a better life, accountability, adaptation, ageing, awareness, balance, beauty, better choices, children, Energy, game of life, good posture, habits, life, long-term perspective, long-term strategy, mind-muscle connection, self improvement, self-image, self-respect, symmetry, taking action, Vitality, you, your life

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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The big mistakes I see people making when it comes to muscle, fitness and nutrition.

 

Enjoying the sun at a local beach.

In my line of work, part of what I do is help people, help themselves with change as they transition through various phases of life. I help people, help themselves re-engineer themselves in to the person the imagine themselves to be.

A Life affirming approach.

I help men and women of all ages and sizes help themselves, find their best selves and work towards increased balanced and symmetry – externally and internally.

Someone asked me the question posed in the blog heading recently, and it got me thinking. Put simply, people don’t stop, start from a clean slate and prepare for the beginning and the end. Upon reflection of my experience over the last quarter of a century, I have attempted to answer it below –

I have found that ….

People don’t begin with belief.

People don’t begin with trust.

People don’t begin with hope.

People don’t begin with love.

People don’t begin with patience.

People don’t begin with a dream.

People don’t begin with their imagination.

People don’t begin with simplicity.

People don’t begin with continuity.

People don’t begin with gratitude.

People don’t begin with care.

People don’t begin with discipline.

People don’t begin with courage.

People don’t begin with balance.

People don’t begin with harmony.

People don’t begin with the end in mind.

People don’t begin with responsibility.

People don’t begin with their heart.

People don’t begin with desire.

People don’t begin with forgiveness.

People don’t begin by unthinking.

People don’t begin with acceptance of responsibility.

People don’t begin by aligning their philosophy with nature’s principles that is fundamental to Life and living well.

People don’t begin with the end in mind.

People don’t begin with the unconscious.

People don’t begin with their spirit.

People don’t begin by being still.

People don’t think.

People don’t DO.

Enough.

People don’t begin by giving….

So …

People don’t receive …

Enough.

But letting go of things you hold dear is very difficult and the little things, like letting go of a habit that is not life affirming can be very difficult. Neuroscience research tells us now that letting go a habit can take anywhere between 31 and 267 days. Wow! So, be patient and be kind to yourself if you’re thinking about making a change in the way you look.

The fact that you are ‘thinking’ about change is a win in itself. Before a change, any worthwhile, life-changing change can happen, you must want to have a change in mind-set. Now, to do this, even before you think about exercise, dieting or your fitness, you should firstly accept YOU as you are now, not the you – yesterday. The present self “is”, and your former self ‘was’, and in truth, your ‘was’ self is not identical to your ‘is’ now.

They are not the same.

People change, you change. Life is about change, if you’re not changing, you’re not living!

So, let go of the ‘was’ self (past) by letting go of any and all regret and guilt resulting from the past ‘was’ self. The past cannot be rewritten, but you can view it through different lenses and re-framing your view of your ‘was’ self. Tell yourself that past errors are mainly due to limitations in perception and ignorance and that they belong to that ‘was’ self at a certain point in the time continuum. It was all part of the learning process and gaining wisdom and was unavoidable.

This applies not only individually but collectively as a human race.

Most importantly, tell yourself – your ‘is’ self (now) that the habits that were acceptable in the past is no longer acceptable today and now. All regrets and guilt of less-than-ideal and less-than life-affirming habits that helped create the ‘was’ self is now boxed up and viewed simply as an error of judgement, ignorance, mis-perception or miscalculation. Put simply – an error.

All this brought about as a consequence of a limitation of human consciousness.

The first stage is self-forgiveness. This is facilitated by humility but also acceptance of this limitation (by letting go of the ego).

Solution: Begin with the right philosophy, filter and remove beliefs that are no longer relevant, acknowledge your soul and then reach out and …

Embrace the ‘is’ YOU with your whole being. Show you care. Feel your love. Allow the healing to happen – to you and those you value around you. Changes then become long-lasting and sustainable as you chart your new course through the sea of life.

All the best in your choices,

 

Until next time,

The right strategy –
” a quality plan + quality implementation
===> quality results. A quality strategy
of a balanced nutrition, exercise philosophy and rest of the body, mind and spirit helps you achieve a ”6-pack”.

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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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Simple is beautiful. Complex is not.

Keep it simple.

Keep it simple.

I love simple. I love simplicity.

I believe the very idea of ‘keeping things simple’ and the very idea of simplicity adopted in all areas of life is one of the most valuable yet still very under-rated aspects of life.

In all areas of life one needs to strive towards simplicity as this brings you towards a more harmonious life.

I can see where this trend of ‘minimalism’ has evolved from in today’s modern world. Smart living is what I call it, smart living. Similar to the way I encourage every person that I have ever helped in the gym over the last twenty plus years is to Train SMART. This is partly why I believe that simple is beautiful.

As I have said in previous blog write-ups, my definition of beauty or beautiful is ‘balance and symmetry’. Nothing more, nothing less. We can see it readily in nature – a beautiful flower or leaf, the beauty of the way a shark swims and the beauty of autumn leaves scattered all over the ground. It’s everywhere! We just need to learn more from nature.

How? We’ll keep it simple!

To become more balanced and symmetrical in the various areas of life though, you need to work, and you need to work hard and smart. You need to work at becoming a little more organized and organize things a little bit more differently in order to approach simple. You need to be able to let go, to destroy what is not relevant in your life. You need courage to bring chaos in to your life to have the opportunity to create and evolve. With a continuous adaptive strategy you can find your new equilibrium, your new state of balance and symmetry.

Just like Life, muscle too, is the continuous fusion of chaos and order. The real skill comes in the awareness of simplicity because mastering the ability to ‘filter out what is not relevant in your life’ (being a better manager of your funnel) is one of the most difficult skills in life to master. Through continuously assessing multiple feedback loops, you are able to self-tune. This takes courage and it takes time. Ultimately, this brings you closer to ‘the essence of the various areas of your life. This brings you closer to simple. Why?

Because SIMPLE IS BEAUTIFUL!

Look & learn. Start from a clean slate. Create & Evolve.

Look & learn. Start from a clean slate. Create & Evolve. Keep it simple.

Making anything – any process, any part of your life more complex, eventually leads to ugliness. Because complex is ugly. Some people may like ugly and that is ok. But I think we have enough ugliness in the world already.

So, it follows that one has to make the complex – simple.

This can only be achieved through increased awareness. Increased awareness within yourself and increased awareness of the external environment that affects you and your life.

Then, make a quality plan and sometimes getting help from a strategist to guide you in taking sufficient and appropriate actions towards non-complexity, one step-at-a-time. A quality plan is useless without quality implementation.

The most important step and almost always under-rated step is to adapt. A lot of people forget to do this or don’t do this completely. It is the process of adaptation that really allows you towards your state of beauty.

Perhaps it is this: ‘truth is beauty, beauty truth. That is all ye need to know’ as the famous poet Keats wrote. There you go – beauty is not only simple, it is truth or closer.

Ultimately, you have to find your truth. And what is beauty to you?

My tip: whenever something is starting to become complex – simplify it. It is as simple as that but as a great philosopher once said, ‘it is the simple things in life that is also the most difficult to do’.

Still, just try and continue doing so. The returns are far greater to you in the long-term compared to the short-term costs invested in time and resources.

Simplifying the complex in all areas of life is key. This will save you from a lot of re-work and headache later in life.

Observe. Learn the basics. Start from scratch. Stick to the basics. Keep it simple, continuously.

Begin. There’s no time like the present as there is no time to waste.

 

Until next time,

A slight variation to the common 'back double biceps' compulsory body-building pose.

A slight variation to the common ‘back double biceps’ compulsory body-building pose.

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Genes for Jeans.

Me and my children - carriers of my genes. A taste of immortality for me.

Me and my children – carriers of my genes. A taste of immortality for me.

My children are learning about life at a very high rate. There’s not one day that passes that I don’t hear them say or try something new. I am constantly surprised and fascinated about the next thing I will hear come out of their mouths. I am also increasingly aware of them ‘growing up’.

They are still to learn a lot of things about life and they will learn as time passes. One of the things they still have to learn are the little rhetorical phrases that Cathy and I say every now and then. One that I tend to use a lot is “its in your genes” or something related to the term “genes’ when we are seated around the table having a meal or just hanging out at home.

Each time I say it, my daughter Olivia would quickly respond (with a questioning look on her face) – “dad, I’m not wearing Jeans!”

Cathy and I would look at each other, doing our best not to break out in laughter. The certainty of her look with regards to her not wearing jeans and mocking my rather dumb statement (based on her facial expression) is priceless.

I have made various versions of that particular statement regarding ‘genes’ and each time Olivia would be the first one to correct me. My wife and I haven’t yet been caught laughing but I’m certain one day soon, we will.

It’s so cute, the ‘black and white’ view children have of the world at this age, which includes their progressive understanding of the English language and all it’s idiosyncrasies. I am looking forward to explaining to her and Zachary what I meant about the word ‘genes’ because at this present time, they only knows the word as ‘jeans’.

I’m looking forward to explaining the many ‘new’ things they will learn about life as they mature, through each phase of life. One of my roles as a parent (and every parent’s role) as I see it is to do my utmost to prepare my children for adulthood. It does not stop there, being a parent continues until the day I die.

Winning the NSW titles - one of my the 3 times I won it. My signature winning pose at that time.

Winning the NSW titles – one of the 3 times I won it.
My signature winning pose at that time.

Over the weekend, my wife and I were getting our children ready for bed and my son, Zachary was being quite disruptive and being difficult. After repeated requests, I blurted out –

“Zachary, pay attention, you’ve got to start pulling up yours socks son, you’re a year older now!”

Just then, I got reminded by Olivia that –

“Dad, Zach is not wearing socks to bed tonight, it’s too hot!”. She had that – “dad, you’re silly” look on her face again.

I expect that I will be seeing that face many more times in to the future, probably will expect to see quite a lot in her teenage years. I am looking forward to hearing her cute reminders to a silly dad.

This is one of the many ‘little daily miracles’ all of us who are lucky to be parents get to experience. Having children is truly a blessing, many times over.

I thank God and my beautiful wife Cathy, that I am able to pass on my genes on to the next generation – my children. I am sure she is appreciative too of the opportunity of passing on her genes to our children.

After all, the overall purpose of life is to procreate. To live on indefinitely or at least one more generation through your off-springs. It is surely an ‘off-set’ of our own mortality.

It gives us mortals – hope. A taste of immortality, even if most of it will be experienced through our imagination. Hope, however, is a beautiful thing and the very essence of it, of the belief summoned for it, allows some people the courage to continue to live.

Appropriate outfit given the Rugby World Cup currently under-way in England, Me and my two Australian Valentines. Go the Wallabies!

Appropriate outfit given the Rugby World Cup currently under-way in England,
Me and my two Australian Valentines.
My 2 favourite teams are Fiji and Australia. As Fiji has not progressed to the quarter finals, Go the Australian Wallabies!

So, live. Love. Laugh. Hope. Live on through genes.

Reflect on YOU, your uniqueness. On your unique genes that has been passed on to you, that makes up who you are. Your blueprint. Ask yourself, have you allowed YOU – to be the BEST YOU CAN BE? Have you worked on your genetic strengths? Have you or are you working towards your potential? For example, would you say you “strongly agree” to the statement –

“At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best, every day”.

If not, why not?

If you answered ‘strongly disagree’ or ‘disagree’, the costs to you and your life could be staggering. There seems to be an epidemic of disengagement at work of a majority of people simply because they are not working to their strengths and not emotionally engaged on their job.

A lot of unhappy, unmotivated people.

This impacts greatly on the overall quality of your life. So, work towards your strengths – your genes and try to align your job and your goals with your natural talents. It’s never too late. Just ACT and build a strengths-based development plan for a better you. A better life.

The impetus for this, for any worthwhile change in life is DESIRE. You’ve got to desire the BEST YOU to step forward. You’ve got to fuel the desire, the hunger to be the BEST YOU CAN BE, using your God-given talents. The strength in your genes, that has been passed down to you from your ascendents.

Ask yourself – have these strengths, these talents laid dormant for a number of years? Time for a change. A change for your good, for the good of your life and those around you.

Be courageous – take action.

Food for thought.

This is my genes for jeans story.

If you’ve got this far, thank you. I hope you enjoyed the story-telling and found some value in it that you could use in your life. I wish you all the very best in your search for your best, now and in to the future.

Until next time,

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

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

A semi-posing shot. Enjoying the sun and day out on my favourite beach here in Sydney , Australia.

A semi-posing shot.
Enjoying the sun and day out at my favourite beach here in Sydney , Australia.

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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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