Mind and Body

Your Soul holds the key between these two forces.

Iron and the Soul – Henry Rollins

This is a reposting of an article by Henry Rollins:

I believe that the definition of definition is reinvention.

To not be like your parents. To not be like your friends. To be yourself. Completely.

When I was young I had no sense of myself. All I was, was a product of all the fear and humiliation I suffered. Fear of my parents. The humiliation of teachers calling me “garbage can” and telling me I’d be mowing lawns for a living. And the very real terror of my fellow students. I was threatened and beaten up for the color of my skin and my size. I was skinny and clumsy, and when others would tease me I didn’t run home crying, wondering why. I knew all too well. I was there to be antagonized. In sports I was laughed at. A spaz. I was pretty good at boxing but only because the rage that filled my every waking moment made me wild and unpredictable. I fought with some strange fury. The other boys thought I was crazy.

I hated myself all the time. As stupid at it seems now, I wanted to talk like them, dress like them, carry myself with the ease of knowing that I wasn’t going to get pounded in the hallway between classes.

Years passed and I learned to keep it all inside. I only talked to a few boys in my grade. Other losers. Some of them are to this day the greatest people I have ever known. Hang out with a guy who has had his head flushed down a toilet a few times, treat him with respect, and you’ll find a faithful friend forever. But even with friends, school sucked. Teachers gave me hard time. I didn’t think much of them either.

Then came Mr. Pepperman, my adviser. He was a powerfully built Vietnam veteran, and he was scary. No one ever talked out of turn in his class. Once one kid did and Mr. P. lifted him off the ground and pinned him to the blackboard.

Mr. P. could see that I was in bad shape, and one Friday in October he asked me if I had ever worked out with weights. I told him no. He told me that I was going to take some of the money that I had saved and buy a hundred-pound set of weights at Sears. As I left his office, I started to think of things I would say to him on Monday when he asked about the weights that I was not going to buy. Still, it made me feel special. My father never really got that close to caring. On Saturday I bought the weights, but I couldn’t even drag them to my mom’s car. An attendant laughed at me as he put them on a dolly.

Monday came and I was called into Mr. P.’s office after school. He said that he was going to show me how to work out. He was going to put me on a program and start hitting me in the solar plexus in the hallway when I wasn’t looking. When I could take the punch we would know that we were getting somewhere. At no time was I to look at myself in the mirror or tell anyone at school what I was doing.

In the gym he showed me ten basic exercises. I paid more attention than I ever did in any of my classes. I didn’t want to blow it. I went home that night and started right in. Weeks passed, and every once in a while Mr. P. would give me a shot and drop me in the hallway, sending my books flying. The other students didn’t know what to think. More weeks passed, and I was steadily adding new weights to the bar. I could sense the power inside my body growing. I could feel it.

Right before Christmas break I was walking to class, and from out of nowhere Mr. Pepperman appeared and gave me a shot in the chest. I laughed and kept going. He said I could look at myself now. I got home and ran to the bathroom and pulled off my shirt. I saw a body, not just the shell that housed my stomach and my heart. My biceps bulged. My chest had definition. I felt strong. It was the first time I can remember having a sense of myself. I had done something and no one could ever take it away. You couldn’t say **** to me.

It took me years to fully appreciate the value of the lessons I have learned from the Iron. I used to think that it was my adversary, that I was trying to lift that which does not want to be lifted. I was wrong. When the Iron doesn’t want to come off the mat, it’s the kindest thing it can do for you. If it flew up and went through the ceiling, it wouldn’t teach you anything. That’s the way the Iron talks to you. It tells you that the material you work with is that which you will come to resemble. That which you work against will always work against you.

It wasn’t until my late twenties that I learned that by working out I had given myself a great gift. I learned that nothing good comes without work and a certain amount of pain. When I finish a set that leaves me shaking, I know more about myself. When something gets bad, I know it can’t be as bad as that workout.

I used to fight the pain, but recently this became clear to me: pain is not my enemy; it is my call to greatness. But when dealing with the Iron, one must be careful to interpret the pain correctly. Most injuries involving the Iron come from ego. I once spent a few weeks lifting weight that my body wasn’t ready for and spent a few months not picking up anything heavier than a fork. Try to lift what you’re not prepared to and the Iron will teach you a little lesson in restraint and self-control.

I have never met a truly strong person who didn’t have self-respect. I think a lot of inwardly and outwardly directed contempt passes itself off as self-respect: the idea of raising yourself by stepping on someone’s shoulders instead of doing it yourself. When I see guys working out for cosmetic reasons, I see vanity exposing them in the worst way, as cartoon characters, billboards for imbalance and insecurity. Strength reveals itself through character. It is the difference between bouncers who get off strong-arming people and Mr. Pepperman.

Muscle mass does not always equal strength. Strength is kindness and sensitivity. Strength is understanding that your power is both physical and emotional. That it comes from the body and the mind. And the heart.

Yukio Mishima said that he could not entertain the idea of romance if he was not strong. Romance is such a strong and overwhelming passion, a weakened body cannot sustain it for long. I have some of my most romantic thoughts when I am with the Iron. Once I was in love with a woman. I thought about her the most when the pain from a workout was racing through my body. Everything in me wanted her. So much so that sex was only a fraction of my total desire. It was the single most intense love I have ever felt, but she lived far away and I didn’t see her very often. Working out was a healthy way of dealing with the loneliness. To this day, when I work out I usually listen to ballads.

I prefer to work out alone. It enables me to concentrate on the lessons that the Iron has for me. Learning about what you’re made of is always time well spent, and I have found no better teacher. The Iron had taught me how to live.

Life is capable of driving you out of your mind. The way it all comes down these days, it’s some kind of miracle if you’re not insane. People have become separated from their bodies. They are no longer whole. I see them move from their offices to their cars and on to their suburban homes. They stress out constantly, they lose sleep, they eat badly. And they behave badly. Their egos run wild; they become motivated by that which will eventually give them a massive stroke. They need the Iron mind.

Through the years, I have combined meditation, action, and the Iron into a single strength. I believe that when the body is strong, the mind thinks strong thoughts. Time spent away from the Iron makes my mind degenerate. I wallow in a thick depression. My body shuts down my mind. The Iron is the best antidepressant I have ever found. There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength. Once the mind and body have been awakened to their true potential, it’s impossible to turn back.

The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you’re a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs.

Friends may come and go.

But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.

-Henry Rollins

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Environment is stronger than will-power

Another leg day at the gym and I am sure that the offset pain delay will kick in within two days from now. Not bad doing hack squats of 270 pounds for 3 sets and 12 reps each, but I always can’t wait to pistol squats soon. So, I been watching all those calisthenics videos on the internet and I became a bit obsessed with pull-ups lately, even though I am doing the Kris Gethin 12 Week Muscle builder and I don’t want to overload my body until I am done with the program. I been working out at Colosseum Gym in New Jersey because its closer to home and I know some of the people there since I was in High School. Got six more weeks until I will focus more on Circuit Training and strength building and really see how much I can truly push myself to not only get the physical results, but mentally can endure anything thrown at me.

Ok, so I like quotes, lyrics and analogies, they are things that would always resonate with me no matter what. The title of this blog came from a yogi guru named Paramahansa Yogananda and took a while for me to think of this blog post, but sometimes its your environment that alot more powerful than you think. If it wasn’t for my personal trainer, I would never consider losing more weight than I expected, consider writing this blog to you today and venturing more into fitness and wellness. If it wasn’t for my best friend, I would never consider doing fashion photographer or photoshoots, only to discover its in my family history. I still have lots of travelling, personal growth, career goals to grow in mind, but hopefully my hit list can motivate me to do better and become better.  Going to show you something cool, ever heard of Jack Canfield?  Yes, you have, he is the guy that wrote all those Chicken Soup for the Soul books when our teenager years had a void of real shit that talks to us directly. 

Come to think of it, from talking to some old school guys at the gym today, you can’t  help to figure why some people are hotter, smarter, financially set, better version than you and just sit there hoping that’s you one day. One of the guys I worked out with mentioned that,

If you really want to start doing muscle-ups, try to get at least 25 pullups  great pullups and you be set. Want to be a barstar? I can tell.”

Long story short, I put myself out there at times and it really does make a difference. The will-power/self-discipline is really part of a bigger picture of everything around you, your environment. I may not have the strength to do awesome tricks like those guys from Baristi or Bar Brothers, I may not be a trainer, I may not be at the peak of my media career yet, but if I want some of the wishful thinking to go away, my environment needs to change constantly and who knows. 

Here is a list of environments Mr. Canfield mentions:

So as not to overwhelm yourself, start by picking three of the nine environments to actively change or modify, and once you see some results, work out from there. You will eventually discover that changing any one environment will begin to affect all of the other environments.

Here are the Nine Environments:

Memetic

 Body

 Self / Intangibles

 Nature

 Spiritual

 Relationships

 Network

 Financial

 Physical

If you guys like this post, please comment below or at https://www.facebook.com/tcofit

What to do if help isn’t in your dictionary?

You are a go getter that everyone seems to admire from all walks of life. A creative, a PR manager, CEO, doesn’t matter. Day in, you tend to the calls of all that summons your expertise, sometimes they underpay for your services, sometimes you helped them out of courtesy of your good heart. You know that you will eventually make it and hopefully karma would be on your side. Most likely, you got the best experiences under your belt, worked with a few top people in their game and spent countless hours on your craft. Priding yourself for doing this, you had anti-social moments. Within these anti-social moments you are considered a superhero, nobody knows the real you.

However, little that people know, you have a weakness or two. Whether its kryptonite, family issues, or a shaky past, you reminisce on these things far away from the people who adore you. Sometimes you help more people than you should, some of which are only around you for the wrong reasons. Selfish, greedy and parasitic, they know how much of a hero you can be and they want all they can get from you, leaving others that really do what to be around you, the short end of the stick. Sometimes you are left angry, perhaps more lethargic and rude.  As a result, you are starting to crumble, your health and passion especially and you, the superhero can’t fix this one on your own.  You need help.

It took a while for me to get to the point here, but sometimes in life, it’s totally fine to ask for help. Even some of our beloved celebrity stars did so. I mean, why you think we all love Lady Gaga so much since calls us “Little Monsters”; she connects with her fans on a personal level and she too has hit a plateau throughout her career. Tony Bennett was a help and so were her fans. ­­­­­­­You may not realize, but eventually you will hit a very low point in your life, one hell of an iceberg obstacle and it’s up to you to figure out your outcome. Here are a few tips when you reach this point.

  • Write out things that you are passionate about. (No Netflix, sorry.)
  • Write out the things that you are most grateful for (Gratitude is proven to be one of the keys of happiness.)
  • Write out your strengths and weaknesses. (Wait for it.)
  • Write out the five people in your circle.
  • When you see the patterns of items 1-4 and what needs to be changed, circle them.
  • Replace the circles with goals and people that you want to have around you.
  • Go for it. (The answer is making the effort to go for what you deserve.)

For example, if your friend Kevin makes you feel like a dummy and you want to improve on your presentation skills, spend more time developing potential solutions to that skillset and replace Kevin with a supportive person in your circle. If you have a problem getting your temper down and Roy has a love/hate relationship with you, but you know you need to calm down, drop Roy and spend more time exploring ways to relax. You may not be ready to let go of people you are “supposedly­­” close to, but look at the list from #1-#4 over and over again until it makes sense.

Never be afraid to ask for help.

Question of the Day: Do you think that people may influence your passions? Share your thoughts here.

Follow The Concept of F.I.T. for more blog posts and awesome stuff!

When your heart speaks, take good notes

I had a hard time coming up with a title to this post because I realize that I spent more time on topics to fill a void for this blog instead of the things that I should focus showing you guys (Visual content, writing is fun, but I’m a creative professional.) Fitness wise, I love Superfoods and Circuit Training.  From a nerd’s perspective, superfoods are like power-ups and Circuit Training is training similar in Anime in order for me to get stronger to defeat an obstacle. Goal wise, I might consider going into obstacle course training to try out for Spartan Race. Btw, the title of this post is a quote from Judith Campbell. When your heart is calling to you, you have to understand what it’s truly conveying to you.

It’s a reminder that you need to shut off negativity from your environment for you to focus on the end goal. If your heart tells you that you want to be a dancer, become a dancer.

If your heart tells you that you need to spend more time taking care of yourself instead of spending on selfish people draining you, then do yourself a favor and hire a personal trainer for a few sessions. Most likely you see a change a mood and I assure you can plan accordingly (Cut off these people, no excuse). I always tell my peers how much people deserve to be happy and prosperous. Our life has a purpose for something for our time here and if you are not doing something that is not helping others, then you are wasting your time.  I know it’s better done than said, but from my experience I can’t stress this enough.

I know that media (video editing and photography respectively) has been my passion since I was sixteen, but with having a language disorder, I always tell myself I can never be in front of the camera. Why? Well, I have no control on what I say, but I can control the narrative in a visual a.k.a, “Behind the camera”. My heart tells me that I am also a good storyteller, regardless cardinal direction I am within the camera, hence part of the reason why I started The Concept of F.I.T. which I will share in a video that will be uploaded sometime soon. Fitness is really a given for one reason, without taking control of your physical state, your mental state will be at stake.

I believe the mantra of the more you train your body, the more you train the mind stands correct here. In my case and scientifically proven, fitness will make you creative and I haven’t produced any personal best work in a while. So guys, I owe you big time, I need to be as transparent with you as possible in hopes that my findings can help or inspire you in any way. I should break boundaries instead of simply acknowledging them and share my journey in hopes that others can do the same.

Question of the day: What are some obstacles have you faced in your life and how you overcame them. Share your stories below; I might feature your words in my next blog post. Until then, more to come.

How my grandfather inspired my creativity

The guy in the middle was my grandpa from my dad’s side. I always thought he was too cool for his age and I learned why. He made a killing in his photography, bought a motorcycle and traveled to different Nigerian villages and townships in the early 50s, taking and printing photographs. At that time, Nigeria was undergoing some brutal forms of control by the British and unity wasn’t at all there among the different tribes. The funny thing, I always told my younger brother, who aspires to be a car designer is that grandpa also owned his own taxi business and would fix cars from scratch.

From this image and my memory of him, I can honestly say that sometimes you are born to do the things you do, even if you can’t explain why. I’m just a nerd who loves creating things and having adventures along my way, but looking back, I guess history does repeat myself. And no, I have no clue how to ride a motorcycle or train African grey parrots to talk. But hopefully I too can put my unique spin on things and teach others the same, since he was originally an English teacher. Let things happen organically for it’s meant to happen.

I am a creative.  Sometimes the first thing I remember about a person is the story they tell. I have a bucket list. Fitness helps me to become more creative.

Question of the Day: 

What stories helped shape your passion for fitness or creativity?

Featuring some answers in next’s week post.

Until then, The Concept of F.I.T. is your progress.

Nerd Fitness and Resetting the Game of Life: Steve Kamb at TEDxEmory 2012

Excerpt from TED:

Steve Kamb is the creator and leader of NerdFitness.com, a fitness community dedicated to helping average Joes and desk jockeys live healthier lives. In just under three years, Steve has taken Nerd Fitness from a simple one-man blog and developed it into a passionate “rebellion” of over 15,000 loyal members.

Since early 2009, Steve has applied the most addicting and enjoyable aspects of video game culture to leveling up in real life, culminating in his worldwide Epic Quest of Awesome. While running his business from a laptop, Steve has explored the ruins of Machu Picchu and Angkor Wat, dived with sharks on the Great Barrier Reef, flew a stunt plane in New Zealand, hiked the Great Wall of China, lived like James Bond in Monte Carlo, tracked animals in South Africa, and guest lectured at Facebook and Google.

Check out Nerd Fitness at: http://www.nerdfitness.com/

The benefits of working with a partner

Group exercises for everyone!

Group exercises for everyone!

Remember as children we loved to play together as playtime was the greatest thing in world besides candy? Things started to shift as we become teenagers and our friends become more dominant in how we spend our activities together. As adults, though we still enjoy being active with a few friends, time and stress seems our greatest obstacles when it comes to getting proper needed exercise. Group exercise or at least having a workout buddy gives us the ability to feel young again and return the power of “playtime.”

SAFE AND EFFECTIVELY DESIGNED WORKOUTS

Bombarded by the media to exercise, most people understand the benefits of a good workout, but receive little guidance in how to initiate the process. With group exercise, exercises are offered on all levels from beginner to advanced, so participants don’t need to know how to develop and effective workout. Thanks to the right fitness instructor in helping you start a new routing, just show up and have a great time!

ACCOUNTABILITY

Few people have that initial drive to take account of skipped sessions when done solo. However, when you work out with a group or a partner, you suddenly become more accountable for showing up to workouts. Setting up times to exercise with a workout buddy or going to a class ensures that you show up on time to work out. This also works very well if you have a personal trainer, who can assure to hold you accountable for not getting your ideal weight since study shows that showing up for someone results in fewer missed workouts!

WEIGHT LOSS

It is commonly known that it takes over 3,500 calories to burn a pound and burning more calories than you consume is how you shred the pounds away. With a low-calorie meal and good workouts throughout the week, weight loss is bound to happen. “People who work out with a partner lose up to 10 additional pounds than if they exercise alone” according to Motley Health. In addition, your motivation can increase, especially with people that can help you focus on your weight loss goals. Seriously, have friends that won’t eat junk food in front of you when you clearly have a Pilates class 30 minutes from now.

INTENSITY/MOOD

“Exercising with a friend decreases feelings of fatigue and increases energy”, according to a 2011 study published in the American Journal of Health Behavior. Working out with a friend increases the intensity and duration of an exercise session compared to working solo. A partner can help you push yourself harder than you would work out alone. In addition, exercise is good for elevating mood and reducing stress and with a partner or a group, these effects are enhanced. Lastly, group exercise might also allow your brain to release more endorphins and can help you get through difficult types of exercise by reducing pain and enhance a better mood.

Wondrous benefits of taking cold showers

The cold shower therapy has recently become more popular within the past few years, thanks to inspirational people from the Internet including Joel Runyon of Impossible HQ. The feat of shockingly icy water running behind one’s back, whether someone flushed the toilet at your living space or simply a prank is seen as nothing more as a dreadful punishment. Cold showers are deemed a feat for the brave, powerful and insane. However, taking cold showers have astronomical benefits for your overall health, especially if you are starting a new business, an aspiring fitness enthusiast, or someone who simply needs a push. Try to take at least five minutes cold showers a day and you will thank yourself! Here are seven benefits in taking cold showers.

  • Increases immunity and circulation-

Despite chilly fall and winter seasons, taking cold baths can actually increase your overall immune system by releasing more virus-attacking white blood cells. “Those who take cold showers typically exhibit higher white blood cell counts as well as higher concentrations of plasma, T helper cells, and lymphocytes” In addition, cold showers also increases overall blood circulation, which helps aid in avoiding hypertension and the hardening of arteries. Cold water exposure causes blood flow to be redirected to vital organs which forces the circulation of more efficient blood flow.

(Source: http://www.thehackedmind.com/7-reasons-to-take-cold-showers-and-1-that-really-matters/)

  • Energy Boost-

Who says a cup of coffee and caffeine are the only energy boosters in the mornings? Cold showers will leave you energized and invigorated as your heart gets pumping and a rush of blood flows through the body, shaking off the lethargic energy of the night before. An example of cold water rejuvenation occurred in traditional Japan as: “ancient samurai warriors used to pour buckets of cold river water on their heads every morning in a Shinto practice called Misogi. This was a purification ritual on a spiritual level. They believe that it cleansed their spirit and helped start a fresh new day.”

(Source: http://www.guidinginstincts.com/2012/04/10-health-benefits-of-cold-showers.html)

  • Aids in Weight Loss-

There are two types of fats in our bodies; white fat and brown fat. White fat is the fat we struggle to get rid of. Brown fat is heavily involved in burning energy and when exposed to the cold, it stimulates brown fat production. Brown fat cells burns the glucose in order to produce as much heat energy as possible and having a higher amount of brown fat leads to more energy being burned per second which leads to more weight loss. “As a result of the increased brown fat levels, and the increased blood pressure and body temperature, chemical reactions in the body will happen faster than they would have without regular cold showers.” It is also reported that on average that a human body can shed up to nine pounds a year due to cold showers alone. (Source: http://www.guidinginstincts.com/2012/04/10-health-benefits-of-cold-showers.html)

  • Relieves Depression and gives you attractive nails, hair and skin-

Cold showers stimulate the noradrenaline secretion in the brain, which is associated with lowering blood pressure and depression. On another note, it is well known that hot showers dry out both hair and skin. Switching to cold water can give you shiner hair and healthier skin by tightening pores, preventing them from getting clogged and reduces both acne and blemishes. Lastly, “cold water also contributes to detoxification which results in the squeezing of toxins and waste products out of the skin. This detoxification has a good effect on the skin which appears more clean and young. .. Stronger hair, of course, prevents hair from easily falling out and it helps in slowing down overall hair loss.

Try to take at least five minutes cold showers a day and you will thank yourself!colld

What happens when you start to work out? (Part 1:The Brain)

brain-power-intro-600x450

We all know that the more you exercise, you eventually get those hard core abs that you see among your favorite athletes, celebrities, and models. But you are also aware that the “no pain, no gain” mantra is as real as it gets. Your face becomes red and hot, the endless perspiration soaking through your workout tanktop or shirt, and the not so fun part of the soreness in your muscles (since work and other stuff made us more sedentary than our ancestors) But wait,there’s more! (Ron Popeil’s line) As you start to exercise, your heart rate gets really high and you are out of breath. That’s okay, its just your body is responding and its gets better over time as you start to exercise. The muscles are getting damaged (let me finish) so you can develop bigger and badder muscles. Work at it more, and those veins will roar every time you flex those bad boys. In order for all the physical goodies of exercise to come out, you have to make sure your brain is on point. 

Though it counts for 2% to 3% of our body weight, the brain takes in 1/4 of oxygen, 70% of glucose and 25% of nutrients. Yeah, your thinking cap takes in a lot of power and remember, diet is 70% of the work and exercise is 30% of the work you put in to get in shape. Once you tap in the power and the beauty of proper nutrition (eat lots of brain food), you are gonna just rock.According to Dr. Carly Stewart, Medical Expert at (Money Crashers Personal Finance) “Exercise improves oxygen flow to the brain. It also helps the body release hormones that assist in brain cell growth. Additionally, it helps the brain with both learning and memory capabilities.” Basically, when you start to exercise more, you feel great because you are adding more oxygen to your brain, which helps you to do more basic tasks better. You wont get as tired hitting the stairs and your focus will increase. You significantly lower chances of getting many diseases in the long run and you get the euphoric vibes of accomplishment.

Truthfully, your brain will transform much faster than the body, but in reality, when you find the workouts of your choice and the best diet for you, you will get in the shape and beyond. It takes one month to start seeing changes, two months for family to see results and three months to transform. You got this.