Thursday, January 31, 2008

Meditation Instructions

Below is Meditation Instructions from
Insight Meditation is located in Redwood City and is a place I have long desired to attend to learn beginning meditation. This instruction below comes from the school. I hope you enjoy and if you are interested please take time to look at their site as they have a lot of information on Meditation and beyond.

yours in health and well-being

Brief Instructions for Sitting Meditation

from “The Issue at Hand” by Gil Fronsdal

Take a comfortable and alert posture, either on the floor or on a chair. Gently close your eyes and establish a sense of presence within your body. It is often helpful to start a period of meditation with two or three deep breaths to establish a clear connection with the body and the breath, and to shed some of the surface preoccupations of the mind. Then, direct your attention to simply but consciously noticing the physical sensations of breathing in and breathing out without trying to control or manipulate your breath.

As you become familiar with your breathing, rest your attention in the area of your body where the breath is clearest or easiest to attend to. This can be the rising and falling of the abdomen, the movement of the chest, or the sensation of air passing through the nostrils. To help maintain the connection between the physical sensations of breathing and awareness, people often find it useful to gently, silently label the inhalations and exhalations as “rising” and “falling” or “in” and “out.”

Because mindfulness of breathing develops our capacity to be settled and aware in the present, we give some priority to maintaining an attentive focus on the breath during sitting meditation. Whenever you become lost in preoccupation with the surface chatter of the mind, gently, without judgment, reestablish your attention on the breath. However, when some other sensation or experience becomes so strong that you find it difficult to remain attentive to the breath, let go of the breath and allow the stronger sensation to be the center of attention. You may find it useful to distinguish between the foreground and background of awareness. Initially, place your breathing in the foreground of awareness, allowing all other sensations and experiences to remain in the background. As long as you can maintain the breath in the foreground without straining, let the background experiences simply be. When some physical, emotional, or mental experience displaces the breath in the foreground, take this as the new resting place for your awareness.

As an aid to remaining mindfully focused on an experience that has come to the foreground, you may find it useful to gently and softly name it with a mental note. Sounds can be labeled as “hearing, hearing,” burning sensations as “burning, burning,” joy as “joy, joy,” and so on. What is important is to sense, feel, and remain present as fully as possible for whatever experience is being noted. Maintain an open awareness of it for however long it remains in the foreground of attention, noticing how, if at all, the experience changes. Once an experience is no longer predominant, or it is sufficiently acknowledged to no longer demand your attention, return your attention to the breathing.

Another way to describe mindfulness practice is to say that you consciously and clearly rest your attention on the breath until something strongly distracts you from it. When this occurs, the so-called “distraction” becomes the focus of the meditation. Actually, mindfulness practice has no distractions, only something new to pay attention to. Nothing is outside the scope of mindfulness meditation. The full range of our humanity is allowed to unfold within the light of our mindfulness. Physical sensations, feelings, emotions, thoughts, mental states, moods, and intentions are all included.

Throughout your meditation, keep the attention soft and relaxed, while alert and precise. If you can distinguish between the ideas, concepts, images, and stories associated with some experience on the one hand, and the immediate and direct felt-sense of the experience on the other, let mindfulness rest with the direct experience. Notice the physical or mental sensations that are actually, tangibly arising in the present. Notice what happens to them as you are mindful of them. Do they get stronger, weaker, or stay the same? Notice also your relationship to your experience. Do you notice aversion, desire appreciation, judgment, condemnation, fear, grasping, pride, or any other reaction? The realization, for example, that a painful physical sensation is different from your reaction to it can help you find balance in the midst of discomfort. It is also important to be mindful of when your reaction to an experience e is more pronounced than the experience itself. When it is, your reaction can become the resting place of awareness. Do not participate in your thoughts or stories but simply and silently be aware of what is actually occurring in the body and in the mind.

As we learn to be alertly and calmly present in our meditation, a deeper intimacy with ourselves and with the world will arise. As we cultivate our ability to remain mindful without interfering, judging, avoiding, or clinging to our direct experience, wellsprings of insight and wisdom have a chance to surface.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Pull-ups and Jerks

It sure feels good to be setting new marks on a regular basis as I continue to take small steps, one at a time forward with my training.



Tough pulling that 40kg over the bar consistently for the 6 singles. I have to make sure to get my stretch reflex to maximize my pull. Plus, put my hands a bit closer which optimized my leverage.


PR for the jerk in weight today. Felt great but I could tell I had never jerked this weight before.

Great day as I head toward the pinnacle of this cycle. Looking back over the past months, years I feel strong about my progress.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


The way I see it is everyday offers me the opportunity to learn, grow, prosper, observe, teach, learn, improve, challenge, rest, achieve, and so so much more. The way I see it is my goal everyday is too do just that, all the above and the more. As I have travelled this wonderful journey known as my life I have been keen to observe me and my place in the world, where I see myself and where I want to be. The key is to figure out ways to get there, how to achieve.

Last year training for the TSC and now the Beast challenge taught me so much about sport and life and what it takes to be successful and what brings me peace of mind, peace of spirit and heart. the process of this evolution has produced the greatest of rewards as I am more aware and conscious now than ever before of what I want to do professionally and personally.

Personal Goals (lifetime goals)
*Enjoy Mia, Jaz, family and friends
*train with the bells and powerlifts
*learn and practice Yoga
*learn and practice Aikido
*learn and use Spanish/Italian languages for the purpose of travel and living abroad.
*learn the guitar for purposes of meditation and pure love of music and the instrument
*travel, travel, travel and live abroad.

This is a brief yet concise summary of personal goals. They will continue to evolve and some I am just dabbling in small doses but consistently enough to get better.

Here is the tentative plan for the workout schedule
-strength with powerlifts/kettlebells/bodyweight
-Yoga: 30 minutes (ideally each will be meant to provide balance to the strength moves of that particular day)

-Yoga: Hour to 90 minute focused yoga practice.

In addition I will as always use meditation, mobility (z-health), foam roller, walks/hikes, etc to keep my body whole and healthy.

I have studied this beautiful art of partnership based flow and movement in the past. I really enjoyed the form and want to practice on a regular basis (2 times/week). I have looked into a couple of different options and I have found times that work for me. At this point it is on the back burner but I am aware of the benefits and reasons I want to incorporate this into my life. I do not foresee this until (September of 2008 at the earliest).

Is this a lot, yes! Can I do it all? Yes, but to what level of success? I am not 100% sure but I will attempt at some point to integrate all these aspects. Strength Training, Yoga and Aikido all provide something unique and different from one another. The key for me is I know they will strength my being and make me better on an all around level.

I have no kids, I have a great job with a flexible schedule that pays well and is built around caring for the body, mind and spirit and therefore I have the time to do all this. There are still some questions I have and want to answer in regards to my strength training goals. Once I have them situated I will be able to make a more concise decision.

Right now I have some professional goals related to personal with my studying Yoga and I want to devote more attention to this so I do not feel the need to do the Aikido at this point. In addition, starting in May at the latest I will be enrolling in my Transformational coaching program and this will take my focus as well. I do not and will not spread myself thin, instead I will maximize my time and use it wisely and make the necessary adjustments on a as needed basis. I do very well with time management and utilization of my resources, etc.

So for 2008 I will be studying Yoga and Transformational coaching for professional development as well as personal. I will continue on my strength training path. I am not sure what is exactly in store for this area but the way things look, it could possibly be a power lifting meet at some point ( I do realize that yoga and competitive power lifting might not be the best be discussed further with Rif and anyone else with ideas please share).


Movement with Breath and proper alignment. What I have observed is that many yoga participants move beyond the control of there breath and forget (or are not aware) of what it means to maintain a neutral spine. At every class I attend I see people pushing beyond where they should and as an instructor in training I must take this awareness into my classes when I begin teaching. You should 'stretch' yourself, this is the point of stretching in general, beyond normal lengths and to a point of discomfort but do not jump over the edge.

So, today I took my father to do yoga at Yoga is Youthfulness in Mountain View, a nice studio with good instructors. We did a nice class that allowed us to move into our stretches and challenge ourselves and repeat the posture. The instructor moved at good pace with a good explanation of the postures and demonstration. Class took an 1 hour and 15 minutes and I feel the difference. I focused on staying within my breath and a strong concentration on my body within space. Walked in tight walked out mobile.

Awesome to work with my dad and see him out at 67 working to improve himself.

PS: The instructor noted that I need to not lift so much weight, it is holding back my guess she does not know me well :-)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Presses and Squats

Time is ticking away and that day is coming closer. One thing I have learned about training for strength based contests is that you really feel the strength and progress as you near the date. You can look back upon the numbers over the last days, weeks, months and see how much progress you have made.


Connecting the dots from the floor to my brain sure makes it much easier to move the weight. I felt the power surge today, especially the last 2 singles.


THis was much a bigger load and I could feel the body having to work more to handle the loads. At the same time I could feel that I am much stronger and better with the move as a whole. Also, I know why people prefer singles, doubles and even triples to the 5x5.

Yoga: 30 minutes

Sunday, January 27, 2008


The Way of the Champion, Sun Tzu's Art of War, Tao Wisdom and the philosophies behind being and achieving greatness. This book by Jerry Lynch is one of the most powerful and simple and easy books to comprehend and implement into everyday life and sport.

Why do I bring this up? One day walking through the bookstore this book caught my eye and in that moment I knew I had to purchase it. I thought it would be great for me, the athletes I was coaching at that time and clients. Little did I know how my intuition would serve me.

Today I was reading the chapter titled Lessons of Champion Virtues. As I got to the virtue of Belief I realized that the feelings I was describing in my post on Friday are these exact feelings.

"While one may lack belief in one's power to control results, belief in one's triumph is essential when triumph is defined as one's willingness to do all that's possible to discover personal greatness."

This portion got me to thinking about the power of the journey to personal greatness and all that you discover along the way and the truth is how it is essential to go to whatever lengths you deem necessary to achieve your dreams and goals no matter the results.

Dr Lynch goes on to say;
"Believe in yourself. Know that you have accomplished a great deal. You have skills, strategies, and enough talent to perform well. Simply show up at your event and BELIEVE that you can demonstrate your current level of fitness. Believe that you are in a position where the best will happen. Expect to have fun and enjoy the process. Believe you will be better because of the experience."

Wow! This is how I feel. My persistence (another of the virtues) and hard work have lead to my achievement and excellence. I am referring to my daily achievement and excellence which I am only truly beginning to have the true compassion (another virtue) and courage (virtue) to utilize in my daily life.

This evolution, this awareness, these lessons and opportunities that exist and I create daily are so enriching and the true reward of life and the experience. How grateful and thankful I am to have and be on the path I currently walk. I am humbled to have some many wonderful teachers such as Dr. Lynch and all the others I have and have yet to encounter for all the wisdom they so openly share and encourage me and others whom they cross paths with to do.

I am honored to be able to share these gifts, experiences, insights, wisdom, opinions, feelings, etc. with my community to enhance and enrich the experience that we call life. I look forward to learning from all of you whom take time to read my blog, speak with me, train with me, work with me and together I believe in the power of the community and what we can do to make this life and this world a wonderful place to live for all mankind, nature, animals, etc.

Peace & Gratitude

Friday, January 25, 2008

Pistol & Snatch

Focused, Concentrated, Intented effort. These are key factors in performance training. Feel refreshed and motivated today. I am stoked to be where I am and knowing that my focus, my consistent effort and dedication are paying off in so, so many ways. And, in 21 days I get to prove to myself on the platform what it means to set a goal, plan, prepare and achieve. That feels damn good.

The key for me is not the accomplishment of the goal but how I endured and managed myself through the journey and the fact that I was able to get to the point where I had the chance to achieve the goal. That means that I followed through and practiced what I preached. This brings a sense of peace, a calming to my being. I can then take this wisdom and share with others and help others along their journey to their goal.

I am honored and cherish the fact that I am in a position to contribute and share with others on their journey to health and wellness. This is an empowering feeling and it further enhances the peace and well-being that I contain in my mind, body, and spirit.

I believe I have a powerful and influencial (if allowed) role in the lives of those I encounter. Therefore I believe it my duty to be the best I can be and live the most honorable life possible.


Key Points
*It all starts from the ground up. Make sure to actively involve your feet pressing down on all four corners.
*crush the bell in your hands and with your arms/elbows in your rib cage
*Push it out, your abs that is creating tension.
*Lean in too it as you. Laws of physics and counterbalance.

Snatch (week 3)

So here is the goal. 5 sets of 5 reps/arm for a total of 25 reps/arm. From here my goal will be to get up in total reps in a workout and what that number represents is hard to tell at this point (in my training mind I feel 50/50/arm in a workday)...first things first.

Heavy Abs
Bosu Ball 32/10 (on chest)x1
Bosu Ball 20/10x2 (behind head).
Bosu Ball 20/6/6x2 (rotation)

Thursday, January 24, 2008


A great day to practice my yoga. One of my clients cancelled and the house was nice and quiet (nothing unusual) so I decided to do a strong and long yoga practice today. I choose to do a power yoga, vinyasa based flow practice through the guidance of Baron Baptiste who is a star in this form of Yoga. This form takes you through the vinyasa (down dog, to plank, to pushup, to up dog and into whatever move i.e. warrior 1, etc.) and the practice builds off of this. there are plenty of balancing postures, twists, forward and backbends, lunge movements, etc. to make your body feel alive and well. 75 minutes with a wonderful 5 minute Shivasana at the end to quiet your mind, body, spirit and warm down the practice.

I must admit I feel great and this after a big workout day yesterday. Now that I am done with my daily practice of yoga I can turn my attention to this wonderful evening and prepare for a great day and workout tomorrow.

10 singles with the 32kg for pistols
5 sets of triples with the 40kg for Snatch

and Yoga of course ;-)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

pull-ups & Jerks

4 weeks and counting to the RKC and Taming the Beast. Today I trained what I believe, strangely enough, to be my toughest of the 3 moves



Pulls felt very solid today and I am that much closer to where I need to be.


As Mark noted these are a great assistance move for both my Presses and Pistols. I do enjoy the move and today I noticed my quads (must be from the squats and pistols) which this move places a large emphasis on the 'tear drop' of the quad muscles.

Feels really good to be training and approaching my goal of taming the Beast. The last 10 months of my training has been the best and most focused effort I have ever had toward training and performing.

Often before I relied on pure ability and a strong mind. Now I am learning how to package it all together it a thing of beauty and performance. Plus, My body and mind are holding up very well.

As usual I performed my daily Yoga 30 plus minute practice.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Presses and Squats



Felt great today, much easier than last week and on track. My right side felt smooth and well connected but did have a bit of trouble with the left making it smooth. Tendency to rotate out and I need to stay under the bell.


Small miscalculation. Meet to do 5x5 at 258. However this was by far my best day squatting. I know my technique needs to improve (always) but I felt strong, powerful and explosive and with a great rhythm. Not bad having Nick part of the workout either. As he Box squatted 387 for 7 doubles quite easily...extra motivation.

25 minutes of a good power yoga with a large emphasis on crescent lunge, warrior 2, reverse warrior poses following a Sunsalutation A, B, C. Missed both Sat and Sunday so felt the need to move. May do a 25 minute hatha yoga later as well.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Pistol & Snatch

The days are creeping closer to the Beast challenge, time for me to be a beast and no better time or feeling ;-)

28/1/1x5 (30 seconds between sets)...sure feels easier after the Beast :-)

No matter how I slice, characterize, explain, and so on this is one son of gun of a move. Just holding that 48kg bell is a workout.

Snatch week 2

Started out a bit weak in the warm-up but turned on the mind focus, directed my intentions, visualized and busted through. This is a serious ball of iron to be throwing around especially at my weight. Feels good and the grip strength was much better today.

Good week of training. I have 3 days of yoga and will do some today as well giving me 4 out 5 and 6 out of 7.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Pull-ups and jerks



Stronger than expected pulls. Had a nice explosive movement today especially on my first rep. I have to be certain not to lose my stretch reflex.


What can I say, I like the move and I feel the connection to the motion and movement. I am much better synced and linked.

Stretch the tight, strength the weak.

Eat This, Not That

This vs That

Shiitakes and maitakes vs Button mushrooms

Grass fed beef vs corn fed beef

Red Lentils vs mashed potatoes

Wild Salmon vs albacore

Quinoa vs Pasta

Kale vs green beans

Green tea vs Coffee


Organic Red Wine vs Beer

This information I read in the Latest issue of Best LIfe Magazine (Jeff Gordon on the Front Cover). I read through each the this vs that sequence and I see and understand the logic and reason behind their choices. Rather than bore you with the details, if your interested pick up the mag or even a subscription, many interesting things contained in this magazine.

PS: All of the This category of foods I eat on a regular (weekly) basis.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Training VS Working Out

Is there a difference between training and working out? Yes! How so?

Let me confess that I am a workout junkie. I love working out doing all sorts of sports and activities. In fact for much of my life this is exactly what I did, play and play everything and thank goodness I was fairly good at everything which made it so much more fun for me. However, I never recognized my true potential because I was essentially a scatter brained athlete playing this and that but never putting the time and effort plus focus necessary to see myself all the way through to my potential. The biggest and most glaring area for me is Rugby where I had skill, ability and the intangibles to achieve great things but no focus.

So here I am now, the old guy with the stories that keep getting better and better but not what I should be telling or at least could be telling. Let me say that I see nothing wrong with being a workout kinda person. i believe that it is essential that we do what we perceive best for us. After all, who am I too tell anyone else what to do...of course that is unless you hire me to do so ;-)

However, since I changed my mindset to one of training I have had more success, learned more about myself, the process, the journey and the taste of sweet success or as I say the dessert portion of the menu than every before. The rewards have been far greater than I would have expected.

There is a true difference between knowing what you have to do and what you have forth coming than 'playing by ear'. I know that if I keep squatting eventually those numbers are going to grow and it is only going to get more challenging, just look at my blog and you will see that over the last 8 to 9 months my workouts have only increased. Better yet analyze Rifs blog of the last 3 years and look at his evolution and where he started to where he is now, peaking at the highest level I have seen in many years through much trial and tribulation.

See for me once I allowed myself to be trained and started to train for something my world opened to a new universe and I am like a kid in a candy store. In addition, I am truly a better coach now than ever before and I no longer work people out, I train them. The end of this is better results and way less issues such as injury and attrition.

I am not saying I may not ever 'workout' again but I am enjoying training and there is a significant difference in many ways both personally and professionally. I am by far working towards my best ever and at the ripe young age of 33 and I attribute much of this to the dedication, consistency, persistence, patience and focus to open myself up to real goals, with real deadlines and real platform to perform.

Any questions or comments feel free to share.

with peace and gratitude

Presses and Squats...take your time

Do not Rush, there is no hurry. I must remember this when pressing the bell or anything. Overactived my levator today pressing the bell and let me tell you how much that saps the strength/


half Press
32/2/2x1 + 1 full press
28/1/1x1 + 1 full press


Sunday, January 13, 2008


I am very excited about my next evolutions in my personal and professional life. Beginning in February I will start my first of a series of 12 Coaching courses directed toward becoming a life coach and thereby enhancing my already successful business of coaching. The course work will take a little over a year to earn my advanced certificate.

In April of this year I will begin my 200 hour Yoga Certification course. This will take place from April 6th through the 19th in Costa Rica. I am excited to surround myself in a retreat atmosphere where each day is focused on learning and practicing yoga and meditation amongst other soul enhancing, soul exploring aspects.

Both of these certification courses will add to and enhance me on a personal and professional level. I look forward to having the balance of these areas combined with my other skills. I look forward to bringing more ability and skills/techniques to the wonderful people whom I work with in this lifetime as well as to my own evolution of my being on the path to living a meaningful healthy and well-being life.

I am a student and an explorer who loves to delve into new experiences that challenge the being to live life to the fullest. I love the adventurous aspect of life and the joyous ride of each and everyday. I am looking forward to these and so many other extraordinary opportunities that await me in this life as i strive daily towards my own personal enlightenment and freedom and to truly make a difference in the lives of people, society and the world.

We can achieve and accomplish anything we want with a dedicated, committed and consistent effort combined with a healthy mental, physical, emotional and spiritual state of being as well a kind heart and loving manner. So this life, this world is my oyster and I plan to cash the pearl of wisdom in and leave a legacy.

Hope you all enjoy and catch on and ride the wave with me. As they old saying goes, there is very few that are willing to go and therefore will be on the journey of the extra mile. I hope to be apart of the change that brings more people who will join me and the others who laid the foundation for us in that journey.

With Peace and Gratitude

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Today was the day to test my strength, here is how it went



Yes! that is the way you train and prepare, to go out test it and do it! Feel really great after this. Hard, by all means but do able. Really focused on being Mindful in my effort, preparing the body and mind for the move and truly flowing with the motion...successsful practice.

Snatch (back off week)

However, this week I choose to back off the volume but increase the weight. I need to start to handle the 40 in my Snatch training, this will make the 32 feel easier. I plan a 3 week cycle of progressive training with the 40 after a strong 3 week cycle with the 32.

Let me just say that snatching the 40 is a whole new level of challenge. The respect and admiration i have for those who use this as a toy and those who rep out the 48kg. That is a big piece of mass moving through a large range of space at rapid speeds picking up more and more inertia and wanting to pull, push, throw the body all over....gotta love it, makes me smile :-)

The power and strength lies in the mind and the ability to focus thoughts, energy and effort in the direction of your intention at that specific moment. When in movement I hear, see nothing unless Rif is around then I allow his voice to enter my space. This is where combined with a proper training/program design that I feel the true strength and ability come from. It is the things people cannot see, touch, feel that can and many times do a make a difference with the intended outcome/experience.

additional work


Friday, January 11, 2008

Back at it

returned late last night from a little vacation getaway to Mexico. So I have been dormant to say the least over the past week and eager to workout. Today I wanted to make up for my Wed and Thurs workouts in a light manner

Pull-ups (hooked weight on feet)

Bench Press

this was my schedule back off week so I did 77% of the load but with a good volume

Yoga, 30 minutes

Tomorrow I have Snatch and Pistol so a good first day back

Friday, January 04, 2008

Pistol and Snatch

This is supposed to be a back down week on the Pistols so here is how it went
16/2/2x2 Warm-up
32/1/1/1/1x1 (2/side)
32/1/1/1/1/1/1x1 (3/side)
32/1/1 partials (3 levels)
32/1/1 partials (2 levels)

Point to work my weak points, teach me to stay tight, help me with m position

Snatch (week 3 of 4 week cycle)

Heavy Abs
Crunches of various kinds (janda, rock and roll, behind the head, rock to the boat) all with the 32kg (approximately 30 reps)

Yoga (30 minutes)

NOTE On Squats
The squat is making me stronger, across the board. The squat I believe makes me better at snatching and makes me better with my pistols, as does Yoga (balance and stability while standing on one foot). Now the squat does not help the cardio side but sure makes me use my legs better and back. I feel the strength on my hips, back and legs transferring to the Snatch.

PS: headed to Cancun Mexico for a few days and will be off line. No KBs, Squats, Pull-ups, etc. just some Yoga and R&R.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Bench Press & Yoga

Week 3 of my bench press cycle. Today I increased my weight and decreased the reps here is how it went



Last week I did 225 for 5 triples. I felt strong with this weight and good form but along way to go yet. I am making progress and after the Feb RKC I will try to work with Rif again on my technique.

Assistance Work

Rolling Tricep Extensions (Dicks) DB

Bicep Curl DB

Evening Training

30 minutes of Yoga

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Pull-ups and Jerks

Weighted pull-ups
32/1x8 sets

Strong singles with a very focused pull. Have to really focus on the lats and pulling myself in at the top end. Top end is the weak point of the lift.


Down week, 80% of previous weeks total. Same reps/set and weight just a lesser total volume. Smooth