Author: Tom

There are many areas of interest that I've chosen to explore. You never know what you'll see on this page at any given time; and the only assurance is, it was authored by me. I'm a writer, poet, director, teacher, trainer, speaker, dreamer; but basically just a guy with a point of view, just like you. The difference is, I write them down. I really hope you enjoy reading some of my many works that appear here. Live healthy, give graciously.

Float Away From Stress

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FROM “MONKEY MIND” TO MINDFULNESS

Did you ever want to get away from it all? Just shut the door on all the noise and say, “so long. I want to be alone?” But you can’t afford a chalet in Aspen or a beach house on Malibu, or even the time for that cabin in Grayling. Well, there’s still hope for getting away, found in floatation, or simply, “tanking.” “See you later honey, I’m going to get tanked,” may just be the next catch phrase.

One of the most beautiful locations I’ve found is right here in Michigan at Motor City Float, located in Clawson on 14 Mile near Crooks. The staff are excellent, kind, thoughtful and informed. The rooms are immaculate, quiet and comforting; and the provisions for your shower and post-float are pleasant and available. Enjoy a tea or cookie in the quiet room afterward, and even record your thoughts in their guest journal.

I’ve been floating for 30 years, yes, since “Altered States”, and this is the best place I’ve seen, including my own tank. The rates are good, the packages are fair and fully explained on their website, and after your first float you’ll be figuring out how and when to get to the next one. The more often you go, the sooner your body responds to the “relaxation response,” and thus, more time is spent in creative reverie.

WHAT IS FLOATING?

Floatation is a method of total relaxation which is as simple as lying on your back, just as you do each night. But the benefits found in floating and its far-reaching effects seem too good to be true once you examine its simplicity.

In 11 inches of water, a concentration of 1100 lbs. of pharmaceutical grade epsom salts bobs and floats you atop the 94º (skin temperature) surface like a cork; alleviating physical stress from gravity on your organs, bones, joints and blood vessels; thus, freeing circulation, relieving minor aches, spasms, joint pains and everyday tensions associated with headaches and stress. Your body is relieved of gravity in a minor, yet noticeable way. But that’s only the beginning.

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Close the door on the tank and you’ve shut out all mental stimulation by closing off your senses to the world outside. There are no telephones, traffic, questions or demands. Your mind and body are now free to drift off into right brain bliss. The left brain’s logic is shut off because there is nothing to stimulate it; allowing the right, creative brain to open to reveries, insights, creativity and visualizations, and often, epiphanies. A theta brain wave state is reached effortlessly and it is in this state of daydreaming where most “eureka” moments occur.

There are no catches and no formulas. Unlike transcendental meditation, yoga or other forms of mindfulness practice, floating doesn’t need to be learned. It is as natural as was floating in your mother’s womb. In fact, it’s probably as close as you’ll get to going back to the womb. You don’t do, you just are. You may relate this to lying back in a hot tub of bubbles after a trying day, but the similarity ends there; bath water gets cold, gravity still pulls and the phone still rings.

HOW LONG DO YOU FLOAT?

In the tank, time flies by, uninterrupted; 15 minutes can seem like 3 hours or 3 hours can feel like 15 minutes. Images come and go, yet can be held and suspended since there’s nothing to disturb thought patterns and flow. Complete relaxation is reached in a matter of 30 minutes or less. the rest of the time is spent like a child at play, without reference to time, in right brain creative mode. Most floats last an hour, but you can tag on extra time in some locations, at an extra charge.

As the last of the movement from the waves settles into stillness, the first thing you notice is the blackness. No matter how hard you try, you will not see any light. You literally do not know if your eyes are opened or closed. The next thing you notice will be the complete and total silence. Other than your own pulse or breathing, you will hear nothing. You will feel weightless atop the water and perhaps touch off one of the sides of the tank, feeling as if you’ve floated for minutes before reaching the other end. The air filtration system passes cool air over your face, making you feel as if you’re relaxing beneath an open window on the darkest night you’ve never seen.

After you’re done exploring the perimeters of the tank, you’ll slowly feel the relaxation response kick in. This is the state where, in meditation, you feel a stillness in the mind and body as if you’d just taken off a heavy coat. In the tank, you feel what can be explained as a lifting, with the buoyancy of the salt water pushing you up so the edges of the water’s surface meets the outline of your body. Your mind goes through its natural process of thinking, breathing, blinking, searching, but soon settles into the warmth.

WHO FLOATS?

Floating was used for sports and fitness therapy; but now, with a mindfulness and meditation movement making a comeback, this method of “finding bliss” is the guaranteed method for reaching it regularly. The more you float, the less time it takes for the relaxation response to kick in and the sooner you’ll settle in to euphoria.

John Lennon used a float tank during his recording of “Double Fantasy.” The tank has been used in training rooms of Pro football, baseball and Olympic teams for recuperation and visualization; a client told of how he, in his mid-60’s, was able to master German in 10 weeks while listening to audio-suggestion in the tank without any prior knowledge of the language. (Boy, was he ever wrinkled when he got out.)

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Even though floating is simple in its application, the unseen, long-term benefits offer everything from building up the immune system to lower susceptibility to disease and infection, recovery from injury, freeing blood flow and relieving stress on joints, tendons, organs and muscles. You can sort out problems or issues one at a time, leaving the tensions and stresses of the outside world to dissolve in the water. And you can also break habits and addictions via auto-suggestion without the need of a hypnotist. The natural release of opiates and hormones happens without trying. And one great side-effect is a decrease of aging due to both relaxation and healing that occurs naturally. Even if your only goal is to relax, floatation guarantees it. So what better way to get away than to lay back and float away?

YOU ALREADY HAVE AND ARE EVERYTHING YOU NEED OR WANT

 

BonfireYou already are and have everything you will ever want or need in this life, (but DESIRE all you can). Let’s explain the difference between NEED, WANT & DESIRE.

NEED is something you will never have. It is a possession you can never possess. It’s a state of perpetual lack because it’s a black hole chasm of emptiness that will never be filled.

NEED is the element you will always have and never have enough of. So, as far as you’re concerned, it’s worthless to pursue anything you NEED. As long as you need, you won’t have.

WANT is a passing attraction. It is this car or that stereo, this girl, that address – a constant ebb and flow of possessions and feelings that you could really live without, but know it would be nice to have around.

A WANT is always temporary. Like NEED, you’ll never be without WANT. As much as you try to fill either of them with meaningless, tail-chasing endeavors that take you to an empty box in an forgotten closet, WANT, like NEED, is the second, ugly stepsister to the DESIRE of Cinderella.

WANT is what you needed and no longer care about. To WANT things is only one step up from the bottom feeders of the food chain of NEED. In life, you rarely get what you want, or want what you get.

DESIRE is the crown jewel, the only real jewel amidst the costume crap that rings pretension or impulse.

DESIRE is something you can taste, feel, or see, when no one else can; it sends palpitations through your heart, it stirs emotions in the brain and ingenuity in attaining it.

DESIRE is wanting or needing something passionately. It’s worth dying for. You’ll know desire when you go after something with every thought and action of each day. It pushes you to seek places you’d never imagined, do what you’d never do, be someone so passionately enthralled in the pursuit of that one thing, that to others, your obsession seems ridiculous; yet to you, it’s the pinnacle of your world.

DESIRE is seldom present, but when it arrives, it’s exquisitely evident and impossible to ignore. It roars for attention and is not sated until it’s accomplished or fulfilled. Its reward is uplifting; often the culmination of time, thought, investment, risk and sometimes, outright foolishness.

DESIRE comes, then keeps on coming. It takes prisoners. It coerces, convinces and calls forth forces often reluctant to give in. DESIRE is the good thing, and the only thing in the WANT/NEED/DESIRE triad worth having.

YOU NEED TO ALWAYS WANT DESIRE.desire.

CONSISTENCY IS CRUCIAL

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CONSISTENCY -Consistency is a reliable, sturdy, coherent and uniform approach to learning or accomplishing a desired goal.

MORNING RITUAL

Do you have a morning ritual? Do you wake up and go through a certain structured protocol of routines to make your day good from the get-go? What is your routine? How do you start your day? Do you plan your food and clothing the night before? Do you make a list of six things necessary to attend to tomorrow? Do you have your notes, your routes, your contacts and your schedule ready before waking by preparing the prior night? Do you know where your keys, glasses, etc. are? Some people stretch. Some pray. Some meditate. Some go right to the coffee pot turning on every light along the way and race to the next 5 things they did yesterday in a once-again jumbled order.

By having a morning ritual, you will learn how to incorporate certain time-saving methods into the rest of your daily activities; like answering your emails at a certain time, returning phone calls in groups, rather than as each comes in; setting writing, breaks, calendar scheduling and free time so others will learn to respect your space and schedule, and not feel free to traipse through your day with their random thoughts on useless topics. If consistency is key, than concentration on one task at a time is second to achieving success. And of course, include healthful aspects to your days in terms of workouts, walks, quiet time/meditation or reading. By having a plan to work, you can work your plan.

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SIX STEPS TO CONSISTENCY

The way to wade through a day successfully is what’s referred to as “The Einstein Approach,” by thinking less about the low value items so you have the time and brain power for the higher value items. Here’s a sample of doing less and accomplishing more:

  1. SATURATE YOUR BRAIN – Have a full glass of water on the counter the night before and down it completely upon awakening, even before the bathroom. The water replenishes the brain and awakens the senses from the eyes to the gut. Enjoy it as you feel it filling your body from lips to stomach. Once you get used to consuming that much water in one draught, you’ll be more likely to do it more often. Start filling your tank from the top down and pay attention to the way it makes you feel.
  2. EXPERIENCE THE DARKNESS – You should know the layout of your home well enough to find your way to a comfortable chair or couch. Let the darkness become light. Notice how your eyes adjust, focus, and accept the available light to allow the contrast of the room to develop like a Polaroid picture. Breathe. If you need a light, use as little as necessary, then turn it off. Do NOT use your phone. Just as you should respect the natural cycle of the days as you head toward bed, avoiding bright light and noise; you must learn to let the day in slowly rather than racing to meet it.
  3. EMBRACE THE SILENCE – Since your daily-do list is done and your clothes and food are thought out, sit down and listen intently to the silence. Refuse to allow the chatter in your head to take precedence. Acknowledge thoughts but send them away like passing birds, until all you hear in your head is the black, dead silence that confirms your head is clear. Feel your breath and its rhythm in your chest and ears. Let that clarity be your companion throughout the rest of your day.
  4. EAT CLEAN – Have something easy, with a high nutritional value, that takes little preparation; like boiled eggs or whole grain toast with almond butter and a glass of almond milk; (which are easy to make and easy to take if you’re still running late). Your metabolism will respond appropriately and be able to assimilate and utilize the foods to help you satisfy your brain and belly for the day ahead. Don’t run on empty.
  5. LOOK GOOD – Old or young, male or female, whatever your job responsibility, look good. Even if you work alone in your basement, look presentable. Be respectable, especially to yourself. Comb your hair, tuck in your shirt, wash your face, brush your teeth, wear clean clothes, appropriate shoes and put a smile on that face. You’ll be surprised at the respect you get, the smiles returned, the amount of power and persuasion you have when you look like you have it together. If all you do is talk on the phone, you’ll notice your countenance will give you a greater sense of authority by being presentable to yourself, first. You don’t have to pretentiously try to impress anyone, just look good. Do the best with what you’ve got, “like your mama taught you.”
  6. BE GRACIOUS – Give gratitude to everyone and everything, from the food you ate to the clothes you wear to the hot water and dry towel on your face – be gracious, be sincere, give thanks. Later in the day, if you meet someone and  all you have to give is a handshake or a smile, give. It will return many times over in ways you never imagined.

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These 6 simple steps are a regimen that are easy to incorporate. Work on one at a time. When you nail the first, add the second, and so on down the line until all these things come as naturally as if you’d always had them. Start at the end, or in the middle, just start with a routine and discipline that will reward you both on their merits, and on the fact that you went through and did them. But be consistent.

By building a daily system first thing in the morning, you will be inspired to add other consistent regimes to your life, in regard to what you eat and  how often; when you work out and how often; paying bills, shopping, and everything from making your bed, to hanging your clothes, to spending time with your family. Consistency is the key to success. Avoid distracting yourself with the things that are not on your list. Make consistency your priority and watch how wonderfully often you accomplish things that used to always seem to be on the back burner, but never done.

Do your ritual on weekends, on vacations, when traveling; to the point where if you don’t do it, you’ll notice something is missing. You can always have water and silence and darkness while being gracious for looking good. And watch the rewards consistently come back to you.

DO WHAT YOU CAN DO

superhero-620x250WHAT YOU CAN DO

People often ask what one big, monumental, life-changing thing they can do to improve their health, diet, lifestyle, love life, parenting, fitness, etcetera, etcetera. My answer is always, “Start with yourself, then, make the best choice you can with what you presently have available.” The only thing that needs to change is your attitude, your discipline, your habits, and your actions. That applies to a workout, a meal, a goal, a way to help someone, a choice for companionship or simply choosing a book to read or a movie to enjoy. Whatever suits your time, your goals, your abilities, your moods, your finances, and is within grasp, or reachable. Some things require a dedicated timeline and patience. Some are right in front of your face, and can be grasped by simply reaching for them.

With all the self-help seminars, webinars, coaching, classes, boot camps, retreats, podcasts, books, tapes, continuing education, accelerated learning apps, and so-called, self-professed “experts” in every imaginable field, from professional bodybuilding to fly tying, your choices are vast and often questionable, not to mention, confusing. Following intuition, trusting in word-of-mouth referrals and good old-fashioned common sense are still the best barometers to any advice you seek. “Use your head, follow your heart, watch your wallet.”

The best path to mastery is still trial, error, feedback, perseverance and consistency. You must know when to dive deeper, and when to bail out. You must not only have the right tools, but must know the appropriate use of them. And you must ignore the ego when the pursuit doesn’t fit the pursuer. Sometimes you just have to let go of a desire and shelve it with other whims.

NARROW IT DOWN

For every study on the benefits of a certain vitamin, there’s an equal study to counter its significance. For every blueprint to a perfect proposal, a fantastic start-up, or a successful launch, there’s a handful of others who did none of those things, yet, surpassed the success of the said “expert”, by letting faith, persistence and passion lead them blindly to the golden ring.

So what can you do?

Decide what you want.
Learn the process, steps, timeline, methods.
Get help.
Show up.
Act.
People get stuck on what they “can’t” do, without fully attempting to see what they can, whether it’s exercise, diet, job search, building project or lifestyle change. Do what you can. Prove to your mind and body that you’re capable of  “something,” then add more things to the list. Failure is a stepping stone, as long as you’re not skydiving.

First and foremost, be your own guinea pig. Try things out on yourself. Try to cut back carbs, or sugar, or soda, or whatever you’re doing that brings more harm than good; before enlisting or enforcing these changes on anyone else. Be the example. Eat better. Sleep better. Act better. Speak better. Read and share information. Learn meditation. Pursue things without the need for an accomplice. Often, at least at first, they’ll hold you back and become your excuse for not doing things. Once they see your serious intent and accomplishments, they’ll ask you “how.” They will then be the willing accomplice.

Small, subtle changes are contagious. Put down the remote and pick up a book prior to bed. Replace coffee with teas, water and pure juices for pop, a walk after a meal instead of dessert. Most of these things relate to diet, but those changes will bring the most results. You’ll feel like sharing the goodness you’ll feel, which will lead to more research on how to continue to enhance your lifestyle.  accomplishment

Happy Fathers Day to All Lucky Dads

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There’s good reason to criticize or condemn “deadbeat dads” or “absent fathers.” They’ve left a hole in humanity that bleeds both great and terrible humans as a result. An abusive father leaves an even deeper wound. They are examples of what not to follow, but on this day, to pray for; because we need no more of them.

There are fathers who are heroes and legends, who’ve led exemplary lives that inspired and fired up children who needed someone to look up to, to emulate, to follow and believe. We all know someone who fits this ideal.

Then there are fathers, “Dads,” like yours and mine, like you and me, who deserve awards, accolades and riches as much as any other man; but were happy as men being men, doing their “jobs”, taking care of their families, patching the leaks and leading by the example of those of us who know how to fix things, make things, create with our hands and minds and imaginations; men who found joy in watching game after losing game, going to rainy practices, putting toys together at midnight on Christmas Eve, or being “official -quarterback, pitcher, catcher, goalie, etc. for all the neighborhood kids whose Dad’s didn’t give a damn. Those are the dads of the majority.

Men who taught and led and loved as good as they knew how, giving everything they had in time, attention and resources so their kids wouldn’t be without. Those are the dads to applaud and acknowledge on this day of recognition; the regular dad, the everyday dad, the dad who IS a father, not “playing” father; but being a part of all their children’s lives, day in and day out, good and bad, iron hand and soft heart; those dads that know that being one is an honor and a privilege like no other. You dads are the great ones.

I know my 3 sons are my greatest success, treasure, accomplishment and friendships. I know they stand behind me and “have my back.” They trust I’ll straighten them out and I trust they do the same for me. And I know I’m one lucky guy to have such a great love in this life, such strong bonds, such a wealth of memories, such deep seeds that will proliferate long after I’m gone. When they surpass the greatest things you’ve done, you know you’ve done well.

If you’re not the best dad, there’s still time to be a better one. If you’re absent, connect. And if you’re right where you need to be in heart and mind, be grateful, because you’re leaving a legacy that’s probably THE most import component for any time in history; the fact that being a good father means more to any child than ice cream, video games, toys, cars or phones. Give them attention, direction, smiles, hugs and love. Nothing will leave a greater impact. Theres’ nothing more they need to carry into life.

Hug your kid daily Dads, they give you the privilege; and kids, hug your old man, every day that you can, because he gave you the future.

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Time to Make Real Wellness Changes

Now that the resolutions for the New Year have been honored or forgotten, it is truly time to make some changes. Don’t wait for the weekend, the new week, the beginning of the month, nothing else. Start now.

Change Decision Making Concept

Time To Change

There is room in every area of your lives to incorporate something to make you a better, more efficient, timely or productive person. But nothing will make a more global, noticeable, positive change in your life than to learn and practice better nutrition, right now. Learn, practice, experiment, apply – enjoy.

What you do to incorporate positive changes toward what you put into your body, as equally as what you keep out of it, will affect everyone’s life you come in contact with on a day to day basis. Family members will benefit but so too will friends, coworkers, and acquaintances. You will exude a glow and a confidence that everyone will want a piece of, and you’ll be eager to share.

DAILY REGIMEN

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Start with a daily breakfast regimen that makes you, forces you, to put instant energy into your body. Coffee is not breakfast. Toast is not breakfast. Neither are energy. You want real food that takes real thought and real time to prepare and enjoy.

Eggs on a slice of whole grain toast with avocado will instantly perk you up, fill you up and send you off with good, clean energy and focus. Skip cheeses, sauces gravies or condiments. Use olive, coconut or real butter as oil sources.


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Oatmeal with walnuts, dried cherries or fresh fruit and prepared with equal parts applesauce and water will not only fill your belly, but will satisfy your sweet tooth as well. Both these meals can be shared with other family members and in sharing you’ll receive the added benefit of knowing you contributed to someone else’s well-being as equally as your own.

LUNCH WORTH SAVORING

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Your lunch can and should be your largest meal of the day. Fill it with a great, green salad and some protein source to top it, like chicken, salmon or turkey, and you’ve got the makings of a great afternoon. Stay out of the fast food lines, stay away from “diet” drinks that only make you fatter, thirstier and more insulin dependent. Learn to appreciate and request tea. Keep the salad dressings to a minimum, just enough to add flavor, always some left over instead of a “double,” and toss the croutons, crackers and breads, opting instead for an apple or unpackaged add-on. Eat it slowly, with attention to all the different flavors popping from walnuts, tomatoes, and colored cabbages and enjoy the time, rather than racing to be finished.

Now, take a walk. You have time. If the weather is uncooperative, find stairs. Walk. Do it daily.

DELEGATE DINNER

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This is the one meal most people skip most often, choosing instead to graze into the night on the crap that makes you fat. Stop now.

Plan your meals. Delegate responsibilities. Involve everyone in the family so they will appreciate the time, effort and end-product; and reap the benefits of time, talk and food well spent. Use a wide variety of fresh foods, vegetables, moderate starches and good protein sources. Stay away from fast or fried foods. Let everyone top their own foods rather than saturating salads or vegetables with dressings or condiments.

SNACK SMARTLY

The best snacks will be the ones you have to prepare with care and a little attention; apples and peanut butter, almonds and cheese, hummus and whole grain crackers; all require minimal preparation but will be more rewarding than any packaged, processed snack. A couple pieces of dark chocolate with grapefruit slices, pieces of turkey with lettuce or spinach; avocado and tomatoes. Is your mouth watering yet? So simple, so nutritious, so beneficial to your psyche in knowing that it was a good choice.

Start making more smart choices at all your meals. Start thinking about what you’re going to eat, how you’ll prepare it, who you’ll share it with; and you’ll be on a path to many better things, from the way your skin and hair shine, to how you feel and how well you sleep. Make changes. Adapt. Learn. Grow. Give. Now.

AB$, ABS, AB$

absAB$, ABS, AB$

How many commercials have you heard already this year that relate to “6 pack abs”? car commercials, credit commercials, vacation commercials, commercials that have nothing to do with exercise or appearance, week one of January, every year, everywhere. They regard 6 pack abs as some nirvana that, when reached, will fill the emptiness you don’t see in pursuing said result; and the real multitude of work, money, sweat and sacrifice it takes to even come close.

They promise them fast, easy, effortless, “results in record time.” And every year, a new group of recruits buy the lie. They purchase the supplements, they buy the exercise videos that stay unopened, they do the exercises, once; the learn that the “one simple trick” is anything but “one”, or “simple”, or a “trick.” The only trick is the one one they just played on you.

Yes, abs are nice, great, fantastic, beautiful and sexy. Just look to your favorite social media to see all the angles of abdominals; women in their teens, 20’s, 40’s, post-baby, pre-marriage; 300 lb. men with abs, 90 lb. boys like beef jerky rather than beef cake, all showing off their abs in contorted poses against mirrored selfies, sporting that hardest won and most prized trophy of fitness – “ABS”. Nothing wrong with that.

But just where else can you show them unless you walk around in a midriff all day at the office, or work in a gym? How else can man or woman show off that greatest attraction asset that everyone wants but only few have? You look foolish enough pulling up your shirt in a mid-winter Michigan gym. Exposed in a locker room selfie the begging question so often is, “what contest will you be in?” Are you a lifeguard? A model? An actor? Or just a poseur?

Why are having abs the benchmark of any fitness regimen, and now nearly every advertising comparison? Because if you care enough about yourself to have abs, it means you’re also eating right, sleeping right, training right, and looking good. Abs take work to accomplish and involve many areas of discipline, not jut “the 6 best exercises.”

DO YOU REALLY WANT ABS?

Here’s the recipe:

  1. A high protein diet
  2. intermittent fasting
  3. scheduled eating
  4. access to the best quality foods
  5. no alcohol, fast food, processed food, or pop
  6. discipline like you’ve never experienced, if you’ve never had abs
  7. consistent training from many angles
  8. a bodyfat scale
  9. a mirror
  10. a strong will
  11. honesty

DIET

This will include the first five ingredients. The best quality protein comes from grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, unbleached eggs, wild salmon, and the highest quality products you can afford. If you buy little quantities, you have no choice but to appreciate what you eat, how you prepare it, and how you parse it out over your given meals.

Intermittent fasting is simply not eating for extended periods of 12-15 hours, 2-3 times per week. Start with a 7 p.m to 7 a.m. regimen, then extend your time to after-morning workouts, and right up to lunch where you’ll have a great plate of optimal foods, green carbs, tea or water.

Scheduled eating is having food prepared for your consumption, at hand, and ready when you are, so you are not forced to substitute with fast, easy, or processed foods. The cleaner your diet, the more readily your body can metabolize it, classify it into protein, carbohydrates and fat, and distribute it where needed for energy, repair, and performance.

Alcohol, on a diet, is like putting sugar in your gas tank. The body cannot metabolize the good food until the blood chemistry is clear of the alcohol. So the whole metabolic process is slowed until the poison leaves the system, usually up to 48 hours. So even if you wake to a good meal after a night of teetotaling, the nutrition you’re giving your body is slowed down because of the foreign substance that dilutes the chemical process and makes even the best meal sub-par because alcohol is in the system. The hidden sugars, yeasts and toxins found in beer, wine and mixed drinks are very often the culprit in accumulating bodyfat in general, and bellyfat in particular.

TRAINING

The next two ingredients go hand in hand. As long as you are consistent in your training, working diligently with focused attention and an attitude of “do it and get out”, you will be able to sustain a high energy level throughout your workouts and look forward to the work to be done each day because you’ll have a consistent plan and a dedicated intent.

In order to get the lean look of sculpted abs, you’ll have to turn up the discipline even more. Every single bite you take that leads you away from lean, is twice the work to get back to where you were before you gave in to it. Keep that in mind, any time you fall back one step, one drink, one meal, it takes two to catch up; one for the step backward, and one more to move beyond.

Your approach must be to be try new, harder variations on the exercises and routines because your ability will mature and the things that were first hard to accomplish, will no longer even be satisfactory. So the angles will have to be varied, the reps, the combination of movements and the intensity with attention to details must be fully engaged. You cannot just go through the motions. You must make sure every movement is felt, and hitting exactly in the toughest spots that you wish to respond.

TOOLS

A good bodyfat scale and full length mirror are tools you should have access to. This is not something to laugh at; many people are afraid to look in the mirror or step on the scale to measure progress. Knowledge is power. If you know you weigh more, look fatter, thicker, going in the opposite direction of your intent, you know things need to change; and by the same token, if you see improvements, even on a minuscule scale, you see that you’re going in the right direction and with a little more visualization, willpower and determination, you’ll get there.  Every athlete keeps score. If your sport is fitness, measure your progress and keep score of results.

MINDSET

The last consideration is your mindset. Move confidently in the direction of your desires and you will get the results you want. If you falter, reassess and continue with more conviction. There is no secret, no trick, no pill or no piece of equipment that can get you there better and faster than your own brain. Use it.

Simple Structured Training 11 – FOREVER




      “When I say always I mean forever and that’s a mighty long time…” – Prince

“Whosoever Does Not Lose His Place Has Duration.

Whosoever Does Not Perish In Death Lives.

  1. SELF
  2. FAMILY
  3. SOCIAL

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FOREVERLAND

You will never “lose your place” as long as you keep adapting, experimenting, believing, trying and applying. By having an open mind and great faith, you will endure. We need to be fully engaged in the welfare of the body we’re given to fulfill our space in life. Doctors, therapists, Holistic practitioners, trainers and “club pros” can educate, instruct, manipulate and advise, but it is up to each of us individually to create ideal states and environments for our bodies to endure. By defining our influences we retain our own longevity.

Did you ever wonder why teachers don’t seem to age? Because they continually embrace changes and new ways of looking at old things. They never “lose their place” because their set point continually adapts. Their “place” is a connected progression of points along a timeline and their lives are “youth-filled. ”  They have “duration.”

DO NOT LOSE YOUR PLACE

“Whosoever does not lose his place” is the man or woman standing tall in their bodies. When we choose responsibility for our health, we seek knowledge of how to best maintain it on each level. To keep our “place” is to admit responsibility for the honor to be as healthy and active participants as possible in this life we’re granted. We “lose our place” by giving power to those ready to tell us what we wish to hear and take money for all the things we don’t need, the quick fixes and band aids that mask healing. We relinquish our own power over duration. “Duration” means going the distance, but it also means having the strength in reserve all along the way for performance, healing and sharing. We will last when we put ourselves first, and in so doing, “live.”

“Whosoever does not perish in death lives.” Do you know anyone who has died in mind, body or spirit before leaving earth? Those who have lost their will, who have given in to disease and inactivity and therefore, “perished” by choosing not to live fully?

To “not perish in death” means to live in every moment of every day, even if it’s spent reading a book under a tree. Refuse to buy in to disease, thinking science can “fix” you. Medicine should be the last refuge, not the first. Diet pills, invasive surgeries, and the “healthful” fixes that are performed with you in a chair or on a gurney are not really doing anyone any good except the person performing the “fix.” You stay youthful by doing youth filled activities and practices. A baby eats, sleeps, plays, bends and eliminates instinctively when it needs to. At what point did we lose that common sense?

Remember to balance the Family, Social and Self aspects of living by participating in each sector. Your influence toward health can reach others in the oddest ways and places. Family activities can involve anything from biking to cooking healthy meals. Your social life can contain events and activities that enhance your memories rather than rot them away! The things you do for your self can be the reflection that others need to see in themselves; and therefore the mind, body and even soul will grow in influence, importance and “duration” and will not “perish in death,” but live in posterity as those examples tumble down generations.

FOR EVER

The morning light was enough to determine the outside temperature, dictating what clothes we’d wear, which were usually the same clothes as yesterday, stacked in a heap on the floor.  We’d bound to breakfast, happy, well-rested. We’d had dreams to recall and cereal, toast and orange juice before we could leave.  We’d care about how the day was headed, often from plans made with three friends the day before.   If nothing panned out, we still chose activity over anything sedentary. Driving in a car for any period was devastating. Going shopping, excruciating. Inventing games was a pastime, and daydreaming, a prerequisite to play.

When we ran it was effortless, it was fast, it was often, and it was painless. We ran every day and we ran everywhere.  We ran forever. Or rode. Bikes were just an extension of our arms and legs.  We biked for miles and in sprints between each other’s homes, going extra fast when dinner was on the table.  We ate regularly scheduled meals and ate all that was in front of us, down to the last nasty lima bean.

At 11, we didn’t know yet what we couldn’t do, so we tried most everything.  Fearlessly. Superman and Spiderman, Wonder Woman and Tarzan were our heroes.  We viewed things from a perspective higher than life because we were on top and above it.  Our heroes were athletes and icons who never did wrong. We all aspired to be someone great.

Everyone knew where each friend was on any given day.  Play was embraced as much as eating or sleeping. Dinner was that inconvenience between innings. And when we played good, that play looped over and over in our consciousness until the next great memory came along to replace it.  The more we played, the better we slept, and the better we slept, the brighter each day looked.

As men and women we tend to recall our years as boys and girls.  We remember moments and liken them to a feeling we’d experienced as children or teens, somewhere on a playing field.  The way we ran, the way we felt, the way we moved so free and easy, was taken for granted. We played with no end in sight. And we never got tired!

The benefits gained from sports stay with us for many years.  The memories and visualizations reoccur in boardrooms, when managing projects, initiating ideas, creating metaphors for superiors to believe in, or recollecting victories, and reminiscing with teammates who’ve now become neighbors and friends and coaches and partners.

As grown ups we try to pretend there’s no time for recreation, or we go to extremes when we find a space of time only to end up sore and aching for weeks instead of invigorated because we’d overdone it or done it wrong.

Young men and women should learn proper body maintenance regardless if they’re athletes or not, as long as we live in a gravity-based world.  When future generations live in space or spend extended times there, you can be sure that they’re doing weight training here on earth.  It will be and should be a way of life for everyone, now. Proper instruction at an early age contributes to a person’s self esteem, medical health, confidence, security, safety and their chances of participating at team sports by constantly proving what they can do, and ingraining it in themselves as part of their makeup. When you show someone how to pick themselves up off the floor, they’ll be down there less often.

By learning basic exercises for the core and the body parts, lifelong health, vitality, energy, flexibility and the pursuit of many varied adventures and challenges will ensure fulfillment on many levels that technology cannot. Human performance is absolutely remarkable.  The feats that still astonish are physical.  Men, women and children of every culture indulge in sport at some time in their lives.  We even realize how important and beneficial it is for the handicapped to compete in a safe and natural way. Training can be done in a 4 x 4 bedroom or a 4400 foot mountain meadow.  It can be done in seriously intent concentration or unbridled, abandoning joy. The benefits are endless.

 GET THE WHOLE BOOK Simple Structured Training HERE

Simple Structured Training 10 – SYSTEM

  “To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; 

        not only plan, but also believe.” – Anatole Franc

“Whosoever Asserts Himself Has Will Power

Whosoever Is Self-Sufficient Is Rich.”

  1. TIMELINE
  2. WORKOUT
  3. GOALS

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THE SYSTEM

A system is a set of components to draw from and adapt as a way of accomplishing measurable goals through proven means to reach an expected outcome.

To “assert” yourself is to go to the field or the gym alone, and perform your workout, without worrying how much anyone sees you sweat or hears you scream. You build “will power” by going against it when you don’t feel like training, and train anyway. By “asserting” yourself time and time again, facing the same challenges in the discipline you’ve chosen, your “will” soon takes that insurmountable weight, that monotonous run, that impossible pose, and conquers it through perseverance.  As you get stronger, so too does your will and as your will gets stronger, so too do you.

To grow “rich” in self-sufficiency is to face the many trials of training and continuously prove to your mind that “you can, you can, you can,” erasing all doubts with results. To be “self-sufficient” is to know how to make up a workout with little or no equipment, but still make the exercise challenging. By exhibiting “will power” and becoming “self-sufficient” you develop a system, a workout repertoire, a health regimen, and the ways and means for you to improve your game and your life.

A system gives you guidelines to follow, to check and balance your training on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. But it is not set in stone. Adaptation must be allowed to compensate for changes that occur along the way.

You use a system for eating, for training, for rest. You need to follow some type of guidelines for a certain period of time, then keep what works and discard what doesn’t. The system is simply your way of gathering results to make your training, body, life and sport measurably better. The system always works toward improvement, despite having to break things down to get to there.

Following a system means facing the day with the knowledge that you will do something to work on your fitness on that day, and that what you set yourself up to accomplish will be done. Day 2 builds on day 1. You find you did too much or not enough, and then find the balance of what can be done on the next workout. When you go back the next week, increase the duration or the intensity. Duration will increase stamina and endurance, while intensity will increase size, shape and speed. Both duration and intensity are necessary to get the most out of your workouts, but must be done with balance.

THE TIMELINE SYSTEM

 Draw a timeline. Write, “YOU ARE HERE”, on the far left end of it.  On the right side of the timeline write, “GOAL”. Write it in big, standout lettering. Make it noticeable. One word, “GOAL”. At half the distance between the two ends write, “CHECKPOINT”.

Record your current statistics at the left end under “YOU ARE HERE;” what is your current weight, strength, weakness, limitation and whatever else you feel will nail down exactly where you stand on this date, your initial starting date. If you’re 40 pounds overweight, admit it; inflexible, state it; or if you are already exercising once or twice a week, record the good with the bad. Make it an absolutely critical assessment.

At the checkpoint, record, right now, how much you feel you can honestly move toward your goal in that allotted time. Unrealistic goals don’t happen. Make it a practical, reasonable, tangent idea or vision you can hold on to and reach. If that checkpoint goal is possible, than the end goal becomes even more possible.

The “End Goal” is the one you can exaggerate because what often happens is you surpass it prior to the actual date.  If you work with conviction and perseverance toward that end goal, 10 out of 11 times, you reach it. All you need to add is your willingness through “self-sufficient willpower.” Assert your will to be better and you will be better.

THE WORKOUT SYSTEM 

 Do 2 sets of 11 repetitions of multiple joint warm ups such as Dips for chest, Lunges for legs and Pull Ups for back. Then, pick a major exercise from each body part section.  Choose a multiple-joint movement, such as the Bench Press for chest; the Squat for legs or Barbell Rows for back.

4 sets of 11 repetitions to build, with a compound, multiple joint movement

Perform 4 x 11 reps of this first compound movement, as heavy as possible with strict form. Form shapes the muscle, not the weight. Do the first exercise with a weight heavy enough to challenge yourself for 11 repetitions.  If you make 11 reps, add weight the second set, subtract weight if you don’t. If you make it to 11 reps again on the second set, add a little more weight for the third and fourth sets, again, only if perfect form and control are held throughout the repetitions.  Each week, the starting set weight can be increased as well as each subsequent set. This means progress.

When you get sloppy, stop, drop weight, or rest for 20 seconds and then complete the set. Always get all the repetitions regardless of how much weight you must drop to get there. This is a way of telling your muscles you are not giving in or quitting. Persevere and the next time you’ll take less stops to get to 11. You should push to finish but don’t let the movement get sloppy or ruin good, strict form. Soon, there will be no stops and you’ll be adding weight. You’ll know then the System is working.

4 sets for the same bodypart from another angle

Now choose a second exercise that incorporates the same body part, but from a different angle; Incline or Decline Bench Press for chest; Leg Press or Lunges for legs; Seated Pulley Rows or Pull Downs for back. This is your second movement from a different angle for 4 x 11 repetitions. Use the same guidelines to add weight each set.

3 sets of a specific movement to shape and refine with added concentration

The third movement will be more specific to the particular bodypart you’re working.  Specific movements target the one muscle group and usually involve single-joint exercises, isolating the muscle so that only that muscle is doing the work. Dumbbell Flies or Cable Crossovers for chest, with arms in a slightly bent but locked in position so the pectorals are engaged in the movement exclusively; Leg Curls or Extensions for legs, where the quadriceps and hamstrings do the majority of the work; and Single Arm Dumbbell Rows, as an example, though working any part of the back usually requires other joint involvement due to the large range of motion necessary for proper back training.

THE GOAL SYSTEM

When beginning a strength training program, the first goals usually involve disciplining your body to go to the gym a certain number of days in a row and doing certain required movements a certain number of times. Once you become familiar with the workout regimens, you start adding weight or repetition goals, performance goals, timed goals, nutrition goals and aesthetic goals.

The experience of feeling the changes your body is going through accelerate the type and number of possibilities, hence goals, you set for yourself. Momentum creates outcomes often over and above the original plans and motivation comes easier when visible results are confirmed and felt through feedback by yourself and others who notice the transformations taking place. The mind feeds on positive reinforcement, enabling the body to transcend any limiting ideals that may stand in the way. You can pat or smack a dog. He’ll stretch to receive one thing while cowering from the other.

We are the same animals when noticing if anyone notices, or shirking away when wishing to be avoided or invisible. Please yourself first, then notice the pleasant effect it has on others.

The rewards found in goal achievement should first and foremost be for the self-development and preservation of you and your body toward your goal or sport. The recognition of others is secondary and should never be the means for what we set out to achieve, doing things to spite or disprove an opinion not of our own. Passion and energy drive the athlete, while anger and envy are the brakes that literally break the athlete’s drive. Fire is beneficial only when it is controlled, directed and properly utilized. With goals, the metaphoric fire burns clean and steadily, consuming only what it needs rather than everything in its path, which ultimately leads to distinction instead of destruction.

 GET THE WHOLE BOOK Simple Structured Training HERE

Simple Structured Training 9 – SPORTS

 “Whatever you are, be a good one.”

“Whosoever Conquers Others Has Force.

Whosoever Conquers Himself Is Strong.” 

  1. SUITABILITY
  2. TEAM
  3. SOLO

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ACQUIRING FORCE AND STRENGTH

“Whosoever conquers others” in sport, is the definition of competition. To rise victorious in games of skill, precision, timing and split-second decisions are what make up a great part of our world culture. It is war without death, achieving in the spirit of sportsmanship by holding your foe in gratitude and mutual admiration when the battle is done. Sports performance hinges on the training done off the field and the ability of the athlete to bring that training to the game. It means possessing the energy, endurance and strength required for extended durations of concentrated effort, determination and focus. This is the acquisition and ownership of “force.”

To conquer with force is to out-distance, out-think, out-train, and out-play your opponents with a tenacity that wears them down while winding you up. “Whosoever conquers others has force” means that it is something you come to the table with, you don’t find it on the field or on the way to the game. You arrive with the force necessary to get the job done. “Whosoever…HAS.” That force may come in adrenaline, belief, vindictiveness or pure brute strength, but the force that wins the contest is an intrinsic component established with practice and preparedness as physical as any piece of equipment, as obvious as a helmet, as recognizable as the number on your back. To have force is to consistently demonstrate the mind/body/spirit resources the event requires.

“Conquers himself,” means knowing the strengths, weaknesses and idiosyncrasies that make you unique. To conquer yourself is to take that leap into the ultimate plane where you know and are capable of your job and perform it with a flow to make it appear effortless. Conquering yourself is taking any weaknesses and squeezing them out of your body and mind so only strength survives. As an athlete in any sport, even for everyday fitness, you must conquer the mental demons that plague acceptance on so many levels. Past performance does not equal future performance. If you recognize a failure from the past and then work optimistically to build both mental and physical strength to avoid that happening again, you’ve squeezed out a weakness and gained positive programming to realize what’s possible in future endeavors.

To conquer oneself is to be strong in every aspect of discipline, from the mental to the physical to the spiritual, and smart enough to recognize and admit when one is on the way to breaking down. This preserves strength. Strength holds one end of the body to the other, the mind to the feet, the heart to the hands. In all sports you must have a strong determination, a strong physicality, and an inner strength that comes as confidence in knowing your preparations were thorough and complete. “Whosoever conquers himself” has already won over the greatest opponent.

MENTAL/ PHYSICAL/ SPIRITUAL

Believing, visualizing, adopting a positive attitude and creating a beneficial scenario to foster an ideal environment are the mental aspects.  If it turns out your belief doesn’t bear fruit, you must reevaluate your route, your approach and your capabilities. By thinking of how long you have before a specific target date, and by breaking the training into achievable increments, keeps your training in perspective and allows more force or more rest as needed.

Concentration and focus must be strengthened like any other characteristic and not just by repeatedly performing the necessary actions. The concentration necessary in an optimal golf swing can be learned in the guided, centering practices of Pilates sessions in addition to repeated drives. Training outside of your sport is imperative to bringing the optimum benefits from varied disciplines to the whole gamut that is your game.

The physical lies in proper rest, nutrition, recuperation and execution of movements in practice. By compensating with adjustments for energy levels and the reality of variables not written into the regiment, the tone is set for the injury-free training found in focused attention.  Every aspect you incorporate into your physical make-up in training – strength, flexibility, balance – is called upon on the playing field at the most unexpected moments.  A well-trained body doesn’t get simple injuries while walking out to the field or warming up.  Injuries come from poor preparation, inattention, physical weakness, or freak accidents when more force is exerted on appendages and joints than they are capable of withstanding. To the opposite effect, if the physical is over-trained, it can also lead to accidents, mistakes or injuries through overzealousness and loss of control, hindering not only the athlete but also jeopardizing the whole team.

The spiritual contains all the other aspects within it. The spiritual is the underlying awareness as all this preparedness unfolds for you. You know when you’re treating your body good. You also know if you’re abusing it. So you should learn how to use it in a positive fashion so it continues to grow, adapt and react naturally. Spirit may show up as intuition, as gut-reaction, and as a sixth-sense that will be listened to only if the awareness of it is trained along with the physical aspects.

Knowing yourself, your limits, your capabilities and knowing when to push the boundaries are evident in spirit.  Sometimes spirit itself takes over and raises the whole level of performance to something magical that will forever be a barometer for future measurement. It’s as important to train the spirit to avoid its breakdown, as it is any other part of preparation.

Spirit encompasses attitude, beliefs and physical preparations. Spirit lifts you when you’re down and sustains you when you must go on. Spirit is exhibited when the miraculous play happens out of thin air. It is the thread that weaves each aspect to the other in an impenetrable, invisible bond.

SPORTS ARE EVERYWHERE

Get out of the “safe zones” of training.  Try new exercises, sports, activities.  They need not be “extreme sports.”  Croquet requires skill, strategy, patience and a level of competence, it’s competitive but also relaxing and fun. Feel the weight of your body shift, your balance, your timing, in something as mundane as bowling, as frivolous as badminton, as passive as bicycling. Train away from your strengths.  Train your weaknesses.  Strive for as few weaknesses as possible, rather than growing one “great” strength.

Within a weightlifting exercise, explode in a hard contraction after a slow, steady, full extension of movement. Strength is the basis for power and endurance. Use as many muscles in training as are used in the event, including mental. Most of all, examine the sports you participate in or would like to compete, with critical attention to how the body moves, what the motions are, how much strength is required and the space your position occupies. Then visualize yourself in that position and watch how quickly your body adapts in reaction to the plans set by imagination. Competition, no matter how many players are on the field, comes down to one person who ultimately wants to win, you.

There is beauty in the physical plane.  Through our physical nature we transcend earth and achieve the spiritual.  All athletes in all sports experience it at some time in their lives.  The best achieve it most often.  Breaking tackles or cracking home runs, slam dunking, spiking, pinning, acing, slamming, scoring, outracing, hanging ten – everyone has had this feeling, this transcendence.  An undisturbed, focused concentration, devoted to the higher development of the physical body, should be no more or less intense than attempting to elevate the spiritual. When this attention is directed toward a particular sport, the results are often higher than original expectations.

GET THE WHOLE BOOK Simple Structured Training HERE

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