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The Golden Moment

I. AM.
GOD?

Where the land meets the sea

Letʼs imagine.

Letʼs imagine that youʼre walking and you got to the end of your walk because you got to the end of your land – and youʼre at a cliff … a place where the land meets the sea. Letʼs say youʼre looking down and you think … what if?

What are you thinking at that point? Should you stay on land or should you swim? Question is – do you love being wet or dry or do you like both (like me)? The other question is one of love or hate. Do you love your life or do you hate it?

Do you know what love is? Do you love, love?

Well, if you really understand what love is then you’re way ahead of the pack. Love is too large, too deep to be truly understood or measured or limited within a framework of words.

In a very real sense, to examine love is a futile attempt to examine the unexaminable; to know the unknowable. But that is ok, we will try anyway.

The Bible gives a pretty good definition of what love isn’t and the great thinker and poet – Kahlil Gibran wrote about it. Many have attempted to but no one has, to my knowledge arrived at a truly satisfactory definition of love.

Here’s one definition of love, that I love –

“the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.”              – M Scott Peck

Is there a thing called ‘the Golden Moment?

If there isnʼt, well, there should be. We have a “Golden Ratio” popularized by a mathematician called Fibonac .. something.

But, what if there was a Golden Moment, what would your “G”-moment look like? What would you do if your G-moment was at that cliff? Choose, Land or sea?

Would you conclude that choosing sea means that you hate your life? Or, would choosing the sea indicate that you love your life? How would you define ‘life?ʼ Have you ever been at this “crossroad?” Have you ever had to decide whether you loved land or sea at the point where the land meets the sea?

My Golden Moment is where the land and sea meets the sky. Do you know where that is? That is my G-moment and it is beautiful. It is my point, my peace.

What is ‘life’ anyway? Have you thought about that? Is it reality or is it a simulation, life is just all in your mind … your imagination? Maybe, our physical world is actually a virtual world – our virtual world is our realiy. If it were, do we have any way of knowing to prove beyond all doubt? Maybe, we’re just all little pcs/tablets ‘connected’ to a mainframe or gigantic computer. Maybe, when you reach that Golden point where the land meets the sea … and you wonder ‘what if?” … maybe, you’re just an actor in a huge movie production and it is all UN-REAL. Just a magnificent simulation or parallel universe.

When you step off …. And choose the sea … you leave this simulate/make-believe world and enter the REAL world. A world which is infinite and that which has no pain and suffering?

This may be an absurd idea … but logical thinking cannot exclude it.

Stopping to reflect, is a vital key to adjust your attitude if you need to.

Other peoplesʼ pain

What if you got to this point because maybe, just maybe, you have a great sense of empathy for pain, for other peoplesʼ pain, in particular.

What if you can literally ‘feelʼ othersʼ pain? You can see their pain, even pain they donʼt realize they are putting themselves  through?

Is that a definition of wisdom? To not just be able to ‘seeʼ things but … to see through things? Is it possible that you get to this ‘point … this dot”, and you look around you, around at the world, hoping to see acts of kindness, care and love but you don’t.

All you see and feel is suffering because you can literally feel immense pain and suffering people are experiencing that is all around us and happening every single moment of the day?

Is it possible that you are just very highly empathetic and caring, that you are a person who continuously feels and has very high trust, care and compassionate levels? Superhuman even.

That extraordinary ability you have of feeling other peoplesʼ pain brings you to the edge, brings you to the brink … that it is just too much … the suffering has to stop and you are powerless to stop it. So, you keep walking until you reach the point where the land meets the sea? Is that when you stop walking?

What do you do then? This is the point at which the term you ‘die for what you believe inʼ springs from, I think.

If it isnʼt, they should change that story.

Essentially, that is what separates us humans from other mammals, say, dogs for example. That we can ‘feel’ feelings and emotions. We can feel hungry or pain and put ourselves in another’s shoes and empathise but a dog may be hungry but it cannot have the feeling of hunger.

The thing is we have access to parts of the brain but we do not … have direct access to your feelings … to feeling and no matter how hard we try to empathise with others, no person has direct experience of anyone else’s feelings.

Sad, but true … but that doesn’t mean we stop trying, is it?

Your life is a continous journey of setting, failing and succeeding in goals … until you …
kick the bucket!
Keep moving forward, I say!

Your story needs to be told

You have a story – your story, so far.

Everyone we know and donʼt know has their stories too. Dead and alive. The former donʼt have any more chapters to write in their story in this dimension at least but the latter have every chance to write the best chapters of their lives yet to live.

Read that last line again.

Let me tell you something, your story needs to be told .

By you. No one else but you.

Pick up your courage and … tell it. Youʼll be surprised at the amount of people who want to listen to your story….

So far.

Summon courage like a super hero like Superman has

Bare your own cross

I loved the sermon our Head Catholic Priest of the parish that my family have been going to for the last twenty years shared today. It was about carrying or being prepared to bare or carry your own cross.

That in life, every single person is asked (not at their choosing) to carry certain burdens. Their unique burdens. He said that we should all be prepared to bare our own crosses – our own burdens, just as Jesus did prior to being nailed to the cross that he literally bared.

It is important to note that if you are able to, reach out and …. Touch someone. Reach out and provide some help to othersʼ who may be carrying a much more heavier cross than you are handling at a certain point in your lives.

One can truly understand the suffering of a person or the burdens another person carries until he has ‘walked a thousand miles in the shoes of that personʼ

The Father asked us – the congregation to pray that more care and empathy be demonstrated to those who need it most. By sharing the weight of someoneʼs cross, you give the possibility of liberating that person.

You may just be the wind needed beneathe their wings.

Just remember though, you need to know you and know your limits. You may just find yourself being overwhelmed by carrying too much of another person’s cross. Don’t let this get out of hand because then, it may just be untenable.

You both suffer.

You may then find yourself at that Golden Moment again.

Bare your cross.
Then …
Help someone else carry their’s … only if you can manage both

The connections that matter

In life, connections matter – in the family, between families, between friends and families, between communities and between nations.

Connections matter, the right connections, in particular. For many reasons, one of which is survival.

There is one other connection that is paramount in all this and that is the brain-body connection and even further, the connection between the pre-frontal cortex and the rest of the circuits/parts of the brain. It differs in every single person.

Fundamentally, you are your connectome (all the 100 billion neurons and 100trillion connections, that is uniquely – YOU).

But within these connections and circuits may lay answers to some of the questions that have been baffling science since the dawn of time, like –

How is the mind connected to the brain and how is the mind connected to the universe? We now know for a fact that it is. But how?

For those who feel more than others, who feel more hurt than others, there would obviously be an avalanche of hormones flooding through them because there may be an imbalance of or rather an impairment between the prefrontal cortex and their reward systems.

How?

A neuron example and its network of dentrites
One of the 100 billions neurons in your brain that make you …
who you are.
Your are your connectome

Well, neuroscience shows and tells us that if these connections within the brain is impaired, then the reward systems prevents the prefrontal cortex from using its decision-making powers to put the brakes on risky behavior.

Risky behaviour like making a choice at that Golden Moment.

I will explore in more detail the importance of taking care of the connections within the greatest computer that man has known to date – the brain.

 

Your body goes where your mind goes.

But what can you do right now to help you?

Simple – get your body in shape, your mind will follow. Get in to the gym and work your muscles, that is the hard and the easy part of it. Your mind is the GPS system of your body. Iʼve always told the people that your body goes where your mind goes.

Full-stop.

From my almost thirty years of helping people, help themselves achieve a stronger, healthier version of themselves and observing thousands of gym goers … and getting confirmation from the scientific community, amongst many other things that (an impossibly obvious conclusion) –

The Body and brain are connected.

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

My tip to you: Given the fact that the body and brain are intricately connected, my question to you is –

Why not take care of both?

As best as you can.

It just makes sense and may just be the most important decision that youʼll ever make in your life. Your quality of life, literally depends on it. You have the power to do something about it, and make a positive change in your life – a change that empowers you.

To live the life youʼve always wanted and imagined you’d like to live, starting first, with your mind … or your brain to specific. This is not wishful/delusional thinking, this is positive thinking as wishful thinking can be dangerous if it’s not based on reality.

Remember, science is telling us now that you are more than your genes. You are your connectome. You must make the changes in the connectome required to make the behavioural changes you hope for and find a way to bring about these changes. After 30 years of helping people, help themselves … achieve  

All the best in your choices.

Remember, keep in mind what my grandfather used to tell me in my youth –

be careful of thoughts, it determines, you actions; be careful of your actions, it determines your habits; be careful of your habits, it determines your character and be careful of your character, it determines your destiny.”

Program your mind …your thoughts  & protect it or someone or something else will program it for you.

Choose well   Cheers & ahoy!

 

The Old Capʼn Viking Pirate …. & cross-roads in life

One of my quirks … walking around places with very little clothes on .. ha ha ha !!
Here I am Working out in my gym during a photo shoot

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Push or Pull

A page out of one of my art books.
black lines on a white background or white lines on a black background?
What you see depends on how you see it.
A drawing is a balancing act of the push and the pull of a pen/pencil that you control.

 

A Poem

To wait on God is to struggle and sometimes to fail.

But that is ok, it is only short-lived, like a dog chasing it’s tail.

Sometimes the failures teach us more than the successes.

Fundamentally, it can teach us to refrain from being asses.

For failures teach us that to wait on God is not only to wait for his mercy,

But more importantly, to wait by his mercy …

For his mercy is his grace,

For his mercy allows us to see.

To see not only with our eyes, but with our heart, body and soul.

For it is through conscious heightened awareness that we become more whole.

The glory hidden in our families is the discovery that the very thing

We wait for is what we wait by!

For the Bible speaks no lie.

We cannot and should not push ourselves through to pass others by.

Learning to sit still to embrace our waiting with utmost certainty for God’s sign

Does not mean that we are less than aligned.

The success of our waiting lies not in who we are,

No.

The success in our waiting lies in who God is.

Full stop!

We should not define our existence from the reference point of ‘me’

No.

We should define our existence from the position of a good friend.

A good friend in God, who will never let you down.

It is not our strength that will pull us through to the end.

No.

Our strength will get us half way there.

But it is our faith that will allow God to meet us when it seems that everything is beyond repair, near impossible.

Have no doubt that it is God’s amazing grace and mercy that will guide and pull us through…

To the end.

Don’t push your way through life, allow God to pull you with all his Grace and un-ending patience.

Live and die with dignity.

In this world and the next.

God bless YOU.

Amen.

 

Cheers and ahoy!

The old Cap’n Viking Pirate … & using power or force in life

Another page out of my art book.
What do you ‘see’?

True.

What do you think? Do you listen to your heart?

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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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Arnold Schwarzenegger exterior, Tom Hanks interior.

With my trophy – doing the “Abdominal/Thigh” pose.
Top 5 Natural BodyBuilder in the world.

I love observing life and society and everything around me. I am a student of life. In recent years (last ten to fifteen years or so), I have noticed that men are forgetting or maybe do not know or are unsure of what it means to be a Man anymore.

A Real Man.

I have a few theories about how this has reached a growing and worrying societal problem now and for the future, but I won’t go in to that in this blog. No, I’m going to dance with the idea of what a Real Man is or should be.

What should the mark of a Real Man be?

Status in society? Richness in money? Accumulated financial wealth? Power? A tattoo, maybe? I’m sure you’ll have your opinion and definitions.

One word: GRIT.

I believe this is one characteristic of a Real Man. And a sub-set of this word Grit (along with resilience, unrelenting, solution-oriented etc), is simply “toughness”.

But it does not end there.

What is more important than toughness? It is exercising the RIGHT KIND of toughness. Anyone can be tough and we all are at various points in our lives but not many people can call on the right kind of toughness at the right time.

Now this takes skill, this takes effort and work and deliberate thinking and practise to get it right. Now, this characteristic is the foundation of a Real Man . It is the building blocks of what it means to be a Real Man.

It feeds in to his strength of character.

With some of my friends in my gym. Men can show their ‘softer'(have fun and tell stories) side when building their ‘tougher’ side

But that is only half of what a real man is.

The other fifty percent should be intimacy, gentleness. Don’t you think so?

Put together, you have what I refer to as a possible definition of a real man. He has an Arnold Schwarzenegger exterior (toughness) and a Tom Hanks (gentleness) interior.

How should we go about attaining these two qualities of a Real Man?

Well, I believe each man should strive for ‘balance’. Everything comes down to balance – internally and externally. So, every man should consciously strive for balance with both qualities.

Knowing when to be tough is as important as knowing when to be tender.

The wise man has the power of discernment and knows when to exercise either. The art in the dance through life is in developing this power of discernment towards balance.

Balance is achieved when a man stops trying to be someone else but the man that is truly reflected through the eyes he sees look back at him in the mirror. A man needs to just be himself and believe in the Holy Spirit or his inner-self, his Real Self and not be afraid to let him out. To let him be vulnerable.

The more vulnerable you become as a man through increased positive self-awareness, the more ‘Real’ you become. The closer you get to becoming more authentic, more of a Real Man.

My beautiful daughter and I enjoying “Daddy-daughter time” on the Ferris Wheel at Luna Park in amazing Sydney, Australia.

A man cannot just choose Toughness and no tenderness or only choose to be gentle (and a gentleman) all the time and not be tough. No, this leads to confusion with his self and also with his woman and every person around him. Simply, because he is not clear on his role as a man and what it means to be a Real Man.

A Real Man is partly defined by having both these traits continuously intertwined in his daily life. At home and at work and play. It is a never-ending, dynamic complex fusion of chaos and order to produce something unique: the Real Man.

Being just tough results in a man being cold, distant, intolerant, unbearable and impatient. What we’ve all been brought up hearing society (mainly angry women) refer to “All Men are As#holes! “. Very unfair because not all men are like that.

But, being tough and tender brings about something different, something elusive. It makes a man appear closer to what I refer to as beauty.

And why do I say that?

Well, being tough AND tender … results in gentleness, thoughtfulness and being considerate. The man is more attuned to the principles of nature which is harmony.

Being tough and tender brings you closer to the elusive balance and symmetry of life. Brings you closer to what I refer to as ‘beauty’. I love formulas and mathematics so here is a little formula for you, based on my hypothesis of what a Real Man is:

Tough + Tender => Balance + Symmetry ==> Beauty!

So, all you men reading this, ask yourself if you can be beautiful. If you strive towards balance and symmetry in these two strengths of character – toughness and tenderness, you run the risk of being referred to as a ‘beautiful man’.

And why not, the word beautiful should not only be reserved for women, cars, sculptures and paintings and flowers. No, men too can be beautiful.

Being referred to as beautiful is worth the risk because I believe a beautiful man is a Real Man.

Work on your beauty and not be just a “Gentle-man” or “Tough-man”, no, work towards being a Beautiful-Man.

A Beautiful Man is A Real Man!

Until next time,

 

Ahoy, G’day and Ni Sa Bula Vinaka! (Fijian for “a very good hello”, pronounced – “nee sah mboolah veenarkah”

 

The old Captain Viking Pirate Fiji Island – born, Mind-Muscle Monk

A ‘coaching conversation’ with Brad, while taking a rest break between exercise sets.
Helping Brad, help himself, achieve something he cares about and become more of who he wants to be.
Through belief, hope and effort + hear, within a tailored program, one can find ‘balance & symmetry’ that is vital to overall Peak Performance and being the Man You Can BE.

Explaining the principles of training within one of my tailored “Be the BEST MAN you can be” programs to former student/apprentice to ex-Australian Rugby Union Champion Wallaby Captain and Warratah Captain – Mr Phil Waugh .

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How close is close enough?

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

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

I spend a lot of time with my two children in this phase of my life and I feel very blessed that I have the opportunity to do so. I will cherish these moments for the rest of my life and I thank God every single day.

Being a parent is quite interesting because most of society make it out to be a relationship where the parenting is ‘one way’ but I think otherwise. I feel, the child ‘parent’ you too, if you are aware enough to recognise it so. They teach and remind you of many things you let slip by the way-side. They help you improve your game as a parent, as a human being.

We play many games together, from racing cars to doll house; from twister to monopoly; from shops to painting; from horse-riding on dad to pillow fights; from dress-ups to leggos; from hide-and-seek to pretend classrooms and so many others. I just love my time with them and I love this role of being a dad.

You see, my son is quite innovative. He is a bit of a thinker. For example, today he created maizes that he drew up from self-created dots on clear pages. He then asked me to find my way through his newly created maize (indicating where the ‘start’ is and where I should try and ‘finish’).

The aim of the game is to get to the ‘finish’ line without drawing over an existing line. I came very close to a few of his maize lines but managed to get out of the maize. He applauded my effort but then asked me an interesting question, he said –

“Dad, how close is close enough?”

I have always told my children that it was important to not be afraid to ask questions rather than know all the answers (as there are countless storage devices or google these days). I also always remind them that it is even more important to ask the right questions.

And so he did.

My kids and I with Ruby the Dog. They just adore each other. Choose to spend time with your kids, not 'quality time'.

My kids and I with Ruby the Dog. They just adore each other.
Choose to spend time with your kids, not ‘quality time’.

I asked him what he meant, and he showed me where I had come very close to ‘touching’ two of his self-made maize lines on my way to the finish line and that I could be considered to have ‘not finished’ and lost. I told him that it was a matter for him and I to decide on how ‘close enough’ is defined and acceptable to both of us. He was happy with how close my drawing was to his line and said that close enough to not be close enough for him to win.

I still am very amazed at the question he asked because it could be applied to many other areas of life. The maizes he draws could represent the maizes (different paths) we are all taking in life. Are you able to accept a service that is 98% complete without getting angry and accepting that it was ‘close enough’.

Are you a ‘close enough is good enough’ person or are you do you expect nothing short of perfect? Are you able to forgive people if they fall short? Once, twice … repeatedly? What is your tolerance level? I know how it feels to come close enough to winning natural body-building contests, experiencing runner-up finishes quite a few times. To me, close enough was not good enough in those contests but that was how the results turned out.

Have you reflected on how close are your closest friends? Are they close enough for you to really get to know you? How close enough are your family relatives? Are the number of years in a relationship relevant or is it the actual number of hours of ‘face-to-face’ contact that brings you close? How do you define ‘close enough’ in a relationship to be able to trust them? How close is close enough for you?

What a thought-provoking question from my son and was the impetus for this blog message to you.

Work the muscles you don't 'see' in front of the mirror. It creates balance and symmetry and lowers your risks of injuries and potential postural problems amongst many other things. Vv.

Work the muscles you don’t ‘see’ in front of the mirror.
It creates balance and symmetry and lowers your risks of injuries and potential postural problems amongst many other things.
Vv.

Anyway, if you have children, YOU, as a mother or father – you’re given the responsibility to work with them and help guide and build them from strong values and principles. Guide them in the ‘way they should go’. I believe it is the single most important task we will ever have in our lifetime – our most important responsibility.

I strongly believe that no other accomplishment and no definition of ‘success’ will ever compensate for failure to help teach eternal truths to your children. No amount of success (as commonly defined in life as financial wealth and status) can ever compensate for the failure to invest in your most priceless off-spring, the generation currently around your knees.

So, choose well I say.

As the American – William James, the father of modern Psychology once stated when referring to time spent with children –

“The greatest use of life is to spend it with something that will outlast it.”

This is about as close enough to close as you could get to truth on this area of life. None of us will ever get out of life, alive, in this life anyway.

And truth, as we know is beauty. So, embrace beauty – embrace the beauty and truth of life. Embrace your children.

And remember, don’t just schedule ‘quality time’, there’s no such thing. You either make time or you don’t. Choose the former before it is too late.

The ‘empty nest’ comes way too soon.

All the very best in your decisions that contribute to your purpose in life.

 

Until next time,

With my children striking a 'front-double biceps' pose for the camera. Watch out these guns are loaded .... hope you're wearing your bullet-proof vests! Vv.

With my children striking a ‘front-double biceps’ pose for the camera.
Watch out these guns are loaded …. hope you’re wearing your bullet-proof vests!
Vv.

~~Life &; wellness COACH~~

~~Life &; wellness COACH~~

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a better life, action, adaptation, awareness, belief, belief systems, better choices, decisions, dreams, Energy, game of life, Goals, habits, hope, Imagination, life, long-term strategy, perseverance, risk, self improvement, spirituality, success, truths, Vitality, you

Resolve.

Assisting Phil achieve something he desores and cares about. Vv.

Assisting Phil achieve something he desires and cares about.
Vv.

What do you think about most of the time? Every day.

What is your answer to this question? The great motivational thinker and speaker – Earl Nightingale said that –

“we become what we think about most of the time.”

What do you think, is there an element of truth in that statement? Well, what do you think about, most of the time?

If you don’t have an answer to that question, that’s ok, it probably changes every day. What’s important is not that you have an answer, no, what’s important is that you RESOLVE to desire and seek solutions by asking the right questions.

What is important as far as your success is concerned is that you have the desire to want change for the better. To resolve is the first step towards the successful achievement of any worthwhile goal.

You need insatiable desire to win and genuinely be unsatisfied with the status quo. You need to have courage to keep those desires burning and keep fanning those flames, despite the many failures you have had in the past. You need to keep thinking those thoughts that will get you there, every step of the way. This applies to all areas of life.

Your desire, your window to your soul should yell out to the world that you want something special for you – in spite of your past failures. In spite of your blood line or home life. You simply need the desire to win! Better still, if you could … travel into the future, what would your legacy look like? The quality of life in your family tree for generations to come will hinge on the choices you make with your family today.

This is why I have always believed that one man/woman can make a difference. A difference that will be magnified over time.

Striving towards the best version of you is a very worthwhile goal. Desire. Seek. Get. Vv.

Striving towards the best version of you is a very worthwhile goal.
Desire. Seek. Get.
Vv.

I hate to use the word ‘motivation’ because it is one of the most mis-used terms in the modern language. It is over-franchised, exaggerated, over-promoted and greatly mis-understood. People have asked me countless times over the years how I motivate people that I help.

I usually reply by saying that I don’t do that – that I don’t motivate people. The motivation comes from with each person. I just provide a vehicle (my unique framework to body re-engineering) to help them achieve their goals more efficiently, effectively and safely.

You see, everything you do (which stem from the thoughts you have), everything we all do, whether positive or negative, intentional or unintentional is the direct result of motivation. So, you need to be careful what you think, every day.

Motivation comes from ‘within’. It is a force, a burst of energy that moves us to action and is not external, it springs from inside you.

You need to summon great motivation to keep on your path, despite past failures, doubts and naysayers. Remember, history is littered with many greats that turned past failures in to successes, for example, the great Winston Churchill was a very poor student but look at what a great leader and speaker of men he became.

Psychology tells us that you can only really be motivated by two things:

  • Desire
  • Fear

They are poles apart. The first is positive and the second is negative and lead to opposite destinies as fear looks at life through the prism of the past and desire looks to the future.

Viewing life through the lens of desire, you are less likely to look at risks as restrictive. You will see risk as opportunity and will not fear the penalty of failure. This is because your dominant thought, the thoughts you think about mostly, is to be better and you desire better.

To win.

I’ve always believed fear should never be used as a reason for quitting; it is only an excuse! Most importantly, from my experience and from my observations of other people’s experiences, you should never be afraid, to be afraid.

Experience the emotion (being afraid), summon the courage and do what you are supposed to do anyway, that will help you realise your desire, your goal.

Another thing I have learned is that if you wait for the perfect moment when all is safe and assured, it may never arrive. The opportunity may slip from under your nose – seize it while you can. Mountains may never be climbed, seas un-chartered nor happiness ever achieved if you waited for everything to be ‘just right’.

Ultimately, when the going gets tough…. The tough gets going as the saying goes. Never quit on life but most importantly, challenge yourself and strive to ‘win over yourself’ when the going gets tough. Like I sometimes remind my clients – “when it gets harder, you get tougher!”

Side Triceps.

Side Triceps.

Please don’t confuse what I am talking about with the seemingly insatiable desire in many parts of modern society that seem to associate drive, motivation and initiative only with materialism and materialistic power and gain. No, far from it.

What I am talking about is simply ‘personal achievement’ and the honest pursuit of individual excellence. This desire comes with the help from above, from God. My family includes in our daily prayer, the request to God to help us, help ourselves be the best we can individually be – for ourselves, first, and then for everyone else.

Putting aside any thought of material gain for a second, there is a certain pure personal pleasure that only comes with achieving the difficult. To do this, history has shown us that all winners have a very high level of motivation. Just like any other skill, this is something that can be learned and made in to habit, with effort.

So, eliminate doubt. Success is not reserved only for the talented. Talent is over-rated. Don’t think success is only reserved for those with high I.Q or for the rich and famous. It is not even in the best equipment, not even in ability.

Ultimately, success comes down to you and your thoughts and what you think about every day. You become what you think about mostly, as Earl Nightingale said many, many years ago.

You have one life and you have one important choice – to build your life around desire rather than fear. So, choose well, my friend. Like I alluded to earlier, out of desire comes the most important driver and that is ‘energy’. This to me, is part of my overall philosophy of life and that is Life is about energy management. The extra energy to make an extra effort, to ‘go the extra mile’ is a vital key to success.

It is through the increased energy for your desire that you keep the drive and motivation, focus and persistence. It is through the extra energy that you develop ‘grit’.

You find that energy by looking within with God’s help or your spiritual side, not without.

So, there is no time to waste, make haste and make big plans, not little ones. There is magic in your thinking. In particular, there is magic in thinking big.

From me to you – Mr/Ms/Mrs Big, RESOLVE to re-align your daily thoughts towards your desires, not fears and ….. THINK BIG!

All the best in your journey through your life.

Until next time,

World Natural Bodybuilding Championships. Side Chest pose. Placing: 4th.

World Natural Bodybuilding Championships. Dreaming big and thinking big helped me twice represent Australia against the best natural bodybuilders in the world at that time.
Side Chest pose.
Placing: 4th.

back double biceps In the thick of competition. Placing: 2nd Asia-Pacific Championships.

back double biceps
In the thick of competition.
Placing: 2nd Asia-Pacific Championships.

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a better life, adaptation, awareness, balance, basics of training, beauty, Body shape, Energy, Fitness, fundamentals, habit, habits, injury, long-term perspective, muscle building, safe training, strengths, symmetry, training, workout, you

My Top 5.5 Tips to avoiding injury.

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. All done in my programs.
Vv

I have been very fortunate that in over twenty three years of training in the gym I have not been seriously hurt in any way. I am very proud to say that in that time I have not seen a physiotherapist or chiropractor for any training-related injury.

I have always been a stickler for form and ideal exercise execution. Always. Accelerated increased awareness from the guidance from some of the best coaches in various fields such as martial arts, power-lifting, boxing, athletics, squash, soccer, hockey, rugby and resistance-training has also contributed heavily to me staying injury-free.

Mastering the basics in any physical endeavour is paramount to you excelling in and enjoying the experience while doing it. Everyone that I have ever helped over the years get educated in applying the basics of training all the time – not some of the time! This loosely applies to most worthwhile goals in life.

Getting injured is a pain. Apart from the physical pain, one has to endure days, weeks or even months of re-habilitation. It can drain one of mental and emotional energy too and be quite costly if the injury is very serious.

Over the years, I have adopted certain routines with deliberate practise (habits) that I believe decreases my chances of getting injured while training in the gym.

Below are 5.5 key tips to help you lower your risk of injury:

Tip # 1: Aim for balance & symmetry.

My whole goal from the very first time I lifted weights was to build a more balanced and symmetrical physique. I believe this is one of the main key factors in me staying injury-free all these years. This is despite me lifting relatively heavy weights for most of this time (especially the two years when I trained for the World Championships in New York).

For example, a lot of people train the ‘mirror muscles’ more than they do the muscle in their posterior chain (muscles you don’t see in the mirror). This leads to asymmetry and muscle group imbalances.

Not a wise thing to do.

Focusing say, on your chest and shoulders and biceps (the ‘show-me-your muscles muscles) and neglecting your upper back muscles like the traps and rear delts and middle back can spell disaster. The most common gym-related injury for young men world-wide are shoulder injuries primarily because of this.

Muscle imbalances lead to increased risk of injury in the respective joints and muscles.

Besides, why do you want to be the strongest or biggest guy when you can build the most balanced and symmetrical physique for your frame. This is more aesthetic and more pleasing to the eye.

So, leave your ego at the door and work towards a better shape – a more balanced and symmetrical physique. If you don’t, you may regret it later.

Results with care. Here, Brad is 'feeling the essence' of the exercise and inching closer to his best self. He is in total control and 'feels' the muscle being worked. Vv

Results with care.
Here, Brad is ‘feeling the essence’ of the exercise and inching closer to his best self.
He is in total control and ‘feels’ the muscle being worked.
Vv

Tip #2: Be aware of your breathing technique.

I believe incorrect breathing technique is one of the main contributors to getting injured when training in the gym. Keep this in mind – for:

Pushing motions (bench press; shoulder press) – exhale at the point of contraction (when your arms are furthest away from you)

Pulling motions (lat pulldowns; biceps curls) – inhale when your arms are furthest from your torso.

Breathing also helps you with the next tip.

Ex-Australian Wallaby Captain - Phil Waugh performing a set of squats. Using good exercise technique(which includes proper breathing) is paramount to success.

Ex-Australian Wallaby Captain – Phil Waugh performing a set of squats.
Using good exercise technique(which includes proper breathing) is paramount to success.

Tip # 3: Focus!

Concentrating on your breathing and what you are going to do with the weight for those 15 to 45 seconds (a set) is critical to lowering your risk of injury.

Every fibre and cell in your body needs to 100% fully-focused! Don’t get side-tracked by other conversations and mentally block out all distractions. Focusing certainly aids you putting on good lean muscle. Period!

A slight loss of concentration could lead to less than ideal execution of exercise leading to increased levels of risk of injury.

I have developed quite a few formulas relating to peak performance over the years and one of the most important ones is:

“Focus = Results” (a shortened version of my formula).

Tip # 4: Always assess exercise execution with ‘risk:benefit’ ratio mind-set.

What I mean by this is that you need to increase your awareness of the exercises and work on improving your risk assessment of the exercise relating to:

  • Exercise choice and safety – a particular exercise that may be safe for someone may not be for another.
  • High-risk lifting – improper execution of certain exercises can increase levels of risk for very small increments in benefit. The range of motion of exercises need to be tied in to the ‘risk:benefit” ratio of the exercise and the trainee’s goals

Always avoid “high-risk’ lifting. This relates to variables such as excessive weights; excessive number of repetitions; excessive range-of-motion and so forth.

Tip # 5.5: Apply correct training principles.

I’ve always believed that building muscle is like LIFE. It relies on two principles:

  1. Simplicity
  2. Continuity

There are many principles to building and keeping muscle and after 23 plus years in the gym I have concluded that the two above and this next two principles – 3) control and 4) feel are key towards lowering your risk of injury.

All beginners and intermediate trainees or less experienced gym enthusiasts should master these before ‘going heavy’.

When you keep it simple and focus on the full range of motion of the exercise with continuous tension, you increase your ability to build good, quality muscle.

Because you are 100% focused and are using the right weight for you to correctly execute the exercise, you have better control and feel. This allows you to ‘work the muscle, not the joint’.

If you can’t control and feel the muscle being worked, you’re not building muscle, only ego.

A lot of people still aspire to the ‘No pain, no gain’ maxim but I think you should not follow this. Listen to your body: never do anything that hurts and don’t train if you hurt yourself or suffer from an existing injury.

Chris enjoying a well-deserved rest between sets. A 'set' as I define it is: a continuous progression of 15 to 45 sec 'focused moments'. Focus + heart + visualization ===> results. Vv.

Chris enjoying a well-deserved rest between sets.
A ‘set’ as I define it is: a continuous progression of 15 to 45 sec ‘focused moments’.
Focus + heart + visualization ===> results.
Vv.

Most injuries happen over time, through cumulative effect of muscular discomfort and micro-scopic tares and inflammation of tendons and ligaments around the joints. Most injuries are the result of an imposed force exceeding the structural strength of the involved body-part.

Don’t copy the super-stars and genetic elite who look and train the way they train because most of the time you don’t know their full story and so this may give you a false sense of direction and could lead to injuries.

Those who don’t do away with the maxim ‘no pain, no gain’ and try to train like the super-stars usually regret it, sooner or later. A better maxim to adopt is ‘No brain, no gain”.

Strive to Train SMART. What I mean by this is that I have always promoted a more conservative approach to training. My own experience and what I have learned from observing countless other trainees – has taught me that a more conservative way to training is not only the most effective but also the safest way to train not only in the short-term but more importantly for your long-term health.

Strive to stay injury-free. You’re in the gym to work on making that person you see in the mirror (you!) – better. Not for ego.

You want to still be doing this activity and off-setting the on-set of ageing (by building muscle) well in to your 80s and 90s if you live that long. It will certainly add quality to your life. Like I have said before, Muscle is the potion of youth!

All the best in your training this year.

Embrace my Triple A to self-improvement: be more aware; take appropriate actions and adapt accordingly to reach your goals in life.

Cheers and Happy January to you!

 

Until next time,

Just like friendship, genuine muscle requires a lot of time and hard work to be built and sustained. You do this by adopting an 'adaptive strategy' of self-tuning. Vv.

Just like friendship, genuine muscle requires a lot of time and hard work to be built and sustained.
You do this by adopting an ‘adaptive strategy’ of self-tuning.
Vv.

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