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What do Sit-ups and Sex have in common?

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

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

Well, what do you think?

Sweat … heat … smell ?

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

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

My kind of guy – I liked him.

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

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

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

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

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

Too much if you asked me.

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

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

He was hungry to learn my alternative approach.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He was convinced.

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


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

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

Be YOU. No one else can do better than you at being YOU.
Being the best you can be is probably the single most powerful thing you can do to improve the world.
Just find YOU and then …. improve you.
Sculpturing a better you with weights helps re-shape your physique but also your brain wiring.

A winning formula!

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

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

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

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

Go ahead and make this change. See the difference.

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

Just like sex.



Until next time,


Cheers and Ahoy!!


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

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

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

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

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


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Choosing a gym.


Your philosophy matters

A common fear among people who have never been to a gym and even current gym enthusiasts is feeling a little intimidated when they are there. The atmosphere of some gyms can be quite intimidating indeed for some.

I know I felt that same feeling many, many years ago when I first summoned the courage to enter a gym. After a few tries, you will get over this initial feeling of discomfort – something all trainees will have to deal with at some time.

Now, I could go through a top 10 things to consider when assessing which gym deserves your patronage such as – cleanliness, Equipment conditions, equipment in general, personal training services, locker availability and cost etc but I won’t.

Why? Well, you could easily do this yourself on the internet these days and maybe even get on a web-site that compares gyms and ranks them based on your buying criteria. A common method of deciding on a choice if you are that inclined.

However I believe that sometimes, in life it is more fruitful if you make your decision that is the best for you not based on your ‘need’.

No, sometimes in life, you need to base your decision on what resonates with your philosophy in life. If you don’t, then you may well find yourself (like hundreds of thousands of gym goers world-wide) jumping from gym to gym, searching. Searching for the gym that best suits their needs.

Your philosophy matters.

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

Choosing a gym is an ínternal’ exercise, not an éxternal’ one

It is highly likely that you will not find your answer to your dissatisfaction by constantly switching gyms (for whatever reasons you generate). Instead you will likely grow tired and you will eventually feel de-motivated, like millions of trainees worldwide do. When this sets in, you can kiss your work-outs goodbye!

Sad, I know … but true.

After being in and around gyms for almost thirty years now and owning my own family gym for about seven years, here’s what I believe you need to do:

  1. Determine your philosophy on life – ascertain what you value in life, what are you principles?
  2. Find a gym that is aligned to this.

I am almost 100% certain that you will be content. This is not an exercise in ‘external search’ for a gym but it is an exercise in ‘internal search’ for the Real YOU. What I am trying to say is that choosing a gym is an internal exercise, not an external one.

For some, this search for a different gym and never being satisfied may be a manifestation of a deep seated fear of rejection that may likely go back to their formative years where they may have been subjected to ‘conditional love’. This manifestation becomes an obsession with what other people think and fuels this search for that elusive gym that meets all their needs.

Me and my family of extended family of members.
I created an environment to replace something I was missing living in a busy, big city like Sydney: the intimacy and connectedness of a truly local and extended family feel that I grew up with in my youth in Fiji.
I missed my éxtended family’ and this served my needs and the members needs too

The perfect gym does not exist

You won’t find that, a gym that meets all your needs, that is. It is like searching for “Mr Right” … or “Mrs Perfect”. They don’t exist like the perfect gym that meets ALL your needs does not exist. Accept that the Perfect gym does not exist. What exists is a person or a gym that meets most of your key needs and resonate with your philosophy on life.

I must warn you though: it is not an easy exercise. It can be a little scary. Remember though that all negative habit patterns can be overcome by giving your mind new nutritional thoughts. The most powerful, most nutritional thought we can think is “I like myself”.

A simple, yet profound statement of belief and I liken it to an anti-biotic for the mind. Makes you feel better after repeating the statement for a period of time. Try it, see how you feel.

A hallmark of a mature human being like you is the acceptance of total responsibility for your life and all the decisions you have made to date. The acceptance of total responsibility is a line in the sand in your life that from that point, you have no more excuses.

Your feeling of personal freedom and total control of your life and happiness is a direct product of your acceptance of total responsibility. This includes your responsibility to investing time in your health and fitness.

So – Accept. Totally.

Then ….

Me my extended family members; a group of members of my family gym.
They all loved training and being part of the extended family that was my gym

Join the club that chooses you

Join the gym that is aligned with your values and principles. Join the club that chooses you.  I prefer good old-school gyms (very few around these days) where there are a good selection of free-weights (barbells and dumbells) and good benches, a power rack or cage (to let the animal inside of you out).

A gym that has outstanding free-weights equipment and the best ambience wins, hands-down all the time for me.

Personally, I prefer a gym that doesn’t treat you like a number. Where everyone knows your name and your know theirs. Where people talk to each other instead of just connecting with a machine. A gym where if you’re absent, people notice it. A gym like they used to be – a social club. Like the gym I owned and managed for about seven years of my life, a real ‘family gym’. I was so connected to each and every member that they would tell me of their travel plans and almost everything about themselves and their families and ups-and-downs in their lives.

My life was intricately connected to each person, so much so that if I noticed that they hadn’t come for a while, I would personally call them up ( I wouldn’t get my staff to call them). If I didn’t get them (and if they lived alone), I would drive over to their residence to see if they were ók’.

Believe me when I say that I had intervened in many people’s lives and brought them back to this reality. There were people that no one called up on, except for me. There were people that, if I hadn’t knocked on their door of their residence to see if they were ok, they wouldn’t be here today. That was one of my roles as a caring, trusting and compassionate gym owner.

Members of my éxtended family’ also connected over food (protein for the hard-working muscles) and beer (for the biceps peak)
We were a family in more ways then just one (training together)

What type of Gym Goer are YOU?

Join a ‘type’ of gym goer. What type are you?

Feel ‘connected’ with a real person instead of being connected through technology mediums. Talk to other patrons of the gym (the way my old school gym was, where everyone spoke to one another and knew each other’s names. Just a big extended family, like I lived in my early youth, growing up in the paradise islands of Fiji.

You’ll probably find that you would have more in common with more people there then you would be different.

We’re all social beings after all and your time in the gym satisfies one of the most basic of human needs in a very healthy way – our innate social need.

And become the … the … social animal that you know you are but instead of swapping alcoholic recipes, you’ll be sharing protein shake concoctions. Realising this and accepting it in your life can make you look on the bright side of life more readily. It could move you closer to the elusive ‘happiness’ state … something that the world can learn from the Happiest Citizens on this planet: Fiji.

Just so happens, I was born and lived my early youth in Fiji and understand why Fijians are the happiest people on this earth, a few of the many reasons why are touched on in my words above. Find your gym by allowing the ‘fijian’ in you to speak to you.

All the very best in your choice!

Until next time,

Cheers & Ahoy!


The old Captain Viking Pirate …. & choosing the right gym for YOU

Building your strength in the gym is only one definition of what it means to be ‘strong’

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Animal “types” you may encounter in the gym.

Strength is not only determined by how much you can lift for one rep

As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I have been around gyms for over 23 years now and have observed some interesting things that seem to be special to the environment.

Gyms are popping up all over the place now and they cater for almost every individual’s tastes. Big and small, 24 hours or not. Hard-core or fancy. The more, the merrier – right? I’m not sure about that. Each gym has its own unique ambience and attract certain types of patrons.

Now I realise that you could add many more gym stereotypes but as I have spent my time mostly in the weights area of gyms (retro gyms tend to only have weights and a few cardio machines), I will comment on 4 types or sub-groups of patrons I tend to see.

You may or may have had encounters with these gym types during your workouts.

I have tried to use an animal-in-the-jungle analogy to identify these weight-training types:

Type 1: The Silverback – “The Steroid Guy” – (and girl in increasing numbers in today’s world):

Now, I have never taken steroids or performance-enhancing drugs in all my years of weight training and I don’t know much about it but I do know when someone is ‘on it’. It is quite obvious for the discerning eye.

A visual walking, talking pumped up to the eyeballs human anatomy. The vein in his or her neck and shoulders and arms are visible and throbbing and they have acne problems like out of control hormonal teenagers.

Watch out, he (or she) look like they may snap your head off and punch someone in the face at any moment (no, most are really nice). They tend to be very serious about their workouts and do not like anyone interrupting them. They are what I refer to as “live wire”.

Fortunately, I didn’t have that problem in the period I owned and managed my Family Gym.

Your goal: Keep out of their way!

Be YOU. Never imitate.

Type 2: The Peacock – “The Mirror Man” :

I would probably fall in to this category but not for vanity reasons (or maybe just a little). More so for focus and continuous assessment and feedback, amongst other things essential to the sport of natural bodybuilding.

For the ‘mirror man’, however he (or she in increasing numbers) likes to work out in front of and as close to the mirror as possible. Preferably, with his/her shirt off (well I haven’t seen a woman work out with her shirt off in 23 years but given the pace of change in many aspects of life, it may just happen one day in my lifetime).

It appears that these weight-training types are only concerned with one person and one person only: themselves, even if it means standing in your way and blocking you off from the weights rack.

Your goal: get angry (no, politely ask him/her to move).

Is this you, too

Type 3: The Skunk– “the stinker”:

These are (mainly men) that roll out of bed and shoot straight to the gym.

They don’t care to brush their teeth and so have horrible breath and even more body odour stench. They don’t seem to have friends to tell them that they stink. Isn’t that what good friends do?

Doesn’t really affect me as my tolerance for stench is pretty high but many other members approach me and tell me their disgust, hoping that I would go up and say something. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.

Unfortunately for everyone, from my observation, it seems that these breeds of skunks tend to be some of the hardest workers in the gym and I take my hat off for them. However, they can populate their stink bombs right throughout the joint. It can be everywhere.

Let me share a health secret with you: this is one of the primary reasons why I prefer to train in non-air-conditioned gyms, there is better air-flow. Besides being tougher, but it’s healthier. A warm muscle is a healthy muscle. My family Gym did not have air-condition. 

Your goal: If you’re faced with this situation, you really have only one of two choices:

  1. Get out of there and come back another time
  2. Commence ‘mouth-breathing’.

That is exactly what many experience when they get overwhelmed & cannot manage.
They experience “Holy Shit!”

Type 4: The Hyena – “The Screamer”:

He’s the guy (or chick in increasing numbers) that shouts the roof down whenever he lifts. We’ve all seen (rather – heard them).

He’s like a screaming Sharapova on steroids and wants you and everyone else within a kilometre of the gym to know that he is lifting. He will scream even under ridiculously light weights either because of a need for attention or some other mental disease that needs diagnosing from a qualified mind doctor.

Your goal: protect your eardrums by listening to your favourite i-tunes.

My family gym was for everyone – from all walks of life, from all backgrounds, all races and ranged in age from teens to 90 year olds.
Everyone abided by ‘old-fashioned value’ – respect, patience, care, compassion, trust, tolerance etc
Here I am with one of my blind members (and her guide dog) who visited my gym 3 days per week for 7 years. Many other gyms descriminated against handicapped population. Not mine.
My gym was an ALL inclusive Family Gym.

I’m sure if you’re a regular gym-goer you could list out other stereotypes and match them to animals in the jungle. I feel that sometimes gym environments can be likened to jungles. There are many stereotypes and some of them just make you sit back and laugh.

So, my question to you is: which weight-trainee type do you fall in? Are you clearly one of the 4 types I have highlighted here or do you fall in a unique type?

So, find a gym that best suits you if you haven’t already. Actually, sometimes it is better to ask someone with the experience to recommend a ‘gym type’ that is best suited to your personality type and if you want to go deeper, then consider the best gym to suit your principles and values.

But I’ll give you more guidance on selecting the best gym for you in a future blog.

Train SMART.

Until next time,

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.
Relationships based on fairness, trust, care and compassion.
A place where men could share stories, their aspirations, their fears and hopes …and be listened to … without fear of retribution or ridicule.
It was these group of Mens ‘last refuge’.
I hope to bring it back one day … to the world.


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