Spartan Beast: Hua Hin, Thailand — Signed Up + No Longer “Obese”

A few days ago I was jumping in JOY and ECSTASY.  Never have I ever been so elated because of a machine.  When I saw BMI (Body Mass Index) the other day, I saw the Physique ratings at standard.  Six weeks prior to this, my physique was apparently obese, although I look relatively thin.  My metabolism before was at 35 (and I’m 30) and now it’s at 30. Let’s go over some of the categories that are on this piece of paper.

  • Weight – 76.6KG (2.3kg drop from last week)
  • Fat % – 21.4%
  • Fat Mass – 16.4kg
  • Muscle Mass – 57.1kg
  • Metabolic Age – 30
  • BMI – 23.4

Desirable Range

Fat % – 11.0 – 21.9

Fat Mass 7.4 – 16.9kg

Here’s about what 50% of the paper says, but my fat percentage and fat mass is 0.5 kg off after being about 2.0kg ver.

Now, does this change anything? No.  Does this change the fact that I feel my absolute healthiest that I’ve ever felt? Nope.  I’m super grateful that I’ve kept myself committed to going to a gym.  Everything is starting to unfold as it should and I’m super excited about it.

Also, I just signed up for the monstrous Beast in Hua Hin which will take place at the dawn of November.  Upon completion, I will be able to claim my Spartan Trifecta shirt and medal — what I’ve been chasing after for two years.

There are going to be videos coming to you guys at a grand scale, but in my podcast down below, I talk about what my dieting was during the past 6 weeks..

 

Podcast

Pre-Workout: Amino Energy Review

You guys don’t know, but two days ago had to be the most terrifying moment of my life.  After sucking down two cups of coffee (1pm and 4pm), I decided to “test” out my new pre-workout, Amino Energy, at 6pm.

Yeah.  Bonehead move.  There was no effects at the moment, but I while I was walking to my bus stop after work, I got super lightheaded.  Why? Maybe too much of a surplus in caffeine.

I tried sleeping around 9:30, and everytime I closed my eyes and went into a stage of sleep before I actually fell asleep, everything felt like it was moving and I would get a jolt of warm energy from my elbows to my hands.  This ensued to 11pm, 1am, 3am….I had enough.  I was down near on a 24-hour stint and I headed to the clinic to get some medication to fall asleep.  Disclaimer: do this only during worse case scenarios…never on a regular basis because these drugs are terrible and they can affect your kidney.

I went to sleep around 4:30 am, woke up once to call in sick, and slept again until 11:30 am.  I felt so groggy and completely fatigue, but it was because of the excess caffeine.

Judgement Day

So, I was scared when I woke up.  I looked at my pre-workout and it looked at me.  I said, “should I, “and ‘it’ said, “should.”  I took only a half-a-scoop and off I went to the gym.  Now, there were no tingling effects or anything, but what I felt was an extreme amount of focus.  In this class had 4 other women and a guy.  The women I like to call “fair-weather” because some days they say good morning, other days they completely ignore you.  Didn’t matter, but it was motivation on top of the focus.

When the workout started, I was zoned it COMPLETELY.  This reminded me of the day I took Jack 3D back in 2012 and my energy was bouncing off the walls.  I didn’t give up once.  I kept it rolling for a full hour, which is unheard of.  Even during breaks, I kneeled and remained focus….normally I would chat it up or try throwing some conversation gambits out there for bait (lol).

Now, is this as good as Stimul, my absolute favorite pre-workout? Well, Stimul never gave me insomnia.  All will tell later on tonight if I can sleep or not.

Nonetheless, the ingredients, reviews and everything I saw online made me purchase this two days ago, and it surely didn’t disappoint.

  • Strength – Check
  • Quality – Check
  • Consistency – Check

 

Side Effects of Protein Deficiency

I had a student, long ago, who was more frail than ever.  She’s what I would call a “white Thai,” a girl who simply changes her skin tone because she thinks white is beautiful.  Not only that, she said she loves being thin because Thai men like thin, white-Thai girls.

Ridiculous, right?

However, this was coming at a great cost: her health.  Her health was despicable at the time and she was only 20 years old.

Her cousin, who sat right next to her, was on a high-protein diet.  She cooked chicken ALL THE TIME and that’s what her diet primarily consisted of (and of course vegetables).  As a 21-year-old, she had a gorgeous body and was fit.

However, her cousin, who looked like she was dying, was sitting next to her, pathetically.  I asked her, “why are you so skinny?”

“I don’t eat protein!” she replied.

Horrific Mistake.

I remember reading an article on Dr. Axe’s website about protein deficiency, and the horrors of what that girl was going through was evident.

Eating too little protein can result in these symptoms as well:

  • A sluggishmetabolism
  • Trouble losing weight
  • Trouble building muscle mass
  • Low energy levels and fatigue
  • Poor concentration and trouble learning
  • Moodiness and mood swings
  • Muscle, bone and joint pain
  • Blood sugar changes that can lead to diabetes
  • Slow wound healing
  • Low immunity

For those of you who want to read on this website instead of Dr. Axe’s, here are some symptoms in the blocked quote down below.

1. You have high cholesterol

High cholesterol and triglycerides are not just caused by eating fatty foods — they are also a result of increased inflammation, hormonal imbalances and high-processed/high-sugar diets. If you tend to replace protein foods with sugary snacks, refined carbs and packaged convenient goods, your cholesterol can start to rise as your liver and cells process fats less efficiently. Some studies have even found an inverse relationship exists between protein intake and risk of heart disease.

2. You’re feeling more anxious and moody

Amino acids are the building blocks for neurotransmitters which control your mood. Proteins help the brain synthesize hormones like dopamine and serotonin that help bring on positive feelings like calm, excitement and positivity.

3. Your workouts are suffering

You’re probably already aware that protein is needed to build new muscle mass, but it’s also important for sustaining your energy and motivation. A low protein diet can result in muscle wasting (or muscle atrophy), fatigue and even fat gain — it can also be behind female athlete triad. In fact, you can workout more, but see less results if your diet isn’t adequate to support tissue repair or your energy needs.

4. You aren’t sleeping well

Poor sleep and insomnia can sometimes be linked to unstable blood sugar levels, a rise in cortisol and a decrease in serotonin production. Blood sugar swings during the day carry over through the night. Carbohydrates require much more insulin than fat or protein does. Eating foods with protein before bed can help with tryptophan and serotonin production, and they have a minimal effect on blood glucose levels; in fact, protein slows down the absorption of sugar during a meal.

5. You have “brain fog”

Protein is needed to support many aspects of healthy neurological functioning. Brain fog, poor concentration, lack of motivation and trouble learning new information can be signs that you’re low in neurotransmitters you need to focus including dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. Neurotransmitters are synthesized in the brain using amino acids, and studies show that balanced diets with enough protein can boost work performance, learning and motor skills.

6. You’re gassy and can’t go to the bathroom

Many metabolic and digestive functions depend on amino acid intake. If your body feels fatigued and run down in general due to protein deficiency, enzyme production, muscle contractions in your GI tract and digestion in general will suffer.

7. Your pants are feeling tighter

Although sometimes higher in calories than carbs, high-protein foods cause increased satiety to a greater extent than carbohydrates or fats do, so they can prevent overeating and snacking. They also help stabilize your blood sugar, allow you to retain more muscle which burns more calories all day, and can reduce cravings.

8. Your menstrual cycle is irregular

One of the most common reasons women suffer from irregular periods and infertility is the condition known as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Two major risk factors for PCOS are obesity and pre-diabetes or diabetes — in fact, insulin resistance affects 50–70 percent of all women with PCOS. Low-protein, high-sugar/high-carb diets can contribute to insulin resistance, fatigue, inflammation and weight gain that disrupts the delicate balance of female hormones (including that of estrogen, progesterone and DHEA) needed to sustain a regular cycle.

9. You’ve been getting injured more often and are slow to heal

A low protein diet can raise your risk for muscle loss, falling, slow bone healing, bone weakness, fractures and even osteoporosis. Protein is needed for calcium absorption and helping with bone metabolism. Studies show that older adults with the greatest bone losses are those with a low protein intake of about 16–50 grams per day. Research also shows that a diet high in amino acids can help treat muscle loss due to aging (sarcopenia).

Source: https://draxe.com/protein-deficiency/

Inteviewee #14: Hakeem Khan on Being A Fitness Entrepreneur In Malaysia

While standing in a long line in a musty old gym at Nexus International School in Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur, I met not just the ultra-gorgeous muslim girl, but I met this man — Hakeem Khan.  We chatted it up about him being a powerlifter and befriended each other within that time-frame of checking in to the Spartan Race.  Since then, we’ve maintained communication and I saw his Instagram exploding with an amazing amount of content.  He was changing lives through his own personal training program and so many other things, so I told myself the next time I come here, I’m going to do a podcast with him.  Here it is!

Show Notes

“Money isn’t everything because the most important thing will be making an impact on someone’s lives”

 

Get in touch with Hakeem Khan of Malaysia

  • Fitness entrepreneur

 

Links:

1) YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVZnrSCZIVEWFnhTUCHenQA

2) Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hakeeemkhan/?hl=en

3) Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/barbellnationmy/

4) Website: http://barbellnation.com.my/

 

Things we discussed:

  • How did you start??
  • What inspired you to become a fitness entrepreneur?
  • The real reason why you want to become a fitness entrepreneur.
  • Who is your inspiration? Why?
  • What does the gym in Pakistan look like?
  • How do you start a gym in Pakistan through DIY?
  • Who taught you how to use the gym’s facilities in Pakistan?
  • How many laps?
  • What is your diet?
  • How did you feel the first time you used a gym in Pakistan?
  • What was your age when you came back to Malaysia?
  • Did you finish your secondary school?
  • Working part-time while in secondary school.
  • What did you do before you became a fitness entrepreneur?
  • Started to work in Celebrity Gym.
  • Started to work as a sales consultant with Celebrity Gym through training.
  • Training by the gym company to become a Celebrity Fitness.
  • What is a powerlifting?
  • What was your setback after your car accident?
  • How did you maintain your mental fortitude to get you through?
  • What was your training after your accident?
  • How did it feel after your accident?
  • Why did you decide to leave Celebrity Fitness?
  • Why did you decide to do what you do?
  • What is your self – awareness? Why do you want to help people?
  • The power of sharing and fulfilment.
  • What do you think about the market for fitness business in Malaysia?
  • How do you maintain your diet?
  • What is the philosophy for your diet?
  • What are your goals and plans?
  • What is your advice for people who aspire to become a fitness entrepreneur?

 

Thank you for listening!

 

Thank you so much for joining me for this podcast. Please do write down some feedbacks and comments. Please do share this podcast to your social media. Embed video down below!

 

Links:

 

One Day Away – Spartan Race

Cardio, strength, core training, leg training….all of these things were done in bulk and now it’s time to put it to the test.

How do I feel going into the Spartan Super in Chon Buri, Thailand? I wouldn’t say nervous, but not really sure what to expect.  Have I trained like crazy since my Spartan Spartan Sprint in KL? Nope.  Honestly, I have done maybe two hard training sessions since mid-April.  Either I’ve grossly underestimated this race and I’m in for a grueling 13km, or I took a chance and knew what I was going to be up against.

Spartans in Thailand are far different from Malaysia.  In Malaysia, if you’re going to do a Sprint, you need to train for a Super.  If you’re going to do a Super, you need to train for a Beast.  That’s how difficult it is because the organizers set up the race on hills, rivers, gorges and so many other things.  It’s ridiculously tough.  So between now and July 28th, I will SURELY sign up with a gym and hit it hard.

Tomorrow is going to be not a test of will, but a test with the people I’m running with.  I will warn them in advance that if in the event one person begins to walk, I told them that I would meet them at the finish line.  I did not pay 66$ to walk.  I can walk at home for free.

2) It’s 13km, but I have my energy gels and everything ready to go (oh, and just by writing this blog, I just reminded myself that I need to buy some armguards for the race. YES!).

3) Now that I think of it, I think I’m seriously underestimating this race and could be in huge trouble.

Podcast

My Spartan Bag: Energy Gels

Now that the Spartan Race is over, I want to evaluate and see just how great these Energy Gels are.  In 2015, I didn’t have any protein bars on me or energy gels.  On that specific race in Melbourne, Australia, I almost gave up.  Was it because I lacked energy? Or lacked Will-Power in general? It could’ve been both.  However, I continued doing races without these bad boys for a couple of more years until the the Spartan Super in Putrajaya, Malaysia.

In that race I had 2 energy gels.  For the majority of that race, I was running.  I continued running for the longest of times, even after the 10km mark.  By the time the end of the race came, I felt pretty damn good!

Fast-forwarding to present day, I took yet another energy gel and felt absolutely amazing after the race.  So, I decided to make a video on this and show you guys an easy and affordable way to sustain your energy and give you a boost during your competitions.

Evaluating My Spartan Score

So I was practically top 25%, and almost 20%, in all categories.  If I look at the time, it’s not that good.  I don’t know exactly what happened during the race, but the obviously made it to be very difficult for attaining a good time.  I think I completed my Spartan Sprint last year in Thailand in a much better time than this, and I kinda walked the entire time!

So, how can I go about getting better? This is the best because I know where I am and where I want to be.

If you ask me, “where do you wanna be?”

Top 5%.  That’s always been a goal.  However, the terrain and everything could be so difficult to hit that mark.

I’ve gotten much stronger.  Again, I was passing so many people buy and didn’t have any stress on my body.  I’ve woken up this morning and it doesn’t even feel like I did the race yesterday.  No soreness or anything.  However, it didn’t reflect the time.  Might I say that I had to wait about 30 minutes total throughout all the obstacles, especially the one where we had to go through a creek and into a river.

I’m on a Spartan group on an app and I told everyone some vital information.

Cardio! Cardio! Cardio! There needs to be a lot of focus on cardio because that’s all part of the race.  One of the racers said, “I didn’t think I needed cardio.”  He failed miserably.  Another one said he did cardio everyday but it didn’t prepare him for the amount of hills the race had.  This is the super scary part about doing races in places like Malaysia.  They use hills and terrain to JACK YOU UP — EFFECTIVELY.

Having a very strong core can get you through most upper-body exercises.  One girl had me bust out in laughing by saying, “man, I did all that just to climb two feet over and fall.”  I laughed, but with her, not at her.  I then showed my strength by using the circles on the black-plastered wall and went all the way across with ease.  How? Strong core and utilizing it rather than using my upper-body.  It does revolve around technique, but your core is the foundation of it ALL.

Upper body, of course, is essential.  I’ve done lots of building up all areas the top and it proved to be extremely vital.

So, now in preparation for my Super, which is double the distance of the sprint, I’m going to do a lot of core building, strength on top, and tons of cardio.

 

Spartan Race: Seminyih, Malaysia…ACHIEVED! But……

WHAT. A. RACE.

Where should I begin? Let’s me take you from the beginning so I can provide some flow.

I arrived maybe around 9:15 to the station KTM – Kajang station.  This was nearest to the super rural area the where the race was being held.  From there, Ubers was stacked all around me.  I pressed it and got an immediate message – my uber was right across the street.  HOW CONVENIENT! He was a funny guy, asking me why I don’t have a girlfriend in Thailand.

Told him the truth. You guys know that story. LOL

There was a logjam about 2km outside the race area, so I had him pull over and I walked it from there.  Enthusiasts, not as many as I thought there would be, were making their way to registration.  Loads of tents and little shops were stacked within the area, giving my hope that this venue would be 1000 times better than the last at Putrajaya Heights last July.  It exceeded my expectations — and THEN SOME.  The registration line was about 10 minutes compared to 1.5 hours last time.  Bag drop was convenient with a bunch of smiley faces and women asking me how the race was (of course after) and there was a lot of area and merchandise around.

I was probably the 3rd wave of the Open.  There were a ton of people behind me, all whom were enthusiastic.  Some were first timers and others were returning.  You had people from Brunei, Hong Kong, Singapore, China and other places all around.  When the race started, it was all running, mostly uphill (as Malaysia mostly does) and then were the rocks.  That’s right.  The first obstacle, aside from the walls and things we had to jump through, under, and over, was the nastiest of them all.  This is where the fun began because the comedians started coming out in force.  Being on an obstacle course enables you to speak freely amongst your fellow samaritans who are going through the same pain.

At this time, this is when I knew I had gotten much strong since last September.  Carrying the bucket of rocks up the hill didn’t present me with a problem.  In fact, I was zooming past everyone else who seemed gassed and out of breath — 2km in?! I was screaming motivational things while hearing the echo of “aroo” deep in the forests and even nearby.  Directly following that was the rope climb.  I finally climbed up that bad boy; however, I freaked out when I was coming down and I zoomed down the rope, gripping it with my fingers and feeling fire tear apart my thumb on my left hand and my ring finger on my right, leaving a blister on one hand and two layers of skin on the rope from…..me.  This was beyond painful for about 1km.  After that, the river, which was SUEPR FUN.  There were women saying, “I HAVE A PLAN TO CATCH!”  People were laughing and just having fun at that point.  Being in a shaded, sketchy, peculiar area between two sides of a mountain, trekking through currents puts the “omg” into what Spartan should be about.

From there on out, there weren’t any noticeable or stand-outish things that came about — just more laughs and weird obstacles.  I am now 3/3 in the javelin toss, hitting my target and cheering for myself.  There were some GORGEOUS women nearby saying, “goodjob!” Another one, who must’ve been from Eastern Europe and on the same team of the 10 that were standing around, asked me “tips?”  I didn’t know what she was saying, but when I realized it, I was flabbergasted and helped two of the ladies — unsuccessfully.  This definitely had to be the funnest Spartan or any race in general.  It tips the Tough Mudder in Melbourne, Australia 3 years ago and tops the Tough Mudder in Mesa, Arizona from last year.

Towards the end, there was a Malaysian guy who was running by himself…pushing himself.  I decided to run beside him; and both him and I met up with an Indian guy.  The three of us started running alongside some other foreigners and funny Ukrainians before getting to a difficult part of the course — the end!  This mashed a bunch of obstacles together: backstroking 75 meters, another river with a current, monkey bell swings, and a few others.  When I finished, I saw a gorgeous shirt and medal waiting for me.  That was definitely a 10km beast of a race.  That wasn’t 7km….and they had Super/Beast obstacles within it, too.  The Spartan Sprint last year in Chon Buri, Thailand was a cake walk compared to this.

So, showers, chats with so many people, figuring out my next step with the trifecta and everything in ensued.  Now came the most difficult challenge of my life.

Because this race was tucked away in a jungle plantation, I wasn’t too nervous about finding a taxi until after a race.  There were taxis, also known as extortionists (and way worse than Thai taxis), sitting outside the grounds.  However, they were all taken because they had customers inside.  I never thought about that because I knew taxis were a ripoff.  I saw one taxi driver, and later saw him at my hotel.  That story will follow.

No Ubers, no grabs, no nothing! I was left walking….about 5km, hoping either someone would help take me to a town or a taxi would come.  I would’ve paid anything at any given time to get the hell out of there.  Some people pulled over, but not for me.  Next thing I know I see a car, coming towards me, flash its lights and I said, “OMG! SAVED!”  My man Anson, who is down below in the photo, probably saved me from dying.  That’s no exaggeration, either.

image1

All in all, he sent me all the way to an LRT line.  After 15 minutes, this particular line wrapped around KL and I saw Berjaya Times Square, just across the street from where my hotel was.  Instead of continuing on, I got off, talked to the guy, and I was able to exit the station and walk to my hotel.

Oh, and guess who was there? That f***er that denied me a ride to begin with.  Get this.  From the KTM Kajang to the race grounds was about 23 ringits, which equates to about 7 USD.  Kinda expensive in Thailand.  However, this guy told me someone AT MY HOTEL went to the race, too! The bad part? The taxi charged him 400 ringits there and back, equivalent to more than 100$ USD!  Could you believe that?! That’s why I NEVER TAKE TAXIS in KL and haven’t in almost five years.  They’re cheats beyond belief.

I needed to tell all of you that in case you travel here.

And with that beings said, a couple more blogs are coming up about my time and future races, so stay tuned and a podcast is here for your appetite!

Flights/Hotels/Spartan Tickets Booked – Training Commenced

To give everyone a nice little update on the upcoming trip to Malaysia, I’m EXCITED!

I haven’t left the country since Maldives last year.  Does anyone know how long it’s been?! Although I’ve now left a very forgettable neighborhood, the “fun and hobbies” portion of the wheel of life has taken a massive hit.  I now have a lot of free time to focus on my projects, but I’m still missing out on a key piece of my happiness.

TRAVELING!

Well, I’m back! Malindo Airlines (praying everything goes well because I’ve heard horror stories), a gorgeous hotel (PARKROYAL) in KLCC, and an easy way to get to the race.  This trip should go perfectly.

This trip also marks the breaking of the chains and shackles I’ve had for so long.  So grateful for everything, but it’s time for the new life to begin.  Officially on a tourist visa and really not sure what’s going to happen or what to expect next.

Nevermind all that though.  This is about the Spartan Race, an appetizer leading up to the main dish in May (Spartan Super).  It’s really funny because I’m between a rock and a hard place at the moment.  I’m trying to figure out who to go with.  I promised a friend last year I would go with him, but after he brought along one of his friends who failed to run more than 1km, I really don’t want to “walk.”  If I want to walk, I’ll walk at home or on a treadmill.  All the training and everything leading up to the Spartan was based on cardio.  If someone failed to prepare cardio, the most important aspect of the race, disaster will happen (and did at that point).

If I go with some others, there will be a group of 20.  I know within the group of 20….at least half of them won’t be doing cardio.  Therefore, I’ll have to walk for 13-15km, which would take AGES! So this is the big problem with doing the Spartan Super.  I can hurry up and find a friend (somehow) to go with who’s a beast, but it’s difficult.

Nonetheless, this Malaysia Spartan is going to be a battle for me, just because I’m going to try and finish it as fast as possible (record time) and see if I can compete in the competitive or elite next time.

Training

I’ve been busting ass (not that way) in the gym.  Over the last couple of weeks (including Friday – a day I ran 10km and did a one-hour class later in the evening), I’ve gotten my body back! This is what I LOVE! Looking like a damn Greek God! More importantly, I ran 10km (felt very odd at the end) without any issues.  I went to the gym to buy a protein shake, up to the Skytrain, and felt perfectly fine (unlike my earlier years where I felt like hell).  I’m doing a series of different movements, body weight exercises, and developing strength in my legs.

With Spartan, cardio and upper-body are the most important parts.  The first Spartan I did last year sucked.  My upper-body was…….weak.  However, the second Spartan I did, I couldn’t believe how much my strength increased.  Cardio in KL (last July) was amazing, but overall upper-body was sub-average.  Second Spartan I did….completely crushed it.  Now with having the experience….here’s my workout regimen on a weekly basis.

Monday – Class: Lab Leaner + Kettlebell Strength

Tuesday – Cardio (bike and treadmill) in the morning

Wednesday (City Run – 10km)

Thursday (upper-body on my own)

Friday – Class: Lab Stronger

Saturday and Sunday – Rest days or core work.

This is just for the 7km race.  After April 15th, my workouts will get much more difficult leading up to the Super after my birthday in May.

Stay tuned for more!

Aggressive Mask: Part IV – What Can We Do Right Now?

“In the middle of my conversation with Ray Lewis, I asked him about his definition of a man and whether it had evolved as he got older, had kids, became successful, and ultimately retired. By way of answering my question, he told me a story about when he came to a deeper understanding of the challenges the men in his family have faced.

He was 33 years old. He’d reengaged with his long-absent father, and his father wanted him to meet a man named Shady Ray Whitehead who lived in some little trailer 6 hours outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. He had no idea where they were going or who this man was they were visiting, but when they arrived, he and his father walked in and his father said, “Meet your grandfather.”

Ray sat on the floor while his dad sat on the couch, and they talked. One of the first things out of his father’s mouth was a question to his grandfather that had also run through Ray’s head nearly every day of the first 17 years of his life: “Dad, why’d you leave me?” To say this blindsided Ray would be an understatement.

“Ray sat with this information for a while, listening to his father and grandfather, and started to think about the men in his family who struggled in their relationships. Ray’s realization is something out of a novel, or a sermon:

This is a generational curse, man. My son is 21, I’m 41, my father is 61, my grandfather’s 81. His father is 101. Five generations. Twenty years apart. What are we doing? I rode back home with my father for 6 hours while he kept talking, and I never said a word. When I got done listening to him, I said to him: “You know what a man is? A man accepts all of the wrongs, never complains, forgives, and then moves on.” That’s what a man does, because you can never replace him not being at a football game. Never replace him not being to a wrestling match, or a track meet. Beat up by a group of kids? You can never replace him not being there. You can never replace that. So what you can replace is you can replace it with moving on.”

“This is our work to do. The rewards are, indeed, waiting for us, but they will not make themselves known until we begin the process of dropping our Aggressive Mask.”

Replace it with moving on.  It’s time to top off the chapter with my own story.

My father, in 1999, dropped my brother, my sisters, and I off at a doorstep of a house before driving away.  He said, “knock on the door and ask for your mother.”  We did, and he sped off, not seeing him again for the ensuing months.  It was odd, me being only 11 years old and living in more than 5 different households over a year span.

In 2000, I saw someone walking down the street and said, “that looks like my dad!”  Minutes later, I went back home and I was right.  It was my father….and him being in the same household as my mother, went nuts.  Not necessarily on his end, but my mother bursts into anger anytime she hears the name “Willie.”  He wanted “in” our lives, and so my mother granted that if we wanted it.

I remember he was on the phone and I was suppose to go to him that weekend.  I said, “dad, do you have the video games?”  What sounded like video games weren’t, but my father was a master at lying.  After naming three videos games, the third one being my favorite, I bursted into tears of joy before going upstairs to tell my mom.  My mother eavesdropped on the conversation because you could do that by picking up the other line 18 years ago.  I told her what my father got and she said, “he didn’t get you those games. He’s lying.”

I said, “you never did anything for us.”

She cried.

I felt absolutely wretched….even more wretched because she was telling the truth.  My dad was a liar from day 1 and I never knew it until of course that day.  I remember seeing him maybe late 2000 after he came over.  After that, I never saw him again, only hearing his voice on a bus in 2007 and looking square into his eyes in another incident (on the bus) one year later.

I’m blaming him for being the amazing man I am today.

“A man who struggles with aggression needs, first and foremost, to channel his energy and anger in a constructive direction. There are a number of ways to do this at a practical level:
▸Create a wrecking room in your house where you can get it out safely. Fill it with things to smash, push, hit, and pummel. If you can’t get a room, get a pillow. Beat the hell out of it. And repeat.
▸Do cathartic shouting exercises once a week. Scream it out!
▸Take a boxing class, work out, swim, or run.
▸Create an affirmation (e.g., “I’m a peaceful, joyful, loving man”) that you say when you want to break something or get aggressive. – Lewis Howes

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