All posts by kungfuwithwashu

Assistant Instructor and Mighty Might Coordinator at Meng's Martial Arts of Richmond. Certifying Instructor in Shaolin Wing Chun. http://indianamartialarts.org/pages/bio_justin

My Promise as a Coach and Teacher

I promise to never knowingly make you feel bad about who you are, how you look, what you think, or what your dreams are.  As the weather warms up there are a lot of people out there body shaming (mostly) women (but sometimes men are also body shamed) into buying product A or diet X. This is not what I’m about.

I couldn’t have said it better myself… oh wait I did 🙂

I live by the Platinum Rule. If I ever in anyway make you feel less than AWESOME please let me know. I would like the opportunity to apologize and build you back up.

So there you are interconnected, co-dependently arising, manifestations of the divine multiverse! Your move!

Mwah, Namaste!

3 Steps for Successful 21 Day Fix Meal Planning

3 Steps for Successful 21 Day Fix Meal Planning (a reblog from TB3)

author: Amanda Meixner

“When it comes to being healthy and fit, it’s not just about what you do in the gym. It’s really about what you do in the kitchen.” – Autumn Calabrese.

Planning your 21 Day Fix meals may seem a bit daunting at first, especially if you’re new to healthy ingredients or portion control, but with a little practice, you will see just how easy it can be to get your clean eating on track. Below are step-by-step instructions for planning your meals and some pro tips on healthy eating.

 

1. Calculate Your Calorie Level and Daily Container Count
Whether you are trying to lose weight, maintain weight, or gain weight, calculating your proper daily calorie goal is essential to reaching your goals. Here’s how:

1. Multiply your current weight in pounds x 11. This number is your Caloric Baseline.
2. Add 400 (The Fix Calorie Burn) to your Caloric Baseline. The resulting number represents your Caloric Needs to maintain your weight.
3. Subtract 750 (the caloric deficit) from your Caloric Needs. This number is the Caloric Target you should eat to lose weight.

Using your 21 Day Fix Eating Plan Guide, look up the corresponding container count on page 15. Your calorie bracket will determine how many containers of each color you should eat each day.

Here’s an example using a 150-pound person who would like to lose weight.
1. 150 x 11 = 1650 (Caloric Baseline)
2. 1650 + 400 = 2050 (Caloric Needs to maintain weight)
3. 2050 – 750 =  1300 (Caloric Target to lose weight)

Note: If your Caloric Target is less than 1,200, round up to 1,200. If it’s more than 2,300, round down to 2,300. If you are trying to gain weight, add 750 instead of subtracting 750.

 

2. Write Down A Sample Day of Meals
Now it’s time to start planning. Go to the food lists on pages 24-39. Read through the choices and mark down some of your favorites under every container. Then, using
this meal planner, plan a sample day. Think about what types of food you would like to have at each meal and include some of your favorite healthy snacks. Don’t be afraid to keep it simple.

Pro Tip: Choose most of your foods from selections near the top of the list as they are more nutritionally beneficial. Here is a sample day prepared by our Social Media Specialist, Amanda Meixner, who follows the 21 Day Fix Eating Plan.

21 Day Fix Sample Day of Meals

Before you move on to the next step, think about what you would like to eat for the next 3-5 days. Do you want to eat the same thing for breakfast each day, or do you want to switch it up? What about your snacks, lunches, and dinners? Do you have time to cook meals, or would you prefer to eat simply? Write down the variations you’d like, which “free foods” you’d like to add (page 37) and any treats you’d like to substitute for a yellow or orange container this week (page 38 & 39).

 

3. Make a Grocery List
Set yourself up for success by writing out your grocery list and sticking to it. Base your list on the foods you chose for the next 3-5 days. It’s okay to buy a surplus of these foods so that you have a little extra on hand, but try to stick to the amounts that match your calorie level. Remember that one green container holds about 1 cup or more of vegetables, and that a serving of protein is about 4 ounces (before cooking). If you plan to eat 4 red containers of boneless, skinless chicken breast over the next few days, you would buy 1 pound of chicken. Click the image below to download your Fix-friendly grocery list.

21 Day Fix sample grocery list

 

10 Time-Saving Tips

  1. Buy pre-cooked chicken breast or fish from the deli section.
  2. Choose canned tuna for quick meals.
  3. Buy pre-cut vegetables. (Just make sure nothing is added to it!)
  4. Hard-boil several eggs at once for quick, high-protein snacks or to add to salads. Here are our tips on how to cook perfect hard-boiled eggs.
  5. Bake all of your sweet potatoes at once.
  6. Pre-cook enough quinoa or brown rice for the week.
  7. Chop all carrots, cucumber, bell peppers, etc. at once for healthy snacks and ready toppings for salads.
  8. Mornings can be hectic. Have your breakfast ready to go by prepping a large batch of oatmeal or these simple egg cups.
  9. Stock up on berries or fruits that don’t need to be cut like apples, oranges, and bananas.
  10. Raw, unsalted nuts make a great, portable snack.

How to get in the best shape of your life without going to a gym

When I started my fitness transformation the only thing I knew is what I didn’t want to do… go to the gym. I already felt bad enough about myself I sure as hell didn’t need to see Greek Gods walking around all smiling and happy and poking fun at me because I had no idea what this machine was or how to use it. I didn’t (and really still don’t) understand half the crap that most fitness fanatics were talking about. But I know one thing, I lost 15 pounds in 5 weeks, my endurance went through the roof, my IBS cleared up, I feel like Superman, and I did it all  at home in less than an hour a day, thanks to Beachbody.
My SO and I had been talking about it, and one morning about 3 am I finally just did it. I bought Focus T25. I had to shut the commercial up. “Get in the best shape of your life in only 25 minutes a day”, “creator of insanity Shaun T”, “30 day money back guarantee”. It just would not stop!
It was the second best decision I have ever made. Deciding to do Kung-Fu was the first, but holy crap has Focus T25 really been a good decision.
It was such a good decision in fact that I have decided to help others by becoming a Team Beachbody Coach. Coaching is a free service offered by Beachbody. Your coach can help you decide which program is right for you, help keep you motivated and offer suggestions. Team Beachbody Coaches are not fitness experts they are just “products of the product” they are just a couple of steps ahead of you on the same journey.
As a coach I now am thinking about everyone else and how to make the their body transitions easier. Being a complete novice when it comes to fitness I really could have used some more info on clean eating. That is why I try and get every person starting out on this journey to first do Autumn Calabrese’s 21 Day Fix or 21 Day Fix Extreme [hinsforth 21DF(X)]. These are the same program but the extreme one has a more challenging workout set. The workouts are:
•    Total Body Cardio Fix. Rises your heart rate, boosts your metabolism into overdrive for long-lasting weight loss benefits.
•    Upper Fix. Specifically works the back, shoulders, arms, chest and abs for a great swimsuit body.
•    Lower Fix. Works the thighs, calves and butt for the rest of your beach-ready body.
•    Pilates Fix. Uses core strength moves to tone and elongate the torso and tighten up your thighs, butt and hips.
•    Cardio Fix. Insanity cardio workout that kicks the first workout into overdrive.
•    Yoga Fix. Boosts flexibility and relaxes your muscles to keep them in perfect tone.

This is a great well rounded workout, has a little bit of everything and will let you know where you you might like to go after 21DF(X).
The other reason I think 21DF(X) is there is a great portion control system that will help you learn how to eat cleanly. The 21DF(X) system is not a diet it’s an eating plan.

The eating program uses a color coded system of containers and a Shakeology Shaker Cup to give you perfect portion control every time with zero mistakes. If it fits in the container, you can eat it, and you’ll lose weight.
1.    Green Container (8oz): For vegetables
2.    Purple Container (8oz): For fruits
3.    Red Container (6oz): For proteins
4.    Yellow Container (5.3oz): For carbohydrates
5.    Blue Container (2.7oz): For healthy fats and cheeses
6.    2 Orange Containers (2oz): seeds and dressings
7.    Shakeology Cup: For mixing drinks

Believe it or not this is my next round after I finish Focus T25. 21DF(X) is really the foundation for anyone serious about their body/lifestyle transformation. I know for a fact that I am still over eating and counting calories is driving me slowly crazy! 21DF(X) will help me start a clean eating habit, maybe I’ll become lucky enough to be a clean eating addict! 🙂

If you are interested in a fitness transformation go to https://kungfuwithwashu.com/team-beachbody/join-tbb/ to fill out a quick questionnaire so we can both hit the ground with both feet running, and then sign up at http://beachbodycoach.com/washu

Namaste!

We Manifest Our Own Heavens and Hells

If you are what you eat, you must also be what you think, feel, and say. Much like the way you can choose a new diet you can choose to change your outlook on life. The Buddhists have laid this idea out in a cool way but first we have to understand some things.

We live in a continual repetitive cycle of birth and death called Samsara. Samsara consists of 6 realms. These six realms are typically divided into three higher realms and three lower realms: the three higher realms are the realms of the gods, demi-gods, and humans; the three lower realms are the realms of the animals, hungry ghosts and hell beings. These realms can be described briefly as follows:

  • God realm: the gods lead long and enjoyable lives full of pleasure and abundance, but they spend their lives pursuing meaningless distractions and never think to practice the dharma. When death comes to them, they are completely unprepared; without realizing it, they have completely exhausted their good karma (which was the cause for being reborn in the god realm) and they suffer through being reborn in the lower realms.
  • Demi-god (Titan) realm: the demi-gods or Titans have pleasure and abundance almost as much as the gods, but they spend their time fighting among themselves or making war on the gods. When they make war on the gods, they always lose, since the gods are much more powerful. The demi-gods suffer from constant fighting and jealousy, and from being killed and wounded in their wars with each other and with the gods.
  • Human realm: humans suffer from hunger, thirst, heat, cold, separation from friends, being attacked by enemies, not getting what they want, and getting what they don’t want. They also suffer from the general sufferings of birth, old age, sickness and death. Yet the human realm is considered to be the most suitable realm for practicing the dharma, because humans are not completely distracted by pleasure (like the gods or demi-gods) or by pain and suffering (like the beings in the lower realms). Among the six realms, the human realm is considered to offer the best opportunity to practice the dharma, thereby offering the best chance to attain liberation from samsara.
  • Animal realm: wild animals suffer from being attacked, eaten, and raped by other animals; they generally lead lives of constant fear. Domestic animals suffer from being exploited by humans; for example, they are slaughtered for food, overworked, abused, and so on.
  • Hungry ghost realm: hungry ghosts suffer from extreme hunger and thirst. They wander constantly in search of food and drink, only to be miserably frustrated any time they come close to actually getting what they want. For example, they see a stream of pure, clear water in the distance, but by the time they get there the stream has dried up. Hungry ghosts have huge bellies and long thin necks. On the rare occasions that they do manage to find something to eat or drink, the food or water burns their neck as it goes down to their belly, causing them intense agony.
  • Hell realm: hell beings endure unimaginable suffering for eons of time. There are actually eighteen different types of hells, each inflicting a different kind of torment. In the hot hells, beings suffer from unbearable heat and continual torments of various kinds. In the cold hells, beings suffer from unbearable cold and other torments.

These are explanations that come from Buddhist cosmology, but we also have these realms inside of us, and through our thoughts, feelings, and actions manifest these in our real world. Noah Levine has done a great talk about this at the Against the Stream Buddhist Mediation Society, which he happened to podcast. I won’t try and cover the same material I would much rather have you get it straight from the source, but I do have some things to say about it.

These realms manifest in us in different situations, here are some (but not all possible) examples:

  • The God realm manifests in us when we are smug and feel that we are above others.
  • The Titan realm manifests in us when we bully, gossip, or slander others
  • The Human realm is where we are when we are not causing trouble
  • The Animal realm manifests in us when we are inhumane, lustful, or violent.
  • The Hungry Ghost realm manifests in us when we, as Mick Jagger said, “Can’t get no… satisfaction”. Never enough food, never enough to drink, never fast enough internet, never enough Iron Man action figures.
  • The Hell realms manifest in us when we are not mindful about our suffering and we let it take control of us. Depression, Mental Illness, and Chronic Pain are hells.

Now that we understand Samsara let’s look at what causes the problem. There are Four Nobel Truths that point out the fundamental issue.

  1. Dukkha: all temporary things and states are unsatisfying;
  2. The start of dukkha: yet we crave and cling to these things and states; thereby, we’re continuously reborn;
  3. The end of dukkha: if we stop craving and clinging, we won’t be reborn;
  4. How to end dukkha: by following the Noble Eightfold Path, namely behaving decently, not acting on impulses, and practicing mindfulness and meditation.

Wait what!?! There is a way out!?! Buddhists (and many non-buddhists) believe so. The Nobel Eightfold Path is the prescription that Siddhartha Guatama gave about 2600 years ago. The Eightfold Path can be broken down into three major sections.

  • Wisdom
  • Ethical Conduct
  • Concentration

Wisdom

Wisdom” (prajñā / paññā), sometimes translated as “discernment”  provides the sense of direction with its conceptual understanding of reality. There are two pieces in the wisdom category, Right View, and Right Intention.

Right View

Right View is seeing through and getting rid of illusions. Seeing the world, situations, and yourself in a honest and real way.

Right intention

Right intention can also be known as “right thought”, “right resolve”, “right conception”, “right aspiration” or “the exertion of our own will to change”

Ethical conduct

For the mind to be unified in concentration, it is necessary to refrain from unwholesome deeds of body and speech to prevent the faculties of bodily action and speech from becoming tools of the defilements.

Right speech

Right speech deals with the way in which aone would best make use of their words. In the Pali Canon, it is explained this way:

And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, and from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

Right Action

Right action can also be translated as “right conduct”. As such, the practitioner should train oneself to be morally upright in one’s activities, not acting in ways that would be corrupt or bring harm to oneself or to others. In the Chinese and Pali Canon, it is explained as:

And what is right action? Abstaining from taking life, from stealing, and from illicit sex [or sexual misconduct]. This is called right action.

 Right Livelihood

Right livelihood. This means that practitioners ought not to engage in trades or occupations which, either directly or indirectly, result in harm for other living beings. Think of it this way, if you are a vegetarian you might not want to be a butcher.

Concentration

Concentration (“samadhi”) is achieved through concentrating the attention on a single meditation object. This brings the calm and collectedness needed to develop true wisdom by direct experience.

Right effort

Right effort can also be translated as “right endeavor” or “right diligence”. In this factor, the practitioners should make a persisting effort to abandon all the wrong and harmful thoughts, words, and deeds. The practitioner should instead be persisting in giving rise to what would be good and useful to themselves and others in their thoughts, words, and deeds, without a thought for the difficulty or weariness involved.

The  four phases of right effort are:

  1. Prevent the unwholesome that has not yet arisen in oneself.
  2. Let go of the unwholesome that has arisen in oneself.
  3. Bring up the wholesome that has not yet arisen in oneself.
  4. Maintain the wholesome that has arisen in oneself.

Right mindfulness

Right mindfulness, also translated as “right memory”, “right awareness” or “right attention”. Here, practitioners should constantly keep their minds alert to phenomena that affect the body and mind. They should be mindful and deliberate, making sure not to act or speak due to inattention or forgetfulness.

Right concentration

Right concentration is also known as right meditation. There a many ways to do meditation. If there is interest I can do a post on that, or a web search would give you more information than you could ever process.

Much of this was taken from Wikipedia so that I could have the most concise way of putting it. Much of this is difficult to explain as it is learned through experience, but I didn’t disagree with their explanations.

Hopefully this will help you live a more harmonious life!

Namaste!

File Bankruptcy on your Past

I was talking to student last night who asked “Do you ever think about about the past, and think if only I had done this and that?” To which I replied “I did, but I try not to now”. This is something I have worked hard perfect over the last 10 years. In the last 2 years things came to a head and I received insight from several places. Both my Sifu (teacher/father) and my Sigong (teacher/grand father) have talked extensively about “controlling your inner triad” and I have also gained a lot of insight from many of the dharma practitioners that have written books and discuss this sort of thing online. Somewhere this all combined with my own crazy dharma to come to this. Filing bankruptcy on your past.

First we have to understand something. There is no time, but the present. The future may never come, and you can’t prove that the past ever existed. I have read that when you look at someones brain in an MRI machine dreaming and remembering trigger the same parts of the brain. So essentially you are making up your past. I often ask people to prove to me that the past happened. I usually pick something really easy to argue, like World War II. Ok prove it. People will often say that it is in a history book, and I reply that Harry Potter is also a book. So we have stories of the past, not really a past.

So now that we have established that the past is mental construct we can now file bankruptcy on it. All bankruptcy allows you to do is not pay old bills. So let’s stop paying our old emotional bills. This doesn’t make everything go away. Just like in a financial bankruptcy it doesn’t fix your credit, it just gets out for under your crushing debt.

In this method, Karma is your credit. Just because you file bankruptcy on your past it does not mean that you are now exempt from the consequences of your past. But now all you have to do is clean up your karmic credit. Focus on things like:

Benevolence / kindness
Righteousness / honesty
Loyalty
Wisdom
Courage
Discipline
Trust / Trustworthiness
Protocol / Principles

Do you find this helpful, would you like to discuss this? Comment below!!

Namaste!

5 Activities of Martial Arts and the Elimination of Illusion

There are a lot of ways to participate in Martial Arts. All of these boil down to 5 Categories.

  1. Health and Fitness
  2. Art and Entertainment
  3. Sport and Competition
  4. Combat and Self Defense
  5. Self Improvement and Enlightenment

I would like to talk about these from the bottom up. This list in no particular order and no part is more important that the others.

Self Improvement and Enlightenment

This method is obtainable through any of the other methods or a combination of methods listed above. When done correctly all of the methods should be done as a meditation. Meditation means nothing more than focused practice.

Combat and Self Defense

Self defense means “protecting oneself with reasonable force in order to escape”. This is a legal construct, if you hit anyone for any reason you will have to talk to the police at some point.

Combat means “destroying ones ability to attack” this often ends in maiming or killing your opponent.

This is what our general program is based around at Meng’s of Richmond. We teach the curriculum based on combat so that you can “scale back” to defend yourself instead of leaving you out to dry if you need to escalate up the use of force continuum.

The use of force continuum goes like this

  1. avoidance
  2. interception
  3. redirection
  4. injure
  5. maim
  6. kill

I will discuss this in another post.

Sport and Competition

Sport and Competition includes everything from the UFC to your local open martial arts tournament. This is why you will find me describing people as [insert martial sport activity] players. If you are in a Jiu Jitsu Competition you are a Jiu Jitsu Player. If you are in the Olympics competing in Tae Kwon Do or Judo you are a Tae Kwon Do or Judo player, if you are in a cage to win the UFC Women’s Bantumweight Title (good luck Ronda is a BEAST) you are a Mixed Martial Arts player. A person is only a fighter when they are in a fight. Even if you are training for a fight you still don’t want to train as a fighter. I may get into this in another post.

Art and Entertainment

Forms (or Kata for my Japanese MA brothers and sisters) as performance art (not being judged) and choreography for movies fit in this realm. The Shaw Brothers, Bruce Lee, Jakie Chan, Jet Li, and so on have made this aspect of martial arts once of the most lucrative aspects. They are just as much martial artists as anyone else.

Health and Fitness

Qigong, Tai Chi, Tae bo, Cardio Kickboxing, Insanity, P90x, Focus T25 all fit in this aspect. Martial Arts movements are starting to show up in more and more workout systems because they are some of the best ways to access certain muscles, but remember this is not fighting and you do not want to bet your life on it. The movements in these systems are exaggerated so that you get a better workout. Low heel kicks with your toes pointing strait up, almost any kick with a locked leg, Huge sweeping round kicks, and elbow out “chicken wing” punches are all tools to get you fit not to save your life.

I sound like I am putting these systems down, but I absolutely am not. The last part of this title was and eliminating illusion. I just want to make sure that everyone is training properly for their intentions. Wow this post has opened up so many other possible discussions.

Comment if you are interested in seeing where there discussions go.

Namaste!

Thinking about Death

You can’t make any decisions about how to live without deciding how you want to die. Some people will find this to be a bit morbid, but it really isn’t once you understand. This is a foundational issue in Shaolin philosophy and martial arts. This principal we are talking about here is Karma.

good-quotes-sayings-revenge-about-karma
A childish misunderstanding of Karma

Most people misunderstand Karma. They believe that Karma is a mystical force that screws people over for being jerks, and this is not true. Childish and not true. Karma is neither positive or negative. Karma is the consequence for action. All actions have Karma. If you push a child on a swing they will come back to you. This is Karma.

So what does this have to do with death? Glad you asked! I am going to assume that everyone reading this wants to die the same way, old, healthy, and without trauma. We all want to just fade out softly, right? So what do we have to do to make that our Karma?

Think Well – A negative attitude, or bad finding will kill you earlier than you’d expect
Eat Well – If you fill your body with poison you will die
Drink Well – Clean water (no flavorings or other additives) and tea
Sleep Well – 7-8 hours of sleep a night no exceptions
Move/Breathe Well – Exercise and a daily Qigong/Yoga practice will extend your life

Here is to long life!

Namaste!