a better life, accountability, authenticness, awareness, belief systems, better choices, boys, choices, christian, courage, decisions, Energy, long-term strategy, love, responsibility, risk, saving, strengths

Save the fathers of tomorrow.

My son and I. Provide the best blueprint you can of what it means to be a man. He needs you now more than ever. Save him now so that tomorrow's world will be saved too. Vv.

My son and I.
Provide the best blueprint you can of what it means to be a man.
He needs you now more than ever.
Save him now so that tomorrow’s world will be saved too.
Vv.

Boys, young boys need saving.

They are saved by giving them a role model to follow.

When boys have a clear role model they intuitively know how to function when they assume the responsibility of marriage and parenting later on in life.

In my years in the gym and also owning a gym for about seven years, I have seen the effects of young boys who do not have male role models. They seem crippled and have no idea what it is to be a man.

All young boys have a hunger for that – for that role model of what it means to be a man. I have seen it in their eyes, their actions and their passion, their being.

I believe, one of my God-appointed tasks is to ensure that my son will be ready to lead a family, a family of his own when his time comes. To do this, I feel it is my role to equip him with the skills to do so. Why? Because, he, along with the many other young boys of today will be the fathers of tomorrow.

A good foundation of all young boys is to firstly know who they are and what they are. Two key questions. This is enhanced through increased awareness of self, which is ideally, facilitated by the dad.

Young boys then need to observe their role model in action. For my son, this is where I come in (and where all dads play their part with their son). This is when these young minds crystallize what it means to be a man.

This is when the ‘ball is in my court …. And in your court’, if you’re a father to a son or sons right now. This is where the wires of his brain is wired together to form the foundation of his future self.

It is our job to save our boys – the fathers of today to …. save the fathers of tomorrow! It is not the boy’s school’s job or extended family’s job. It is not society’s job and it is not the government’s role. This is not a job to be outsourced to other ‘so-called coaching disciplines’ like the countless activities coaches around today.

No, this is the job of today’s fathers. Period!

This is the role for you (if you are a father), for me. This is a job for what I refer to as today’s silent heroes. Real men, real fathers who are there for their son(s) through thick and thin, that play their role without fanfare or applause.

No, I am not referring to the heroic men who are idealised in the media – the men who go off to war, the men who climb the highest mountains, the men who win Olympic medals nor the men who run the largest of corporations, nor men who travel to other planets. They are good examples of men indeed.

No, I am simply referring to the real role models – dads like you and me. I see us dads who take this role with both hands as no different to those more common exhaulted heroes that make for good stories and tv ratings.

I see dads who strive to be their son’s role models just like heroes like those men who go off to war or represent their countries at the Olympic Games or the like. They are dads who give up their own selfish-bachelor ideals and career-hungry goals to be there for their son(s).

I see dads and fathers who take their role’s full responsibility as today’s silent heroes.

I am talking about the real fathers of today. Fathers who are simply there for their sons. Always. Fathers who provide the support and the impetus and template for the young boys today to be the men, the fathers’ of tomorrow.

The critical question is how are we going to do this, how are we supposed to give them sufficient, appropriate and relevant training to be the man they need to be? The man we hope them to be.

With the next generation of Valentine males - Zachary.

With the next generation of Valentine males – Zachary.

I have 5.5 goals for saving by boy. It is my job as his father to model for him the importance of:

  • Knowing and obeying Jesus Christ
  • Knowing and simplifying Godly character
  • Knowing and loving my wife
  • Knowing and loving my children, and
  • Knowing my gifts and strengths and the weaknesses and contribute to the lives of others and have fun doing all of this as well.

I have listed 5.5 as the list is not exhaustive and you could add to the list other goals of what you think means to be a man and a role model. That is totally fine. Every man is unique, yes, but I also believe, every man has more in common with one another than we care to admit and accept.

The important thing is for us to focus our attention on being the best we can be, for ourselves, first, so that our son(s) can get the best of us. This to me will increase the chances that more fathers of tomorrow will be saved.

For their sake, for their future families’ sake, for society’s sake and for the world’s sake, today’s boys need the best role models they can copy from.

Be the best man you can be. Be the best father you can be. For you, and for your future father(s).

The fathers of tomorrow need saving. I believe this so. They need saving before it is too late.

The fathers of tomorrow will only be saved if today’s fathers stand up, stand tall and deliver and lead by example – the example that will provide the best blueprint of what a male role model needs to be…. For their sons(s). Sons that will be leaders of tomorrow.

As you know, the focus for you and me is to strive towards being more of –

A Real Man. A Real Dad. A Real Father.

We are many, we are authentic. We are today’s silent heroes. Continue doing the good work and save the fathers of tomorrow.

Be the hero that you know you are!

 

Until next time,

Be the best role model you can be for you son - a father of tomorrow. Vv.

Be the best role model you can be for your son – a father of tomorrow.
Vv.

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Two ears and one mouth.

 

Listening is an attitude of the heart. Vv.

Listening is an attitude of the heart.
Vv.

I see and hear it almost every day.

At times, I admit, I am guilty of doing it too. I’m talking about being a poor listener. I am blessed to have two ears and one mouth but have not always listened twice as much as I have spoken in my dealings with others.

What about you? Do you find yourself butting in or cutting people off in the middle of their statement?

A big part of what I do in my coaching business is listen. I believe every person has a story and I love hearing people’s stories. I also believe that listening helps you learn a lot from people and I certainly have learned a great deal from listening carefully to the thousands of people in the gym environment.

Most people are poor listeners. Most people seem to enjoy racing their minds fast forward preparing to say something or forming a reply when they should be listening.

I try to remind my children when I want their full attention that to listen is to listen with your two ears, your two eyes, your body and your heart. They are still trying to understand this request because it is difficult to do.

Adults find listening difficult too.

It takes a lot of effort. It is hard work! You need a lot of focused ability.

It is much easier to say something rather than listen. Listening takes a lot of patience and this is a dying trait amongst many in today’s fast-paced societies.

The first key is raising your awareness of your listening habits. Are you aware of your listening biases? Do these biases contribute to you being a better listener or not? I notice many people tune out children or old people. I have been made aware over my life so far, that many women have and still complain that men don’t listen to them as carefully as they listen to their mates and other men.

Why is this so?

I’m sure there are many reasons that contribute to this problem in society. I believe the lack of good listening skills starts at a young age as children generally struggle at listening to their elders. However, this poor listening habit continues as children are great imitators of these same adults.

Listen with your two ears, your eyes, your body and your heart. Vv.

Listen with your two ears, your eyes, your body and your heart. It is, after all, an ‘attitude of the heart’.
Vv.

I believe the world aches and cries for good listeners. There are some studies that show that many doctors report that they daily see patients who have nothing physically wrong with them.

Turns out that the patients merely needed someone to listen to them.

So, reflect on your listening behaviour. Be honest with your assessment of your ability. If you need to improve, do so.

Speak less, listen more – with your ears, eyes, body and heart. We have two ears and one mouth. A wise man once said to listen twice as much as you speak.

Very simple advice to make the world a better place. The sad thing is that the simple things in life are also the most difficult thing to do.

But if more of us did better listening and less talking, maybe, just maybe, there will be fewer sick people visiting doctors in the world tomorrow. To not only listen more but also to listen better.

To choose to take more care in listening is a gift, a gift that may be the highest form of respect you could probably show the person who is doing the talking. It is an attitude of and from the heart. 

Part of having an attitude of gratitude.

Best of vitality to you!

 

Until next time,

Part of growth in my self-development programs - Listen & Learn (Awareness); Apply (sufficient & appropriate actions); Adapt. Vv.

Part of growth in my self-development programs –
Listen & Learn (Awareness); Apply (sufficient & appropriate actions); Adapt.
Vv.

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My Top 5.5 Tips to avoiding injury.

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

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

I have been very fortunate that in over twenty three years of training in the gym I have not been seriously hurt in any way. I am very proud to say that in that time I have not seen a physiotherapist or chiropractor for any training-related injury.

I have always been a stickler for form and ideal exercise execution. Always. Accelerated increased awareness from the guidance from some of the best coaches in various fields such as martial arts, power-lifting, boxing, athletics, squash, soccer, hockey, rugby and resistance-training has also contributed heavily to me staying injury-free.

Mastering the basics in any physical endeavour is paramount to you excelling in and enjoying the experience while doing it. Everyone that I have ever helped over the years get educated in applying the basics of training all the time – not some of the time! This loosely applies to most worthwhile goals in life.

Getting injured is a pain. Apart from the physical pain, one has to endure days, weeks or even months of re-habilitation. It can drain one of mental and emotional energy too and be quite costly if the injury is very serious.

Over the years, I have adopted certain routines with deliberate practise (habits) that I believe decreases my chances of getting injured while training in the gym.

Below are 5.5 key tips to help you lower your risk of injury:

Tip # 1: Aim for balance & symmetry.

My whole goal from the very first time I lifted weights was to build a more balanced and symmetrical physique. I believe this is one of the main key factors in me staying injury-free all these years. This is despite me lifting relatively heavy weights for most of this time (especially the two years when I trained for the World Championships in New York).

For example, a lot of people train the ‘mirror muscles’ more than they do the muscle in their posterior chain (muscles you don’t see in the mirror). This leads to asymmetry and muscle group imbalances.

Not a wise thing to do.

Focusing say, on your chest and shoulders and biceps (the ‘show-me-your muscles muscles) and neglecting your upper back muscles like the traps and rear delts and middle back can spell disaster. The most common gym-related injury for young men world-wide are shoulder injuries primarily because of this.

Muscle imbalances lead to increased risk of injury in the respective joints and muscles.

Besides, why do you want to be the strongest or biggest guy when you can build the most balanced and symmetrical physique for your frame. This is more aesthetic and more pleasing to the eye.

So, leave your ego at the door and work towards a better shape – a more balanced and symmetrical physique. If you don’t, you may regret it later.

Results with care. Here, Brad is 'feeling the essence' of the exercise and inching closer to his best self. He is in total control and 'feels' the muscle being worked. Vv

Results with care.
Here, Brad is ‘feeling the essence’ of the exercise and inching closer to his best self.
He is in total control and ‘feels’ the muscle being worked.
Vv

Tip #2: Be aware of your breathing technique.

I believe incorrect breathing technique is one of the main contributors to getting injured when training in the gym. Keep this in mind – for:

Pushing motions (bench press; shoulder press) – exhale at the point of contraction (when your arms are furthest away from you)

Pulling motions (lat pulldowns; biceps curls) – inhale when your arms are furthest from your torso.

Breathing also helps you with the next tip.

Ex-Australian Wallaby Captain - Phil Waugh performing a set of squats. Using good exercise technique(which includes proper breathing) is paramount to success.

Ex-Australian Wallaby Captain – Phil Waugh performing a set of squats.
Using good exercise technique(which includes proper breathing) is paramount to success.

Tip # 3: Focus!

Concentrating on your breathing and what you are going to do with the weight for those 15 to 45 seconds (a set) is critical to lowering your risk of injury.

Every fibre and cell in your body needs to 100% fully-focused! Don’t get side-tracked by other conversations and mentally block out all distractions. Focusing certainly aids you putting on good lean muscle. Period!

A slight loss of concentration could lead to less than ideal execution of exercise leading to increased levels of risk of injury.

I have developed quite a few formulas relating to peak performance over the years and one of the most important ones is:

“Focus = Results” (a shortened version of my formula).

Tip # 4: Always assess exercise execution with ‘risk:benefit’ ratio mind-set.

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

  • Exercise choice and safety – a particular exercise that may be safe for someone may not be for another.
  • High-risk lifting – improper execution of certain exercises can increase levels of risk for very small increments in benefit. The range of motion of exercises need to be tied in to the ‘risk:benefit” ratio of the exercise and the trainee’s goals

Always avoid “high-risk’ lifting. This relates to variables such as excessive weights; excessive number of repetitions; excessive range-of-motion and so forth.

Tip # 5.5: Apply correct training principles.

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

  1. Simplicity
  2. Continuity

There are many principles to building and keeping muscle and after 23 plus years in the gym I have concluded that the two above and this next two principles – 3) control and 4) feel are key towards lowering your risk of injury.

All beginners and intermediate trainees or less experienced gym enthusiasts should master these before ‘going heavy’.

When you keep it simple and focus on the full range of motion of the exercise with continuous tension, you increase your ability to build good, quality muscle.

Because you are 100% focused and are using the right weight for you to correctly execute the exercise, you have better control and feel. This allows you to ‘work the muscle, not the joint’.

If you can’t control and feel the muscle being worked, you’re not building muscle, only ego.

A lot of people still aspire to the ‘No pain, no gain’ maxim but I think you should not follow this. Listen to your body: never do anything that hurts and don’t train if you hurt yourself or suffer from an existing injury.

Chris enjoying a well-deserved rest between sets. A 'set' as I define it is: a continuous progression of 15 to 45 sec 'focused moments'. Focus + heart + visualization ===> results. Vv.

Chris enjoying a well-deserved rest between sets.
A ‘set’ as I define it is: a continuous progression of 15 to 45 sec ‘focused moments’.
Focus + heart + visualization ===> results.
Vv.

Most injuries happen over time, through cumulative effect of muscular discomfort and micro-scopic tares and inflammation of tendons and ligaments around the joints. Most injuries are the result of an imposed force exceeding the structural strength of the involved body-part.

Don’t copy the super-stars and genetic elite who look and train the way they train because most of the time you don’t know their full story and so this may give you a false sense of direction and could lead to injuries.

Those who don’t do away with the maxim ‘no pain, no gain’ and try to train like the super-stars usually regret it, sooner or later. A better maxim to adopt is ‘No brain, no gain”.

Strive to Train SMART. What I mean by this is that I have always promoted a more conservative approach to training. My own experience and what I have learned from observing countless other trainees – has taught me that a more conservative way to training is not only the most effective but also the safest way to train not only in the short-term but more importantly for your long-term health.

Strive to stay injury-free. You’re in the gym to work on making that person you see in the mirror (you!) – better. Not for ego.

You want to still be doing this activity and off-setting the on-set of ageing (by building muscle) well in to your 80s and 90s if you live that long. It will certainly add quality to your life. Like I have said before, Muscle is the potion of youth!

All the best in your training this year.

Embrace my Triple A to self-improvement: be more aware; take appropriate actions and adapt accordingly to reach your goals in life.

Cheers and Happy January to you!

 

Until next time,

Just like friendship, genuine muscle requires a lot of time and hard work to be built and sustained. You do this by adopting an 'adaptive strategy' of self-tuning. Vv.

Just like friendship, genuine muscle requires a lot of time and hard work to be built and sustained.
You do this by adopting an ‘adaptive strategy’ of self-tuning.
Vv.

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adaptation, attitude, God, parenting, parenting skills, path, skills, strengths

Unique WAYS.

Guess where we are? The Sydney Harbour bridge in the background - at one of our nearby favourite playgrounds.

Guess where we are?
The Sydney Harbour bridge in the background – at one of our nearby favourite playgrounds.

Every individual is unique. No two persons have the same finger print nor voice frequency. Every person has their own individual characteristics that make each of them – them.

It was only tonight that my wife mentioned that she was having a little difficulty coming to terms with the changes she has been observing with our daughter. These changes were testing her patience.

I told her that I believed that the optimal way is to allow our daughter to grow and discover her own possibilities. It is a continuously evolving process. We shouldn’t, as parents force our own biases and preferred philosophies on our child without embracing the uniqueness that makes up that child first.

I believe our parenting styles should not be too static and inflexible. Both parties to any successful relationship needs to negotiate slack. A constant push and pull tug-o-war.

We, as parents need to be better listeners, in particular, we need to listen to what our children ‘do not say’. In other words we should become more aware of our ‘children’s’ unique ways and adopt and adapt our parenting styles accordingly.

I think this is the meaning of the line regarding the process of raising your child (parenting) somewhere in proverbs in the Bible, something along the lines of –

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

As I see it, the ‘way’ is determined and ultimately pre-determined by God. It is unique to the child, to each of us (all God’s children). Way could also be another term for ‘path’ or ‘road’ I would think.

Metaphorically at least, I think this word ‘way’ relates to a ‘characteristic’.

So, it would follow that you, as a parent need to train your children according to his or her individual, unique characteristics – his or her WAY. This is difficult, I know but it is the best way, the optimal way.

Day out with my children at the Opera House.

Day out with my children at the Opera House.

If you believe there is a God or higher being (whatever you call it), then, you would see my argument here, that as parents, we cannot entertain the notion that each of our children is like a lump of play-do that we can mould to our desire. They each have a significant input in to their moulding process too.

Each child already has a unique stamp. This unique stamp is given from this higher force, this God. A pre-determined pattern – stamp. It is a GOD DNA.

I love observing my children and increasing my awareness of the strengths of both of them. My daughter, for example, is quite artistic and showed the aptitude and interest in colouring and drawing and writing very early in her life. My son, on the other hand is quite innovative and mechanically inclined.

He has already been showing strong signs of ‘thinking outside the square’ since he was 2 years old.

Each child has their own ‘way’. Their own unique characteristics. Their strengths.

Have you observed the differences in your children? Perhaps you were from a home of several children. May be one of you siblings was creative, another, practical. One may have been academically intelligent; another just average or didn’t finish High School. One of your brothers may be out-going and another sibling could have been withdrawn.

This is the ‘way’ that each and every one of us is created to make you uniquely – YOU.  We didn’t just all roll out of a assembly line like the mass—produced products flooding the world every single day. We all have our own unique WAYS.

Each child, each individual is created and hand-crafted by none other than, God. But my wife and I are not alone in this department because most parents reading this would have had issues with their children as they pass through the various stages of development.

The key to survival in all areas of life is adaptation.

Zachary and Olivia with their good friend - Ruby. They just adore one another.

Zachary and Olivia with their good friend – Ruby. They just adore one another.

It is no different with the raising of children. Parents should treat this relationship, like any good, long-term relationship. You need to adapt to the ever-evolving child as he or she develops, it is a very dynamic process. Yes, your patience will be tested greatly (and you will test you child’s patience too), but always fall back on the philosophy of adaptation.

Based on what I have observed from life and what I have just said above, I think a lot of parents make 2 major mistakes in the raising of their children:

  1. Using the same parenting approach with all their children.
  2. Compare their children to other children.

These two major and serious mistakes stem from parents not making themselves more aware of each child’s uniqueness, from not knowing each child better. From not hearing what each child is ‘not saying’. From not understanding each child’s strengths and limitations.

Possible Solution: it is pivotal that all parents observe and understand the unique characteristics (strengths) in each of our children. The earlier, the better.

The acceptance of this tailor-made, handcrafter master-piece philosophy that represents each individual child can certainly make parenting more meaningful and wise. There is no ‘one-size fits all’ approach to parenting. Find a shoe that fits.

Embrace each child’s uniqueness. Take sufficient and appropriate actions to change your parenting style to facilitate the child’s way or characteristics or strengths. You need to have the courage to adapt your parenting style accordingly. It requires an attitudinal change. Watch them grow up in to the citizens of the world you imagine them to be.

At the pool with my munchkins - Zachary and Olivia. Learning the basics of swimming with me. Your children are the most important investments you will ever make in your life (for those with kids). Become aware of their strengths-their way.

At the pool with my munchkins – Zachary and Olivia. Learning the basics of swimming with me.
Your children are the most important investments you will ever make in your life (for those with kids).
Become aware of their strengths-their ways.

Pray (if you’re that way inclined) that their future is their WAY and is built on their WAYS (strengths and characteristics).

The thing is, correcting these parenting mistakes could have profound implications on your childrens’ future. Although people certainly do change over time and our personalities adapt, scientists have discovered that core personality traits are relatively stable throughout adulthood, as are our passions and interests (supports the God DNA belief).

Even more recent research is suggesting that the roots or our personality might be visible at an even younger age than was originally thought. The study revealed that a child’s observed personality at age 3 shows remarkable similarity to his or her reported personality traits/characteristics at age 26.

So, one of the responsibilities of parents is to identify the way or characteristics of each child, to find the areas where each child has greatest potential to develop strengths. Then go and do just that to realise their potential.

Deliberately tailoring parenting to each child is important because it allows each child find ‘their own unique way’. Too many people spend a lifetime headed in the wrong direction, the wrong path, the wrong way. They go not only from cradle to the cubicle, but then to the casket, without uncovering their greatest talents and potential.

This truth, unfortunately, is all too common.

So, adapt your parenting and correct the two parenting mistakes I highlighted above. Help your son or daughter find their way, based on their strengths not their weaknesses. This increases their chances of reaching their potential.

You see this regularly in sports. Great coaches of winning sports teams understand this and coaches each member of the team differently. The coach is a master at getting each team member to ‘work to his strengths’. This helps realise not only the individual’s potential but also contributes to the team’s overall effectiveness.

Change NOW to help your children NOT take the path of most resistance (working on their weaknesses and trying all their lives overcoming deficits). This is a waste of life but is the path of a great majority of people.

Just like your children, everyone has their WAY, their unique ways – what is yours? Are you working to your strengths? Why not?

Food for thought.

All the best.

Until next time,

My Unique WAY. Working to my strengths. Vv

My Unique WAY.
Working to my strengths. Are you working to yours?
Vv

 

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Making a mission impossible, possible.

Retired Ex-Australian Wallaby Champion Captain & Leader - Phil Waugh. Setting his own standards of excellence in all areas of his life, following my framework. > dedication to higher principles - higher standards is something we can all aspire to. > awaken awareness of the principle of higher standards that rests within the heart of every man and woman. Awaken yours today!

Retired Ex-Australian Wallaby Champion Captain & Leader – Phil Waugh.
Setting his own standards of excellence in all areas of his life, following my framework.
> dedication to higher principles – higher standards is something we can all aspire to.
> awaken awareness of the principle of higher standards that rests within the heart of every man and woman.
Awaken yours today!

I am going to introduce you to a great bloke: He’s name is Joel.

A current client and friend. I am going to share a story about when Joel made a mission impossible’, possible.  Tom Cruise has made a killing with his versions of the “Mission Impossible” movies, one of which is screening right now.

Yes, these grand missions in these movies are truly impossible and great entertainment, if that is what you’re in to. These are the kinds of stories that sells. Big, grand stories. But, I am going to talk about one of the many miracles that happen to normal, everyday people just like you. Just like all of us.

I am going to share with you a story about how a man, actually two men made one of their impossible missions at that time, possible. One of the thing that is special about Joel is that he is the strongest natural bloke I have ever trained or come across in my life and believe me, I have come across many.

NOTE: Naturally strong means: never experimented with illegal performance enhancing drugs – EVER! Steroid free.

What goes up must go down.  A possible definition of a squat. Summarises most things in life.

What goes up must go down.
A possible definition of a squat.
Summarises most things in life.

Let me share you a bit of his story…

You see, I first met Joel about five years ago. He came in to my gym (I owned and managed a great Family Gym for about 7 years) and enquired about my services. He knew what he wanted and he seemed very determined. My kind of person.

He hadn’t been in a gym for a long time and was not in the best of shape but had the desire to look and feel better. That was a helpful starting point: the right desire, coming from nowhere else but his heart. My job was to do what I do best and help him get to his ‘imagined version of himself’ using one of my products that adopted by unique body re-engineering framework.

And get him there in the most efficient and effective manner with due care and safety in mind, which is the foundation of my framework.

Easy. That is what I have always done, with a great success rate over the last 10 years (over 84% of past clients have achieved or gotten better results than they desired).

It didn’t’ take me long to deduce that Joel was indeed an abnormally strong man. He knew this but was quite modest about it. The interesting thing was that he had not done deadlifts in his life before he met me.

Around that same time, I was also helping an Englishman called James get past a ‘sticking point’ with regards to his deadlifting. James couldn’t seem to lift anything past ‘3 plates’ (on each side) for 10 reps. It was frustrating him to say the least for the last 2 months. For those of you who aren’t too familiar with gym lingo, a plate is a (45lb or 20kg) weight that you slide on to either side of an Olympic bar when doing lifts such as a dead-lift or squat or a bench press.

So, James was struggling to lift past the 140kg (the bar is 20kg too) for reps. He was upset that he had ‘plateau’ (or so he believed) and needed help getting past this point.

I said that I would help him and I did. I told him that the first thing we need to do was to ‘take a step back to take two steps forward’. He was a little taken aback by my recommendation because that plan seemed to contradict what his goal was: to lift more! There I was trying to ask him to lift less.

Life is about choices. Choose well.

Life is about choices.
Choose well.

I explained my philosophy and he understood what I was trying to achieve to help him achieve what he wanted to achieve. He trusted and allowed me to diagnose the issue. It was a combination of technique and mind-set. Once I identified the problem areas, I designed the plan to get him to lift ‘5 plates’ in the dead-lift for 6 to 8 reps.

For those of you who are mathematically inclined, that is 220kg. Not for 1 rep, for 6 to 8 reps!

When I told him what I was going to get him to do (get him to lift at least ‘5 plates’), his first reaction was that of dis-belief, that it was impossible. He was right though, with the mind-set he had at that point, it would be close to impossible for me to help him, help himself achieve it. I explained to him that before he was going to lift what I said he would lift, we needed to re-adjust his mind-set, in particular, his beliefs and belief system.

I put a plan to do just that: to allow James to progressively let go of self-limiting beliefs. Beliefs that only he harboured and grow within him like an unwanted fungus.

The plan worked. In a short 3 weeks, James was already doing a little more than 3 plates (got passed his ‘sticking point’ quite easily). He was on fire, increasingly filled with belief! Before long – I think it was just under 5 weeks of training with me, he was doing his first set of 5 plate dead-lifts, where a set was 6 to 8 reps, not one rep!

James and Joel got to know one another during that period but they probably only met each other once in that whole time. That was intentionally choreographed by me. The reason I scheduled their training sessions that way was that I saw them as potential competitors that could both help each other ‘raise their standards’ and both achieve far beyond what they had ever imagined. I did just that: I slowly pitted each other’s efforts against the other.

Setting his own standards through -  Mind-muscle connection. 'flexing the muscles' in a "most-muscular' pose.  Chris is an A+ student and the results show for a 47 year old man.  On his way to realizing  a physique and mind-set he imagines himself having. ... adopting my framework to body/mind re-engineering. Vv

Setting his own standards through –
Mind-muscle connection. ‘flexing the muscles’ in a “most-muscular’ pose.
Chris is an A+ student and the results show for a 47 year old man.
On his way to realizing a physique and mind-set he imagines himself having: being more of who he already is.
… adopting my framework to body/mind re-engineering.
Vv

You see, one week Joel would do 4 plates for the required number of repetitions and I would mention it to James and that would lift James’s game. He would do 4 and ½ plates and so on. This little battle went on for a while. Eventually it was game on!

It became a full-on competition. England v Australia right there in my gym where my two students were going head-to-head on who was the strongest man in the gym.

You have got to understand that these two individuals were genetically very strong specimens. They also manufactured extraordinary belief in themselves in the short time they were with me. This is a story of the many missions impossible, made possible through the POWER OF THE MIND guided with a GREAT PLAN.

Yet again (like I have seen over the decades of helping people in the gym), I witnessed first-hand how amazing the human mind is when it is channelled towards a goal that is worth achieving by that human being. Some people would call these ‘miracles’ in some circles. These were just “two ordinary men doing an extraordinary thing”.

I witnessed it with these two gentle, very strong men. A natural talent of theirs.

They went toe-to-toe, besting each other’s personal lift record (which just happened to be the gym record at that time) every week until we hit the “6 plate” zone.

“How much is that?” I hear you say.

Only 260kg!

Not lifting it for 1 rep, no! The lift is only recognised if it is done for 6 to 8 reps. they both did it. It was a draw …. For a short while – less than 7 days actually.

Joel came in one day with the energy and look in his eye that he wanted to take that title. He had the hunger of a starving tiger. We added just 2.5kg on either side of the bar (in addition to the 6 plates that were already on each side). He was going to take the record by a mere 5kg.

He did. He lifted that 265 kg for 6 reps!

His legs were bleeding after that lift. The blood came from both his shins. The bar shaved off his skin from his shins and a bit off his upper thighs while executing the amazing record. This was an extraordinary thing with extraordinary risks.

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These two students of mine realized their potential with regards to knowing how strong they were. They both achieved something that they both thought were impossible when I first mentioned it to them.

But they did. They achieved the seemingly impossible. They made their mission impossible – possible.

Fast forward to today and it was only last week that Joel ( who sees me two times a week in the program he is doing) mentioned that he just cannot believe he lifted that record almost 4 years ago. He was not talking about anyone else, he was referring to him. He couldn’t believe that he had done what he had done. Admittedly, he mentioned this dis-belief after just completing his set of 8 reps for 3 plates (140kg). He found it challenging.

Looking back, it would seem that it was impossible but I told Joel that he made the impossible, possible. He still cannot believe he did it today. How often can each and every one of you reading this honestly say that you gave something a try, and gave it your best shot and achieved something that you never thought was possible? How many of you can say that?

Joel did. And so did James. They achieved their BEST when it came to these lifts.

Joel still has the scars on his shins and thighs to tell this story to his kids and grand-kids.

You all have your own unique stories. You all have those special moments in your life so far where you may have given it your best and achieved something you only dreamed of. Maybe, you didn’t win number one or made the podium and that is ok, too. But that isn’t my point. My point is that you GAVE IT A TRY and you DID YOUR BEST.

You tried to fulfil a dream of yours. In my books, you are a champion.

Never stop dreaming of a better you, a better tomorrow, a better life and a better future. Everything you ever had and will ever hope to have, begins in your mind.

A signature winning pose of mine at the 2007 World Natural Bodybuilding Championships held in New York. Represented: Australia Placing: 4th in the World.

Achieving a dream of mine at the 2007 World Natural Bodybuilding Championships held in New York. Repeated it again in 2008.
Representing: Australia
Placing: 4th in the World.

I know from experience in helping hundreds of people achieve their goals over the years that – If you can dream it (conceive the idea), and truly believe (feel it in your heart) and have a great plan, you CAN ACHIEVE your dream, whichever area in life it is in, provided you WORK TO YOUR STRENGTHS.

Start small. Start local. Work to your strengths. Build on your strengths. Don’t waste any more time on your weaknesses. From the cradle to the cubicle, most people devote more time to their short-comings than to their strengths. This approach makes for good story-telling but unfortunately, it is taking the path of MOST RESISTANCE.

Work to your strengths, not your weaknesses. Devote more energy to the development of your strengths to be more of what you are. The reality is that a person who has always struggled with numbers is unlikely to be a great accountant or statistician. Look at the great Michael Jordan, probably the greatest basketball player of all time. He could not be the “Michael Jordan” of golf or baseball, no matter how hard he tried.

Each person has greater potential for success in specific areas, and one of the keys to human development is building on who you already are.

Don’t be afraid, sometimes it is best to ‘take aim, fire and then look’. Sometimes it is just better to ‘take a leap of faith’. Don’t let fear hold you back.

It is ok to fail … matter of fact, fail if you have to. Sometimes, failure gives you a better perspective on what it takes to succeed.

47 year old Chris set himself a goal to making the top 3 in his very first contest last year and achieved just that - a 3rd place finish in the MASTERS event.  Months of dedication and focus got him the results he was after.

47 year old Chris set himself a goal to making the top 3 in his very first contest last year and achieved just that – a 3rd place finish in the MASTERS event.
Months of dedication and focus got him the results he was after.

You don’t need to look far for the opportunity. Sometimes, the opportunity lies just ‘under your nose’, in your small, little world. Reflect and increase your own self-awareness. Sometimes, opportunities come clothed in overcoats. Sometimes, it is the day-to-day mundane living that produces the miracle you always had within you.

Work towards being a better version of YOU, putting most of your energy and time into developing your natural talents. Every day. Work on creating miracles within yourself. Seek to find the extraordinary in ordinary experiences by using your natural talents.

Extraordinary room for growth exists, just like it did for these two men in this story.

Seek those missions that you may consider impossible to change (weight loss, less-than ideal personal habits etc.) and try to make that positive change and make that mission – possible. The miracle lies within YOU.

Maybe, try adopting this dream (I use sometimes): think of YOU as being part of the Special Forces of self-development. You aspire to and set higher standards – your standards. Let everyone else that buy in to ‘mission impossible’ mind-set (believing their self-limiting beliefs) settle for the general army. That’s ok too.

Seek help if you need to. It’s never too late to seek help. See what doors that would open up for you.

Start working on making all your little (and big) ‘mission impossible’ in your life, possible. Take them on, ONE-BY-ONE!

Remember: you may not be able to be anything you want to be – but you can be a lot more of who you already are (aligning yourself with your strengths), just as this story of Joel and James shows.

All the best.

Until next time,

"Back Double Biceps" in the heat of competition! Placing: 2nd in Australia

“Back Double Biceps” in the heat of competition!
Placing: 2nd in Australia

~~Life COACH~~

~~Life COACH~~

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awareness, choices, strengths

Simplify to Amplify.

Fully focused on my 'feeling the essence' in my biceps.  Loading my guns!

Fully focused on my ‘feeling the essence’ in my biceps.
Loading my guns!

I love being a dad.

I love being a father to my two children. Every day I am grateful for the blessing my wife gave when she brought them in to this world.

Having children is a true blessing. I’m sure all dads reading this would agree.

I love being with my children – doing every single thing with them. I just feel I want to spend every single minute of my life with them. I truly thank my intelligent, strong, caring, loving wife for the opportunity to spend a big chunk of this phase of their lives with them.

It is truly a blessing I experience that not many dads out there have the opportunity to do so.

I love observing them, you can learn so much (I’m sure a lot of dads and mums love this too). Even in the first 2 to 3 years of their lives, I can tell how distinctly different they are to one another. They are poles apart in certain things and activities they choose to participate in. For example, Zachary makes it very clear that he does not enjoy colouring or drawing, whereas Olivia has an obvious talent in this area. Combined with her already great work-ethic, she will probably develop this strength in to something significant later, if she chooses to. We will provide the best support she may need. The rest is up to her.

Time will tell.

Zachary loves solving puzzles – particularly electronic gadgets or mechanical tools. Zachary had shown a much higher level of patience in the solving of shapes and puzzles than Olivia did at the same age. It’s just his thing. Pulling things apart and putting it back together again. He’s always asking the question ‘why?’ and he is very strategic. Already out-thinks me on occasion and he is only three and half years old. He would certainly keep my neurons stimulated as he grows with his strategic constructive debates.

I’ve always believed that due to our short time on earth, we need to firstly identify our strengths and work towards enhancing these through focused and deliberate practise for our future and for the betterment of man-kind. It’s better use of our 86,400 seconds that we have every day.

From when we were kids, the school system seemed to encourage the opposite: emphasising our weaknesses and telling us that we need to ‘work on our weaknesses’. Millions of people seem to be spending a lot of time ‘working on their weaknesses’ from the cradle to their grave. What a waste of time and life!

Explaining some of the finer points of training to Vicky during my 'coaching conversations' with my students. Better athletes train smarter.

Explaining some of the finer points of training to Vicky during my ‘coaching conversations’ with my students.
Better athletes train smarter.

Overcoming deficits or weaknesses is an essential part of the fabric of our culture, of our society, isn’t it? I mean everywhere we go, we hear stories, see movies, read books about the lotto winner or the underdog who beats one – in – hundred million odds. It’s everywhere and that is one of the primary reasons gambling is so popular because each and every one of us have been brain-washed in to believing we have great chances of winning even though we may not have the natural ability to win.

However, every day we are bombarded with these stories and we get deluded sense of the truth. It seems that we tend to celebrate those who triumph over their lack of natural ability much, much more than we celebrate those who capitalize on their innate talents. It certainly makes for ideal TV shows ratings and sells newspapers too.

As a result of this over-inflated, deluded view of an aspect of success, we have millions of people that chase goals that are impossible. They see these, say, over-night multi-millionaires as THEIR HEROES and the epitome of success and so set their sights on conquering major challenges. Unfortunately for them, this is taking the path of most resistance!

I mean in recent years we’ve all witnessed many examples of these poor souls embarrass themselves on the top reality tv shows looking for talent. How awful is this? I mean I couldn’t understand how people with no talent whatsoever are permitted to get on national tv and perform and get laughed at? It is great for TV show ratings and advertising dollars for the network but isn’t this degrading to the person?

These aspiring contestants then get asked to leave by the judges because, well, they simply suc$ed at it! Then the contestant breaks down and cries. The producers of these shows have milked this sob-story so well and I think most people have had enough of seeing these tear-jerkers. I used to ask my wife where that poor person’s friends were? Isn’t that a role of a good friend – to tell him/her know how awful he/she is at the particular skill before getting on national tv to get humiliated.

The sad thing is that these contestants actually believe they sound ok. They actually believe that with an opportunity and working hard and getting a tutor, they would somehow miraculously be as good as their idols or as the judges. That to achieve success, it is only and all about hard work. And everyone – the whole audience and viewership seem to believe this too. Now, you could call this type of thinking ‘positive thinking’ but I think it more closer to ‘delusional thinking’.

Society does not seem to give credit to innate talent – and that applies to everything in life – in athletic ability, music ability, mechanical ability, spatial ability, emotional ability, spiritual ability etc. Hard work is important to success, yes – but its not the only important thing. Innate ability (or talent) is very important too.

Assisting Pamela get through her set.

Assisting Pamela get through her set.

I believe one of the most important responsibilities of parents is to observe and identify the talents and strengths that their children have. This can be done in the very early stages/years of their lives. It will save a lot of heart-ache and pain later in life – in the later teens and early twenties.

It seems that even though we change over time and personalities adapt, scientists have discovered that core personality traits are relatively stable throughout adulthood, as are our perceptions and interests. Even more interesting is that recent studies also show that a child’s observed personality at age 3 is very similar to his or her personality traits reported at age 26.

So, just being more aware as a parent and spending time with your children and really observing them would tell you a lot about their talents. This increased awareness would help give you some idea in the direction they may be more inclined to succeed in their adult lives. Afterall, a famous management guru said once that a person can only perform from a platform of strength.

Think about you, your life so far. Are you doing a job that utilizes ALL your strengths? Are you fully utilizing your talents? Or are you doing something that your parents and/or family and friends expected you to do? I’ve seen and heard so many stories about kids entering University and realising they didn’t love Law, for example (which their parents or family expected them to do) was not what they were really good at. They then go back and do another degree or two before discovering their true strengths. Their true love.

They’re still one of the lucky ones.

Are you just doing your current job in a ‘half-hearted attempt’ – doing just enough to get through and not really ‘setting the world on fire?’ Well, are you? Don’t fret, you’re not alone. Apparently, a huge percentage of the world’s population never, ever get to reach their potential because they are not doing a job or work that utilizes their strengths.

Very sad indeed.

Very sad because you only have one life and you are doing something that would not bring your closer to your full potential. Not through the fault of our own but through generations of mis-direction and philosophy partly through the education system. Everyone is brain-washed to believing that they have got to spend all their lives working on ‘their weaknesses’.

One of the keys to human development and/or self-development is building on who you already are.

To do this, you need to increase your awareness of yourself. You need to be who you are. But, who are YOU? Within this journey of self-discovery, I am positive you will find the real strengths that lie within you (if you haven’t already done so).

Identifying your talents and developing them in to real strengths and aligning yourself with the right task is vital to reaching your potential in your life. By putting most of your energy into developing your natural talents, it would seem that extraordinary room for growth exists.

I’ve said this before that the two main conditions for success in any sort of work are:

  1. Interest
  2. Confidence

People usually give little attention to these two very important variables because it seems it is very difficult to increase levels of both of these simply by an ACT OF WILL.

I think that is true, you cannot increase confidence by simply WILLING yourself to be. Just as much as you cannot increase your size of your muscles by sitting on your couch and willing it to grow!

This does not mean that it is impossible to change your muscular strength for example. If you lifted weights for repetition and gave your muscles the building blocks of muscle nutrition, you would increase your muscle density. However, your ability to build muscle is limited to your genetic potential also. So, it seems that confidence and interest can be changed by taking the proper measures and having a step-by-step structured approach to developing these qualities in a certain area.

People tend to show a greater degree of intelligence and knowledge in connection with their hobbies than in any other department of life.

You have only one life, so use your available time well.

Assisting Dave on a set of Seated DB Presses.

Assisting Dave on a set of Seated DB Presses.

Work on your strengths and pay someone else to work on areas that you are relatively weak at. As a past client of mine use to always say ( he was a board member of several publicly listed companies in Australian and NZ) “each to their own!”. His wife (who I used to train too – for almost 6 years, used to make fun of him and how bad her husband was at using a hammer or tools like that).

He used to always remind me that it was better use of my time to focus on my strengths, saying “Focus on your strengths, son. Focus on your strengths!” and “ each to their own … “. I agree. His strength was in numbers and interpretation and story-telling of numbers. He recognised this early and worked and built on his strengths and became the success that he is today.

It is very difficult though, to find your true strengths. Some people are lucky enough and find their purpose – ie., a cure for cancer or paint pictures. This ONE THING matters to them above all else – above comfort, wealth, respectability, safety, family ties or social obligations. They have FOCUS.

Very few people are this fortunate and this clear cut in their goals in life, after becoming aware of their strengths very early on. Most men and women, I believe, are prepared to fit in, more or less, with the customs they find around them. To work at any job by which they can earn a reasonable living.

I’ve always asked myself that question – why is this so?

It also seems that there are probably some people who fall between these two stools I have mentioned above. These people (if they utilized and worked on their strengths) could be happier and have more growth and reach their potential in life with great certainty in a vocation that uses these traits. However, it seems that they may fear or have the lack of self-knowledge or the courage or determination needed to break away from the life which other people expect them to lead.

Read that last sentence again: they are …. Afraid to break away from the life which other people expect them to lead. Afraid to the work that nature designed them. I believe that maybe, in a perfect world, they would be encouraged to do such work.

Ask yourself: to which type of person do you belong?

I think the biggest FEAR that is holding people back is not FEAR OF FAILURE. No, it is really FEAR OF CRITICISM/RIDICULE from family and friends for the decision to pursue something career/vocation that they least expected you to do. This FEAR OF NOT MEETING OTHER’S EXPECTATIONS OF YOU is what keeps people from taking a risk and believing in their own abilities/talents and working towards developing those.

It is very difficult. It has always been. This is how it has been for the majority since the beginning of time. So, stop working on your weaknesses, and encourage your children to spend time and effort on their strengths. Strengths that you can quite easily observe while you spend time with them.

Reach for your potential through the development of your strengths. Spend more time on them, not your deficits. You’re a complex individual – every human being is. Raise your awareness of yourself and filter down to your top three to five strengths. Simplify yourself – simplify YOU. Simplify the complex YOU.

Find out WHAT WORKS BEST. Then, work hard at making these strengths the BEST. Make what works best for YOU, THE BEST. This is amplifying your strengths.

So, it follows that to achieve your potential, you need to SIMPLIFY TO AMPLIFY.

Have no fear.

Remember: No risk, no nothing (with positive thinking – not delusion thinking).

Choose well.

Until next time,

Side Triceps in the gym. ... in between sets.

Side Triceps in the gym. … in between sets.

Encouraging a gym member towards the successful completion of his set.

Encouraging a gym member towards the successful completion of his set.

~~Life COACH~~

~~Life COACH~~

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