“Our deepest fears are like dragons,
guarding our deepest treasure.”
Rainer Marie Rilke
The most important part of my story and events that shaped me into the person I am today, began in the early period of my schooling when I stopped practicing in swimming school. Afterwards, I began rapidly gaining weight and this escalated up to the 4th grade, when my parents decided to enroll me in a medical weight loss program. However, it wasn’t much help. I did lose some weight but my real problems started in high school. From the end of elementary school to the middle of the second year of secondary school, I gained a considerable amount of weight. I weighed 110 kg at a height of 182 cm!
Ever since childhood I have been a self-initiating and active kind of person, so one day out of the blue I was struck by the fact that this could not go on any longer! I came to the realization that neither my parents nor so-called “health experts” could help me on my path, but that I alone was responsible for myself and my health. At this point, I started my climb upwards, which was still full of setbacks despite the final success.
Immediately afterwards, I managed to lose 36 kg in just one year. But due to improper nutrition, which I experimented with, I got a medical diagnosis: chronic fatigue. I also developed a sleeping disorder and no matter how I ate, how much I slept or how physically active I was, I felt tired and exhausted. Due to my dissatisfaction with poor well-being, lost meaning in my life because of an incorrect choice of university program and ambivalent feelings for my new-born son, who was my greatest source of both joy and exhaustion, I again increased my weight to 95 kg.
But even those circumstances and inner fears could not keep me depressed or inactive for long. A new milestone on my life path was enrolment in the Faculty of Sport of the University of Ljubljana. I successfully passed the entrance examination with a body weight of 82 kg. With a large amount of training and a strict and healthy diet, I came to about 8% body fat at 78 kg the following year. During the first five years of experimentation with nutrition, physical and mental training, I tested a range of extremes in both directions and all possible versions in between. Just a few things I recall at the moment with nutrition were that I went from 500 kcal daily intake all the way to 5000 kcal. From one to seven meals a day. From high-carb to low-carb diet. From high to low-protein diet. From high-fat to low-fat. From eating meat all the time to a completely meatless diet. I could go on and on. In training, I practiced from one to all seven days a week. My trainings were as short as 20 minutes and as long as two hours. I trained each muscle group from one to three times per week. I tried different high volume and low-intensity as well as high-intensity and low-volume trainings. I will not even enumerate how many different training means and methods I have tested. It’s crazy!
In mental training, I have tried everything from hypnosis, autogenic training, biofeedback and various relaxation techniques all the way to various forms of meditation and yoga, both alone as well as in various groups. I’ve tested various recovery methods in combination with different trainings and a whole range of other lifestyle habits. Mental training proved to be an incredible support in my life immediately after college when I started to work as a coach, writer and lecturer. A constantly busy schedule, focusing on many areas and usually exhausting work with people all take their toll. The effect of mental training is as if you press the reset button on the computer. If your computer has been running for a long time, it’s starting to work slower and slower. It’s similar with us. Just sleep is not enough, because it is unconscious, not like mental exercise, which is conscious. Mental training has allowed me to no longer live life on an autopilot, but with full conscious control. Without it, I would have burned out a long time ago.
I wanted to try for myself everything that seemed interesting, that represented at least a rough sense or evidence existed that it works. So, in this book, I recommend only what I have tried on myself (or I am still doing) and what hundreds of other people whom I have had the opportunity to train in the last decade have done, and at the same time that for which there is strong evidence of its effectiveness.
Due to the intensity of my martial arts training, over the years I have suffered from knee and elbow injuries that required surgery and lengthy recovery periods. And not only that: during that time, I completely over-trained myself twice because I was experimenting with different types of training programs and training volumes. For this reason, I was forced to completely abandon almost all training activities both times for two months.
I am no different from anyone else. I’m just a man who was willing to invest a lot of time and effort in the teachings that life wanted me to learn in relation to physical health, well-being and performance so I would be able to share them forward and help as many people as possible. Today, I’m under 15% body fat throughout the year with a body weight of about 83 kilograms. But the point is that I feel like superhuman both mentally and physically, and I manage to maintain that feeling. I strength train three times a week, eat 4-5 times a day, meditate almost every day and I love my daily walks. All thanks to the guidelines I have written in this book. The rest is history.