Motivation

Words DO mean things.  One of the classic mis-use of words I hear all the time is when people say that they need me to ‘motivate’ them in order to begin training, eating right, or generally level up their lives.  I’m always quick to rain on this particular parade by explaining that I or someone else may give them ‘inspiration’, but motivation can only come from within.  The root for the word itself is ‘motive’, and providing a motive for self-improvement is strictly a personal issue.  Sure, others may act in a manner which makes a motive clear to you or defines it better, but no one else can give you the motive to change your own set of circumstances. 

Everyone can develop internal motivation.  As the classic book Psycho-Cybernetics teaches, we all have a Success Mechanism that, once a goal is established, our brain will work day and night to point us in the direction of that goal.  But two things must be stated about this mechanism.  One, although it’s called a ‘success’ mechanism, if your self-image is such that you see yourself as a ‘failure’ or ‘loser’ this same mechanism will point you in the direction of where you see yourself.  It can work both ways.  So it’s important to have a positive self-image, one where we see ourselves as ‘winning’ in the end, so to speak.  The second crucial thing to remember about this internal success mechanism is that action from you is required to fulfil any of the goals that you’ve set in front of yourself.  No action equals no achievement (we’ll talk a little about this in the next post).

To summarize.  Get a motive to change, then get inspired to take action.  Easy peasy (not really, but sometimes just looking at the big picture makes things easier)

‘Till next time.

Happy New Year

It’s been a year of big changes for us here at our Australian mountain retreat.  The house is getting restored and this year I hope to start building the gym, moving 5 years of outdoor training under a roof.  It’ll be a welcome change but other than the odd really nasty day it has never bothered me much.

The 2018/2019 fire season is in full swing so I’m in the fire tower every day again, but I love it.  Seventeen fires so far this season in our district, each brought under control within a week of ignition.  It’s a windy day up here today, with winds averaging 42km/hr and gusting to just over 80.  The tower…she rocks a bit, so I call these ‘half-cup of coffee days’.  It keeps the desk and my maps coffee free.

The big shift for me this year has been my diet.  My nutrition is always open for healthy debate and questioning, which is a main reason I’ve been able to maintain a good level of fitness.  I always discard what isn’t working in favour of what I believe will.

In the early 2000’s I ate what I termed a ‘Zone tweaked’ diet, which held me in good stead for almost a decade.  At the end of that first decade I still ate the approximate macro-nutrient  content of my Zone tweaked diet, incorporating those macro-nutrients into a Paleo diet.  I found this diet eased or eliminated some gut issues I was having, and also led me to increase my lean mass a little.

In 2015 I noticed that my blood pressure was beginning to creep up.  Nothing serious at the time, it averaged about 125/85, which is still considered close to normal by many. I take my blood pressure 3-4 times a week, so at the time it was just something that bore watching.  I decreased my already low salt consumption and pretty much eliminated dairy from my diet.  These changes helped temporarily but I still noticed my BP rising month over month.

Fast forward three years and my blood pressure continued to slowly elevate so that by September of 2018 my blood pressure was up to 150/90.  Needless to say I was not happy, eating what I considered a very clean diet and training both with weights and cardio as hard as ever.  It was to the point that my doctor suggested that I really ought to consider blood pressure medication.  Having watched the BP creep, I was aware that this might be suggested, so I had done my homework and knew which BP medication was safest/most effective, and the good doctor gave me a prscription.

While that prescription sat on my desk I got to work with renewed determination trying to find a way to lower my blood pressure without the prescription.  Enter the ketogenic diet.

For those unfamiliar with the ketogenic diet, it is a highly efficient way to burn fat as fuel (in the form of ketone bodies) in place of sugars.  I had recommende the ‘keto’ diet to a few individuals that were quite fat, with tremendous results including lowering blood pressure.  But those people weren’t hard trainers and I was sceptical of the diets efficacy when trying to maintain a fairly high level of muscle.  I also assumed, wrongly it turned out, that the blood pressure reductions I saw in those individuals who had went on the keto diet were primarily attributed to their weight loss rather than the keto diet itself.  Nevertheless I had read the research papers and there was plenty of evidence that the diet itself would lower blood pressure.

So one morning I made the switch.  65% fat, 30% protein, 5% carbohydrates.  The keto diet pretty much turns any national food guide on its ear.  Eating lots of meat, butter and coconut oil (saturated fats all) while cutting out almost all fruit felt so WRONG, but I was determined to stick it out for at least a month.  My main meals consisted of lots of green veggies and lots of meat.

Three days after beginning I took my morning blood pressure as usual, hoping to see a slight drop.  To say I was surprised when my BP monitor showed 123/84 is a bit of an understatement.  So surprised was I, in fact, that I measured my blood pressure again at 4pm the same day, getting essentially the same result. 

I’ve now been eating the ketogenic diet for just more than 3 months.  My blood pressure is now consistently at 115/70, which is perfect in my book.  AND NO MEDICATION.

I had to play with the diet for the first 8 weeks until I got to the point where I was gaining lean muscle again, but now I’m happy with my program and here’s hoping that 2019 will be an awesome year in the training and wellness arena.

Here’s hoping you have that kind of year too.

Integrative Wellness

Wellness testing should be a major part of everyone’s wellness plan.  Unfortunately, going to your family doctor will not be of much help in this regard.  As many of you know I have very little respect, and no admiration, for the medical community at large.  Why?  Here’s just a couple of reasons:

A 2000 Institute of Medicine report estimated that medical errors result in between 44,000 and 98,000 preventable deaths and 1,000,000 excess injuries each year in U.S. hospitals.[9][10][11] In the UK, a 2000 study found that an estimated 850,000 medical errors occur each year, costing over £2 billion

I would also highly recommend that you read this brief summary research paper titled ‘Death by Medicine’, which is well researched and the studies peer reviewed: http://www.webdc.com/pdfs/deathbymedicine.pdf

The conclusions are that the medical community at large is not just unhelpful, but a strong case could be made that they are doing much more harm than good.  One finding was that 106,000 people die each year in the United States because of toxic reactions to PROPERLY PRESCRIBED medications!  This study has been confirmed by further studies in subsequent years; studies commissioned because the shocking results seemed hard to fathom.

With that out of the way, where does one go for quality healthcare to prevent disease, and after the onset of illness?

My opinion is that one should find a good integrative wellness clinic.  There are a number of them in most developed countries and they have success rates that should embarrass the traditional medical community.  Of course, it won’t embarrass the medical community because success or failure has rarely if ever been a measuring stick they use.  Money and power and control, however…

Lynette and I chose the National Institute of Integrative Medicine (NIIM).  We made an appointment to see Dr.Taufiq Binjemain in The NIIM office located on the Gold Coast of Queensland the first week of our holidays six weeks ago, and Lynette and I spent three hours with him, an hour and a half each.  Compare that with your average doctors visit, and let that sink in.

In case you have the opinion that naturopathic medicine as utilized by an integrative practitioner is somehow less able to help you with your wellness goals than your family doctor, here are Dr. Binjemains credentials:

DR TAUFIQ BINJEMAIN – INTEGRATIVE GP, CLINICAL DIRECTOR

MBChB(UK), MRCGP(UK), MRCS(Edin), CCFP(Canada), FRACGP

7fe06270-3495-4c8c-adbb-c03e75d508b1.png

Taufiq graduated from the University of Leeds, UK, in 2000.   He then completed his basic surgical training and obtained his Membership from the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 2005. Following that, he trained in Family Medicine and obtained his Membership from the Royal College of General Practitioners in 2011, the Canadian Family Physician Board Certification (CCFP) in 2012 and a Fellowship from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners in 2012. In the last 16 years as a doctor, he has had training in various specialties in Surgery and Orthopaedics, General Medicine, Paediatrics, Psychiatry, Anaesthetics, Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine, Skin Cancer Medicine and Surgery, Anti-Ageing and Regenerative Medicine (including PRP and Stem Cells), Nutritional and Environmental Medicine and supportive Cancer treatments.

He believes in personalised medicine, looking at the uniqueness of each person and working out the root causes of any chronic illness, which may include genetics, psychological, toxicities, lifestyle, nutritional, metabolic etc. He then works with the patient to address and treat each underlying cause in order to obtain a sustainable and long-term impact. He integrates the best of orthodox medicine with complementary modalities and patient empowerment through education, in order to achieve this goal

At the end of our time with the Doctor, we were each given Pathology requisition forms (bloodwork and saliva) to take with us to a pathology clinic, along with several testing procedures done while we were there at the clinic.  We then booked in to see him again 5 weeks later in order to await the results of the tests and to establish a plan of action for the coming year.

Yesterday was our appointment, and we saw Dr. Binjemain again at the NIIM clinic and spent another two hours with him.  We couldn’t be happier with the thoroughness of the testing and the issues the tests picked up.  Now we have a plan for the coming year, and we’ll book in again next year to see where we stand.

The cost of this type of testing and treatment varies from country to country, and from clinic to clinic.  In Australia, they have a hybrid of public and private health care.  It seems to work very well and although health care isn’t ‘free’ like in Canada, it seems to work very well while keeping costs low.  Most general practitioner visits are between $0-$30 dollars, and our testing and action plan for the two visits was approximately $500 dollars each, and the pathology was free.  Five hundred dollars might seem like a lot, but not when you consider that was spending over three hours each with the doctor, all the testing, and an action plan for the year.

Couldn’t be happier.

Fitness and Wellness, Eating and Training

Training vs. eating; which is most important when trying to reach individual goals.  They’re both important, but if I had to choose between missing a day of training or making poor food choices on any given day, I’d miss training.  Why?  A few reasons.  Your food choices literally make you what you are.  It’s not just the calories.  It’s also learning what foods help to produce good hormones and what foods suppress bad hormones.  It’s learning how to eat what types of nutrients at what times.  It’s learning what food choices will elevate your mood, and what foods and nutrients will make you grumpy and unmotivated.

If you miss a workout (and I’m not recommending it) but eat right that day, you’ll pick up the next day where you left off without going backward.  Making a day of bad food choices WILL cause you to move in the opposite direction of your goals.

Once you’ve reached your fitness and wellness goals the difference becomes more noticeable still (more about this in a moment.).  I’ve been in good shape and I’ve been in bad shape, and when I’m in bad shape I can eat quite a bit of crap food and still not feel too bad. An unwell body becomes a bit sluggish in responding to stimuli, both good and bad.  But when I’m in great shape, a bad meal or two makes you feel like you’ve been on a bender for the weekend.  It really is that noticeable.

The better your fitness and wellness levels, the more your body notices poor nutrient choices or foods eaten at the wrong time.

That brings us to this.  Fitness isn’t just about looking good.  Fitness goes hand in hand with wellness.  There have been numerous times over my career when I wasn’t well even though I looked like I was fit to the people I met. But I knew it was just an illusion.

I guess the point of the post is this.  Fitness and wellness is a journey which never ends.  But that shouldn’t be a discouragement to you, it should encourage you to begin your quest.  Think of it as a hobby.  If you were a woodworker or a quilter, would you just learn enough to make one bookcase or one quilt, and then quit?  Of course not.  That bookcase or that quilt would be just the beginning of your becoming a better woodworker or quilter.

So why not become a better you?

 

The West is Dead

Though we don’t like it,  we expect politicians to colour at least slightly outside the lines of truth when answering hard questions, in order that they may deliver the answers they expect their audience wants to hear.  Pointing that fact out has been a primary source of material for several generations of late night talk show hosts.

Civil servants have usually been more trustworthy, but even they have a long history of disingenuousness when their career, reputation or group agenda is on the line.

This is why it has long been established that a free and open society relies on an independent, unbiased and honest media.  As a last resort, we expect journalists and reporters to hold the feet of our officials to the fire, in order to separate fact from fiction.  It helps us, the public, make better and more informed choices.  But this is no longer the case.

Let’s look at two separate instances where former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, media darling, lied.  The first case is regarding any wiretapping of the Trump campaign by the Obama administration.  If you remember, Trump was widely ridiculed by the media back in March for suggesting that his campaign was wiretapped, and Clapper was happy to pile on:

But two days ago we had this:

Hmmm, seems like a clear lie to me.  But it’s not the first time that Clapper has lied to the American people:

 

Yet despite his history of bold faced lies, James Clapper is still on news shows almost weekly, and still quoted by the New York Times and others.  Yet not one mainstream source holds his feet to the fire.

The West is Dead

Voids

Today’s post is a reflective one.  I make a point of trying to look towards the future rather than reflecting on the past most of the time, as I believe it’s healthier for the soul.  But sometimes events or circumstance cause us to reflect.  Today is one of those sometimes.

My son, Ben, was married this past weekend on the other side of the world from me, in Canada. Ben is now 22, and I think about him and his older sister Emily every day, though they don’t know that., And though I study the wedding pictures I’ve been able to find like a forensic analyst searching for clues, those pictures will never tell me all I wish to know about my son, his journey, or his life.  It leaves me with so many unanswered questions, and a deep void that one day I hope will at least be partially filled.

My cousin Terry passed away the week before Ben’s wedding, in Tennessee.  He was 60.  Terry spent a winter with us in his senior year of high school, fulfilling a dream to further his ice hockey dreams in Canada.  He was 17 or 18 years old when he came to stay;  I was a wide eyed kid of maybe 11 or 12, and Terry was my hero. When he went back to Tennessee, a world away for me then, it was hard.

We spoke a week before he passed. I hadn’t seen him in person in probably twenty years.  What struck me more than anything when we spoke is how he still sounded as he did when he was 18 years old. We spoke about the time he spent with our family; skating and playing hockey on the pond we had in our backyard after school.  And now he’s gone, and there’s another void.

I’m late to the game when it comes to social media.  I just signed up to Facebook a couple of months ago, and though I posted a few things I was content for the most part to just observe; get to know the lay of the land so to speak.  I started reaching out to friends and family over the last few days. When I’m in Australia and they’re in North America it does help to bring souls closer.

But what I’ve noticed more than anything else is how people can be so easily swayed by….I hate to use the word propaganda, maybe ‘today’s narrative’ sounds better.  What do I mean?  OK, I’ll give a few examples.  Social Justice Warriors, or SJW’s for short.  What is it with everyone on Facebook virtue signalling on every post?  Everybody I look up on Facebook is either a) posting the most recent viral animal video, or b) virtue signalling about how righteous they are because they aren’t ‘racist’ while anyone who has a different political viewpoint is, or c) wanting to give away their own countries sovereignty by allowing in any Tom, Dick or Harry that wants in, or d) wanting to save the planet from the scourge of man-made global warming.

This has left another void, between what I know from past experience interacting with you and what I now witness on your social media pages.

Has everyone lost the plot while I’ve been away?  Get a grip, look around, and stop listening exclusively to mainstream sources.  There are lots of sources out there to provide alternative viewpoints from what you are force fed daily. I know that there are a lot of non-mainstream sites that are kooky.  That’s what you get with unfettered information. Trust me the alternative to unfettered information is worse.  Ask the Chinese.

But there are a lot of sites that are well researched and impeccably presented.  Here are just a few to get you started; just examples off the top of my head to wean you away from the narrative that you have grown to believe.  You will be better informed for reading them, even if you disagree. There’s not one of you that don’t have the capability of using your brain without regurgitating the (excuse me) bullshit that your spewing on your pages.

Science:

  https://wattsupwiththat.com/   

World events:

http://www.moonofalabama.org/

http://thesaker.is/

http://www.voltairenet.org/en

Finance:

http://www.zerohedge.com/

Eyes open, No fear.

Cardio in Redcliffe

Another sunny day here on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast just north of Brisbane, in Redcliffe.  We woke up early today and spent about 2 hours marketing and buying advertisements online.  We’d finished our vegetable juice, protein and essential fats before 8:30 am and had walked down the street from the home we’re in to a schoolyard by 10am.

Great cardio. Fourteen minutes for Lynette and  twenty minutes for me. Roughly 100 meter sprints with a 30 degree berm making up the last 20 meters of that hundred yards.  A fast walk back to the starting point and GO again.  Then 8 minutes of Abdominal work.  Done.

Then post training meal and an hour spent relaxing, talking and laughing.  Then a lunch of salad and chicken, and an afternoon spent walking a couple kilometers along the water to the marina and old part of town.  Great evening meal, now kicking back and relaxing but thought I’d fire off this post before bed.

Noosa, Peregian, and Redcliffe

Prior to this trip, Peregian Beach was always one of my favourite places to visit in Australia.  After spending four days between Peregian Beach and Noosa Heads, I was reminded why.  A white sand beach that goes for miles, turquoise water, and two adjacent small seaside towns ranked as the best place to live in Australia.With a National Park directly behind the towns, west of the beach, urban sprawl is prevented, and the area retains a unique culture.

Today we drove an hour and a half south to the coastal town of Redcliffe.  This area now is only 20 minutes north of Brisbane and practically an outlying suburb, but in the fifties this was the area outside of town where the upper class resided.  The homes are each distinctly done in the Queenslander style, suiting the tropic climate.

We found an original, small, wood-sided one, built in the fifties, two blocks from the beach.  The beach is good for running/walking/training, and Lynette and I had a great 30 minutes of chest and shoulders training.  In the afternoon we walked the neighbourhood looking at the homes and delivering our OzLife Mentors flyers   I think we delivered about 300 between the two of us in an hour and twenty minutes.  We do this at every stop of our journey, and if we don’t work on our laptops marketing the business, we spend an hour or two walking and delivering flyers.  Both marketing approaches work, just in a different manner.

Lynette and I like this area too, but it’s getting a bit too suburban for our liking.  It is an extremely popular area to live because of the proximity to all the attractions of metropolitan Brisbane, while still living in a traditional seaside getaway community.  The big and old trees lining the many boulevards make this community unique.

We’ll stay here for a week or so.

Training, and Sal the Coconut Man

Sal

We had a great leg workout today.  Thirteen minutes of Leg hell for Lynette and nineteen minutes of it for me.  It really is amazing what you can do with the most basic of tools.  A good tubing set, weight vest, Chin up straps, a few dumbells and, optimally, a good big stability ball that can be used as a bench or as an Abdominal machine.  The ball is the only thing missing on this trip.

We began to slowly pack our things today.  Tomorrow we are heading 8 hours south of here to a little coastal town called Noosa.  The beaches there are really good too, and it looks like we’ll be in a really good spot.

Tonight when we went on our late afternoon/ early evening beach walk, we met Sal.  He was knocking down ripe coconuts on a beachfront property we were passing.  There must have been 30 coconuts at the top of that old tree, all in various stages of ripeness as I would soon learn.  Sal used a long aluminum pole, approx 9 meters, or 30 feet, long.  Surrounding the tree were 10-12 already knocked -down specimens.

When he found out that we weren’t from these parts, he taught us how to choose the ones with the best and most coconut water and the softest white meat.  They should still be green.  They will be heavy when you pick them up, and you should not here any water sloshing around inside, indicating evaporation and air inside.

He spotted a coconut lying on the ground nearby that met his approval, grabbed it with his left hand and with his right hand  and the large machete that suddenly appeared  began to hack away at the fibrous outer skin of the nut.

Once that outer fiber was removed, Sal hacked at the top of the inner coconut in a way that looks like topping a soft-boiled egg.  It only took seven or eight well placed hacks and a cork size opening appeared on the top.  There was a lot more coconut water inside than I expected.  Sal told me there is about 2 liters of water inside of every 5 coconuts.  And Sal knows because he eats 5 coconuts every day, year round.  That’s the other thing I found out.  There is no set ‘season’ for coconuts.  They continuously produce coconuts, so you can harvest the ripe ones all year.

I’m glad we Met Sal.

The Bucasia Beach Daily Routine

We had a one hour rain yesterday afternoon, which was the first rain we’ve seen other than our drive the first day, back on the 19th of August.  That day was snow and then rain for about 3 hours from when we left home.  It also rained that first night sleeping on the boat.

But we haven’t seen any rain since then until late yesterday.  Today we woke to sunny skies again, and temperatures reached 32 Celcius.  We had time on the beach, about 30 minutes training followed by some time by the pool, a late afternoon 1 and a half hour walk on the beach, then finally 2 or 3 hours working on the laptops. This was a typical day for us, here, this past week.  The only change we would make is if we had something planned for the even

I haven’t been this relaxed in years, nor has training been this good in years.  No injuries plus good discipline.

And one of the most rewarding benefits of the business model we’ve been experimenting with is that we can always find time to dedicate 30-45 minutes every day for training, and we don’t have to train at 6 o’clock in the mornng before work or, worse, 7 o’clock at night when your body just wants to begin winding down for the day.

Working when we want, we schedule the 3-4 hours of work we do most days around what is most important to us.  Training, overall fitness and wellness, nutrition scheduling, all of these are priorities for Lynette and I, so we schedule those activities first in our day, and work around those.  Sometimes we’ll work from 4 in the afternoon until 8 at night (like we are tonight), but we’re having lots of laughs recounting our day as we’re doing it.  We don’t watch television anyway, so tonight we turned on some music and worked for a few hours.  I’m finishing the day with this blog post.

Another great day in Bucasia Beach.