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.