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b&w ab shot as vegan. 21 July 08

The Tools.

Embukai, March 2009. Nara, Japan.


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DARREN_D is a SparkPeople Motivator!

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Hello and welcome to my Spark Page. Since joining SP in March of '08, I've been blessed with some degree of success, due to a super supportive and motivating wife, a cleaner diet, and more knowledge about how to exercise for optimum results. I know everyone has his or her own way, and finding that path is part of the fun, but I wanted to share some key points that have helped me increase energy, burn more fat than ever before, and really enjoy working out.

I know reading point by point info isn't always interesting, but it is the easiest ways of getting all points down quickly, without taking up too much of people's time. So, below, I have listed points for three areas that I have found some success in: Mental & Emotional Outlook/Fitness Beliefs/Dietary Beliefs. Feel free to read through them and add your comments below. Cheers for reading and sharing!

Mental & Emotional Outlook in 5 Precepts:

Precept 1
Where the emotions go the mind follow, and vice versa. For example, the questions we ask ourselves influence our mental state: ask sh@ty question about life, and that's what's given in return; ask for glory, and, well... you get the idea. Ultimately, the choice is mine.

Precept 2
Both emotions and thoughts can be influence by physiology. Change my state physically and I gain control of both emotions and mind.

Precept 3
The next piece of the puzzle, like mentioned in the intro, is what I put in my body. A vibrant active mind is reflected and directed by an active, vibrant body built and sustained from a live, whole food diet that is as organic as possible, and without gluten, grains, or processed foods.

Precept 4
Without a goals greater than my own wants ad desires, the other 3 precepts cannot be totally fulfilled and thus do not serve me. For example, serve others; serve thyself.

Precept 5
In order to ensure the 4 precepts above, I will continue to model myself after others who have reached success in their related fields and apply them to my own. This is to keep me learning to do it better from those who have already found a way.

10 Dietary Beliefs
As mentioned above, the changes I've made thus far are largely due to changes in what I put into my mouth. I have gone through an evolution of sorts, and am now on the journey of eating along the lines of a paleo/zone/athletic performance diet. I highly recommend reading Robb Wolf's book, The Paleo Solution, for those interested in better health, fat loss, and longevity.

Belief 1

Lots of veggies, no grains--period.

Belief 2
I get nourishment from food and energy from movement. This is especially important, because, if I find I'm tired, rather than eating or drinking for some energy quick-fix, moving my body gets me there sooner, with more of a sustained effected. If I pay special attention to training in lower fat-burning zones, or ripping out a few reps on one exercise or another throughout the day, drops in energy don't hit me as often as siting around hoping for things to get better. Food nourishes; exercise energizes.

Belief 3
Fat equals fuel. Simple as that. Healthy fats are a must: fish oils, avocados, nuts, omega 3 and 6 rich foods, etc are consumed everyday.

Belief 4
Grass fed meat, and wild caught fish are key whenever possible and makes all the difference.

Belief 5
I must constantly adapt to my dietary needs, and not get held into one particular school of thinking or another.

Belief 6
I am able to be more creative with meals and enjoy more of what nature has to offer by adapting to this lifestyle and adapting to seasons chances in climate and food availability. Depending on the season, it's important to have the right tool for the job.

Belief 7
What I learn and put into practice reduces my risk of preventable diseases, increases my longevity, and allow me to play hard now and in the future. It also lowers my recovery time between exercise, making it possible for me to enjoy more activity more often.

Belief 8
If possible, alkaline water is a must.

Belief 9
Now that I'm becoming more sensitive to what my body needs, I must be flexible to give it what it wants when it wants it. I must also keep in mind that each meal is structured with the idea that it is part of a daily meal plan, and that nothing is missing from my diet if I keep in mind the big picture. If I have time for a snack, I know what kind of snacks I need because I am prepared. This keeps me from cramming everything into one meal, while taking the stress away from eating and allowing me to concentrate on other, more important aspects of my day, so that I can accomplish more with confidence.

N.B. Although it's not listed as one of the 9, I strongly believe that we should have organic foods whenever possible.

10 Fitness Beliefs:

Belief 1
Training in each of the 5 heart zones is crucial for total fitness. Neglecting any one of these five leads to a deficiency in health and performance.

Belief 2
Kettelbells are the best exercise tool I've found thus far, period.

Belief 3
I do employ other methods from time to time, but these contrive the consistent base of exercise and exercise benefits.

Belief 4
I get to exercise, one way or another, every day.

Belief 5
Always train within limits. This is important for long-term, sustainable growth.

Belief 6
Similar to the one above, always train for success, never to failure.

Belief 7
Workouts should be charged emotionally with thoughts and feelings of what I want to achieve in other areas of my life, not just the physical.

Belief 8
See exercise as a fun way to challenge myself, one way or another, and to use that mindset in other areas of my life where I am tested in other way.

Belief 9
Stretching is as important as any workout I do for improving strength, speed, and mobility.

Belief 10
The benefits of all my activities are a chance to assess my goals in life, spend quality time with either myself or my loved ones, and heighten the intensity and appreciation of life.


Toys I think are important for anyone really committed to making long-term gains are: a log book where you can record trends, goals & progress; a heart-rate monitor, a cadence counter (like Gymboss), Nike+ for ipod, a foam roller and yes, kettlebells, and finally, for all of these, the knowledge to go along with using them properly.

Recommended Reads:
No matter what your area of interest, I've found these books inspirational and helpful. They are just a few, and the list may change from time to time, so bare with me. Here are a few incredible books that are well worth the read:

Moving Zen: One man's journey to the Heart of Karate
Slow Burn: Burn Fat Faster by Exercising Slower
The Paleo Solution
The Paleo Diet

Recommended Sites:
Below are sites that I've found helpful making the transition to a greener way of living, and together, they provide a roadmap greater than anyone I could put together at this point. My hope is that others will be able to make their minds up for themselves after reading some of the literature out there about meat, refined carbs, etc, and see that there's an alternative way that's easier on your body and the environment long term.


Member Since: 3/12/2008

Fitness Minutes: 2,423

My Goals:
-got down from 16.5% body fat to less than 7%. Would like to get it down a bit more, while increasing muscle mass, but we'll see what happens:)

-Improve active/resting heart-rate. Current HR VO2Max is now at 62, from 59 and 54 respectfully, putting me in the 'Elite' range on my ownzone monitor, but we'll see in daily performance if that's true. Still feel there's a long way to go, and so much fun to be had.

-Improve strength, endurance, suppleness, and flexibility

-200 snatches within 10 minutes with a 24kg kettlebell to meet the SSST (Secret Service Snatch Test for strength and endurance. Current PR: 202 snatches within 10 minutes with a 20kg)

-One arm press half my body weight

-not interested in getting super huge, just strong, flexible, and feelin' good

My Program:
I started with Pavel's Russian Kettlebell Challenge program from Enter the Kettlebell, and am currently on AOS's Strength in Motion 6 month training program.

I also supplement this with 8-10 hours of aikido per week, and KB DVDs to help mix it up.

Key Points to training:

-always train within limits

-always train for success, never to failure

-have fun challenging myself one way or another

-workouts should be emotionally charged with the feeling of accomplishing all goals, fitness and otherwise

Personal Information:
I enjoy exercise, and am constantly looking to find new, simple, and exciting ways to improve my overall health and conditioning.

Other Information:

Chief Instructor
Sanshozenji Aikido Canada


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