he could all properly

Leading Legends

I am truly inspired by older generations who have maintained resistance training for most of their lives. Almost all of them look and feel like someone 10, 15 even 20 years younger.

Leading Legends” – that’s what I call them. They are great examples of making it part of lifestyle.

Some of them used to tell me about how perceptions have changed over the last 50 years in regards to exercise in general and in particular – the many myths relating to weight training.

There were and still are many myths relating to weight training. There was a time when people were saying that weight training wasn’t good for women. Before that athletes like rugby players were told to stay away from weight training as it would ‘slow’ them down – this wasn’t too long ago – even in the 70s.

And even further back, it was even questioned whether weight training was in fact good for anyone at all. Times change and myths get busted. Myths are just that – myths and are meant to be dis-proven.

It is only in more recent times that the general public has accepted that weight-training is of enormous benefit to women too. I am so happy about the increase in women attending gyms as I have seen this landscape change quite a bit over the last two decades.

Now, my question is if weight training is now believed to be of enormous benefit for men and women, why shouldn’t it be good for children? After all isn’t exercise good for everyone?

My son Zachary would crawl around my Family Gym that I owned & managed for 7 years. He used to remove the pins from the machines to the dismay of the members

To weight train – you do one thing 

The truth or my version of ‘the truth’ in my straight-forward answer is that weight training can benefit any individual – young or old – who is healthy enough to engage in the activity. But that is just my opinion.

I have helped hundreds of people of all ages – kids under ten (including my children) all the way to people in their 90s. Human physiology is the same no matter what age. To weight train – you do one thing: work the muscles. To do this, you literally extend and contract that particular muscle under tension/force provided by the weight.

Simple. Right?

The very old and the very young and everyone in-between can do that. It’s what muscles are meant to do: to ‘work’ for you.

There are still myths relating to children training even in today’s world. The biggest fear amongst parents appear to be the possible negative effects on the development of children prior to puberty – that lifting stunts the growth of children.

If this was the case, the famous Arnold Schwarzenegger would should not have grown to 6’2” as he started lifting weights well before he hit puberty. I am not a Doctor but I believe this irrational fear is unfounded medically.

My daughter on the leg extension machine in my a family gym

How are risk assessments done?
My question is if weight-training was a height depressant, why is it that considerable growth can sometimes take place in the ‘post-puberty’ years. And if this was a medical fact, then, everyone should only start weight-training when their full height potential has been reached. For some, this would be well in to their early twenties.

The issue as I see it relates to the formation and growth of bones. I can understand the parents’ worries, including my family Doctor’s. From what I understand about what I have read about bones, the process of bone formation and growth is hopelessly complex and wonderfully simple at the same time.

If I recall correctly, Tiger Woods picked up and was training in golf from the age of 2 and was coached by his dad. Leytton Hewitt began playing tennis around the age of 3. Some top swimmers were undergoing stringent 4am early-morning training programs from a very young age, where parents were driving them to and from swimming pools. I know because I had good friends that were doing that when we were in Primary School.

Not many made the Olympics.

Is this any different to subjecting a child to some gym training under supervision in a gym? How is it that the perception of risk of a child in the gym is greater than that of a child on a soccer field, swimming pool, golf course or rugby field? What about a child playing tennis or netball? How are these risk assessments done?

I believe the risks to a child and his or her growing bones and muscles is higher with the other sporting activities compared to the risks associated with supervised structured weight-training.

In my opinion the risk to bones, joints and muscle development and overall health risk (injuries from knocks to the brain and head in Rugby or other contact sports) is greater to the young kids playing most sporting activity outside the gym, compared to structured activity in the gym.

I believe proper muscular development assisted by a well-structured weight-training program, complements whatever sporting activity a child/person chooses.

It simply makes them a better athlete. A better athlete gets better results.

The risks to the joints of the other sporting activities – like golf, tennis, netball, swimming, running etc is HIGH. The wear and tear to the joints is very high.

The joints are over used, and there is accelerated wear and tear and it shortens the effective useful life of your body. Just like any other machine of value you possess – say a car, for example. Depreciation rates can vary depending on how you use and service your machines.

Most individuals then suffer from premature ageing (from over-use) of joints and really suffer uncomfortable daily living later on in life. However, the risks to the child’s self-esteem; sense of self-worth and interest need to also be monitored too. Participants can be severely negatively affected because of the constant expectations of tolerance levels.

Weight-training done safely and under appropriate supervision is a safer and more beneficial to a child’s whole-self development then any other physical activity there is. Weight-training complements and helps make a child better at whichever sport they choose to participate in.

It is only now that tightening of regulations are being implemented to address not only some current risks but also long-term risks sustained by athletes.

My children are as comfortable with a set of light dumbells, not dissimilar to young budding soccer players or tennis juniors with footballs and rackets in camp and sporting academies. In this controlled soccer environments, no one appears to question the deliberate practises these children are forced to undertake in non-weight-bearing activities and how safe it is.

My son and I hanging out in my Family Gym

Just because a big majority of people are sending their kids there does not mean it is the safest or have the lowest risks.

Or how many instances of injuries are sustained by the very young, many of whom are regularly seeing physios and chiros at an age that is unheard of only a few decades ago.

What does this tell us? About the risks these kids are putting themselves under, the full extent will become evident in their later years.

People are only too quick to place gym training as a high risk but this is yet another myth and here is where I believe the problem is:

It is the inability of parents and administrators of sporting activities to initially correctly assess the level of risks. Yes, self-limiting beliefs unfairly bestowed on to children by parents who know no better.

Maybe they just need to adopt a new thinking paradigm that assists in the development of the ability to assess risks of activities and whether or not the risk is acceptable to them.

Time will bust these myths.

Big Truths will always beat Big Lies.

Believe in BETTER.

Make better choices with the life that you have left, with the lives of your children. Time on this planet is all that we really have anyway and one day … that will be taken from all of us.

This is one of those BIG TRUTHS or is this a BIG LIE? Anyone believe this is a MYTH?

All the best.

Until next time,

 

My wife & kids hanging out with me for a few hours in our Family Gym. The gym was my children’s playground.

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

 

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Top 3 Keys to a successful workout. Key #2: Elegance.

February 2015. At my old school gym, just about to do a set of barbell biceps curls or  what I would sometimes refer to as 'loading the guns with ammunition'.  Hope you're wearing your bullet-proof vests, take cover!

February 2015.
At my old school gym, just about to do a set of barbell biceps curls or
what I would sometimes refer to as ‘loading the guns with ammunition’.
Hope you’re wearing your bullet-proof vests, take cover!

One of the many things I have learned early in life is that the “big truth” will always beat the “big lie”. The truth is we are more than meets the eye – but having a physique sure makes a difference in how people treat and react to us.

What is that saying that we’ve all heard growing up – “Don’t judge a book by its cover”.

Well, it is lovely and idealistic but the truth is we all do. The whole world does, every single day in everything we do. Matter of fact it is how one of the many public games is played on this planet. That is one of the many less than ideal characteristics of most human beings – we all judge things we ‘see’ by how they ‘look’.

That is just how we are wired.

Packaging for products is vital to the successful sales as it directly influences consumer purchasing behaviour and ultimately the ‘bottom-line’. Manufacturers know this and marketers get huge dollars for helping them do this.

Now, another thing I have learned in over 23 years in the fitness industry is that Self-perception or how we see ourselves, greatly determines how we look.

You see, “Inner image creates outer image”. Now, I know there are some idealists that may disagree, and that is fine. On the whole, this statement runs true for all of us. But here is one of the interesting things, one of the encouraging possibilities – it is one’s perception of one’s self that creates greater possibilities.

Drop your past when need be, when it does not serve you any longer. Let go of beliefs and belief systems that does not add any value to your current phase of life. Remove beliefs that limit you, beliefs that do not allow you to reach for your best self.

In my experience, another key element that makes up a successful workout is – elegance. I think this is attained if you’re natural and genuine, searching for an artistic approach (sculpturing as opposed to just lifting weights) and having a great appreciation for “balance and symmetry” (another definition for beauty).

Not many people ever get to this level and truly experience the ‘essence of each and every rep of each exercise’. Just as not all golfers ever play as effortlessly as a Tiger Woods or a professional on a golf course, instead with constant frustration of under-performing handicaps.

Just because you can hit a ball with a club does not necessarily mean that you will hit it in the direction of the hole. This is the same as lifting weights in the gym for the majority of people – you see, anyone can lift weights but only a few ever learn the art of body-building and choosing the right exercise (club) for the right moment (set etc).

Elegance in your workouts or the ‘search for balance and symmetry’ is hard to describe but I find it easy to recognize when I see it. You see it when top sports-persons play for example – Roger Federer gracefully hitting returns on the tennis courts or Jonathan Thurston having all the time in the world to kick in rugby league and effortlessly creating a play out of nothing. Or Maria Sharapova gliding across the courts or Usain Bolt bolting like lightening on the 100m track.

It is sheer beauty, ultimate elegance displayed before your eyes. Very few things can beat the feeling you get from witnessing ‘elegance in action’.

Making elegance part of you or what you do is a reflection of attitude combined with aptitude but taken to the HIGHEST LEVEL with the ambition of being the BEST. To achieve this takes the gifts of Energy and talent harnessed with a magnifying focus towards BEING THE BEST YOU CAN BE.

It requires hours and hours of not just practise – but deliberate practise with sustained FOCUS over many years.

Elegance fascinates me because I believe there is something eternal about it.

So, a successful workout for me is elegant (efficient, effective and a little sophisticated). This is similar to what we call –

  • FREEDOM … in dancing
  • SELF-EXPRESSION … in relationships
  • Being in the ZONE … in sports
  • EXCELLENCE … in work
  • NATURAL … in family
  • Looking HOT … in Sex
  • MAKING A DIFFERENCE … in Society
  • Getting the JOB DONE …. in business

So, there you go. After 23 years of working out in the gym, and my love of reasoning from and making deductions from patterns observed, my 2nd key to achieving a successful workout is simply: Elegance.

Strive for this if you haven’t already done so.

It is more efficient, effective and reduces the risks of injury giving you longevity and more years of enjoyment.

Learn to learn, again.

Strive towards the new man (or woman) that resides in you, with elegance in mind.

All the best in your journey.

 

Until next time,

Side Triceps. Australian Natural Bodybuilding Championships. Lost by 2 points. Final placing: Runner-up.

Side Triceps.
Australian Natural Bodybuilding Championships.
Lost by 2 points.
Final placing: Runner-up.

With my friend and coach at that time - 2 x World Number 1 (natural bodybuilder).

With my friend and coach at that time – 2 x World Number 1 (natural bodybuilder).

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No Brain, No Gain.

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I love a lot of old school training philosophies. Most are simple, to the point and cut out a lot of irrelevant stuff – things some of us refer to as ‘BS’.

While I adopt some of these fundamental training principles in my training I always assess the relevance of anything towards my goals and my needs. For example, assessing the legitimacy and relevance of a saying I have heard over the years:

“No pain, no gain”.

Put simply, I don’t fully agree with this. While I agree in simplicity for most things, I think this statement is too simplistic and too ‘black and white’. There are many ‘grey’ areas that should be considered especially in regards to the “risk-to-benefit’ ratio of exercises chosen.

It’s working out with your ego not in check. I have always believed that if one of your aims is to train in such a way to get the most benefit out of the time invested in your workouts, then you should leave your ego at the door.

Also, I think it is quite a negative slogan and should be replaced by something that is more positive and relevant to today’s every-day-person – like maybe:

No brain, no gain. Don’t train.” for the thinking bodybuilder.

I believe everyone who ventures in to this world and lifts any weight to assist themselves towards a better version of themselves, is by definition, a body-builder (whether you’re a grandmother lifting 1kg weights or a powerlifter squatting 200kg.

Everyone should strive to be a ‘thinking body-builder’.

To truly benefit from this, one should learn the basics of old-school training techniques with selected exercises that give optimal results, with safety in mind.

You must choose the right system of training for your specific goal in order to get the most benefit from your workouts in the shortest time. Ask yourself what is your top 3 goals and then narrow it down to the most important goal. Is it strength? Is it power? Is it a combination of strength and muscular growth?

You see, what I have found in over 23 years in the gym is that most people don’t have a plan, no, most people have what I refer to as a ‘goal’ or objective and their training program is haphazard at best. They try so many things at the same time, while all the while, hoping that they will strike it lucky. It is quite evident that similar patterns of behaviour happens in other areas of life too for some. For example, you see this in the popularity of games of chances – like lotto and gambling machines, despite the extremely low probability of hitting a jackpot, people still participate, losing more and more of their finances.

I have asked many gym enthusiasts over time, questions regarding why they have adopted a new ‘fad’ of training. I might ask them why they work out a certain body part first or do certain exercises before another in their routine, or what their goal is in doing 50+ repetitions on an exercise they either have an illogical answer or no answer at all.

Or, they are just doing it because their friends are doing it. Very sad indeed as they may not have considered the risks they are putting themselves under by following blindly.

Most people go about their training in a manner similar to someone who tries to bake a cake without any recipe laid out for them. They know bits of information, for example they know they need some sugar, some flour, some butter and need to put in in the oven. However, they have no clue about the temperature they need, how long they need to bake it for and other smaller, but important ingredients that go in to a beautiful looking and tasting cake.

Chaos results in the kitchen and frustration and higher risks of injury prevails in the gym. Not smart at all.

The human body and mind is a very sophisticated machine and to re-engineer it without a plan from an informed person is like building a house or an extension to a house without an Architect’s plan. It is fraught with higher risks.

Wasted effort. Wasted time. Very inefficient. Ineffective and unsafe. Not ideal indeed.

What you need, and what most people around the world need is a ‘working plan’. This is what smart training is all about. Increase your awareness of yourself, determine your needs and then seek help.

Here is a check-list of my 9.5 key factors to consider when you are selecting a type of workout or workout schedule:

  1. Your main goal.
  2. An honest assessment of where you are at – key KPIs on your health and fitness status.
  3. The duration of the program (3 months, 6 months, 6 weeks?)
  4. The rigidity of exercise execution (what emphasis is there on strict form).
  5. Rest time between sets.
  6. Total number of sets performed (per exercise; per muscle group and per workout).
  7. The amount of weight to be used (start, during and end of exercise).
  8. The tempo (speed of individual sets – at the start, during and end).

9.5 The number of reps (per set – at the start, during and end).

So, let me say it again, before seeking help from a suitably qualified and experienced professional, make sure you at the very least, think about what your main goal is. The professional could help identify your destination and help you formulate a plan that would give you answers to the above key variables.

And why would you want to do all this?

Well, you would not go and see or get advice from a plumber if you needed help with your tax return now, would you? I would hope your first port of call is an experienced qualified Accountant.

Become a thinking body-builder, no matter what age you are or how experienced you are.

And remember…. No brain, no gain – no train.

All the best!

 

Until next time,

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