personal trainer Ray BurtonI started RaymondBurton.com in 2002 to help personal training clients with their fitness goals. Over time I’ve covered pretty much everything you need to know to get in shape with two series of articles. The first is for busy people who travel or workout at home. The other is for those that want to get in shape at the gym.

Next up: Dig into what really made people happy and figure out how to get more of it. The kick off article for that series is the conquest of happiness blog post.

My personal interests to blog about include things that make me money and allow freedom such as personal training, freelance writing, reading, writing books, reviewing books, copywriting and making knives.

In order to get the things we want in life, I learned the importance of setting goals in life and conquering the challenges that arise on the way. I dug deep on the subject of goals when I began the crazy adventure of writing my way out of a $50,000 hole starting as an unemployed electrician.

The world is big. Full of interesting creatures scampering in the underbrush. Chasing them is fun.

However, for the last 20 years I’ve studied and stuck consistently with two things. Being a personal trainer and writing. (My Amazon Author Link)

Books like Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Civil Disobedience”, Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451”, “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau and “The Conquest of Happiness” by Bertrand Russell. They whisper… “Freedom…”

Debt is one of the biggest impediments to freedom.

Freedom evades us on many levels. Life is short. People get stuck in jobs they hate. Some are immobilized by joint pain and sore muscles. Some are held captive by debt.

This made me realize:

All we want is freedom and time to do the things we find fun.

For me that’s time to be out side with the fire making knives, laughing with my lady, watching my cat eat and make smacky noises, moving my body easily, working out and napping.

Free in body, mind, finances…Being able to move how, where and when you want… as much as you want.

When I started this blog I was a 100% bodybuilder. All I wanted was to get the biggest muscles possible and have a six pack.

I used to pay a monthly fee to workout at a gym, then I paid gym rent, but now I workout at home with bodyweight or use my power rack for the heavier stuff.

After I won the Southern Alberta Light Heavy Weight Bodybuilding class I thought it was too much time invested for too little reward. Training and looking good were enjoyable but I did not like starving myself to step on stage.

I realized that while I had grown on the outside, on the inside I was still small.

I collected a good series of injuries before I decided I was finished with the banana hammock. A pulled hip flexor, both right and left pectorals, a calf that was permanently knotted and complete distal bicep tear. Of course these were just blatant indicators that not being able to sit on the floor without falling backwards was not an adequate amount of flexibility.

Teaching my fitness boot camps caused overuse injuries to keep piling up.

Now that I am 41 years old, I just want all my body parts to work right again. I’ve chosen several movements that I think indicate a body that is working pretty darned good. When I started I was stuck. Couldn’t even do the beginner version of each exercise.

Actually, I couldn’t even do the beginner version of the stretches that let you do the beginner version of the exercises.

I journal how to go from unbendable to unbreakable and achieve them here through a themed series of articles on each: (each will be linked as I finish them)

How To Do A Pistol Squat
How To Do 100 Pushups A Day
How To Do A Gymnastics Bridge
How To Do A One Armed Chinup
How To Do A One Armed Pushup
How To Hold A Handstand (almost done)
How To Do Handstand Pushups

I’m compelled to write on fitness because it consumes so much of my life… but not 100% of it.

The pastimes of reading and writing are the sand that fills the gaps between stones in the glass jar of my life.

To be honest with you, the stuff besides fitness is the things I love to read and reply to in the comments section the most. It’s a conversation where I get to learn from your thoughts and feelings so please drop a line or two.

Thanks for popping by, and please stay for a chat.

I hope you enjoy the blog.

Who Is Raymond Burton?

I’ve manage a music store, served in the Canadian Army, did a Tour of Duty in Bosnia, ran a gym, was a full time independent personal trainer and apprentice electrician.

Where The Blog Is Going

Developing  “Renaissance” Skills

My daily reading on becoming debt-free and self-reliant has introduced me to a lot of interesting people and ideas. Moving forward I will write about ERE’s web approach to building a skill set that not only develops useful skills, but also provides security by allowing a person to leverage those skills to generate income or opportunities. A diversity of different skills increases efficiency because it allows for more possible combinations to try when solving a problem. It also allows a person to solve a problem using their own skill-set instead of purchasing a solution to a problem. One can also provide for their own needs instead of purchasing needed items.

Examples of useful renaissance skills include:

auto/bike repair
basic health care
plumbing/electrical skills

Sounds like fun eh?

What Are We Missing From The Past?

Back a long time ago, people talked. The sounds of their voices carried as much weight and influence as the meaning of the words that were said. Fathers would sit down with sons and mothers would teach their daughters. Important history, life lessons and culture were shared and bonds were made.

Through the experience of others, you could avoid mistakes yourself or even step ahead of the game a bit easier. My grandfather did that for me, but he is gone now. I valued our time a lot.

Today we don’t talk much. We watch TV and people don’t take time to sit down with old people and learn from them. Things are being lost. Ideas and ways of life are being forgotten. Some of the traditions that make boys feel like they have arrived as men and girls as women don’t happen anymore. What happens is we end up with a lot of adult aged people that still feel like boys and girls inside. No more rights of passage or collective support for steps taken forward into new “beingness”.

For a long time I have wanted more. To understand more of reality. Whatever real reality is. I have the luxury now that I get free time to study and think. I want to remember things we have forgotten and I want to get back to a way of life where people care more about making their life a happy dance instead of a survival dance.

Poetry is a beautiful thing. Maybe sometimes people don’t want to read about “getting ahead”. Maybe sometimes a person wants to get home from work, grab a cup of tea and read a small piece of fantasy that takes them away to a place that sparkles like heaven. A mysterious place in the mind that shuts out reality and where the innermost longings of your essence can run wild…until the cup of tea is finished. That, I feel, is something worthy of sharing.

I am at the point in my life now where I am asking a lot of questions and I have the time to try and understand some answers. As a fellow human yourself, some of these questions are probably the same. Maybe the time I spend reading, thinking can help add some small piece of your happy dance. If that happens to be the case, I would find that very cool.

The things I have written in this blog will have served a purpose.

– Ray