There was a photo circulating around the news and social media last week of Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook CEO, smiling broadly as he walked past a large crowd of journalists wearing virtual reality headsets, oblivious to his presence. It was reminiscent of the film “The Matrix” and eerily dystopian. Plugged into his virtual reality they became consumers of his content, foregoing the freedom to produce their own.
I never appreciated poetry. Perhaps, this is one of the drawbacks of my education. I viewed most poems as being akin to cleverly completed word puzzles that demonstrated brilliance through the creative use of an expansive vocabulary. The use of rhyme and metre were undoubtedly impressive. However, the fanfare surrounding prose poetry with free flowing sentences of carefully selected words that didn’t rhyme confused me. I felt as though anyone could string together a few frivolous phrases and pass it off as poetry. My disdain for this only served to further incite skepticism about the practicality of the force fed syllabus and encourage my teenage intellectual rebelliousness. Oh, but now I get it!
I have been looking for the perfect opening line, but the more I search and synthesize what is known, the harder it is to find. To be a great artists, musician or athlete is to relentlessly strive for perfection. With each repetition they aim to attain that flawless rendition of a song, the immaculate assemblage of perfect brush strokes, or display total mastery of technique. For us the very word “perfection” stirs up deep seated emotions and cultivates clear mental images. Have you ever done anything perfectly ? And more importantly, can you do it again?
Coaching is one of the few things that is as much of an art as it is a science. There are varying degrees in the spectrum of coaching, from so called coaches that merely supervise physical activity, to the few who profoundly change lives for the better.
This column is intended to be a very straightforward and practical guide to recovery. In elite sport it is not just about training harder than your competition, but also about recovering faster than them too. The faster one can recover, the sooner they can train hard again, and the faster the rate of improvement.
The goal, the goal, the gold! It’s so easy to get carried away, especially for athletes in an Olympic year. Every four years there is a mass neurosis in elite sport as the looming Olympics Games are approached with an insane level of intensity and all consuming zeal.
The privilege of representing your country brings responsibility. I have decided to dedicate this week’s column to being a strictly factual explanation of the process of drug testing in sport for the general public, and as an educational guide for aspiring athletes.
Finally, words are beginning to appear on this blank sheet of paper. It appears that the tide has turned and I am now starting to win this battle. I have been embroiled in an epic struggle against a force, which until a few moments ago had proven to be stronger than me...
A new year provides us with the drive to start afresh; out with the old and in with the new. With each passing year I am getting closer towards a sustainable life, with less wasted time and energy and more progress.
The key to this is a realisation that what is important is not how many things are in your life, but rather how many ways do the things in your life compliment and help each other.
One more! It was intimidating but I would try. In the back of my mind I knew that if something went wrong I could get seriously hurt, but something in me recognised that I risked everything by not risking everything, and so I heaved. The loaded barbell began to fly up as expected, to float weightlessly for a split second at the apex of its trajectory, but I just couldn't get under it fast enough. As I recoiled back to safety, the weight crashed unceremoniously back to the ground where it mocked me.
I see It everywhere and recognise It behind everything. I have lost all religion while everything has become religious. It was hard to acknowledge at first, but it’s just too obvious to deny. Nature seems to repeat itself on every level, and to recognise these patterns is to have a deeper understanding of reality.
How do you deal with nerves? This question seems to be recurring lately. I wish someone experienced could have answered it when I was just starting out as an athlete.
It’s hard to remember the feeling of nervousness itself. What stays etched in the memory and comes to mind is the incredible pleasure from the immediate relief from this self imposed stress. It’s interesting to note that nervousness only arises from our anticipation of an upcoming situation, but once the situation is upon us and has consumed our attention totally, we are no longer nervous.
These columns consist of synthesised material from across a broad range of my interests. Lately, I have been intrigued by the mind and have focused on directly experiencing it through attentive observation. The mind is very interesting, that is if you can manage to pay attention to it, and not let it consume you.
When things inevitably get tough in life and in sport, the greatest threat often arises insidiously from within our minds in the form of the question “what the heck am I doing here?”
I am going to take you through a typical day of training, focusing on my diet; what I consume, why and how I think it affects my overall performance.
There are so many right ways to do things that it can be confusing, but I have been experimenting with my nutrition for years and I think by now I have a pretty good idea what works for me. As a professional athlete, I have the ability to get almost instant objective feedback on how my nutrition affects not only how I feel, but also my ability to perform and my times in training on a daily basis.
If you are enthusiastic about physical culture like me, then chances are that at some point in your sport or exercise regime you have had to deal with serious fatigue, plateaus and injury.
Even for those of us who are not in sports, by simply trying to put our health first and sticking to the routine by exercising fervently even when we are exhausted, we may be doing more harm than good. Proper training is simply about seeing results, making progress, and the prevention and mitigation of injury.
“Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream, merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.”
It’s interesting how that old children’s nursery rhyme reflects some very profound existential questions about our reality. Perhaps it’s not a coincidence. What if life really was like some sort of dream? And what if this dream of life could be a lucid dream; a dream in which you realise that you are dreaming?
All human beings are born free. We are free to think whatever thoughts we can imagine. We possess the free will to make choices that affect our future. Action is taken when our free will is put into operation and transformed into an agency. Therefore, thinking is the first and most important part of doing. Great actions come from great thoughts.
Where to begin? That is the question for me now, and for you! We live on a big rock that is mostly covered by this strange ancient substance from outer space that has found its way into the lowest places and been collected there. We don't exactly know where it all came from, but one likely theory is that it was violently given to us as Earth was pelted by comets and meteors of ice for billions of years.
There are really only two types of story plots; a person goes on a journey, and a stranger comes into town. This exciting story is encapsulating both of these elements.
My journey towards the podium at the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio has taken me all over the world to compete for my livelihood, gaining priceless race experience in the process. Now the story gets even more interesting with the plot taking on a new twist as a stranger comes to town.