Disadvantage? Think again…

A lot of us who aren’t millionaires wish we were. A lot of us who aren’t brave wish we were. But the truth is in order to truly appreciate being millionaires or exploit bravery; we need to have been poor and cowardly. Yes, some of us are born with luxuries, which we may perceive to be advantageous. But on the contrary the things we believe to be advantageous are often disadvantageous. A perfect example of this can be the story of David and Goliath. Malcom Gladwell discusses this theme in his book “David and Goliath” perfectly. Assuming all the details of the story are true, it serves as a perfect example of how certain perceived advantages are sometimes merely illusions. Goliaths height and weight caused him to appear powerful and fearful, which David exploited by keeping his distance and trusting his sling abilities (which is said to be as powerful as a gun). David also knew that Goliaths strength and size would serve as a disadvantage, for Goliath would be slow and arrogant. Goliath would later be defeated only because he underestimated the advantage of David being in a perceived disadvantaged. One of the biggest lessons that can be taken from this prominent story is that David never would have been victorious had he not experienced anxiety and fear. People underestimate the power of fear when in fact the most noble and rewarding actions have often transpired from such feelings.

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We´ve all had our parents tell us about their struggles when they were our age. My parents both had poor upbringings and have reminded me countless times of how lucky I am to be able to pull out my phone and Google any question that boggles my mind, how lucky I am to have several pairs of shoes each year and how lucky I am to never have to worry about finding food on the table. As I have grown older I have come to realize that YES I am lucky in many ways yet unlucky in many others. For example, I never looked at school as a privilege because it was easily available to me, which led to me taking it less seriously. I never feared not having enough food, which led me to underappreciate the effort my mother would consistently apply in the kitchen. In fact, it was not until I went to boarding school and lived on my own for a couple of years that I began to appreciate the hundreds of things I took for granted when I lived at home. Even when I lived alone my parents always made sure to give me a generous allowance once a month, which I typically blew on the first week and ate noodles for the rest of the month. I accidentally taught myself the value of food and I´ll tell you a secret, anything tastes like heaven after a month of eating just noodles.

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The truth is there is no value in a life where everything comes easily. We need challenge and change. We need obstacles. I am not saying this as person who has always been protected and cared for excessively by my wonderful parents, but as a person who is well aware of the many unprecedented ways in which a person’s life can be ill-fated. It is absolutely not my intention to diminish the severity of some of the challenges people around the world face. I won´t for a second pretend to know the feeling of those going through unspeakable horror on a daily basis. Having said that, I do believe we need to experience at least small amounts of fear, anxiety, loss, pressure etc. For it is in overcoming these feelings that we find true fulfillment and success.

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Every problem has a solution and as long as these problems are not life threatening I welcome them with open arms. I invite scenarios in which I see myself overcoming and protruding as a stronger and more enlightened version of myself. Without hardship and without tests we will not find progress. We consider Bill Gates, Stephen King, Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Steven Spielberg, Charlize Theron and countless more to be successful and influential role models. However, what people do not realize about such individuals is they have all reached detrimental crossroads in their lives. From experiencing her mother being killed by her father (Charlize Theron), to being raped at the age of 9 (Oprah), to dealing with dyslexia (Richard Branson), each of these particular list of people have gone through unthinkable circumstances. Yet, they still managed, against all odds, to become overly successful. In fact, it is hard to imagine them reaching this level of success had they all not experienced their respective adversities. Is it simply a coincidence that people with such horrific pasts have also become people of great importance today? I think not.

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Do not underestimate the power of being at a perceived disadvantage. As the statement suggest, most disadvantage are merely deceptive perceptions. Do not allow countless tests that life throw at you to consume you. Embrace difficulty and tread through with perseverance and meaning. We learn much more from problems than we learn from peace. That is not to say that we must find or attract problems, but rather live freely and purely with conviction that we can overcome whatever challenge and become better souls as a result.

Thanks for reading 😊

Die Weltmeisterschaft

“The world cup” in German sounded so violent I just had to make it the title of this post. The Germans did it! They are the new world champions. While the achievement is not surprising, as they worked hard and merited the win, I still can´t shake off a slight feeling of disappointment. Not only have I come to the realisation that I have nothing exciting to watch for the next month or so, but I have spent the entirety of this world cup rooting for underdogs and while Argentina may not be much of an underdog, very few expected them to reach this stage of the world cup. The Argentinian nation should be proud of their players for putting up a tireless fight that thoroughly tested the Germans before they proved themselves worthy of being crowned champions.Klose_1937628f

I remember when I was eight years old and my father tried to convince me to watch football. Given my restlessness at the time the only thing that could capture my attention for over 90 minutes was a video game. Back then there was no facebook, twitter or instagram so there was no external pressure to pretend I was partaking in viewing something that did not interest me. While the streets were flooded with cheers and the whole country´s work efficiency plummeted, I sat silently in my room playing Zelda and Super Mario. My father tried over and over to get me to watch with him but in my head the idea of watching 22 men run around a field trying to wear each other out for 90 minutes was just plain boring. However, I loved playing football. I loved going to the local beach and stand on the sidelines waiting to get picked in one of the teams that would play next.

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Fast-forward almost two decades later and I have become an avid follower of football. It all started after I started watching a player called Thierry Henry. Truth be told, my father was the one who introduced me to his prominence. I remember watching him carry the ball from his defense all the way to the opposing half and score goals all on his own. He was one of the fastest players in the league and he carried his team with such magisterial quality. He amazed me as I slowly began to watch and cheer for Arsenal. As my interest grew so did my understanding of the game. I began to understand why people loved the sport so much and why the world was so captivated by one special event every four years. I started to understand that we need people to look up to, whether they were actual or fictional. We watch these athletes perform at the highest level and patiently hope to be inspired in the conclusion. I was indeed inspired by Thierry Henry. After Henry stepped down from his pedestal another player by the name of Lionel Messi was waiting to capture my heart. As I followed Messi for the past seven years I watched him grow from a scrawny little kid to a world-renowned champion. With one glance at the 5 ft 7 teenager with careless hair not many would ´ve bet money that he is to become one of the greatest players to ever run on a football field. So I patiently watched him grow as a player and as his performances become progressively dazzling I fell more and more in love with the game.

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I watched Lionel Messi receive his award today as the world cup´s most valuable player despite having failed to lead his team to win. The only thing that disappointed me about the loss was his reaction. As he walked down the stairs carrying his award I caught a glimpse of his frustration and it bothered me that he was not showing the usual humility that has always led me to defend him as both a great player and a superb role model. But I guess the reality of the loss hit him harder than anyone could have anticipated. He is still considered one of the all times greatest in my books and while I anxiously look forward to what he will bring to the game in the upcoming season I am contempt with what he has already done for the football community.

 

I am quite frankly surprised that Argentina made it to the final after having put together one scrappy performance after another. What everyone thought was going to be their biggest weakness proved to be their biggest asset; defense. Either way Germany was convincingly the champions they depicted themselves to be since the beginning of the event. Everyone expected them to come this far and while I´m not a big fan of theirs its easy to admit that they have a very solid team, from keeper to striker. I am glad to have witnessed history in the making even though the team I aspired to win fell short at the very end. Regardless, it was a wonderful event, which proved that hard work, confidence and perseverance are vital to success. It is what drove both teams to the final. A lot of people say meeh it’s just a game, but its not. Anything that evokes the sort of sentiments that we saw in abundance around the beautiful stadiums in Brazil cannot be brushed off as just a game. It is a game that stands for much more as its influences go far beyond the four corners in which it is played in. I know I speak for many when I say I have been inspired greatly and even though the sentiments may be short lived as time brings in new fixtures and results, I look forward to telling my kids one day how I witnessed the Brazillian team receive one of the most spectacular ass whooping in the history of football 😛

 

Thanks for reading 😊  

 

What kind of supporter are you? Don´t lie!

Hello to all my beautiful people! The sun continues to shine over on my end of the world and I must say, never have I appreciated the sun as much as I do now! After having lived in colder countries for the past 7 years it has forced me to value the scarce sunlight. But down to business! I want to talk about a new trend I am noticing. I´m sure its not new at all but for me it is new because the older I get the more I begin to look at patterns and behaviors abstractly. I want to talk about the different groups of supporters or fans that this year’s world cup has generated. I used to think there were only two kinds of supporters; glory supporters and real supporters. I´ve come to find that there are several other sorts as the definition of a “true supporter” is very distorted. So yes, hold on to your horses because I´m going to be making fun of some people. Here’s my list of different types of football/soccer supporters! and I made a few memes 😀

 

 

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1)   Die Hard

We all know these supporters as they claim to be the only true supporters! These are usually fans that have been behind one team since day one regardless of the teams history or potential future. They live, eat and breathe football and can barely talk about anything else. They get season tickets ever year and are on the brink of becoming hooligans. You see them on football blogs all the time trying to argue against “trollers.” They know the history of their team inside out and are dying to correct people about sports statistics. Although they can be intense and overbearing, they know their stuff.

 

 

 

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2)   Positive Association Creators

AKA glory supporters. These are individuals that tend to be obsessed with their image. This is why you will see them hangout with a certain group of people, wear certain kinds of clothes, hang out at certain types of places and most importantly support certain types of “winning” teams. Yes, these people only tend to associate themselves with people they consider winners. These are people who change their words in the middle of an argument to support their point, or points rather. They are commonly known as “backpedlers.” They will support teams such as Brazil, Germany, Netherland or Spain but expect to hear nothing from them as soon as their team is eliminated, as they lay low and wait for an opportune moment for you to forget which team they supported so they may move on to a newer team that is recently becoming dominant.

 

 

 

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3)   The Patriots

These are the people who are sort of similar to the die hard fans but tend to have a patriotic connection to a football team. These are the ones that consider themselves the truest of supporters, as they are the ones that have the closest connection to their national or city teams. These people will support their country in whatever sport they compete in regardless of their understanding of the sport. They typically only know of the star players and are oblivious of all the other players who perhaps work harder in spirit of the team. You will see them get very emotional over their team´s performance just because they represent their country.

 

 

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4)   Sudden Experts

I think these are the least respected supporters. These are the type of people who know everything about everything and love to get into heated arguments just for the sake of argument. This can be a person who will tune into the world cup now, see how teams struggle to win a game and start voicing out their opinions on how the coach could make his team more effective. As if they’ve been world renowned coaches before but lost their way and somehow ended up in a line behind me… at Starbucks… getting a coffee during lunch break…and passing judgment. This is the same guy that goes to the gym once a year and tries to give you advice on how its important to stretch or you could get injured. He is also the same guy on the basketball court that blames his absurd lack of stamina on his bad knee. This person also likes to associate himself with winning teams, but one thing this person likes more, is the sound of his/her voice. Their knowledge on team histories are very limited but that still doesn’t stop them from sharing their sudden expert and valuable opinion.

 

 

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5)   The Facebook Sportscaster

Yes Nilanka if you reading this you’re the first person that comes to mind when I think of sports relating spamming on facebook 😛 but don’t worry this is not directed at you. Facebook sportscasters are the people who will post hundreds of the fakest sports related posts, or just fake posts in general as they live life vicariously through Facebook. These are people who, like “sudden experts,” like to voice the most obvious of opinions and get likes.  I´m sure most of them are not even watching the games but just get informed that a certain team scored and then rush to post it on Facebook without even seeing the goal. I guess the goal or result isn’t really important, what’s important is being the first to pretend having witnessed it and post a funny/smart/ clichéd status in order to seem relevant and up to date with what is trendy.

 

 

 

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6)   History supporter

In every football argument you have that one person that is going to bring up a teams history. He´ll say things like “we won it 10 times!” Somehow they feel statistics and historical events have a big say on how things will play out in the modern world, and if not they can always go back to screaming “we won it 10 times.” I feel bad for these supporters because they seem to be trapped thinking that they will someday reach the promise land, as their team continues to disappoint year after year…after year. Yes I am thinking of Liverpool supporters 😛 These supporters like to rehash the accomplishments of ancient players in the face of brutal loss. They consider prehistoric achievements their achievements, kind of like a person who is born into a rich family who then boasts about becoming rich 😛

 

 

 

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7)   Hipster fan

Hipster fans are the funniest of fans. They are in a completely different dimension of sports watching. They tend to find the most disregarded of teams/players to support. Just like their taste in music they will like a team before its popular then quickly switch the moment the team begins to gain publicity. These fans are like scouts. They are only interested in the potential of something then quickly bounce to the next randomness.

 

 

 

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8)   The “sissy” guy

I have met SOOOOO many of these since I´ve moved to America. I don´t know what it is about Americans and their obsession in trying to prove that soccer is the flimsiest of sports. These are people who watch games waiting for a player to fall so that they may obnoxiously point out the flop. Never mind that soccer has long history of players dying or receiving horrific injuries on the field, its still a sissy sport. Never mind the conclusive explanation that soccer players dive MAINLY to put their team in an advantaged situation of having more players on the field or getting a penalty, its still a sissy sport. They might as well have their hands over their ears because there is no convincing a UFC or NHL supporter that soccer is a manly sport. I would love to see other sports introduce the impediments of receiving a red card just to see how “manly” the athletes will be then.

 

SO as you all know I love to poke fun at people especially when their conspicuous behavior catches my attention. But if I want to dish it out I better be able to handle it right? After all its not like I’m the perfect fan. So let me go right ahead and confess that I see myself in 3 of the groups I listed above; Facebook sportscaster, positive association creator and somewhat a die hard. I have the tendency of supporting players rather than teams. For example if I really like a player then I would move with them should they ever switch clubs. The way I see it I don’t owe any team loyalty as I don’t really have close ties with any team that plays at an international level. If I was to support a team based on my nationalities then I might as well stop watching football. I read up a lot on football actually because I never know when my knowledge could get called into question, especially when I’m involved in heated arguments on sport articles. My girlfriend has witnessed my refusal to come to bed as I would ferociously type away with the aim of proving who knows more in random sport forums. You might come across one of my rants, I go by the alias Africanchief23 which is my trolling internet name. Anyway its all just fun and games learn to laugh at yourselves people! Those millionaires running on the field couldn’t care less what kind of supporters we are as long as we support them in tough times, which by the way is what counts. Although FIFA is one of the most corrupt of organizations, the World Cup is an event that brings the world together, regardless of what type of supporter you are. For one month every four years we get the chance to discover how similar and excited we can all be over ONE thing! For once every four years most of the world is captivated and inspired by the great game of football, and THAT my friends is something worth supporting!

 

Thanks for reading 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Its all in the numbers..

Happy Monday y´all! With this post today I´m hoping to spark some positive energy back in my blog after a pretty gloomy last post. Its summer time as those living in cold countries will most likely appreciate. Everyone´s got their nice summer tans going and some revealing a little too much skin. Either way, summer time is happy time and as long as the sun is out we should all be showing off the physiques we´ve worked all winter long to attain. Some of us, however, like myself, may have started the summer diet a little late. SO in this post I´m going to be talking about the diet that I´m currently on and how to go about pursuing that dream summer body!

 

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So unfortunately there is quite a bit of math involved in trying to get a perfect physique. It got to a point for me where the numbers on the scale weren’t really all that important but rather body compositions became critical. Once you master gaining and losing weight at will, you start realizing that proportionality is what makes all the difference between great looking bodies and average ones. I will leave the explanation on how to efficiently target certain body parts in order to attain perfect symmetry for another time. Right now, we´re approaching the peak of summer time so I want to talk about how to get lean fast!

 

For the past couple of months I explained how I was on a “dirty bulk” diet as I was trying to gain as much muscle as possible before cutting down the fat. I started the cutting process about 2 weeks ago so I´ll explain what I´ve been doing. I´ll first lay them out as bullet points.

 

  • Determine what your metabolic rate
  • Determine your macronutrient needs
  • Weigh or measure your food accordingly
  • Hit the gym (cardio 3 times a week)
  • Check progress biweekly
  • Fine tune your nutrition

 

So these are the steps I specifically follow. As as a general formula to calculate metabolic rate all you have to do is multiply body weight (lb) by 12.5 if male or 11 if female. For example me: 210 x 12.5= 2625 This means if I consumed 2625 calories a day I would remain the same weight.

 

Determining your macronutrients is important because they determine how your body will look. They determine the percentage of lean body mass and percentage of fat. So if you just want to cut weight then just cut calories, but if your looking to have a specific look e.g. muscular or lean, it is imperative that the macronutrient follow a particular structure. If you are measuring the amount of protein, carbs and fats that you consume then don’t bother counting the calories because they are pretty much the same. Just remember that 1g of protein is equal to 4 calories, 1g of carb is equal to 4 calories and 1g of fat is equal to 7 calories. Weigh and measure your food according to your requirements. I try to get 200g of protein each day or you can simply follow the 1g per lb rule. I try to get around 50g of fat everyday. My carbs, however, I play around with quite a bit. On my reload day I´ll match it with my protein otherwise I try to keep it relatively low in order to attain a leaner look. I cut up the meat, measure, marinate, pack and throw in the freezer.

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Generally I try to get around between 1800 to 2000 calories a day so I´m sure to stay on a caloric deficit. I aim to lose between 1 to 2 lbs weekly so I´m on the scale every other Monday first thing in the morning.

 

Its important to keep going to the gym in order to keep the muscles nice and defined so they are ready to appear swollen once you reach lower fat percentage. I´m focusing a lot on cardio though and getting my heart rate up so that I can burn as much fat as possible. CAREFUL NOT TO BURN MUSCLE THOUGH! The last thing you want to do is burn off all the hard gains so do like me and get some amino acids.

 

Its important to fine tune your nutrition as well as your training accordingly. The more weight you lose the more your metabolic rate will change which will require you consume less calories.

 

The only way to make sure you´re on track is of course to have a plan and track your progress. Know where you came from and where you´re heading. Check your weight and body fat percentage every 2 weeks and if the progress is not positive then be make the changes required.

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I hope some of this advice has been helpful to you all. It is actually the first time I am attempting to reach a single digit fat percentage. I think its important to remember that ultimately whatever goal you set should bring you happiness. If it doesn´t give you pleasure or fulfill you in anyway then there is no point. Know your goals, determine why you want to look a certain way and stick to the plan! I believe true success can only happen when someone enjoys what he does. So don´t get too caught up on the exact nutritional numbers or body proportions. Some people will tell you lowering your carbs is bad for the brain, some will say Coke ZERO will give you cancer. Honestly, half these tests are inconclusive anyway and if you require more information then all you have to do is google it or refer to my blog 😉 IF you see that I may be wrong about something then by all means let me know. This is a learning opportunity for me as I am learning tons as I go along. But hey, give yourself a small margin for error like I do and ENJOY experiencing your body and soul transform.

 

Thanks for reading 🙂

 

I´m half Lebanese and half Sierra Leonean… allegedly

Hello everyone 😀 How´s everyone doing today (rhetorical)? I´m fine myself, incase you were wondering. Today I have a heavy subject to discuss. I have been contemplating whether or not I should include this topic in my blog or not and I´ve finally decided to discuss it on the condition that I will try my best to be as abstract as possible. I don´t like insulting people or causing discomfort so if you are sensitive over political and religious matters then perhaps you should not read further. So in the hopes to positively share my opinions and be as neutral as possible, I will now like to bring up my feelings towards the two countries I wish I could consider home, Lebanon and Sierra Leone.

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I have a post about Norway, the country I have lived in for the past 6 years, and I have nothing but positive things to say about Norwegians who gladly took me in and treated me as one of their own (especially my girlfriends mom J). Unfortunately for the countries I represent, I do not have similar feelings. It is truly a shame because while I have tried hard to love my countries and defend them, I have been repeatedly let down by them. To start off, never have I experienced racism as harshly as I did from the countries I come from. I am truly ashamed to admit that my complexion is either to bright to be considered a true Sierra Leonean and too dark to be a true Lebanese. In most initial conversations I partake in with people from my nations the question always comes up as to why I´m either too dark or too bright, and its never asked in a remarkable manner but rather in a disappointed tone. As if to say “ its strange that you call yourself one of us yet you don’t look like us.” It has always been worse in Lebanon because the darker one appears the lower his/her social status is assumed to be. For example a lot of Sri Lankans that live in Lebanon work low paid jobs such as maids or nannies while the “brighter” people had more of an opportunity to succeed.

In Sierra Leone you would also be considered more likely to succeed if the complexion was brighter. But that automatically meant you would never be accepted as one of the locals. My parents raised me to be completely indifferent to race and social class so I remember I would always try to play football with the locals who always favored each other as teammates. They would also laugh at my skin for being too smooth which to them suggested that I was merely another “bright” brat aimlessly trying to mingle with them. They naturally didn´t like me for what I represented rather than who I actually was as a person. To them I was better off running back to my high tower as the sheer presence of my Nike shoes in the slums insulted them. Little did I know that even if I had shown up barefoot with ripped clothes they never would accept me. So I tried and tried but I was always laughed at for reasons that were far beyond my comprehension. I learned the hard way that a form of racism had something to do with my failure to adapt.

 

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As for Lebanon, it is never until I open my mouth and release the sound of a perfect Lebanese accent that I earn the slightest of recognition. Then the follow up questions come. “How come your Arabic is so good? How come you’re so dark? What part of Lebanon is your family from?” The latter is perhaps one of the most important questions a Lebanese person can ask another. Telling a Lebanese person your family name and the area from which you’re from is almost like giving them your social security number. With that little info they will straight away know your religion, your political affiliations and most probably someone in your family. Lebanon is so small that somebody in your family always knows somebody in someone else´s. The bloodlines are sometimes so long and unclear that people find out after years that they are somehow related. Regardless, in the first instances of two Lebanese people meeting each other for the first time they will definitely be some form of judgment due to the several complexes that Lebanese people have. SO if you think it is strange for Lebanese people to be so curious/insecure/judgmental, imagine how they react when they meet a brown guy like me.

 

I´m honestly embarrassed to tell people where I come from not because both my countries are underdeveloped and struggle from poverty, but because there is no sort of unity amongst either of my respective people. Poverty, greed, deaths, exploitation, conflicts are all just results that stem from the consequences of divided minds. There is an overwhelming sense of insecurity, misplaced pride and lack of education which further forces my countries to succumb to the defunct social practices of yesteryear. How can we develop if we don’t agree with one another? How can we agree with one another if we are caught up on so many differences? Lebanon is known to have the most diverse society of the Middle East with 18 recognized religious sects. 18!!! For a population of about 4.5 million!!! That’s ridiculous! How can a proper government ever be formed that respects the views and morals of all these religions??? Impossible. I do not want to get into a discussion about what religion is righteous and whatnot. I will just say that religion should play NO role in political matters and once religious beliefs lead to the killing or oppression of people then the purpose is completely defeated. Honestly I couldn’t care less about what people believe in so long as they don’t impose it on others.

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Back to the issue of unity, it is the same pattern I´ve always seen in Sierra Leone. I remember flying in once and standing at the passport check line in Lungi. Every country has at least two lines for passport checking which are usually labeled nationals and immigrants. While I´m usually always in the slower and longer immigrant line in other countries I found that even in MY own country the longer and slower line just so happens to be the line with Sierra Leonean citizens! It boggled my mind that MY people were less intrusive and inquisitive over foreigners, as they showed them much more respect and admiration.

In both my countries we don´t value one another. We don’t value life for its beauty and complexity. Instead we value theories, opinions and proving groundless points that lead to eventual conflicts and destruction. While my people are so busy blaming “outsiders” from coming to our country, exploiting our resources and leaving us in shambles, we are the same people allowing this monstrosity to take place when we fail to realize as a nation that we are solely responsible for the downfall we attract. We are too busy fighting each other, failing to realise the limitless potential of our unity.

 

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I realize that I´ve been criticizing my people to a harsh degree but I have so much built in anger from my experiences. It pains me to write such punitive yet factual words about my countries. I´ve tried to say the word “we” as much as possible because I realize that I might be part of the problem as I am one of the many that fled and is reluctant to go back there and make a change, however little. But truth be told I am not emotionally or physically ready to do that. While it has always been a dream of mine to go back and offer a helping hand I am dead scared of the potential backfire. I do, however, want to take a moment to establish that not all Sierra Leoneans and Lebanese are as described beforehand. These countries have also produced great people such as my parents and many more. In fact some of my best friends are Lebanese/Sierra Leoneans. 

I am writing this post not with the intentions of condemning my countries but with the hopes that it may open some eyes. I have spent 24 years hearing different opinions on who´s to blame and why, and at this point I am not concerned with excuses and flawed reasoning. My opinions may be subjective and misplaced but I´m hoping that most people agree that unity is the key for my countries to prevail. While I may not be strong enough to actively participate in making a change yet, there are much smarter and capable people out there who sacrifice their lives on a daily basis to better my countries. And I have vowed that the day I start seeing my people ready to lay down petty differences with the aim of benefiting commonwealth, I will hop on the next flight heading to the places I´ve always wanted to call my true homes, places that will finally accept me as their own.

 

Plus it would be really nice if we could get our sh*t together just so we could finally have a team to represent us in the world cup. I´m getting sick of cheering for random teams that have nothing to do with me!

 

Thanks for reading 😊 

 

Let the music take control!

Good throwback day y´allllll!! Today´s topic: MUSIC. Yes in the entirety of my existence I have only met ONE person who told me he doesn’t like music. I guess its understandable if someone doesn’t like a particular genre. but no. This guy actually started a discussion with me thinking that he might convince me to share his unappreciation. It was one of the most ridiculous and dead-end conversations i have ever had. Anyway, everyone at least has a sound that they like, whether its in a rhythm or not. In this post I´m gonna talk about whats currently topping my workout playlist and why.

 

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Starting on top is of course one of my all time favourites “he lives in you” by Lebo M. I remember the first time I heard this song I think i was 10. The funny thing is I first heard it in french because at the time most of my disney movies were in french. Then I heard the english version and became enlightened. I remember being so certain that it would be impossible to match the soundtracks from the first Lion King but I must say with “In Upendi,” “We are one” and that one Kovu song, the cast really outdid themselves. The Liong King soundtracks will forever be part of my classic pick me up songs.

 

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Next on the playlist is of course, one of my all-time favourite wrappers, Eminem aka Slim Shady. No workout playlist is complete without some angry Eminem songs. This particular song takes me back to my ignorant and image-obssessed teenage years. I remember feeling so tough back in the days as I would painfully blast this song through my earphones only to show other people what I was listening too. 

 

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Theres nothing better than forgetting about a song after not hearing it for years and then suddenly have it sneak up on you and surprise you. This song up here did that to me a couple of years ago. I remember forgetting about it when I was 15 or so. Then when i heard it again it gave me the goosebumps of all goosebumps. This is the kind of song that suddenly starts playing in the gym and it gives you such a kick that you look around anxiously not knowing what to do with yourself. If ever I´m on a treadmill and this comes on I don’t care how tired I am I’m putting that treadmill on maximum speed. 

 

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Moving a little into modern times I must say that this is a song that truly took me by surprise. I never thought I would listen to country music but this song is just so.damn.good. And the music video is pretty hilarious (check it out). This is the kind of song that makes all my black friends question my ethnicity 😜 they just give me that estranged look. But I gotta say Mumford and sons are a great band.

 

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Yes I gotta have reggaeton up in hurrr. Ever since the “Gasolina” song went viral I have been a huge fan of reggaeton. SO much so that I sometimes wished I was Latino. Even though the beat always sounds the same it amazes me how these artists manage to add their own unique twist to their songs. Like Daddy yankee has a little hardcore party vibe to his songs while others like Don Omar sound like they saying some really emotional stuff that I don’t understand. I just catch myself thinking “damn I wish I could pour my hear out in spanish.” 😜 

 

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This is a song one of my best friends showed me just a couple of weeks ago. This song has one of the most summerish vibes ever. Its such a feel good song I just imagine my self doing a road trip with the top down every time I hear it. This is one of those songs that you get lost into or daydream to. 

 

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Taking it back old school, Sisqo was one of my all time favourites. I can say that he was a big part of my growing up. I think Sisqo was my first “explicit content” album. I remember being mesmerised by the “thong song.” I remember loving “unleashing the dragon” so much I used to warn people by saying “don’t make me unleash the dragon on you.” Great song! it takes me back every time I hear it.

 

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Speaking of music taking me back, THIS song does that too. I don´t care how manly or “cool” you are if this song doesn’t get your heart pumping you are not human. “i wanna i wanna i wanna i wanna i wanna really really really really zigazig ahhh!” Oh my god I remember memorising every sound in this song til I had a rude awakening of my teenage years where suddenly you weren’t “aloud” to listen to feminine music. Thats the era where the word “gay” was being thrown around to describe anything negative. I got called “gay” a lot for listening to stuff like this 😜 but you know what? I don’t caaaaaaare! zigazig aahhhh!!

 

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Theres nothing like some angry Kanye West songs to get you going in the gym. This song in particular really get my blood pumping. Its just so angry and raw.

Four in the morning, and I’m zonin

They say I’m possessed, it’s an omen

I keep it 300, like the Romans
300 bitches, where’s the Trojans?
Baby we livin’ in the moment
I’ve been a menace for the longest
But I ain’t finished I’m devoted
And you know it, and you know it

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My last workout song is this one. I put this on when Im ready to break records in the gym so it has a pretty good association. Sometimes all you really need is some noise coming out your earphones. Ive broken a lot of earphones listening to stuff like this but you know what? Its always been worth it!!

 

So these are the songs that I currently am all over. Of course this list changes from time to time. Some of these are classics and I know I´ll be listening to them my whole life, while others are just mainstream that I know will die out soon. Either way music is important to me because it can really support how I feel. I feel songs that carry a certain memory with them are the most powerful. It doesn’t even have to be songs, sometimes I search for old Nokia tunes on youtube and it feels really nice hearing them again. I also do that with MSN or AOL sounds 😊 I don’t think we choose the songs we like, I think its the other way round. The music chooses us we just have to allow ourselves to receive it and be honest with what we like. I used to use my girlfriend as excuse an excuse to listen to One Direction when quite frankly the songs they sing are catchy as hell! Listen to what you like people and enjoy the magical emotional boost that music was meant to provide! PEACE!

 

thanks for reading 🙂

Why lift weights?

Hello everyone! I will start this blog with a bang today without wasting time telling you anything about my day, mostly because I do not want to lose my train of thought. I want to talk about my growing fondness of doing physical activities. By growing fondness I mean obsession and by physical activities I mean lifting weights. Many are under the impression that lifting weights should only be done by people looking to build muscle mass and attain a certain macho look. While I do admire and hope to have that sort of look in the future it is not necessarily my main goal. In lifting weights I have found a certain calmness in this overpopulated and byzantine world of ours. In some bizarre way I find that within instances of muscle fatigue and through the vibrating bass of my earphones, in a room full of testosterone and recklessness, I find peace. I like to think of it as a spiritual experience, one that taps into my most instinctive form and allows me to surpass limits placed upon me by environmental influence. In other words, lifting a weight, both figuratively and literally, is a method of going against gravitational or societal rules that merely exist to blind us from spiritual evolution. I know this sounds preposterous but bare with me in the hopes that this train of thought will progressively elucidate.

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I have played with this thought in my head for a long time never quite figuring out how to express it. I never even fully understood it enough let alone make sense of it. It wasn’t long ago that I was able to trigger a new level of determination and ambition. And I must say lifting weights is how I discovered this. It has become a way for me to measure progress and growth not just in physical appearance but also in mental strength. I´m sure a lot of people experience this in different ways whether it be getting good grades or making more money. These are ways to personally measure self worth and I believe I might have found that in lifting weights. The feeling I get from making slow but gradual progress on a weekly basis is unparalleled. It is a sense of achievement that sprouts from the weight room and affects my mental state beyond. I guess the point I am trying to make is that positive change has to start somewhere and continue to thrive from that source. It starts from overcoming a challenge. The day I started measuring my progress in the weight room was the day I saw a lot of things in my life change. It was the day I started waking up before the sound of my alarm clock and the day I started pursuing transcendent satisfaction instead of rational satisfaction. By the words rational satisfaction I am referring to the collection of superficial and tangible things that is supposed to bring us happiness in life, things like money, education, systems and control. For the world leads us to believe that if there is nothing to measure or factualize then happiness cannot be achieved. Yet it is the most incalculable phenomena’s in the world that brings us the most happiness, things like love, trust, faith and lust. Moving a weight I previously thought was immovable gives me that sense of liberation, that sense of happiness.

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Now what does all this have to do with anything? Maybe I´m just having one of those long sleepless nights where the brain tends to entangle itself in random thoughts. Maybe my writing skills are not adequate enough to convey an ideology that seems so clear in MY head. Or just maybe as a reader and a thinker you know exactly what I am talking about. You might think “damn what kind of philosophical workouts is this dude participating in?” However, it is not so much about lifting weights per se, that is merely a constricted way of looking at it. Instead of thinking about it like that, think of it as overcoming a challenge, overcoming several small challenges and in that process finding an opportunity to experience fulfilling development.

 

 

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It is in lifting weights that I find myself beginning to defy one of the world’s most basic rules. It is in lifting weights that I build character, strength and confidence. It is by lifting weights that I begin to prove to myself that happiness is achieved gradually through overcoming barriers that restrict my true potential from evolving. In the dying moments of pushing through your last rep, feeling sweat trickle down your forehead, struggling to synchronize the fortitude of both mind and body and defeating every voice that has ever told you something was impossible, you will discover inestimable levels of satisfaction. And that is what I get from lifting weights as I learn to apply the same mechanics to everything in my life.

 

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Thanks for reading 🙂

Back Attack and Dirty Bulking

Whatsuuuup my good people!! I am in such a good mood today and I have no explanation as to why! Its just been one of those days where I woke up happy and the momentum from my happiness followed me throughout the day. The sun was shining, all the stop lights were green, there were some good oldies tunes on the radio, work was cheerful, first grill day was exquisite and my workout was fantastic. Usually I need to remind or reward myself to be happy but not today! Everything just came naturally and the day flowed by seamlessly. 

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So I want to talk a little bit about my nutrition. When I started this blog I was using a diet called intermittent fasting in order to lose weight. SO I managed to drop down from 105kgs to 91kgs. In terms of losing weight it was very successful, however I quickly found that I was losing waaaay too much muscle. SO around February time I decided to start bulking. Dirrrrrty bulking. This means eating whatever I want, whenever I want, thus the adjective: Dirty, or as aguillera says it dirrtay! But relax of course there are constraints. I make sure to get at least 200g of protein everyday. This is vital because I don’t want to load up on just fats and carbs cause then I would get bulky, but in the wrong kind of way. So i make sure to hit my protein goals and make sure I get at least 3500 calories in me everyday. Guess how much I way now… 98 kgs! Some fat of course, to the untrained eye, but I know there are some beautiful muscles lying underneath. So I will begin cutting in a month or so to reveal them 😊 

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Now I know in one of my last posts I mentioned that it was possible to bulk up without gaining fat as long as the macro portions are accurate. But who am I kidding, aint nobody got time fo dat! So I just went ahead and bulked, enjoying all the yummy meals I want, and soon I will cut.

I also want to talk about a revelation that I had recently. I decided to invest on a pair of straps and MAAAAN I cannot believe I did not get them earlier. Not to sound like a proactive commercial here but straps changed my life.

 

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If you´re like me then you have wasted a lot of time trying to get your form and grip right while doing back workouts in order to further enhance back development. Well, let me be one of the millions to whole heartedly vouch for the efficiency of having straps. Before I used straps I really struggled isolating my back muscles as I always ended up working my arms more than I did my back, especially when doing things like lat pulldowns. I would feel my grip strength loosening and my forearms over-tensing. But with straps I can loosen my grip, relax my arms and put most of the focus on my back, allowing me to get some real overdue pump on my lats and traps. So go get some straps and join me in being overly excited about something so little yet revolutionary to your average meathead 😉

 

Thats all for today folks! have a wonderful evening! 

 

Thanks for reading 🙂

Supplementation

Good Thursday everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful time browsing through old pictures and posting baby pictures on facebook/instagram and hashtaging TBT. This seems to be a growing trend nowadays, but HEY who doesn’t like a little attention? And what better way to get more likes than to post a cute old picture of yourself? I´d do it, if I could be bothered digging through a pile of old albums, scanning, cropping, editing and posting 😜 Speaking of digging through, I put up our grill today! Yes we are officially ready for the summer. I took the pleasure of proclaiming myself as the grill master. Every house has to have a grill master and until I move out THAT will be me 😀 tomorrow I´ll go shopping for some serious gainz food.

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Speaking of gainz I wanted to re-visit the subject of supplementation. Since my last post on supplements I have updated my stack quite a bit. I started training in November of 2013 with the soul purpose of losing weight (fat). After having lost about 10 kgs I decided to bulk up (since February). SO now I´ve gained 5 kgs back, but its mostly muscle! First on my list of supplements is BCAA´s.

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I take BCAA´s (branched chained amino acids) for one specific reason. There are several advantages from taking BCAA´s such as improved muscle recovery, improved brain function and strengthen immune system. But to me the most important function of BCAA´s is that it allows me to retain my muscles when I can´t get enough protein in me. For example when I went to Norway for 3 weeks I was dead scared of losing all the gains I made. Thanks to my amino acids my muscle loss was slight. SO if you have one of those bodies that quickly burns muscle instead fat for energy, this product will help.

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The second on my list is magnesium. Magnesium has two main functions that help me; it helps me sleep better and it helps strengthen my bones. We all know how important sleeping is to developing muscles, not just the length but also the quality. Magnesium helps me sleep deeper, which I know because it takes more than a few rings from my alarm clock to wake me up. I´ve also been waking up feeling more refreshed and rested. It supposedly also helps strengthen your bones but I haven’t really observed or experienced that yet.

 

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The third and last supplement that I´ve added to my stack is pre-workout. I have never been a fan or pre-workouts mainly because I have always been skeptical of the compositions. But I ran out of creatine and thought to myself meeh why not try it. So I gave the Cellucor C4 a try. I used products from Cellucor before and I must say it has never let me down. The first day I took this thing I messed up my timing and the effect kicked in AFTER my workout. But I have to say the effects were almost overwhelming. It felt like I had sniffed cocaine! Not that I know the effects of cocaine but if I were to guess I would say its not far off. I was so restless I considered going back to the gym for a second round. My eyes were bulging and I felt a huge boost of energy. It scared me for a second cause I was driving home so I considered parking the car. But not long after I was home and the effects slowly wore off after maybe half an hour. The next day I timed it better and the gym felt like my playground. I was putting down reps like it was nothing and had one of the biggest pumps I´ve ever had!!

SO a lot of people will claim supplements are not good especially the laboratory kind. But the truth is I would choose a perfectly grilled steak any day over a protein shake. But sadly there just isn´t enough time in the day to cook meals that perfectly suit my diet structure. Especially since I work retail, the hours I deal with are as inconsistent as the weather in Norway. So I have to make the best of the time I have by cheating a little. I encourage people to take supplements but only if their role is strictly to “supplement.” They should never be meal replacements but rather meal assistants. As for safety issues I would stay away from names I´ve never heard of before. I read tons of reviews before investing in supplements. You can never read enough honestly and even before buying I usually test them out. Popeyes and GNC always have samples you can try out so I would recommend trying before buying. Most of the effects from supplements tend to be psychological anyway so if you can work on strengthening your mind things like creatine and pre-workouts have no space in your kitchen. I´ll admit to being slightly weak in that department, which is why I rely on certain supplements for that extra push. Speaking of push, I just spilled my protein shake all over my bed because I was trying to drink while lying in bed and not moving my neck. 😕 I´m such an idiot sometimes. Now I gotta change the sheets…………………..FML

 

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#TBT

 

Thanks for reading 😊 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NHL, NBA , FIFA

Good Tuesday everybody! Hope everyone had a good and productive day today. I had an interesting day that started off with me arriving 30 minutes late to work, the reason being it was my first time taking the bus. Not my first time ever 😛 but my first time taking it in this neighborhood. SO either I´m too dumb to figure out how the routes and schedules are laid out OR they aren’t that easy to figure out for someone who’s not used to them. I think ill go with the latter! Either way I found out how remote my area is as the bus only came once an hour. So I sat out there and waited…and got to work late :/

 

Later in the day our container came all the way from AFRICA! And so we spent some time getting all our stuff out and throwing them around the garage. NO there were no lions and zebras in there (for all you people that like to make Africa jokes).

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 I am watching the NBA playoffs. Speaking of sports, it has been and continues to be a crucial time for a lot of sports enthusiasts at the moment; NBA play offs, NHL playoffs, La liga conclusion, Champions league final and the world cup is just right around the corner.

 

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Yes I have been watching hockey 😛 and I must say never have I seen so much scrambling in a sport. But besides all the scuffles and scrambles there are some moments of pure genius that is causing the sport to grow on me. I cannot understand how these players are able to skate so well AND control that little puck the way they do. But it is pretty fantastic to see. The Habs are playing the Bruins tomorrow which will conclude the series and I am looking forward to see how hard both teams play. According to my understanding they are two of the best teams in the league so it should be an interesting finish.

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The NBA, so far, has no surprises for me. The teams I expected to dominate are dominating and the rest are merely hanging in there. I don’t really have a favorite team in the NBA but I like ride on the Heat´s glory just to annoy people 😛 But when its all said and done I´ll defend Lebron any day as the leagues best player, although Durant deservedly won this years MVP. But it’s nice to get into watching basketball again now that I’m in the right time zone. It was always a hustle trying to catch the games in the middle of the night.

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As for football, yes I call it football even though people over here get it confused. I really don’t understand why its called soccer over here when the rest of the world, or most of it at least, calls it football. Saying that the people will confuse it with the NFL is just silly because that shouldn’t really be called football because there´s very little foot action involved in that sport. It boggles my mind when nations decide to do something only to be different from the rest of the world, especially when it causes an inconvenience. I won´t even dwell on the imperial system which is another thing that blows my mind. But back to the topic, Barcelona will be facing Athletico Madrid on Sunday, which will decide the league winners. Barcelona has been so off form lately that I really don’t know how their chances fair up. Truth is it could go either way and I´m just happy Real Madrid are out of the equation 😛 cause the only thing worse than Barcelona not getting at least one title is Real Madrid getting two! So I´m hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.

 

World cup is right around the corner and I can´t wait to crack some beers open, get the grill started and watch how all the participating nations fair off. Naturally I’m supporting my Barcelona players on the Spanish side but it will be fun to watch regardless of which sides make it all the way to the final! One day when there will be peace in the middle east, understanding between north and south Korea and free health care in Africa I might just live long enough to see one of my nations in the world cup 😛 too much wishful thinking? I believe so.

 

SO my next couple of weeks involves watching a lot of tv and hopefully getting inspired by hard working athletes. They should inspire you all as well. Even if you don’t like the sport, I find that if the results are close and the clock is running down all sports can be entertaining as hell. So grab a cold one, relax and enjoy the games 😉

 Thanks for reading 🙂