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After almost 3 decades of training in the gym, here are my Top 3 Tips to “get going” again

Work on strengthening the spirit within. It is part of the foundation of love – the unknowable.


Beginning the journey for anything worthwhile achieving is never easy … but you’ve got to Start – Just DO IT (I’ve always loved this NIKE slogan … so powerful). 

Taking the initial step toward redesigning your body can be an empowering experience.

And if you manage to do what so many can’t – stick with the plan after that initial burst of enthusiasm wears off – you’ll also discover that it’s one of the smartest things you’ve ever decided to do.

I remember my first time, over 30 years ago.

I was scared. Plain & simple. And I don’t like being scared, matter of fact I don’t let any fear get the better of me. I tend to face my fear head on since I was a kid (probably why I sorted out issues with “bullies” in school, a lot of times letting my “fists do the talking “).

But I was simply (& admittedly, embbarresingly scared.

Scared of the clanging & banging of iron & metal on metal. Scared of the big looking men (mostly male dominated at that era). Scared of all the strange looking machines.

When I walked out of the gym that 1st day, I told myself that I would learn as much as I could get my hands on (the internet was in its embryo stages ). So I got my hands os many library books on the human body ‘ muscles & nutrition & anything resembling bodybuilding.

I was a sponge & took a whole semester to learn as much as I could (along with my studies in my first commerce university degree).

Abdominal/thighs pose at the Asia-Pacific Australian Natural Bodybuilding Championships.
Placing: 2nd in Australia.

Education precedes motivation

I’ve always believed Education precedes Motivation.

So, these notes are written for you in mind .. picture this : –

It’s day one of your bodybuilding journey . Embarking on a journey, your journey into bodybuilding is no small endeavour: you deserve props just for making the decision & moving forward.

After 30 years here are my Key/primary points – (useful tenets/nuggets of wisdom you can keep in the back of your brain).

Use them as “❤️alentine Guiding Principles “.

Should you ever lose your way along the road to strength, health & your best body, these principles will help you get back on track quickly.

A good teacher is hard to find but finding a good student is even harder.
Plan the work – to work the plan.
Photo: discussing fine points of one of my programs with retired legend of rugby – Phil Waugh.

🌴❤️Principle #1: Listen 👂 to your body.

Your body & brain 🧠 are in constant talk. How often your brain chooses to listen determines how well your body will respond to what you ask for.

It is not a two-way communication (equal) pathway though.

Latest neuroscience suggests that it is mostly a”1 way street”. The body sends 80% of messages to the brain 🧠(via the Vagus nerve).

Good bodybuilders listen to their bodies better than anyone on earth.

Get in touch with different types of pain when you exercise. There’s two types-

i) the dull, mild pain that comes from working a muscle that isn’t used to being worked. This pain means, “Rest your body, let it repair itself, then continue strengthening it.”

ii) Then there’s the sharp, strong pain that comes from pulling a muscle, twisting something the wrong way, or worse. This means, “Put down the weight & walk away!”

Knowing the difference between these two kinds of pain can make a world of difference in your training.

Note: I have not had any major injury in over 3 decades of weight training. It is important to teach yourself the ‘tortoise approach’ or the conservative approach to training as I have found that this is the most efficient and effective way to achieve long-term, sustainable results and stay injury free as you age.

Here’s me doing my favourite pose at the World Championships.
Contest: 2007 World Natural Bodybuilding Championships held in NY, USA.
Ranked: 4th Best Natural Bodybuilder in the World.
Believe in yourself. Trust in yourself. Make your Being and your Doing – ONE.
Vv.

🌴❤️Principle #2: Prepare for Pressure

Your biceps & chest will grow (mine certainly did). As soon as these do, you will also receive attention from your peers who not only admire your newfound courage.

They will also secretly wish you don’t have so much of it.

Just be aware.

The next time you decide to say “no” to that slice of cake 🎂 at your best buddy’s roommates cousins’s birthday in order to stick to your diet, expect more than one person to try to talk you into having “just one bite.”

Understand this one thing about human beings – people do not like being reminded of their blunders/weaknesses.

When you don’t eat that slice, you’re helping to bring out guilt feelings in those who do.

People hate feeling like that.

However, it has nothing to do with you – remember that!

Stick to your guns 💪 and, if people persist,ask them direct to their face , why don’t they support you in abstaining from the sweet treat.

Fortunately, my friends back in my university under-grad days were quite supportive.

Keep it simple.
Be the best version you can be of YOU, for you – first.
This way, everyone gets the best of you too.
Vv.

🌴❤️alentine tip #3: endure the Doubt.

You WILL experience doubt, at some point along your journey.

There is no doubt about that.

You will question your dedication & get discouraged by slow gains. You may even wonder about finding time to train.

Heck, I almost threw in the towel several times over the last 3 decades. Many times, I’ve asked myself what the fcken hell was I doing not accepting a party 🎉 invitation when so many great people & good & drinks would be there.

There are countless doubtful thoughts 💭 that little voice over your shoulder, saying, give up man, you won’t achieve it.

And then I think about one of my many mentors life tips to me –

Remember, the heart 💔 ALWAYS precedes the mind.”

Interpret that however way you want. Apply these 3 principles to your thinking & life and keep building momentum in your daily habits that contribute to your overall goals.  

Now, go get back on the horse and ride him like you’ve never ridden him before … go to the gym and lift those weights and help those muscles, help you … feel the ‘essence of life’, Vitality … & Have a great day and life …

Cheers & ahoy 🍻!!

The Old Captain Viking Pirate 🏴‍☠️ Island 🌴 Muscle 💪 Monk 🏴‍☠️❤️alentine …& getting back on track 

The old Captain Viking Pirate 🏴‍☠️ ⚔️Enjoying a beer 🍺 in a hot 🥵 spring day here in Sydney Australia 🇦🇺

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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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What do Sit-ups and Sex have in common?

Complementing Phil's weight-training session with a bit of light boxing in his body re-engineering program. Student achieving success in one of my programs: Retired former Australian Wallaby & Waratah Captain. Champion Results from a Champion Attitude with a Champion Program.

Complementing Phil’s weight-training session with a bit of light boxing in his body re-engineering program.
Student achieving success in one of my programs: Retired former Australian Wallaby & Waratah Captain – Phil Waugh.
Champion Results from a Champion Attitude with a Champion Program.

Well, what do you think?

Sweat … heat … smell ?

Before I tell you what they have in common after over 23 years performing them and helping hundreds of people perform it better, let me share with you a story of a member of a gym I used to own for seven years. Let’s call him Bruce.

Bruce had been a loyal member for close to 30 years. He was an intimidating but a very likeable, straight-to-the-point, anti-status quo, intolerant to ‘bs’ sort-of-a-guy.

My kind of guy – I liked him.

Now, I love observing behaviour and it didn’t take me long to see the repetitive nature and predictability of his workouts, which he religiously performed three times a week. He always did his abdominal sit-ups at the end of his workout and I noticed he did his two favourite exercises. They were:

  1. Roman-chair sit-ups (incline crunches off an incline bench)
  2. Crunches (off the floor)

One day, he was in the middle of his workout when he got a phone call. I then learned that he had a new girlfriend and he thought she was quite special. It was early in his relationship but he was already being pressured in to rushing his workouts.

She wanted him to spend less time in the gym. She thought that 3 times per week for 45 minutes at a time was too much time. He told me that she was always interrupting his workout when he was doing his abdominals.

I asked him how many repetitions he did for his abdominals, and I learned that he did about 400. I asked him how long he took and he said it could be anything between 10 and 15 minutes. It was a third of his workout time!

Too much if you asked me.

I thought it was quite excessive for the goals he was trying to achieve. I asked him to perform a number of repetitions. He was doing them but was not focusing on the technique. A lot of technique goes in to training every muscle group and the abdominal region is no different.

I asked him if he would like to learn an alternative approach. An approach that would reduce the number of repetitions to 30 which would mean he would spend less time in the gym, his new girlfriend would not be so irritated and he would spend more time with her.

He was hungry to learn my alternative approach.

Well, I told him that I did not ‘work’ my abdominals directly and don’t do anywhere near the number of repetitions he did but I had a ‘6-pack’ and he didn’t.

30 reps done properly. That's all you need to do in the gym

30 reps done properly. That’s all you need to do in the gym

If I was preparing for a body-building contest, I would maybe work them directly at least once per week in the last month leading up to the contest. Otherwise, they (the abs) get are indirectly worked every time I lift weights. It is the most worked muscle group in my body because of the way I approach every rep of every set of every exercise.

I don’t do anything near the number of repetitions that he was doing. 400 was excessive.

So, I told him to reduce the types of exercises he performed from 2 to 1. Let’s get you to remove the roman chair sit-ups”, I said. Let’s simplify things.

He was a little apprehensive but he accepted the change if it meant spending less time in the gym and because of his desire to spend more time with his new love was exemplary. I admired him for this.

I told him it wasn’t how much you do, it’s how you do it. An important key is the breathing technique during each repetition, something he was not aware of and was not practising.

My goal was to show him how he could do 30 ‘good’ sit-ups and not 400 and ‘feel’ the difference. He performed it as I directed and could not believe the intense feeling he was feeling only after ten repetitions.

He was convinced.

He couldn’t believe that he learned a more efficient, more effective way to work his abdominals after over 30 years of training them a certain way. That is why ‘practise does not make perfect as a person could be practising something all his life but practising it WRONG.

Instead, PERFECT PRACTISE MAKES PERFECT!

Brings me to the one similarity that sit-ups have in common with sex: that it is QUALITY rather than QUANTITY that matters.

Just like Bruce, every person I have ever trained have been made aware of how to ‘work their abs’ with quality in mind. They all have felt the difference and have spent less time doing it and unnecessary repetitions. Less time, better results.

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.
Sculpturing a better you with weights helps re-shape your physique but also your brain wiring.

A winning formula!

Now, most of you know how to ‘work’ your abs and muscles by now. Here are a few pointers for you when doing sit-ups:

  • Keep it simple.
  • Breathing correctly to maximize benefit is essential (breathe out at the point of contraction)
  • Lay on a flat surface (preferably on the floor) with your legs up and ankles crossed, with your hands behind your head.
  • Breathe out as you lift your head towards your knees
  • Go as far as you can, keeping your tummy tight (focusing on your exhale on the upward phase and inhaling as you return to the starting position).
  • Repeat 30 times.

It is very important that you don’t pull on your head as you come up, and you should keep your shoulders and back relaxed. Your hands are meant to be behind your head for support only.

An Efficient, Effective and Safer way towards a flatter, tighter, stronger mid-section. What more do you need!

Go ahead and make this change. See the difference.

One crunch – one rep at a time with quality, not quantity in mind. And remember, practise does not make perfect. Perfect practise makes perfect.

Just like sex.

Enjoy!

 

Until next time,

 

Cheers and Ahoy!!

 

The old Captain Viking Pirate … & his thoughts and words on similarity between working your abs and sex.

Each rep of every set of every exercise is an opportunity for a person to connect with the muscle group he or she intends to. The right mix of tempo, control, continuous tension and feel is critical. Executed properly, under an experienced eye, allows one to bridge the muscles with the mind. Practise does not make perfect. PERFECT PRACTISE MAKES PERFECT!

Each rep of every set of every exercise is an opportunity for a person to connect with the muscle group he or she intends to.
The right mix of tempo, control, continuous tension and feel is critical.
Executed properly, under an experienced eye, allows one to bridge the muscles with the mind.
Practise does not make perfect. PERFECT PRACTISE MAKES PERFECT!

Working out in my gym during a photo shoot. You can see that I carry my ‘6 pack’ with me wherever I go. So, I don’t need to drink alcohol … I’m always drunk ha ha ha !

My claim: – The world’s BEST Energy & VITALITY Coaching Conversationalist –

 

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14.5 tips for growth and producing more, with care

The old Captain Viking Pirate 🏴‍☠️ ⚔️Enjoying a beer 🍺 in a hot 🥵 spring day here in Sydney Australia 🇦🇺

I’m talking about growth and producing more muscle for you, here.

There is no room for compromise on the components of recuperation and getting adequate rest to building more muscle towards a more healthier, stronger, fitter you. More muscle is hopefully a more satisfied you too with regards to your body transformation goals.

Here are 14.5 tips (the list is not exhaustive) for getting adequate recuperation and rest with the goal of more muscle and to take better care of you:

Building the best physique you hope to does not rely on chance.
It comes down to many variables summed up here –
Imagination + Visualisation + Effort (hard deliberate practice) + Feel (Heart) + Talent (genetics) + Focus (never-say-die Mind-set) …
To create Balance & Symmetry in design.
It does not matter which art medium is used – building architecture, watches, cars etc ..
Beauty = Balance & Symmetry
The only difference between sculpturing your physique and the other types mentioned above is –
the human body is alive and has a mind.
Continue to work on yours.

1. Make sleep a priority.

Make quality the focus, not quantity

 

2. Eat a little extra calories unless weight loss is your goal.

 

3. Lifting moderate to heavy weights (for your level) is critical to muscle growth.

Once you’re training hard (referring to your skeletal muscle here), consume 1g of protein per pound of body-weight.

Don’t waste your time with ‘light weights’
Use a weight (depending on the muscle group) that will get you to 10 reps.
But you struggle to get to 8 reps with good form.
Everyone’s limit is different.

4. Stay away from low-fat diets. I can show you how fat can be used to burn fat.

Matter of fact, fat in your diet is essential to stripping unwanted fat off you – especially the stubborn fat a lot of people carry around their waists. Fat is vital for your overall health – mind and body. It helps maintain an anabolic metabolism.

However steer clear from unhealthy fats as best you can.

 

5. Avoid junk food. Enough said!

 

6. Don’t get too caught up on sources of protein, carbohydrates and fats.

Why?

Because what you actually digest and allow your body to assimilate is more important than what you eat and drink.

Meals need to suit you and your physical goals. Understand YOU. Find the most appropriate solution. If you can’t do it yourself, find someone who can help. It may just reduce the risk of disappointment.

 

7. Try not to go for long periods without food/meals.

Try to avoid getting hungry (believe me, you probably will like me less if you’re around me when I am hungry. You definitely don’t want to be around me when I am both angry … and hungry … ‘Hangry’

Preparation is key – try setting aside some time in the evening for preparing your sandwiches, blender drinks etc for the next day. A little time in the kitchen the night before or on the weekend, will save you tonnes of time during the week, thinking about what you would like to eat for various meals.

Educating a top national sprinter of the importance of proper nutrition for recovery & growth for optimal performance

8. Don’t waste your “window of opportunity”

Within a half hour of finishing your workout, have a liquid easily digested meal (high in protein) and then have a balanced solid-food meal in the next couple of hours.

I call this the ‘window of opportunity’ to infuse your muscle cells with the necessary nutrients to maximise growth and retention.

Now sit, back, rest and say … “Grow baby, grow!”

And it will.

 

9. Don’t skip breakfast!

 

10. Supplements are just that – ‘supplements’.

It is meant to supplement a nutritionally sound diet from real food.

That took me to multiple NSW Titles and 2 x World Championships, simply eating good ‘balanced meals’ of REAL FOOD. You can’t beat it. Keep it simple.

Focus on food! Full stop.

 

11. Drink adequate amounts of liquids.

Too much water is better and less risky than too little.

A good guide is drinking 1L of water per 25kg – 30kg of bodyweight.

My apprentice drinking water as I have ‘coaching conversations’ with him

12. Manage your energies.

I’ve always thought that life is about energy management, not time-management.

Do try to spend more of your precious time with people and doing activities that give you energy – real energy and do your best to limit your time doing activities or being with people who drain you of energy.

Recuperation and rest for example is an activity that enhances your energies. Love yourself more. Give yourself more of it. Don’t feel guilty.

 

13. Keep calm.

Do this by slowing the mind. Quiet the mind. Find a way.

Find your way.

Feel your emotions.
Think through and with your heart.
Listen to your íntuition

14.5 Stay healthy.

We’re all different, all unique.

Appreciate that uniqueness and ask yourself what your idea of ‘healthy’ is and how would you define it, with respect to every area in life – meal composition; amount of rest/sleep; play time; activities that you do; books that you read; visual programs that you watch etc.

Continue to ask yourself ‘what is healthy to you’ and promptly eliminate habits and behaviour that steal away from a more healthy you. Respect and love YOU first to truly respect and love all around you.

Take your health seriously if you want to optimise your ability to recuperate….

And live better …

… now and in to your future.

 

While you’re still breathing and can do something about it.

Just DO IT! ( I love this NIKE slogan …. my favourite of all time)

 

All the best!

 

Until next time,

The Old Cap’n Viking Pirate …. & essential workout Hacks/Lessons … for willing participants

Explaining the fine points of re-engineering the physique and increased self-awareness through enhanced ‘mind-muscle’ connection..

Belief in God has helped me represent Australia at two consecutive World Natural Bodybuilding Championships and achieve those dreams.
Never stop believin’.
Vv.

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A special kind of blindness.

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

I was once the proud owner and manager of a gym for about 7 years. It was the first gym I ever stepped foot in when I was in my late teens. I used to stand at the doorway as I left the gym, turn around to look at the owner (then) and say –

“One day I’m going to own this gym or something like this Tony!”

Imagine that, a young teenage boy still completing High School audaciously believing and saying out loud that he would own “this’ gym or something like it … one day? But I knew that I loved it and I didn’t know how then, but I knew that I desired it strongly. I had many dreams … this was one of the many. It lay dormant for a number of years.

He would say – ‘yep, but not this one … I’m not ready yet.”

Fifteen years later, I receive a call from him … saying “Remember me … remember what you said when you still in High School … well, I’m ready now, would you like to buy this gym?”

I said .. .”What took you so long?”

The rest is history.

I ran it like a family. A gym like no other. My little young family was intricately connected with hundreds of other families, making it one large huge extended family in this phase of our lives. I loved all the hundreds of relationships I had with the members along with the wider community. We won the Best Small Business Award for the Northern Beaches in one year and was a Finalist for many years.

I knew instantly that I wasn’t in the business of running gyms … no, I was in the business of managing relationships and I just happened to sell health, vitality and life-enhancing products and services. People would say “what?!” including my wife who would, after a few months, realise the truth in my statement.

Friends that workout together … stay together?
Some of the family of gym members that called my gym ….. our gym .. their gym.
Lovely people in a lovely phase of life.

Stories … ahh … this is one of the things I miss – listening to the hundreds of individuals’ stories over the years. Was fascinating and I feel very blessed that I was able to listen to and help the members write chapters of their life stories. I also feel very blessed to experience life through other peoples’ experiences.

Our gym was a place of social interaction where everyone knew one another’s names and we were always happy they came to the gym. Our gym was a ‘home away from home‘ for all the family of members. Just the way I envisioned it to be, the way gyms used to be.

I loved it. I lived and breathed it. I never took leave for 7 years because I loved what I did in serving the community the gym was in and all that came from afar (some driving past up to 15 gyms before they got to my gym). I helped serve people increased awareness, through increasing their knowledge of possibilities that would take them from where they were to where they would want to be. Using programs tailored specifically for each individual that was based on the framework that took me to 2 x World Championships and place in the Top 5 of both.

This blog is about one particular member. Her name was Margaret. She was an amazing woman.

The Family of Male Friends that bonded and developed great friendships in my gym … our gym.

She had been frequenting the gym 3 times per week for about 8 years. Rain, hail, dust storm, heat-wave. You name it. No extreme weather pattern stopped her from walking the 2km walk from her home to the gym. And Back. She does so with so much enthusiasm. I don’t think I have ever heard her whinge in the time I knew her.

Ever.

What’s special about her is that she is accompanied by her friend – Desarae. You see wherever Margaret goes, her friend is by her side. Her friend knew each corner of the gym now and each machine. Her friend never utters a word but observes her very intently. Her friend watches and observes Margaret’s every move and never lets her out of her sight. Her friend even knows the order in which Margaret has to move from one machine to the other when she is executing one of her daily ‘work-outs’ specially tailored to her goals and needs.

Her friend listens to everything Margaret says but also most of what she does not say. A possible definition of a very good friend. But Desarae has not lifted one piece of weights equipment. You know why? Well, you see, Margaret’s friend is a guide dog and Margaret is blind.

Now, I know we read and see a lot of things and people that can be classed as “Inspiring” almost every day of our lives. You see and hear many grand, over-the-top stories that people class as inspirational. Well and good.

With Margaret and her guide dog. She was such a lovely human being. Never said never.
I trained her daughter (who was also partially blind) to represent Australia at the Paralympics.
She was one tough school girl with a lot of GRIT. Just like her mum.

However, each individual’s idea of what is or who is “inspiring” could differ and vary quite greatly. It’s all a matter of perspective. What someone may find inspirational may not be to another. If anyone asks me what or who I would consider inspiring, apart from my beautiful wife, Margaret would be another that would readily come to mind.

I’ve mentioned it countless times since I have known Margaret that everyone – men, women and boys and girls – everyone, could ‘take a page out of her book’.

Why?

Well, in a world; where there is a dwindling of personal responsibility and accountability; where reasons are only too readily replaced with excuses; where mediocrity is celebrated; where instant gratification dwarfs delayed satisfaction and patience … We have a no nonsense and unassuming, visually-impaired lady “working” on herself. Without fan-fare. Just going about what is part of her ‘daily-routine’.

She is physically blind, not emotionally or spiritually.

It seems like she has turned this apparent weakness into a strength. I see the strength in this woman every time I see her. Not only when she lifts weights and goes through her workouts but the strength in the way she walks, talks and laughs. In the way she relates to the other members of the gym. It’s in her air of quiet confidence as she goes about her business.

Some of the members that came and enjoyed being part of my big ‘extended family’

Although she is blind in one sense, she seemingly has a special kind of blindness for a lot of the ‘other’ things in life that tends to affect us. Those of us who are fortunate enough to see.

So, I leave you with one thought: try to block out some of the clutter of life and don’t let anything or anyone prevent you from carrying out certain daily habits if they contribute to you being a better person – physically, spiritually, emotionally or intellectually.

When you find reasons to give in, think of Margaret. Work on developing your special kind of blindness. There is a champion in every single one of us, including YOU. Believe it so. Never stop dreaming, dreams do come true and dreamers change the world. Listen to your intuition. The combination of these two important ways of thinking ….  is the beginning of taking the “I-M” out of “IMpossible”

All the very best!

 

Until next time,

Yours in muscles & iron,

 

The Old Captain Viking Pirate Fiji-Island born Muscle Monk

Some of the older female family members showing ‘how it’s done!”
Branka and Karen were two ladies that had very positive outlooks on life and did everything they could to maintain the discipline and privilege of staying strong, healthy and wise.
It was a way of life for them … and all the family of gym members.

Gym Extended Family Members enjoying a day of Lawn Bowls.
We had some great lawn bowls events over the 7 years.

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