Wednesday, November 28, 2012

F**k It Therapy by John C. Parkin a review

F**k it Therapy by John C. Parkin is going to help a lot of people. Wherever you are in life, you know that stress has a stranglehold on a great number of us. Not good, considering stress is the number one killer nowadays. John offers many techniques to help you escape from the self imposed prisons we check ourselves into. The prisons of fear, self-doubt, perfectionism and many more are looked at in great detail. I found the sections dealing with the ancient art of qigong particularly refreshing. Taking something sacred and powerful, and presenting it in a unique, down to earth, fun, and naughty way is just f**king brilliant. There is great magic in those two little words "f**k it" that I can't really put my finger on to describe, but the author sums it up perfectly. I recommend you give this book a shot, but take it slow. There is a lot going on within these 316 pages, powerful processes, and even some links for helpful, exclusive online content. There is a brief section on diet and exercise, which I didn't particularly care for, but it's only a short three pages. Overall, this is a fantastic, thought provoking read. I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for review purposes.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Knockin' Out Reps

Next time you're in the weight room and you're lifting heavy, try this: instead of counting out 10 reps in your head, count 5, twice. Or if the goal of your super-heavy set is 6 repetitions, count to 3 twice. Sounds silly, I know, but try it. It's amazing. It's a little magic trick for staying in the zone, and really developing that mind-muscle connection. That little tip has really helped me out a lot. I first heard about this technique in a podcast interview with former (and probably future) Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler.
Counting your reps backwards can be kind of fun too. It sort of feels like a NASA mission control countdown. You can imagine that the blast off at the end of the set is the muscle hypertrophy (the opposite of atrophy), the growth caused by momentary muscle failure. The real 'trick' of course is to not get caught up in the numbers, but the reps themselves. I believe workout journals are important, but whats more important is developing proper form, and excellent mind-muscle connection, because we lift weights to get stronger. We want that good pain, not injury. They say you only know you're in "the zone" afterwards. If you think you're in it, you ain't. So stay focused, feel each rep and remember those immortal words spoke by Muhammad Ali, when someone asked him how many sit-ups he does. "I don't know, I don't start counting 'til it hurts."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Rest in Peace, Sergio Oliva

One of bodybuilding's legends "The Myth" Sergio Oliva, has passed away from apparent kidney failure at age 71. The first non-white athlete to win Mr. America, Mr. World, Mr. International, Mr. Universe, and Mr. Olympia. Cuban born, Oliva, was the only guy to ever beat Arnold out of a Mr. Olympia title; and the second winner, in history, of bodybuilding's highest title. Hadn't competed in about 4 decades, yet still when people talk about "bodybuilding genetics" Oliva is often the first picture shown.
Incredibly long, and thick muscles with insertion points located deep within the joints; just an unreal physique. After leaving competition Oliva went on to a career as a Chicago police officer for over 25 years. In 1986 he survived being shot 5 times by his (then) wife. Did I mention the guy was tough? His son Sergio Oliva Jr, is following in his footsteps into pro bodybuilding competition.
1969 Mr. Olympia Competition, Sergio "The Myth" Oliva beats Arnold "The Oak" Schwarzenegger

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Remember This

You are not as strong as you think you are; you are stronger than you will ever know.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Michael Bernard Beckwith's Transcendance Expanded

You might have seen Michael Bernard Beckwith on Oprah, or experienced his dynamic presence in the film that brought the law of attraction mainstream, The Secret. He's the Founder and Spiritual Director of Agape International Spiritual Center in Los Angeles, but he's much more than a preacher. He is a man of God. Now I don't say that lightly. I've spent much of my life running from the idea of God. The concept of God I was raised on, was a God of rules and submission to his will and his word. If you weren't with him, you were against him, and you were screwed. Eternal hellfire damnation awaited those who didn't accept the gift of salvation. That's not the kind of God you're going to find in Transcendance Expanded, nor will you find anything here blasphemous or at odds with scriptures. The book is made up of eight lessons, that explore the idea of universal spiritual truths, and a God who offers true free will without judgment. He speaks of how to unify yourself with the creative energy that formed all that is, while retaining your unique individuality and perspective. You learn that the divine energy wants to be used, not obeyed. Your Belief System, or B.S., as The Rev so poignantly puts it, cannot comprehend the greatness of the creative force. We are the universe becoming aware of itself, and we might as well accept our greatness, he says. The CD is something else out of this world. It contains musical versions of the 8 Transcendance talks produced by some of the best in the music industry, with Beckwith delivering lines with a passionate punch, in a style described as Rhythm and Joy. Both the book and the music offer a unique and positive vibrational lift. There really is some magic here worth checking out. On a side note, as a personal trainer who loves to exercise, the CD is exceptional in that it can bring positive energy into the weight room, cardio machines, or burn it to mp3 and take it on a run. It can definitely bring some empowerment and vitality to your workouts. I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for review purposes.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Never tell your personal trainer...

"I've tried everything!" It's usually said with sincerity and desperation, but your personal trainer hears that as a challenge. New circuits, set/rep schemes, diet tweaks, and monumentally tortuous exercises are taking dark shape within my skull, every time I hear somebody announce they've "tried everything." If you had unrealistic expectations due to goals that were a physical impossibility that's a whole other issue, but, honestly, nobody has tried everything. I think it was Marianne Williamson who pointed out that Christ, Buddha, and many spiritually enlightened Masters are most often depicted in art with their palms up, and their arms open in a gesture of acceptance and forgiveness. Personal trainers, on the other hand, are usually depicted with their hands on their hips, or flexing, or their arms folded in front of them. The bossy, standoffish body language comes from somewhere. It comes from the strange relationship that develops when someone hires you to hold their feet to the fire, and push them toward their goals, yet every now and then they try to offload a bunch of excuses on you. And as Tom Venuto, one of my fitness role models, says, "You can have excuses or results, but you can't have both."
I believe in a holistic, or mind-body-spirit, approach to health. Sometimes exercise is fun, and sometimes it isn't. What's interesting, though, is that after you've pushed your limits consistently for awhile and gotten stronger and healthier the stuff that isn't fun somehow becomes fun. Eating a strict, healthy diet can be fun. Exercises that you once thought of as excruciating torture, can be fun. It's because after awhile the beautiful simplicity of it takes hold. You really do get what you give. Try that, next time you have the disempowering thought "I've tried everything."