Archive for the ‘Life coaching’ Category

I was recently interviewed by Pauliina Tuomola for Radio City in Finland at a private screening of the prolific new movie, God Bless America.

Below you can hear my interview (partly in Finnish, partly in English), with some very sharp comments about the film and its subject matter.


I was interviewed in Finnish by Basso Radio in Finland this morning, listen to the interview here:

Oskari Pastila (the director of both the current Crossfyre video documentary and the upcoming StarBuck movie out in 2013) leaves the camera mugging to me. Photo: Valtteri Pokela

Here is a link in Finnish to the printed addition to the interview:

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.


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:

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.


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.