Remember my bout with gastritis? What I didn't tell you about that experience was my interaction with the lab technician at the hospital. To figure out what was wrong with me, or rather confirm, I had to get my blood work checked and this meant stripping down and taking my shirt off. As he proceeded to draw blood he asked me, "How often do you go to the gym?", I told him every day. He was amused by that and suggested that gym for me was what food is to an ordinary human being; it just has to be had daily! 😄 "How do you sustain it? How do you 'eat' so much so often?" He asked. This is what I shared with him:
I don't think, I just do
Alarm ⏰ goes off and it's time to rumble 🥊. How I feel doesn't matter, and what I think about the weather doesn't matter either -- it's time to 'eat'. Eliminate thinking and ruthlessly execute day in and day out before kaja ka voice has an opportunity to discourage you. I don’t think, I just do.
It's not optional, it's mandatory
It doesn't matter what's going on around me, I'M GOING TO THE GYM. This advice can be applied to anything that's important to you. There's no debate, there's no multiple choice and it's not left to a democratic vote. I am going to do what I need to do to get stuff done. At the end of the day there's really only two things in life; results or excuses.
It's about a system*
"Hard work isn't the problem, it's the consistency of the hard work that's difficult." Key word is consistency, and you can't be consistent without a system. Build a system that consolidates the little things required to get the job done. I pack my gym bag and all gym essentials the night before while my lovely wife sorts out my dietary requirements and ensures the beast will be fed. I plan my training and visualize the end goal... me cracking the sidewalk with each step I take and standing out as the evolution of my species. The objective is to clear the path for nothing but execution the next day.
You cannot progress with a chipante pante approach to the goals you set for yourself. Be methodical.
*I highly recommend the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. You’ll learn everything there is to know about developing habits and systems that set you up for success.
I was meditating one night and minutes into my session something hit me. Year in year out we find ourselves in the same position this time of the year where we make all these resolutions that we seldom stick to, particularly when the novelty of new beginnings starts to wear off. What could we do differently? I asked and answered this question as follows…
Decide where you’re going and then decide who’s going with you. In that order. The birds you choose to fly with will determine your altitude so surround yourself with high flyers.
Tell people 🗣
Once you’ve said it out loud, you’re bonded to it. Make the goal so BIG that other people get uncomfortable just hearing it 🤯 🙉. The desire to not look like failure will propel you to a higher level. Whether you hit your mark or not is irrelevant, the real question is - will the experience and effort you put in evolve you? 9 times out of 10 the answer will be yes, so let people know what's up then get after it and evolve.
Do it every day and push it
Whatever you’ve resolved to do must be done every day and you must push it. Too often we fall short of obtaining our goals or realising our dreams because we’re not consistent and we don’t push it all the way. If it’s important enough to you, you’ll get it done. I now train every day 🏋🏿♂️, twice a day, and I push the envelope. Why? Because I’ve resolved to become the biggest savage in any room I find myself in. And before you think anything you’re doing is too much, consider the fact that “only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” Don't be limited by the illusion of excess.
Model others ✂
Model yourself alongside those you admire. Successful people always leave breadcrumbs. Do as they do, and you’ll often have what they have. Copy & paste is still a winning formula.
The start of a new year offers an opportunity to hit the reset button. For most people this renewed motivation only lasts a couple weeks and they’re back to default settings until the next year. I’m no exception but this year I’m determined to dominate from day 1 by automating my habits and incorporating a few mental hacks to help me evolve. I think my approach could be of value to others so here it is:
Become a disciple of discipline
This means early morning wake up calls to get a head start on the day and meditate 🧘🏾♂️ for emotional balance and later hitting the the gym 🏋🏾♂️ or road running🏃🏿♂️ to try and stay sexy 😌How you start your day sets the tone for the rest of it. Feed your mind, body and soul before sunrise every day.
As a man thinketh, so he is. Who do you want to be? You’re already that guy. Affirm yourself until your thoughts transcend your reality as often as you can. A simple trick I use to remember to engage in this practice is doing so in every mirror I find. I’ve gotten to a point where all I see in the mirror is a lion. 🗣️ The only thing that matters is what you think and tell yourself. Shower yourself with positivity and encouragement no matter what’s happening around you because oftentimes the only good things you'll hear about you are the things you say about you. Learn to be your own booster.
Detach yourself from outcomes
Ambition is everything but it’s often linked (and wrongly so) to tangible results only. This year is about who you become regardless of whether you hit your mark or not. Evolution is intrinsic; embrace the development of character and all the courage you had to muster to chase after your goals. Embrace failure and keep at it until you win. Constant effort is what separates the sheep from the goats.
Do this every chance you get and lift people’s spirits to a higher level than the one you found. Why? The energy you put out is the energy you get back. Don’t be misled by social media flexing abena “2023 I’m not taking any nonsense.” Be good to people. Be patient. Show love.
“Nick. I’m drowning.” At least that’s how I translated what she told me. It made me realize that most of us experience declining mental fitness levels when life starts to teach us who’s boss. I want to whip you back in shape mentally so read on.
Decide how you want to feel every waking moment. We can’t control what happens to us but we can certainly decide how we choose to feel about it. It’s entirely up to you.
Be a living testimony to others 🙏🏾
Why you? 🤔 “Why not you?” God doesn’t need you to verbalize a testimony of His grace, he needs you to live it. You’d be surprised to learn that people are drawing courage from your ability to keep going in spite of your circumstances. Don’t let the darkness consume you.
Put out positive energy 🌈 😊
It’s as simple as smiling at strangers and everyone around you. You’ll often experience reciprocity for simple, kind gestures and that will help lift your spirits. ⚠️sulking in isolation will exacerbate the problem. Surround yourself with loved ones and show love at every opportunity.
Like all things, this too shall pass ⏱
Remember your first heartbreak 💔? Or the first time you lost a loved one? All the pain you felt? You’re still here and even if you haven’t overcome it completely you’re dealing with it. “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay then it’s not the end.”
The concept of a curse and a blessing
She complained about the disruptive nature of falling pregnant 🤰🏾 before she was ready and how hard it’s been. As someone without any kids, that’s a struggle I’d sign up for any day of the week. What am I saying? Your biggest complaint, and what you think is a curse would be someone else’s greatest blessing. The struggle’s beautiful, be grateful 😇.
Confide in others
Tell the people you love and trust what you’re going through without complaining about the cards you’ve been dealt. The objective is to seek encouragement and maybe a hug 🤗 . 🗣 “This is what I’m going through... I need your love and support.” Chapwa. In the end just know that you don’t have to walk alone. You don’t have to suffer in silence.
Everything isn’t what it seems
We can’t run away from comparisons but whatever you see isn’t exactly as it seems. Your friends, your peers, your co-workers and your relatives don’t have the smooth rides you think they do. You only see what they show you as the rest of their story is redacted. Everyone has their wilderness. Life humbles all. You’re not alone in your struggles, keep going.
I'm four kilograms lighter from the last time I blogged about my clothes suffocating me and my decision to make full use of the weight loss toolbox to mitigate a disaster. I'm not where I want to be but I'm further than where I began this journey from. I'm building back up to African King status and this is how I'm going about it:
Mental 🧠 🙇🏿♂️
I've changed my mindset and mental approach to losing weight. It's no longer about hitting the scales at a certain number but about forming the right habits and behaviours that lead to the body I want. There's a lot less anxiety when I'm weighing in and regardless of what the scale says I know that it's only a matter of time before I reap from where I've sown. Take the pressure off yourself and simply strive to become the kind of person who has the body you want. Do what they would do in most situations and you'll have the same results.
I intermittently fast for 16-18 hours on most days by skipping breakfast and only eating lunch at 12 and dinner between 6 and 8pm. I like junk food just as much as the next man but I’ve opted to limit take out to one meal per week, at most two, and that’s usually on weekends. I’ll even throw in ice cream 🍨 or a couple freezits if I feel like it. A hard training and hard dieting approach is unrealistic for most and usually quite damaging. I still cut weight and so will you, just stay active and ensure that most of what goes into your mouth is prepared in your kitchen. Aside from gym it’s the little things such as parking far from your office and taking a long walk, taking the stairs instead of the elevator at every opportunity, and choosing to walk instead of drive to places that you can see that make a BIG difference over time.
In addition to all this, I'm consuming 4+ liters of fluid a day to replenish what I lose at the gym and ensure I'm hydrated throughout the blazing hot weather. Multiply 40mls by your bodyweight in kilograms to determine a reasonable hydration target for someone your size.
🎬 🎥 🎞Subscribe to my YouTube channel for gym related content 💪🏿:
"Nick. This fitness life isn't for me. Nili na pressure." I didn't understand at first but she went on to further explain what she meant. Women face a number of hurdles when it comes to getting back in shape and this is how she broke it down for me:
The petty stuff
The real stuff
Ultimately when it comes to responsibility for the married or committed among us, you need your partners support. Your husband needs to step up and share responsibility whether it’s with the kids, with the cooking, cleaning - EVERYTHING. Fitness should be a shared goal.
Running and dogs
Chikwela mu gym
Restarting your fitness journey
Women and weights
Summer bodies are made in winter
I was once recommended a book by someone that fundamentally changed everything for me and helped me appreciate the law of attraction. That book was The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho 📖 ✨. As we embark on a new year 2️⃣0️⃣2️⃣2️⃣ it’s a book that I view as compulsory reading for anyone with ambitious (and scary 😟) new year’s resolutions. I want to share useful concepts in the context of common goals set by most people at the start of every year in order to help you achieve them.
Resolution: Get in shape/get a 6 pack/run a marathon/lose weight etc.
Body goals will always make a resolutions list.
Alchemy fix: Visualize it before you achieve it. See your body as the final product that you want it to be. Thoughts become things and the world will conspire to make it happen. Additionally, you must strive to be consistent with your training sessions. If any excuses you have wouldn’t be acceptable for missing work👨🏾💻 they shouldn’t be acceptable for missing training sessions🏃🏿♂️. Use fitness trackers to keep you honest and accountable. Supporting quote 1 - "When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it."
Supporting quote 2 - “People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.”
Resolution: Live life to the fullest
Alchemy fix: You need to do more of what makes you happy and less of what others expect of you. Do not be a conformist if it means betraying yourself. Be authentic to you, live for you and 'remind yourself that nobody's built like you; you design yourself'. Supporting quote - "Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own."
Resolution: Get organized and elevate
Alchemy fix: the key to getting organized and the subsequent elevation it attracts is knowing what you want and finding the courage to go after it. We all have varying goals and ambitions ranging from completing a degree (or passing ZIALE), getting promoted, starting a business etc. What separates achievers from dreamers is taking action and believing it can be done. Supporting quote - "There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve, the fear of failure." Supporting quote 2 - "It is this, that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie."
Supporting quote 3 - “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”
Resolution: Give up drinking/quit smoking/other bad habits
Alchemy fix: You know what you want so consider how drinking and smoking figures in your plans. The instant gratification these substances provide delay progression. Clean up and go at life sober minded one day at a time 👉🏾 'I will not smoke or drink today.' Repeat this action every day until abstinence is no longer a conscious decision. As for other less than useful habits know that if it’s not helping you then it’s hurting you. Your quality of life is oftentimes a direct result of the habits you kick and retain.
Supporting quote - “When you can't go back, you have to worry only about the best way of moving forward.”
Resolution: Find Happiness
Alchemy fix: The key to enjoying life does not lie in making major life changes, but in actively enjoying your life as it is. Meditate 🧘🏾♂️ more as it will help you become more present and adapt you to pay attention to very subtle things. The little joys in life are what consolidate to provide sustained contentment. Adopt an attitude of gratitude to help with positive realignment, increased optimism and emotional balance. You can journal and list out things you're grateful for or pray just to say thank you every so often. Happiness is a deliberate decision that you need to make every day because ‘even on your worst day you live like somebody on their greatest’.
Supporting quote 1 -"When each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises."
Supporting quote 2 - Because I don’t live in the past or the future. I’m only interested in the present. If you can concentrate on the present, you’ll be a happy man. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living right now.
Supporting quote 3 - “Every blessing ignored becomes a curse.”
Bonus resolution: Spend less time on social media
Alchemy fix: You can replace this habit with spending more time on Roadrunner Zambia 😁.
In summary, alchemy is about penetrating the soul of the world and discovering the treasure that has been reserved for you. When we strive to be better, everything around us becomes better, too.
Key quotes/interactions and interpretations from the book
2020 Finish line
2021 Dream Work Pray
Happiness Ni We Mwine
Kaja Ka Voice
I was on the ‘gram the other day and found my feed flooded with delicious looking individuals and it made me realize something 🤔Social media can give your insecurities an unhealthy boost if you’re not careful. I thought I should encourage body positivity today particularly for the women folk and suggest a few things that might help boost your confidence. Men tend to take pride in their big bellies but hey, if you like how it all jiggles then bounce that belly and do you bro😊
Cosmetic changes (hair trouble, stretch marks, cellulite, acne)
Your Hair Goals Zambia got you covered. Everything from consultation to hair products. It’s a one stop shop for all things hair related, with packages extending to the balding lads 👨🦲 among us. A pala (bald head) doesn’t have to be your portion.
Cocoa butter, Shea butter and almond oil can help fade stretch marks if applied on a daily basis for a number of weeks. Stretch marks for the most part are permanent but you can make them less noticeable and get them to fade slightly. Worth a shot if you’re bothered by them.
Cellulite is fat deposits beneath the skin. You can rid of the fat by cleaning up your nutrition and tone up by getting active 🏃🏿♂️ 🏃🏾♀️. Better nutrition can be simplified by including a piece of fruit, 2 servings of vegetables and a glass of water at each meal sitting. You don’t need a trendy diet or nutrition protocol overhaul. It’s the little adjustments that make a difference over time.
‘Comparison is the thief of joy.’ 💯 Everybody’s different, embrace who you are and appreciate the unique aspects of your body. Consider restructuring your social media feeds and unfollowing pages if they generate negative energy and trigger you.
Nobody’s perfect and when it comes to your body and your appearance you have to make due with what you’ve got. Accept yourself and then love yourself whether you’re big, small, short or tall.
If the mental hacks suggested above don’t help then change your ways. Eat better and get active. You might not get the body that you admire and desire but you can certainly improve on the body that you have right now through diet and exercise if it’s important enough to you. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, go for walks, jogs, bicycle rides. Swim, do yoga, aerobics every couple of days. Play a sport or join a social group that incorporates exercise. The possibilities are endless, and they can be fun. You’ll feel better and look better.
The belly must go
After a sustained period of Covid-19 ravaging human life and devastating homes I felt compelled to inject some positivity in people. If you’re still here and you’re reading this, I want you to know that God has a plan for you. I want to help you embark on your journey to create a life worth living.
Here’s how you can sustain a glass half-full perspective on life:
Pray🙏🏾 for peace and know that ‘this too shall pass.’ You may not understand why certain things happen the way they do but it shall be well. Everything is working out for your good.
Move 🏃🏿♂️. Exercise is free and one of the best things you can do for your physical & mental health. Break a sweat for 30 minutes daily and embrace breathing on your own. A ventilator is not your portion.
Journal 📔 ✍🏾 . Set a 10 minute timer⏱ before bed and write down everything that you’re grateful for. Nothing but positive vibes. Steer clear of journaling negative stuff; it doesn’t help anything.
Breathe🧘🏾♂️. Ma ganizo daily (overthinking) is what moulds a glass half-empty perspective. Meditate daily to fight this and empty your mind..be still and just breathe.
Find your purpose. What do you repeatedly think about and desire? What recurrent dreams do you often have? God is showing you His plan. Combat procrastination by never going to bed not having done the things that get you closer to what you yearn for. Purpose in life will keep you going even when everything else around you is crumbling. Covid didn’t take you? There’s a reason. Find it.
Cherish your loved ones. If you’ve lost someone I’m sorry for your loss. I’d like to encourage you to show love to those dear to you that you have left. Text them, call them, visit them and endeavor to buy them flowers while they’re still here with you.
Finally, please consider getting vaccinated and encourage others to do the same. Covid-19 will accelerate your expiry date faster than any conspiracy theory you have chosen to believe.
Life’s precious and if Covid has taught us anything it’s that we should live our best lives every waking moment.
How to Create Your Own Happiness 🕺🏾 💃🏾
2020 Finish Line 🏁
A huge part of optimal mental health is a happy and peaceful state of mind. I often find myself surrounded by people in different environments that are burdened by a spirit of complaining and discontent. I see parts of the old me in them, and for those that I enjoy candid relationships with, the following advice is what I share with them to help reinforce positive realignment in their lives.
The happiness recipe has the following ingredients:
Liza ma nyimbo no vina kuseni (play music and dance in the morning!)
Turn up the music for positive vibes first thing in the morning AND DANCE 🎶🔊🕺🏾💃🏾. Choose to lift your own spirits and dance even if it’s not aesthetically pleasing to others. You’re alone in your house so get busy and vina mwamene wa imvelela* (dance the way you feel). If you live with others wake them up, grab them by the hand and dance with them!
Turn your insecurities into mantras🗣️
I’m not telling you to light a fire 🔥and start chanting around it, I just want you to acknowledge your insecurities and flip them. I personally do this by incorporating transcendental meditation for 20 minutes where I repeat a mantra and affirm a positive outcome. I’ll give you an example: I recently completed writing exams where in some instances it felt like they were written in a foreign language😓but when I meditate my mantra is “I have passed my exams.” It helps with positive realignment and anxiety alleviation. Find something that’s eating at you, meditate on it and positively turn it into a mantra.
Visualize positive things🧞♂️
It doesn’t matter what the odds are or how dire a situation may be you must consciously choose to envision a positive outcome. There’s nothing as powerful as the power of positive thinking. Currently some of you reading this may have sick loved ones on oxygen due to Covid-19, you have to believe that they’ll get better. Forget about the ‘hoping for the best but expecting the worst’ quote. You must decide to expect nothing but your desired outcome in any situation with health, work, business etc. Visualize outcomes to bring them closer. The law of attraction will fight your case.
Meditate for 20 minutes daily to calm your mind and heighten awareness of your thinking patterns. Basic meditation will slow things down and help you cope with the speed of life. Try it!
Soften your heart❤️
Don’t wait for an apology before you decide to forgive people that have hurt you. Forgive people because you need inner peace not because they deserve it. You don’t have to be ‘best’ friends (again), just forgive them, keep them at arms length and live your life without any bitterness or resentment. Don’t worry about the unrepentant ones; life will always settle the score for you.
Smile as often as possible. An easy reminder would be to do so in front of every mirror you find. A simple smile can place you in a better mental place particularly on days when you feel low. It won't make your problems disappear but it can offer some relief through the release of dopamine. The happy hormone. Try it!
Exercise daily for a hit of dopamine. Don’t have time? Consider HIIT training. Otherwise 🏃🏾🏃🏾♀️running (even walking), lifting weights (women too) all increase dopamine levels and influence things such as your motivation and cheerfulness. You might even want to consider merging fitness activities with your family members. Family fitness is an excellent social activity to undertake to increase the happiness levels in your household.
Men, get your manly health in check before it threatens your happiness & destroys your sense of self. Women, be alive to your hormonal shifts before it generates discontent in your life. Finally, ALL must stay informed on the status of their mental health before your residential address changes to somewhere you don't want to be.
The Covid-19 pandemic has put a lot of things into perspective. If you’re still breathing you should be smiling at every turn and know that “you can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy.” - Nypard. Translation: Happiness niwemwine!🥳
*An adapted translation is: dance the way you want to feel