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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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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.
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.

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.

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.

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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What do Sit-ups and Sex have in common?

Complementing Phil's weight-training session with a bit of light boxing in his body re-engineering program. Student achieving success in one of my programs: Retired former Australian Wallaby & Waratah Captain. Champion Results from a Champion Attitude with a Champion Program.

Complementing Phil’s weight-training session with a bit of light boxing in his body re-engineering program.
Student achieving success in one of my programs: Retired former Australian Wallaby & Waratah Captain – Phil Waugh.
Champion Results from a Champion Attitude with a Champion Program.

Well, what do you think?

Sweat … heat … smell ?

Before I tell you what they have in common after over 23 years performing them and helping hundreds of people perform it better, let me share with you a story of a member of a gym I used to own for seven years. Let’s call him Bruce.

Bruce had been a loyal member for close to 30 years. He was an intimidating but a very likeable, straight-to-the-point, anti-status quo, intolerant to ‘bs’ sort-of-a-guy.

My kind of guy – I liked him.

Now, I love observing behaviour and it didn’t take me long to see the repetitive nature and predictability of his workouts, which he religiously performed three times a week. He always did his abdominal sit-ups at the end of his workout and I noticed he did his two favourite exercises. They were:

  1. Roman-chair sit-ups (incline crunches off an incline bench)
  2. Crunches (off the floor)

One day, he was in the middle of his workout when he got a phone call. I then learned that he had a new girlfriend and he thought she was quite special. It was early in his relationship but he was already being pressured in to rushing his workouts.

She wanted him to spend less time in the gym. She thought that 3 times per week for 45 minutes at a time was too much time. He told me that she was always interrupting his workout when he was doing his abdominals.

I asked him how many repetitions he did for his abdominals, and I learned that he did about 400. I asked him how long he took and he said it could be anything between 10 and 15 minutes. It was a third of his workout time!

Too much if you asked me.

I thought it was quite excessive for the goals he was trying to achieve. I asked him to perform a number of repetitions. He was doing them but was not focusing on the technique. A lot of technique goes in to training every muscle group and the abdominal region is no different.

I asked him if he would like to learn an alternative approach. An approach that would reduce the number of repetitions to 30 which would mean he would spend less time in the gym, his new girlfriend would not be so irritated and he would spend more time with her.

He was hungry to learn my alternative approach.

Well, I told him that I did not ‘work’ my abdominals directly and don’t do anywhere near the number of repetitions he did but I had a ‘6-pack’ and he didn’t.

30 reps done properly. That's all you need to do in the gym

30 reps done properly. That’s all you need to do in the gym

If I was preparing for a body-building contest, I would maybe work them directly at least once per week in the last month leading up to the contest. Otherwise, they (the abs) get are indirectly worked every time I lift weights. It is the most worked muscle group in my body because of the way I approach every rep of every set of every exercise.

I don’t do anything near the number of repetitions that he was doing. 400 was excessive.

So, I told him to reduce the types of exercises he performed from 2 to 1. Let’s get you to remove the roman chair sit-ups”, I said. Let’s simplify things.

He was a little apprehensive but he accepted the change if it meant spending less time in the gym and because of his desire to spend more time with his new love was exemplary. I admired him for this.

I told him it wasn’t how much you do, it’s how you do it. An important key is the breathing technique during each repetition, something he was not aware of and was not practising.

My goal was to show him how he could do 30 ‘good’ sit-ups and not 400 and ‘feel’ the difference. He performed it as I directed and could not believe the intense feeling he was feeling only after ten repetitions.

He was convinced.

He couldn’t believe that he learned a more efficient, more effective way to work his abdominals after over 30 years of training them a certain way. That is why ‘practise does not make perfect as a person could be practising something all his life but practising it WRONG.

Instead, PERFECT PRACTISE MAKES PERFECT!

Brings me to the one similarity that sit-ups have in common with sex: that it is QUALITY rather than QUANTITY that matters.

Just like Bruce, every person I have ever trained have been made aware of how to ‘work their abs’ with quality in mind. They all have felt the difference and have spent less time doing it and unnecessary repetitions. Less time, better results.

Be YOU. No one else can do better than you at being YOU.
Being the best you can be is probably the single most powerful thing you can do to improve the world.
Just find YOU and then …. improve you.
Sculpturing a better you with weights helps re-shape your physique but also your brain wiring.

A winning formula!

Now, most of you know how to ‘work’ your abs and muscles by now. Here are a few pointers for you when doing sit-ups:

  • Keep it simple.
  • Breathing correctly to maximize benefit is essential (breathe out at the point of contraction)
  • Lay on a flat surface (preferably on the floor) with your legs up and ankles crossed, with your hands behind your head.
  • Breathe out as you lift your head towards your knees
  • Go as far as you can, keeping your tummy tight (focusing on your exhale on the upward phase and inhaling as you return to the starting position).
  • Repeat 30 times.

It is very important that you don’t pull on your head as you come up, and you should keep your shoulders and back relaxed. Your hands are meant to be behind your head for support only.

An Efficient, Effective and Safer way towards a flatter, tighter, stronger mid-section. What more do you need!

Go ahead and make this change. See the difference.

One crunch – one rep at a time with quality, not quantity in mind. And remember, practise does not make perfect. Perfect practise makes perfect.

Just like sex.

Enjoy!

 

Until next time,

 

Cheers and Ahoy!!

 

The old Captain Viking Pirate … & his thoughts and words on similarity between working your abs and sex.

Each rep of every set of every exercise is an opportunity for a person to connect with the muscle group he or she intends to. The right mix of tempo, control, continuous tension and feel is critical. Executed properly, under an experienced eye, allows one to bridge the muscles with the mind. Practise does not make perfect. PERFECT PRACTISE MAKES PERFECT!

Each rep of every set of every exercise is an opportunity for a person to connect with the muscle group he or she intends to.
The right mix of tempo, control, continuous tension and feel is critical.
Executed properly, under an experienced eye, allows one to bridge the muscles with the mind.
Practise does not make perfect. PERFECT PRACTISE MAKES PERFECT!

Working out in my gym during a photo shoot. You can see that I carry my ‘6 pack’ with me wherever I go. So, I don’t need to drink alcohol … I’m always drunk ha ha ha !

My claim: – The world’s BEST Energy & VITALITY Coaching Conversationalist –

 

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Choosing a gym.

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

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

Your philosophy matters

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your philosophy matters.

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

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

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

Sad, I know … but true.

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

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

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

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

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

The perfect gym does not exist

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

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

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

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

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

So – Accept. Totally.

Then ….

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

Join the club that chooses you

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

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

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

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

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

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

What type of Gym Goer are YOU?

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

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

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

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

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

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

All the very best in your choice!

Until next time,

Cheers & Ahoy!

 

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

I love free weights like dumbells.

I love free weights like dumbells.

 

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

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14.5 tips for growth and producing more, with care

The old Captain Viking Pirate 🏴‍☠️ ⚔️Enjoying a beer 🍺 in a hot 🥵 spring day here in Sydney Australia 🇦🇺

I’m talking about growth and producing more muscle for you, here.

There is no room for compromise on the components of recuperation and getting adequate rest to building more muscle towards a more healthier, stronger, fitter you. More muscle is hopefully a more satisfied you too with regards to your body transformation goals.

Here are 14.5 tips (the list is not exhaustive) for getting adequate recuperation and rest with the goal of more muscle and to take better care of you:

Building the best physique you hope to does not rely on chance.
It comes down to many variables summed up here –
Imagination + Visualisation + Effort (hard deliberate practice) + Feel (Heart) + Talent (genetics) + Focus (never-say-die Mind-set) …
To create Balance & Symmetry in design.
It does not matter which art medium is used – building architecture, watches, cars etc ..
Beauty = Balance & Symmetry
The only difference between sculpturing your physique and the other types mentioned above is –
the human body is alive and has a mind.
Continue to work on yours.

1. Make sleep a priority.

Make quality the focus, not quantity

 

2. Eat a little extra calories unless weight loss is your goal.

 

3. Lifting moderate to heavy weights (for your level) is critical to muscle growth.

Once you’re training hard (referring to your skeletal muscle here), consume 1g of protein per pound of body-weight.

Don’t waste your time with ‘light weights’
Use a weight (depending on the muscle group) that will get you to 10 reps.
But you struggle to get to 8 reps with good form.
Everyone’s limit is different.

4. Stay away from low-fat diets. I can show you how fat can be used to burn fat.

Matter of fact, fat in your diet is essential to stripping unwanted fat off you – especially the stubborn fat a lot of people carry around their waists. Fat is vital for your overall health – mind and body. It helps maintain an anabolic metabolism.

However steer clear from unhealthy fats as best you can.

 

5. Avoid junk food. Enough said!

 

6. Don’t get too caught up on sources of protein, carbohydrates and fats.

Why?

Because what you actually digest and allow your body to assimilate is more important than what you eat and drink.

Meals need to suit you and your physical goals. Understand YOU. Find the most appropriate solution. If you can’t do it yourself, find someone who can help. It may just reduce the risk of disappointment.

 

7. Try not to go for long periods without food/meals.

Try to avoid getting hungry (believe me, you probably will like me less if you’re around me when I am hungry. You definitely don’t want to be around me when I am both angry … and hungry … ‘Hangry’

Preparation is key – try setting aside some time in the evening for preparing your sandwiches, blender drinks etc for the next day. A little time in the kitchen the night before or on the weekend, will save you tonnes of time during the week, thinking about what you would like to eat for various meals.

Educating a top national sprinter of the importance of proper nutrition for recovery & growth for optimal performance

8. Don’t waste your “window of opportunity”

Within a half hour of finishing your workout, have a liquid easily digested meal (high in protein) and then have a balanced solid-food meal in the next couple of hours.

I call this the ‘window of opportunity’ to infuse your muscle cells with the necessary nutrients to maximise growth and retention.

Now sit, back, rest and say … “Grow baby, grow!”

And it will.

 

9. Don’t skip breakfast!

 

10. Supplements are just that – ‘supplements’.

It is meant to supplement a nutritionally sound diet from real food.

That took me to multiple NSW Titles and 2 x World Championships, simply eating good ‘balanced meals’ of REAL FOOD. You can’t beat it. Keep it simple.

Focus on food! Full stop.

 

11. Drink adequate amounts of liquids.

Too much water is better and less risky than too little.

A good guide is drinking 1L of water per 25kg – 30kg of bodyweight.

My apprentice drinking water as I have ‘coaching conversations’ with him

12. Manage your energies.

I’ve always thought that life is about energy management, not time-management.

Do try to spend more of your precious time with people and doing activities that give you energy – real energy and do your best to limit your time doing activities or being with people who drain you of energy.

Recuperation and rest for example is an activity that enhances your energies. Love yourself more. Give yourself more of it. Don’t feel guilty.

 

13. Keep calm.

Do this by slowing the mind. Quiet the mind. Find a way.

Find your way.

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

14.5 Stay healthy.

We’re all different, all unique.

Appreciate that uniqueness and ask yourself what your idea of ‘healthy’ is and how would you define it, with respect to every area in life – meal composition; amount of rest/sleep; play time; activities that you do; books that you read; visual programs that you watch etc.

Continue to ask yourself ‘what is healthy to you’ and promptly eliminate habits and behaviour that steal away from a more healthy you. Respect and love YOU first to truly respect and love all around you.

Take your health seriously if you want to optimise your ability to recuperate….

And live better …

… now and in to your future.

 

While you’re still breathing and can do something about it.

Just DO IT! ( I love this NIKE slogan …. my favourite of all time)

 

All the best!

 

Until next time,

The Old Cap’n Viking Pirate …. & essential workout Hacks/Lessons … for willing participants

Explaining the fine points of re-engineering the physique and increased self-awareness through enhanced ‘mind-muscle’ connection..

Belief in God has helped me represent Australia at two consecutive World Natural Bodybuilding Championships and achieve those dreams.
Never stop believin’.
Vv.

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