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To know the unknowable.

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Do you know what love is?

Do you believe in it? Do you desire to share your love with others? Do you act on that desire? To ‘know’ what love is, is I believe, to know the unknowable.

But where do we begin?

It is too large a subject and too deep to truly understand and I believe there are insufficient words to describe what it is. There have been many attempts to define love and by now you will have formed your definition of love, from your experience and perception of truth.

I believe that to love – either oneself or another, you have to desire to and act on nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth. Yep, spiritual growth.

I have helped many people on their individual journey’s to become better versions of themselves, adopting my unique framework. I tell them at the start of the program that it is as much a spiritual journey as it is physical. What I have found is that each time I journey with them and helped them, help themselves, to extend their limits and evolve in to the person they imagine themselves to be, I feel profoundly satisfied.

Each and every journey and as they evolve and re-engineer themselves, I feel that I also evolve. It seems as though, through reaching toward change and evolution for someone we also evolve, just like it is in the process of adaption that muscle grows.

I know one thing for certain about love: we are incapable of loving others unless we love ourselves, just as we are capable of teaching our children self-discipline unless we ourselves are disciplined or just like we cannot be a source of strength if we do not nurture our own strength. We cannot teach what we do not own or know.

Ultimately, self-love and the love of others go hand in hand and more and more I believe that they are one and same. They are indistinguishable.

Just like love, muscle needs sufficient and appropriate stimulus to adapt. It is in the process of adaptation that muscle evolves/grows.

Just like love, muscle needs sufficient and appropriate stimulus to adapt. It is in the process of adaptation that muscle evolves/grows.

I have deduced though that many people think they are loving but when in fact, they are not! It seems that in our modern culture, many desire and have intentions of being loving but they are not in fact loving. How? Why? Well, firstly, the desire or intention to love is not the same as love. Let’s make that clear.

It is simple: love is as love does!

It is a choice, a personal choice. We do not have to love (and many decide this).

We choose to love.

So, it does not matter how much you think you are loving, if you have chosen not to love, you do not love! Full stop! You have made your choice despite your good intentions.

The topic of love is truly totally unknowable and almost unexaminable. To fully know the unknowable is one of life’s wonders and challenges.

However, in my experience, to love, to really love, I believe one does not have to feel love. I believe that real love is often present when the feeling of love may be non-existent or is lacking. Real love is what happens when we act lovingly when we don’t actually feel loving.

Try to get your head around that one.

So, back to my earlier definition of this unknowable subject – love is what love does.

In my heart, I believe that to love (whether oneself or another person), one has to help the person (including you) journey towards being a spiritually better person. This brings more balance back in to your life, amongst other things.

This is one of the major keys to life: balance. Without it, everything becomes more difficult than what it needs to be.

The act of helping another human being evolve spiritually is the foundation of knowing this unknowable, an important part of love. Even though, ultimately, you will only know a little bit of what love is.

But that is ok, persevere as life is short and like someone once said “… none of us will get out of this alive, anyway”.

Think. Desire. Act. Love.

Re-establish your balance within.

Choose well.

 

Until next time,

Work on strengthening the spirit within. It is par of the foundation of love - the unknowable.

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

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Eating and drinking in excess this Christmas and New Year can help you lose weight – a lot of weight!

Muscle is precious. Build muscle then, do everything you can to preserve it.

Muscle is precious. Build muscle then, do everything you can to preserve it.

Don’t believe the headline – eating and drinking in excess this Christmas will not help you lose weight!

But I am making a point as to how we can become needlessly fearful (because of all the conflicting views out there) of exercising with weights or eating certain foods or doing just about anything.

Everyone seems to have an ‘opinion’ these days with the proliferation of social media and a lot of these views have insufficient and inappropriate evidence (scientific) to back them up. This applies to almost everything, but especially, weight/fat loss and exercise and eating and drinking, because well, we all do these activities, more or less.

It seems that everyone is suddenly an expert.

Anyone can show how, by selectively citing some scientific research and blowing it all out of context, you can build a case for any argument, including the subject heading that I have used.

If you have a small amount of scientific nous, it is super easy for someone to give an opinion and by selectively citing some scientific research (based on some ridiculously small sample) and blowing it all out of context. You see this quite regularly on mainstream media as the ‘sensationalism’ of these stories sells ratings.

Below is the start of my view on fat loss and body re-engineering …

If you need to lose fat leading up to the festive season and summer (in some parts of the world – like Sydney, Australia) – build muscle. Naturally. Full stop!

There are countless weight-loss programs on the net and every where you go and read. Terrific for increasing awareness. However, fat-loss plans and weight-loss plans that don’t include strength training, fundamentally, rob the body of muscle.

Now, you don’t want to do something that robs the body of muscle because the process of ageing does this anyway. Ageing, is partly, by definition, the deterioration of muscles due to the reduction in protein synthesis.

Weight-training to build muscle ‘off-sets the on-set of ageing’. It is the potion of youth. It keeps people younger, longer. I know, because I have witnessed these people who seem to look and act five, ten, fifteen and twenty years younger.

The common denominator: they build muscle!

I’ve always told everyone I have ever helped over the last two decades that every kilogram of muscle is a fat burning dynamo! Yep, a fat-burning dynamo.

If you compare your body’s metabolism (the rate at which it ‘burns’ calories) to that of an engine of a car, when you build lean body mass (muscle), you increase the engine size and power of your body. Your car engine (metabolism) goes from, say, a 1.8l engine to a 4.0l or even an 8.0l engine over time.

Muscle loss reduces calorie requirements, makes fat loss more difficult, and creates increased obstacles to the maintenance of a lean body, once the excess fat has been lost.

Fundamentally, your ‘life-force’ (or vitality) will be sucked out of you and you will literally feel like cr&p! Every single minute of every single day. Now, why would you or anyone for that matter want to feel like that every single day. I could and still can’t understand why people still do this to themselves. Instead of doing ‘life-affirming’ actions, they instead do ‘life destroying’ actions.

Not smart. Not sustainable.

Put simply, and to sum up – always remember, to help maintain a lean body, build muscle.

It is as simple as that!

However, like some philosopher once said, “the easy things are also the hardest things to do”.

So, don’t think. Do!

If you can dream and imagine a much more improved physical version of you and believe in executing a plan to get you there, by all means go for it!

With 8 x Mr Olympia - "The King", Ronnie Coleman. Now, this man built and carried on his frame an unbelievable amount of muscle - 300lbs worth of it!

With 8 x Mr Olympia – “The King”, Ronnie Coleman. Now, this man built and carried on his frame an unbelievable amount of muscle – 300lbs worth of it!

And don’t worry if you have never entered a gym in your life or you haven’t done anything since your late teens or early twenties. It is never too late to start.

Regardless of your age, or how out of condition you may think you are at present, I believe it is never too late to start an exercise program. The power to decide rests in your hands (literally when you start lifting weights in a gym to help the person in the mirror – YOU).

You can transform your fitness and muscle strength at any age, along with your appearance, and health. I believe this is important because from my observations as a coach over the years, when people’s image improves, their performances improves too. Feeling good about yourself is an important part of being a well-balanced human being.

Make that choice – for you or a loved one. Make that choice to help you so that you can enjoy not just a long life but a good quality life by lowering the risks of early on-set of age-related physical and mental diseases. Respect and love the most important person in the world to you – YOU, first.

That way, by default, everyone gets the best of you, too.

You have one life, make the most of it all the best in the choices you make. No one else can make them for you, so choose well.

To assist in the quality of your life right now, consider improving on these:

  1. Eat – well composed, portioned meals, more frequently. If it is green leaf (and not a frog), include it in your meals.
  2. Water – drink adequate levels of water daily. An average adult should aim for 3L per day.
  3. Move – a combination of weight training, cardio and stretching done two to three times per week.
  4. Enjoy yourself – don’t forget to have fun and laugh at least once a day.
  5. Socially engage with your community in person.
  6. Get, learn and apply the basics (of life) right so that YOU can ….

Muscle is precious. Build muscle, then do everything you can possibly to do to preserve what you have. You will thank your lucky and wise stars as you age.

Don’t accelerate the ageing process as age does it for you anyway. Build muscle, as if your life depended on it (and it does). Build muscle as it is your personal preventative insurance against age-related diseases as your life ticks on … tick, tock, tick, tock!

Then, watch your energy, mental state and vitality soar to new heights and ….

Live, really live.

Until next time,

Be the best you can be for you, first, then by default, everyone gets the best of you. Vv.

Be the best you can be for you, first, then by default, everyone gets the best of you.
Vv.

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If.

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Have you ever experienced immense sadness?

I have. Many times.

Have you ever felt deep, deep sadness? If you have, you are truly blessed, for I believe it is one of the paths to joy, true joy. Yes, I know it is strange but I truly believe it is one of the many paths to joy even though it may be the strangest.

Every one of us is searching for our truths, our individual truths of our perception of reality. We’re all searching for freedom – freedom from work, freedom to financial security, freedom from all forms of fear … all forms of freedom.

Many don’t realise that in order to move closer to freedom, you have to be aware of and accept where you are. Many people don’t see or even realise that they are prisoners and keep themselves that way as if they were blinded by their own ignorance. Ignorance to the existence of the higher force or God.

They are blinded by their ego in their self-imposed prisons, effectively making them prisoners in their own worlda.

These self-imposed prisons of pride are filled with self-made men and women determined to pick themselves up over and over again as they fail. It does not matter what they did, who they did it to or where they will end up; the only thing that matters is that ‘I did it my way” as the classic Frank Sinatra song goes. We could put some blame of this egotistic behaviour on old Frank.

We’ve seen and we all know these prisoners – they’re everywhere, you could be one of them! You’ve seen the alcoholic who won’t admit he has a drinking problem or that woman who refuses to talk to anyone about her fears. Or what about that businessman who vehemently rejects all help even when his business is crumbling.

Yes, perhaps, to see such a prisoner, maybe all you have to do is look in the mirror.

I believe one of the biggest and most profound words in the English language is the two letter word “If”. Why? Firstly, because it is a decision point, a place where you have to make a decision and not sit on the fence.

Another reason that I like this word if is that it is the essence of what I am writing here in this blog. What do most prisoners do? Most don’t admit failure, they don’t accept responsibility. It is the same for the prisoners of pride we see all around us, every single day. Admitting failure is exactly what all prisoners find it difficult to accept.

If only he or she admitted failure ….

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

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

Because of pride, many people deny they have any weakness even if there is evidence to the contrary all around them. Being a prisoner of pride blinds you to pretend you are right when you know you are wrong. To admit failure, to know what deep, deep sadness is, is one of the most courageous things a person can do.

This courage makes you ‘see’ again. This courage to accept failure and responsibility allows you to experience true joy again. True joy that can be had by experiencing the exquisite sorrow of sadness.

You experience genuine sadness by accepting your mistake, taking responsibility, admitting failure.

So, like I say to every young male that walks in to the gym, if their goal is to build good, lean quality muscle, one must ‘leave their ego at the door’. This also applies to your search for truth, your truth.

Your truth that will ultimately set you free from your prison – your prison of pride.

Become Aware. Take Action (acceptance and forgiveness). Adapt. My Triple A Approach to continuously develop oneself – there is no ‘standing still’, no neutral point. If you’re not progressing in life (however so minute), you’re regressing. So keep evolving towards your best you can be for you first, and then for everyone else.

The power rests in your hands if you want to be released from your prison. Release that Prisoner Of War (P.O.W) today! These three letters can mean other things depending upon one’s experiences and attitudes.

As you know, life is uniquely individual through the eyes of each beholder. So, if we choose the right attitude and if you repent and say sorry and if you released yourself from your prison, you could assign those three letters a different meaning …. “Psych of Winning”, of a continuous positive mind-set, every single day. This, funnily enough is a possible definition of ‘enthusiasm’.

So, be more enthusiastic for and about everything in life. Today, tomorrow starts today as everything you do today, is ultimately for tomorrow.

Here my friends and readers is one of the gems/secrets of life – turning that prison sentence in to another type of P.O.W. Such an individual is someone understands the principles of winning in life, and who can apply those principles to benefit himself or herself and loved ones. Adopting the psychology of winning will help you feel good, think constructively, look great, and expect the best.

If you do this, never forget this next single point for the rest of your life – it makes very little difference what is actually happening, it’s how you, personally, take it that really counts!

Put simply, basically it is how you respond to situations.

So, you see, I like the word if as it helps people decide. The decision you make on your definition of “P.O.W” you want to use, ultimately depends on your perception of your truth, the attitude you choose. And, as you know, it’s not aptitude …. But attitude that is the criterion for success in this Game of Life we’re all in.

If you change your attitude, you will win at life. Attitude is the answer

Like I said earlier, I like the word if.

 

Until next time,

Attitude is key at winning in the Game of Life.

Attitude is key at winning in the Game of Life.

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Giving Up.

Our Everests - giving up.

Our Everests – giving up.

Life is beautiful.

Life is fun. Life is still not totally comprehensible to any human being since the beginning of time.I have learned a lot from life in my first forty years so far. Some through other peoples’ experiences, most through my own.

We could exalt the many achievements of man-kind over the centuries – the many scientific discoveries, the search for other life in outer space, the journeys to un-chartered territories. And history shows that we have. It is normal for societies and civilizations document the achievements of man-kind and have done so since the beginning of time.

These all take time and planning and lots of effort and pain. Real pain.

I think it is beautiful but I also think that all these external representations of achievement pales in comparison to the achievement of continuous internal growth as a complete human being – emotionally, physically, intellectually and most importantly spiritually.

In my life so far, I have experienced a lot of pain. We all have. Pain in all forms – pain in the heart, pain in the body, pain in the soul. We have all experienced real pain in various degrees. Reminds us that life is beautiful but is also difficult. I believe that this is one of life’s greatest truths, that life is difficult.

The thing is that once we accept that this is truly a great truth, only then can we all transcend it, to rise above it, to another consciousness level. Once we truly understand and accept this truth, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.

How beautiful is that? It doesn’t matter! But to get to that point, one needs to feel real pain to fully accept.

I have learned that most people, however, do not see this truth. Most people do not understand and accept that life is difficult. A lot of people moan more or less, to varying degrees of the enormity of their problems, their burdens as if life should be easy. They complain that their difficulties are unique to them, their families, their tribe, their nation.

They are disillusioned.

Like I said earlier, life is beautiful, yes. But, life is also difficult. Matter, of fact, I would go as far as giving one definition of life as – a continuous progression of problems and conflicts. Just like I define what a weights workout as – “a continuous progression of fifteen to forty five seconds focused moments.”

So, in essence, to get better at life, to become a better student of life, to get the most out of your one life – you need to become a better manager of problems, become better at conflict resolution.

But the most difficult part of our journey through life is simply – Giving up!

The arrival of my two children have increased my awareness of this most difficult task we all have, of giving up. Let me elaborate. ….

You see, just like most of you, I like winning. All my life, my desire to win had served me in good stead, for I have won many things. In my chosen sport for example, my desire to win has taken me all the way to being top five in the world natural bodybuilding for two consecutive years.

I play a lot of games with my two children. My children made me aware of the most difficult thing, the most difficult, the most painful thing I have ever and will ever experience. They taught me that the most painful experience we will have in our lives is in giving up, in letting go! Nothing else compares to this pain.

You see I have learned that my desire to win, my desire to win at all costs needs to be second to my desire to win at parenting, my desire to be a better parent. I have learned to ‘let go’ of my desire to win at the games I play with my children. I have taught myself to give up my desire to win at games. It has served me very well in my youth, but it does not serve me now. It is not relevant anymore.

However, my desire to become a better parent allows me to experience the pain of giving up.

I think this is an important part of being the best parent you can be. To allow yourself to learn to ‘give up’. I have accepted that this part of me is gone now. It died. It had to die. I killed it! I killed it with my greater desire to win at parenting, to become the best parent I can be as I journey through life.

My desire to win, to not give up had worked in my earlier phases of life but was not relevant now. As a parent, I recognized that it got in my way, it got in the way of my relationship with my children. So, it was a no-brainer, it had to go.

The times have changed. To move with them I had to give it up. I do not miss it. I thought I would but I don’t.

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I think this is one of the most difficult, the most painful tasks every one of us have to teach ourselves to do – to let go, to ‘kill’, to give up certain behaviours, certain beliefs, certain habits, certain desires. My children reminded and taught me that my greatest challenge in life is to give up part of myself, part of me.

But this reminder to give up applies to all areas of life as we negotiate the challenges and curve-balls life throws at us. I have seen it every day as part of what I do – seeing people give up habits that are not aligned with where they want to be. It takes a lot of courage to give up just one habit, let alone a belief or value that was appropriate as a child but no longer serves you.

It is not easy, matter of fact I would go as far as saying that giving up something that has been a part of you and that has contributed to the person that you are and have become is one of the most challenging and most difficult hurdles every human being faces.

Ask yourself, what are some things in your life right now in all areas that do not serve you as it once did (say, when you were under ten or in your teens or in your twenties etcetera) then give up one. Only one.

Give up the one thing that you consider the most difficult to give up.

Now, understand that you have taken one giant step towards continuous internal growth as a complete human being. An exercise that does not get external recognition, does not get any awards, a decision that does not get recorded in world history.

It is just one step but it is a step that has immense significance to the quality of your one life.

You will move forward. You will grow emotionally and spiritually. You will unburden yourself. You will achieve better balance in yourself, in your life. Balance after all is something which you, me and every human being alive is searching for.

This one step will help you in your search. All the very best in your decisions in your search for your truth.

 

Until next time,

Being a parent teaches you about giving up.

Being a parent teaches you about giving up.

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Your daily elevator ride.

Bodybuilding is not about how much weight you can lift. It is about creation and constant re-creation of a better YOU. It is about change and constantly embracing change.

Bodybuilding is not about how much weight you can lift.
It is about creation and constant re-creation of a better YOU.
It is about change and constantly embracing change.

Changeless change.

I like that phrase, something I have coined which means: to change within change – to have an effect of not changing. To remain constant for certain things in life. Certain things like – your values, your principles, your integrity, your dignity, your belief in the goodness of humanity for example.

We have been told that nothing stays the same, everything changes – we change and age, people around us change and age, nature changes, life changes. It seems that way for almost everything.

Change is good – for the most part.

I believe it is in every one of us – like a ‘worked’ muscle, we all have the desire to grow and develop into stronger, more powerful versions of ourselves, in essence – to change. It is in every one of us, the desire to prosper, to become better and strive to find the elusive happiness while we are here on this beautiful earth.

However, making the decision to change for the better can be very hard. Matter of fact, it could be just like having your daily elevator ride – mentally. It seems that we can consciously work towards moving ourselves upwards to a better place with our thoughts and actions and then, bam!

Some thoughtless person in your life keeps pushing the ‘down button’ and then your mental elevator ride lets gravity take you down. Sometimes, at speed. It can be a constant daily battle in your head. Even when you’re physically still, you’re having your daily elevator ride.

Don’t give up, don’t despair. Keep pressing the ‘up button’ and aim for the top – your version of the top. There will always be negative people everywhere, there will always be nay-sayers, and is just a part of life.

Part of what I do is help people become better versions of themselves – physically, emotionally and spiritually and am very successful at it for over two decades now.

"Back Double Biceps" in the heat of competition! Change from the gym to the stage is quite significant with management of key variables being extremely important. Placing: 2nd in Australia

“Back Double Biceps” in the heat of competition! Change from the gym to the stage is quite significant with management of key variables being extremely important.
Placing: 2nd in Australia

I’ve always believed that it takes a lot of courage and discipline and strength to say ‘no’ to foods and drinks at your mouth, foods that are less than ideal. Saying no is one of, if not the highest form of self-respect. Yes, that is real courage but I believe that it takes a lot more courage and discipline and strength to stand guard and protect the doorway of your mind.

This is the most important protective measure you can adopt – to stand guard to your mind, to stand guard to the doorway of possibilities. To protect the doorway to your potential.

Most of us have a protective side, I know I do. I’ve been told that I am very protective over my wife and my two children. I’m sure you’re very protective of your loved ones too. I don’t blame you.

However, I believe, before you can truly protect others, you need to protect yourself, in particular, you’ve got to stand guard and protect your mind – from negative people who press the ‘down button’ in your daily elevator ride.

So, keep moving – up, whatever gradient you’re travelling at! Keep changing for the better to be the best you can be – for you, first, then for everyone else like I tell my children almost daily. Remember, we never completely stand still, we’re either moving and progressing towards how we imagine ourselves to be or we regress to our former self.

Whichever direction you take, remember that you only have one life and ultimately, you’re responsible for everything – the questions that you ask and all the answers that you get, the incomplete information of which you will base your life decisions on.

To achieve goals in any endeavour, most people would say you need two key ingredients:

  1. Plan
  2. Implementation

I disagree. You need to precede those two ingredients above with the word – “Quality”. Yes, my formula is:

“Quality Plan + Quality Implementation => Quality Result (Goals Achievement)”

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.

Quality Plan + Quality Implementation allowed Team Valentine (my wife & I) to beat the best in the sport of Natural Bodybuilding, here in Australia and stand on the stage against the best in the World, placing in the Top 5 two years in a row.

To get these two key ingredients, every person should go through three stages of development:

  1. Increased Awareness
  2. Developing Actions (sufficient and appropriate)
  3. Continuously Adapt (using a self-adaptive/self-tuning habit)

It is quite a complex process but as you can see above, I have attempted to simplify the complex. Ultimately I simplify to Amplify. Every journey of change, begins with a single step towards your destination.

Try adopting my “Triple A Framework”  (above) to self-development/change.

While you’re on your journey towards your best self or any worthwhile project, continuously stand guard to the doorway of your mind. Always. Be the best bouncer/doorman to the club that is your mind you can be and don’t let ‘potential threats’ in to the club in the first place.

Get better at managing your funnel better. As someone once said – “the business of life is not business, it is about learning how to live”. Become the best student of life you can be and learn how to live better. Learn how to better filter out people and activities that do not add value to your life but instead continue to press the ‘down button’ as you travel in your daily elevator ride.

That way you can enjoy your daily elevator ride and have more movements upwards than downwards and live a life filled with celebrations (of success through failures and experiences), not collections (of material possessions).

 

Until next time,

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

World Natural Bodybuilding Championships – New York, USA.
Standing backstage with middle-weight (my category) and overall World Champion.
Left: Me – ranked 4th in the world
Right: My Team Partner and wife – Cathy.

Abdominal/thigh pose with the top 2 Natural Bodybuilders in the world in 2007.

Abdominal/thigh pose with the top 2 Natural Bodybuilders in the world in 2007.

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Learn to be more coachable.

Learn the basics of exercise in the gym. Learn to be more coachable - learn the rules so you know how to use them better in the future. This applies to most rules in life. Vv.

Learn the basics of exercise in the gym. Learn to be more coachable – learn the rules so you know how to use them better in the future. This applies to most rules in life.
Vv.

My gym experience has taught me a lot about people, about human nature. I love observing human behaviour in action, it fascinates me.

As most of you would agree, there is no doubt that people are different. We are all different and unique but we also are more alike than we like to think. We are all wired differently and that wiring lends itself to certain skills, environments and roles rather than other skills, environments and roles.

Some people find it very difficult to change. Some people need to learn to be more coachable, if they are to achieve their full potential and avoid some of the mistakes other people and previous generations have made.

There was this member of the gym I used to own for a number of years that was very stuck in his ways of training. I always tried questioning him on why he did things the way he did and he was very inflexible to learning something different. An alternative.

His reason: he had been training with weights for longer than me and he didn’t have anything to learn. Fair enough. I did not want to force him to stop doing harm to himself but I felt it was my role and duty of care to point out the potential risks he was putting himself and others in the gym, now and in to the future.

This a story about how too much of a good thing can be bad for you and relates to one particular exercise: the wide chin-up exercise.

Let’s call this individual “Dave”.

You see, he loved doing chin-ups. Some of you may know it as ‘pull-ups’. He loved it so much he did it every time he came to the gym for his ‘session’. He came to the gym about four times per week. He really loved doing very wide chin-ups and prided himself on lifting an additional 40kg dumbbell hanging from his waist for reps. He was certainly strong. He was very dedicated.

The one major drawback with his weight-training sessions was the fact that he loved doing chin-ups so much. Now, there’s nothing wrong with having a favourite exercise and this exercise is a great one.

Learn the rules of life. Learn the rules of training in the gym. Learn to be more coachable to manage your 'risk:benefit ratio' in life. Vv.

Learn the rules of life. Learn the rules of training in the gym. Learn to be more coachable to manage your ‘risk:benefit ratio’ in life.
Vv.

However, one should always be aware of doing that particular activity too often as it increases one’s risk of injury. And this is exactly what happened to our poor friend Dave. As we have all been told over the years – “too much of a good thing can be bad for you”.

I had a great chin-up bar. Matter-of-fact, I had another installed beside the original just because men had different size hands and preferred varying grips. It was a winner – for Dave and for every other enthusiast.

At the very start of his relationship with me, I gave him a piece of advice regarding his training regime that was rejected stubbornly every year for five years, before his accident.

Yes, he did have an accident.

My piece of advice was: don’t overdo an exercise.

I told him that he should probably cut back on the frequency of his chin-ups (doing it every day, every week for the whole year) to consider doing it in one workout every fortnight, that he should consider doing the many other exercise options available that would target the same muscles that chin-ups did but with minimal risk to his joints.

Minimising potential risks to his tendons and ligaments around the elbow joints. I basically tried to tell him to give his joints more rest and recovery, which in turn would probably see him spur on more muscle growth than what he was used to.

I suggested the traditional “Lat Pull-down” machine. A perfect alternative and there were a few ways of doing this exercise too.

That was unacceptable to him. Period!

He said that only ‘sissies’ did the exercise. I couldn’t believe he said that, calling everyone who ever did machine lat pull-downs a ‘sissy’, including me! I reminded him of some of the best backs built over time due partly to machine lat pull-downs. They used the machine lat pull-downs religiously!

He didn’t want to hear it. He was happy doing what he was doing and had been doing all his life. We went through this same conversation at least once every year. Me warning him about the excessive nature of his exercise choice of chin-ups and the damage he was potentially doing to his elbows further down the track.

Dave wasn’t open to other ideas, he did not want to be coached.

Anyway, in his fifth year of training in my gym, Dave went missing from the gym for about a month. I called up to see if he was ok like I did for anyone of the hundreds of members that I didn’t see for more than four weeks.

He returned to see me in the gym the next day.

Just like any activity, understand and always assess the risk of any exercise you do in the gym. Vv.

Just like any activity, understand and always assess the risk of any exercise you do in the gym.
Vv.

He wasn’t able to train in the gym, in particular he couldn’t use his arms without experiencing excruciating pain through the elbows. All pushing and pulling movements were no longer possible. He basically couldn’t train and he wasn’t coping with this lack of activity very well and didn’t know what to do.

Dave felt a little embarrassed and admitted it was one of the biggest training mistakes he had ever made – not listening to my little piece of advice over the previous five years. The high risk of injury I had made him aware of every year for five years had manifested and now he couldn’t do the exercise he loved to do but even worse, he also couldn’t train. Period!

He was a mess. Physically, emotionally, spiritually. He needed help.

I sat him down and let him rest his head on my shoulder. I said it was alright to cry. All grown men have a license to cry. He did just that.

I told him to forget about the past but to learn from it. I gave him two options to help him make his way back to where he was but I needed him to listen and let go of prior beliefs regarding training.

He needed to set new beliefs. He needed to understand and introduce a new paradigm. He needed to learn to be more coachable and unlearn some irrelevant old habits. He was going to have to accept the guy that looked back at him in the mirror now – not twenty years ago in his youth.

He needed to be agreeable. Kinder to himself. He needed to love himself more.

He did.

He learned to do this after almost twenty five years of training in the gym. Yes, he was training and gaining a lot of ‘experience’ but it was not getting him anywhere. He was just getting more and more experience of getting it wrong.

Not good. He trained mainly with his ego and did not leave it at the door each time he walked in to the gym. Does not get you anywhere and generally leads to disaster as his case showed.

I devised a plan of recovery for him and he got back the use of his arms, particularly his elbows. As the pain sub-sided and he started exercising after a little while, his whole demeanour and life improved.

As you know, ‘knowing is one thing, doing is another.’ A wise man once told me that ‘elephants don’t bite, mosquitoes do!”. It really does apply in this case and in many things in life, where too much of a good thing can be bad for you.

Dave did not take care of the mozzies (like the frequency of performing the exercise) and as a result, the compound effect of incorrect technique combined with unnecessary frequency leads to unwanted joint injury.

The message in this story could apply to all areas of life where too much of a good thing (chin-ups for Dave) can be bad for you. Dave learned the hard way and didn’t want to learn from other people’s experience. He didn’t allow himself to be coached. It takes courage to understand your faults but it takes even more courage to make changes to help prevent a huge mis-hap later.

Life is short. There are rules in the gym and gym training, just like there are rules of life. Learn the rules, so that in time you can have the wisdom to discern what is relevant and not.

Live life with quality and integrity and live it to the fullest. Know yourself and be true to yourself.

Have fun with your workouts and have fun with life.

 

Until next time,

In body re-engineering, fast improvements are the result of excellent feedback from excellent coaches. Here, constant examination of my physique by my coach (and 2 x World Natural Body Building Champion) allowed me to reach my peak performance and placing 2nd in Australian Titles. Learn to be more coachable to achieve your best in whatever area of life. Vv.

In body re-engineering, fast improvements are the result of excellent feedback from excellent coaches.
Here, constant examination of my physique by my coach (and 2 x World Natural Body Building Champion) allowed me to reach my peak performance and placing 2nd in Australian Titles.
Learn to be more coachable to achieve your best in whatever area of life.
Vv.

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

Save the fathers of tomorrow.

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

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

Boys, young boys need saving.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With the next generation of Valentine males - Zachary.

With the next generation of Valentine males – Zachary.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be the hero that you know you are!

 

Until next time,

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

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

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