Saturday, January 24, 2009

Time out

I find that I have been guilty of dividing my time over too many projects in the past years, and I end up loosing focus on the things that are really important and underpin my values.

I have come to the conclusion that after years of running around with my hair on fire that I need to rest and recover; both my mind and my body. I am taking some time out to repair me, however I will be back soon stronger than ever.

Stay strong,


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Take cover; it is not all about me.

So I have been struggling with a difficult concept over the past weeks; the concept that it is not all about me. In fact it is more than a concept as I have came to realise that in fact it is the truth. This is hard to believe in the "me" generation that is all around us. Anyone reading this uses the Internet and has to have been exposed to Myspace, Facebook, Blogger, Twitter, Youtube etc all places giving us access to our 15 minutes of fame. These days anyone can be someone on the Internet. A friend told me recently that I was "famous in my life", and I freely admit to working on my blog and other sites to increase this fame. OK, so it also helps pay the bills but I would be lying if I didn't admit to a level of satisfaction of gaining some minor level of celebrity in my health and fitness world. Ego is a very intoxicating thing

I am in my early 40's and in the past year some people in my life of a similar age and corporate background have died; some by accident, and some by their own hand. I wonder each time what their legacy is? A horrible accident recently claimed the life of a man that I would consider to be one of the most honourable, fair and decent people I have worked with in my corporate career. At his memorial service many people said a similar thing, and while his early death is tragic he leaves a company that has ethics, and a memory to us all that we can do business, be successful and be honourable at the same time.

A few months back I started thinking about my blog and the people who read it. This was the time I changed the name to "Strength and Beauty", as I wanted to reflect my desire to help be strong and beautiful. I moved away from daily discussions on weight, body composition to posts about being consistent with nutrition, supplementation, exercise and relaxation. I posted more about healing your mind and attracting positive energy. However I feel that most of the people who read my blog already know this, at least at some level. I guess preaching to the converted is not overly satisfying for me.

I love competing and learning how far I can push my body and mind. In the past 3 years I have had many ups and downs in my lifting career, and I ended last year on a massive high and my reason for lifting these days has changed. I don't need to prove to the world I am a good powerlifter anymore. These days I train because I love it and it is like breathing for me.

So how did these events bring me to the conclusion that it was not all about me? Well, one day one the walk to the sauna I was tossing up what competitions to do this year, and how I was going to make weight, and what business activity I would do next to promote my business. I had been having these conversations with myself lately and trying to reconcile these with leaving a real legacy, and making sure my work helped people and contributed to a better society. It was really simple in the end, and although I didn't want to admit it the fact is that winning another medal or increasing my blog readership doesn't count to making the world a better place, it was just my ego that thought this was important. What does matter is using all the experiences and learning's from my life to enhance the lives of others.

In 10 weeks time I am returning full circle from this time last year. I am willingly going back to the corporate world to help the people I turned my back on 12 months ago. This is proof to me that is about the journey and not the destination. It is also proof that my experiences and medals are not there to make me famous; it never was about me.


It's raining quite heavily today, and there are storms forecast. While it is wonderful to have the water on our earth it has interupted a daily routine that I find very enjoyable. I live close to my gym and have taken to walking there and back each morning that I train. I leave at 7am, put my ipod on for the 25 minute walk, train after I am warmed and in the mood, then have the best post workout cool down on the way home while drinking down my shake. I hadn't realised until this morning when the skies are grey how much I enjoy this part of my day.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

No goal is not the same as no plan

Things are quiet right now, and with no particular goals this year I am in somewhat unfamiliar territory. Of course there are things I am planning on doing, but I have no deadlines for lifting, weigh ins, competitions. I am finding myself jumping from one idea to the next as I am free to entertain different training styles, eating plans and other activities in general. I have come to the realisation that although this may be the year of rest and "no goals", that at least some plan will be needed to stop me totally wasting my year.

So today I will work on a "mini plan", not a real BEHAG, set the world on fire plan, but something that will keep me focused and on track for longer term goals and keep me from diving into self inflicted time wasting and boredom!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Joy in helping others.

I am incredibly happy right now, in fact I have a sense of joy radiating. It is a lovely day and there is a great breeze blowing through my apartment. A beautiful girl I have been working with for about 2 months has just left my home, with a smile that wasn't there in November. The changes are subtle and perhaps not noticeable to many others but I feel blessed to be able help her smile.

Powerlifting anyone?

From today I will be spending a few afternoons a week at the University of QLD Powerlifting Club. As I am not lifitng until Nationals in July I am going to be hanging around, finishing off my coaching certifications, training, and generally helping out. If anyone has an interest or desire to give Powerlifting a go you are more than welcome to come and have a look around and see what goes on.


Friday, January 09, 2009

Please leave me a comment.

Today I am asking a favour of all you bloggers and other readers about why you blog and why you read other's blog?

I don't want to make any assumptions on what people are thinking, and I figure if my purpose is to help others achieve wellbeing I should know what everyone is searching for.

Feel free to e-mail me if you prefer.

Thank you all


Thursday, January 08, 2009

Which pieces of the wellness puzzle are most important?

I am in the process of preparing a presentation to a corporate audience about wellbeing, and I am finding it quite difficult to focus in on exactly what I should be talking about. If I consider my own experiences over the past 10 years or so what are the most important pieces of the puzzle?

The things that I consider important now are based on years of making a daily choices to be well and healthy. In the early years the things I did were sloppy and rather inefficient, so I need to make sure I use this wisdom and assist people in avoiding the same mistakes and move them along faster.

Given that I have a limited amount of time to talk, and that not everyone holds my passion for wellbeing I need to deliver a simple yet practical message. I also need to remember what it was like starting out and being frustrated by all the information out there, so I need to be cautious of over loading people and assuming knowledge......hmm

So I am off to finish my basics/fundamentals presentation. I am pretty sure sleep will be at the top of the list. I know people get really disappointed when they hear that coming from me time and time again, yet it costs nothing and gives you the best quality of life improvement of anything I can do for you. My favourite supplements of fish oil, multi's and magnesium will get in there pretty early too, as well as a Precision Nutrition style eating plan.

I am wondering how I can assist them with motivation? I am experienced enough to know that I can only provide information, people need to want to use that information. Wouldn't it be great if for one moment I could touch their hand and they could feel the energy and strength that flows through my body; surely they would want to feel like that every moment of the day too? I guess this is the greater challenge for me. How do I show people what it feels like to be well?


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

My clothes shopping has been done, and while I generally dislike shopping I had fun this time. I am just loving the soft and flowing fabrics that seem to be fashionable at present. The great thing is that they will also still fit me when I am back at competition weight in a couple of months.

On the subject of competing I am not planning on getting back into it until much later this year, and my original plan was to wait until Nationals in July. I feel like I am really needing the break as it has been many years since I have been removed from competition pressure, so I am not even sure at this point whether or not I will compete this year. I am really enjoying my training and I am seeing some great gains, and my upper body is really loving the focus as well. I am feeling like I am ready to go back to do some heavier work, and will probably change my program up in the next couple of weeks to accommodate that. I have just started to track my nutrition as I need to look at slowly dropping a kg or so a month so that I am within 2 kgs of my weight category should I suddenly decide I am ready.

I had a funny experience 2 days ago when I entered my weight into Calorie King and I was told my BMI made me over weight! I guess they don't modify their BMI rankings for strength athletes. In fact if I put on 10kgs from now I would be technically obese. Numbers don't really mean anything but it is interesting.

I am hungry - oats I think.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Going up a dress size..

Ok, so I have never been a Size O (although at my very first figure comp I was 48kgs so maybe I was), but it is time to clean the wardrobe out and go up a dress size. During my off season I have added some fat - maybe 3kgs, but the truth of the matter is that I have been doing some pretty fierce training over the past 12 months I am not the size I was this time last year. In fact I am about the same body fat % but about 5kgs heavier. Now that is a lean mass increase, so I am not saying I have put in 5kgs of muscle, but however you measure it it is a definite dress size bigger. Try as I may my arms, back and butt just will not fit comfortably into the clothes I have in my wardrobe. There is nothing worse than having clothes that don't fit, as the act of trying to get them on simply makes you feel huge.

I have always loved growing and getting bigger as I train my muscles to be strong and powerful; I think I am born to be strong. At 161cm I am on the small side and have until last year competed at 56kgs, so all in all I have been "small" through it all even with a few kgs of fat on in the off season. However things are now different. I compete at 60kgs and my off season weight is above that, and I am getting BIG. My upper body is getting BIG. It is an adjustment that I struggle with sometimes, and having clothes that don't fit bring attention to my growth. So today I am shopping for clothes a that fit.

I think there is a world out there....

I have been on holidays for about 3 weeks and today I need to face the world. I have been wrapped up in family, Xmas, training and reading and have to admit to be feeling very happy in my simple life. However I have commitments today so I need to emerge from my bubble and see what is there. I am sure it is not as scary as it seems right now.

OK, so it is not scary at all, I just don't want to disrupt the quite routine I have where is that lotto form???


Sunday, January 04, 2009

Lots of rest and no recovery.

I have had a lot of rest (both physical and mental) over the past 3 weeks, however I have neglected my recovery protocols. I haven't had a remedial massage or a sauna in all this time, and I am starting to feel it. Today is officially the end of my holiday so I will also enforce my recovery methods from today as well. I was planning on doing a heavy deadlift session this morning - the first since I competed in October - however I will go and sauna this morning in its place. Maybe I will deadlift this afternoon?


Saturday, January 03, 2009

8 weeks with no TV

I was watching a video on a few days ago and a Buddhist Monk was talking about the meaning of happiness. He said that "well being was a sense of deep serenity and fulfilment", and I thought about how close I might come to that so I did a bit of a mental tally. I came up quite a bit closer than I had thought I may, and the best thing was that I realised that any areas where I am a little behind I have all the pieces lying around just waiting for me to put the jigsaw together. Now I admit I have been on holidays for a couple of weeks, which will always make us happier given that is the point of holidays, but it made me wonder if I can feel like this now why can't I feel like this mid next week when I am working. It is a state of mind, my choice, right? The other thing I thought is if I am doing things that make me unhappy why am I doing them? Yes I need to pay the mortgage, school fees etc, but at what point do I stop collecting and start enjoying?

I wonder if any of this has to do with the fact that I sold my TV last year and I now have a fish in it's place? There is a bird nesting on my balcony too!


Thursday, January 01, 2009

Where does the energy go?

So I have been thinking about dreams, as in goals, and energy. Remember as a kid when you had that B.H.A.G of becoming an astronaut, actress or Olympic champion and the hours you spent planning, dreaming, training and reading about them? Remember all that energy that you put into those dreams and the years that you dedicated that amount of energy? Do you remember that all consuming desire to "set the world on fire"? Do you remember the day that you let it go, or did it fade over time?

Given that we are really just a bunch of molecules and energy, do you think that all that energy that previously burnt so brightly is still hanging around somewhere? Maybe when we let it go it transferred to some one else and formed their dreams; maybe these are the people who made it? Maybe it takes a few people to let go of their dreams to create enough energy for one person to make their dreams come true?

So what do you think happens when we let this energy go? Assuming we are still on the planet, and still generating and consuming that same amount of molecules and energy, do we still shine as bright or do we dim over time? Is it normal to accept a lesser dream simply because we age? Is it age or conformity that dims us?

When I look at our society, a community that is eating itself to death and will soon produce the first generation to die before their parents, I wonder about who we are. I am pretty sure most people (and most people are overweight & obese these days) never dreamt of turning into who they are now. I am pretty sure that their dreams as a 10 yr old weren't to be ".. overworked, overweight, over stressed, and unhappy". Yet, why is this now acceptable, common? When did we let the dreams die, when did we loose all respect for our bodies so that it is now OK to treat it like a toxic waste dump? We tell out kids to "be responsible, get a degree, chase financial goals"...why?, so they can turn into a second generation of dimly lit fatties?

I have 2 teenagers entering their last years of high school, and I am going to tell them the same thing my Mum told me. "You can be whatever you want to be".

For my part, I am going to cast my mind back and find some of that youthful energy that used to dazzle my dreams and make 2009 my best year ever!


Attract positive energy

I am a lover of alternative thinking; books and videos that ask us to reach beyond the way our minds currently work and challenge us to look at the world in a different way. It doesn't matter whether this is aimed at professional, personal, spiritual, family or financial aspects of our lives as in most cases you can't really address one area without balancing out another. For example financial success is unlikely to come if your actions work against your spiritual values etc. I have been interested in this type of thinking for many years now, and I find that when I am more open to alternative thinking I always meet someone extremely fascinating who can add to my life's journey. I certainly have met a few of these people in the past year in the wellness industry as I have in the past in the corporate world.

One aspect that seems to be common to successful people is that they focus on what they want, rather than want they don't want. This may sound very simple, however the distinction between focusing on the positive rather than the negative can be the difference between failure and success. Focusing on what you don't want to weigh, look like, or the negative aspects of your career, relationships or bank account brings your energy to those negative areas, and as the law of attraction states you will attract the energy you put out.

We should see ourselves living as if we have already achieved our goals, create a sense of gratitude for what we already have and the positive energy will bring us closer to our real desires.


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