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Boys to Men

My gritty Viking Pirate Prince – Zachary, is never too far from me. My role as his dad and father in shaping him in to the Man I imagine him to be be is the most important project I will ever undertake. The same applies to my daughter.

A Few Good Men

I loved the Rob Reiner directed movie – “A Few Good Men”, released in 1992. It starred some of Hollywood’s A-Listers like – Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Kevin Bacon, Cuba Gooding Junior, Demi Moore and so forth. Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise), a US military lawyer, defends two US marines charged with murdering a fellow marine at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. The needle of suspicion, thus, points to a colonel (Jack Nicholson).

Throughout history, long before the marines or SAS or FBI or special forces … God had always been looking for a Few Good Men:

“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (2 Chronicles 16:9a).

“I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap” (Ezekiel 22:30a).

God, give us Men. Real Men.

God give us Noahs: Someone to whom you can trust your mighty plans;

God give us Abrahams: Men who are willing to leave home and homeland to follow your call;

God give us Josephs: Men who would rather endure prison than violate one of your commands;

God give us Moseses: Men who are willing to stand as your mouthpiece against the most powerful leaders in all the world;

God give us Daniels: Men who would rather face a lions’ den than compromise their faith;

God, give us Men … Real Men!

Learning and absorbing our habits every single day of their initial phase of their lives is what our young Princes do.
Teach them well.

Who are the Real Men?

Have you seen them around?

Let’s name a few that have come forward and ‘spoke out’ and been chastised and ridiculed and effectively ‘tried by media’ before even having a fair trial. To me, they are Men who stand up for what it right … who stand up against Injustice in any shape or form. They are men who stand their ground, even if it means they stand alone. It is for unselfish and most loving men.

Here are a few Men that could be modern-day Noahs, Abrahams, Josephs, Moseses and Daniels: Colin Kapernick; Israel Folau; Quaid Cooper; Russell Brand; Jordan Peterson; Mike Tyson; Mohammad Ali; Malcolm X; Martin Luther King; William Wallace; Luke Sky Walker; Han Solo; The Lord of the Rings; Aragorn; Frodo; Marty McFly from Back to the Future; Bruce Wayne.

Can you name some?

Time spent with your young man is NEVER bad use of your time.

Boys To Men

Do you remember that smooth Men Group called “Boyz 2 Men” that was around in the 90s? I loved a few of their songs, they were very talented singers.

There name gives us a clue to what God gives us. He does not give us Men, he gives us boys …. sons.

The reality is that God DOES NOT give us men – he gives us boys.

To us, as parents, he gives us the task of forging these boys into men.

To help equip us for that task, God has provided the book of Proverbs, which is largely the advice of a father to his son …

Father’s Day is just around the corner for us here in Australia. I look forward to it every year for many reasons. One is seeing the creativity my children demonstrate on that day. I having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude that I have children and have the opportunity to play my role as their dad/father and love them unconditionally.

Our children are our legacy.

As a parent, are you taking that thought seriously?

We love muscle and design. We love muscle cars. Here we are at a Car Show in Sydney, Australia. Just love seeing, smelling and feeling the energy that is transmuted by beauty.

My little Batman.

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Are you a “Butt” Man?

Find your inner-peace but don’t wait too long … or until you’re a skeleton

Forgotten Muscles

Just to let you know, first up … I am a Butt Man and also a Boobs Man too, in case you’re interpreting the subject heading from ‘that’ perspective. However, I am writing about a more important issue for Men, like you and others out there … which if, unattended to, can lead to some rather unwanted health issues down the track. Let me elaborate …

You see, I’ve always loved observing people, from when I was a kid. I love observing humans in all walks of life, doing all kinds of activities and apart from a growing problem of very bad posture, many people are losing their bums.

It has become, I believe, the forgotten muscles.

People, especially men over 40 are experiencing an ever-disappearing behind or as the French term calls it – derrie’re. Matter of fact, I believe people have weaker posterior chain muscles in general. What are the ‘posterior chain’ muscles?

They are basically, the muscles that behind you, from your head to your heels – everything connecting your joints together.

Men are at risk of leaving their behinds, behind. They’re losing their butts!

Many men past 40 don’t know this but if they looked at themselves in the mirror lately, it is plain to see that the body profile has changed, and not for the better. Where has this very important muscle group disappeared to? The bum is made up of the gluteus muscles  – the muscular masses posterior to the pelvis formed by the three gluteal muscles (glutes): gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. These muscles are in each cheek.

It seems that these amazingly strong muscles have disappeared and replaced with fat. Very sad, indeed or the part that was once the butt has moved to the gut or belly for some but for many, the arse has just vanished. Does this happen for all men? Certainly not but I believe it is happening more frequently to men that have a desk-job, sitting for hours on end every day, hunched over their keyboard looking at computer screens with very bad posture.

Stand up from where you are and go look at your glutes/bum in the mirror. Feel them, tense those muscles, do they feel strong? Can you see them when you turn to your side. If you can’t, you got to do something about them ass cheeks.

Only if you’re an Butt-Man, like I am.

Progress shots of the ‘back double biceps’ pose prior to contest. Working your ‘back/posterior” muscles is key. It is a life-saving activity you can do for no one else but YOU.

Only one half

In my observations of Boyz to Men in the gym over the last 30 years, I can comfortably say that the upper body is the half of the body that they like to train. It’s as if the bottom half, the ‘other half’ does not exist. They look in the mirror and their eyes don’t seem to look at what’s below the waist, just like seeing only the ‘tip of the ice-berg’ when you see an ice-berg in the ocean.

Most men tend to put unwanted fat deposits in certain areas as they age. This is in the form of visceral fat around the mid-section and neck and chest area (“bitch tits”) and the butt or arse area. In this social media era, many men are trying to lose weight, fast and some are going about it the right way – building muscle with resistance training and combining this with balanced nutrition and cardiovascular exercises.

Problems in the arse tend to arise when they lose muscle in the bum/arse as they lose fat in that area too. Even those men who go to the gym regularly can lose bum muscle or glute muscle too. The latter is rather sad because of the rather foolish approach many men carry out their training.

The culprit: these men only focus weight training on their upper body, only seeing one half of the body. The other half (the lower half) does not exist to them. The loss of muscle in the arse/glute area is due to these men conveniently embrace dementia-related symptoms with regards to the existence of the bum.

To them, the arse does not exist.

Work your back muscles .. you may just build a cape as wide as Batman’s

Maximus and minimus is very strong

As mentioned earlier, the gluteal muscle group is made up of three gluteal muscles in each ass cheek forming a powerful muscular girdle that keeps the pelvis stable and moves the body forward. It is arguably the strongest muscle group in the body.

The glute muscles are not specifically activated and utilised by walking or running and exercises like planks and crunches don’t help either. The maximus and minimus is very strong and are engaged with exercises such as squats, lunges, hip extensions and bridging.

Single leg squats or leg presses and walking sideways helps but unless you’re a crab, it is quite pointless.

Abdominals & Thighs … for the audience. What you should work at is the back/posterior muscles which includes the butt

Exercises to boost your arse/butt size

One day in the past, sometime in the 7 year period I owned and ran my Family Boutique Gym, one of the male members yelled out from the other side of the gym saying –

“Paul, you’ve got the biggest arse I have ever seen on a man!” and joked –

“Paul and his bus” (meaning my backside).

To maintain and even build the buttock muscles, certain exercises must be technically correct. You must have patience and allow yourself to be coachable. You should focus on the functional value of performing these exercise for your overall health and strength benefit.

The aesthetic benefits should be a side-benefit not the main motivating factor (even though there are faster options available from cosmetic surgeons who suck fat out of the belly and re-inject it in to the buttocks – yuck!).

Forget that shit, speak to your Ass-Cheeks and work it like a Real Man+ by doing exercises with weights in the gym that builds these muscles up – squats, deadlifts and leg presses.

My Family of friends in my gym I owned and managed for 7 years.
All working towards being the ‘best the can be’

Emerging trend for Men

According to the American Society for Asesthetic Plastic Surgey, getting ‘butt surgery’ is an emerging trend for men. Really?! Apparently, men account for almost 10 percent of cosmetic buttocks procedures. Twenty years ago this figure was less than 2 percent.

There’s also a cheaper option available – buying padded bottom-enhancing underpants or trunks that provide a lift, like Calvin Klein’s “Body Boost Butt Trunk”, that has hidden support straps to boost the rear profile. So, men can have the appearance of a powerful behind, without doing the hard work to earn it and not having to pay thousands of dollars for surgery.

Never thought Men, Real Men … would stoop this low. But, it happens and is happening more frequently.

work your ‘back muscles’

A strong butt is a strong back and good posture

As you now know the glutes are vital to your movement and has certain sexual and aesthetic appeal. However, you may not know that these same muscles are crucial in protecting the back and lower limb joints from injury. They hold the pelvis steady and keep them aligned with the legs and the torso.

If the butt muscles aren’t strong enough they won’t do their job properly – to maintain erect posture for the upper torso and so the lower back muscles have to do extra work and this leads to chronic back pain which a lot of office workers suffer from.

This could also lead to hamstring problems as they have to work harder and overcompensate. Problems can and will also travel downwards to the knees and ankles. So, as you can see, apart from the aesthetic of a big strong butt, their role in having a strong back and good posture is key.

Back double biceps.
I had this pose covered … from top to bottom.
I won this division in the NSW Titles back in 2007.
work your ‘butt. work your back/posterior muscles

Credit Card Test

Here’s what I’d recommend to you if you feel you’ve been suffering from gluteal amnesia, go the gym and start doing the exercises that target the buttocks, namely – squats, leg presses and deadlifts. But, you’ve got to learn to improve your ‘mind-muscle’ connection and focus on squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement. Always be in control and feel the muscle.

The glutes have become the forgotten muscles because most strength-training routines do not isolate these key muscles.

Here’s a little strength test for the largest of these muscles – the gluteus maximus that you could do in the comfort and privacy of your home or office. Take out one of your credit cards from your wallet and place in between your butt cheeks. Comfortable? No, it isn’t but that is not the point.

Now, squeeze those ass cheeks tight, holding the card in place and then run across the room. If those glutes cannot hold the card in place, then, Huston, we’ve got a problem … a butt problem!

Honesty test: so, how did you go? Is the card still there in your butt?

A friend of mine getting a sun tan on my favourite beach here in Sydney, Australia.
A hot day it was. …

Don’t worry, be happy

I love that reggae song called “Don’t worry, be happy” that came out in the late 80s if I recall correctly. It is not the end of the world, if your credit card was left behind on the floor as you ran to the other side of the room.

If you have a butt problem, believe me, you’re not alone in this world. I believe most people, particularly, most Men actually have butt problems. You need to get them working well again and you can and … you will.

My son Zachary and I at a family member’s wedding. A lovely day.

Here’s my tip: get your lazy ass off the gym, ask for a more conventional assessment by a suitably experienced and qualified personal trainer and get cracking on your butt investment. Don’t worry, you’re not the only one who is lazy … humans generally are … we all, are, me included.

After all, aren’t you an butt/ Ass-Man?

I know I AM!

Cheers & Ahoy!

The old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk … & being an Ass-Man and loving it!

Leadership ability begins in the home … children learn character building in the home
Be the best character you can be … for YOU, first .. and then for your kids
my two children a number of years ago

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Exercise builds your brain power

The Brain 🧠.
The mind.
I AM.
Use this most complex tool ever created to become a better medium of communication to …. the universe, to infinite intelligence … to consciousness.
Listen to and change your body to listen to and change your brain towards balance & symmetry. A key to happiness.

To learn is to Grow

Given the fact that the body and the brain are intricately connected, why not take good care of both, I say.

I have seen amazing changes in a person’s mental health over the almost thirty years in and around gyms that I have helped people, help themselves, infuse themselves with Vitality – the ‘essence of life .

The positive changes that they have been made to their bodies, within a strategy tailor-designed for each individual, adopting my unique framework to body/mind re-engineering. As the muscles grow and the bodyfat disappears and the body shape changes towards more balance and symmetry, you see a definite change in mind-set.

A big part of the transformation process is increasing the awareness – internally and externally of the willing participant. He or she is being operated on, on the body which in effect, operates on the brain and mind, continuously ‘listening to the body’ and learning more and more about the body.

Know you.

To learn is to grow.

We do this by using the tools in my lab (the gym) – such as resistance training/weights; cardio machines and nutrition changes have caused positive, noticeable changes in their mind-set and mental health.

So, get educated (either on your own or find a suitably qualified and experienced exercise specialist/trainer) and go have your workouts… and build muscle. Your quality of life depends on this.

Champions practise a lot of visualisation and simulation.
To create magic, you need to fuse the worlds of sanity (where you are) with insanity (where you dream/imagine you are, before you are).
That is difficult.
That is one of the key keys.
Don’t stop. Trying. Believing.
Keep on … keeping on. You’ll get there. Everyone always does.
Especially, if you do it with your heart. and ….
with LOVE.

Multiple feedback loops

So, exercise and train with weights and manipulate your nutrition and continuously ‘listen’ and take notice of the multiple feedback loops your body is communicating back to you. Then, assess and respond with sufficient and appropriate actions in a timely basis. Most importantly, you have to adapt as your body (and mind) adapts and changes.

Become the best Change Agent you can be.

Learning to “listen to my body” and use the “instinctive approach “ to SMARTER training allowed me to get down to 4.2% body fat and retain maximum muscle mass – NATURALLY. Ok, I did use black coffee ☕️ (not a band ‘ illegal substance).

i became a master at reading my body’s multiple feedback loops. Essentially, understanding “me” better.

So, that should be one of your goals too – understand YOU better.

What science now knows is that the brain is flexible or plastic – more like play-doh than plasticine. Remember this: it is an adaptable organ that can be molded by input in much the same way as muscle can be sculpted by lifting barbells and dumbells.

Basically, the more you use it, the stronger and more flexible it becomes.

True?
Neuroscience is still at the level of where medicine was in the 1700s
A long way to fully understand who we are….
Who “I AM.

It’s all about communication

Everything you do and think and feel is governed by how your brain cells, your neurons, connect to one another.

You see, your brain is constantly being re-wired and it’s all about communication and how effective and efficient the communication channels are and the key messengers in all this communication are neurotransmitters that transport chemically and electrically, hormones that controls everything you do.

Exercise is the best drug you can give yourself – your body, mind and spirit. A good workout or a good run fuels your body like a drug like Prozac or Ritalin can boost you and your moods.

This is because exercise, like drugs, lifts these neurotransmitters.

Responsible for transmission of critical electrical, chemical & hormonal messages -internal communication

Balance is Key – a balanced brain is a healthy brain and a healthy brain is a happy brain

Exercise, in particular, weight-training, BALANCES these neurotransmitters that can easily lose balance and tilt your moods one way or the other. Balance is key – Neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine and norephinepherine, which if unbalanced over time under unbalanced conditions, causes all kinds of problems.

All kinds of physical problems but also contribute to different levels of anxiety, depression and is even linked to dementia and parkinsons.

Life Tip 101(c) : Keeping your brain in balance can literally change your life, because amongst other things, a balanced brain is a healthy brain and a healthy brain is a happy brain.

Lift weights and exercise to help you, help yourself, create more balance and symmetry in your physique and what you see in the mirror looking back at you. And you need to strive for balance and symmetry in your workouts when you’re in the gym. Your body is the physical manifestation of the extent of balance happening within –

Balancing your neurotransmitters puts you more in control of your body, mind and spirt and move you more towards happiness

… to ultimately,

balance YOU!

… and balance

Your life.

Collage of some bodybuilding poses

Remember: More balance => (leads to) more happiness.

More balance and symmetry in body-shape and physique also brings your more closer to our search for beauty, for truth. We all love to appreciate beauty but not everyone can CREATE beauty. I have found that this is a beautiful way to create your BEAUTY, through balance and symmetry – WITHIN, using weights and feedback from the mirror.

Ultimately, I believe (as I have witnessed in all I have helped in over thirty years of transforming peoples’ bodies), Balance and symmetry (beauty) INTERNALLY leads to balance and symmetry EXTERNALLY – a more balanced life.

This also allows you to discover your truth.

A more happy life, because of a more balanced and more happier brain.

All the very best in your daily choices.

Your destiny hinges on the little things your do every day (there is power in habit) and all these actions depend on the desire (heart) to do so.

Choose well,

Cheers & ahoy!

The old Cap’n Viking Pirate … & training your body/heart  … to train and balance your mind.

Your body is the physical manifestation of your mind.
Your brain is the ‘google map’ of your body.
Your brain and body is intricately connected – via electrical and chemical signals called neurotransmitters, striving to create balance WITHIN.
As we don’t have the capability of operating on our brain physically at the moment, the next best way to do so is (indirectly), by operating on your body.
You do this by changing your inputs and providing training, nutrition and rest stimulus.
And strive for ‘balance & symmetry’ in physique, which creates balance & symmetry in the brain.
Balanced and symmetrical brain = happy brain = happy life.
Your beauty.

Achieving a well-balanced physique should be understood for what it is: a masterful fusion of art and science.
One should improve once’s “BODY Smart”knowledge. this takes time and deliberate practise.
Top 5 in the world, two years in a row at a sport I love ain’t too shaby for an city boy from the beautiful paradise islands of Fiji
If YOU think you can and you BELIEVE YOU CAN … YOU CAN.

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Dating at the Office – DO IT or NOT TO DO IT?

One of my many quirks – my Old Captain Viking Pirate persona

Providing solutions to Businesses through consultancy

My first degree at university was a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in Mathematics and Physics. I love these subjects, I still do.

My second bachelor’s degree was a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Accounting and Business Administration (Management). Following my graduation, I began my work as a business Consultant, working for 3 of the top 10 largest Companies in the world and others that were large Australian Companies. I loved it and ‘climbed the corporate ladder and helping companies ‘fix’ the problems they found themselves in or created.

I used to tell people that my job was no different to road rubbish collectors – part of my job was to go in and ‘clean up’ other peoples’ messes. I loved what I did and I was good at it. Very good at finding a solution to address the problem, by halting it’s progress or just minimising the consequences and probability of huge catastrophes from occurring.

I still am.

Saving companies a lot of money and heart-ache over that time. They paid good money for the advice provided too.

I spent almost 3 years for one such large Business Consulting in Sydney, Australia. It still remains as one of the best companies I’ve ever worked for. Predominantly Accountants and Lawyers with a few other ‘admin’ staff and IT and Marketing professionals. It had a great work culture, where we ‘worked hard and played hard’.

It was also where I met my wife.

Her smile stole my heart

We worked in different divisions and on different floors. I was on the 29th and she was on the 30th of one of the skyscrapers in the beautiful city of Sydney, Australia.

I saw her for the first time at one of the photocopying/fax rooms. She walked by and paused, giving me the best smile I had seen in a very long while. I thought to myself – ‘wow!”.

She didn’t only have the best smile, she was beautiful too and I love beauty.

I didn’t see her again for another three weeks because I was out consulting at clients’ premises most of the time. But the Firm we worked at had terrific partners and a wonderful ‘fun’ culture. Old school with a modern twist. The Firm really got into celebrations, particularly the most famous horse race that stops the nation – the Melbourne Cup.

Everyone usually stopped work around 11am for the 3pm race.

A party atmosphere begins … alcohol flowing with lots of catered food and everyone getting in to the spirit of things. Employee and employers alike put on their best formal attire – men usually wore fancy hats and ties with their suits and the women came decked out in beautiful dresses and glamorous hats.

I loved those parties. They were some of the very best parties I have ever attended in my life so far.

A real festive mood.

Clients were invited to participate in our celebrations.

That is where I saw her again, my future wife to be.

I just love beauty.
In all its forms.
In cars and it’s design

Flirtatious versus Professional Behaviour

I think flirty behaviour and professional mannerisms don’t match. It is not a perfect fit like say, the symbol ’69’.

Even though I met my wife at work almost twenty years ago, I would advise not to date at the office in today’s world.

Here’s why.

Erotic engagements in the course of business engagements tend to be anything but simple or romantic. It doesn’t matter how exciting the initial surreptitious encounter may have been. A Gentleman put in this complicated position will be hard pressed to keep his wits about him. So would a woman.

What if the relationship goes sour? What then?

Well, the worst case scenarios have been played out in the media for a number of years now and usually involve lawyers and tonnes of hours of consultants’ time which means a lot of money.

Find your light and colours. Be authentic, be YOU.
Have FAITH that being naked & vulnerable will get you closer to happiness.
but more importantly …
be the light for someone who sees only darkness.

Private versus Professional Lives

Pessimism isn’t an attractive characteristic and is not a typical gentlemanly one. A relationship can go ‘sour’. The break-up question isn’t one to ignore when it involves a co-worker.

You’ll get asked the question by boss if he notices the two of you holding hands at the photocopier. In my case, one of the senior Partners saw us get in to the lift together several times in the mornings, and began getting  suspicious. We tried to be very careful so as to hide any evidence of our involvement, agreeing on certain ‘ground rules’ in and around the office with regards to acceptable social etiquette.

Despite us being very careful, we became the talk and gossip of the firm, amongst the fellow employees and even the Partners at Partner meetings.

But no one had evidence.

This went on for almost a year. We worked very hard to keep our private lives separate from our Professional lives and we did quite a good job at it.

Side chest pose in my gym of seven years.

Going ‘splits-ville’

I’ve been married for almost twenty years now.

It hasn’t been plain sailing but, somehow, we’ve made it work, so far. Through the good times and the bad, we’ve co-captained this viking pirate ship of ours through the varying ‘seas of life’. Always trying to keep our ship afloat, despite the different weathers that we’ve endured.

We’ve stayed afloat, mainly through belief, God’s help and hard work – individually, and together as a ‘team’. Like all good long-term relationships worth holding on to, it takes a lot of ‘Hard YAKA” as we would say here in Australia.

But not all office romances end in marriages. A breakup would likely impact on your productivity and for the two involved it’s going to make personal and professional lives miserable.

I have witnessed this first hand at the very same firm I met my wife at. Breakups can be a torrid experience and messy. People tend to leave the firm for everyone’s sake.

Everyone needs a little helping hand

Can you keep a secret?

Now, I have always believed that we are not as ‘in control of ourselves than we think.

When those sexual and love hormones flood our bodies and minds, we are completely helpless and the only way to handle it is to let ‘run it’s course’.

If you’re lucky, you would have been ‘in love’ at some point or another in your life, so you know what I mean. Modern Neuroscience also confirms this in human brain scans.

So, for those of you who decline to listen to this sage advice or your own better judgement and decide to ignite the spark you struck  in the office break room or photocopier room like I did, I ask ‘can you keep a secret?

This can, after all, be part of the attraction. It certainly added to the excitement for me and my wife in year we kept it secret.

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Some secret office affair etiquette to keep in mind.

This list is not exhaustive by any means.

No public displays of affection; no lengthy toilet-breaks together; if the lift gets stuck on a regular basis between floors three and four with the two of you emerging dishevelled, people will talk;

And last but not least, if word gets out, be prepared to take your job termination and gentlemanly grace – no gnashing of teeth, no threats and no slamming doors.

No one can say you didn’t see it coming.

Choose well.

Your career and life depends on it.

All the very best in your decisions.

 

Cheers and Ahoy!

 

The old Captain Viking Pirate and ….. secret office affairs

World Natural Bodybuilding Championships – New York, USA.
Standing with middle-weight (my category) and overall World Champion.
Me – 4th placed in the world
Competitor beside me – 1st place and World champion
Right: My Team Partner and wife – Cathy. (She has had to live with my penchant to pose at every and any opportunity I have for almost 20 years)

With my trophy – doing the “Abdominal/Thigh” pose.
4th in the World in something you love isn’t too shaby for an Fiji Island Boy… who dared to not only dream … but to DREAM BIG

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You.

Being YOU means … facing your truth, to some extent.
Here’s ‘me’ in my ‘moment of truth’ before stepping on stage in the NSW Natural Body Building Titles.
I came 1st.
3 x. Remember, an hours’s contemplation is better than a year’s adoration.

I think a lot. A lot.

Of stuff … primarily of the Self, of Business and its operations, and of society. And I also think a lot about Beauty in every form.

You could say that I am many things, one of which is that I am a Thinker. I am proud I am one.

Some people don’t think. Some choose not to. That is ok too.

Fortunately, I love to teach, too. And I just happen to love writing too, within the whole realm of communication. I love communicating, through storytelling and conversations that hopefully, empowering and helping readers in their lives.

I love the human – body and mind and everything about the magic that it is when combined with the heart and the soul/spirit and consciousness. I just find it endlessly fascinating. Just like the Dot (I’ll elaborate on this in a later blog).

The human we call: YOU.

I sit back regularly and marvel at it … and say “wow!”. It never fails to amaze me every single day!

I love communities. I find communities fascinating – all types, small, big, crazy, sporty-type, loud, dangerous, pompous and so on …

I grew up in a large extended family that was kind of like a little community, all living in the same tiny house. Grandfather and mother, mothers, dads, mums, aunties, uncles, brothers, sisters, cousins and other distant relatives. There was never a time when there was less than 10 people in my house between the ages of 0 and 12, I think.

Already practising ‘posing’ by the poolside in front of my first audience – my brothers and sisters in Suva, Fiji Islands.
I think I was 11 here.
Posing started very early … took me all the way to the World Championships and against the best in the world in New York, USA many years later.
Ranking in the top 5 in the world at bodybuilding, let alone anything is a huge honour. NOTE: “To own nothing is the beginning of happiness.” – Diogenes’

As I reminisce, I recall the various local communities I was a part of – next door neighbours, street friends, soccer team friends, rugby team friends, church group, school friends, martial-arts group. Formal and informal groups or communities of all types.

They were all little communities within the larger community.

The success of all these little communities and my role in them depended on effective communication and the art of managing relationships between me and all key people in the various groups. I was part of these communities and it was part me and I did my part to contribute to these communities within the larger community. I did my part, played the role assigned to me, to the best of my ability at that point in time.

By playing my role and contributing in my small (but important) way, I gained the benefits given to the members of the group/communities – directly and indirectly. The collaboration between me and the many communities I was part of made for the creation of a sort of electricity, like any good partnership would. All these separate groups/communities were partnerships, whereby we were separate from one another (me and them) but there was a sort of coordination of functions that allowed for the success of the groups goals.

This skill helped me manage my on-going relationships with High Dollar Value Companies in my ten years as a consultant for 3 of the Top 10 Companies in the World and also came in very useful owning my family gym for 7 years later on in my life.

It still helps me maintain and manage my key relationships today.

Managing key relationships in your life is as simple as pruning a bonzai plant, yet, as complex as the variables that go into managing its environment. Remember: “Nothing is sufficient to a man to whom the sufficient is too little.” – Epicurus.

I sometimes think about the human body as a community, and then it’s individual cells as separate people within that community. If I was, for example, a white cell, I’d be amongst 80 million or so other cells within the communities I lived in (within the my body). As we know, the cell is the basic unit of an organism; it can live for itself or it can help contribute and help form and keep the larger organism alive.

The Bible is fundamentally a book of stories told by some wonderful storytellers. I recall the apostle Paul using an analogy in 1 Corinthians 12 I think, where he compares the church to the human body. Paul’s analogy really brings home one of the fundamental principles of God’s creations: that the body comprises millions of cells but it is ONE.

Re-read that last sentence again.

No matter what a particular cell feels or thinks and say, the brain cell for example, “I do not want to belong to the body!”

That is wishful thinking, because it cannot, just for that reason, cease to be part of the body. Or if the muscle cell should say to the optic nerve cell, “because I am not an optic nerve, I do not belong to the body!” …. it would not for that reason, cease to be part of the body.

We wouldn’t want the whole body to be just one particular type of cell, do we? It would cause havoc! I mean, if the whole body were an optic nerve cell, where would the ability to run or walk or sit go? If the whole body were an auditory nerve, where would be the sense of light? So, it is essential that each and every one of our cells play the unique role they were put there to play for the whole human to function as we expect.

How did this all come about?

Well, depending on your beliefs, one area of belief says that in fact God has arranged the cells in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If all the cells were the same, we would not be who we are: the amazing human life form that we see every day in the mirror.

So, you see, there are many cells …. But only one body.

with a fan backstage.
Building the best YOU (physically), requires a very detailed understanding of how all the parts of the variables (inputs) that contribute towards creating a highly anabolic environment, conducive to building muscle and losing fat.
Result: win. Life Tip: “Do not regard as valuable anything that can be taken away.” – Seneca

This analogy Paul gave to us tells us more about life. Allow me to elaborate a little further on the analogy.

You see, a hand or foot or an ear cannot have a life separate from the body, but a cell has that potential. It can be part of the body as a loyalist, or it can be selfish and think only of itself and cling to its own life.

Some cells do choose to live in the body, sharing in its benefits while maintaining complete independence. What do these cells become? They become parasites or cancer cells.

And we know what happens to parasites and cancer cells don’t we? They end the host’s life, eventually, prematurely and dare I say, unfairly so.

There is so much complexity to the ever-changing YOU. Yet, there is a peaceful simplicity to You, too.

Find that simplicity.

Find beauty. Find Truth and … more importantly find and be the Real You. It is the greatest battle and war you will ever fight and continue to fight to the day you die!

As the late E.E. Cummings said “To be nobody – but – yourself in a world which is doing its BEST, night and day, to MAKE YOU everybody else – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting!” 

Keep fighting, I say!! YOU are worth it.

 

Ahoy, until next time!

 

 

The old Captain Viking Pirate …. & thoughts of You and Life.

Be YOU. No one else can do better than you at being YOU.
Being the best you can be is probably the single most powerful thing you can do to improve the world.
Just find YOU and then …. improve you.

 

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Praising your Wife.

In Darling Harbour, Sydney for her sister’s wedding.

Is your wife perfect for you?

My wife, Cathy is perfect for me. She always has been and we have been together for almost twenty years now.

We met at our place of work in the city, she worked on the 30th floor and me on the 29th. We worked for the same Consultancy & Advisory Firm but in different divisions. We all remember the first time we saw/met our wives, don’t we? I’m sure you can tell me your story of how you met your wife.

Mine, well, it wasn’t something fancy, it happened while I was using the photocopying machine. Yep, I fell in love with her smile in one of the photocopying/fax rooms. She gave me the best smile I had received from anyone in a long while … she smiled from the heart.

Working there was a funny time and one of the reasons was that we tried to keep our relationship secret for about a year. However, no matter how hard we tried, we kept getting caught together in the lifts and outside of work – in the city streets or cafes or even on University grounds (as my wife was completing her undergrad degree while she worked). Other work mates used to wonder if we were an item but had no evidence and we later heard that it was even included in the board meeting discussions by the Partners of the Firm.

It was a funny and great phase of our lives together.

Enjoying another habit of ours – eating at a holiday resort in beautiful paradise Islands of Fiji, where I was born and spent my early youth in.

During that period of courtship before marriage, we had more ups then downs. We still have our ups and downs and fights but I think we both knew in the first phase of our relationship that we would wind up married, best friends and partners for life.

Well, I sort of knew earlier on that we were ‘on the same wavelength’ in many facets of our being. I just shared this little story with my two children over dinner recently. The story of how their mum (my wife) and I both went out independently and without any knowledge prior to the fact that we went on the same day and bought a cd of the singer ‘Enya’. We then showed each other what we bought that evening and were both surprised that we did the same thing on the same day without saying a word.

We did this in the first year of our relationship. There were many other instances.

Freaky?

Nope, Quantum Physics says that everything is essentially comprised of waves and frequencies and so … we were figuratively and literally on ‘the same wavelength’ and have been (on most things) ever since.

She has a lovely sense of humour and is very thoughtful, with a thousand other beautiful traits. We enjoy each other and we enjoy life (for the most part).

In a big part and phase of our lives, she was in the background. For example, when I changed careers and pursued my passion of attaining “Peak Performance” in every area of life – physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally … and helping people. I didn’t like the way I saw Personal Trainers/Gym Trainers training people when I was in the gym and thought that I could do much better and give people what they deserve: a more efficient, more effective and most importantly, the most safest way of training and transforming a physique …. using my knowledge and experience to that point.

She was there.

My beautiful and amazing wife, Cathy Valentine.

She had always been in the background in the phase of life that took me to two World Championships in the Sport I love, Natural Bodybuilding, my drive to be not just the BEST in my suburb, my state, my country … but my hunger to be the BEST in the World. I may very lousy trying to be the best in the world at say, Basketball (that would be wishful thinking/delusional thinking) because I was ‘slightly under 6 feet and I couldn’t dunk).

But in the sport of Bodybuilding, I could beat anyone (I thought) on that stage, just like a boxer could beat anyone in the ring in the same weight category. I was born with the right genetics and so had a competitive advantage, just like a tall person playing basketball has a competitive advantage in playing basketball.

My competitive advantages : I was always abnormally strong and fast and the same muscles that made me fast (the Type 2b ‘fast twitch’ muscle fibres) as I learned in my studies of the human body, was also responsible for building quality, lean muscle mass.

Within a year of leaving the Corporate World to pursue my passion of helping people, help themselves, achieve something they care about …  with no ‘Plan B’ … I found myself competing in competitions. I found myself beating the best in my city – Sydney, then I found myself beating the best in my State – NSW. I didn’t stop there … I thought I may as well compete against the best in my country and I did.

I placed 1st runner-up in the Middle Weight NSW Titles and qualified for the World Natural Bodybuilding Championships where the Top 2 of each weight category qualified. I represented Australia and placed in the Top 5 (beating the guy who beat me in Australia in the Australian Titles) in the World two years in a row in the sport. The Sport I fell in love with almost 30 years ago.

 

World Natural Bodybuilding Championships – New York, USA.
Standing with middle-weight (my category) and overall World Champion.
Me – 4th placed in the world
Competitor beside me – 1st place and World champion
Right: My Team Partner and wife – Cathy.

Leading up to that point I was an Accountant, managing a team of young clerks, Accountants and reporting to the CEO.

I had a lot of dreams (and still do) and of them was the dream of doing what I loved to do: to help people, help themselves be the best version of themselves. I knew I knew how and that I had developed my own unique philosophy and techniques “best bred” from all the great champions that have been in the Sport of Bodybuilding for over hundred years. Arnold Schwarzenegger being the most famous of legends.

It was difficult initially but I also believed I could achieve it, that it wasn’t wishful thinking … that I could beat the best in the world in my sport … that I could see myself standing with the best in the world because I believed in me. Luckily, she believed in that dream too. More importantly she believed in me. I developed a quality plan and I (with her help) executed the plan with quality. My years of developing plans for consulting jobs for large corporate clients was very useful here.

She was always there when I lived and breathed the running of my gym and helping everyone that I considered to be my Extended Family of members that just happened to be my gym members.

I couldn’t have done that without her support.

Her work was not as visible and maybe, to some people, not as important. But, my efforts and results would be nothing without a wife like her. What most people don’t realise is that something is as real and true in my family (I have two beautiful kids and a dog now) as it is in almost any man’s family:

What our wives do and have done is much more valuable in terms of eternity than anything we could ever do.

Ten years from now my name may appear in the Fiji Sports Hall of Fame or maybe Australia’s too. That may be part of my legacy. I am still a fan of the sport and almost all sports. I don’t get up on stage competitively like I used to but I still watch and cheer along with every other fan.

But my wife, Cathy’s accomplishments, unknown to most people, will be honoured for eternity. What she has done and is still doing for our family. She’s been there for my children in the early years of their lives … almost been the father and mother to them, when I spent years leaving the house very early (before 5am) and getting home late (after 9:30pm) when I used to run a gym for 7 years.

I just love this photo of my wife.

That is a phase of life I will always remember and appreciate. She was superhuman because she got help from no one as the gym and my extended family of members and my goals to be the best in the world took up my time and energy.

In the last number of years of this phase of life, she has learned to ‘fly’ again after having kids. She is now in the foreground and flourishing in her career as I take a backseat and invested my time in the children and develop other ideas that I see opportunities for.

I am excited for her and her growth in this phase of her life.

To all you men reading this, be and give the support your wife/woman needs and learn to adapt to the different phases of life.

God reminds me that yes, she is my wife and mother of our children and key part of my family but she is also Cathy Valentine – an individual, separate, looking for growth and progress in her being.

Husbands, be the wind beneath her wings. Sit back and see her fly … and go ‘wow!’

Thank God for all your blessings, which should always include your wife.

Ahoy and until next time!

 

Yours in iron and muscles,

The Old Captain Viking Pirate Fiji Islands – born Muscle Monk

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

Mr & Mrs Paul e Valentine.

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Find your A-Team.

Retired Ex-Australian Wallaby & Waratahs Champion Captain & Leader - Phil Waugh. Setting his own standards of excellence in all areas of his life, following my framework. A champion such as Phil is celebrated because we recognize that he has overcome personal ambition through sacrifice and dedication to higher principles - higher standards. Great leaders & sportsmen and women like Phil, can 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 & Waratahs Champion Captain & Leader – Phil Waugh.
Setting his own standards of excellence in all areas of his life, following my framework.
A champion such as Phil is celebrated because we recognize that he has overcome personal ambition through sacrifice and dedication to higher principles – higher standards.
Great leaders & sportsmen and women like Phil, can awaken awareness of the principle of higher standards that rests within the heart of every man and woman.
Awaken yours today!

With regards to one area of my life, I’ve set myself an almost impossible task as of yesterday: keep all my future blogs to less than 500 words. Now, most of you would know that I can elaborate on almost any point in a blog, just to get my ‘message’ across. One of my 2014 goals was to say more, with less.

To express a certain belief of mine in a “little muscle nugget” for you to digest with the myriad of other information you receive in this information age, as you go about your day. I must admit I haven’t been as successful at achieving this goal as I had originally hoped. It is, however, a great privilege to be allowed to share my personal beliefs with everyone who dares to read what I write.

I try to express my thoughts through the ‘ups and downs’ in my life and try to look for the meaning and the moral in those happenings. Sometimes I try to look too hard and notice more than just one message, more than one meaning in that one blog. The reflections are just that – just reflections. Reflections on the life that has just happened and as I see it happening around me. Through my eyes and sometimes through others’ eyes. Here, you see, is where it gets interesting.

You see, these reflections carry no authority, they may well be heretical and they are not meant to tell others ‘how to think’. However, if they encourage and tempt readers to do their own thinking about certain aspects of life, of their life, so far, I will be content. It reflects a little bit about me each time and the way my beliefs about life and the meaning of life came to be shaped, as Homer Simpson would say “ so far!”. Well, there you go, there’s 270 words so far …. I guess, I am going to fail at my word count goal in this blog. I might as well fail BIG!! (refer to my earlier blog on “learning to love the F word more”) Here we go …

Blog starts here:

Vote.
Make it count.

Sometimes, you have to lose, to ultimately, win

Most of you would have watched a few episodes of ‘The A_Team” in the 80s, with “Mr T” as one of the characters. I loved that TV show. But it made me think about what they had that was so special: it was entertaining tv – yes, but they had something else, they were a team and each person was an integral part of the jig-saw puzzle. Each fit perfectly to create the final product. Fantastic stuff! That is the topic today and your search for your “A-Team”.

No man is an island”, I heard someone say once. As each day passes, I believe it increasingly. I can add that no man ( or woman) can attribute his/her success to himself alone. No man can truly say that he did it on ‘his own’. There would have been someone, somewhere or people that would have helped him progress towards his/her goal of success.

I also love noticing how champion football/basketball/soccer teams are put together. How each player has an integral role to play. Each player is selected for a certain bundle of talents that the coach sees ‘fits’ perfectly in to the team to achieve the desired results on the field of play. Of the competition. Sometimes they win. Sometimes they lose. Sometimes you have to lose, to ultimately win. The best coaches understand this very well.

This is the ‘essence’ of what it means to be part of a team’.

You see it in organisations, particularly successful large organizations or political parties. No one man can say that he alone can run a sporting team, political party or organization. Yes, as the CEO or head coach, he or she can have a huge influence but it has to be a “Team THAT WORKS”.

I believe it simply is not enough for each person to “WORK AS A TEAM”.

The question I have always asked myself is HOW GOOD the person is at running the team or political party or organization. Take the United States of America and its Leader – Barack Obama, for example or the current Presidential candidates like Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush. They would all have to have a great team to support their leader, their party and their goals.

Executing an exercise for maximum benefit and minimal risk takes a lot of practise, ideally under an experienced, watchful eye. Remember: practise does not make perfect. Perfect practise makes perfect.

Executing an exercise for maximum benefit and minimal risk takes a lot of practise. Just like the human body needs each part to contribute to the whole body. It is s “Team Effort” that wins in the long-term.

Key problem for Leaders: Choosing a Team

Each person would be carefully selected for their unique skills. The most important thing, I believe would have to be the skill or art of PICKING the RIGHT PERSON for the job. The right jig-saw piece. This is not easy. This is where the true value is. This is the hallmark of any great Leader: Picking a “Team that works”. Not just slapping people in to a group and hoping they would work.

Teams need people of all sorts and types and talents. All shapes and sizes.

A problem for most leaders is then simple: trying to choose a team.

For the rest of us, though, there is hope. It is fantastic news! I mean, it means that our individual differences, our different skill-set, no matter what they are or how weird it is, they may be an Asset – just what “a team” NEEDS. A team out there somewhere. A team that you need to find. A team that needs to find you and your skills.

So, if you’re not already part of a team, don’t lose hope. If you’re not already part of a team, don’t give up.

Persevere!

Yes, I know, some people are lucky and find a team early in their lives, but some don’t find their team, until very late in life. If you haven’t yet, don’t give up.

Persevere, I say.

There is a high chance there is a team out there, somewhere, sometime, where your unique personality, your unique talents, your unique skill-set … your unique YOU, could help.

My daughter has many beliefs so far in her young life. She appears to know one very clearly now and that is: to never, ever, ever, ever … GIVE UP! So, my friend, do the same.

Never give up. Never give up on the most important person in the world to you: YOU. Why? Because, that team that you’re the ‘right fit for (like a jigsaw puzzle piece) may just be the team that would bring you the success you’ve been searching for (whatever definition of the word ‘success’ you would like it to be).

Tip: increase your awareness in self and be patient.

Word count of the actual blog: approx. 1200. Failed by 600 words or so. An improvement on my last blog. Success for me today. I love it! I WILL succeed through failure. So should you.

Best of luck!

Until next time …..

Brad improving his muscle control through a traditional body-building pose: double-biceps pose. I believe it adds to muscle growth. It assists him in realising his body re-engineering goals.

Brad improving his muscle control through a traditional body-building pose: double-biceps pose.
I believe it adds to muscle growth. It assists him in realising his body re-engineering goals.

Find the courage to keep going.
The courage rests in you.
Take Lead, be the Leader that YOU are.

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