Thursday, 30 December 2010

Banner change #5 to #6 (and cosmetic update)

As the New Year approaches, so again, it is time to refresh things. A new banner design (just some improvised editing of a photo of mine taken in the local Jesmond Dene park from the summer/autumn), and a new blog theme.

New post/content to follow over weekend.

Old banner:

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New banner:

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Sunday, 19 December 2010

The wintry meditation

Very few posts of late on this blog – I have been extraordinarily busy. An enormous amount has changed since the last post. In short – I have made it happen. The last post was a reflection of my resolution to make my Personal Training career a reality. I didn’t have a specific roadmap laid out, but instead just a firm conviction it would happen in a timely fashion.

Which it did, and has. Approximately two months subsequent to that post, I secured an interview for a PT position at the very gym I workout in. I went in with a great deal of confidence and was successful in getting the job – I had an absolute belief that the time was right and I was going to make the transition from my previous job, which, by this point, I was getting well and truly sick of: no challenge, poor salary, no progression, no future; in short, a total waste of my abilities.

It is all now a bona fide reality and I am a self-employed PT operating out of that gym. Despite the difficulty with launching at this time of year (everyone wants to put fitness/health off till the New Year) in addition to the enormously inclement harsh weather conditions that Britain has experiencing over the last month and the transportation difficulties – despite all of this, it is already going extremely well, and I am not too far off having a full sustainable business with a good client base. Come the end of January and the massive influx of new gym members, it should all come together. I have approximately 15 clients now; I expect to double this throughout January which means that by Spring I will be securely established and making a reasonable living.

Personal Training is enormously satisfying and challenging. Every client is different, with a huge difference in basic fitness and proprioception skills, physical history and health/fitness problems – consequently the training always has to be tailored to the individual. There are many factors that come together since it is far more than just a simple 1 hour training session with a person – it is about learning how to interact with the individual, discover how to motivate and get the best out of them, how had to push. adjudge how accurate/realistic their feedback is. Then there is the program design, the periodised progression over time, the many different factors that come together in a unique mix depending on the individual's needs & wants to establish all round fitness (“fitness” for their particular requirements, whether it be simply general health or competitive fitness) – aerobic capacity; anaerobic capacity; strength; strength-endurance; mobility; flexibility; balance, proprioception. We then of course have all the fundamental aspects of biomechanics, posture, movement patterns, muscle activation and firing patterns… Nutrition and lifestyle.

Being self-employed is enormously empowering. It places significant demands in terms of having to self-manage everything, but it is also tremendously rewarding because every input has some direct output. I am in charge of my business, I decide how I want to run everything, I make it all happen. It is incredibly liberating after having been stuck in the typical model of being time-bound and simply "passing time” (normally in excruciating boredom) in all my prior jobs. I’m far too busy to get bored these days, there is always so much to do! My current list of tasks, in addition to all the training time I need to do with clients in the gym, comprises building a proper website for my business, deciding how I am going to grow the business, develop all the marketing materials and strategies, decide on what further equipment I need to purchase and how much to invest, develop all my training materials and paperwork for clients (and complete all the existing paperwork for my current clients) – training programs, nutritional plans, lifestyle assessments, and all ancillary materials related to the art of correcting/improving/developing the human physique …

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My career takes up an enormous amount of headspace now – which is a good thing – but of course the inner private life remains, that which is directly affected by the overall life consequences of one’s career but which is nevertheless a separate entity. In this respect I am still a quixotically intrigued by the almost impenetrable nature of the male-female divide, that distance I never seem to be able to bridge since entering my late twenties.

For there is still J., the one with the fabulous singing talent, and someone who I’ve always felt a great affinity with whenever I’m around her. We have our considerable differences – on matters such as diet, and on musical taste (though we share a decent region of commonality, on this point, too), but to me it adds to the intrigue. All I know is that whenever I am around her there is an energising quality to our time; and if I am, perhaps, as it were, someone more of the winter and the night – she brings the feeling of spring, all sunlight and joy. I think she is beautiful, warm and charismatic – yet frustratingly remiss in replying or getting back to me, leaving me perplexed; I suppose I should probably take the hint. Me being the fool (and inevitably, hopelessly idealistic on such matters), I can’t entirely give up. Whenever I do see her – which is rarely – it is always memorable. I wonder whether she will always be an enigma to me, or whether one day things might change…

I suppose some would view it as a flaw or make the rather obvious point that I am essentially rather too direct or honest in expressing myself – regardless, I just cannot be bothered with the game. I’ll let someone know if I like them, even if the strategic thing to do is to be more guarded and present yourself as essentially not bothered. Does it transfer a pressure to the other person? Perhaps, but only inasmuch as it means they have to express their inclination or disinclination.

I am someone with fairly intense emotional states, but also, I believe, fundamentally well balanced. I feel quite secure in who I am (especially now). I understand the rationale behind “not getting when you’re looking”, which is all well and good, but I don’t consider myself to have been especially “looking” since I am only interested in a person if I believe there is some genuine potential present – this is contrasted with the emotionally unstable individual who is simply looking for anyone just because they need someone regardless of who they are. Of course I recognise the fact that a psychologist would point out that we will always "choose" to see the potential where it suits us...!

Too much of a thinker, dreamer, or too expressive/"intense”, or simply not physically attractive to them – who knows – but life is proving rather tedious in this dimension as there seems to be scant opportunities presented.

Are we all becoming increasingly insular as individuals in society? Blogging, Facebook, every form of media and art, the multifarious instantaneous methods of communication - all these means of expressing oneself, and yet I sometimes wonder whether we diminish and deflect away from the quality and intensity of face to face interaction because we become so attuned to expressing ourselves through some indirect digital medium – and here I am typing this all on my blog, irony of ironies!

Isn’t it an awful lot easier to communicate something when you can use a technology as the mediator?

Two others I feel compelled to mention:

K. – she who does indeed like to boogie! Very pretty, and really fun to be around. I’d be curious to see her window onto life. Brings out my energetic side!

H. – known her a long time, a close friend. In terms of inner experience, someone I share an enormous amount with. A certain type of music presents the common ground to a deep shared understanding on certain qualities and experiences of life. To understand it automatically implies an a special affinity. A fabulous women; someone whom I can simply be myself around – which is a rare thing indeed.

 

But in general, I still wander mostly by myself. The wandering has now progressed to a path with both a purpose and direction. But only time will tell whether I continue along that path alone, or whether one day, someone I like might elect to join me. That would be nice. But life doesn’t conform to what is nice, and ultimately you can never bend life to your will; our powers are more limited.

I’m either an inveterate irritating shoe-gazer or a man with a inquisitive searching mind. I look forward to the day when I meet a special women that sees primarily the latter in me! I see life itself as a continual meditation on meaning.