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Reflection, a Key to having an Attitude of Gratitude.

Me: The Old Captain Viking Pirate

In your opinion, what is your most priceless possession?

Ok, I’m sure you will all say very different answers and none will be wrong. They are simply what you believe is priceless to you at this point in time.

I believe, that your attitude is, specifically, your attitude of gratitude is your most priceless possession. And you need to keep it in check regularly and you do this by structuring in what I refer to as ‘moments of reflection‘ to refresh, restore and/or renew your views, rejuvenate your approach and reestablish your positive focus.

This is (reflection) of your mental attitude is a very important key to your adaptation to the changing landscape in the environments you find yourself in. Do this regularly to repair the damage of wear and tear to your attitude. Life is not a sprint and sometimes we are all guilty of living as if it were. In a grand Prix race, the eventual winner isn’t necessarily the driver that just speeds endlessly and never stops. No, the eventual winner is usually the person who structures in regular “pit stop” into the race with his support crew.

Pit-stops here could be weekends, holidays or vacations that you use to stop, slow down, revive and readjust and then … move on.

You see, your attitude, is your mental position on facts or more simply, how you view things. Remember, your attitude is contagious and affects everyone who comes in contact with you either in person or on the telephone.

Your attitude is not only reflected by your tone of voice but also by the way you stand or sit, your facial expression and in other non-verbal ways.

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

An attitude of gratitude is the foundation of a thankful spirit & a grateful heart. There is real magic in this because a thankful spirit has the power to replace many negative worldviews.

As I reflect, I believe an attitude of gratitude has the power to replace anger with love;

Displace resentment with peace;

Supplant fear with faith;

Restore worry with peace;

Substitute the desire to dominate with the wish to play on a team;

Supersede self-preoccupation with concern for the needs of others;

Return sexual impurity with honor and respect;

Replenish jealousy with joy at another’s success;

Renew lack of creativity with inspired productivity;

Take the place of inferiorities with dignity;

And …

Replace a lack of love with an abundance of self-sharing.

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

Your attitude is never static, it is an on-going dynamic, sensitive, perceptive process.

The attitude you choose to display is entirely up to you. It is a choice. One needs to always take time to take stock regularly, to reflect. One needs to go through the process of self evaluation which leads to attitude renewal or adjustment. There is no other way, no escape.

Always striving to have an attitude of gratitude in everything you say and do to reduce the risk of a high “say:do” ratio or gap. Bringing these two factors in to alignment will help you immensely.

Having a positive attitude, is, in my opinion, the most powerful and priceless personality characteristic you can possess. There is no such thing as remaining neutral when it comes to attitude – you either contribute or subtract from a better personal or work environment.

The old Captain Viking Pirate at his favourite beach. Find your ‘quiet time’. Your place of peace. Here I am at one of mine.
Regular moments of reflection.

From my experience, having a positive attitude or always trying to adopt an attitude of gratitude is one of the main keys to success in any problem solving procedure or major lifestyle change or managing your transition to the many phases of life. 

Remember, life is about energy and your ability to manage energy. A positive attitude or an attitude of gratitude can certainly provide higher energy levels, greater creativity and an improved personality. Put simply, a positive helpful attitude can cause good things to happen to you. … even to such an extent where a person not considered beautiful by physical standards (someone that is ugly) can still be regarded as beautiful with a cheerful positive outlook.

Adopting a philosophy of an attitude of gratitude and consistently working towards using it in your daily life puts you in a more favourable position to win the game of life in all directions: personal satisfaction, strong relationships and success in a meaningful career.

So, how’s your attitude right now?

Stop. Reflect. Take Stock. Re-stock. Re-adjust. March on ….

 

Cheers & Ahoy!!!

 

Until next time,

 

The old Captain Viking Pirate … & thoughts on attitude of gratitude.

Me and my children.
Children gives you a hint of eternity.
A true blessing to be graced with seeds. Showing your kids through marrying up your words and actions is an important habit. Bestowing them with examples of embracing an ”attitude of gratitudë” in everything you say and do is one of the best gifts you can pass on. I’m sure you do already. 
Vv.

Side Chest Pose with the Top 2 Natural Bodybuilders in the World.
Year: 2007
Venue: in NY, USA (representing Australia)
NOTE: I believe an áttitude of gratitude’ helped me go all the way to the top echelon in the world in my chosen sport. Being the best at natural bodybuilding requires the management of many key habits/variables (on a micro and macro level). One of the keys to my success in 2 World Championships was my habitual practise of ‘moments of reflection’ to continuously keep me going when the going got tough. And believe me, there were many instances when I wanted to ‘throw in the towel’

 

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How to get a 30” (77cm) WAIST.

Less abdominal fat is not only poses less health risks for you, it gives you a more aesthetically pleasing physique.

Maybe not every man desires a good ‘set of wheels (gym lingo for leg muscles).

Maybe.

Maybe not every man desires big pecs (gym lingo for Pectorals or the Chest Muscles).

Maybe.

Maybe, just maybe, not every man desires manly shoulders and massive guns (gym lingo for biceps/triceps or arms).

Maybe.

Maybe not every man desires a massive back.

Maybe.

However, I’m pretty sure every guy reading this, dreams of or at least dreamt of having a small, chiselled waist. What society commonly refers to as the “6-pack!”.

Even before we discovered that specific exercises could give you a small waist, there were some men but mostly women trying to make their waists smaller by diet alone. People today, still do. Look around you, what do you see? Men (of all ages) are afflicted with a big gut with waists in excess of 36″ because of lifestyle choices. This not exclusive to men as a lot of women tend to accumulate fat around the hips and thighs.

Women reading this can recall that their Great Great Grandmothers were squeezing themselves into reinforced corsets resembling straight-jackets. All for the purpose of getting that ‘hour-glass’ figure.

That way of doing things did achieve the desired effect in clothes. But, what happened when off came the beautiful dresses and corsets?

BLURP! Let it all hang out!

Gone was the beautiful, small, tight waist and … in place was a spare tyre that Michelin Tyres would be impressed with.

It is the same for a lot of men.

Unfortunately, with our gluttonous lifestyles in the modern world, where every person is ‘hungry for more’ in every aspect of their lives, walking around with an extra spare tyre is the norm. This usually affected men after 30 but these days we see younger men and women suffering from this phenomenon.

The “love handles’ as they are affectionately referred to is lugged around with them. Usually deposited around the waist-line.

If you’re a man, do you like carrying this extra weight around with you every single day? Be honest now? Apart from the increased health risks you become increasingly self-conscious of the layers of ‘smoothness’ accumulating around your waist. Not a desired look, I would imagine.

I’ve always said it is body-shape, not body-weight that matters. Are you an apple or a pear shape? You see, although being fat is an important health risk, where you carry your fat is even more important!

A smaller waist improves your shoulder-to-waist ratio and so gives you more of the elusive “x-frame”

Men and women need to be more concerned with the ‘waist-to-hip’ ratio. Excess abdominal fat carries with it a higher risk of insulin-related metabolic problems: high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, heart disease, and diabetes amongst others.

One other great thing about getting a tighter mid-section is that you improve your overall body-shape, moving towards the elusive “x-frame”. Smaller waist makes a man’s shoulders appear bigger and overall appearance more aesthetically pleasing.

So, you can see, by shooting for a slimmer, tighter waist, you are improving reducing your waist:hip ratio and hence reducing your overall life risks but also making yourself look more attractive. Full-stop! Aiming for a 30” waist is very important, don’t you think?

Here’s are a few of my 30” Waist 101 tips for getting started. The tips here should help men aim for a 30″ waist and women a 23″ waist. Possible? Of course it is! :

Steve Reeves – the Hollywood “Arnold before Arnold” came along. The original muscle movie-star.
Steve Reeves, a Mr America & Mr Universe winner.
He had coat-hanger-straight-shoulders, trim waistline and diamond-shaped calves and topped it off with rugged good looks and perfect hair do.
He went on to start in Hollywood blockbusters like Hercules and Morgan, the Pirate.
To this day, Reeves is held as the archetype for the aesthetic physique.

 Who can get abs?

Almost anyone can get rid of their spare tyre around their waist if they had a strong desire to do so and acted on a good quality body re-engineering plan. I’ve had abdominals and a tight mid-section even before I set foot in the gym

Obviously, some people will find it more difficult than others. Of the three body types – ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorphs, the endomorphs find this task more difficult than the other two. I fall smack-bang in the middle, I’m a mesomorph and then the guys and girls on the other end of the spectrum, have a skinnier, more lighter frame – the ectomorphs.

So, to put simply, anyone and everyone can have a tight mid-section if they really desired one.

 

Do you need to do a thousands of sit-ups to get a 6-pack and 30” waist?

Short answer: No, you don’t.

However, remember, abdominals are muscles, just like triceps, biceps, pecs and lats. As such, they have to be developed with just as high an intensity in your training as you do the others.

Sure, I may have been blessed with a narrow waist, but that never stopped me from giving 100% effort to perfect my mid-section.

I do two exercises and 3 sets of each of them for 10 reps each. A total of 60 very focused, quality reps. So here it is for those of you that like numbers:

Exercise Sets Reps Alternative Exercises
Hanging leg raises 2-3 20 – 30 Twists
Bench crunches 2-3 20 – 30 Hanging knee raises
 

 

It is a good idea to change exercises as often as possible. As the great 8 x Mr Olympia would say, “Don’t whip a tried horse!” meaning, you can’t make progress if you are pushing your body too hard or too fast.

 

What type of exercises is suitable to have a small waist?

Right from day one, I have always done two abdominal/waist exercises as main-stay: the bench crunches and the hanging leg raises. I’ve always split my abdominal workout into two distinct phases – the upper abs and the lower-part.

I like to keep things simple. Steve Reeves found the crunch as his best exercise for a good mid-section as well. The best results are gained when you perform the crunches with focused attention.

Another very important thing that I do to keep my waist small and tight is that I do not add any additional weight when working my mid-section. Why would anyone do that? Adding weight would increase your waist width, as abdominals, like any other muscle group would increase in size, wouldn’t it?

Steve Reeves had such a tiny waist that he would look great from every angle.
I just love this pose from the Master Poser.

What’s the best time of day to work your mid-section?

Any time of day is ok.

However, I find the mornings to be the best time when you are on an empty stomach (before breakfast).

What equipment would a beginner require?

You don’t need any special equipment as on a more basic level, you can do the exercises I have always done on the floor or on a bench.

Most gyms have a chin-up machine where you could hang from while doing leg raises.

How long will it take to get a 6-pack and a 30” waist?

That would depend on two things:

  1. How much fat or spare tyre you’re carrying around your mid-section at the beginning of your journey.
  2. How strict you are on your nutritional plan

What diet will give me a 30” waist?

By now, every Tom, Dick & Harry out there is a personal trainer and/or some so-called ‘Expert’ could tell you a little bit about losing fat. One of the popular paths people go down is that of ‘low-carb’ diets.

Admittedly, these are quite effective.

They virtually guarantee to help you get lean, however, they can backfire if you don’t understand the right way to apply the low-carb format to training, protein intake and other important variables that will help determine your success in getting rid of the beer gut and keeping it off.

Another angle of the tiny waist of the Amazing Legend that is Steve Reeves.
Steve Reeves had a 29″waist. He also had amazing proportions and was “Mr Balance & Symmetry”. His neck, calves and arms all had the same measurements: 17 1/4″ exactly.
He was the original Sultan of Beauty (Balance & Symmetry)

Here are my Top Five Diet Tips to losing your gut:

  1. Reduce your carbs by half. This would allow you to lose between half a kilogram and 1 kilogram per week.
  2. Reduce portion size. This is a good one especially if you are fuzzy on how many grams of carbs you are currently taking. Take the path of least resistance and simply cut your portions of carbs in half.
  1. Bump up your protein. That will be good for muscle fuel during your workouts.
  1. Cheat with vegetables. Great way to offset the cravings and feelings of deprivation.
  1. Drink adequate water every day. Water helps you lose fat. Period!

Learn patience.

One thing I have learned about building muscle and about many things in life – you can’t rush it. You need patience. You’ve got to put in the work, the effort. Hard YAKA … eat … rest … recover… Grow.

Repeat.

There is no reason for you to over-train in pursuit of a 30” or ripped abs. Leave your ego at the door if you want to build muscle and a balanced aesthetic body.

I’ve always believed in patience and doing things right, from the start and doing it right, not some of the time – but, ALL THE TIME!

Follow my advice and you’ll walk a straight-and-narrow path towards a 30” waist but more importantly, a physique-building success. Right now, I boast a <32″ waist, on a good day, <31″. This does not happen by chance. I put in the hard work, the hard YAKA. Just like you need to as well.

Change your way of thinking. Adopt the new habits necessary on a daily basis and stay focused on your end goal whilst enjoying the journey there. You will get there. Believe.

Make that decision today.

Make the decision to help the most important person in the world to you: YOU.

Don’t just get fit, get a physique!

 

Ahoy until next time,

The old Captain Viking Pirate … & his thoughts on getting a 30” waist or 6-pack!

My number 1 body builder/body engineer ever!
Mr Bob Paris.
Simply wow!
For more than 30 years, the public waited for the second coming of Steve Reeves.
It came in the form of Bob Paris.
No one has carried that torch in recent years. Flex Wheeler has come close but even his physique has flaws.
My pick is Shawn Ray.

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Worshipping Work.

How many hours do you work? 30, 40, 50 … maybe 80 hours per week?

If you do, congratulations. I’ve spent a bit of time in the Corporate world working very long hours and ‘climbed the ladder’ so to speak for a number of years, almost 10 years to be exact.

Interesting climb to say the least.

Many workers today are sacrificing themselves for work or rather on the altar of work. In my years in Corporate consulting I saw a lot of things. Good and no-so good. I saw many tolerate hugely harmful symptoms such as anger, chemical dependencies and loneliness in a what seemed to be a blind pursuit of self-fulfillment through career success.

This may be pathological but it may also be idolatrous!

What I mean by this is that, if you’re a Christian, you’ll understand and agree that such a person worships his or her career as though it were a god.

Yes, I understand the importance of work but I think for many, work has been taken a bit too far. Like all idols, work is impotent in the face of true human need. Not sure if you’re familiar with a passage out of Psalm in the Bible (I spent 8 years as an altar boy, assisting Priests in the Big Catholic Cathedral in Suva City, Fiji Islands). Well, 115:4-7 puts it:

Their idols are silver and gold, made by the hands of men. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but they cannot see; they have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but they cannot smell; they have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but they cannot walk; nor can they utter a sound with their throats.’

Now, I don’t want to sound like I am preaching to you because I am very far from a priest. I just quoted a relevant text from the Bible. To get the story straight, I have to admit that I have been very guilty of putting ‘work before everything else’ in many phases of my life.

Many.

My version of the Hulk Pose. Sometimes we all need to ‘smash’ hard, old, bad habits to embrace growth and fulfillment by simply saying and acting ‘no’. Have no fear … like the Incredible Hulk,

When I ran the gym for 7 years for example, I never took leave and I worked consistently between 12 and 18 hour days every day for 7 years. Now, if that isn’t idol worship, I don’t know what is. So, what I am saying is that I am no better than you, I have travelled in the same boat and been ‘in your shoes’. I am just sharing a perspective of what we’re all battling in our lives: this work-life balance.

Back to that passage, what do you think it means? Yes, if you feel it sort of spoke about the powerlessness of idols, you’re correct. That is exactly what the psalm is trying to make us aware of and to take sufficient and appropriate actions, that work as an idol is just as powerless as an idol itself.

I think it also says that those who worship work as an idol are defenceless in the face of true need… as another passage/psalm states –

“those who make them will be like them, and so will all those who trust them. (115:8).

I have spent a lot of time with men of all ages, ranging from teens to men in their 90s. I enjoy spending time with men of all backgrounds and socio-economic status. My shoulders has been a pillow for many grown men to cry on over the years of owning my gym. Those moments spoke volumes.

Take ‘time out’ to reflect about where and what you’re worshipping.
Going on a holiday to Fiji is a great way to maybe, find some answers … and courage to act to change your perspective on life … for the better.
Work, but don’t worship work. There is a huge difference. That difference could be your relationship with you, your close family & friends … & could mean your life.

I have sat with grown men, exceptionally powerful men in business (I once had one of the top 200 wealthiest men in Australia secretly training in my gym and whom I called a friend). I learned a lot about business and property investments from him as I helped him, help himself become his best self. I’ve had grown men weep on my shoulders (luckily I have pretty solidly wide, muscley shoulders to hold down the weight of their heads and tears).

They shared their tragic stories. Some with so much success’ in the financial world but with personal lives shattered, others with families in shambles. Some with their character de-based or their business in doubt, their circumstances out of control.

At some point, I look into their eyes and I see an emptiness for a brief moment in time. The emptiness tells me that all their professional accomplishments, all the machinery of their companies, all their wealth they worked all their lives for …. Is of no help at all. It amounts to nothing.

Simple nothingness.

On a beach in the beautiful paradise islands of Fiji … where I was born and spent my early youth in.
The Fijians understand and live and breathe “Fiji Time” very well (& use it when appropriate/needed)  … and is the way of life … Fijians are some of the world’s hardest and smartest workers but …. they never to worship work like an idol. They only worship one God – Jesus Christ. Full-stop! ‘Take a page out of the Fijian’s Book of Life.’

I see nothingness in their eyes … their souls, as they say the ‘eyes are the windows to the souls’. I have seen many souls in my time. And I have travelled with them, helping them, help themselves find their way out of the depths of despair.

They were in deep trouble and their god (work) is impotent. Of no help in time of need.

I have grieved with such men (and to a little extent, women).

They have chosen the wrong God. How much do they have to lose to realise the emptiness, the sadness. There is power in simply saying ‘no’. The power of no. Use it, if need be.

Of course, I also respect the fact that the same thing could happen to me (and it has in the last 25 years and could happen to anyone).

Work is one of God’s gifts to us.

The problem arises, I feel, when we begin to worship and serve it rather than … the true God, God himself … and Jesus.

Or whatever Higher being you want to call God.

Choose well.

It is your life after all.

 

Yours in iron, muscles and nuggets of wisdom,

 

The old Captain Viking Pirate

Front double biceps at my favourite beach here in Sydney, Australia.
Enjoying the sun and the creator that it is.
Be not like the moon, be like the sun.
Take time out of ‘work’ to enjoy your surroundings.
Vv.

Appropriate outfit given the Rugby World Cup
Go the Wallabies & Fiji! Not excessive time at work/worshipping work allows you to invest your time in to your children. This is one of the best investments you will ever make. Remember this: less time spent with your children when they are young ==> more time in their late teens/early 20s … getting them out of trouble. It will cost you more in time and $$ and heart-ache too. Choose well … and be proactive, do it now.

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Torn between two hands.

My beautiful wife of almost 12 years now. My love for this human being keeps increasing every single day.

My beautiful wife and co-captain in life of over 15 years now. My love for this human being keeps increasing every single day.

I love life.

Being an avid student of life, I think a lot about life and it’s definitions and prevailing beliefs and belief systems, on all levels.

I think every individual should have a continuously questioning curiosity to everything in life, which includes their existing beliefs and values and everything else. A questioning attitude just like scientists have had and use in their reasoning.

I ask again what it means to be a man?

I’ll say it again, it can be difficult to be a man in today’s world. I believe he is torn between two hands. Let me elaborate. You see, every man – every male strives to meet his basic psychological needs.

“And what are these?” I hear you say.

Well, firstly, I believe it is simply to know and be known. If we keep it simple, in addition to this, every man needs to love and be loved.

He also needs other very important psychological needs. By “other”, I believe men need deep caring relationships with other men. If I recall correctly, I think it was one of the disciples (James I think) who said christians should be encouraged to confess their sins to each other and pray for each other … or somewhere along these lines.

What does this mean for us?

Well, I believe it means that every man should have another man who would have their back. What this boils down to is that a man who does not have at least one other man to whom he can be accountable regarding his failures, hurts and temptations is a prime target for masculine anger.

You witness evidence of this erupting in almost all areas of our society – in families, in schools, in workplaces, in communities, in countries and between nations.

The angry man in our society is caught between an unrealistic ideal brain-washed in to him by previous generations. That is all they knew. They knew no better.

Today’s men strive to live up to this “unrealistic mythical masculinity ideal or stereotype” on the one hand and true masculinity on the other.

He feels the pressure to –

  • Achieve
  • Earn
  • Conquer
  • Win

And in a lot of cases, do all these things on his own. Do it at all costs. Costs to his health, his relationships, his family, his community of friends.

… just to live up to these unrealistic expectations society places on him of outdated stereotypes of what it means to be a ‘real man’. But every man has a vulnerable side. Every man is a Mr Vulnerable too where he also feels the need to love and to nurture those he loves and be loved and nurtured by those who loves him.

But this is an impossible ideal. An impossible dream. As he, today’s Real Man futilely attempts to reconcile the two in his own life. He is torn between being invincible and vulnerable, aloof and involved, self-serving and sharing.

He is torn between two hands.

The roots of this conflict send up numerous shoots of anger-producing tendencies in his life.

Anger tendencies that can be dangerous for the man, the people around him, the community he lives in and the nation as a whole.

With the next generation of Valentine males - Zachary.

With the next generation of Valentine males – Zachary.

Men should not be made to feel ‘torn between two hands’. Men should not be made to be torn between these two ideals. Men should not feel they should travel alone. Men should also welcome the vulnerable side of him. Men should accept that sharing this responsibility is one of the best ways to move forward in the direction of a new definition of what it means to be a Real Man in today’s world.

It is not fair on the man and not fair on those he loves. I feel very blessed that the woman who chose me to spend the rest of her life with allows me to be vulnerable. It is “Mother’s Day” today and she is the most amazing woman I have ever met in my life so far. My children are very blessed to have her as their mother. She is my co-captain on our ship through the sea of life.

For the women reading this, please try and listen to your man, really listen. Listen with your two ears, your body, your spirit and your heart. Help him be Mr Vulnerable too, if you’re not already doing so.

And for the man, embrace your Mr Vulnerable. It does not make you less of a man. I believe it makes you more of what it means to be a Real Man. Today’s definition of a modern-day Real Man, what true masculinity really is.

It is one of the most important gifts you can give the little men (our sons) of the future. The young men we entrust to lead and make decisions when we are old and grey and when we are gone and forgotten.

Do it for the future of Man-kind.

 

Until next time,

My daughter and I. I cherish every moment I have with her. She allows me to be Mr Vulnerable too. Vv.

My daughter and I.
I cherish every moment I have with her.
She sees a healthy dose of masculinity in me and Mr Vulnerable too.
Vv.

Its ok to be Mr Vulnerable. Vv.

Its ok to be Mr Vulnerable.
Vv.

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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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a better life, action, adaptation, authenticness, awareness, belief, belief systems, Beliefs, better choices, choices, decisions, Energy, game of life, genuineness, Goals, habits, life, long-term perspective, love, man, perspective, real man, self improvement, truths, you, your life

Being and doing.

Being and doing.  Strive to bring them together as ONE.  For a better you, a better life.  Vv.

Being and doing.
Strive to bring them together as ONE.
For a better you, a better life.
Vv.

My grandfather played a huge role in my youth.

I only have a few photos of him in a little photo album I bought almost three decades ago now. I was fortunate I had the foresight to put a few photos in this album for me and my family in the future – the family I have now.

I was about eleven years old when I put this album together. I bring the album out every so often to show my kids and tell stories of my childhood. They just love listening to these stories and the photos bring these stories to life – of the life I lived in the first quarter of my life. Stories of my grandparents, my siblings, my cousins, extended family members, my friends, my pets and my hobbies.

A different but beautiful phase of my life – a life my kids are so very far removed in their lives they live now. A time and part of my life that I will always cherish.

It was a different time, different era – a different place.

These are the only photos I have of some of the most influential persons I had in my life in my first fourteen years on this earth. Two of them were my grandparents. They were more like parents to me. They raised me as their child.

This blog is dedicated to my foremost role model – my grandfather. A man that melded ‘being and doing’ into ONE. Let me tell you a little story about him and how it relates to the title of this …

I don’t remember much about him now but I remember how I felt when I was around him. I felt loved. I know he was a man of love and always showed me he loved me every day.

I remember he was very strict and particular in everything he did. Everything had its place and everything had standards. Standards that we all had to adhere to.

Without fail. There were no exceptions.

He was very much a ‘black and white’ sort of a person with very little or no ‘grey areas’. He would call a spade a spade and wouldn’t mince his words if he had to get his message across by bothering with ‘political correctness’ as we do now.

He called it as he saw it! He was a Clint Eastwood “Old School” kind-of-a man. A man I looked up to.

Like I said, it was a different time, different place.

Setting his own standards through - Mind-muscle connection. 'flexing the muscles' in a "most-muscular' pose. Chris is an A+ student and the results show for a 47 year old man. On his way to realizing a physique and mind-set he imagines himself having. ... adopting my framework to body/mind re-engineering. No risk, no belief - no nothing! Vv

Setting his own standards through –
Mind-muscle connection. ‘flexing the muscles’ in a “most-muscular’ pose.
Chris is an A+ student and the results show for a 47 year old man.
On his way to realizing a physique and mind-set he imagines himself having.
… adopting my framework to body/mind re-engineering.
No risk, no belief – no nothing!
Vv

But he was also a gentleman. A real, genuine, gentleman. Dressed like one, behaved like one and thought like one. I only realized how fortunate I was to have such an influential person like him in my life after he died.

He died in peacefully in his sleep. It was a quiet end to a quiet man.

My beliefs, my values and principles and my perspective on life has been strongly influenced by this influential grandfather of mine. A simple but very wise man.

From what I understand (and to some extent, remember), he was a very quiet man. A man of few words. A man who spoke through his actions. A very authentic, Real Man.

One thing that I will always remember was that he never missed a performance that I was in throughout my primary and early secondary school life. I always saw his face in the crowd of parents and grandparents that came to watch. ALWAYS! This is a very tough standard to live up to now that I have kids of my own.

I found it very difficult to attend all my children’s school performances last year. And they are just starting out in their primary school. I will do my very best for the future years to keep up this standard.

At his funeral I was made responsible for meeting and greeting people at the door as they arrived. I could not believe the amount of people that turned up at his funeral, I mean there would have been over five hundred people that poured in. They came from all levels of society – senior government officials, doctors, judges, big businessmen, teachers and so forth.

Was this all for the man I thought I knew – my grandfather?”, I wondered.

It didn’t make sense”, I thought to myself. I remember seeing the tears in the eyes of all those hundreds of people (mostly strangers to me), who had come from everywhere to say farewell to this ‘quiet man’.

This moment and the funeral got me thinking …

I wondered and still wonder who would come to my funeral with tears in their eyes? Have you wondered this too? I remember thinking and still think about what one’s life is for and what is the point of our existence in this world? I asked myself what the definition of success was? We’ve all heard these questions before, yes. Most of us have read the philosophies.

But have you really applied them to yourself before? Seriously.

Doing and being is essential to muscle building success for your health and muscle goals. Connect the two. Make them one. Vv.

Doing and being is essential to muscle building success for your health and muscle goals.
Connect the two. Make them one.
Vv.

Well, I guess this gentleman I knew as my grandfather had somehow touched, in some way, shape or form – the hearts of everyone who paid respect at his. It only occurred to me many years later that one of the reasons why this quiet man influenced so many people was this:

He was a man whose beliefs and actions were very closely aligned, where his being and doing was almost the same thing. It was ONE. He was an authentic man. This is probably one of the most difficult things each and every one of us have to face in life – the alignment of our beliefs with our actions.

This is always going to forever be a complex, dynamic process because even though our individual beliefs may stay the same, our actions will be influenced by how the world changes around us (and the pace of change is quicker than ever before). We are now, more than ever, forced to constantly re-think and re-assess our actions against our beliefs EVERY SINGLE DAY!

The alignment of one’s beliefs and actions – of a person’s being and doing, is a very difficult daily battle with constant change. For most, if not all of us, this search for a stronger connection and search for this truth will never end. It’s almost a losing battle. The search for the authentic self, your authentic self. Your soul. But don’t despair, don’t give in. Persevere.

Strengthen your grit!

Since that realisation all those years ago, I have been trying to bring my being and my doing closer together. It isn’t easy. You could say that it has and always is a daily goal of mine and continue to be so in to the future.

Do you find yourself acting a part in your normal day-to-day which is not totally ‘you’? What about in your place of work, the organization you work for? I remember working in large multi-national corporations many years ago, doing a lot of travelling and consultancy. I thought then and still do now that everyone is basically a ‘role occupant’. Everyone in these organizations. This is necessary however, to have the smooth running of the organization.

Can you honestly say that your role or the roles you play/played in those organizations were a perfect match between you and the role? I didn’t think so.

Very few of us would.

An old school pose by an 'old school' believer. Vv.

An old school pose by an ‘old school’ believer.
Vv.

I liken it to my children’s fantasy role playing I see them enact when they play ‘pretend stories’. Part of the appeal of working for such organizations, apart from the financial incentives is that it forces every employee to escape from themselves for hours every day to play a role, a part.

It is normally fun at the start but damaging in the end, on many levels. I am raising this vital observation because I think it is very important, especially in this era we live in where we witness almost daily the damaging effects of people’s deeds not aligned with their beliefs.

Seemingly small, disparate choices made daily, that result in cataclysmic storms all because one’s being and doing is not ONE. Remember, elephants don’t bite, mosquitoes do! Pay more attention to the little things in life, things that are not seen with the naked eye – like your beliefs.

This, I believe, is a huge contributor to the deterioration of Trust in people and between people; in society and between societies; in the country’s leaders and between country leaders.

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

Contest: 2007 World Natural Bodybuilding Championships held in NY, USA.
Ranked: 4th Best Natural Bodybuilder in the World.
Believe in yourself. Trust in yourself. Make your Being and your Doing – ONE.
Vv.

My hope is to point out what I observe and ‘see’ in the meaning of things and in the purpose of life. But more importantly, my hope is that I raise questions in your head in order to encourage you to find your meaning and your purpose.

So, I leave you with this question: do you live your daily life as the ‘real you’? Do your actions reflect your beliefs? What are your beliefs? How far apart is your being from your doing?

Is your being and doing strongly connected and ONE?

If it isn’t, you may want to start re-aligning them before it is too late. Make this habit. There is power in deliberate practise. There is power in habit. It begins within you and with you – with a choice.

Food for thought.

 

Until next time,

A little fun with my cowboy hat at home.

A little fun with my cowboy hat at home. I like hats.

~~Life & wellness COACH~~

~~Life & wellness COACH~~

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action, adaptation, awareness, Beliefs, change, compassion, courage, Energy, game of life, habits, Imagination, Jesus, life, love, you

More love to you.

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What was the main thing that drew men to our saviour, Jesus Christ?

I have always thought about this.

I mean, Jesus had so many qualities.

Yes, he was a brilliant leader of men.

Yes, he spoke with authority and flair.

Yes, he did miraculous and amazing deeds but what was the main thing that drew so many people to him?

I think it was the thing that they would have witnessed in his actions and words. The thing that was emblazoned on to his face and that came from his heart. The thing that emanates from his stories told to us in the bible.

I believe it was simply – his love and compassion. Jesus Christ was the epitome of love and compassion.

Choose to embrace him in your life (if you haven’t already). Open your heart to him and enter his. Love him and be loved.

Try to imagine looking at life through his eyes. Notice the difference. Make changes in your life, if you need to, for a better you. Don’t underestimate the power of positive change, no matter how small.

Start with forgiving yourself and loving yourself more. Value YOU. Allow love to fill you up in more each and every day and spread it.

All the very best in your dreams of a better you and best of luck in your strategy (New Year’s resolutions) towards a better version of you. Seek strength from Jesus and God for perseverance of self-improvement in all areas of your life.

Believe in God. Believe in you. Believe that God believes and loves you, no matter what and no matter how many times you fail. He will catch you if you fall and he will pick you up again… and again … and again….

All you have to do is ask for his love, his help and he will fill you with the courage and might.

To try again.

Also, remember: Quality plan + quality implementation = quality result. So, plan your work and work your plan.

Happy New Year and Best of Vitality to you and your loved ones!

More love to you, this New Year’s and beyond.

 

Until next time,

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