Friday, August 27, 2010

Final Thoughts

I know I've left this way too long but I have been ruminating and elucidating on the impact the Kung Fu Body has had on me and my family.

I started the KFB thinking it would be similar to the PCP and in some ways it was but it had different aspects and required much more thought and focus than the PCP.

Maybe this was the reason I did not have the same tenacity as when I did the PCP or perhaps as Patrick suggested, the excitement of a new program was not as great as when first doing the PCP, but either way it is what it is.

I lost 10 pounds, gained back some muscle, can do more pushups and chinups than ever but what I really took from this program was the Kung Fu philosophy. I have a great deal of respect for the art, since I now know it is much more than a defensive set of skills and more than a physical endeavour. Patrick's emails have been thought provoking and interesting, making me think about myself and how I think about everything.

The meditation has been great too. I feel calm and serene after my meditations. At first I didn't know what to do with myself - meditatining for 5 minutes was like torture, but now its a peaceful inaction. I continue to meditate and enjoy its influence on my mind.

Stretching has been a good deal of help to me too. I've still got a way to go but I've probably exceled the most in this area, only because I came from so far down - I'm still not 'flexible' but I feel much more limber and can high kick with some finesse now.

So looking back at it in this context I may not have lost the weight or gained the muscle like I did during the PCP but the knowledge and skills learned from the KFB or even more important.

Here the are results of my final test:

Standing High Jump: 30 inches(up from28 inches)

Consecutive Ping Pong Punches: 142(up from 37)

Morning Standing Forward Bend: 4 inches from ground( from 9 inches from ground) can't quite touch those toes...yet.

Current Weight: 208 ibs. (down from 218 lbs.)

Current Height: 6'4"

Current Picture:

And one in ready stance:

For me it's just the start and now I have so many things to work on and explore.

Great job everyone - I've got to say that all of the KFBers have been awesome - encouraging, honest and kind. This group had your back every step of the way - thanks to everyone!

Thanks Patrick for everything - its been a great ride and introduction to so many fantastic things.

See you soon!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day 89 - Diamond Days

Some days go just how you plan them - how you want them. Today was one of those days and I'm excited and a little sad that the KFB is coming to an end.

I've been thinking a lot about what this program has done for me, emotionally, mentally and physically and how It has affected me differently but as resonantly as the PCP. Where the PCP focused on nutrition, cardio and muscle fitness, the Kung Fu Body adds agility training, flexibility stretching and meditation plus the Kung Fu Philosophy. These added components have meant a more cerebral workout, one that makes you think of the longterm consequences and reasons for doing something and it has also made me changed the way I have thought, reacted to and accomplished the daily programs.

I feel that the program is really 2 things in one - A great fitness plan with nutrition and workouts that will get you lean and mean, and a fantastic martial arts program that teaches eastern fighting/defence techniques and philosophy. It's quite a bit more intense than the PCP but after going through it there is no way I would do a martial arts program without also taking into account all the beautiful things that the PCP teaches.

So only one day away until the end. I'm very proud to have been working with such a strong and wonderful group who are smart and supportive!

While tomorrow is the 90th day I'm going to meditate how I can sum up into one post what this program has done for me.

See you soon!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Day 84 - The Home Stretch

My wife's cousin is in town from Ireland and I had a work out with him last night. He's 17, energetic and excited about what a program like the Kung Fu Body can do for him. While he had a bit of trouble with the rope jumps he enjoyed the intensity of the workout and I started to explain the fundamentals of the program. He's a great kid and eager to learn and his questions and my answers reinvigorated my belief in this type of program.

Its great to mentor someone and I think you get the added value of re-teaching yourself when you teach someone else. He's here for another two weeks so we'll have plenty of time to knock out some good training.

I can't believe this program is almost done! My knees are feeling much better and I'm getting back into the groove of training (especially with the help of my new pupil).

I'm enjoying the freestyle mix agility training. I love the freedom to combine all the types of hits and moves in any way possible. I sometimes get flustered by the speed but more and more the moves instinctually come from the practice of thousands of strikes.

See you soon!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Day 77 – Whatever Doesn't kill you..

After my injury with the pull up bar last week I slowed down a bit since my knee was quite swollen and painful when in motion. The doctor x-rayed and found no bone injury but diagnosed the problem as prepatellar bursitis and ordered rest for the next few weeks. Obviously this couldn't have happened at a worse time but I'm still doing as much as I can with Kung Fu.

My first reaction as my knee gets better is to charge in to the training and get back as much of what I lost to falling behind, but we all know what will probably happen as more injuries or re-injury usually strike at this point of recovery.

I think the meditation has been the best part of the program since the injury as it has helped me focus on the injury, what really hurts and how to deal with it properly.

I can still punch however and I know my punching speed in relation to when I started all those weeks ago, is quite quick.

So here I am, I a state I'd rather not be but making the most of it.

Almost there!

Talk to you soon.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Day 74 – Reflexes man!

At work I've been using a makeshift pull-up bar to do some exercises during the day. The only problem - it wasn't secure. During a pull-up It came crashing down and I landed flat smack on my knees. But before I hit the ground, the bar hit my head and I saw stars. So there I was knees throbbing and hurt and a goose egg forming on my head. A while ago I thought that if this bar ever gave way I'd have the reflexes to get my feet under me and be safe - never thought about the bar hitting my head and I guess my reflexes, as good as I thought they've gotten, still need a lot of work.

I've been taking it easy for the past few days with the exception of meditation, stretches and some agility but I'm going into the doctor today because my left knee is still bothering me.

Hopefully the Doc gives the A-Okay and I'll be able to finish up bruised but strong.

See you soon.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Day 66 - Countdown

I can't believe how far we've all gone into this project. It's been difficult, challenging and fun all at the same time. I'm at a point where I'm starting to countdown but I'm going to stop myself in order to take everything I can from this experience.

I spent the weekend looking over all the words of wisdom from Patrick that we received since the KFP started and realized in my enthusiasm to get going on the day's workout that I often missed some key bit of wisdom or some important piece of information - sort of like assembling the furniture without reading the instructions - there's always a screw or bolt left over...

So I'm making a conscious effort to read the information not once but twice - maybe 3 times so that I fully absorb what is important. While the practice and exercise is the key to this program, understanding the why is important to me.

The double target is great - I'm hitting and weaving and kicking like a madman - and I'm connect more than I would have thought. I started trying the follow the balls and then used my peripheral focus and found my connections going way up. I love this. I continue to envision someone in combat with me while I do these exercises.

I'm getting a little tired of my diet - I'm going to try something new. What is your favourite carb, vegetable and protein. Let me know.

See you soon.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Day 58 - Confession Time

I have a confession to make, I have this habit and I've had it for a while now, in fact ever since my eldest was born. I rip my pants - not on the leg or the hem, not even in the pockets - all of these would be okay - I rip them in the seat of my pants. The first thing the pants salesperson asks is if I've gained some weight - I haven't, in fact I've lost some. My wife laughs at me and thinks it quite funny and my kids go into fits whenever they hear me talk about it or get a glimpse of the actual rippage.

Now I wouldn't normally tell the whole world about it, but I actually think it's quite funny and because in the past week I've been doing spontaneously Kung Fu in all places and times of my day. Not bad when you roll up the sleeves and crank out a lighting round of jabs, but in business wear a back or straight kick can be deadly to your seams. A few days ago I was getting a bit over enthusiastic and at the zenith of my kick I heard the start of a rip and pulled up short.

So its strictly sports wear for my kicks from now on....

I guess this goes to show that I'm becoming more comfortable with all the set of kicks and punches that I've done over the last month - to a point where they are a natural extension of my actions. They are in fact becoming instinctual rather than actions that I need to think about to make happen - this is what I've been waiting for. Awesome.

See you soon!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Day 54 - Slow Motion

Its been hot for the last few days - I mean really hot and the A/C is not working.

Started my training in this sauna-like weather and I felt like I was doing it in slow motion. Everything seemed so much harder to finish. My punches were pathetic and my kicks were terrible - I had to really work hard at things I thought I was good at.

I must have lost a litre of sweat and by the end of it all I felt a little sick and lightheaded.

If your body continues to lose fluid, you are likely to experience increasingly severe symptoms of heat illness -- general discomfort, loss of coordination and stamina, weakness, poor concentration, irritability, muscle pain and cramping, fatigue, blurry vision, headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion and unconsciousness. These symptoms and even mild effects of heat stress also increase your chance of suffering an accidental injury.

So please take it easy during any hot weather and keep hydrated - I know I'm taking it easy during this heat wave!

I am craving jelly beans! I saw a pack of those gourmet ones - with all the funky flavours, and I can't stop thinking about them.

What crazy cravings have you had?

See you soon.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Day 51 - Lost and Found

Its been a while since I've written here and quite honestly I've been a little lost. Too many things at once and your life starts to give way at the weakest points. Last week I took it easy - focusing on my family and my business. While the KFB took a back seat I still found time to do most of the workouts, meditate and eat right(for the most part). I needed to reset and refocus and looking back on it I think I did pretty well.

Life is about balance and lately things for me were a little out of control. I think I'm back on track - I'm re-energised and I'm excited about finishing off the program.

During all of this I did take a great deal of comfort in the meditation. It was reassuring and comforting to do this - It calmed me and relaxed my nerves, helping me to focus on what really mattered.

Last post I talked about my goals and what really helped was to continue with aligning my values with my goals. I asked myself several times "Is this important, is this who I want to be" and the answer for this program was yes. I'm also very proud to be working with such a strong and motivated team! Great job everyone!

I'll see you soon.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 45 - Goal Drift

The last couple of weeks have been real busy and looking back, while I did have some breakthroughs, my focus on the goal of this program have wavered - I've simply hit the wall. Like most people I often loose sight of my goals, the road becomes weary and I fail to complete the steps. Sometimes when I attempt to "break it down into small steps" I get frustrated since the small steps still add up to a hell of a lot of work. And in these times when I imagine success it may not be as clear an image as it once was. However, when I focus on my values, on my family and children, what kind of person I consider myself to be and the goal aligns directly with this I do get back on track. So do I go against what I believe or do I kick ass?

Today I am eating the killer diet that reduces my intake considerably. I'm a little worried about my cravings haunting me between meals and snacks. I think this got me down a bit - I remember the PCP and how this was a tough hurdle to climb. The fact that we are in a great group and helped along by Patrick and 'The Plan' is great - I'm not sure I'd be able to do it alone.

The fact that this post is here for the whole world to see is also motivational. While not as strong as focusing on values, I don't want to fail for myself and everyone else who may be watching.

So today I will stick to the diet but other than jumping rope and meditation I'm taking a day off.

How are your goals holding up - what wall are you hitting?

See you soon.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Day 42 - Balance(again)

I'm taking Patrick's advice about Yin and Yang to heart... I'm a big North American male brought up on action movies and raw meat - okay I'm not that bad but aggressive Yang comes out easier than it should and the Yin gets pushed to the background.

I need to keep the Yin and Yang in me balanced - it makes perfect sense but it can be hard to equalize them both.
Where is the force and where is the yield? Thats what I'm going to find out with every punch, kick, push-up, strain and stretch.

The G20 is here in Canada and and protestors are straining against the security fences while the Police look stone-faced on and world leaders meet within air conditioned luxury. I'm wondering who's Yin and who's Yang?

See you soon.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 39 - Reflexes

I know my reflexes are getting better since I started the freestyle mix of the agility program - I am reacting quicker to the flailing ping pong ball and I rarely miss when I strike - this is in sharp contrast to even a few days ago when I felt drunk trying to hit it in freestyle.

At first my uppercuts couldn't connect, but now I almost always land a hit. Very satisfying to get large combinations of hits, back up and go in for another round of strikes. I kept wondering though how much more difficult a real opponent would be and so when I did some shadow boxing I visualized my opponent and imagined some return hits and kicks coming at my head - Its a lot more fun than I had originally thought.

I love seeing so many improvements - reflexes, flexibility, strength, agility, relaxation - are all so much better and we're not even half way through.

See you soon.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Day 38 - Kung Fu Complexity

I've found that the Kung Fu Body is much more complex than the Peak Condition Project, party because of the time it takes but also because, for me at least, there are portions that require intensive attention and focus - learning and practicing new techniques, stretching and meditation. These new components are not easy but they are what make this program so fulfilling.

I've found that these parts of the program are particularly interesting and difficult for many reasons - they are difficult, physically fulfilling, and have spiritual and philosophical components.

I'm intrigued by the idea that a martial art like Kung-fu is as much a philosophical and spiritual exercise as it is a defensive physical skill set. It makes sense though that in order to control a situation that may call for physical action, you must first be able to control yourself and your emotions. I'm starting to understand that Kung Fu is so much more complex that I originally thought - and for me much more interesting too.

I was craving a sugar fix the last few days - Didn't give in but I wasn't able to quench it with fruit at all. I think I ate a bit more vegetables and drank more water just to feel full and get away from the urge.

See you soon!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Day 32 - Home again

Got home yesterday and I know I'll be out of sorts for the next few days - I find the jet lag particularly difficult when I get back home since I don't have the same drive and energy as I tend to have on a business trip. While guidelines suggest 1 day recovery per eastward time zone(1 day per 1.5 westward time zones) that means I'll be back to normal in 15 days!?, for me it usually takes only a few days to get back on track.

During my workout today I concentrated specifically on my shoulders - I'd never focused on them like this before and found that at first my inclination was to tighten them up during a punch. When I relaxed them I found that the motion was much more fluid and I made use of the rest of my body, employing my legs and hips to a greater/or at least more natural degree. I also found that my shoulders were not fatigued the way they have been in the past.

During my flight yesterday I practiced my meditation. I was concerned it would suffer in the confines of the cabin but to the contrary I found it easy and enjoyable. In all I meditated a total of 3 times during the 15 hour flight and I know this made the trip more bearable.

See you soon.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Day 28 – Back in action

I did a full workout and went back to yesterday’s plan to make up for missing it. The hotel gym didn’t have a pull-up bar but I did manage to work awkwardly with the nautilus machine to do incline pull-ups and the Kung Fu Sit-ups.

I tried all day to decide on what I wanted as my “treat” and since there are no slurpees to speak of here or Dairy Queens, I’ll wait until I see something that really interests me. Even if a slurpee or peanut buster parfait were in front of me, I’d still hold off. As Patrick says a treat is something that is out of the ordinary and gives great pleasure – I know through experience with the PCP that these won’t give me that rather something pretty close to a stomachache.

Outside first thing in the morning I was aware of people smiling at me while doing my rope jumps in the courtyard. It doesn’t mater where you go if you smile genuinely at people they seem to always appreciate it and smile back. Lots of smiles today.

I kept an article on smiling from long ago that I give to my employees and in a nut shell it says:

Smiling changes our mood
Smiling reduces pain by releasing endorphins and serotonin
Smiling is contagious
Smiling helps keep us positive
Smiling makes us attractive
Smiling relieves stress
Smiling improves our immune system
Smiling lowers blood pressure
Smiling makes us look younger

I’m going to make an effort to really smile at everyone for the rest of my trip.

How about you – do you smile as much as you can?

See you soon.

Day 27 – Cultivating Kung Fu Masters in Africa

Read an interesting article while over here about Hui Li the “African Monk” who has set up facilities for orphans throughout the African continent. Hui Li set up the first Buddhist orphanage in Africa – the Amitofo Care Centre, which amoung other things, teaches the children local traditions but they also learn to speak fluent Chinese and practice perfect Chinese Kung Fu after being taught by masters from the Shaolin Temple in Henan province on a cultural exchange program.

Very cool – Check it out here.

What a wild day today – ate well but totally missed the workout aside from the stretches – Tomorrow is another day and chance to make up for it.

See you soon.

Day 26 – Shock to the system

Staying in a different country, totally foreign from where you were raised is in some ways a shock to the system like jumping into a frozen river. I’ve been to China many times but I always learn something new from the people I spend time with and the closer our relationship grows the more in sync we become – they figure me out and I them. In some ways I’m shielded by getting driven around and visiting predetermined clients and suppliers but it does give me an opportunity to get up close and personal with people, sharing experiences, and becoming better for it. This does not mean we can’t disagree, believe me it often happens, but I’m one to respect a persons place more so when I understand their point of view.

And that’s just it - when I get home to Canada next week, I know I will have a frame that I look through coloured by my experiences here. I have learned to use this frame positively as you can decline into pessimism if you’re not careful - but it serves me well to stay grounded with it.

The experiences with the KFB are much the same – at first, a shock to the system but you learn much about yourself and face things both golden and dirty. At the other end you’re better for it and it helps you appreciate what a wonderful and varied world we live in.

I can’t skip in my room so I went outside today and skipped in a courtyard beside 10 people doing tai chi. Surreal and cool. I loved it and did an extra 100 because it was so intriguing.

I Macgyvered books for my double punch and blocking sets and finished the workout with stretches that don’t seem nearly as difficult as before.

Sorry about the sporadic entries here. Some days I can’t log into my blog and other days I can’t get internet service.

See you soon.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Day 25 - Rice, Vegetables, Fruit & Eggs

My first full day in China and I started it off right by doing my complete workout at 1:30am local time. My circadian ryhthms are all screwed up but at this hour I had all the energy I would need. At first I couldn't find anything to do the lower hamstring strap stretch and then realized that my leather belt would work just fine - and it did. I really liked the assistance of the belt, while not as giving as a fabric strap, it was easier to get the stretch I needed as opposed to a conventional stretch.

Food here is great, there are lots of good, wholesome dishes but I stuck to basics - Namely rice, vegetables, fruit and eggs. At any hotel here I've found that you can get a fairly simple version of any one of these dishes. Lots of broccoli, peppers, watermelon, and eggs all around. The only problem I knew I'd encounter was the reaction of my Chinese hosts when I turned down a few of their offers of richer foods - I ended up explaining in detail what I was into.

I didn't realize what an impact my explanation would have on everyone - I explained the core principles of the KFB - Developing speed, agility, coordination, strength and flexibility through the use of basic strength training, Kung Fu principles, flexibility and meditation.

I explained the premise quickly but found many asking about it in detail. Kinda neat and I found that they were proud and encouraged that I would look at eastern philosophy and training to get into really great shape. I have found that my Chinese comrades are less prone to cynicism and happily focus and listen intently.

I'm just starting to get into the KFB and this simple interaction has given me a new perspective which I can use to better understand this way of life.

See you soon...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Day 24 – Lost Day

My flight from Toronto to Hong Kong was uneventful except that I was lunging down the aisle, doing a few punch/ uppercut combos and completing a bunch of calf raises throughout. Other than a few odd glances, nobody on the flight seemed to mind.

I did smuggle on some fruit and vegetables I got from the waiting lounge and stayed true to the KFB until they told me they were all out of the halibut dinner – which was the "healthy" light dish. I ate some chicken, which seemed okay and drank water the entire flight.

At my seat, I did do lots of calf raises, arch raises and butt clenches. At one point after some ab leg raises I even worked up a bit of a sweat. Not too bad for doing it in a flying cigar tube.

Water was a good companion on a long dehydrating flight and as soon as I landed, I picked up some more.

After two train rides and a bus trip I was finally in my hotel room. For dinner, I had a salad, beans, two eggs and fruit. I finished the night with a few rope jumps and enough pushups and sit-ups to feel good.

Tomorrow I will try to get on track.

I realized that I couldn’t log into my Google Blogger account to post this(Due to Chinese Internet restrictions) and so if you are reading this I’ve somehow posted it through other means.

See you soon.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Day 23 - Off to China

I'm off to China tomorrow morning on business and with a 15 hour flight I'll be out of communication for a few days. I've packed my essentials, jump rope, work out wear and some food for travel. Sometimes they confiscate my food depending on what it is and how is it packaged - we'll see. I'm not sure the other passengers will appreciate me doing a jump kick in the aisle but I will go through some of the motions. With travelling long distance I will do a load of stretching and exercises to increase circulation.

I felt like a spaz starting the blocking today. At first I couldn't get the coordination of it, but then slowly I got into the groove of it. kinda neat and obviously useful when blocking strikes.

I was running around today getting ready for my trip but I still found time for KFB meals and workout. I've been looking at my trip schedule and worried about a few days but I think it should be alright for meals and workouts with a little planning.

I'll post as soon as I can.

See you soon.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Day 22 - Gardening

I was out gardening today with the whole family and relishing every minute of it. Gardening is a great way to burn off the calories and get some vitamin D all while spending quality time with those you love. I do the digging, planting, hauling, raking etc. while my kids marvel at the insects and my wife sprays me with the hose... tomorrow will be much of the same thank God.

Workout was fairly good - I love the the elbow strike and I'm getting better at the jumping straight kick. I think I've got to hold my jump rope a little differently cause I'm getting a blister on my finger - I don't remember having this during the PCP. And I think I'll post a picture of me stretching - sorry, trying to stretch...It must look funny when I half fumble into a knot.

See you soon.

Day 21 - Stretch

I think maybe I might kinda be getting better at my flexibility. This past week I spent a lot more time focusing on my stretching and did a lot more of it too. It wasn't easy, I've got to admit that I don't find it much fun and it can be painful when I'm trying to get close to what the true stretch should be, but I guess that's a big reason why I'm so inflexible right now.

I did do my wide angle bend today and I felt I'm getting a little bit better with it - still difficult and I won't improve as quick as I thought I might but I'm okay with that. I'll keep working on it and improve gradually.

See you soon.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Day 20 - Feeling good!

I'm feeling really good - starting to notice the pounds coming off and loving that pure sensation of not being loaded down with junk in its many forms. I remember this feeling with the PCP, probably around this time where I was seeing results and getting excited. I feel it here too but my focus is a little broader with the agility and meditation components added.

I find that the KFB is a little more challenging than the PCP and I'm sure that the mental effort for me in dealing with the meditation and, god help me,the stretches will be a struggle at times. Like many of my compadres in the KFB, some days are good and other days suck - the important thing is to stick it out and finish the work out.

So diet's in line, workouts are good, stretching is a pain literally but I'm pushing through and mediation is a pleasant exercise.

I'll be waiting for the other shoe to drop and I'll have to heed my words when I'm not feeling so positive.

See you soon.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Day 19 - Punchy Punch Punch

I've gotta say I'm enjoying the cathartic act of punching and kicking. I'm not saying I like hitting people, I just find the agility training of the KFB a lot of fun.

In high school my Mother bought me a punching bag so I could release my teenage angst - it seemed to work well. Today I kind wish I had the heavy bag but I'm still getting a real high out of punching and kicking and doing combos of different types. There is something self investing and powerful about throwing a good punch - I dare you to walk by an idle punching bag and not have an urge to lay into it! What is it that gives that rush when throwing a quick jab? I'm really not sure but but I know it's a great work out, building coordination, stamina and reflexes.

Like anything practiced well, I'm getting proficient at throwing a hit and kicking. It seems enjoyable and my skills are improving day by day.

See you soon.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Day 18 - Am I One Those Angry Soccer Parents?

My little Man was playing soccer again tonight and lagging a little behind, not showing much enthusiasm so I urged him on, politely and positively at first and then when he was knocked down by a kid larger than him I called out for some help from the referee. As I said it I knew I shouldn't have since it's a casual and low pressure environment, and besides its part of the game. One of the other parents came over and made a joke, bandaiding my pride and I cooled down from then on in.

What makes us so aggressive to see our kids do well and win, apart from our biological aggressiveness? We're human and as I've said before really just cavemen/women, but get a bunch of parents together watching their kids play a competitive sport and interesting things happen. I don't want to be one of those overly aggressive, flag waving Fathers that cheers and boasts for his child and acts like a moron - I really know I won't be but with your little Man on the field sometimes its hard to just sit there.

Thats sort of the beauty of parenthood - you can't control your children and motivate them with a stick unless you want a bully or worse for a child - its best to watch, on the sidelines and give them encouragement, praise and guidance and then when its all done give them a big hug and tell them they did great (ice cream doesn't hurt either).

I find that when I'm too tough on my employees, my spouse or myself, I think back to my usual way of guiding my children and it puts it all in perspective.


I cut a few corners on the workout tonight as it was a late game, but really concentrated on the jumping side kick - what a workout. Stretching is going well too - I'm doing a bunch in the morning(super tight) and also before I go to bed.

See you soon.

Day 17 - Meditation

I had my workout yesterday and it went well - then things got a little weird with meditation...

I started like I have found works best, concentrating on my breathing and fully relaxing. I felt really good, happy, comfortable and positive. The next thing I knew it was a little darker outside and it was about 15 minutes later. Now at first it didn't seem all that strange - I just fell asleep, but when I think back It wasn't at all like sleeping more like a really relaxed state or something like a trance. I don't want to put a fine point on it but it was altogether good. whatever happened I felt refreshed and profoundly positive when I finished. I'm looking forward to more meditation...

How is your meditation going?

See you soon.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Day 16 - Seeing the big picture

Today I was doing my regular chores and felt something different - my thoughts kept bouncing back to something Patrick said in one of his emails:

"So when we bow before and after our workouts, we are showing respect for ourselves, and the universe for lending us this energy and form. This is why, in my mind, developing your body and physical skills is so important for a full human life. To use all these gifts for eating junk on a sofa in front of a TV is a mind-boggling waste!"

I think it was bouncing around in my mind today since I was cleaning up a lot of junk and recycling things I no longer need. I realized that most of what I have really doesn't matter, and in the end what's the difference whether you own 3 of something or nothing. It's such a waste of time and energy to accumulate all this stuff, and for what purpose, especially if you're not heathy?!

I think it's as important to think about whatever we buy before we consume it, whether its food, toys or stuff. There is a finite amount of energy and time out there and filling it up with trinkets and bobbles is also a mind-boggling waste.

What do you own that you just had to have but know is a complete luxury?

Off my high horse now, my workout went well tonight. My balance was not so good and my leg still is a little tight but I'm still here!

Mediation was a little funky tonight but good - I'll talk more about that tomorrow.

See you soon.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Day 15 - Balsamic Vinegar

I gotta say I'm excited about getting full bore into this. The Kung-Fu is awesome and who doesn't love being in shape but I also love the food! For the last two weeks I've been eating really well getting ready for the strict diets we would eventually get - we have them now and I'm surprised that I actually missed the regime of cutting, weighing and cooking precise amounts of food. And then there's my favourite, Balsamic Vinegar!

I know that it would have been more difficult getting through the Peak Condition Project without Balsamic. The rich tart taste is contrasted with a sweetness that mellows it, making it a perfect seasoning for rice, pasta, vegetables, meat, you name it.

I also found that there are many reputed positive effects to eating Balsamic:

- Balsamic has anti-baterial and anti-viral properties which make it an effective remedy.
- Some suggest it cures body pain and energizes
- The polyphenols in Balsamic are powerful antioxidants that fight cell damage and boost the immune system.
- Studies have shown that the antioxidants in Balsamic also protect against cancer and heart disease.
- Balsamic improves metabolism by boosting the activity of the digestive enzyme pepsin.
- Some studies suggest that a five teaspoon portion of vinegar with a meal can improve insulin sensitivity, controlling diabetes complications.
- Balsamic has been shown to reduce cholesterol.
- Balsamic antioxidant may slow the aging process.
- Balsamic can strengthen bones, prevent fatigue and help suppress appetite - aiding in weight control.

This is all very good but I love the taste! It's very rewarding to find something that is healthy and you enjoy eating and can be combined with so many other foods.

Thank you Balsamic Vinegar for always being there for me.

Work out was great tonight. I did have a little trouble with the jumping straight kick and strained my right leg. It felt a lot better during the chin to knee stretch but I'll watch it over the next few days. This is where increased flexibility would really help.

My punches are getting a lot quicker and more accurate - I'd also like to say more power if I can judge that correctly. I also took to heart Patrick's last email asking us to concentrate on the body movements during a kick/punch - exactly as he described. Good to understand where the power really comes from, good to be mindful of this during the agility training.

Two weeks gone. I feel I've accomplished a lot during this time - My excitement is still strong and I'm getting so much out of this programr.

See you soon.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Day 14 - What the What?

Sweat Jesus the wide forward bend is a mother! Look, I know this will build hip flexibility and I want to sit in the lotus position someday but this one hurt. I held it for a while, watched a little tv to take my mind off the strain and then played a video game at Patrick's suggestion but died often through lack of concentration.

I am the poster boy for the stiff and inflexible of the world. I know this is going to be tough but I also know its worth it so I'm gonna work on my flexibility even if it kills me(I almost died tonight).

The best part of it was when I stopped and the blood and feeling came rushing back - I actually felt quite good after, and my legs, hips and back were pulsing with my heart, a very relieving feeling.

I'm going to start every day and finish every evening with some stretches... How's your flexibility?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Day 13 - Montreal part Deux

Second day in Montreal and it was pretty good. Lots of meetings and a trade show that was interesting if not exciting.

I started my day by breaking up my workout. I did my strength training as soon as I got up: Triceps dip, plank and side crunch(skipped the Incline pull-ups), did my rope jumps and then had a breakfast of oatmeal, fruit and eggs.

When I left the hotel I brought some almonds and oranges for a snack on the go.

For lunch we ate down at the waterfront. The restaurant wasn't great but I managed to get a fairly healthy meal. I was the only one not to drink and I think some of them thought I was a recovering alcoholic. I took that opportunity to tell them about the KFB and to visit the site and blogs. We'll see who visits and leaves a note.

The afternoon was pretty business and didn't even get a chance to have a snack but time flew and before I knew it was diner time.

I had a green salad with balsamic vinegar, chicken breast and vegetables. Again it was quite easy to change my order, they were helpful and accommodating. I haven't always gotten this in the past but I will be forceful and adamant at getting my way from now on.

I just finished my agility training working on my kicks and combo punches plus flexibility and meditation.

I think I'm getting a little more flexible but not a fast as I thought - I'll keep tabs on it and be patient.

I'm driving back home tomorrow morning and I'll let you know how it goes.

See you soon.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Day 12 - Montreal

So today I woke up early, drove for 6 hours, met several clients and had a long business meeting.

I now sit in my hotel room exhausted from the day and a great work out. Here are my thoughts:

- Great start to the day was a great meal of oat bran, hard boiled eggs, carrots and water.
- On the road I drove for approximately 6 hours so I practiced some of Patrick's Knowledge Worker's Survival Guide and stopped frequently to stretch.
- I brought a lunch of wholesome protein and vegetables.
- For diner I asked the waiter for whole grains, no sauce, seasoned chicken and vegetables - waiter didn't flinch or charge me extra - French Canada can be very European.
- Got to my hotel room, bowed, busted out the jump rope and push-up bars and had a good work-out.
- Ready for a restful sleep.

- I get really energized with trips like this, meeting people and hearing both positive and negative feedback that speaks of success and potential. I hope I can sustain this level of energy for tomorrow!

See you soon.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day 11 - Soccer

My youngest boy had his first game of soccer today and it didn't go as well as he expected. Before the game he was pumped to be playing and kept talking about winning and how well he was going to play. But on the field the bigger and older kids shut him out, leaving him behind and frustrated.

I let the coaches do what they do best and talked to him after. I asked how it went and he respond by saying "Good, except nobody would let me have the ball!" I told him that that was what soccer was all about, passing to your team mates and trying to stop the other team from scoring. I'm not sure he got it but he hasn't given up yet. Next week we'll see how he does.

I'm not entirely upset that he hit this roadblock - What better way to learn than this and we'll practice a little bit and get him kicking the ball at the right goal. In the end I know he'll be better for it.

While pondering my son's soccer career, I thought about obstacles that I face and how I handle them - really they're not that different and I'll try to take my own advice. Take tonight for example - I didn't want to work out and stretching seemed like it would be such a chore so I decided it was too late to do it tonight and I'd catch up later...But I knew it wouldn't go down like this in the end - of course it's a slippery slope. So I got up, finished my workout, and I know I feel a little bit better for it. Most of the the wining for me or my son is just showing up - the rest comes from way deeper and there are many ways we can stoke that fire.

As I mentioned I was not excited about the workout today - not really sure why but I slogged through it. In one word I sucked! I'll sleep on it and get back to my standard tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow, I'm off to Montreal on business. I'm excited to see what obstacles I hit with food and exercise - truth be known I'm looking forward to a few days in Montreal and welcome the change.

See you soon.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Day 10 - Hail to the Queen

Today it's Victoria Day in Canada where we celebrate Queen Victoria's Birthday, who was the Queen when Canada past Confederation. We get the day off and rejoice that good weather is upon us!

The problem is that most Canadians feel out of touch with such a holiday since Canada's ties to the U.K. are no longer as pronounced or important. Most people call it May 24 weekend for that date and for the huge uptick in case sales of beer. In fact national beer sales spike sharply during this weekend and is the unofficial start of the beer selling season for breweries.

While I don't drink much beer I will toast the Queen today with a Guinness. I don't much care why the holiday exists, It's good to celebrate the start of Summer with a beer and and birthday.

Out with the family I only got my strength and conditioning done today. I am determined to not fall behind so I'll add a bit to tomorrow's routine!

See you soon.

Day 9 - European Pounds

I just read that Last Saturday was European Obesity day. I just got back from a trip to Italy for business and ended up loosing 5 pounds or so - a combination of lots of walking and great wholesome food - the Italians do a great job here. Directly after the trip I headed to North Carolina for another round of business stuff and found the contrast amazing and unfortunately gained those 5 pounds back.

I found the food in Italy generally flavourful and natural tasting, fresh and clean while States side it was overburdened with salt, fat and in a portion size twice as big.

Just off the highway going to Milan I stopped for some Italian "Fast Food" I had some whole wheat pasta, a salad with balsamic vinegar and fruit - this was as bad as the fast food got.

The other aspect that I found interesting was how my Italian partners changed orders, asked the waiter for things not on the menu and casually insisted on getting what they liked. By the end of the trip I was doing the same and enjoying the fact that I could get what I wanted without extra charge.

I made the mistake of trying this at home and got a funny look, the waiter checking if it could be done and then charging me extra for the trouble.

North America and increasingly the rest of the world is becoming more processed, automated and refined. In order to get your $12 steak they need to prepare it earlier and hire a cook who does not have the skills to work on the fly.

I also saw that the Italian/French/Spanish etc. attitude toward food is more sacred and they take the time and have patience for it. My worst meal in Italy would be one of my best back home, partly because of the attention given to it.

Lastly I found that there were so many restaurants that were doing well in Italy, despite the economy. They have great respect for waiters, chefs, managers and owners and it is usual for a person to work their entire career at one restaurant, starting as a waiter and one day owning it. Quite different from the way we think about waiters/cooks/restauranteurs over here in North America.

Worked hard today burning out my power kicks and punches. I'm getting pretty good at the maneuvers concentrating on my form up to the last hit.

My meditation has been off - My mind is such a mass of voices and ideas lately - I've got alot on the go and have to quiet those voices down - Any Suggestions?

See you soon.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Day 8 - Week 2

The KFB is already on week 2! I can't believe it, so I've reduced my carbs and now I'm going to cut out anything and everything that is prepackage, over processed and basically things that my Great Grandmother would not recognize.

Since I started the Peak Condition Project I have been scrutinizing the packages of food I buy, counting the number of ingredients and looking for any word I would need a scientist to decipher. Its hard sometimes to find packaged food that is not over processed and that's why I usually make my meals from scratch. Its fun, actually saves money and you start to get in tune with what you are eating - how your body reacts to it's fuel.

When you start to really gauge how your body reacts to food, you can perceive subtle differences in chemistry, mood and how you react to people and situations. I think women do a much better job of this then men likely because they know about and focus much more on their bodies and because men are not hard wired as well for it.

I do love that clean feeling after eating heathy natural food, as close to the basic root as you can get.

We're ratcheting up the training this week - more reps and some new exercises! The training was good today and I think my flexibility is starting to improve! Baby steps...

See you soon.

Day 7 - One week down

Great day today! Work went well and I had loads of energy to do all my strength, agility and flexibility plus I went for a 25 minute run.

I know days won't always be this good, however when it happens I like to look back on it and see what went right. I know it was a combination of things:

1) It wasn't like things didn't go wrong, they always do, but I didn't get stressed about it.
2) I ate a really good breakfast, had a great snack, good lunch and so on. Really if I get cranky its usually because I didn't eat right.
3) Lets face it, Fridays are usually a good day - We know the weekend is coming and live for it.
4) I really became conscious of my internal voice a few years ago - you know the one that says things when life goes wrong. When I started to really listen to it I realized that It was not helpful and was so universally judgemental and made things seem worse than they actually were. I now respond differently to what happens to me firstly by how I choose to internalize it.

So I take each day as it comes but I hope I have more of these - they're awesome!

What does you're inner voice say when things go wrong?

One week down - See you soon.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Day 6 - Men are Big and Strong?

I just read an interesting study by Psychologists at the University of Mcgill who examined the body image of males and females. While there have been many studies on the body image of females and that they feel being overweight or obese has been associated with a poor self image and a lower quality of life, the association is not so clear in men.

As you would expect, the study found that both satisfaction with their looks and satisfaction with life were inversely associated with excess weight in females.

However, In contrast, excess weight in older men was associated with greater satisfaction with life (body image in men was not examined and I'd like to know why).

The study found that overweight men appear more satisfied with life than do overweight women with the notion that while men associate excess weight with being “big and strong”, women tend to associate excess weight with being “fat”, something both sexes appear to fear.

Other researchers have also suggested that while men may avoid high-caloric foods for health reasons, women tend to do so primarily to control their weight.

While I know everyone is different I think this study is a great way to understand the differences in men and women and it clearly points to the fact that unique and different/distinct strategies are needed to address excess weight in men and women.

Here are the results of my benchmark tests:

Standing High Jump: 28 inches

Consecutive Ping Pong Punches: 37

Morning Standing Forward Bend: 9 inches from ground

Boy would I love to touch my toes!

Current Weight: 218 lbs.

Current Height: 6'4"

Current Picture:

I'm gonna love seeing those love handles go but I guess I do look kinda big and strong :)

See you soon.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Day 5 - Milestones

My eldest son lost his first tooth today - he was scared at first and then excited that the mysterious tooth fairy would visit him tonight.

Right now he's running around full of energy wondering what he's going to do with the money that he gets in exchange for a tooth. I'm wondering how much I'm going to give him, but more importantly what my actions will teach him.

I'm often looking for object lessons, ways I can help my kids learn, this is good but I wonder if I'm sheltering them from something by not just going with it more often. They have set up donation jars for those less fortunate, do some limited chores and are really good kids, but what will they do if I let them decide more what to do while I gently guide?

I think the tooth fairy will leave him a twenty and tell him to spend it on something fun and frivolous...We'll see what he does with it.

The workout was great today, I'm getting in a groove with the kicks and punches. Flexibility sucks but I can wait and the meditation feels really good - I found myself looking forward to it all day.

I'm starting to get that clean feeling like a pure glass of water, since I've been back on a good diet. I've been off it more than I realized.

I'll get my pics up tomorrow.

See you soon.

Day 4 - God those Habs are Lucky!

I went a little easy on myself today doing the strength training and flexibility portions of the program. I was a little late getting to it since I was watching the playoff game between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Montreal Canadiens. I watch a bit of hockey during the regular season, but the playoffs are so much better since the teams work harder, there are less cheap shots/crap and the teams have so much more to loose. Really its just better for a fan to watch.

However the Canadiens - Les Habs, have been giving it all they've got against a stronger, more powerful and arguably better team, and coming up short. This is in contrast to beating the best team in the league in an earlier round and winning the hearts of fans everywhere - who doesn't love an underdog!

But they shot at the goalie almost 60 times and didn't score once. Thats unheard of and I wonder how they will get their confidence back. Obviously their goal is to score a goal but what do they really need to do?

When I did the Peak Condition Program last year I lived it and related everything around me to the program or vice versa. Its obvious with food, but also in the way we look at, act and talk to people. I'm trying to make myself better and that even at a minute level, affects my outlook on the world. Simply put the PCP and now KFB colour my world - fortunately in a good way.

I believe that everything is connected and I don't believe in luck. Most of what we get out of life is due to our own efforts or lack thereof - I know the lottery works for some but lets talk 99.9999999% So if I eat right, exercise, stay flexible and brush my teeth and pay my bills everything will be fine. Probably not since if my attitude sucks, If I think I'm going to fail, If I believe I can never score, I'll likely end up loosing - a self fulfilling prophesy.

I recall reading about an experiment on luck where people were put into a blind study where certain setups were in place to gauge reaction and attentiveness. These setups included a $5 bill on the ground, sitting next to a person who was willing to give something if interacted with and a waitress who gave a free dessert if complimented. The subjects were placed into two groups, one who considered themselves unlucky and the other who thought of themselves as lucky. You've probably guessed what happened - the unlucky ones were inattentive and didn't see the bill, they didn't talk to the person beside them and they didn't get the free dessert. It was simply that those who felt they were 'lucky' were mindful, polite and full of optimism.

So what does this have to do with the price of beans? I feel that programs like the PCP ang Kung-Fu Body are ultra important to our confidence, optimism and positive beliefs - our luck factor, because a program like this gives positive tangible results all on the weight of our own actions. Couple this with meditation and a heathy dose of instinctual defensive martial arts and you have one whopper of a positive effect. I feel better about myself, I feel better about the world and good things start to happen - we've all seen it.

So I am calling on the Montreal Canadien Hockey Players to find their own PCP or KFB because right now they're hearing the negativity and probably wondering at least a little bit how they got this far as the underdog and likely believing a bit of the press. If they don't believe they will get the goal they won't ever get it.

I'm pretty pumped to be part of this program, I'd like to say I'm lucky to be part of it...

How about you, do you think you're lucky? Do you know someone who believes they're unlucky?

See you soon

Monday, May 17, 2010

Day 3 - Balance

I was having a little trouble today with the straight kicks, loosing my balance several times until I stopped, refocused on my stance and tried it again. Once again I had trouble balancing while kicking out front. By the end of my reps/sets I was doing pretty well, feeling my way to balance rather than thinking through it.

This was not like playing complex games, virtual or actual where you play against an opponent or yourself, figuring out the best way to get better or win. It's true that you're not going to get any better without practice but the difference with the legs kicks is that I was focusing too much on what to do, rather than letting my body instinctually move. When I let go I got better.

This in many ways is like the meditation I spoke about yesterday - it wasn't until I stopped trying, stopped thinking about it that it worked for me.

The workout went well today and I was patient with the stretches - this is not going to happen quickly, but rather slowly and maybe painfully. I've always known I should have stretched more - especially after a long run, but It was so easy just doing a quick ease out stretch and stopping. Now I'm paying for it, but at least I'm doing something about it!

Like good times again I'm back on the PCP diet, cutting down on the carbs and feeling good with my meals.

See you soon.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Day 2 - I...Can't...Not...Concentrate...

I knew that the flexibility portion of this program would be tough for me but I didn't really think about the meditation... I'm finding it difficult to concentrate, or should I say stop the thousand voices, thoughts and stresses banging around in my head.

I guess this is part of the process. I am becoming aware of how active my mind actually is. It's tough not to follow the flow of thoughts - I get side tracked and find myself trying to figure out some problem that's currently bothering me. I spent about ten minutes meditating today and for the first bit my mind was all over the place, then I concentrated on my deep breathing. Close to the end I could feel the relaxation setting in and started to understand what I needed to do.

It's the turbulence of distracting thoughts that really gets me and the fact that forcing them away doesn't work, at least not the way I've tried. I know this is a case of practice and I'm looking forward to the peace and relaxation that will surely come with this meditation.

I'm sore from yesterday's work out - perhaps pushing the straight punch a little more than I should have and today I appreciated the stretching as it helped me understand a little more my total range of flexibility.

I'm cutting back more on the carbs but I'm trying hard to find enough food to satisfy my hunger. Any suggestions?

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Day 1 - Kung-Pow?

It's the first day of The Kung-Fu Body for me and I'm very excited to be apart of this project. Its seems like I just completed the Peak Condition Project and hopefully I get the same great results from this new project.

So here's what my goals are for this program:

1) Get back into the similar shape that I was when I completed the PCP. I'm now a few pounds heavier but still maintaining a similar diet and activity level to the early stages of the PCP. This should kick start me back to where I want to be.

2) Gain the agility and flexibility that I so badly need! My God if I could only touch my toes! I know that my mobility suffers and if I can increase my flexibility, it will give me greater freedom of movement, increased physical performance, increased relaxation and stress reduction plus I will have less risk of injury. All of these benefits I hope to gain from the KFB.

3) Be more relaxed. I remember how relaxed and and stress free I became at the end of the PCP. I want to get that way again and not for a short period during and shortly after the program but rather learn what is making me happy - how I have become less stressful, whether it's physiological, emotional, mental or all of the above I'll find out how to tap into it.

4) Experience the benefits of Kung-Fu. I have taking several forms of Martial Art and remember the benefits of them: Increased discipline, reduced stress, increased flexibility, increased strength and a sense of connecting with something spiritual even mystical.

So there you go. My goals - I hope I met/exceed them. If the PCP is any measure - I say let bring it on...

Today I tried to cut down on my carbs as Patrick instructed - That leaves protein and fat. Hello my old friend eggs! I still ate carbs but cut back where I could.

I started the Strength, Agility and Flexibility sections of the Program. Strength was fun and easy to get back into a tougher regime.

The agility section was great, straight punching and kicking through sets and feeling pretty good!

The flexibility section was not so great - As I mentioned I have trouble with this area but I struggled through it. I enjoyed a restful meditation period In my slacker pose - I tried the lotus position a few years and it is my nemesis - I know I'll get closer to it in this program.

So there you have it. One day down - I feel more like Kung-Pow than Kung-Fu but It's great to be back in a good program like this!

See you soon!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Kung Fu Body 1

Stay tuned for The Kung Fu Body!