Category Archives: mental fitness

The Ultimate Weapon in Fitness

There is always an ultimate weapon, no matter what you are doing.

Fitness is no different.

For many years in the fitness game I was a proponent of the 3 pillars of a healthy lifestyle, nutrition, exercise and rest. I gave talks, wrote articles and constantly banged on about the 3 pillars. I firmly believed these are the keys.

And then a few years ago and after many others had discovered this, it dawned on me that I was wrong. Firstly I did a course in neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and the power of the unconscious (or sometimes referred to the subconscious) mind and how it influences behaviour, our biases, our vocabulary and actually, a significant chunk of our lives.

It is what we think it is, we are who we think we are, things happened the way we thought they did – even if they didn’t. There are loads and loads of examples of situations that occurred that people witnessed DIFFERENTLY. Scenes of accidents are the most commonly misinterpreted events recorded (who recorded them?) because the trauma that occurred shaped perceptions and the subsequent recollections of events in those that witnessed them. The worse the event the more variation in the witness accounts. Quite likely because the brain decides to filter extremely traumatic events so we don’t have too many bad memories. True story.

The minds that men and women have are incredibly rich in storage capacity and creativity. When you consider the accomplishments of so many people over many thousands of years it’s clear that we are blessed with powers that I believe many have no idea how to activate – and I include myself in that category. The only thing about that that I wish to point out is this.

I built a fitness business worth multimillions of dollars (when I sold my shareholding) with only $10,000 of my own money and yeah I made a more than 100x return on that 10k plus I also helped a number of others (shareholders that exited) make a lot of money too.

I firmly believed that if I built a business with certain attributes it would be an unqualified success. In my mind there was no limit to what I could achieve because I was passionate about it, I was skilled in the area, I had business experience both as a senior employee and in running my own business and I was determined, very, very determined.

Crucially (it now transpires) I had also imagined what I wanted the business to look like. I had daydreamed my way to a vision of it in many facets of the business from who my employees would be, to how the business would be run and even on how I could successfully exit the business. These details were firmly etched in my minds eye and were coupled with passion and experience that I just knew would bring me and the team success.

The plan came together very nicely and after just over 7 years I left the business and moved country. Then the fun really began. I threw myself into learning. I didn’t ever really enjoy school, I thought it was boring and didn’t see a point to it. I did tertiary level studies for an engineering certificate which was a little more interesting and then a Masters in nutrition and exercise science which was much better in terms of knowledge gathering and interested me greatly.

And then I did the NLP studies and wow, did that open my eyes. The power of our minds is in fact limitless, it sounds like a catchphrase and probably corny too but it is so very true. What we believe to be our reality, is in fact just that and the way we can change a situation is firstly understanding we can change it and then secondly, going about affecting change.

Next time when you are in a sticky situation or one that doesn’t seem to have a path out, say to yourself, “imagine for a moment this situation has ended. How did it end, what happened to end it?” Let your mind run free with options!

This leads me to why be in a box, why attach a description to yourself, why act like you’re supposed to? How much of your life is lived because that’s the way you’ve been taught to live it? We have been conditioned from birth to believe certain truths that with closer examination do not pass even basic scrutiny. Our brains and minds are plastic and highly malleable!

Where am I going with this? Ok, our minds are very powerful tools, “whether you think we can or you think you can’t, you are right”. I find it remarkable that when seeing interviews of people that have completed some of the most incredible feats in business, human endeavour and sports achievements, these people almost seem to dismiss what they’ve done as not necessarily easy but almost like it was just another day at the office. They are in the position of stating that they were just doing what they do, what comes naturally. Look at Tiger Woods, I remember seeing him as a 3 year old on the American TV show, “That’s Incredible” with his Dad hitting golf shots and being so really good at a very young age. I think all of us have talents, not necessarily sports it could be music, acting, maths, writing, whatever. Woods’ Dad could have tried a bunch of things before they finally picked up a golf club. Look at Andre Agassi his father built him into a tennis player and Andre hated the sport but his father insisted. They created Andre maybe how Tiger was created. In the field of business, wealthy business owners groom sons and daughters for roles in businesses all the time and I am sure similar things happen in all walks of life.

All of us have much power and it is locked in our minds. We have to open the door to this power.

If kids can do it with guidance from parents, can adults do it with external guidance and internal fortitude? What’s the key component?

Belief. What drives this? A mind that can see an outcome? One that has an unbending desire and fierce determination to achieve their dream?

Therefore I decided there are actually 4 pillars, nutrition, exercise, rest and our mind game, our mental fitness. This last one, the newest addition, it’s more important than the other 3, period. It literally underpins the entire pyramid.

The gold level of our health is how we approach it mentally. The word hypochondriac describes exactly the opposite to what I am talking about, someone that spends an inordinate amount of time thinking they’re ill or sick. As much as this individual uses his mind to be sick we can flip this and use it to be in a mindset of great health. What about the placebo effect? Time and again in medicine we hear of people using their minds for beneficial medical outcomes.

Previously I have shared research proving that a test group during a strength training intervention did nothing but visualise doing the training and ended up with a significant increase in strength. In another study, researchers at the Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, US found that by simply imagining doing bicep curls over a period of weeks, strength in the arm increased by 13.5%. Mental imagery of successful lifting of weights has also proven to be highly beneficial in a research setting.

Our minds are immensely powerful and I believe most people only scratch the surface of their capabilities. Over many years I tried meditation with mixed success. I now use breathwork very effectively and this also works well with my visualisation that I have used frequently in my life. I encourage all my clients to use breathwork as I believe it unlocks a lot of possibilities for us.

Whether you believe you can or you believe you can’t – you are right.

The glass is always half full, begin using your innate power and it will underpin significant success in your life!

Think and Grow Fit

One of my favourite books of all time is Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. I read this book in my early 20’s and it’s had a profound effect on my life since. The basic tenet of the book is that now common saying, “whatever the human mind can believe, the human brain can achieve”. There’s a lot going on within those words as I’m sure you can see when rereading it a few times. Most importantly from my perspective the words are saying to me to let my imagination be free in every sense. So whatever I decide to do or accomplish it is within my reach.

The immediate example from my own life is imagining my fitness business to what it would be in a few years time. There was no timeline or exact numbers in this dream I had for the business but a clear picture of what success would look like for me. And that was large groups of clients enjoying exercising in Fort Canning Park in Singapore. From that dream spawned a multimillion dollar business.

Me on the far left leading clients and trainer’s on a race in Singapore

What we think about is very important as it pertains to our reality. The words we use when we talk to ourselves, especially the quality of these words, is also very important. Significant influences over these words is the type of input we subject ourselves to on a daily basis. Jim Rohn a well known entrepreneur said, “Don’t say, ‘If I could, I would.’ Say, ‘If I can, I will.’” Rohn understood the importance of the quality of the words we use not only in our internal dialogue but also in the language we use when with others. He also said, “we are the average of the 5 people we spend most time with” which will again heavily influence our thinking.

If we think that we can’t, well, we can’t but if we think we can, well, we can. How many times have you watched sport on TV and the analyst has said, “he/she talked him/herself out of that” or “the body language suggests he/she is now beaten”. Or you see the player or athlete with a pained expression and uttering expletives or other negative language under his/her breath.

There are thousands of books written annually about the power of the mind and harnessing it to serve you rather than not serve you.

Just like the information contained being significantly more than just the title of the Napoleon Hill book, the title of this post is trying to relate the importance of your thoughts around the exercise you do and your training progress.

Firstly if you know you can achieve your fitness goals because all you need is a plan and a schedule then this knowledge is power! All of us can do this, it’s a very easy success formula, if I apply the right type of stimulous nothing can really stop me achieving my goals.

Time and again with clients, I prepare detailed plans for their success and in the first 1-2 weeks there’s generally pushback of some sort or another – “I will go into starvation mode if I don’t eat frequently enough”, “I have always eaten pasta with no issues”, “I think I will get big muscles if I lift weights” and the list goes on.

Preconceived ideas, biases and fixed beliefs hold them back even when an expert that just about guarantees their success tells them otherwise.

Fortunately for my clients I am insistent and remind them that one of us is the expert here and I have a track record of success.

In other posts I have referred to my use of breathwork as a means to think (and meditate) more clearly. Upon waking this is the first activity of most of my days and during this 30-45 minutes I am both steering the journey and also at points allowing it to steer me. I like to initially settle on my day ahead and the positive, healthy outcomes I will see in the schedule ahead and then after this allow my mind to wander a bit and see where I go – some of my best solutions to challenges and as well, ideas for business have come during this time.

Living alone gives me the freedom to undertake this activity and I know some readers will be thinking, “I wish! I have kids, animals, a partner and to find time for this would be impossible.”

Do you see how your mindset is defeating you if you actually thought this? Wake up 30 minutes earlier! I don’t have my first appointment until 730am and I wake at 6am and I live alone. Make the time. Don’t make excuses and don’t let your internal dialogue defeat you.

I built Singapore’s largest independent fitness business because I knew I could. It started simply with a thought and then a plan that had logical, achievable steps.

Just like Napoleon Hill taught us you can think and grow rich, I am saying you can think and grow fit!

The best time management hack I’ve ever used!

I know you’re busy, you wouldn’t have clicked on this link if you weren’t. So I will make it short and to the point.

Many people are in a rush. As soon as the alarm wakes them the rush starts and the day careens off along the manic pathway you mostly without realising it are creating for yourself. Your schedule is tight, it moves quickly and you are productive. Most of the time……..some of the time? Ever?

By planning for a busy day you will create one – is this truly serving you?

I coach a lot of client’s that are just like you. Super, super busy. Busy = stress and stress = cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that will not let you build muscle and it will keep you fat.

What we really should be wanting is creating an internal environment of growth hormone (GH) abundance. With this you will shed fat and build lean muscle. Men and women.

In our 20’s and early 30’s our bodies reward us with an abundance of GH. Sadly this lifestyle Utopia is shortlived and into our later 30’s, 40’s and 50’s the tap is slowly turned off and 60’s and 70’s GH is almost non-existent. Quite why this happens can only be speculated on and usually falls into the category of the “aging process”, medical jargon for “we don’t know why”.

Fortunately for my clients, primarily men and women in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, I can help them with this challenge. I have studied this issue in depth because being mid-fifties myself I NEED TO KNOW!

How does this relate to time management?

Well unless you are willing to manage your time better you will remain in a “rush” mental state and will always be feeding your system cortisol. This will not help your fitness and health goals.

I have developed a daily hack which takes literally 15-30 minutes every day and truly works. Combined with daily data collection my clients complete in 5-10 minutes we can move your state from that of “rushed” to one of calm and flow. Being present and highly efficient with great urgency to complete tasks are all within your grasp by using this hack. Your day will flow.

So here it is.

Wake, drink water, find a quiet spot and sit, on a chair, on the floor you can even stand. Close your eyes and breathe, I recommend a protocol from a master of breathwork Wim Hof, this is it HERE. By following this breathwork your day will commence with a calm state. Once you have completed the 15 minutes of breathing you focus on your day, picking out the key components of your schedule and visualise great success with each. You can do this with your schedule in front of you or simply in your minds eye. This takes 5-10 minutes.

You must believe in your success. All of us in our DNA know we can get done what we need to do to gain success. Focus, immersion – JUMP! Everything will then flow.

What I will guarantee you is taking this type of action, following this mornng routine and combining the calming effect of the breathwork and affirming your success beliefs in each of your tasks for the day, you will achieve greater success.

Once this action is taken your next step is to make room in your schedule for investment into yourself – the 4 parts of a healthy life, sleep, exercise, food and your mental fitness – ALL of this becomes so much easier to combine once optimal state is achieved every morning and your day is guaranteed to be successful!

You schedule exercise, you know what and when you will be eating and you know your fasting schedule. Everything becomes flow. And the amazing thing is your state changes positively and your hormonal balance begins to switch from one that cortisol dominates to one that is dominated by GH. The benefits to your physical body will be huge especially when you train, eat and rest in a beneficial fashion because your body is primed for optimisation!

With the right training/exercise protocol you will thrive! Try it now and if you need a little more motivation and/or accountability, reach out to me and lets talk!

What’s your training “why”?

Simon Sinek tells us we need to have a strong “why” in order to gain the necessary motivation to complete a task. He’s been around for many years now and here he is in his first break into mainstream consciousness talking about, why?

Sinek takes a strong analytical approach to motivation and in doing so he arrives at a chemical stimulation that drives a lot of very positive behaviours primarily based on the reward pathway.

If you are having difficulty motivating yourself to get into an exercise regime I suggest you examine why it is you think you need to do it. More on this below. It’s easy to then visualise yourself AFTER being in the gym, going for the run or doing that yoga session and how good it feels to have completed what it was you intended AND got all the physical and mental benefits from doing it. There’s strong motivation there.

But if it’s simply to get a 6 pack or hang out for an hour where you might meet a cute girl or guy, there isn’t a strong why.

I’d like you to think about this past year, in this world we now inhabit. How many of your freedoms have been taken from you? What about rights? For some it’s the freedom of travel, for others it’s been their right to an education, to an income. Some have been seriously affected mentally. Being restricted in movement whether from your house, your immediate area, your state or country has a number of negative mental consequences. Plus physical health ones too. How does going to the gym or yoga class or getting out for a run work when some politician decides you can’t leave your house?

For those of us that were already quite fit using at-home equipment is an easy option – I actually built an online fitness program while in lockdown, you can check it out here. I also wrote an eBook, you can download that via this link.

We can have a lot of things taken from us (I am sure that’s a line in a movie somewhere 🙂 ) but they can never take our ability and right to look after ourselves!


Because fitness is healthiness and being healthy helps us work better, sleep better, be better humans and all of this means the people that rely on us will get our very best, more often.

Fitness is not hard to attain, you just have to have a strong “why”. What stronger why right now in this world we live, is betterment of our health, mental and physical? The benefits are not only very important, they could end up being essential.