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Practise Perfect Posture – your life depends on it.

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Change your philosophy, change your life. Vv.

You see it everywhere you go. We all hear about it and we know someone who has it, but have you ever asked the question if you’ve got it too?

Bad posture, that is.

I think it is and has been a growing problem of modern societies today and I would claim, it is now at epidemic proportions. I believe it is a more costly problem to society than the well-known obesity epidemic that is gripping us.

But no one is talking about it, and yet, it is all around us! Everyone needs to practise perfect posture.

One of my key goals for twenty five years and one of the many reasons I love weight training is it allows me to continuously sculpt and design my ever evolving, dynamic physique towards better balance and symmetry. It never ends. Your body is never static, it is always changing.

I constantly apply my ‘adaptive strategy’ approach for this dynamic and complex environment/system that is the human body/mind/ heart and soul.

That is part of what I do and have done with the hundreds and thousands of students I have taught over the years. Design an improved version of themselves – they become a walking, talking, sitting, sleeping, living piece of art in motion with better balance and symmetry.

I help move people away from hate towards love. That is the essence of design, in my case, designing a new body – a new YOU. Incidentally, striving for improved balance and symmetry in my tailored programs, adopting my framework, indirectly and directly converts bad posture to good posture.

One of the many hidden benefits of my custom design bodies programs.

Good posture is needed for balance, symmetry and a healthy body. Take a look around – everyone that you see at the bus stop, on the train, on the street and even at home. If you’re brave enough, take a look at yourself. What is your posture telling you? Is it ideal? Can it be improved?

What you will see, is what I have stated in my first three sentences here – real impressive figures are few and far between. I look around and symptoms of the aged (like bad posture) is inflicting the young school children.

It is depressing to say the least. How did society get to this stage?

Not sure why children are being affected with this at such a young age, maybe because stooping low would gain more acceptance with friends. Standing straight, with good posture may offend someone, it may give an air of cockiness or a holier than thou perception.

Maybe. I don’t know, I was not one to succumb to peer pressure in teen years.

Sure, parents and carers notice this early on-set age-related ailments adopted by their teenage children. They must ask them to stand up straight but it seems that this habit is ‘set’ in by the time they arrive in their 20s. The poor posture is established and almost irreversible.

Sad, truly sad.

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Doing and being is essential to muscle building success for your health and muscle goals. Connect the two. Make them one. Vv.

The years of continuing bad posture has resulted in the less-than-ideal situation the aged population is suffering from now. A lot of people are living longer but spending the last twenty to thirty years after sixty five with delibitating posture and increasing immobility. Increase immobility leads to reduced sense of self-worth and increasing levels of mental diseases and worse.

We’re all getting older by the second, yes but could I suggest that we slow down the ageing process by firstly becoming aware of our posture every day. Everyone shouldn’t be too concerned with ‘living longer’! I think it is a sales gimmich, everyone should be aiming to:

“grow younger, not older!”

“Growing old” is a decision, afterall. A MIND-SET.

Is this possible? You bet ya!

First stage of any form of self-improvement is to increase your awareness. Then, consciously (in this case), you need to take ACTION – try to improve your way of standing, of walking and sitting.

I believe that correct posture helps manage stress and keeps us healthier. Poor posture on the other hand can have an adverse of effect on the internal organs, causing numerous aches and pains. The compound effect of this as we age results in the reduction of mobility which is an affliction of the aged population now.

I believe in striving towards ‘balance and symmetry’ of the body, through sufficient and appropriate weight-training, coupled with a sensible diet, stretching and cardiovascular exercise. The body works as one and you’re made up of a chain of muscles that are constantly contracting and extending. When one part of your body is out of alignment, the other areas are also off-set. The domino effect then takes hold.

A big mistake people make is thinking that the body will correct itself. No, it won’t! The body will grow to the shape and posture they consistently adopt and practise every single day.

Think about it – the more you slump, the more you lose flexibility so you not only move older, you FEEL OLDER and you APPEAR OLDER!

Now, why would you want that for yourself?! Aren’t we all aiming to ‘off-set the on-set’ of ageing as best we can?

I’ve said it before that a prerequisite for the elusive balance and symmetry (and health ) of the body (and mind, dare I say) is good posture. I will go as far as saying that a person who consciously carries him or herself with a proud upright posture is more likely to come across as a fit, energetic, and even a more attractive and hence more desirable individual.

Yes, you read that right!

Having a good posture makes you MORE ATTRACTIVE!

If this is the case, why aren’t more people doing it? Because it takes effort – it takes work and deliberate practise because to achieve good posture, you need to make a habit of checking your posture and correcting it if necessary.

It can be hard work.

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Fine-tuning the ‘mind-muscle’ connection through intense posing. Hold!

A few things to consider to help you work towards your ideal good posture:

  • Is your butt sticking out too much that it causes a sway in your appearance?
  • Is your shoulders slumping forward causing your scapulae to stand out like wings in your back?
  • Do you balance evenly on you feet?
  • Do you round your back when eating at your dinner table?
  • Do you tilt your head to one side when using a computer or while writing?
  • Do you allow your head to stick out in front of your body?

I truly believe that posture can reveal as much about a person as his/her face does. Poor posture can make you a billboard of insecurity and old age. Why add to the effects of gravity? Everything will sag in time – don’t accelerate the process, gravity does not need help!

I also believe that it is every human being’s ultimate responsibility to take care of themselves and do everything they can to slow the ageing process and the effects of gravity. This amazing, unrelenting force is tugging at you and me this very moment!

One way that is within your control and that you can fight this force is to have good posture.

If you want to instantly improve your attractiveness, you don’t need to run to plastic surgery or put on tonnes of make-up, work on your posture. Attraction is the greatest factor in love. It’s hard to relate easily to a man or woman you find unattractive. We all enjoy relating to attractive people.

I’ll say it again – posture is one key ingredient to this attractiveness.

So, you see, posture is the one thing we can all improve almost instantly. In time, you can then work on other significant changes.

Here are my top 3 tips for you to adopt to work towards good posture:

  • Quit overeating, over-drinking and smoking
  • Start exercising regularly – three to four times per week
  • Consciously check and correct your posture throughout the day

Then ….

When you walk, practise perfect posture and … walk as if you were seven feet tall!

I know I do (even though I am ‘slightly under six feet tall’).

Best of vitality to you!

 

Until next time,

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My beautiful daughter and I enjoying “Daddy-daughter time” on the Ferris Wheel at Luna Park in amazing Sydney, Australia.

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

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

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

Don’t believe the headline – eating and drinking in excess this Christmas will not help you lose weight!

But I am making a point as to how we can become needlessly fearful (because of all the conflicting views out there) of exercising with weights or eating certain foods or doing just about anything.

Everyone seems to have an ‘opinion’ these days with the proliferation of social media and a lot of these views have insufficient and inappropriate evidence (scientific) to back them up. This applies to almost everything, but especially, weight/fat loss and exercise and eating and drinking, because well, we all do these activities, more or less.

It seems that everyone is suddenly an expert.

Anyone can show how, by selectively citing some scientific research and blowing it all out of context, you can build a case for any argument, including the subject heading that I have used.

If you have a small amount of scientific nous, it is super easy for someone to give an opinion and by selectively citing some scientific research (based on some ridiculously small sample) and blowing it all out of context. You see this quite regularly on mainstream media as the ‘sensationalism’ of these stories sells ratings.

Below is the start of my view on fat loss and body re-engineering …

If you need to lose fat leading up to the festive season and summer (in some parts of the world – like Sydney, Australia) – build muscle. Naturally. Full stop!

There are countless weight-loss programs on the net and every where you go and read. Terrific for increasing awareness. However, fat-loss plans and weight-loss plans that don’t include strength training, fundamentally, rob the body of muscle.

Now, you don’t want to do something that robs the body of muscle because the process of ageing does this anyway. Ageing, is partly, by definition, the deterioration of muscles due to the reduction in protein synthesis.

Weight-training to build muscle ‘off-sets the on-set of ageing’. It is the potion of youth. It keeps people younger, longer. I know, because I have witnessed these people who seem to look and act five, ten, fifteen and twenty years younger.

The common denominator: they build muscle!

I’ve always told everyone I have ever helped over the last two decades that every kilogram of muscle is a fat burning dynamo! Yep, a fat-burning dynamo.

If you compare your body’s metabolism (the rate at which it ‘burns’ calories) to that of an engine of a car, when you build lean body mass (muscle), you increase the engine size and power of your body. Your car engine (metabolism) goes from, say, a 1.8l engine to a 4.0l or even an 8.0l engine over time.

Muscle loss reduces calorie requirements, makes fat loss more difficult, and creates increased obstacles to the maintenance of a lean body, once the excess fat has been lost.

Fundamentally, your ‘life-force’ (or vitality) will be sucked out of you and you will literally feel like cr&p! Every single minute of every single day. Now, why would you or anyone for that matter want to feel like that every single day. I could and still can’t understand why people still do this to themselves. Instead of doing ‘life-affirming’ actions, they instead do ‘life destroying’ actions.

Not smart. Not sustainable.

Put simply, and to sum up – always remember, to help maintain a lean body, build muscle.

It is as simple as that!

However, like some philosopher once said, “the easy things are also the hardest things to do”.

So, don’t think. Do!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To assist in the quality of your life right now, consider improving on these:

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

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

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

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

Live, really live.

Until next time,

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

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

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Torn between two hands.

My beautiful wife of almost 12 years now. My love for this human being keeps increasing every single day.

My beautiful wife and co-captain in life of over 15 years now. My love for this human being keeps increasing every single day.

I love life.

Being an avid student of life, I think a lot about life and it’s definitions and prevailing beliefs and belief systems, on all levels.

I think every individual should have a continuously questioning curiosity to everything in life, which includes their existing beliefs and values and everything else. A questioning attitude just like scientists have had and use in their reasoning.

I ask again what it means to be a man?

I’ll say it again, it can be difficult to be a man in today’s world. I believe he is torn between two hands. Let me elaborate. You see, every man – every male strives to meet his basic psychological needs.

“And what are these?” I hear you say.

Well, firstly, I believe it is simply to know and be known. If we keep it simple, in addition to this, every man needs to love and be loved.

He also needs other very important psychological needs. By “other”, I believe men need deep caring relationships with other men. If I recall correctly, I think it was one of the disciples (James I think) who said christians should be encouraged to confess their sins to each other and pray for each other … or somewhere along these lines.

What does this mean for us?

Well, I believe it means that every man should have another man who would have their back. What this boils down to is that a man who does not have at least one other man to whom he can be accountable regarding his failures, hurts and temptations is a prime target for masculine anger.

You witness evidence of this erupting in almost all areas of our society – in families, in schools, in workplaces, in communities, in countries and between nations.

The angry man in our society is caught between an unrealistic ideal brain-washed in to him by previous generations. That is all they knew. They knew no better.

Today’s men strive to live up to this “unrealistic mythical masculinity ideal or stereotype” on the one hand and true masculinity on the other.

He feels the pressure to –

  • Achieve
  • Earn
  • Conquer
  • Win

And in a lot of cases, do all these things on his own. Do it at all costs. Costs to his health, his relationships, his family, his community of friends.

… just to live up to these unrealistic expectations society places on him of outdated stereotypes of what it means to be a ‘real man’. But every man has a vulnerable side. Every man is a Mr Vulnerable too where he also feels the need to love and to nurture those he loves and be loved and nurtured by those who loves him.

But this is an impossible ideal. An impossible dream. As he, today’s Real Man futilely attempts to reconcile the two in his own life. He is torn between being invincible and vulnerable, aloof and involved, self-serving and sharing.

He is torn between two hands.

The roots of this conflict send up numerous shoots of anger-producing tendencies in his life.

Anger tendencies that can be dangerous for the man, the people around him, the community he lives in and the nation as a whole.

With the next generation of Valentine males - Zachary.

With the next generation of Valentine males – Zachary.

Men should not be made to feel ‘torn between two hands’. Men should not be made to be torn between these two ideals. Men should not feel they should travel alone. Men should also welcome the vulnerable side of him. Men should accept that sharing this responsibility is one of the best ways to move forward in the direction of a new definition of what it means to be a Real Man in today’s world.

It is not fair on the man and not fair on those he loves. I feel very blessed that the woman who chose me to spend the rest of her life with allows me to be vulnerable. It is “Mother’s Day” today and she is the most amazing woman I have ever met in my life so far. My children are very blessed to have her as their mother. She is my co-captain on our ship through the sea of life.

For the women reading this, please try and listen to your man, really listen. Listen with your two ears, your body, your spirit and your heart. Help him be Mr Vulnerable too, if you’re not already doing so.

And for the man, embrace your Mr Vulnerable. It does not make you less of a man. I believe it makes you more of what it means to be a Real Man. Today’s definition of a modern-day Real Man, what true masculinity really is.

It is one of the most important gifts you can give the little men (our sons) of the future. The young men we entrust to lead and make decisions when we are old and grey and when we are gone and forgotten.

Do it for the future of Man-kind.

 

Until next time,

My daughter and I. I cherish every moment I have with her. She allows me to be Mr Vulnerable too. Vv.

My daughter and I.
I cherish every moment I have with her.
She sees a healthy dose of masculinity in me and Mr Vulnerable too.
Vv.

Its ok to be Mr Vulnerable. Vv.

Its ok to be Mr Vulnerable.
Vv.

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Are you the master or slave to your “shadow”?

Each rep of each exercise, executed with constant tension throughout the full range of motion gets you closer to the person you 'imagine yourself to be'. Goal of set: make the last rep as good as the first. An A+ student here - Phil Waugh.

Each rep of each exercise, executed with constant tension throughout the full range of motion gets you closer to the person you ‘imagine yourself to be’.
Goal of set: make the last rep as good as the first.
An A+ student here – Phil Waugh.

In daylight or any light for that matter, you cast a shadow. Even if the sun or light is right above you, your shadow is still there. It is always there. Your shadow here can be likened to your self-image, your sub-conscious. Are you the master or slave to your shadow?

It is an interesting relationship – this one between you and your shadow. Can be likened to a ‘master-slave’ relationship where you would think that YOU are the master and your shadow, the slave.

All actions you take comes from this relationship. Well, many actions can be taken by the master but no action whatsoever can be taken without consulting the shadow.

The shadow or the ‘sub-conscious’ ability of the mind houses your very important ‘self-image’. By the time we are adults, we would have developed a self-image about every talent, every characteristic and every performance we have ever had. Have you ever heard yourself or others state perceptions out loud like – “I’m a lousy cook, I can’t even scramble eggs’ or “I have a terrible memory”. “I’m never on time”. “I can’t stick to a healthy diet”. I have heard many of these self-limiting impositions people have made and believed in my time in the gym.

These all make up your shadow, shaped by your subconscious mind. The important thing to remember is this:

“you cannot outgrow these limits you place on yourself – you can only set new limits within which you must live.”

Results with care. Here, Brad is 'feeling the essence' of the exercise and inching closer to his best self. Managing your 'shadow' better is a giant step towards realising your goals. Vv

Results with care.
Here, Brad is ‘feeling the essence’ of the exercise and inching closer to his best self.
Managing your ‘shadow’ better is a giant step towards realising your goals. Vv

In my two decades of helping individuals in the gym find the best version of themselves, whether it be in losing weight or in quitting a bad habit, effort alone is not enough to achieve and sustain the goals. You also need imagination!

I always tell my students that they need to “walk, talk, eat, sleep, sh%t, talk, run …. Like the person they need to be, before they become the person they will be.” As there is another important point to remember:

  • It is not what you “are” that holds you back, it’s “what you think you are not.”

I have learned a lot about people and a lot from the many thousands of people I have met over the last two decades in the gym. I love ‘people watching’ and one thing I do know that holds true for every person is this:

  • Individuals DO NOT behave in accordance with reality. Individuals behave in accordance with their ‘perception of reality’.

What is your reality? What is your perception of the ‘truth’?

I have found that if a person does not desire to work on changing his/her self-beliefs that are aligned with the person they desire to be then the change they are seeking will be temporary. This will apply to any worthwhile change, for example weight loss, alcohol consumption or quitting smoking and so forth.

Self-image is fundamental to understanding human behaviour and what I discovered years ago is that if you change a person’s self-image, you change their personality and their behaviour. I think this is a very important part of any mentoring/coaching role, whether it be in a team capacity or on an individual basis.

This is why effort (or will-power) alone is not enough to make a change that is lasting in yourself. Trying to make a worthwhile change at the conscious level by using will-power, will usually result in a temporary change. I have seen this many times with the thousands of gym goers that seek a positive change in their lives. You see them – bursting out of their seams doing all the group classes, sporting the latest clothing gear, looking the ‘part’ but never achieving their goals.

There are many reasons that people fail to achieve lasting change but a big part of it is that they try and take on a new habit for example – going to the gym or give up a bad habit for example – one-pack-a-day smoker for ten years by good ol-fashioned, teeth-gritting WILL POWER.

This is where people fundamentally go wrong: people think that they are masters of their shadow and have not understood that they are in fact slaves to their shadow, the shadow being your subconscious part of your mind. Because they have not spent the time working on their self-beliefs that make up part of their self-image, the conscious mind is still unconvinced.

Two principles of building muscle: 1) Simplicity and 2} Continuity. Become aware; Apply action: Adapt accordingly.

Two principles of building muscle: 1) Simplicity and 2} Continuity.
Become aware; Apply action: Adapt accordingly.

Reminds me of a client I trained a few years ago. He did very well. He lost around 30kg and built a decent physique. He worked very hard and was a very good student. For about 8 months I reminded him daily of the importance of ‘walking, talking, sitting, eating, sleeping, shi%ting …. Like the person he desires to be”. And for those first 8 months he told me he had it under control and he had mastered this request of mine.

However, I wasn’t convinced he was (even though he had achieved a body-weight he had not been at since he was a late teenager). It was unchartered territory for him.

It wasn’t until he went out and played a round of golf with some of his old mates one weekend that he truly understood what I meant by that statement and what I said was his biggest challenge was.

For the entire round of golf, he was having an extremely bad day and he couldn’t understand why he was hitting the ball that bad. It just so happened that a friend in the group (an ex-Olympian who understood a bit of sport psychology) went up to him and said,

“you are still hitting the ball like you were the guy who was 30kg heavier – the old YOU?”

That was when everything crystallised. He then realised what I had meant when I reminded him of how important it was to train his mind and mastering his shadow. I have said this a thousand times over the last two decades – losing weight is the easy part. What is the most difficult thing to do is convincing the REAL YOU that you are the NEW YOU.

In the case of the example of the smoker, your shadow (self-image) has seen you as a smoker for the past ten years and believes that you will still “see” yourself inside as a smoker.

Result: The smoker fails his attempt to quit smoking. Puts it in the “Too – hard busket.”

This is where imagination and emotion (or heart) comes in to the equation. I have always believed that effort (will-power and hard work) alone is not enough to achieve lasting results, one needs imagination and ‘heart’. You need to feel the end result you are seeking.

If you don’t change your self-image or shadow then when there is a conflict between will-power and conviction, the latter will always WIN. You can see this in action for example when you know you’re tired but you’re convinced you won’t sleep, you just won’t sleep no matter how hard you try (will-power).

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.

For any worthwhile change to be sustainable and permanent in your personality or behaviour, you should first involve change in your belief-systems and self-image (change the control your shadow has over you). This change in self-image needs to be followed up with a quality plan and quality implementation for any successful change in your lifestyle.

We make decisions (small and big) every single moment of every day of our lives. To me, most if not all decisions in life come down to 2 things:

  1. Plan
  2. Implementation

You need these 2 things if you want to get results. That is easy to understand. It follows then that to achieve QUALITY RESULTS, you need to have a QUALTIY Plan and have QUALITY implementation.

So, a question you would ask yourself is “are you going to be a slave to your shadow for the rest of your life” and use it as a ‘handicap’ or are you going to use this shadow as a springboard to achieving greatness?” However, which way you define greatness.

Scientists agree that the human nervous system cannot tell the difference between an actual experience and an experience imagined vividly, emotionally and in detail. This is why your shadow can be used as a springboard to achieving greatness if that is what you choose to achieve.

It is yet another of the many decisions you have to make in your life. A choice.

So, it would follow that you need to “see’ through the eyes of the person  you would like to be if you desire to be the person you desire to be.

You need to take control and manage your shadow if you wish to make any worthwhile, sustainable change in YOU and your life. Let me sum it up in this formula:

A quality plan + quality implementation = quality life.

This is what my framework and the products I have developed help people do. I give them a quality plan (tailored to each individual) and I guide them through quality implementation towards a quality result. So, don’t leave such an important aspect of self-achievement with the ‘lottery of life’ attitude, that a big percentage of the population do – you can see this behaviour reflected in the popularity and increasing prevalence of games of chances, led by the gambling industry.

It is the one thing you have some control over, if you desired it. What is needed from you is the courage to manage your shadow better and become master to it and not the servant. Make a quality plan to change your belief systems for the better and use your shadow (self-image) as a spring board to a better YOU, a better LIFE.

Overcoming many small hurdles on your way to achieving your ultimate goal is encouraging. Progress, any form of progress is a motivating factor. So, don't strive for perfection, instead seek progress ... towards your ideal SELF. Vv

Overcoming many small hurdles on your way to achieving your ultimate goal is encouraging.
Progress, any form of progress is a motivating factor.
So, don’t strive for perfection, instead seek progress … towards your ideal SELF.
Vv

So, if there is one important investment you will ever make and abstain from putting the ‘cart before the horse’ like the majority of people do, is to work on your shadow. In order to do this, you need to understand your shadow, understand the REAL YOU. You need to increase your awareness. The first step to any form of self-improvement.

To do this, to understand – you need to work towards simplifying things. Matter of fact, in the beginning you need to ‘over-simplify’ things to understand things better – to ‘manage your funnel better’.

So, that is your first step, simplify YOU. Simplify your life. Make the complex, simple. Simplify to understand. Understand you and your shadow. Seek to understand the master-slave relationship that exists. Before becoming a master of the many other external things in life, become a master to yourself – your shadow.

Work towards managing this master-slave relationship in your favour. Take better control of your shadow by understanding and changing your self-image, with a vivid, clear, emotional, sensory vision of the person you want to be.

If you have children, watch them play ‘pretend’ games. Understand your shadow by adopting this “lets pretend” attitude, and play the role of whomever you want to be. My kids just don’t go out of character until the pretend game has ended. Imagination is one thing my kids have helped me improve over the last few years of fatherhood.

So continue to work on your imagination and believe in your dreams. Believe you can become a better version of YOU and try ‘pretending’ you ARE before YOU ARE. After-all, your shadow cannot tell the difference between “The real me” and the ‘the one I see’.

Managing my shadow better, helped me towards representing Australia twice at the World Natural Body-building Championships and be placed in the Top 5 in the world in consecutive years. It has also been one of the reasons over 84% of everyone I have ever helped over the last 10 years have successfully achieved their goals or better.

So, don’t be a slave to your shadow. Instead work towards becoming the master that you deserve to be and be the best you can be, for YOU first (in whatever worthwhile goal you have), and by default everyone gets the best of you too. Be the best you can be to live the best life you can live.

Besides, I read somewhere a long time ago that life is like a parachute, you only have one chance to open/live it.

Choose well.

All the best.

Until next time,

World Natural Bodybuilding Championships. Side Chest pose. Placing: 4th.

World Natural Bodybuilding Championships.
Side Chest pose.
Placing: 4th.

Side Triceps pose in the heat of competition at the 2007 World Natural Bodybuilding Contest held in NY, USA. Represented Australia. Ranked: 4th Best Natural Bodybuilder in the World. Repeated this in 2008.

Side Triceps pose in the heat of competition at the 2007 World Natural Bodybuilding Contest held in NY, USA.
Represented Australia.
Ranked: 4th Best Natural Bodybuilder in the World.
Repeated this in 2008.

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action, adaptation, awareness, belief systems, Beliefs, change, choices, courage, Energy, game of life, Imagination, life, long-term strategy, perspective, planning, respect, self-image, you

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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awareness, belief systems, Beliefs, change, choices, Energy, game of life, Imagination, life, long-term perspective, mind, perspective, respect, self-image, you

The Simple-Complex Man.

With the next generation of Valentine males - Zachary.

With the next generation of Valentine males – Zachary.

Being a modern-day dad can be tough. No dad out there will say that this role is easy. But being a modern-day man, can be tougher.

Most men reading this would agree.

You see, I believe there have been generations of men who were failed by their fathers and are lost in a cloud of confusion. A lot of men spend a lifetime aimlessly drifting, through no fault of their own, succumbing to mindless misinterpretations of masculine identity.

Spending all their lives searching for the real meaning of what it means to be a real MAN – an authentic man.

If you’re a dad, have you thought about the influence you’re having on your children, especially your sons – If you have sons? It is amazing how our sons mimic everything we do, our actions, the way we walk and talk and almost all other mannerisms.

Do you realize that your little boy (s) is watching you like a hawk? He is closely examining you all the time. I find this happening with my son, Zachary. I think he is inquisitively trying to figure out what maleness is all about, and I am his role model just like you are your son’s role model. This is one of the many ways his existence has made me strive to be a better man. A better father.

Now, that is a tonne of responsibility right there. For all men with sons.

If you’re a Christian, I hope they see in you a deep, uncompromising love for God. You see, I try to strive for balance and hope that he sees both toughness and tenderness. I believe if you can demonstrate this balance and communicate it through your actions, this is one aspect will serve them well, as boys and later on, as young men of the world.

If you have daughters as well, this delicate balance of toughness and tenderness will also benefit your little girl(s), too. I believe they will grow up with a clear vision of the kind of men who make a good husband (if they choose to marry).

To all men reading this, take a good look at YOU in the mirror and ask yourself, are you the BEST MAN you can be? Are you an authentic man?

What do I mean by that, I hear you say?

Well, it simply means that you have accepted yourself as a ‘simple-complex’ male. That your masculinity is authentic because you’re flexible, you have built-in ‘elasticity’ in your manhood. You’re not afraid to get in touch with your feminine side.

Authentic men have a deeper sense of security.

There has been a growing number of emasculated men in today’s society. I have observed this over the last 20 years or so of being in and around male-dominated gyms and helping hundreds of men of all ages, help themselves, find themselves. But also, an observation of life, in general.

Emasculated men are Men who appear to not know what it means to be a real man. This is very sad indeed. These men should work on their balance by becoming secure enough. Secure enough, by confronting timidity and fear and to take more risks and commitments.

There are places and services available today that can help men. A good place to consider adding to your life is working on your ‘self’ in the gym. Get stronger. Get healthier. Feel better. Feel fitter. Re-claim your sense of balance. Re-claim part of the essence of masculinity, for no one else but – YOU.

On the other hand, there still exists a decent level of macho men too. I think these men should seek balance, too, by becoming secure enough to crawl out from under the false pretensions and quit trying to impress everyone around them. …

Just like in the superheroes of “Fantastic 4” where there is an elastic hero. An authentic man is an elastic man. He is a man that can lead with firmness, but also submit with humility.

I recall the great student of life – Bruce Lee saying, one has to be like water. It takes the shape of whatever form it is in. Water can break the toughest rock and can be very gentle and calm. It can exist in every state. It is essential to the very essence of life.

“Be water, my friend” – he says.

An authentic man strives to be like water.

An authentic man can challenge with precision and swiftness but also encourage enthusiasm. He can muster aggression when required to fight for causes he believes in but moments later, cry and empathise with those that are suffering.

If you’re a Christian male, remember this: we’re all created in the image of God. You’re a magnificent creature, even if you have never had anyone say that to you.

You’re male and you’re loved by God almighty. I am sure non-Christians’ faith spread similar messages of love – for you, the man.

Strive to be that “Mr Flexible” or as I say “Mr Flex – Able” … find that authentic man inside you (if you haven’t already done so). Be comfortable being your own ‘simple-complex’ man.

All the very best on your search becoming that authentic man you hope and imagine yourself to be.

Until next time,

 

Providing a little bit of assistance. My pupil here 'feeling the essence' of the exercise. In this instance, experiencing a pump in the guns/biceps. Sometimes, its the little things, that determine your success in pursuit of a worthwhile goal.

Providing a little bit of assistance. Brad, here ‘feeling the essence’ of the exercise. In this instance, experiencing a pump in the guns/biceps.
Sometimes, its the little things, that determine your success in pursuit of a worthwhile goal.

 

A teacher-pupil relationship is rewarding to both.

A healthy teacher-pupil relationship is a beautiful thing. Brad, here, is an ‘A’ student.

Black & White Photos by Robert Walsh of Robert Walsh Photography. For more information, look up

“www.robertwalsh.com.au”. Brilliant Artist. Skilled Professional. Wonderful human-being. Thanks Rob! Paul.

VVc_logo_cropped

 

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action, awareness, belief systems, Beliefs, body, choices, Energy, game of life, Imagination, life, long-term perspective, mind, muscles, perspective, planning, respect, self-image, truths, workout, you

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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