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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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A Happiness KEY: Be naked, exposed and vulnerable.

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In the heat of battle at the World Natural Bodybuilding Championships, NY, USA. Me (4th ranked) and competitor (3rd placed) striking a “Triceps Pose”.

A wise friend told me once a long time ago that if you love life, life will love you back.

I have seen them, so perhaps have you – people who seem to have been freshly scrubbed or newly minted. They have taut skins and great smiles. How do they do it?

They do it partly through increased respect for their body, spirit/soul, heart and mind.

If you see one of these people, ask them their secret and then … get in touch with me and we can tell it to the world. Their secret would be worth more than a pot of gold!

Well, after twenty five years of helping people, help themselves work towards a better version of themselves, I believe a key factor is in better energy management and also that these lucky people have better experience of happiness, daily.

Managing energy better does not only refer to raw materials taken in and outputs expanded from the human machine that is the human body, it also refers to our state of mind and state of heart and spirit.

It seems that many people are of the belief that constantly ‘being happy’ is desired and so they spend all of their day choosing and stressing about being happy. I believe that striving to constantly be in a state of happiness takes you further and further away from the elusive happiness. They do so to such an extent that the drive to be constantly happy leads to unhappiness and an empty feeling.

Why is that so, I ask?

Well, it is because, a human being is also an emotional and spiritual being. I believe that to be truly human, one needs to be able to feel ALL emotions, not just being happy all the time. A human being needs to feel emotions including those that are unpleasant – like anger, hatred or sadness amongst others. One needs to FEEL the whole gamut of emotions in one’s life to be truly closer to happiness.

So, in essence you have to experience UNHAPPINESS to experiencing growth towards happiness in your life. There is no other way. This is a key to happiness.

There is a catch though, as (like anything worthwhile getting), it isn’t as easy as it sounds. To get closer to genuine happiness in your life, you need to strip bare (be honest and brave to oneself); be naked, expose oneself to the world and allow oneself to be vulnerable.

This is a difficult task and for some people, impossible.

Being vulnerable is liberating, it is a genuine taste of freedom. Being vulnerable is truth … it is peace. Being vulnerable is harmony and symmetry … being vulnerable is beauty.

I believe part of the reason people don’t allow themselves to feel the full range of emotions, particularly the unpleasant ones is that we’re all sort of brainwashed to some extent, that ‘getting in touch’ with your inner negative feelings is not recommended and frowned upon.

There is a high need and practise in modern day society to reason and provide an objective and logical explanation to everything, without any feeling. That is the key phrase – “without any feeling’. It seems that people think that they must express everything like this – giving well thought out, logical, step by step reasons for a situation without any empathy and feeling.

You see it everywhere, where people frown upon or look at you with surprise when you voice your disagreement, disgust, anger, frustration and so forth because you actually allowed yourself to experience that emotion.

Oh no, that’s not civilized, not good behaviour … you need ‘anger management’ help. A load of c%ap!

And why is this so?

Well, I have told my wife this many times over the years – that the lack of ‘feeling’ is increasingly a sure sign that peoples’ spiritual lives being poverty-stricken.

Basically, one cannot give and share what one does not have in the first place. In other words, we cannot mirror, cannot radiate the tenderness (of God/positive energy) because people have not experienced it themselves. Sad, but true.

If you believe in God, in a God, please understand one thing: I believe that God expects us to show all of our feelings to him – happy and unhappy feelings, everything. Nothing is off-limits!

However, I believe that before a man or a woman can really FEEL his or her own feelings and be able to express them fully, you have to go back to your past and deal with any hurt or anger. Ask for forgiveness and ask God (and your God) for your forgiveness.

There are few certainties in life – death and taxes are two of them. A third one and one that is relevant to my message in this blog is that God does not change, God is a certainty.

He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Because of this, if you believe in him and you believe in his healing power, you can let go. You can forgive and be forgiven for your past, because it can be UNDONE and off-loaded on to God forever, releasing the shackels you’ve put yourself in.

This is what is meant by being naked.

Allowing you to feel empowered again in your own skin – to be unarmoured … to come out from the wall of invulnerability on those deeply sensitive spots that hold you back from truly feeling the whole spectrum of feelings.

So, being naked, being totally exposed, ironically, provides you with the ultimate armour: increased spiritual connectedness.

A man or woman who has embraced this heightened spirituality, invites wonderful healing of painful memories formed in his or her past. This healing, in turn is the key to be more caring, more empathetic outward expressions (including unpleasant ones too).

Increased awareness of your spiritual part to your whole being allows you to let down the walls of invulnerability, allows you to drop the façade’. It allows the TRUE SELF to be set free, the TRUE YOU.

A great thinker once said that the most difficult thing for a person to do in his or her lifetime is to BE HIM or HERSELF, in a world that is constantly trying to make you somebody else.

So, building your spiritual self allows you to be more of who you really are, not somebody else, not a fake you. You get to love yourself more which ultimately shows in how you show love to others (outwardly), because you are now naked and exposed and vulnerable.

This vulnerability allows you to experience not only the happy feelings but also the unhappy feelings or the undesirable feelings and be more complete.

You see, to me happiness is more than simply feeling pleasure and avoiding pain. Happiness is about having experiences that are meaningful and valuable, including emotions that you think are the right ones to have (others may not think so). All emotions can be positive in some contexts and negative in others, regardless of whether they are pleasant or unpleasant.

Happiness is also about being content, a sub-set of happiness.

So, if your goal is to be more happy (and almost every human being has this goal) then to be more happy, learn to feel more. Learn to be unhappy occasionally (when appropriate), don’t be afraid to. It is human to feel these less-than-desired emotions.

To get closer to the elusive happiness – be naked (and honest with your spiritual self). Be real and authentic. Be You. No one else in the world can play that role better than you can …. The role of YOU.

Here’s to your happiness (and unhappiness)!

 

Until next time,

 

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Arnold Schwarzenegger exterior, Tom Hanks interior.

With my trophy – doing the “Abdominal/Thigh” pose.
Top 5 Natural BodyBuilder in the world.

I love observing life and society and everything around me. I am a student of life. In recent years (last ten to fifteen years or so), I have noticed that men are forgetting or maybe do not know or are unsure of what it means to be a Man anymore.

A Real Man.

I have a few theories about how this has reached a growing and worrying societal problem now and for the future, but I won’t go in to that in this blog. No, I’m going to dance with the idea of what a Real Man is or should be.

What should the mark of a Real Man be?

Status in society? Richness in money? Accumulated financial wealth? Power? A tattoo, maybe? I’m sure you’ll have your opinion and definitions.

One word: GRIT.

I believe this is one characteristic of a Real Man. And a sub-set of this word Grit (along with resilience, unrelenting, solution-oriented etc), is simply “toughness”.

But it does not end there.

What is more important than toughness? It is exercising the RIGHT KIND of toughness. Anyone can be tough and we all are at various points in our lives but not many people can call on the right kind of toughness at the right time.

Now this takes skill, this takes effort and work and deliberate thinking and practise to get it right. Now, this characteristic is the foundation of a Real Man . It is the building blocks of what it means to be a Real Man.

It feeds in to his strength of character.

But that is only half of what a real man is.

The other fifty percent should be intimacy, gentleness. Don’t you think so?

Put together, you have what I refer to as a possible definition of a real man. He has an Arnold Schwarzenegger exterior (toughness) and a Tom Hanks (gentleness) interior.

How should we go about attaining these two qualities of a Real Man?

Well, I believe each man should strive for ‘balance’. Everything comes down to balance – internally and externally. So, every man should consciously strive for balance with both qualities.

Knowing when to be tough is as important as knowing when to be tender.

The wise man has the power of discernment and knows when to exercise either. The art in the dance through life is in developing this power of discernment towards balance.

Balance is achieved when a man stops trying to be someone else but the man that is truly reflected through the eyes he sees look back at him in the mirror. A man needs to just be himself and believe in the Holy Spirit or his inner-self, his Real Self and not be afraid to let him out. To let him be vulnerable.

The more vulnerable you become as a man through increased positive self-awareness, the more ‘Real’ you become. The closer you get to becoming more authentic, more of a Real Man.

A man cannot just choose Toughness and no tenderness or only choose to be gentle (and a gentleman) all the time and not be tough. No, this leads to confusion with his self and also with his woman and every person around him. Simply, because he is not clear on his role as a man and what it means to be a Real Man.

A Real Man is partly defined by having both these traits continuously intertwined in his daily life. At home and at work and play. It is a never-ending, dynamic complex fusion of chaos and order to produce something unique: the Real Man.

Being just tough results in a man being cold, distant, intolerant, unbearable and impatient. What we’ve all been brought up hearing society (mainly angry women) refer to “All Men are As#holes! “. Very unfair because not all men are like that.

But, being tough and tender brings about something different, something elusive. It makes a man appear closer to what I refer to as beauty.

And why do I say that?

Well, being tough AND tender … results in gentleness, thoughtfulness and being considerate. The man is more attuned to the principles of nature which is harmony.

Being tough and tender brings you closer to the elusive balance and symmetry of life. Brings you closer to what I refer to as ‘beauty’. I love formulas and mathematics so here is a little formula for you, based on my hypothesis of what a Real Man is:

Tough + Tender => Balance + Symmetry ==> Beauty!

So, all you men reading this, ask yourself if you can be beautiful. If you strive towards balance and symmetry in these two strengths of character – toughness and tenderness, you run the risk of being referred to as a ‘beautiful man’.

And why not, the word beautiful should not only be reserved for women, cars, sculptures and paintings and flowers. No, men too can be beautiful.

Being referred to as beautiful is worth the risk because I believe a beautiful man is a Real Man.

Work on your beauty and not be just a “Gentle-man” or “Tough-man”, no, work towards being a Beautiful-Man.

A Beautiful Man is A Real Man!

Until next time,

Explaining the principles of training within my programs.

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The greatest expression of self-respect.

Say no. Vv.

Say no.
Vv.

The first twenty years of my life was a little more difficult than the second twenty years of my life and it was partly because of one little thing, one little ‘mosquito’.

That little mosquito I am referring to is the inability to say ‘no’. Sometimes, when left to grow, that little “mozzie” (Australian lingo for mosquito) can become huge problems like dengue fever or even the deadly malaria which has been responsible for more deaths than all the deaths caused by wars since the beginning of the world.

The ability to know when to and actually say ‘no’ is, I believe, the greatest expression of self-respect.

It reminds me of what a great wise eighty five year old friend of mine said to me before he died about four years ago, that –

“elephants don’t bite, mosquitoes do.”  Or in other words – Little things matter. So true, indeed.

What about you? Think about your life to this point. Did you suffer from this too? If you still do, you’re not alone because I believe that a large proportion of humans in the world still cannot get this “mosquito problem” under control.

For me, in those first twenty years of my life, not being able to say no sometimes felt akin to a dog chasing its tail, never getting anywhere and not knowing where the start and end of everything was. I strived to please everybody and their requests and was constantly disappointed.

It was hard – very hard. Until one day, I came to the realisation that you cannot please everyone and not everyone will agree with you and that is ok. Increased awareness is one very important step and then taking appropriate and sufficient action, finally leading you to adapting you or your environment or a combination of both.

I had a simple but significant change in philosophy. or the way I saw life and how life operates.

I realised that you don’t owe anything to anyone in life except one thing: love. And, contrary to what some believe, sometimes the most loving thing you can do is to say no to someone else’s request or simply saying no to an internal request – a want you need to immediately gratify. Self-control from or delayed satisfaction for oneself with regards to wants, is the greatest expression of self-respect you can give yourself.

An indication that you genuinely love the person who see looking back at you when you look at yourself in the mirror – you!

It is quite interesting but that is one of the most underrated traits in this world – simply, the power and strength to say ‘no’.

Saying 'no' to the maxim "No pain, no gain" could be one of the best things you can do for your joints and longevity in the gym. Choose your exercise and exercise execution wisely. More is not necessarily better. Vv.

Saying ‘no’ to the maxim “No pain, no gain” could be one of the best things you can do for your joints and longevity in the gym.
Choose your exercise and exercise execution wisely.
More is not necessarily better.
Vv.

The power to say no is empowering. The power to say no is so great, I have literally seen it make the impossible – possible in the lives of many people I have helped. The power to say no allows individuals to create their own miracles, to release the champion that rests dormant within them.

I have witnessed it, it is amazing – the power to say no is a miracle waiting to happen! You don’t have to climb Mount Everest to feel on top of the world. No, the feeling you get when you say no is even better, more profound, because each and every uttering of no, builds your ability climb all the internal mountain climbs you face in your life.

Mountains you will get to the top of. If I remember correctly I think it was Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb Mount Everest that put it:

“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.”

This is something that I request from and re-enforce with everyone that I have helped over the years. The ability to summon courage to start saying ‘no’ again within their re-engineering programs. I encourage each of them to say no to some of the excesses of life that they may have been used to experiencing to that point in their lives. I encourage them to say no to excuses.

I know it seems counter-intuitive to deprive yourself of what you desire to get what you ultimately desire but it is vitally important to achieving goals you place a high priority on. Even a little no with conviction is far better than a lame, weak ‘yes’. It takes a lot of courage to say no.

“Saying no to help you, help yourself, get what you care about, to get what you want!” is what I say to my students.

Saying no to self-limiting beliefs, thought patterns, words, actions, habits and character traits that are not aligned with their ultimate goal of how they ‘imagine themselves to be’ in the mirror. This is where the real struggles of real people in everyday living rests. This is where true grit is required. This is where you climb the many mountains towards success.

Why? Because it is often a whole lot easier not to do the simple things, the simple things – the little mozzies – like saying no! Just like many other mozzies in life, the little things that are important to do are also easy not to do, so a lot of people don’t do them for whatever reasons or fears.

Saying no empowers you to successfully climb the internal obstacles, the internal self-created mountains and get to the ‘other side’. This is not a genetic trait, nor one of talent. This is just sheer grit!

To overcome temptation, to say no to habits that you have indulged in for a big chunk of your life is a true sign of self-respect. Saying no allows you to use your 86,400 seconds in a day more productively and manage your energy better.

Like I said, I believe, the ‘no’ answer is perhaps the greatest expression of self-respect and ultimate representation of human dignity there is.  Your attitude is key to your destiny in life as it determines the actions you take (good or bad) . Ultimately, this all flows from you philosophy once again. What is the opposite of self-respect? Well, choosing to live a life of insignificance.

So, be brave and summon the courage that rests within you and proudly announce to the world ‘no!’ No to things, people and activities that do not help align you towards you being your best. No to things, people and activities that bring you down rather than elevate you. No to the naysayers.

If there is one very important habit that you can do for yourself is this little habit of saying no again. Don’t be afraid. Just do it! Remember, knowing what to do isn’t the same as doing it.

Say NO. Release the champion within you!

Start loving yourself a little more each time you say no. Don’t just live your life, consider living your life with the greatest expression of self-respect and say no.

To be alive and live is a gift so, consider living your life with the highest expression of human dignity there is and say no, when appropriate and relevant. Being able to say no without regret also allows you to say yes with confidence. Yes, what you do matters, but I think what you think and say to yourself matters too – I believe, even more so.

Think about it: what I have been speaking about comes full circle – what you think determines the source of attitudes, which is your philosophy.

As the great thinker Aristotle said –

 “Where we are free to act,

We are also free to refrain from acting,

And where we are able to say No,

We are also able to say yes.”

All the very best to you in your life choices. Remember, if you want to change what’s happening in your life, change your philosophy or how you see things. It is not some huge task but simply comes down to – you guessed it – small (mozzie) steps.

Little steps, compounded over time, do make a difference. this is real magic. That the little things you do every single day – the little things that don’t look dramatic, that don’t even look like they matter – DO MATTER!

Little things (like saying no) matters.

Dream. Decide. Do.

 

Until next time,

Side triceps pose. Contest: Australian Natural Bodybuilding Titles. Placing: 2nd. Saying "no" has allowed me to choose exercises wisely and understand that quality training is more important than quantity when it comes to getting quality results.

Side triceps pose.
Contest: Australian Natural Bodybuilding Titles.
Placing: 2nd.
Saying “no” has allowed me to choose actions which in turn became habits that allowed me to build one of the best natural physiques in the world.

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7.5 Key Habits that would reduce your risk of the flu this winter.

Change your philosophy, change your life.
Vv.

My wife and I are celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary next week. Wow, a wonderful achievement. A milestone reached. I mentioned it to a long-term client and friend of mine and he said:

“well, that is a milestone indeed, Paul. Congratulations. One thing it does say, Paul, is that it reflects the tolerance you both have had for your short-falls in character – your character flaws. It shows you’re willingness to grow and adapt to one another, for your togetherness.”

I thought about this ‘togetherness’ and I agree.

I’ve certainly adapted and she has, too. We have grown individually and together as one. But upon reflection, I realised that before you have adaptation as a choice, one needs to precede it with Awareness followed by the application of Action. Yes, appropriate and relevant action. This then leads to the critical step of Adaptation, if one hopes to have sustainable change.

So, in effect, it is the application of my Triple A to Life Philosophy: Awareness; Action; Adaptation.

There are many ways of approaching a potential risk or problem but you can certainly apply my Triple A approach to reducing your risk of illness or susceptibility to the common flu or cold if you do get sick quite often during the colder months of the year.

My wife tells me that she has never met or knows anyone in her life so far that gets sick fewer times than me, I think she said that she can only remember me being ‘sick’ (and not a case of ‘man-flu’) a handful of times in the 13 and half years we have been together.

I asked her why she thinks that is the case and she identified some 7.5 key daily habits that she has seen me do consistently since she has been with me.

She said:

Key Habit One: I drink loads of water.

She is true.

I do drink, in my opinion – ‘adequate’ daily requirement of H2O, generally, approximately 1L of water per 20 kg of body-weight. Currently, I am drinking about 4.5L of water per day. Adequate daily levels or water is a huge part of my clients’ success with my body re-engineering programs.

I consistently find that most if not all my clients were not drinking sufficient water at the start of their program.

For the average person, your daily guide should be to drink 1L of water per 25kg-30kg of bodyweight (after taking in to other considerations such as age, exercise experience, activity levels, health condition etc).

Beauty is Truth, truth – beauty. That is all there is on earth ..and all ye need to know.
Be aware of the beauty with and around you.
Don’t just look, ‘see’

Key Habit Two: I eat loads of Dark Green vegetables

She is true, again.

I always tell my clients that if its green and not a frog – eat it!

Yep, load up on your dark green vegetables, something most of you would have been told by adults in your youth. Amongst other things, greens fill you up and addresses your satiety levels better, adds loads of fibre to your bowels and helps the transportation of oxygen through the blood and with it, vital nutrients for the optimal functioning of organs, especially the most vital: the brain.

Guideline: aim to consume 1cup of dark green vegetables (broccoli, spinach or long beans) for at least 1 meal per day for the first 2 weeks and work up to 2 meals per day for the next 2 weeks. See how your body changes and notice how your energies improve. Maintain a minimum of 2 meals per day with dark green vegetables in it for 90 days and see how your good body and mind feel and look. Try it!

Showing a top athlete client of mine what and how I eat. Can you see the dark green vegetables?
If it’s green and not a frog, eat it!

Key Habit Three: I wash my hands loads of times

My wife is absolutely true – again!

I learned way back in primary school that germs and a lot of bad bacteria is spread through the hands and is one of the main instigators of illness. I made a conscious effort all the way back then to keep my hands relatively clean as much as a I possible could, every single day. As a result, I wash my hands before and after almost everything I do. It may be a bit obsessive compulsive now but the risk of not doing so far outweighs the inconvenience of frequently washing hands.

Guideline: Try washing your hands more frequently if you’re not already doing so. Try and become aware of cleanliness of your hands and increase the frequency of hand washing. With soap. Act. Repeat consistently and persistently.

Adapt accordingly.

Key Habit Four: I eat loads of Protein in diet

She said ‘loads’ but I would have to disagree, not ‘loads’ but ‘adequate daily intake requirement’ of protein.

After water, the protein is the most abundant substance in the body. It is the life blood of your being. Yes, I do to ensure that my hard-working muscles get sufficient muscle-replenishing protein for repair work post work-out but also because it fills me up better than the weighed-equivalent amount of carbohydrates or fats, for example:

Give this a try. Eat 200g of chicken breast and 200g of white rice. Compare which one fills you up better and keeps you fuller – for longer. Yep, the chicken does, doesn’t it? Protein is more filling. Protein are the ‘building blocks’ of muscles and the human body and mind. Without adequate levels – you feel like crap and you wilter away like a plant uncared for.

Here’s my guideline: determine what your LBM or lean body mass is (the mass of your body that isn’t fat). If you honestly assess your daily intake of protein for a week, you will find that you would most probably not be eating even daily minimum requirement to maintain your LBM. Apply appropriate action and eat more protein: chicken, fish, lamb, pork, tofu and eggs are great sources. Your guide should be 1g of protein per kg of lean body weight, but of course, you need to consider other factors like age, activity levels, fitness levels etc. So, LOAD UP ON PROTEIN! So, if you’re a 200lbs male, with a normal bodyfat percentage of 25%, your LBM would be about 150lbs. If you exercise 3-5 times per week, then your body would need anywhere between 140g and 180g of protein just to sustain your LBM.

How do you consume that amount of protein every day, you may ask. Well, you need to ‘split’ your meals up and consume more better composed meals. So you may have, for example, 5 meals per day, with 30g per of protein per meal, which totals 150g per day. Sufficient and not excessive by any means. What gives you 30g of protein, you ask? Well, every 30g of lean meat gives you approximately 7g of protein, so you would need 120g of lean meat to give you 28g of protein. That is about a ¼ of what the average male would eat when he eats a piece of steak (anywhere between 350g and 500g) at lunch or worse, dinner in one sitting!

So, think about your portions of meals and adding more frequent, well-compositioned meals.

I hear people say, well, Paul, isn’t it quite pedantic to measure your meat weight and meals?

I say, no. It is necessary! We measure everything else, don’t we? I mean, we rely on measurements with everything else in our lives, think about it, would you not measure how much money you are paying for fuel? What about measuring your feet for proper fitting shoes? What about getting length of trousers wrong, wouldn’t that piss you off? We live with measurements with everything else in our lives except what is going in to our mouths. So, get yourself a scale that graduates all the way down to milligrams and start weighing my friend.

If you can’t measure something, you certainly cannot manage it!

In the gym.
Adequate levels of protein helps repair and build ‘worked’ muscles.
Give your body what it wants … after water, protein is the most abundant substance and everything in the body, every process, comes down to amino acids and the communication between them.
So eat protein I say!

Key Habit Five: I load up when in the gym

She is correct, again.

Since I picked up my first dumbbell at 17 years of age, I have consistently and persistently made gym training a part of my life, becoming entwined in to my chosen lifestyle and a vital and necessary part of me. My life.

I don’t believe in light weights. Period!

To get the best ‘bang out of your buck’ when you’re in the gym, nothing beats free weights and gravity. You need to use MODERATE TO HEAVY weights though and stay away from ridiculously light weights that you see many people use (unless you’re warming up your joints and/or in rehab). For the comparative amount of time you invest in any physical activity, nothing beats the results you get when you DO THE BASICS – in the gym. In terms of efficiency and effectiveness of health, strength and fitness benefits, in the short-term and the long-term, nothing beats the basics. What are the basics? Well, they are:

  • Deadlifts
  • Back Squats
  • Bench Presses

You can throw in some other full body movements like: clean and presses and lat-pulldowns and lunges with a few arm curls and dips. Workout done!

Neuroscience confirms that exercise, specifically weight-training, stimulates neurogenesis – the birth of new brain cells. You get smarter!! An estimated 3 million people (about 12.5% of the population) suffer live with anxiety or depression. A staggering number indeed.

Guess what, regular exercise of moderate to heavy intensity can be an effective adjunct treatment for depression. Both aerobic and strength training are very helpful in treating depression.

Remember: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” WHO.

Guideline: Get back to BASICS. Keep it FUNCTIONAL. Keep it SIMPLE. With CONTINUITY and PATIENCE. How much exercise then, Paul you ask? Well, the Australian National Physical Activity Guidelines recommend: 

  • doing exercise is better than doing none.
  • be active on most days of the week.
  • Each week try to do 2 1/2 to 5 hours moderate intensity exercise or 11/4 to 2 1/2 hours of vigorous intensity physical activity.
  • Do muscle strengthening activities on at least 2 days each week.

So, there you go. Just do it.

Try it!

Muscle is precious. Build muscle then, do everything you can to preserve it.
I load up in the gym!

Key Habit Six: I limit my intake of sugar

She is not wrong.

I do try and limit my intake of direct sugar but also am aware of the indirect sugars in other foods. To do this I try to eat more foods that come straight from the ground. The less processed the better for you.

Sugar – this insidious killer is not only the most addictive substance on this planet but almost every living human being cannot say no to it. It is the biggest killer of the human race – add up all the deaths caused by every other cause and I bet you will find it pales in comparison to the deaths caused by sugar, either directly or indirectly. That is how serious this matter is.

It is the over-consumption of it that results in many health, and dare I say it, mental problems.

There is direct correlation between food and mood. Meaning, there are clear dose-response relationships between diet and level of mental health and well-being. What I practise is very similar to what Scientists refer to as the “Mediterranean Diet” which emphases high consumption of plants (vegetables, fruits, nuts) and rich in good fats.

How do I do it? Well, whenever I get sugar cravings I substitute with either of the following:

  •  100g of blueberries
  • 150g grapefruit
  • Cup of green tea

My Guideline: become more aware of sugar in foods you put in your mouth and do your best to eliminate direct sugars from you diet, one at a time. Its difficult at first, I know but give it a try – persist. One less teaspoon sugar may just mean lesser health costs later in life. Maybe, a teaspoon less of sugar in your coffee or tea or drop the honey from your cereal.

Neuroscience studies show that eating too much sugar is linked to weight gain (we all know this), obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD), stroke, high blood pressure (hypertension) and age-related illness of Dementia. Diabetes is the risk factor for cognitive decline and dementia. The widespread assumption that sugar consumption can lead to addiction is inaccurate based on neuroscientific defintions of addiction, tolerance and withdrawal.

Remember this: “What we eat really affects our brain, our behaviour, our neural circuits, and our health in many ways. “ Neuroscience SFN 2014.

A healthy, balance diet encourages a healthy balance of gut microbes and there is a strong and definite Gut-Brain-Microbe connection. Having too much sugar can disrupt the gut-brain balance which disrupt signalling which may lead to abnormal brain function, changes in behaviour, thoughts, emotions, our perception of pain and impact on our immune system.

Resulting in increased susceptability to getting sick and being ill. So, in a roundabout way … try out these key habits to help build your immunity from all facets of being human.

Maybe, eliminate your cereal entirely and just opt for something more nutritious and simple, like spinach and eggs for breakfast, for example and replace that orange or fruit juice with plain water.

Having fun with a star jump!
Live each day like you are dying to live.
Vv.

Key Habit 7.5: I get adequate Quality Rest

True, again.

Notice I said “Rest” and not ‘sleep’. I have seen people who get loads of ‘sleep’, getting ten hours or more per day and wake up feeling more restless than they did before going to bed.

You need to focus on getting quality Rest. That could happen at any time of the day. A little nap during the day for less than 30 minutes would do wonders for your energy and focus levels at work. Note: latest neuroscience confirm that there an ‘urge to nap’ and it is programmed into our circadian rythyms. Taking a < 25 min power nap improves memory and learning, sparks creativity and regulates emotions. More than this results in sleep inertia (you feel overwheming tiredness).

Try it, if you can. The essence of this is to ‘clear your mind’ or ‘quiet your mind’. Such rest is priceless because you release hormones throughout the body and brain that help elevate your energy levels as well as your ability to focus on tasks at hand, for longer periods.

Try taking short periods of ‘rest’ for the body and mind. Almost like a short period of meditation. Find your quiet place and un-think to Rest. Take a page out the Fijian’s Life Book and apply the “Fiji Time” mentality to your life when appropriate, when you need to get away from it all. Learn why this race is consistently rated the Happiest People on the planet. It is not by chance, it is by choice. Their individual and collective choice as a race. They try to keep things simple. I know, because I was born and raised there.

Its not the quantity of rest, but the quality. Getting better at the latter will enhance your sense of being – your “vitality”, that essence of life – your life!

Little by little … every step in the right direction gets you to the destination.
Be like a postage stamp, stick to whatever you’re doing until you get to your destination.
Luck has nothing to do with it.
Hard YAKA and persistence gets you there!

Remember: the compound effect of the application of habits with the power of imagination and self-regulating behaviour is the REAL MEDICINE here. It is what I refer to as your HEALTH AND VITALITY INSURANCE. It is preventative insurance, that adds to a better quality life not only now, but more importantly, in old age.

A little persistence and consistency in the application of the 7.5 habits I have elaborated on may just help improve your overall immunity to the common cold and flu, like it has for me. The reason I have said ‘7.5’ habits is because this is obviously not a definitive list of reasons but it certainly is the Key 7 habits that you are in full control of. Habits that I consistently adopt on a daily basis.

Try them, see how you feel after seven days, after 4 weeks. Try 3 months and all of winter. Then, get in touch with me and tell me all about it.

The application of these key habits should help your overall sense of vitality and lower your risk of feeling like ‘crap’ or low in energy and vitality as frequently as you may have felt. It just might add years to your life – keeping your batteries re-charged.

Remember also that elephants don’t bite, mosquitoes do!

These habits are little things that could become a problem if you don’t take of it. So, take care of the these mozzies and other mosquitoes in your life, if and when you identify them.

As you know, Little Things Matter – simple actions, repeated over time, will determine the life you lead.

Someone once said that practise does not make perfect – perfect practise makes perfect. I agree.

So, become Aware. Apply Action. Adapt accordingly and repeat practice, with good execution …. Within reason. Keep things simple, don’t complicate things and know that everything will be ok in the end.

Best of health and vitality to you!

 

Yours in iron & muscles.

Until next time …

 

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

The Old Captain Viking Pirate Fiji Island Muscle Monk

On a beach in one of my favourite parts of the world.
Enjoying the sun again.

The Power of Habit.
The dedication to small, yet, important key habits on a daily basis helped me represent Australia at not one, but two consecutive World Natural Physique Championships, placing in the Top 5 in the World in both.
An island boy born and raised in the Fiji Islands went all the way to be one of the BEST in the world.
That is the power of the compound effect of little things done consistently over time.
Try the 7.5 key habits and see how well your immune system gets…. and then tell me all about it.

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