Friendship/Faith – You’re Driving Me Crazy!!!! – why aren’t you like me? – Seminar at Fit 4 Life Fitness Centre, Glenfield

Come and hear Christy share how you can understand yourself and others better using the Personality Plus personality profile.

June 23rd @ Fit 4 Life Fitness Centre in Glenfield
7:00pm – 8:00pm
Free for Members, gold coin donation for non-members!!

Come and join in the fun!!!

Fitness – Gasp, gasp….I can do it!!- Getting Fit in my 40’s

Exercise and me are like oil and water!! We don’t really get along, but I’ve hit my 40’s and after a decade of having kids, raising kids and basically neglecting the whole exercise thing, I’m back in the gym. It certainly has helped that the hubby and I have opened Fit 4 Life  and I can go for free!!! The Lord knew I needed that.

I was pretty scared though. There is something about being the most unfit person in the room and wondering if you can truly do the exercises, wondering if you will be crippled with pain the next day (I hate sore muscles!!) and wondering if there will be any lasting impact from today’s puny effort. It took me a few weeks to really feel confident enough to get back into the gym, but a new weights program helped. My kind hubby made one for me and a friend. It’s been a lot of fun!! I have seen some weights go up and I haven’t been crippled by muscle soreness which is good (maybe those weights need to go up?)!

The next challenge was a group fitness class. About 6 months ago I purchased the Zumba Fitness DVDs and finally got round to working out. I actually enjoyed it!!! I was dying from un-fitness, but enjoyed it. The last time I did any kind of group class was in 1994!!!! I never LOVED them so when Zumba Fitness started at Fit 4 Life last week, I was once again filled with trepidation!!! Will I make 50  minutes? Will I look like an idiot? Will I die? 🙂

I pushed all my doubts aside and plunged in!! It was like I had just been swimming by the end because my hair was soaking, my face was like a beetroot, BUT I had a great time and even more important, I conquered a fear!! My hubby told me so many times how proud he was that I had done it ( I think he had  his doubts that I would turn up!!).  Zumba Fitness was so much fun because it really did feel like dancing and I love to dance and I had a great time doing it with friends and people I have met at Fit 4 Life.

Exercise is still not my favourite thing, I long for the day when I look forward to it, but for now I am trying to get fit in my 40’s!!!! If you’re like me and it’s been awhile since you and exercise have been “friends” come and join me down at Fit 4 Life. We want to promote a healthy fitness philosophy here at Fit 4 Life and that  means just getting up and doing something everyday….not being a ‘superhero’ exerciser!!! The perfect place for someone like me!!!!!

Christy  – Fit 4 Life Staff and fellow “exerciser”

Friendship – Craft Night at Fit 4 Life – Building Community

Last night Fit 4 Life held its first craft night in the Upper Room at Fit 4 Life, our new gym in Glenfield on the North Shore. It was an evening designed to bring women together to chat and get to know one another whilst completing those pesky projects that have been weighing on our minds for months.

Over yummy supper (love those Afghan biscuits) and listening to music, we chatted and got working. Some of us were doing scrapbooking,some of us were doing beading and cross-stitching. It was a lot of fun and we look forward to repeating it next month.

So, if you looking for a break from the daily grind and want to get some of your creative juices flowing and you’re a woman….come to Fit 4 Life on Thursday nights once a month and join in. Gold coin donation for non-members to cover supper. Coffee and tea available and other drinks as well can be purchased.

Next date: June 10th, 2010

The Recipe for Investment Success – Financial Planning

One Saturday morning a few months ago, my daughter made our family some pancakes for breakfast. They looked great; they smelled great; we were all hungry and looking forward to eating them. There was just one problem… they tasted disgusting. We ended up throwing them all into the bin, because it turned out she had accidently put baking soda into the recipe instead of baking powder!

Finding investment success can be challenging even at the best of times, but it’s a lot like following a recipe to bake a cake – or pancakes. If you get the ingredients right you can end up with a great financial outcome, but if you mess up even one of the ingredients you can end up with a disaster on your hands.

So here’s my thoughts on six ingredients that are necessary for finding investment success…

  1. Surplus – An ancient piece of wisdom teaches ‘the ruin of the poor is their poverty’. This is very true; those who have no surplus money to put aside for investing or to better their financial future will struggle to break out of the cycle of poverty. And all the financial planning in the world – no matter how brilliant – cannot help someone who has no surplus money to invest. However for those blessed to be living in the Western world, having at least some surplus wealth is often not as much of a challenge as it can be for those living in third world economies. While you may not have much, there is usually some way for Westerners to put at least something aside to invest. Having something to invest is the first and most basic ingredient, and nothing can be achieved without having money to invest.
  2. Knowledge – The second ingredient to successful investing is knowledge. Of all the ingredients for investment success, knowledge is the simplest (although not necessarily the easiest) ingredient to acquire – again, for those living in the West. Today a multitude of information is available on the subject of investing. Bookstores such as Borders and Whitcoulls have hundreds of books and magazines available on the subject of money and investing. Or, for those on a restricted budget, go to the public library where you can check out as many books on the subject of investing as you like for free. The internet is also filled with financial information which, although it’s not always the best or most accurate, at least we are not lacking for it. The Bible says, ‘if you search, you will find’. This is just as true for knowledge as it is for finding anything else in this life.
  3. Action – The third ingredient is the ingredient that is usually missing for most people – taking action. Even if you have some surplus wealth to invest and you have read a hundred books written by the greatest minds on the subject of money and investing, nothing will ever happen unless you take action and actually do something. You eventually have to take the plunge, put your money down on the table and invest in something – like buying some real estate, purchasing a part interest in a managed fund, buy some shares, invest in some bonds, open a term deposit at the bank, or buy (or start) a business, or what have you. It’s obviously best to have done research and some reading before you make the investment, and have done some financial calculations to see what sort of return you might expect and to calculate your risk, but never confuse knowledge with taking action!
  4. Time – The fourth ingredient is time. Time is the miracle ingredient that allows the power of compound interest to work in your favour. In fact, provided you are getting some return on your investment – even if it’s only small – the amount of money you start with is far less important than the amount of time that you can let your money grow. One dollar ($1.00) will grow to $1,000 in 50 years time at a growth rate of 14.82%. That doesn’t sound too exciting. However, if the money can be left to grow for another 50 years at the same rate of return it will turn into over $1,000,000. I’m not saying getting a +14% return is easy or even possible or that we all have 100 years to leave our money compounding without dipping into it. This is just an example to show what time – and a reasonable rate of return – can produce. However the principle is just as true as Benjamin Franklin observed – ‘time is money’. Like yeast in dough causes a loaf of bread to rise, time is what makes money grow.
  5. Evaluation – It’s a good practice to evaluate your investments from time to time to see if they are performing satisfactorily. This, of course, might lead to questions such as, ‘What does satisfactory investment performance look like?’ (which falls back on the second ingredient – knowledge – to be able to answer) but the practice of checking, reviewing, and evaluating is an important exercise to carry out at regular intervals for any investment. For property investments a review might possibly be carried out every three to five years, whereas with shares it might be carried out every six months to one year. (For share traders, evaluation might happen weekly, daily or even hourly(!), but traders really fall outside the definition of ‘investors’). The time period between investment reviews really depends on the type of investment as well as the goals of the investor, but nonetheless evaluation is a crucial ingredient for investment success. Nothing manages itself – including money. You should have a regular evaluation procedure in place to keep track of your investments. Mark Twain once wrote, “Put all your eggs in one basket; and then watch the basket”. While you may not wish to follow the first part of his sentence when it comes to your investments, the second part is always a good idea for investors to follow through on!
  6. Personality – This is the sixth and final ingredient for investment success. The most successful investors ultimately find an investment area that they enjoy and that gels with their personality. An old friend of mine recently wrote to me concerning a statement I had made in an earlier blog, where I had written that the returns on residential real estate are highly overrated. He said that he had had good experiences with his rental properties – and I don’t doubt this to be the case. For me, however, I hate investing in residential real estate! To maximise your returns with this kind of investment you have to be prepared to negotiate with many different people, including real estate agents, bankers, tenants, insurance companies, repair and maintenance contractors, lawyers, city council members  and the list goes on. It’s also a fairly illiquid type of investment so you have to be prepared to sit and wait – often for years – to really benefit from the investment gains you could possibly realise. If you dislike talking and negotiating with people, or sitting on your hands and waiting for long periods of time, then you might (like me) prefer investing in something else such as shares. For me, I find the daily action of the stock market stimulating; I don’t mind sifting through the myriad of information the markets produce to make decisions; I also don’t mind the lack of social contact; and I far prefer the ease of transaction that is available to me with share investing in the computer/internet age, where all I have to do is click a mouse to make a transaction – even if I am overseas and in a different time zone; also the returns I have experienced with my share investments have been much greater than anything I ever experienced with my residential property investments. But its horses for courses… Donald Trump seems to like investing in hotels, whereas Sir Robert Jones thinks hotels are the worst real estate investment known to mankind. My point is that each person needs to try different investments to see which ones suit them best – not only from the financial results that they produce, but also whether they suit their individual temperament and personality. Many financial advisers recommend that it’s good to have a variety of different investments (diversification); but here is where I do follow the Mark Twain school of investment and choose to put all my eggs in one basket (shares), which –proving my point about the sixth ingredient – suits my personality to a tee.

Bryce Staveley – Fit 4 Life Financial Planner/Fitness Instructor – a Glenfield, North Shore, Auckland gym

Four things I wished I had learned earlier about money

1.       Profits are better than wages

Few people will ever get wealthy by working as an employee of a company. Unless you happen to be one of the favoured few who make it to a CEO position in a NZX-50 or Fortune 500 company,  or were blessed with the right genetics and/or good looks to make it to the top in a highly paid professional career such as football or acting, you are destined to be stuck earning wages in the mire of the rank and file – just another one of the millions of people laboring for the average wage,  which in New Zealand is around $25 per hour or about $45,000 per year  before tax(!)  After paying PAYE, ACC, living costs, repairing your car and spending what little you have left on the movies and McDonalds happy meals, what remains is often so meager as to be embarrassing. It’s fairly obvious that you won’t get wealthy that way. You must begin to think of yourself as the CEO of your own business – You Ltd. You are the CEO, CFO and everything in between of your own private company. Take what little you have and start to change your circumstances by investing it so that compounding interest (my second point below) can begin to work its magic.

2. How Compounding Interest really works

Somebody once wrote that $1000 invested at 8% interest will turn into $23.4 quadrillion dollars in 400 years time, and that it was just the first 100 years that were the hardest! Like most people raised in New Zealand, I first learned about compounding interest in high school (I think I was in fourth form at the time…) But it’s one thing to know about something, and another thing altogether to know and understand how it really works! It wasn’t until I was 35 years old that I really began to understand how compound interest works and to begin using the principle to increase my financial wealth. But when you understand it, it’s really quite a simple principle. Even the smallest sum invested can grow into tremendous size if left for a long enough period of time at a reasonable rate of return. For example, one dollar invested at a 10% return for 50 years will grow to be 117 times larger; at 15% it will grow to be over 1080 times larger; and at 20% it will grow 9100 times larger! That is the power of compounding interest. The problem with compounding is that 50 years seems so far away and we have real financial needs right now, so we often end up robbing our future to live in the present by spending all our money. I’m not suggesting I have found the solution to this problem – at least not for everyone. But I can say that you don’t need to invest all of your present money for your future. Even setting aside just 5% of your money today can still provide you with wealth for your future. Obviously committing 10% – or higher – is better but at least make a start! Commit 95% of your present wealth to dealing with your present day financial problems and challenges, and the remaining 5% to letting compounding interest work for you and your future. The most important thing is to get the power of compounding working for you now – today!

3. Residential Property is highly overrated as an investment

New Zealand has a love affair with residential property. Most likely its due to some remnant of our British roots, when the colonists who came over here from England in the early years of NZ history to escape the industrialrevolution were finally able to enjoy, and take pride in, owning their little slice of heaven – the quarter acre block – upon which they could grow their own vegetables and enjoy a walk on the beach in the evening(instead of having to climb up chimneys for 16 hours a day back in the motherland). However, be very careful before investing in residential property. There are many costs associated with owning this asset class, and often novice investors are suckered into buying a property only to find that they have overcommitted themselves by not having done their sums correctly. Also the returns are pathetic when you take into account alladditional expenses like mortgage payments, rates, insurance, wear and tear, rental vacancies and so on (expenses which are often neglected or ignored in the neophyte investors calculations). Investing in residential real estate is better than doing nothing I guess – although doing nothing has much less emotional and financial hassle! As much as the Real Estate Industry touts it as a wonderful investment and wants you to buy, try and get a copy of Duncan Balmer’s book ‘Stop: Do Not Invest in Residential  Real Estate’ (now out of stock, but you can find it in second hand book stores and occasionally on TradeMe).  Duncan shows clearly why Residential Real Estate is highly overrated as an investment. Also read chapter 5 of Sir Bob Jones book ‘My Property World’ for an insightful look at why Residential property is not the greatest investment for people to play around with. PS In case you were wondering, yes… I used to own 3 residential properties and speak from experience on this one!

4. How The Share Market works

My first foray into the share market was three months before the 1987 stock market crash. This was an experience I never forgot and I made two classic mistakes. The first was that when I invested in 1987 (I would say ‘gambled’ nowadays) I had no idea what I was doing. My stock selections were made purely by random selection and I got what I deserved – a financial drubbing. However, my second mistake was the same as Mark Twain’s cat, who sat on a hot stove once and would never sit on a stove again – even if it was cold. I stayed away from the share market for the next 12 years, and as a result I missed out on enjoying the huge gains that the markets of the 1990’s produced. I returned again as the new millennium was beginning – after my foray in residential real estate – although this time with more knowledge, by deciding to educate myself on how the markets work and this time to go in with my eyes open – or at least half open! My education has required the reading of many hundreds of books and articles and also learning about the share market and its workings by investing real money, but I am far better off today from having done this. The global recession certainly rocked the financial markets around, but this year has been my best ever with my returns up well over +100%. I continue to make new mistakes. (In fact, Jesse Livermore the famous speculator once said, “The mistake family is huge”) But staying invested has certainly been worthwhile; plus the satisfaction of producing your own financial results and not abdicating responsibility to a ‘ticket clipping fund manager’ (in the words of Sir Bob Jones) is extremely satisfying. The information is out there and readily available for all who wish to learn about this fascinating area of modern financial life. I just wish I had learned this in my teenage years and not in my mid-thirties!


Lessons from a lifetime of lifting

There’s an old saying in the gym scene that goes, You never know just how far you will go when you first pick up a barbell’. That’s really true – at least it has been for me.

I first started working out when I was sixteen years old in my Glenfield home gym. Next year, I’ll have been lifting iron for 30 years. I’m now in my mid-40s and I sometimes think about how far I have come since I first picked up that barbell all those years ago. Where have the years gone?’

Leo Tolstoy once wrote, ‘Old age is the most unexpected of all things that can happen to a man. But another surprising thing that can happen is the results on your body after working out for so long! So I thought I would share a few lessons that I have learned over nearly 3 decades of lifting.

a) The journey is worth it

If I could go back 30 years, while there’s a lot of things I would change if could do it all again, I would still make working out a regular part of my life and weekly schedule. It’s been fun to watch the effects of heavy lifting on my body over the years. The gradual increase in strength and the changes that take place in your body like getting bigger and stronger, and gaining in confidence, are very satisfying. Also, I have found that the discipline I learned from being regular and consistent in going to the gym and working out was able to overflow into other areas of my life – even into areas such as my spiritual faith and financial investing, where I saw additional benefits from having a disciplined approach.

b)    Obsession must be tempered with reality

For the first 10 years of my lifting career my goal was to become Mr Universe. I trained obsessively five, even six, days a week for two hours a day. My diet was exceptional; I tracked everything I ate and recorded all the details. (I remember my mother complaining to me one time because I used to throw the egg yolks down the sink and eat only the egg whites!) I read everything I could about bodybuilding and the great bodybuilders of the day or the previous decade, like Schwarzenegger, Columbu, Mentzer, Bannout, Haney, Labrada, DeMey and so on. In fact, that was all I read and pretty much all I did. While there are parts of those 10 years that I enjoyed and I wouldn’t change them if I could go back, the reality is that I neglected many other important areas of life in my pursuit of that dream which I regret now, like ignoring some relationships, and my financial and spiritual development.  I also regret spending 10 years pursuing a dream that could never be. The reality is to make it to the top in modern bodybuilding competition you need three things:

  • The right Desire I had plenty of this. Only passion can make a person disciplined enough to train hard and eat right for a decade in the pursuit of a goal like becoming Mr Universe. The reality is that to make it to the top in any sport you need to train hard, consistently and intelligently. But even doing these things is not sufficient sometimes as my next two points show.
  • The right “Dad” (meaning having superior genetics) – The reality is that your genetic potential is determined at birth. While lifting weights can partially redress some genetic imbalances or shortcomings, such as improving your basic strength and power, if you’re five foot two inches tall and you think you’re going to be the next superstar in the NBA you’re dreaming! Top bodybuilders are genetically superior and they have naturally big muscle belly plus good symmetry and pleasing anatomical dimensions. This was granted to them at birth when they picked the right parents to be born to. I was born with small calves, narrow shoulders and broad hips; my muscle insertions have long tendons, meaning it is difficult to gain huge muscle size with such long tendon attachments. Becoming Mr Universe with these genetic shortcomings meant my chances of making it were greatly reduced.
  • The right Drugs – The reality is that all top bodybuilders take anabolic steroids and other synthetically produced hormones to give them increased size and recovery ability. I didn’t know this back when I was pursuing my obsession to be Mr Universe 25 years ago. (It’s probably talked about more these days in the media, but when I started training in the early 80’s bodybuilding magazines and articles were very hush-hush about the whole drug and steroid scene). The reality is that to make it to the top in the sport of bodybuilding – like attaining Mr Universe and Mr Olympia levels – you need to take steroids and you need to take a lot of them. Anyone who tells you different is lying to you. I’m thankful that I never did, as a lot of top bodybuilders who I used to read about in the magazines in the 80’s are now dead.

Check out a few of the following links for just a partial list of top bodybuilders who died young. Notice how many were in their 30’s and 40’s. Heck… some were even in their 20’s!! (If you see anyone on that list with a life span of over 70 years like Grimek, Reeves and Gironda it was because they were old- school lifters of the 40’s and 50’s who didn’t use drugs!

c)    Pain is a sign that something is wrong

My biggest regret in looking back over my years in the gym is that I often ignored pain signals and kept on training when I should have rested. Today I am reaping what I sowed. Some of my tendons are constantly in pain and my lower back is weak and unstable due to a serious injury I had while deadlifting when I was 25. (The reason it’s bad today is because I didn’t go and get treatment for it as soon as I injured it, but instead I kept on training ‘through the pain’. I was an idiot and still suffer for it today). You don’t have to be in a hurry; your body is created to last you for a lifetime, but if you get injured and don’t seek proper treatment and/or take some much needed recovery and rest time, you will reap it in your later decades. Trust me on this one..!

Despite these issues, I still enjoy working out and keeping fit and healthy, but definitely am more careful and listen to what my body is saying. I’m no longer a “hero” about pain and have realistic goals. Here’s to keeping fit and healthy throughout your lifetime!


Fit 4 Life founder

Watch this space – Articles from our Glenfield gym, Fit 4 Life

Hey all….we’re looking forward to posting some articles on here real soon. This week we’ll be focusing on physical fitness. Come  back and check out the article later in the week. Next week, we’ll be looking financial health.

In the meantime…..come and check out Fit 4 Life in Glenfield or look at our website

Fun pics of our Glenfield Gym Opening Day – February 2010

Here’s some cool photos of the opening of our new Glenfield gym, Fit 4 Life!!! Come check us out!! Photos are courtesy of Michelle Deacon….if you need an awesome photographer, she’s for you. Check out her website. and check out our website for more information –