Thursday, 15 August 2013

A catalyst

I recently met up with my friend Dan whom I use to work with.   He has recently started a blog and he has given me a catalyst  to continue from where I left off...

'Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.'
-George Bernard Shaw

When I first met Dan he was intrigued with my regimented lifestyle fully devoted to training.  He wasn't in bad shape, but he was suffering a little from the desk jockey symptoms.  Expanding waist line, poor posture and overall lethargy.  One day, he simple said 'I want to train with you.'  I said 'Sure, I train at X gym, if you want to train with me join the gym.'  He joined the gym that day.

On the first training session together I warned him.  'Do everything I tell you to do, trust me and you'll make swift progress.  All the stuff you read about losing fat by running 5 miles a day is bullshit, my way is the quickest way for you to get into good shape with the most bang for your buck.'

Dan did no cardio for the first 1 months.  We stuck to the basics.  Variations of presses, rows and pulling movements.  He did no squats or deadlifts.  Only because his hip flexors were so tight he couldn't sit back enough.  So we did variations of lunges.  He listened, was disciplined and wanted to make progress.  He reduced his drinking, not because he suddenly didn't like drinking, rather he realised it interfered in a negative manner to his new lifestyle and he really started to enjoy his new lifestyle of feeling good and connected to himself.

The 1st month is always difficult, because progress is seldom made in such time.  It simply establishes the bare minimum level of discipline to create a good habit.  However after 3 months the progress started to kick in.  Dan became broader around the shoulders, his slouching posture was slowly being corrected, his legs started getting bigger.  The moment I knew he was inured into the training was when he was at the gym training alone.  He was now directing his own progress.  It gave me so much joy to watch someone believe in something that you tell them, which you know is true but bucks the trend. It is even greater joy when that individual begins to realise that they can engineer the progress themselves.

Below is a program we used for the first month.  You tailor it to your schedule.

Tues, Thurs, Sat

Dumbell forward lunges, or rear lunges. 3x15
Box squat 5x5
Leg raises 3x20 (body weight)

Pull ups- this was initially assisted pull ups, but later he gained the strength to do these himself. 3x10
Dumbell rows 3x20
Rear delts 3x20

Flat bench press 3x5
Dumbell press 2x failure on medicine ball using a weight about 40-50% of est 1 rep max

Thats all I had him do for the first month.  The second and third month we started doing slightly more heavy basics, but I'll get onto that next time.

If you don't have access to a gym or you feel shy about going to one because you don't feel prepared you can try this.  Time yourself and see if you can beat it, then work upto a hundred of each.  However, I still recommend going to a gym lifting weights as the biggest bang for your buck to fat loss.

x25 push ups
x25 pull ups
x25 burpees
x25 sit ups


Sunday, 25 March 2012

What is art?

For me art is an expression.

We can receive joy when we are able to constructively express ourselves. Our feelings or what we feel concentrated through some form of medium which may be innate to us or acquired through training, habit, or a combination of both. However it is only through constant pruning and discipline that such skill can develop to supreme levels.

Much talent is never realised because of the want of discipline. Desire, discipline and dedication are crucial ingredients. Desire and innate talent may allow us to identify our path, but ultimately it’s the discipline and dedication that allow for it to be realised.

Art, if it is true and honest and from the source, is about passion. What is passion? Passion is Latin, and it means ‘to suffer.’ Artists suffer. Ballet dancers train 8-10 hrs a day. They suffer. The beauty of their art is underlined by suffering, discipline and vision. The passion and the emotion is revealed in their performance. American football players suffer… fighters suffer. Yet, although emotion must be expressed and when it is expressed, our spirit soars… it must also be funneled wisely. Otherwise it can spiral out of control. But it cannot be too controlled, becomes then it becomes robotic. As an artist and as a human it’s about finding the golden mean.

As humans we’re a concoction of emotions. Outlets are required for us to maintain some form of equilibrium, contentment and phlegm.

This is where art comes into the picture, art is an expression of who you are. You must search deep inside within yourself to discover whatever it is that allows you to express yourself as who you are. Then express it as often as you can.


Sunday, 1 January 2012

On gain and loss

(This is to my friend in New York who is rebuilding himself)

Life is beset with ironies. It is difficult to know what is good fortune and what is bad. Remember that any fool can make the most of his victory, it is truly the genius who makes the most of his loss. To glean from it what he can and turn it to his favour. Learn to be objective in triumph and loss, endeavour to treat both equally. What does this mean? It means to neither be too high nor too low. Contentment lies somewhere here.

Try not to be haunted by the past, for it is gone and even God cannot change it. As for the future it isn't yours, so don't fret about things that are not, and may never be. Do the best you can, where you are, with what you have. Nothing more can be asked. Beware the critic, their words are wind.
Be your own judge. You will find yourself judging others, this is natural, but it doesn't necessarily mean you must voice it aloud or behind their backs,

The universal currency is time. You can lose money and make it back, lose time and it's gone and worse still you've no idea how much of it you truly have. Therefore you must make the most it everyday. Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. Have the discipline to do this and the discipline to use your time well and for the right reasons. (the right reasons are only truly known by yourself) Discipline is painful but so is regret. Everyone whether poor, rich, young or old will suffer a measure of both these pains. It is inevitable. However, the pain of discipline weighs ounces and diminishes over time. The pain of regret weighs in tonnes and increases over time.

Ultimately the ground we tread on is uneven. Remain sangfroid, do not allow your equilibrium to be unbalanced for too long, but recognise and admit your emotions this is necessarily to know thyself. The first step starts from within. Life is 10% what happens and 90% how you deal with it.



Sunday, 11 December 2011

Friday, 9 December 2011

Mixed bunch of emotions

In twelve hours time I'll be weighing in for my fight.  Can't sleep, emotions wild, turmoil.
Why do I insist in putting myself through all this I wonder?  In search of meaning I suppose.
The path I am following, to me is a way to a fuller life.  To imbue my life with meaning.  To keep the light shining.  The torch burning bright into the future, even if it means to give up life for a cause.  

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

4 days out from the fight...

This week is my taper week for the fight.  Training is reduced by about 80% I have one more session tomorrow.  Which will be light pad work, some bag work and shadow boxing.  Thursday rest and Friday I'll sauna a bit to drop any weight, if required.

Right now I am quiet, calm- stillness.  Every now and then I may feel a bit anxious or apprehensive or a bit excited because I want to know that I can execute without hesitation and flawlessly in the ring, that I can adapt outwit and outfight my opponent.  But mostly I am feeling stillness.

Ultimately, the way of the warrior is resolute acceptance of death.  This is something I ponder everyday.  Fear and death are two constants in life.  Excessive concern over ones body and welfare prevents one from achieving anything meaningful in life and prevents one from truly living.  There is a difference between living and surviving.  Think about this.

Life is dear to me.  But the way I see it, to live life fully, one must find something one is willing to die for.


Sunday, 23 October 2011

The white shirt is for him what the black dress is for her

This article has been brewing in my mind for awhile. When I was in New York City there was a girl I vaguely knew and we would now and again bump into each other. After awhile I began to notice on her the regularity of the black dress. Not the same one, but invariably a black one. It wasn’t a common occurrence, because I would see her in different outfits and different colours, but black was a bit more common then the rest. I slowly noticed other stylish girls had something similar going on. This wasn’t just at parties but I also noticed this on the street, at galleries and so on. Then it slowly dawned upon my stupid head the versatility of the black dress for ‘her.’ I realised a lot of women look great in a black dress regardless of skin tone, size shape and build. Additionally I also noticed the versatility of the black dress. I saw them in dive bars, cocktail parties, work functions etc. It then got me thinking, ‘what about us guys?’ What’s our fall back plan? I mean there isn’t a plethora of choice for us as it is and Superdry t-shirts are becoming rather super dry and very 2009…

It’s the white shirt. The crisp, white shirt. Probably closely followed by the pale blue shirt. (I personally don’t like the black shirt) You can wear the white shirt in the fall, winter, spring and summer. You can wear them with a suit, jeans, shorts. Hell you can even wear them in your underwear whilst playing video games or brewing coffee for your misses. I am not sure what it is but the white shirt clicks. In the summer you can throw on a pair of slacks, navy, beige, pink, green (some guys can and do rock those colours well) with a pair of loafers three top buttons undone and you’re looking sharp, comfortable and most importantly sexy. The white shirt gives you that clean, immaculate look whether you’re sporting a two day stubble or a 6 month beard.

Two weekends before when we suddenly had a heat wave here in London. I wasn’t really in the mood for wearing shorts and decks. I wanted to go for a clean look. I ironed a white shirt, pulled on my navy slacks, jumped into a pair brown boots and marched out to the British museum (I had just finished reading the History of Alexander and wanted to see the bust of his that was found in Pompey or something) I was somewhere around Warren Street or Russell square where I stopped at the traffic lights, it went green so I started to cross the street This sexy woman about 10 years my elder pulled up, looked at me, lowered her glasses and hollered at me ‘hi sexy.’ I tilted my head towards her and grinned the naughtiest grin I could muster. Women hollering at me is a rare occurrence but I seriously believe it was the white shirt, I felt absolutely outrageous and the opposite sex could not help but notice. Maybe it wasn’t the white shirt, maybe I just felt a bit more Achilles that day for whatever reason. Who knows, we all end up believing what we want to believe.

Before I wrap up I want to go through a few pointers.

Do iron your white shirt. If there is a stain (underarms for example) try to bleach it. If that doesn’t help, recycle. It’s ideal to have several white shirts so that you can alternate and not have to wear the same one all the time. This should help prevent build up of stains and should help keep the shape of the shirt in tact through time.

Tuck or not to tuck? It’s up to you. But I personally tuck my shirt in. However, there are some shirts where the tail of the shirt just about extends to the back pocket or barely below it. This is probably more of a casual shirt, so don’t tuck because the tail end will start protruding out of your jeans, slacks trousers and you’ll show your underwear waist band. Or if it does just about tuck then it’ll look too constrained and won’t fit around the contours of your body.
If you own of those Ralph Lauren shirts where the tail is outrageously long, please do tuck you don’t want to walk around like you’ve got a cape on.
Obviously one cannot ALWAYS wear the white shirt. But it’s there, it has stood the test of time and that means a lot in the world that we live in today.