It was about 12 years ago that I first signed up for the Gym. I was always an active person growing up. I played a lot of sports as a kid(Basketball, Tennis, Rugby), was in to surfing and also took part in Athletics. I was 15 when I started Breaking and from then on it became my main source of exercise as well as lite Calisthenics, right up until I started working out in a Gym.
Like most newbies to the Gym I started out on a very generic weights based workout plan that went something like:
Monday – Chest and Triceps, Tuesday – Back and Biceps, Wednesday – Legs and Abs, Thursday – Shoulders, and Friday to Sunday off.
I began buying all the different supplements from pre workouts to different types of protein powders and Branch chain amino acids. You name it I tried it! And after only 4 months of hitting the gym religiously I was noticeably bigger. I was always quite scrawny as a kid so I personally got a huge ego boost off of gaining that first initial chunk of size known as beginner gains. People started giving me compliments on how I looked. I felt great and I wanted more. I was very naïve and new to the whole world of working out.
In the 7 years that followed I tried all kinds of different Gym workouts, supplements and fad diets. I eventually stopped working out completely and gained weight. I wasn’t Breaking that much. Was riddled with injury and due to huge changes in my lifestyle I became a very negative and unpleasant person to be around at times. The added weight and injuries took its toll on my confidence. I wasn’t as agile as I was and my endurance was dog shit! I accepted that I was just getting older and that my time was done, and I wasn’t even 30 yet.
I began having serious hip and lower back problems. It hurt to run, jump and especially hurt to break. I went in for an X-ray one day and then a chiropractor diagnosed me with Osteoarthritis which was very rare for someone my age. His advice “You must stop doing what caused you the issue in the first place.”. All of these signs were pointing to what I had thought at the time to be my inevitable fate. An early breaking retirement at the age of 28. HUH ???!!!
Soon after I was diagnosed with Osteoarthritis there was a death in the family and I flew home immediately for the funeral. One of my closest cousins just lost his Mother, my Aunty. My cousin was forced to abandon his very successful career in Las Vegas when he got the news that his Mother had only a few weeks to live. He flew straight home to New Zealand to be by her side, to make sure her last wishes were honoured, and stayed home for 3 years after that to be there for his brothers and sisters after their huge loss.
This event played an important role in the biggest transformation of my life. Going home to witness my cousins strength and sacrifice, to spend quality time with family and to re-visit my ancestral land had seemed to fill a big void in me almost instantly. I began to learn that my overall understanding of strength was very simplistic. My idea of Health was very shallow and ignorant. I felt like a flame dwindling deep inside my soul had just been fanned by something. I later on realised that the flame I had felt deep inside of me was actually my true self. The source from which anything can be made possible. It is a part of us that everyone has, but is in a constant battle with what holds us back from reaching our full potential. What’s that holding us back you ask?
Fear comes in many forms. The fear of not living up to a specific standard, fear of neglect, fear of our past, fear of our future and also a big one… Fear of failure. Lets say that we have a massive boulder in front of us and that boulder is ‘Success’. If we were to smash that boulder in to a thousand pebbles, each pebble would represent a ‘Mistake’. We live in a society where we can be ridiculed for making mistakes, its the way it is. If you give up because of the ridicule well than that is ‘Failure’. Use those mistakes as lessons, use them as motivation as inspiration. I realised that my life was heavily controlled by fear and I needed to change that and I was finally willing to change!
I was put on to a Maori Holistic Health concept that changed the way I view Life forever. The concept is called ‘Te whare tapa wha’, which translates to ‘The four sided house’:
This health model is very similar to what Que Rock MZK talks about in his song ‘Medicine Wheel’. The four sided house concept shows you that each wall relies on one another for overall strength. If one wall is weak, missing or out of balance than all the other walls are weak making it easier for things such as Fear to knock down our walls and enter our house.
I think its very important for us to first educate ourselves on what true Health is. Some of us are so caught up on the way our bodies look in the mirror because we are conditioned by societies distorted definition of beauty. We first need to get our Minds right! I used to have a very bad attitude in terms of making myself the victim in many instances when I was just afraid of failure the whole time. For many people they are afraid to try their best. Its easier on the ego to go half hearted and not reach the target than to do your best and possibly not reach it. People are very afraid of self reflection because we all have certain things about ourselves that we aren’t happy with yet we ignore those insecurities and would rather choose to live in denial.
Physical Health is only one part of our over-all Health. Yet for those who focus solely on this whilst ignoring the other walls, you will always most certainly have a very limited outlook on physical health regardless. The more you involve all walls in a Holistic approach, the deeper you start to understand each wall specifically as they are all connected and strengthen each other. Spend time with family, socialise, research, be more active in your community, do things for the spirit and feel how positivity and giving back has the effect to energise you in so many ways! Check the message by Nathan Helberg below!
It is also very important to set goals, otherwise you’ll be like a car driving at night without head lights. Keep in mind goals can change over time and I assure you they will once you start getting your walls in check, and your priorities start to change and evolve. When I first started on my Health and Fitness journey I wanted to get big and ripped. Now I have a different understanding when exercising and my training acts as my meditation also. If I’m feeling a little frustrated mentally I go in at training.
My training has moved from the gym to outdoors. It’s not that I am against working out in a gym, not at all! I’m just more in tune with myself and now know what it is that I want personally out of physical training. Majority of my training is Calisthenics based and at the beach or in the park. It makes me happy and I love the outdoors. Nothing for me compares to looking out in to the ocean between sets, I love it!
I also learnt the Importance of a solid warmup/stretching program, as well as some type of rehabilitation program. Many Bboys become disheartened as they get older and realise that their bodies aren’t the same as they were in their late teens or early 20’s. I’m in my early 30’s and can honestly say I’m in the best shape of my life due to years of research and experience with different types of movement. I make sure I am constantly applying and critiquing myself to find what works best for me. It’s not always the case that we aren’t as strong, flexible and agile as we get older. It’s that our bodies evolve and so must our methods accordingly. It put a lot more time aside to warm up and I also have a body rolling program I do before and after training which has transformed my body in great ways(Will talk about that in another article), however I move a lot better now than I ever used to!
This is just the first of many articles to come. Be on the look out for MZK fit. Sample Calisthenic workouts, food knowledge and motivation to lift the spirit.
Health is Wealth!