Quarterly Insights of the Hitman, Part Two: Finding Nirvana

Quarterly Insights of the Hitman, Part Two: Finding Nirvana

It’s that time already! The last quarter has just been an absolute blur.

For RNT, this has been a big quarter for us. We closed our doors, launched the RNT Online Coaching Mastermind, we had another recruitment drive, and now we are gearing up for the next big launch (I’m writing this just before the doors opened and shut in 51 minutes!)! We are so excited for the next six months, with so many big things coming, and so many lives to change!

On a personal level  this quarter, I experienced some very high peaks, and some very low troughs. Shortly after writing my Quarterly Insights (part one here) in Egypt, I travelled over to Sweden to start a long three-week trip that included Gothenburg, Jonkoping, Stockholm, Lund and Copenhagen and straight onto New York! 

During this period we were trialing various aspects of the Mastermind, reviewing what worked and what didn’t in the first cohort earlier this year, and it meant a ton of extra hours at the laptop! At one point, I’d spent three days working without even going outside! No contact with any other human, apart from WhatsApp messages and video calls.

In Copenhagen I hit a huge brick wall.

I was a member of the elusive ‘5am club’ – which I now personally believe  is actually contributing to reduced efficiency and effectiveness for more and more people in the medium to long term. 

In the short term, it’s great. You ride the wave of being the frontrunner in the day, and pride yourself in doing more than most people, but for me (and some of my clients that have implemented it), it slowly pushed us over the edge. 

At that point in the trip, I hadn’t spoken to anyone face to face apart from the coffee shop barista in three weeks (not hard when solo travelling in certain areas/set ups), and even the contact with the RNT family had reduced because we had all been so busy executing the work involved with the launches coming up. On the inside, I was beginning to bubble away like a hot caldron.  

The caldron bubbled over and not even the happiness that drives me from my client interactions and current landing spot of Copenhagen could get me out of funk!

Reflecting on this low after reading ‘Everything is F*cked’ by Mark Manson, who gives a great analogy and understanding to how things like this affect us and how it works in the bigger picture. 

He talks about the rating scale of people’s happiness – the 3/10, the 7/10 and 10/10. And states that without the 3/10’s, you can never have the 10/10’s, and without the 10/10’s, you can never have the 3/10. Ultimately, everybody will always come back to the 7/10 regardless of the circumstance – people call this the ‘flow’, and ‘ the ups and downs’.

I liked the metric and latched onto this as a way to mitigate the stress related to the 3’s by always thinking that the 7’s and 10’s are coming to help get out of the funk.

Turns out that’s exactly what happened – I got on a flight from Copenhagen to New York. I got upgraded to business class, spent a week with one of my favorite humans and her dogs (and if you know me, a love dogs!) and had the best steak of my life at Del Frisco’s!

Finding Nirvana 

A year ago, I spent a few weeks up in Crans Montana in Switzerland, (which conveniently is where I’m writing this from again today) where I spent some time up in the mountains with the business owners of a previous gym I worked in. They called this their ‘Nirvana’ place. 

We talked extensively about Crans and why this place represented this Nirvana that they spoke so highly of, and they said:

‘Your Nirvana place is your automatic recharge place; the place that you go and your stressors and worries don’t matter anymore, and either the place or the environment you put yourself in changes your perspective to allow you to slow down, re-collect your thoughts and batteries, before again making another assault for the mountain’.

For the last 6 months I’d never truly had the feeling that the above quote resides, when I look back at some of the close potentials of favourite places:

Mykonos – I wasn’t disconnected enough.

Gili Islands – It just lacked a place that I could fully unwind.

New York – Not a chance you can relax in that place!

Crans Montana in Switzerland  – just perfect!

You step on a train from Geneva and 3 hours later you’re traveling up a Funicular which is pulling you near vertically up a 1000ft cliff and you hear absolutely nothing but the birds, the air is fresh, and the weather is perfect. Instant Deload.

I’ve seen this type of get away work very wel for lots of highly driven and successful people; some take a month out, two weeks out, and some even go for three months! It depends how long it takes you to deload and how much time you can take away.

As we become a lot more connected and the world at our fingertips, the ratios and disparity between effectively balancing the yin and yang in our lives become a lot further away. For every five things that can stress us, we have one thing in our day that calms us down – that series on Netflix, Love Island, an evening in with the other half, or a night out with the lads (although food usually get used as this mechanism but that’s a whole different story!). 

As humans we will always look for more and more complexity – it’s human nature. In this time and for those who are looking to elevate their life by working harder and longer, there will always be breaking points like the warning signal in a car that you must tip but stay under mostly to ensure you don’t completely fry the engine. Finding your Nirvana is your regular MOT service to recheck all aspects of your car to make sure everything is ready to go.

I really urge you to find your Nirvana, or at least start with my yardstick of the Swiss Alps, and then find what does the trick for you!

Doing What You Love – The Start of a Tsunami

Now having coached over an incredible amount of people over my 8-9 years in the industry (400+), I’ve spoken to a lot of people deeply about their lives. And from my experience,  there’s a shockingly high number of people that are significantly unhappy in what they do on a day to day basis. What’s worse is that they aren’t self-aware enough to either recognise this as an issue, or that they actually feel stuck in the mould without a chance to break through. 

This changes when you start and go through your transformation…

Clients think differently, and have a much more self-focused mentality that allows them to mentally make that transition to analysing what else in their life needs elevating and upgrading. Not only do we find the wardrobe getting a clear out, but the wardrobe of friends, relationships and daily habits start to get thrown out and a slow ‘awareness audit’ happens of all things in our lives.

Having helped lots of people with the journey of ‘it’s more than just the physical’, it’s certainly a bigger issue than what’s swept under the carpet of day to day life. Hopefully we will see more and more people break the mould, and take control of their lives through chasing new passion projects, better relationships and more constructive environments.

For myself, being a product of an environment with both parents having jobs that really represent our family ethos of helping others, I want this upcoming Mastermind to be a representation of that type of enriching environment to help people make these transitions.

As we move closer to opening the doors to the new Mastermind group, we really didn’t realise that it would be effectively a project that puts on the face of the Enabler, Liberator and Strategiser to help people transition from doing something that didn’t serve them anymore, to helping turn people’s passions and experiences into careers and jobs – I expect this Mastermind to be a Tsunami in the fitness industry in the coming years.

Donde este el gimnesio?

With every new action, there is a brief period that involves some level of discomfort and pain. 

This usually happens when this new action doesn’t warrant short term gratification, but instead contributes to long term gain. It leaves you with the choice between short term pleasure and avoidance vs the short term discomfort for long term rewards. 

I really suck at this. I want pleasure – who doesn’t! 

But, for me this has to stop. I’m using this awareness to change and turn up the heat on my Spanish.

I stopped previously because I got annoyed when I missed out ‘ele – L’ in the alphabet.

I put away my notepad and watched a film when I thought that Beunas Noches was good morning and couldn’t make the right transitions.

I have a big enough ‘why’ now. The plan is to go to South America in August, a trip to Ibiza in September (like every year!) and throwing myself in the deep end next April when I spend a full month in either Mexico – it’s essential I learn or I’ll sink!

A fitness journey is so similar. Those who do the best and make the biggest changes overall are those that force themselves and have no other option to go through that initial pain to then reap the rewards later on. When you have found your ‘why’ and your emotional triggers that cause you to take action that’s when you can really take a step forward in both the physical and mental journey.

I’m driven by the pain of not being able to make friends or have some level of communication in South America, or even be able to take an MMA class in Mexico because I can’t understand the instructions, or even how to sign up!

For me, this is a big driver that should see me continually take the plunge with short term pain for the long term reward. I’m sure when I start tomorrow morning I won’t be feeling this positive, but I’ll keep showing up and taking action – that’s all that matters. As James Clear rightfully says in his excellent book Atomic Habits, ‘you have to master the art of showing up’.

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Akash Vaghela is the Director of RNT Fitness. He specialises in transforming the bodies of City executives, CEOs, actors, physique athletes and regular people who want to be in the best shape of their lives. Akash has written for T-Nation, Elite FTS, Flex UK, Men’s Fitness, Men’s Health, MensXP, the Square Mile, Muscle Monsters, the PTDC, Advanced Coaching Academy, and Ultimate Performance.