Archive for the ‘Life coaching’ Category

I feel compelled to tell all of you about one single, irrefutable and powerful testimony of faith.  I have told this story to dozens if not hundreds of people over the years, and it is always equally potent.

On my 13th birthday, April 24 back in 1986, my father’s best friend drowned in a fishing accident in Ontario, Canada.  Like my father, his best buddy was a preacher man, and his name was Pentti.  We were living in Thunder Bay, Ontario at the time, and I recall Pentti being one of the warmest, good-hearted people that I have ever known.  The man had a tangible aura of invisible light about him.

Pentti was an avid fisherman in addition to being a preacher, which is another thing that bonded him and my dad in their friendship.  One spring day in late April 1986, a Swedish visiting preacher that was staying at Pentti’s home on his trip to Canada asked if they could go fishing.  Pentti knew that the ice was already getting thin even on the northern lakes in Ontario, but he wanted to be a good chap and accommodate the Swede, so they headed as far north as was reasonable to drive to do some ice fishing.  One man survived that trip and the other lost his life.

The story goes that Pentti and his visitor walked out onto the ice, which seemed to hold up and be solid, until suddenly the ice gave way and both men were immersed in the freezing waters of the lake.  Pentti had a very bad case of rheumatism, and his limbs would often stiffen up in the winter time, even though he was indoors.  It’s not hard to imagine what the ice cold water did to Pentti in the few minutes that he was able to keep his head above the surface.  Both men screamed out for help, hoping their cries would reach someone’s ears on the shores of the lake.  They were literally out in the boondocks, in a very remote area of Ontario, so the chances of anyone being around were slim to none.

Pentti knew that his time was up.  Very solemnly, he stated to his Swedish friend in peril.

“My time has come,” and with his last words, he preached one last time … only this this time, he preached to himself.

“In the name and blood of Jesus Christ, ALL of my sins are forgiven!”

And so he sank below the surface.

Man.  That just sends chills up my spine every time I reiterate this part of the story.  THAT is powerful, folks.  THAT is humility.  THAT was a righteous man.

The Swede continued to cry out for help after Pentti went down.  By stroke of divine intervention, there was a fishing cabin on one side of the lake, and the man’s voice carried across the ice to that spot.  A couple of other fishermen heard him from afar and ended up saving the Swede’s life before he was a goner too.

The police were supposed to retrieve Pentti’s body for a proper burial, to say nothing of his widowed wife, who was devastated by her loss.  However, the police took their sweet time and were in no hurry to get the job done, so my father – accompanied by 11 other fishermen in four boats – went out to the lake three months after the incident, to where Pentti drowned to do justice to his fallen friend.  One of my dad’s fishing accomplices had an old school Sonar device, which was an ancient version of a fish finder before they became high-tech digital things, and the gimmick was that it would actually print out a graph showing the bottom of the lake and the fish herds beneath the boat.  Now please keep in mind that none of the 11 fishermen who were with my dad were Christians or men of faith.  However, when they came to the place where Pentti lay, about 50m down on the bottom of the lake (which was about 1okm x 25km), the Sonar drew the picture of a CROSS.

Think about that, folks.  THAT is a SIGN.  My dad was not even in the boat that had the Sonar, as all four boats were using hooked drags to sweep the bottom of the lake, hoping to catch the fallen fisherman on the drag hooks.  The paper printout of the Sonar graph with the cross where Pentti was discovered was given at his funeral to his widowed wife.  The fishermen on that expedition even took photos of the Sonar drawing, which my father showed to me many years ago.

All I have to say is that this is one of the most powerful testimonies I have from real life.  I am sure this has touched many people reading this right now.

Consider Pentti’s last words, and consider what that means to you.

There is a stellar, multi-page article about me in the newest issue of Finnair‘s Blue Wings magazine on pages 38 – 43.

Click this link to see the piece, and yes, it’s in English.

Enjoy!

For those in Finland or who otherwise speak and understand the Finnish language, my interview from this morning with Radio City is now online and can be heard here: http://www.radiocity.fi/audiovideo/vieraat/2/76

Those who know me know that StarBuck is a big proponent of the old school.  From life philosophy to my way of living to the way that I train, I hold high the banner of old school spirit and philosophy.  You’ve heard the old adage that if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it?  That is exactly what I believe in.

The one thing that strikes me as absurd is the fact that the physical training culture of our modern age has all but done away with real training GYMS.  Instead, we are offered a plethora of “health clubs”, where it is more appropriate to dress for show and mingle, while idly doing a few sets  in between on the various apparatus’, in order to be able to tell others that those guilty of said charade actually “work out”.  With TV sets in every corner of the said health clubs, members can watch MTV or the soaps while hitting the bikes, or flip through the pages of Cosmopolitan while on the treadmill.  The workout machinery of these so-called health clubs offer a maximally comfortable range of motion, so as to not have to strain things.  Trust me, I have been to enough of these places to know how things operate and how the ball bounces.

To me, this anomaly is befuddling.  The gym is NOT supposed to be a comfortable place.   You are supposed to sweat, to feel as much discomfort as possible, as you punish your body into its new mold and aspired physical appearance.  The old school says “no pain, no gain!” and this adage is as old as training culture itself.  Every single world-class athlete knows this.  Every single person who has gotten real, profound, life-changing results from physical training knows this.

Unfortunately, the commercial powers that be have seen that there is lots of green to me made in “accommodating” people by offering an illusion of physical fitness, while delivering pipe dreams.  How many women go to aerobic classes year after year, unable to shake the extra pounds and kilos, while stubbornly following to the tune of whatever sales pitch?  How many people really push themselves hard in their training, so that others around them even look on at the struggle next to them?  How many health clubs discourage grunts, groans and yelling when the bar is loaded, should such trainers be on hand at their posh palaces?

I recall in Canada over 15 years ago, I used to go to a local health club, which was not really a gym anymore.  On heavy squats, I would have to psyche myself out and yes, there was some audible noise when I struggled with the weight.  The club personel came up to me and asked that I keep it down, so as to not annoy the other clients?  What the fuck, were we in a library?!?  Soon thereafter, I was specifically asked by the brass to move on to another training facility.  I have heard of similar incidents with other serious trainers here in Finland, where I now live.

For me, the antidote and answer is simple.  I choose to train at hardcore, old school gyms.  I specifically search out such places when I travel, where the smell of testosterone, pain and sweat can be readily noticed in the air and feel of the place.  It is becoming harder and harder to find such training facilities in our modern world, but here in Helsinki there are still a few of them around.  One such haven is Voimapuoti Gym in Pitäjänmäki, Helsinki.

Voimapuoti Gym used to be owned by Finland’s strongest man, Ano Turtiainen, who sold his then-Metal Gym in 2006 to Harri Kokkonen and the establishment was renamed.  I have been a long-time member of Voimapuoti Gym since 2003, when Stratovarius band frontman Timo Kotipelto introduced me to the place.  Today, it still stands as one of, if not the predominant, powerlifting gyms in Finland.  Gym owner Kokkonen’s powerlifting expertise reaches into the Baltic countries of Northern Europe, as Harri coaches several top lifters of varying nationalities.  Kokkonen also brings Swedish top sports supplement line, SKIP, into Finland.  I have to say that of all the various manufacturers out there – and I have tested a slew of them over my 23 years of training experience – SKIP is hands-down one of the best, WORKING supplement lines out there.  I have no problem shamelessly plugging their TopFuel post-workout drink, which you can feel actually revitalize your beaten frame withing 15 minutes of ingestion, aided by the digestive enzymes it contains.  I can say the same for SKIP’s Tränings Aktivator, two scoops of which will have you ready within 20-30 minutes to kick King Kong-sized ass in the weight room.

Voimapuoti Gym is a place that I recommend highly to anyone who wants a training environment that is REAL.  Considering free weight-training is twice as effective as the use of machines (hey, even Arnold promoted using free weights as much as possible), Voimapuoti is stock-full of various specialty barbell bars, loads of free weights, supported lifting benches and power squat racks.  And YES, you can yell, scream and make your muscles feel the strain of body sculpting pain without any morons coming over to tell you to keep it down.  Plus, the music is choice at Voimapuoti is always HEAVY, from hard rock to heavy metal, so that your adrenaline will keep up with the demands you place on your mortal frame to become the best that you can be.  With like-minded people training around you who actually want results and are willing to pay the price to achieve them, your struggle will not be a solitary one.

Whenever top professional wrestlers from around the world come to Finland, I always bring them to Voimapuoti as part of their Finland experience.  They thank me every time.  Consider that.

(ALL PHOTOS BY JARMO KATILA, www.jarmokatila.fi)

For the longest time I was meaning to take up a regular morning exercise regimen consisting of 50 free squats, 50 push-ups and 50 leg-raises.  Meaning to is the key term here.  Then finally this past Wednesday morning, I got serious.

The reason many of us fail to achieve or overcome is because we are stuck in a rut.  Call it a comfort zone, whathaveyou.  Regardless of whatever the tag you plant on it, it all boils down to willful negligence and laziness.

I finally had enough, got disgusted at my own alibis, and decided to get busy.  After all, just as Tyler Durden so eloquently stated in one of my favorite movies Fight Club: “This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time.”

There’s not a single person out there who cannot start their mornings with a -10 minute training session.   Unless you are physically handicapped, you have absolutely NO excuse.

I have to say I feel a hell of a lot better about myself after starting up what I should have initiated months ago.

I just came back from spending midsummer in Finland with my girlfriend out in the heart of the wild woods.  On a weekend when most Finlanders are out getting drunk out of their skulls and drowning out on the lakes, we were stone cold sober and camping out while zeroing out.  In the meantime, we had a great discussion about something as simple as diet.

Point blank, people don’t know what to eat anymore.  As a personal trainer, I try to give my clients the best advice I can using plain old common sense, but the fact is there are a shitload of diverse and adverse pitches out there as to what to eat in order to live right.

Ah, the elusive search for the truth, even in something as rudimentary as diet.  Let’s take a look anyway, even though we are all so paranoid we don’t know who to believe anymore.

HELLOWEEN had the right idea, read the lyrics to this song.

Take the Warrior Diet for example: eating only once a day.  The problem with this dietary approach is that there are no more Roman Legionnaires around who live the traveling foot soldier, marching army lifestyle.  That in itself my friends speaks volumes against anyone in our western world copying the said approach.  If you aren’t marching 12 hours or more a day and fighting a few bloody battles in between then the only person you are fooling following a Warrior Diet is yourself.  If your lifestyle does not complement the warrior way of life for real, complete with body armour and lifelong battle scars, then move on to something more realistic.  (Sorry, playing Dungeons and Dragons doesn’t count for qualification.)

The Paleo Diet cancels out all dairy, beans, legumes, grains and moderates fruit intake based on sugar content.  First of all, who the hell among us were around to ever record how early man prepared his food, and what texts of the like are there to be found of the said period’s food preparation?  I can well understand eliminating processed foods which are stock full of unhealthy fats and manipulated sugars in addition to gluttonously starchy carbs, but I cannot fathom the thinking behind skimming out sugars that stem from fruits that nature produces as such.

Simple reasoning says nature produces all food nutrients and elements for a said purpose, and we are idiots to screw with the universal and natural code – – and it can be argued that we are paying the price with our health and allergies nowadays for doing so, at least in part.  Everything that God has put into the food that nature produces is there for a reason and none of it is bad, period.

BOTTOM LINE: behind every single dietary school of thought there is an entire industry waiting to cash in.  It’s a big scam and it’s making somebody very rich.  It’s time to wake up.

The entire superfood industry has boomed astronomically in the last couple of years, as people are turning out in droves to buy anything from Maca to Chia seeds to plankton and beyond.  Some of this stuff is founded, some of it is clearly filled to the brim with innuendo and heresay.

Who is guaranteeing that your Goji berries are organically grown without artificial fertilizers somewhere out in China?  Who is guaranteeing that your Brazilian beef products haven’t been produced using a little steroid enhancement?  Do you take everything the authorties tell you as absolute truth?  Whose agenda is the “truth” serving?  Just look at politics and I need say no more.

Seriously, who is the all-seeing eye who can guarantee that anything that is on the label holds to be 100% true and accurate?  We all (should) know that the sports supplement industry alone is full of all kinds of bullshit products that promise you the look of Lee Priest but deliver mostly just empty pockets and nervous systems brought to the edge.

You wanna become a superman?  Sorry, but sports supplements won’t get you there.

To be honest, I have been an active weight-trainer for 23 years of my life and I have tried all kinds of sports supplements promising the moon.  Most of the stuff I have used, I have to say that I really cannot point out any real benefits from its use.  After 23 years of testing out the market I am finally starting to smarten up, and I have to admit that I am very, very disillusioned.  For every serving of valid and working creatine powder there are a truckload of products that can’t pass laboratory inspection.

Hey, if I had the cash I’d test every single product bought from either a sports supplement center or a food store.  I would love to know what actually IS – – or ISN’T – – in the stuff that we ingest.

When I was a kid, I ate rocks from my back yard and chowed down whatever was put on my plate, and for years upon years I was healthy and without allergies of any kind.  Only once I started trying out different diets and messing with various sports supplements did my body start telling me something was wrong.  Over the past 10 years I have developed lactose-intolerance and negative bodily reactions to certain grains.  I am not sure how much of this is due to the overall “doctoring” of our food industry on a whole, and how much is due to just fucking with nature a tad too much.

We have been lied to, time and time again.  Many God-given basic food products have been demonized to the point that we question where eating bananas will make us fat.  How fucking absurd is THAT?  Show me one single case study of a person who has gotten fat off of eating bananas, I dare you to produce such evidence anywhere!

The rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting foiled, over and over and over again.  I guess it’s like P.T. Barnum so aptly said: “Never give a sucker and even break.”

Maybe we all need to get back to basics.  Maybe we all need to break out our forgotten, dusty Bibles and find some old-school Truth.

The least we could do is start looking.

For the TRUTH, that is.

First, we could start off with me selling you the only thing I have: common sense (a good place to start).

I often stop and contemplate the course of life as I get older.  At 38 now, I am starting to understand many of the things my own father taught me or otherwise held to be true, at which I balked back in the day.  It’s only now that I realize that I was the moron and that my old man was right on the money.

Take fishing for example.  As a youth, I held fishing to be the most boring activity on Earth, right next to golf.  Well, I still hold golf to be boring as hell, but fishing has taken on a whole new dimension for me.  My Dad used to go out fishing once a week regularly, to totally cast off all the baggage and stress of the work he was involved in.  It was his moment to “zone out” and just “be”.

How many people today can just sit there and do nothing?  Nothing at all?  I’m not talking about sitting idly and skimming through messages on your cell phone to kill time, I’m talking about total immersion into nothingness.  I bet you’d have more luck finding a needle in a proverbial haystack than finding serenity of the kind that I’m referring to.

Fishing with my Dad in Ontario, September 2009

This past weekend I spent some time out in a row boat, just casting a line and staring at the water.  It’s therapeutic, I tell you.  I was on a somewhat remote island with my girl, camping out and totally “dropping out” of all the bullshit of modern society for all intents and purposes.  On that lake, I understood my Dad a whole lot better, and how fishing throughout the ages has been a getaway for men from all cultures.  No computers, no TV, no magazines, no traffic, no electronic sounds, no hurry, no stress, no bullshit.

The one thing that I never grow tired of is nostalgia.  I was born in ’73, brought up in the 80’s and I remain an 80’s kid to this day.  My critical development took place in the 80’s.  The 90’s may as well have never happened in my opinion, except for my initiation into the world of pro wrestling as an active talent.  Just like every generation before me, I totally understand those who say that things were better back in their day.  Those who grew up with Elvis will always hold his music to the best there is.  Those who grew up on Metallica will always hold their classic album(s) to be the epitome of music.  Those who now grow up on Katy Perry will come to reminisce of her pop as the best music in the world when they are older too.  For me, I’ll always owe my musical roots to Motley Crue.

I grew up on movie icons like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, and I still watch the first Terminator and Rambo: First Blood with a fond warmth in my heart.  I still hold 80’s pro wrestling, especially from the Crockett era of the NWA and Bill Watts’ UWF to be the best wrestling in the world.  I still warmly recall watching on in rabid fascination as Gino Brito’s International Wrestling from Montreal came to Thunder Bay, Ontario at the Fort William Gardens featuring stars like Dan Kroffat, Steve Strong and Abdullah the Butcher.  I still at times transpose back to a simpler time of Marvel Comic books featuring childhood heroes of mine like The Incredible Hulk and Conan the Barbarian.  As an adult, I have even bought back some of the comics that I used to own as a kid.  Nostalgic?  Hell, yes.

So yeah, as I get older and wiser I learn to appreciate the lessons and truth that my parents taught me.  Not that they were right 100% of the time, but then again who is?  They were right enough of the time, and that is good enough for me.

In closing, I hate to tunnelvision but I recall the words of an elderly man just before his time was up: “Just as you get to understand something about this life, it’s time to leave.”

There comes a time in every person’s life when hard resolve and absolute resolution becomes a must.

No matter what kind of relationship is in question – be it family, romantic, vocational, what have you – the truth will hurt, but it will also set you free. And after the hurt things get better, much like removing a malignant tumor.

We live in a society of convenience that disparages us from being direct and to the point, in a vain attempt to please everyone by being politically correct.

Man, I’ve grown to hate that word: Political correctness. You shouldn’t stand out, make an impact, have any rough edges nor should you dare to offend anyone by actually voicing your personal belief and opinion for the record. However, as we all should know by now, this PC approach only muddies the waters and makes them unfit to consume in any way, shape or form.

Remember the days of black and white? Ohh, that’s a nasty one, ain’t it…?

It’s ass-backward to think in such retro terms these days. Everything is much more convenient when it’s all a various shade of grey. Let sleeping dogs lie, as the saying goes.

But society becomes ill when there are no absolutes and no one stands behind any rock solid principles and no one has concrete standards. It’s like the foundation is missing from ones house, and as the winds of life blow the whole darn shack risks toppling over.

Hard Resolve is much like garlic. It stinks, it’s bitter and other people around you can’t help but notice that you have it all over you. But its health benefits are well documented and founded in scientific proof. As a matter of fact, garlic stands as arguably the world’s oldest known medicinal and culinary herb, packed with antioxidants that can help fend off cancer, heart disease and the effects of aging. Yeah, Hard Resolve and garlic have a lot in common and the ”common agent” in both is something called action.

Take action now and endure the immediate sting and momentary discomfort rather than letting the situation – whatever it may be – disintegrate into a pile of waste that could have been avoided. Hard Resolve is the answer to this, folks.

We all screw up in life, given fact. We all miss the mark, many times and often before succeeding. But the fact that we screw up isn’t at all important. Read that again: Failure is NOT important.

Recognizing the failure immediately and fixing your course, robbing the failure of any firepower to affect your life a moment longer is the key. Once again, in layman’s terms, the key is taking action. Hard Resolve.

Letting sleeping dogs lie doesn’t change a damn thing. Sweeping dirt under the carpet will only have you cussing and cursing on the day that you stumble. Leaving the moldy spot in your loaf of bread will only contaminate the whole package. Cancer unattended to will kill you.

Hard Resolve – it’s worth the trouble.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately in terms of modern food and the constitution thereof.  It’s no secret that over the course of the past 10 years our world’s food production has undergone a tumultuous change in the face of increasing supply and demand.

Genetically manipulated food production is the norm of the day.  Sadly enough, that means less substance and more volume to fill up your gullet.  When raw food products like vegetables and fruits are made nutritionally deficient, our bodies get fooled and we eat more bulk to make up for the empty feeling.  Going organic means spending a hefty dime more that most people simply cannot afford the luxury of, even though it can be argued that eating organic foods only would most likely equal eating less per serving because you’d get filled up faster with more substance per food article ingested.

I have personally made a life choice to buy organic foods whenever my budget allows a bit of leeway, which believe me is not often.  That said, this past week I bought myself 3kg of pure stock bull meat, 5kg of cow’s intestines including tongue, liver and heart and ground lamb straight off of a rural farm.  Truth be told, if I could buy all of my food produce straight from a farm I would do so.  Sometimes circumstances and one’s budget don’t allow for such, but nonetheless making the choice to do so whenever possible is a step in right direction for one’s overall health.

No bullshit, know what you are putting on your plate!

I am certain that the decline in overall health in the western world is by and in large due to the nutritional deficiencies of our food.  The astounding increase in various diseases over the western hemisphere should have everyone on notice, but for some strange reason most people are willfully ignorant.  A staunch bitchslap upside the head of our society is direly needed to wake the slumbering masses up to the reality that by the time the 30-somethings out there get around to retirement, their spines and innards will be gelatin unless something changes – BIG TIME.

Don’t be duped, if there is one thing that each and every one of us should invest in, it’s our health.  To quote Brad Pitt from the movie Fight Club, “You are not your fucking khakis”.  All of the “stuff” won’t amass to a damn thing if your health goes.  So the smart ones out there will put their health first before they lay any money down for material goods of any kind.

Mind, body, spirit: that is what we are.  No way around it, no denying the facts.

If you want to be well, you must resolve to pay the price.  There ain’t a fucking Camarro in the world that is going to compensate for diabetes or for the loss of a bodily organ.  We can cross the finish line of this race of life as a broken, heaving mass, or as a winner who finishes the race and crosses the finish line at the end with their heads held high.

Me personally, I’d rather resolve to pay the price to be a winner because life is short and as Brad Pitt once again coined in Fight Club, “It’s ending one minute at a time”.

The power of the will

Posted: March 3, 2011 in Life coaching

Here’s a good one.

Spring is almost here, and thank God for that! Most people get all wound up over losing weight and getting into shape for the beach et al every year around spring time. At the latest, that is when the reality of physical aesthetics on a personal level becomes prevalent.

Using that one single example as noted above, it’s important to understand that nothing moves and nothing happens without personal volition.

Volition is sheer will, plain and simple. It is the driving force that makes things happen.

Without the will to do and perform being present, the skill to do and perform has no meaning or credence whatsoever. Just because you can do the job does not necessarily mean that you will do the job.

Nowhere is this as applicable as in relationships. Many of us – myself included in the past – have been in relationships where the other person might have had all the tools necessary to get the ”job” done, but they did nothing and you seethed with frustration. Perhaps you even cut loose of that relationship, because the other person was not taking action based upon crystal clear information given, knowing the need present, and all you were left with was a vacant hole inside of yourself.

On a certain flight from Miami to London (UK), I asked a very charming lass sitting next to me, who was a couples counsellor, what the main reasons for divorce and the mass amount of failed relationships are these days. After all, I figured this was a pristine opportunity to get the goods straight from a pro – for free!

She gave me three reasons for why seemingly everyone is somebody’s ex: 1) Sex outside of the relationship, be it extra-marital or otherwise, with someone other than one’s current and steady partner, with the argument that ”It was ONLY sex!”; 2) ”What did I see in that person to begin with?! We have nothing in common!”; 3) ”I hear what you are saying and I completely understand, but to be honest … I could give a damn!”

Number three. Third strike and you’re out! Oh yeah, that one there is one of the biggest busts in relationship history, folks. I hear what you are saying, but to be honest, I could care less about your needs and your happiness = the will to do is NOT PRESENT.

Now when the will to do and perform is not present, the bottom line is that the person who is guilty does not have enough empowering reasons to move their keister and play ball. There are no such things as excuses, only reasons why things don’t get done.

Case in point: Liver damage.

If you take a person who is a lush, heavy into the booze, and send them to a doctor who diagnoses them with a liver that is ready to rupture and say sayonara, you will either have a corpse on your hands or then you will have a personal revival – complete with redemption aka a 180 turn. In such a scenario, if the reason is weighty enough, the catalyst will quit the booze straight up out of sheer fright, in the fear of losing their life. Or then they will give up the ghost and head six feet under in short order.

Once the will to do kicks into gear, there’s nary anything that can stop the force of personal volition. You have GOT TO WANT IT, and want it ENOUGH, or nothing is going to happen. Period.

Once everyone of us realizes that point, we will start treating people like we ourselves would hope to be treated, and we will start living with integrity because we will realize the good that personal volition will bring into our lives. And once again, the spinning of wheel of Karma takes another spin.

Think about that line of reasoning for a moment.

And then fill in the blanks…