If you’re into Fitness, READ THIS.

If you’re interested in fitness…

Do yourself a favour: Follow a movement program.

Most people don’t, and coincidentally most people don’t make any progress. Or they make a bit of progress, then create a host of muscular imbalances, suffer from ‘spontaneous’ back pain, and then taper out and give up. DON’T DO THIS.

I say this from experience. I did this. It’s undesirable to say the least. I have spent 5 years correcting the muscular imbalances that I created during my ‘hardcore fitness’ phase. I  was going to the gym, training for 2 hours a day, going hard, and doing whatever the flip came to my mind: Endurance, HIIT, Calisthenics, Powerlifting: you name it! I would leave completely done for the day (let alone the next day). This is not a good approach; It hurts. Now I train from a program specific approach exclusively, and ornament that with little add ons that I am interested in.

(To top it all off I was eating around 2000 calories a day, sometimes considerably less in order to ‘cut down’. This was not nearly enough for my activity level, body type, and age and can unbelievably detrimental to overall health let alone fitness! I will cover this topic in another post… for now here is an article to consider.)

Instead, here is what you should consider:


First: Have a clear goal in mind.

If you don’t, then you will end up doing what I did, which is dabble around in various kinds of training, hitting one thing one day, another another day, and ending up with ALL KINDS of muscular imbalances. This is the opposite of what we want.

When we are training, first and foremost what we are looking for is balance, durability, integrity, control.

Second: Follow a program.

Following a program that is oriented specifically for correcting the muscular imbalances particular to your goal/sport is the right thing to do for a plethora of reasons. An easy peasy one being that it is designed by a movement professional, and thus you are skipping years and years of trial and error.

Another good reason is that it is time efficient. You only have to follow what the program says and you’re sorted. No more wandering around the gym wondering what to do next.

If you’re not yet sold, then consider also: you will have measurable results. This is the scientific method at it’s most fundamental.

So…

Here is a GREAT place to start for the vast majority of people, beginners and athletes alike. This program has influenced the way that I look at exercise and fitness dramatically, and I implore you to take a look and consider this investment.

I recommend this program on a weekly basis to people. Follow this course, listen to the advice that it gives, cultivate physical autonomy, get rich. (apart from the last one)

Click here for a good program.

I have no affiliation to GMB. They are just the bomb in my opinion. There are many great companies out there. The most important thing is to find teachers that are right for your goals.

Anyway, here’s a quote:

“What the teacher is, is more important than what he teaches.” – Karl A. Menninger


-Ben

If you liked this post, check out this post also. I think you’ll like it. Peace.

Why YOU Should Meditate.

Walking down the road today from the train station to a cafe down the road. I counted about 40-50 thoughts roughly. That was a 10 minute journey.

The majority of people have the same problem. To focus on one thing is almost impossible, because their processing power is all over the place, they are trying to download 50 files at once on 4G.

In fact most people think even more than this! It’s a scientific fact that humans can only think consciously about one thing at a time. Try it: Think about an image of empire state building and the shape of England at the same time….

A quick google search shows that: “…When we have between 50,000-70,000 thoughts per day, this means between 35 and 48 thoughts per minute per person.”

Well NO WONDER we can’t get anything done!

When’s the last time you just sat in silence for 10 minutes and watched your thoughts?

My Martial Arts teacher likened the flow of thoughts to a train station. The station is the mind, the train is the thought, and the little person standing on the platform is the awareness. Most people’s stations are flipping Waterloo at rush-hour.

Meditation is the practice of observing the trains come and go as they will, completely out of your control. They they come and go, come and go, come and go, until eventually the flow of trains begins to slow down. Instead of a constant flow of trains rushing by urgently, there seems to be silence in between the passings by, and there is simply emptiness until another slowly potters through. Able to fully feel the breeze on your face and the smell of fresh leaves on the wind, this train comes past, and you watch it… then it passes, and again all is quiet.

Most people know that meditation is good for them. However thoughts are terrified at the idea of not being in control. Thoughts will come and say “To sit in silence?! A waste of time! Stupid!” And so we are enslaved by our thoughts, the master becomes mastered by his tools.

The big barrier that stops people from actually practicing is the trust in the silence…

In order for more people to cultivate trust in the consistent practice meditation, it would be helpful to understand the place from which all of our thoughts come. Because you don’t chose your thoughts… your thought come to you. Where from?

The stillness. This stillness is a gift to you. From stillness one can see clearly, and from from emptiness one can discern.

Meditation is about cultivating your stillness. It is about nourishing your awareness through the practice of prolonged attention to your stillness. By cultivating your awareness in the stillness, you are more able to see clearly that which is not still, increasing your presence, and fundamentally increasing your sensitivity and thus your vitality.

When one meditates, it is not that nothing is going on, it is that SO much is going on, in the doing of nothing. Doing in no-doing, by no-doing; Doing the no-doing.

One must give the silence it’s due, listen to it’s voice, if one is to reap the gifts of discernment. To listen to both yin and yang, the whole world becomes larger.

Turn the blur into a piece of artwork, and see and touch every little piece of it as you runs your awareness over it.

Good place to start in regards to meditation:

  1. Sit quietly, ideally somewhere quite (it doesn’t matter, but does allow for further unguardedness) and where you will not be disturbed.

2. As you allow the breath to pass through you – no pulling in of air but simply allowing it to fill and empty itself through you – pay attention to your nose. Simply place your awareness on it and watch it.

3. Your attention will likely stray to thoughts, and that is fine, no matter, just again place your attention on your nose. That was a repetition.

4. Continue to bring your attention into focus from the straying into thoughts and distractions. When you feel proficient at focusing on your nose, now you may bring your awareness to rest on your entire face. Not trying to control anything, simply resting your awareness on it, relaxing, and allowing whatever comes to come and go. Watch thoughts and feelings as they come and go. If a particularly potent one comes along that feels urgent, simply take a mental note for later and continue the practice, watch it pass.

5. Again, when you feel proficient, bring your awareness to rest on a larger entity, your entire body. Again, noticing thoughts and feelings as they come and go, bringing your awareness back when it strays, being relaxed and impartial… simply watching.

Now those are the principles.

These principles can be applied as you will. You can do this while walking, or washing dishes, anything, just remember it is about relaxation, impartial watching, and cultivating awareness through guiding your focus back to stillness.

When you feel confident at meditating in this way, try bringing your awareness back into itself. Who is watching the thoughts and feelings? Watch the watcher. See what you find.

“We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away.” -Chuang Tzu


-Ben

If you liked this post, then here is another post that you might like.

Choosing the RIGHT Martial Art, and Choosing it RIGHT.

The decision to give yourself to a martial art is a good one. You will gain from it, and you will learn about yourself and about others in ways that you didn’t expect.

This decision is an important one, and it needs some consideration.

You need to find a teacher that resonates with you. You’ve got to find someone who challenges you to become better, yet nurtures your development and helps you heal your wounds.

You should find someone that you’d follow off the edge of a cliff if need be. Because you’ve got to trust the teacher that’s going to push you to become stronger. Without respect, there is no teacher.

Now you need to find the right style. What is your build? What is the purpose of the art for you? Is it discipline, is it focus, is it health, is it practical self defence? Is it sparring and competition? Is it real world self defence?

The question is, are you a fighter or a hobbyist? Consider this when assessing the atmosphere of the gym.

These are all factors to be considered before enrolling yourself in a gym. A quick search on the internet will reveal to you the different characteristics unique to each art. However the best art is fundamentally going to be the one you most want to devote your time to. The best way to get a feel for that is to try out some gyms. How did you feel after leaving, did it excite you? Did you like the people?

A martial art is a collection of guideposts, but the path is going to be specific to traveller. Get a feel for the direction that each martial art will take you in. Have a look around at the guys in this gym, are these guys that you would be happy to be like and to spend time with?

The difference between Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Kali is going to be the difference between rolling all over the floor and head-locking people, and calculated in-out weapons combat and disarms.

A martial art is whatever you make it. It is a tool for self-development and discovery. The host of benefits are explicable enough not to even be mentioned on this post. If you are interested, then take a look here.

First and foremost, the practice of martial arts, if you give yourself to the practice and practice off of your own bat, then you will develop the discipline needed to be become a force a nature, and a force with nature.

There is no best one, there is one that you chose right.

And really you should know… If you’re going to do it, do it right. Don’t half ass it;

Like my Sifu said: Train hard, fight easy.


-Ben

If you liked this post, then here’s another post that you might like.

How to Help those around you that Suffer with Depression or Mental Illness.

This is a post for people who are dealing with a friend or loved one who is struggling with their mental health. This is what I wish those around me had known in my darkest periods.*

Send them unrelenting, unceasing, unending love. Penetrate through their state with gifts of your love and humour, and show them the light. Inflate them with your state and guide them with practical advice on the next steps. ‘This is what you’re going to do. And I’m going to do it with you.’

You need to be their ground. While they are bouncing off the walls, being irrational, going ups and down in their mood, you are so fixated on your mission, that you cannot be flapped, you cannot be moved off course. Because your mission is to uplift yourself, and them with you.

HOWEVER, this does not mean that you are responsible for their mood. There should be no martyrdom involved here. You CANNOT take responsibility for their mood and current state. It is NOT your fault. And it in would be selfish and unhelpful to assume so.

What you are is a shining light, and that is what you must be and nourish within yourself. You must focus on your growth, and the maintenance of your light. Which means putting yourself FIRST.

You cannot help anyone if your light goes out.

You are going to bring people up. You’re not going to let anyone bring you down. Whoever is most sure person in the room will be the most influential. This is why you need to be fixated on your goal of uplifting yourself and others with you, and you must live in alignment with this.

Know that everything is unfolding perfectly, as it should. Everything happens because it needs to.

“…I am the master of my fate,

      I am the captain of my soul…” – William Ernest Henley

-Ben

If you found this helpful, then here’s another post that might be of value to you.

*This article is not meant as an alternative to professional care and advice. It is meant to be complementary.