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The Gym, Reps, Sets, Synergy and Workouts.

You perform your reps, sets and workout with one of the tools – dumbells, when you search for that ‘elusive pump’ feeling in the gym.

In my almost three decades in the ‘iron game’, I have learned many things.

About gyms, about people, about different training methods and styles, about perceptions, about limitations, about the mind, and about muscles, fat loss and body sculpturing.

I have learned a lot, filling my domain knowledge of subject areas that have always been fascinated about. And still am.

The Gym

I’ve always believed the gym was a micro-cosim of society. It is a metaphor for Life.

It does not represent reality – it tells (beautiful lies) about people. What it basically says, in my opinion, is I’m bigger or better than I really am. It is a kind of fantasy world.

But the gym is also not pure fantasy – it voices and indirectly describes and reflects, the real world (outside) by people the same people that make up the gym, by inventing little worlds that resemble it, loosely or closely.

I find it fascinating because, like Forest Gump said of life – “life is like a box of chocolate, you never know what you’re gonna get.” That is exactly how I feel before each visit to the gym. You never know what you’re gonna get, like who will be there, what equipment will be available when you need it, whether the gym will be “packed to the rafters” or quiet and empty.

No, you never know what you’re gonna get.

The gym alters reality to allow us to ‘see’ reality better.

What I find most interesting is that the gym lies (if it is a good gym), to reveal the truth to you (about the world outside the gym).

Each person in the gym has their own history, their own story, if you pause and ‘listen to what they’re not saying.’ Each person’s story is a metaphor for an aspect of the Real World.

The gym, in a sense, and among other things, is allegory. What it gives you (if you’re willing to listen and look and feel) is the real world – indirectly.

Maybe, that is why the gym is appealing to many of gym-goers world over. Maybe, it just allows us ‘let be.’

It allows the world each person is creating within their minds to come into being for themselves and everyone else in the gym … by leaving the real world (outside) well enough alone.

Just for those minutes or hours they are in the gym.

The gym allows each user the ability to create their own worlds in their minds. That is one of the reasons why, I think the gym has been so appealing to me all these years because it is fundamentally, how real life goes.

You see, most people proceed each visit to the gym with ignorance and uncertainty; then they get glimpses of the ‘truth’ – their truth, or moments of understanding. And, if you’re like most people, you rarely (and usually too late) get to ‘see’ the whole version of reality.

The gym is, maybe, the TRUEST REALISM.

Members of my ‘extended family’ when I used to own and manage my gym for seven years. Some of the best and hardest years of my life so far. I loved leading the members (predominantly males – 70%) and they allowed me to take them to unchartered territories for us all. The gym was (unlike today’s) a social place. An ‘inbetween home’ between your place of work and your home. That’s me on the extreme left.

 The workout.

Every workout is got to be about some part of the body or … I guess, these days, the ‘whole body.’ Every workout has got to be about something at the very least.

It doesn’t take much to do a workout – less still to do a set or just a handful of sets. In terms of action, I mean.

A workout to me is more than just a number of sets or selected exercises performed for a pre-selected number of repetitions. To some, a workout in the gym with traditional weight-training equipment is akin to a meditation hour or so. No, a workout is the pattern of a thing, a living thing – its rhyme and reason. It is what a moment or a memory or silence is about, if that makes any sense.

A workout does not need to be scientific. There are many types of workouts and I have tried and experimented with many over the last three decades.

To me, a workout is the genius of a thing. A workout could comprise just about anything, it may even be nothing. A workout is what you experience to write the story you are writing in the gym.

The Sets

A Set is simply, one tool a gym enthusiast might use to fulfil his goal to achieve a workout, the workout he or she imagines he is going to do. The set is, to some extent, a form of a workout in itself which uses action as its mode, usually in the form of a slight discomfort or pain.

The set intricately and closely connects one exercise to another, usually through a causal chain, ending in a moment of pain and pleasure or what I refer to as ending in a climax.

I have done thousands of sets since I began lifting weights in my late teens almost thirty years ago. To me, a set is a miracle and a mystery. A set is the track from somewhere to somewhere else – the start and the beginning of a mii-project, a small journey.

It carries the performer from silence to understanding, from nothing to something.

A set to a workout is like a river is to a whole catchment. Namely, everything. The part serves the whole; it is what the whole comes down to.

It is the point, the ‘dot.’

Sets alone or sets performed in no particular order mean something to the enthusiast but not much. I find that when I am doing a set, I am telling a part of my story, my life because what I am striving for ultimately is, meaning. And how does meaning arise when you’re doing a set?

It arises when I put the repetitions required to perform each and every set into an order in which I have learned to recognise a pattern of relationship (through the many thousands of sets and workouts I have performed over the last 3 decades).

I then derive meaning.

Over the years, I have learned to recognise relationships between sets and causality. We all have that gift for seeing and attributing meaning patterns – and for storing and repeating them in mind and workouts when recalling. We do this for almost everything in our lives, it is just easier on our brain as the brain relies heavily on autopilot, ultimately to conserve energy.

We humans, make sense of life that way, by learning how things interact, what causes what. The only thing is, like anything else, learning so, takes time.

Climaxing at the end of a set is one kind of pleasure, a lot of time, with pain thrown in to the mix. The completion of the pre-determined number of sets is not the point of the workout.

So, the point of a workout as I see it and story-tell, is in the ‘feeling.’

It is the feeling that allows one to build and soak in the ‘essence of the exercise.’ And how do you get the essence? That involves much, much more than just lifting a weight against gravity and moving the weight from point A to point B.

I will save that ‘find the essence of the exercise’ to another blog.

Providing a little bit of assistance. My pupil here ‘feeling the essence’ of the exercise.
All relationships require work and time .
Sometimes, its the little things, that determine your success in pursuit of a worthwhile goal.

Reps

Reps, is the shortened version of repetition. Part of gym lingo. It is the basic unit of a set and the building blocks of your workout. It is the number and tempo that dictates what kind of set you’re doing and the feeling you get at the end of the set (if you get any at all).

Not every rep is the same, just like not every golf swing is the same, using different clubs for different strokes.

Performing the rep is when you ‘get your hands dirty.’ It is when you feel the blood pumping excitedly through your veins. It is when you sweat. You sweat to earn those muscles. The rep is when you experience what I call a ‘continuous progression of focused moments.’

Some people call this meditation.

Everyone is at varying levels of meditation and are, ideally, working towards improving their meditation ability or what we, bodybuilders refer to ‘mind-muscle’ connection.

This is when you ‘feel the essence’ or what Arnold calls the ‘pump’. It is an elusive thing and not many gym rats get to experience this climaxing moment. It is the holy grail of lifting weights. It is one of the factors that separate real bodybuilders from the gym rats.

So-called self-help gurus have, for decades now, spoken about how one can ‘get in touch with one’s inner-self. Well, I have news for everyone, bodybuilders, real, authentic bodybuilders have been their inner-self for over a hundred years now.

Bodybuilders have a very highly level of understanding of getting in touch with one’s inner-self, because you couldn’t really get any more any ‘in touch’ with yourself then getting in to the individual cell, with vitality-infused blood.

Feel the essence, I say!

Fully focused!
A true warrior & champion. Phil applying principles in one of my programs and adopting my framework.
Focusing on making every repetition of every set of every exercise as ideal as possible.
Practise does not make perfect – Perfect practise makes perfect!
Photo: Retired Champion Ex-Australian Wallaby Captain & NSW Waratahs Captain and player in action under my watchful eyes.

Synergy

Sets alone or sets carried out in no particular order could mean success … but very little: Second set, 8 to 12 reps, power on the positive, control on the negative with a 2-1-3 tempo! Oh, I get it. A workout is completed; sense of achievement arise. How does that happen? It happens because the gym enthusiast/bodybuilder puts the sets in an order in which he has learned to recognise a pattern of relationships and so can derive satisfaction and purpose. It happens because of the innate human avidness of the human GIFT for seeing and attributing meaning to patterns – and for storing and repeating them in mind and body and spirit (dare I say, speech).

We humans make sense of our life and in the world we live in by learning how things interact, what causes what. The way every cause has its effect; the way every action has its actor, its object and its consequence. So, most gym rats learn that for every

What I am trying to say is that put a man and woman who like the look of each other in a place together and what you’ll get pretty soon, among other things, is someone doing something; and someone doing it back; and two people doing something together. What you get is ‘synergy’.

Sex; a relationship; perhaps issues. What you get is sets performed – simple, compound, complex and compound-complex, fragments and fractals.

What you get is synergy.

Anyone can ‘lift weights’, but unfortunately, not many can lift weights with synergy. And how do you do you make those reps, those sets perform their alchemy and achieve synergy and purpose.

I have found that one can learn the many different types of training ‘techniques’ and ways of lifting without ever knowing what the essence feels like. Just like you can understand the whole scheme of evolutionary history, without ever knowing why a minah bird moves exactly, and with such intelligence, as it does – why that is necessary and how it came to pass.

Achieving and feeling the essence and flowing with synergy in your workouts is another lively mystery.

A tip: one needs to learn rhythm. This comes after years of deliberate mind-muscle-heart-spirit practise. One of the greatest joys of doing a workout is not just achieving synergy but also making music within.

That is when you get hold of ‘that mystery’ and master that miracle within.

Good repetitions of good sets of good exercises performed well, amongst other variables, performed with synergy and music .. .makes for a good workout.

And the more balanced and elegant one’s sets are, the sounder they are structurally, the better one’s workouts will be.

You approach what I refer to as the ‘state of beauty’ … an enlightened state that brings you closer to balance and symmetry, a state of finite bliss. A state of enhanced balance and symmetry, when done correctly.

Not many gym enthusiasts ever get to that state. That is ok, most don’t. … and most don’t know how to, either.

 

Until next time,

Captain Viking Pirate Vaughn-Van-Valentine (VvV)

Collage of some bodybuilding poses

Collage of members of my gym in action … many, many years ago.

Quality Plan + Quality Implementation allowed Team Valentine (my wife & I) to beat the best in the sport here in Australia and stand on the stage against the best in the World.

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Keep on keeping on.

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Life, what is it?

How do you define what ‘life’ is? What does it mean to you when you think or hear people say ‘live your life?

To keep things simple, life to me, is just like building and hanging on to muscle (after almost a quarter of a decade of working with it).

It – Life, depends heavily on two principles – simplicity and continuity.

You can read about this analogy in an earlier blog. What I would like to elaborate on, however, is Life and what it means. People view life through different lens. I believe, life – all life, is intended to have purpose.

From my interactions with and observations of people over the last four decades of my existence on this planet, it seems that many people live their lives almost as if they worship it. Yep, they put it up on an alter – they exalt it to almost Godly status!

The question I ask is, why?

Is it in the genes or has it been instilled in us by our environment.

Perhaps we all too easily become worshipers of life. Life itself, is likened to that of an idol. It seems that all the marbles are put in to the one basket called life and there is nothing after life. People seem to be very busy, rushing around, trying to squeeze in as much as they can while they can – experiences, places to visit, ticking off ‘bucket lists’ and promotional ladders at work.

Most people just seem to focus on what they can get out of ‘this life’. Why? I just don’t get why this insatiable desire for more, more, more …

The thing is that if we put all our eggs in one basket – this basket called life, I think that death or the mere mention of death would most likely be an unwanted trespasser, an uninvited purposeless intruder. Probably part of the reason why a lot of modern day society revolves around avoiding the question of or conversation of death and dying. So much so, that the aged population get segregated from society in to over-hyped ‘aged care’ facilities, separated and out of sight from the rest of society. Nobody in modern society wants to be reminded of death, no, it is life that is celebrated!

This is a sad state of society, not only for the seemingly unwanted aged put aside, in a patient room, waiting to die. But, it is also a sad state for those that are left behind, those in society that would benefit greatly by having the aged pass on knowledge and wealth of experience through the long lost art of story-telling.

It would benefit the younger generation immensely. If only, people had a little more patience.

Sad indeed.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t live life and live it to the full. No, but to exalt anything – another person, an object, rock bands, a job, a position and including even life itself, into the ‘be all and end all’ takes a critical ingredient out of the picture. Do you know what this critical ingredient is?

It is God.

Worshipping anything, even life, squeezes God out of the picture, out of the equation of a truly successful life. It becomes a life that is purposeless, something that is an increasing symptom of many people in today’s very fast, busy worlds.

They are growing more distant from God and appear to be soul-less as they are searching for him in all the wrong places. There is an hollowness in their soul. Even though they have more social media connections, they have less genuine relationships. What is missing is their spirituality.

Remember, that it is your relationship with God – your God, in your life that enables you to make sense out of the countless nonsense out there. Having God in your equation, your life gives you hope, hope that even when sense and purpose seem to escape you at times, one day you will understand.

It is true, that you should live your life as if it were your last in this world.

But, understand that worshipping it to the status of an idol is not needed if you believe. Believe that Jesus Christ was the resurrection and the life. Believing in him and God allows you to live (even when your physical body dies from this world).

So, live and believe in all your heart and soul. This belief will mean that you will never die, that you will live forever in to the next life. Believe that your life now, this life, is only a small part of your life in the time continuum – that you, me, we are all living out days of our eternal life.

Now.

Keep it simple. There is no end to life, there is only continuity and simplicity, which as I mentioned at the start is the two fundamental principles that life and funnily enough – muscle is built on.

All you need to do is believe and be redeemed by our saviour, the son of God – Jesus Christ.

Close your eyes. Breathe. Keep on keeping on …. Don’t stop believin’.

Amen.

 

Until next time,

_O7A6309_C

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The most important kind of invasion.

Imagine. Believe.

Imagine. Believe.

If you believe in God, in a God ….

Have you asked the question – how does your life fit in to God’s design? How do all our lives fit in to his design? Can we see the design of history’s tapestry even though the entire cloth is not yet woven? Can you see your future? Do you believe you have total control of your destiny?

No, I didn’t think so.

Can we be sure that the thread of our lives fits into this – his great design?

Maybe, when we redeem ourselves, we can be sure.

World history is littered with stories of invasions. However, the most important invasion is the one where we allow redemption in Jesus Christ. This initiates a new life, one maybe in which the life of God invades us and fills us with love and increased awareness. With this invasion, the passage of time somehow takes on the significance of eternity.

When we have God in our lives, we believe. And this belief allows us to see the passage of life through eternity’s eyes, not just in terms of hours or minutes or the 86,400 seconds in each day.

Because we allow God’s invasion, we know and believe there is life after death. We believe there is a heaven. We believe there is a hell, too.

But our lives, the thread of our lives fits exactly as it should in to his tapestry design – in his cloth of life. Because you have redeemed and you believe, every single day. So, this does not mean that we have to fill our lives again with constant activity. No, that is what this world, our world has been and is doing, every single day.

Everyone is rushing around trying to be ‘busier’ than the next person and take, take, take as much as they can from the world each and every day. The world seems to teach us to constantly find ‘LIFE IN TIME’ (cramming as many experiences and activities in each and every day).

This approach is short-lived because the world – our world finds out sooner or later, that time becomes scarce and slips away, it disappears and …. Everything ends in sadness and remorse.

When does the world learn?

Allowing God to invade your heart, your spirit, your being, allows you to view time very differently. It allows you to be in HIS time, what I refer to as “God’s Time”, not the “World’s Time.”

Time itself becomes alive, alive to those who allow themselves to be invaded by God. Time becomes ALIVE to us, the invaded and this calls for a dramatically different view of time:

A view where there is no such thing as time. Our ‘inner-time’ becomes one with all the “redeemed time” of the saints of time, of all time. There is no beginning, there is no end. There is no such thing as time.

You become part of God, time is part of God, so, you are time, time is you. You are living forever, living a part of your eternity. You are part of one whole, and the whole is part of you.

All that you have done, all that you have ever hoped to do, all that you have had and all that you have desired is complete. There are no more tasks. There is no more rushing around, filling your day. Everything is, as is.

Allow the most important invasion to happen to you if you have already done so.

Redemption is key.

Believe. Believe. Believe.

Amen.

 

Until next time,

Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord!

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A Re-think.

The philosophy you follow heavily influences whether you achieve your goals in life or not. Enjoy 'moments' in life. Live your life, by life and through life. Don't live your life by 'time'.

The philosophy you follow heavily influences whether you achieve your goals in life or not.
Enjoy ‘moments’ in life. Live your life, by life and through life. Don’t live your life by ‘time’.

Just turned a year older today.

Am blessed to have experienced yet another birthday and spend it with my family and the people I love dearest.

Made me stop for a few fleeting moments to reflect and appreciate all that I have had so far in my short life on this earth. Truly a blessing to be alive and each breath I take reminds me of this blessing.

However, I was thinking about ageing and time, in particular.

Now, progressing through the second forty years on this planet, from my observations, most of us a reminded almost daily of our pending death. Most, if not every person thinks that they will live forever and you can see it in lot of the behavioural aspects of modern day humans.

There is inherently a strange kind of appetite or hunger for eternity, don’t you think? I mean it’s everywhere. Almost everywhere you turn, you get reminded and frustrated by society through the way it communicates ‘time’.

A big portion of our innovations and inventions are marketed to ‘save time’. Let’s have a look at a few – the washing machine, the dish washer, the fast car, information technology in all it’s forms, the jet flight and so forth. But I would like to ask the question – ‘what for?”.

In all of history, never has there been a time where people have been required to be more hurried than they are now – we have alarms, watches, buzzers, countless meetings, the overly structure education system, the categories of different ages – toddlers, teenager, twenties, trying thirties, topsy-turvy forties, and so forth and the precise daily schedules …

What for?

Ex-Australian Wallaby Captain - Phil Waugh performing a set of squats. "Feeling the essence" of the exercise is vital to attaining desired results. Experiencing the 'moment' to 'feel the essence' of the exercise. It is 'moments', not time, that is the essence of life.

Ex-Australian Wallaby Captain – Phil Waugh performing a set of squats.
“Feeling the essence” of the exercise is vital to attaining desired results.
Experiencing the ‘moment’ to ‘feel the essence’ of the exercise.
It is ‘moments’, not time, that is the essence of life.

What is it that seem to remain embedded in our memories forever? It is ‘moments’. Why do we really ‘enjoy moments’ and long for this and remember these ‘moments’ well in to the future? Even as we age, we cherish ‘moments’. What does this suggest?

The fact that we seem to lose all sense of time when we enjoy these ‘moments’ may suggest that we were maybe created for eternity. We just don’t ‘get it!” I mean despite thousands of generations, we seem unable to get used to – time!

Maybe, we were never meant to be just ‘temporary beings’ on this planet. Maybe, instead of seeing ourselves as a being on this earth for a limited time, we should see ourselves living forever, even after our external bodies’ age and wilter away.

There is a constant fascination for it or of it – time, that is. Scientists are still trying to figure it out? We don’t really understand it but we are always amazed by it. How fast it goes, how slowly it goes, how much of time has elapsed or gone? Does it really disappear? We are constantly reminded of the passing of time in a lot of things in our daily lives, in particular, on our birthday. Birthdays and birthday messages reinforces this infatuation with the passing of time.

I got a message from a very good friend (all the way from grade 1 in primary school) for my birthday and a line in his message “time surely passes by” prompted me to write this blog.

So, it seems we as individuals and as communities and as a whole civilization constantly demonstrate signs that we haven’t really adapted to time. We have never and still do not feel at ease with it even after thousands and thousands of generations. Maybe just maybe, we need to RE-THINK our concept of time.

Maybe, we’ve got it all wrong all this time and the clues may just be in front of our noses and we are not seeing it.

Maybe, just maybe we need to re-think our current dominant view or paradigm of ‘time’. Maybe, we should accept our uneasiness of time as proof or at least a powerful-enough suggestion that eternity exists and we are living it.

Eternity is life and we are living it.

Re-think: Life has no beginning, no end. Every day is the beginning and the end. If the beginning is the end, then there is no ‘time’. Time is infinity. Time is life. You are living proof of infinity in this life and the next. The concept of time is irrelevant and instead we should just experience life through ‘moments’ – not time!

You are not a physical being with an emotional core. No, you are a spiritual being encased in a physical capsule. It is the physical body that ages, that rots and returns to dust, not the spiritual. The spiritual lives on forever.

The spirit is consciousness, the spirit never ages. The spirit is the real ‘you’.

So, maybe contrary to what society has and is constantly telling us, live your life as if it will never end. As if you will live forever, that maybe you shouldn’t be ‘rushing around’ trying to do a million things before you die and constantly believing you don’t have enough time in the day like I hear so many people say.

Re-think: you are alive and will continue to live FOREVER. You have enough time, you have enough ‘life’ to live, don’t rush too much, you will fulfil every desire you ever had, be it in this physical realm or the next.

Spiritually, you will live forever. For eternity. There is only one catch though – you have to have faith, you have to believe in the spirit. You have to believe in something you cannot physically ‘see’, an intangible. You have to believe there is a higher force, a higher being.

You have to have unwaveringly belief there is a GOD.

This to me, maybe our key to eternity…. To our salvation. In science and in life, a ‘truth’ will only remain a truth until proven wrong. That is the very essence of science. Maybe, the truth of time as we view it is not true. Maybe, life is not to measured in time, but instead should be embraced as part of eternity.

Re-think

 

Until next time,

B&W3284

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Your CALL OF DUTY: Stand and deliver.

Here is Chris, approaching 50 and looking and feeling better than a young man in his 20s.  Here, Chris is demonstrating a "side-chest" pose (with a smile).  ** Photos taken by Robert Walsh Photography. Visit "www.robertwalsh.com.au" - Brillian Artist. Skilled Professional. Wonderful Person. Cheers Rob! Vv.

Here is Chris, approaching 50 and looking and feeling better than a young man in his 20s.
Here, Chris is demonstrating a “side-chest” pose (with a smile).

Assisting Chris in the proper execution of the exercise. Focusing on helping Chris, help himself towards the successful achievement of his body re-engineering goals. Focus!

Assisting Chris in the proper execution of the exercise. Focusing on helping Chris, help himself towards the successful achievement of his body re-engineering goals. Focus!

We have been told over the last five to ten years that there is an ‘obesity epidemic’ and it is somewhat influenced by the increase in consumption of fats in our diet.

This is a goldmine for food manufacturers. All sorts of products were forced on to the market that had ‘no fat’ or ‘low fat’ or ‘99% fat free” on the packaging. Wow, said the consumer who enjoyed the same taste but with almost no fat. How good was that?! Eat all you can and not put on any fat!

A great sales gimmick that fed in to the pockets of many manufacturers and companies that control and own and sold these supposedly ‘healthier products’. What a load of – you know what! Your body needs fat, your brain will not function without adequate levels of fat. Everyone that I have ever helped over the years know that ‘fat burns fat’. Period!

So, if you’re going to have fat, go for full cream or full fat. Your body metabolises it better and appreciates the genuine article, not some imitation. Enjoy your milk, ice-cream and other densely-packed fat products in full. You will enjoy it more and you will likely eat less. Your internal organs would be greatful and would add to your longevity.

You see, over the last 23 years in the gym (my lab), I have seen and helped a lot of people who suffered from back pain. One lady suffered from chronic back pain for 17 and half years before she met and started training with me. Read about her story in an earlier blog titled No belief, no nothing”.

I helped her help, herself.

I helped create more awareness in her being, in her mind. I helped her help herself to believe again. To believe in the most important person in the world to her – HERSELF. That is the power of BELIEF, my friends.

NO BELIEF, NO NOTHING. Remember this!

You cannot give a ‘band-aid’ treatment to a problem such as this. That only treats the symptom, not the cause. Unfortunately, a lot of today’s current medical focus is on short-term fixes (seeing only the 10% of the ice-berg we see above the water level. What is needed is a more sustainable solution that addresses the cause – the 90% of the ice-berg that sits under the water line and that we don’t ‘see’.). A preventative approach.

Or better still, there’s always the current paradigm and practise – a drug remedy for all and every ailment you might experience. Thank God for the pharmaceutical industry, aye.

Here’s a little trivial information for you – did you know that Pharmaceutical companies spend over $100 billion on marketing their products, with a quarter of this – roughly $27 billion going to doctors in the form of gifts, meals and samples. Makes you wonder about the perception of independence and conflict of interest in the recommendation and dispensing of drugs.

Do you know what the main cause of back pain is? Well, I have been saying this for many years and I have deduced a very strong contributing factor.

It is simple: we are sitting more! There is an inactivity epidemic and an increased volume of sitting is a very high percentage of what constitutes this inactivity epidemic.

Back pain can be caused by many things but an increasing number of office workers are suffering from chronic back pain. Back pain, I believe, can be caused by too much sitting and no physical activity. Look around you, we are sitting almost all the time. We’re constantly sitting in our cars, sitting and watching computer and television screens. Sitting, sitting and more sitting!

Do you suffer from back pain?

What is the opportunity cost? You struggle to find time to use your bodies, the way it’s meant to be used. This appears to be the plight of the average Australian (based on the largest and most comprehensive health survey in Australia in 2011 – 2012 by the Australian Health Survey) and probably indicative of most countries in the developed world.

On average, Australians are spending between 45 and 55 hours per week SITTING – for work and travel and lounging around in leisure time. The study also shows that an average of 40 hours is spent on all other activities (which includes time for exercising).

Now, I think the medical industry recommend that you should move your body in a moderately intense fashion for about 30 minutes each day, which adds up to at least 150 minutes per week. Do you do that? Be honest now. I think Doctors refer to this as ‘sufficiently active for health” and associated lowers risks like: cardiovascular diseases, various forms of cancer, depression and other ailments.

Now, a common reason I have heard for not exercising or not going to the gym is “I just don’t have the time, Paul”. I’ve never bought that.

Here’s why I have never believed this excuse: the survey actually indicated that roughly 60% of adults did less than the recommended 30 minutes per day and of this, less than 20% actually engaged in daily exercise for an hour or more. Very small indeed!

So, can you see why I have never believed the excuse of not having enough time to exercise? It isn’t an issue of inadequate time because the study showed that at least 3 hours per day is committed to sedentary leisure like – socializing (in person and on-line), using the phone or the internet and watching television. It would be interesting how this percentages would change since the introduction of new technology and service providers like Netflix and Stan. More choices for consumers. More entertainment at our finger-tips. More chance of not exercising. There’s going to be an even greater epidemic of gigantic proportions – MORE SITTING!

It’s not helping society. It’s harming society, the social fabric of it. It’s harming every single one of us – no one is immune to it. It’s harming our children. It’s harming every adult or it will eventually.

All this inactivity strongly exacerbated by the arrival of new technology will supposedly ‘raise our standard of living’ but it will slowly suck the vitality out of every person. It will suck the very essence of what life is all about. This is the real opportunity cost to society. The study showed that children 2-4 years of age are spending almost two hours per day sitting in front of the television or computer ipad/tablet.

A frightening statistic was that overall, physical activity decreased and screen-based activity increased as age increased. This trend is at a very high risk of rising and rising fast!

Now, the solution is simple: to fight this epidemic, each and every one of us can do our part to reduce this alarming statistic. Reduce the risk of our nation becoming a nation of ‘seat warmers’. Keep it simple: DO YOUR PART.

And how do you do that?

Well, play your part. Play your part for no one else, but YOU. Stand up and deliver. Stand up and start moving. Start moving and may be everyone can unite in the moving and possibly create a ‘movement’ to MOVE. An ‘anti-sitting’ movement!

We’ve just had ANZAC public holiday commemorating the ANZACS 100 years. What a significant chapter in Australia’s history. I think we should all take a page (maybe a paragraph) out of the ANZAC book. They, who gave their lives, their freedom for freedom, for the life you and I live today. They stood up and fought for their future – where we are now. That was their CALL OF DUTY.

If you’re not an Australian, that’s ok, I’m certain you only have to look back in your country’s history to identify a point or points where your forefathers went to war and sacrificed their lives to give you the way of life you live today.

Maybe, just maybe, each and every one of us need to treat this inactivity, all this alarmingly increasing instances of sitting as a serious threat to our life and that of the future lives of the citizens of our country. Maybe, each and every one of us need to imagine how the ANZACS believed in our freedom and rose to the occasion. Maybe, standing up from your sitting position and moving with intent could be seen as your contribution to yourself and your health but more importantly for the health of our nation.

Maybe, this is how we all need to ‘take a stand’ against this very important health crisis – one of increasing levels of sitting. We need to take a stand against this by literally, standing. Standing and moving to stand and deliver.

Yeah, let’s all work towards a healthier YOU, a healthier society, a healthier nation, a healthier world, just by becoming part of the “Anti-sitting movement’. The health costs and damage caused to individuals and countries productivities by excessive sitting, I believe is far greater than any terrorist threat our world has faced or is facing.

The real terrorist rests within us – within our excessive sitting. It is killing the minds and bodies of man-kind slowly but surely. Incrementally killing you from within – a slow, invisible self-torture and most don’t realise the high risks associated with this, until it is too late. The real threat to each and every one of us is not an external threat from the caves in the deserts of some foreign country, no, the real threat is our personal habits, one of which is sitting.

The real threat to you is lifestyle habits, a big one of which is excessive sitting. I believe it is now an epidemic!

So, don’t sit back any more than you have to and before you sit down to view more and more television/tablet/ipad screens, think again. Stand up and give moving a go, you only need 30 minutes per day. It will do you a world of good and you may just like it enough to develop a new habit. A habit that will help fight this current epidemic of inactivity and excessive sitting.

Make it your personal CALL OF DUTY each time you stand up and step out of your home for that 30 minutes of exercise. Imagine that each time you strap up your sneakers for your activity, you’re getting in touch with the hero within you.

Now, this is a cause worth believing in. Worth fighting for, don’t you think? This will not only give you freedom of movement in your old age but more importantly lay the foundation for the ‘movement to move’ for our kids and their kids.

Monkey see, monkey do as the saying goes.

Let your children see what you do. Let your children learn from you (as they already do). Let them see their hero (you) walk the talk. Let them see what you are doing for you and your country. You don’t need to carry a gun and ammunition for this. You don’t need to blow up things. NO!

You just need to stand up and start moving.

So, don’t sit down any more than you have to as your life and your children’s lives depend on this. Now, that is the ANZAC spirit in action. Make this your CALL OF DUTY – just stand and deliver.

Live it!

One step at a time. Keep moving. Let’s fight this sitting craze. Let’s fight for activity. For movement. You join and get your family and friends to join this new movement called: “the movement to move, movement”.

Individually, you’re strong but together, with everyone doing their little part , united for a common worthwhile cause – this ‘movement to move’ could have the power to make our dreams of a better life – BETTER for us and for our future generations.

It might seem like a small matter today but I believe this scary trend has the potential to cause more deaths and social costs than the deaths caused by malaria, propagated by the tiny mosquito. We need to take care of the little things because these little things grow to become big things.

A wise man told me once that Elephants don’t bite, mosquitoes do”. Very true indeed. A child dies from malaria every 30 seconds in Africa, caused by the little mosquito. Very sad indeed.

Remember to always take care of the little things in the important areas in your life. Little things have a habit of adding up to big things. Keep taking those little steps forward.

Become part of this movement TODAY.

Good on ya, ANZAC!

All the best in your decisions today for a better tomorrow.

Until next time,

Proving a little assistance with my finger....  Chris is 'feeling the essence' of the exercise he is performing. Feeling it in the worked muscles.  And the 'essence' ain't vanilla!

Providing a little assistance with my finger….
Chris is ‘feeling the essence’ of the exercise he is performing. Feeling it in the worked muscles.
And the ‘essence’ ain’t vanilla!

** Photos taken by Robert Walsh Photography. Visit “www.robertwalsh.com.au” – Brilliant Artist. Skilled Professional. Wonderful Person. Cheers Rob! Vv.

 

Paul V1

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action, adaptation, awareness, change, choices, dreams, Energy, game of life, Goals, Imagination, life, long-term perspective, mind, perspective, time

See what can be, not just what is.

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We’ve all grown up hearing that lovely line from some aunty or uncle, trying to sound wise and encouraging, but all the time not knowing what it really means –

“where there’s a will, there’s a way!”

I have thought about this affirmation over the last 40 years and I have to say that I don’t fully agree. Here’s why –

The above affirmation is lovely, but it is somewhat delusional. Affirmations such as this are great and kind of motivating for some and that is wonderful.

However I think that one should not forget that affirmations without discipline and persistence is useless.

What I am trying to say is that affirmations without a strategy is rubbish and wish-full thinking. Now, this is very different to ‘positive thinking’.

Matter of fact, merely stating an affirmation without a strategy is the beginning of delusionary thinking. A total opposite of positive thinking. This is why I think that affirmations mentioned in the wrong context can be more than mis-leading, it can cloud peoples’ perceptions of the truth and they may become increasingly un-aware of themselves.

Not a helpful place to be in.

Sometimes, working harder DOES NOT LEAD TO BETTER RESULTS. Sometimes, every incremental work done after a certain point gives diminishing returns. You simply don’t get any better. You don’t improve your position. You basically stagnate and hit a plateau.

It can be likened to building muscle in the gym. After a period of quick growth early in their training career, most gym enthusiasts hit a ‘plateau’ and don’t seem to make any more progress despite training more, eating more and so forth. No matter what they do, there is no visible physical change to their physique. A good example where working harder does not lead to better results.

Very frustrating indeed!

“But, what do you do then?” you must be thinking.

Well, I believe that sometimes you need to just cut out all the detail and clutter. Sometimes, to go to the ‘next level’, you need to cut out all the ‘red tape’. Yes, cut out all the red tape, all the clutter of over-analysis in your head – your mind!

“And how do you propose I do that?” I hear you say.

Well, the simple way is best: DO NOT use any willpower!

Yep, use no willpower.

If you’re solution-oriented, you will find that your logical side of your brain will be conjuring up ways to solve the problem and impose a certain thinking on your inner-being. It is very easy to succumb to this, heck, you’ve been doing that for most of your life. Working harder, with tonnes of willpower but seeing no end in sight.

Working harder is not the answer.

Just like the person in the gym trying so hard to put on muscle and spur on growth but to no avail. On the surface, working harder seems like the less risky and smarter option to achieving a certain goal.

Not so. Imagination is key.

From my observations of and deductions made from the many individuals who have successfully completed any one of my programs, those that adopted the use of their imagination more, tended to achieve the results they desired.

I encouraged them to visualize the end result very vividly and to also imagine the emotional gratification (how they would feel) of the freedom state of being they had wanted. Sometimes, it is very important to resist the urge to thinking logically.

Sometimes, what is needed to get the job done is not more willpower or more effort. No, sometimes, what is needed is more profound than that: SIMPLICITY. Simplicity through IMAGINATION. If there is one thing you would want to work hard at when you hit a road-block or plateau, I suggest you work harder on your imagination.

Stop. Take stock. Rest.

Imagine more by dreaming more. Become a kid again. But when you dream, dream big. There is magic in thinking big. Feel the end-result you’re seeking. Visualize and try to simulate the emotions you would feel when you achieve the goal. Don’t be blind to the power that rests in you.

See “what can be”. Not just ‘what is’. This way of thinking contributed significantly towards me representing Australia at the World Natural Bodybuilding Championships in NY, USA and ranked in the Top 5 in two consecutive years. The power of imagination at work.

People who go through my programs remind themselves in their journey towards their BEST, that ‘you’re better than you think you are’. They learn to stretch their vision.

From the many people I have helped over the years, I have learned many things. One thing I have learned in the successes and failures is that the result a person achieves is dependent on belief and capacity. It boils down to this:

“How much you can do depends on how much you think you can do”.

When you believe you can do more and dream big, your mind shows you the way. From my observations of people over the last 23 years in the gym and the little miracles I witness almost every single day, I have no doubt that capacity is a ‘state of mind’.

So, BELIEVE. Dream better, see ‘what can be’. Dream big. Use your imagination. Practise. You’ll find a way, this way. You don’t need more will-power to find a way. You have tonnes of that already if you’ve lived this far.

Be the BEST you can be in your mind – for you, first. Then, for others.

Achievement follows.

Until next time,

Paul V1

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adaptation, ageing, awareness, Beliefs, body, courage, Energy, game of life, hope, life, long-term perspective, perspective, time

In THAT better place.

Relaxed me

I lost my biological mother just over four years ago.

I buried her.

It would have been her birthday only two days ago if she was still alive. Made me want to share a little part of that chapter in my life in this blog with you.

Cancer came and took her within four months. It was very aggressive. There wasn’t much more the doctors could have done given the circumstances.

I’m sure if you have lost a loved one, there are times when you miss them and this is one such moment for me. We had an interesting relationship her and I, one much more akin to a brother-sister relationship.

I had never called her ‘mum’ all my life. I called her by her first name. A beautiful name it was – Margaret.

Like most if not all cancer sufferers, she suffered a great deal in the months leading up to her death and all I wanted God to do was to end the suffering she was going through. I spent a bit of time beside her in her last days and asked her quite a few questions about her, about life and about the life she was heading to – in THAT better place.

I asked her if she was afraid of dying and she said ‘no’. She fell back on her spiritual philosophy and believed that all ‘was meant to be’. She was prepared for this life after death where she will be in THAT better place, perhaps with Jesus by her side.

If you’ve ever lost a close loved one, it is a difficult time. It was difficult time for me to say the least but nothing compared to the difficulty she was facing. Her life was coming to an end sooner than she anticipated.

She had a lot of support from extended family who could be with her and the religious denomination she belonged to. They were lovely. God bless them.

You’re never prepared to bury anyone. Anyone, let alone your mother.

The one thing that comforted me was the belief – no, the hope – bright hope for tomorrow – her tomorrow, for her future when she will be sitting beside Jesus in THAT better place. I had the belief that his death and his blood on the cross gave me – gave all of us hope that all things are made new and death is no more, nor grief nor crying. No more suffering and pain.

In my mind, she may have lived a relatively short life on this earth but in my life, she made that one unselfish decision all those years ago to give birth to me. To give me life.

The same for you too – a priceless gift from your mum: life!

I was not at my mum’s side when she died. I was overseas. On the day she died, an aunty of mine who was by her side sent a message to my wife who contacted me to call my mother. She wanted to speak to me.

When my aunty put my mum on the phone, for what seemed like a long while all I could hear was her breathing. Very deep painful breathing. But she could not speak. She was in pain and I could feel her pain through the phone.

She didn’t say anything and yet I felt she said so much. This was the first time in my life that I listened to someone who didn’t say anything and yet seemed to fill my ears up with so much. I couldn’t hold back my tears, they just kept streaming out of my eyes. I was a mess. Fortunately, there was no one in the gym at that moment to witness me balling my eyes out.

There was something very different about this phone call, I could sense there was. I called her ‘mum’ for the first time and I thanked her for giving me life when she chose to have the baby – me, all those years ago. That unselfish decision was the catalyst to allowing me to live the life I live today and to help as many people as I can every day. To save lives.

She never met my son Zachary but I believe she is with him in spirit and she is still alive in them through the genes. She is my childrens’ guardian angel.

In that last phone call I called her ‘mum’ for the first time and told her that I loved her.

I said “mum, I love you. Don’t worry, I will see you again … one day I will join you …. In THAT better place … Just wait a little longer”.

She just wanted to hear my voice one last time and that was the last time I heard hers too.

I was told she died only a few minutes after she put the phone down.

Her spirit is at home with Jesus now.

So, I hope that in her life after death, there is a glorious, endless future for her of which her adventure has only just begun.

I’m sure her happiness and joy has wiped away any recollection of pain and suffering in her time on earth and death.

So, If your mum is still alive, cherish it.

Go right now and give her the biggest hug and kiss and tell her you love her. If she is overseas, make that call NOW – call her up and tell her how much she means to you and that you love her very, very much even if it is in another time zone and you’re waking her up.

Tell her it cannot wait for the morning.

As for me, well I speak to my mum in my daily prayers but I would just like to end this blog by saying …

Mum, I love you.”

 

Until next time,

 

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