In the Water

Imagine if you will, you are in the middle of the ocean alone floating. In the far distance you can barely see the tip of an island at the edge of the horizon. You have no boat, just a life preserver keeping you from drowning and is seemingly locked on to you. All you have out there is yourself and your wits.

Each moment you are in the water you have three choices; swim towards the island, float there, or try and drown yourself. Happy days. Now you spend the first day swimming hard towards the island. At the end of the day the island seems no closer. The same results occurs on the second, third, fourth, and so on. (Yes somehow you haven’t died of dehydration or malnutrition, it’s for the sake of the story). By the tenth day the island finally seems a little bit closer. The image of it on the horizon is now a fraction larger. You are tired, but the only option is to keep on going or float there and do nothing. There is no one with you to complain with, this is your journey alone.

By day twenty some people just give up and float. The progress is so slow a week’s worth of effort shows no real change. Some folks actively try and sabotage or take off their life preserver. But you, you keep swimming. After one year you can almost see how big the island truly is. After a decade you are now close enough to see individual trees, and maybe one day you finally get on the island.

Now one thing you didn’t know is each day there was a current that was pulling you away from the island. So on the days you didn’t swim at all you were farther from the island than when you started on that day. On the days you swam for only half the day you just managed to keep your position in the water. Other people on their own journey just swam for half of the day thinking that was enough and after years of trying never got any closer. Some folks never swam at all, since it looked so difficult and the island so far away, they just floated on to be lost in the middle of the ocean with no land in sight.

This was a metaphor for life; specifically, health and fitness. Each day you make decisions that either take you closer or further from your goals. Each decision is so small you don’t often think what is happening in the grand scheme. That one extra soda or cookie is stopping you from swimming closer to your goals. One moment of one day it doesn’t seem like much. But, when you add up all those little choices of taking the stairs, eating your damn vegetables, not having dessert with every meal like a damn child, you get closer to your goals. Every decision you make counts, each workout you do and don’t do all add up. Unfortunately, life isn’t a video game where you can work for two hours and make great progress. What you need is to work hard for two years, two decades. Change your thinking from the short term, but long term, and how each day you are closer or further from your goals.

Wrap up

It is easy to only think about the here and now, but in the venerable words of the Ice Cube: “life’s not a track meet, it’s a marathon”. Know that every decision you make matters, a tenth of a percent gain each day is a one hundred percent difference in less than three years (MATH!). It is hard to keep this in mind sometimes, but remind yourself that we are all playing the long game and must act accordingly.

Good luck on your health and fitness goals. I hope all of you are doing well. If you have any questions or comments about this feel free to add them. Thanks again for taking the time to read this. If there is anything you’d like me to write about this please let me know.

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“Are you training for something?”

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Today while putting up my weights after a decent deadlift session, I once again was asked the one question that I get more than any other while lifting in a commercial gym, “Are you training for something?” This completely innocuous question never bothers me, but it always takes me by surprise. I never used to get asked this when I was at my hunk of junk heaven, probably because pretty much everyone else there was doing the same thing. That and most of the communication there was done through grunts and man nods. The answer is always “nope, just trying to get stronger.”  But when I reflect on it later, or at least after this particular session, I realize that I am absolutely training for something. And it’s just that, training to get stronger.

I can understand why from a normal non-lifters point of view that it probably does look like I’m training for…

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Where do we go from here? Post Nationals write up

Cheer nationals 2016 have wrapped up in Orlando Florida. I was there only for parts of the competition on Saturday (specifically for one of the teams that lets me work with them). It was fun seeing what other schools are doing and reconnect with some old friends that I haven’t seen for quite some time. Plus, it is at Disney world so going to the parks and getting a reprieve from winter in Kentucky is always worth it. The reason we were there was for the competition. We rode 14 hours on a bus just for our teams to throw a two and a half minute routine (twice for the all-girl). Of course after the competition there are people who go home with trophies, medals, or participation ribbons.

Notice how I didn’t say winners and losers.

One of my favorite quotes (an excerpt from his Citizenship in a Republic speech) is by Theodore Roosevelt and goes as follows: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

It currently hangs in my office to remind myself what is important in life. Eventually we are all going to lose. None of us are getting out of this life alive. So, with knowing that at the end of the game you lose, you might as well compete as much as you can. Anyone that puts in the work and “spends themselves for a worthy cause” is never a loser in my mind. All my athletes that I’ve seen the blood, sweat, and tears from, are all winners in my mind regardless of what place they took at nationals. I have the same thoughts for all of the other teams down there and any person that competes in general.

Physical competition requires you to put your body on the line. It is a visceral experience in the arena, injuries happen and trauma can occur. It is not the same as academia or the working world. If you forget to put the labels on your TPS report you aren’t going to take an elbow to the nose or rip a tendon off a bone. I enjoy this factor of accountability that comes from competing. So I give my respect for anyone brave enough to step out on the field, mat, court, platform, etc.

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The happiest place on earth.

With that all being said now that the competition is over, here is what I do after competitions in no particular order:

Audit the performance

After you compete take 24 hours or more to just relax and not think about the sport (especially when it is the final or only competition of your year). Then without adding in positive or negative emotion write down your thoughts on your performance. Point out what you did well and what you could have done better. Then work your way back to the days before the competition, the weeks before, and the months before (if necessary).

Try and break down what you could have done better not just with your training, but with your nutrition and rest. The nice thing with single variable sports like weight lifting, track, and throwing is you can really narrow down what you did right and wrong, however, ball sports have a lot more chaos to them and sometimes the competition day is just not your day. Doing this after each of your competitions will eventually let you see the trends and relationships of what you need to do to perform at your best. Also writing this information out if you are someone that is leaving their sport you can pass this information on to the next generation of kids for what they can do to be their best.

Take the time to sit down and really go through what you did and how you can do it better in the future. These notes can be useful and in general if you do this with your training program with time you can find what works the best for you training, nutrition, and recovery wise.

Keep your momentum

Now that you are done with lots of practices take a week to only do the types of training you want to do. You aren’t having two-a-day practices so by taking it easy for a week (two at most) should help a lot of your injuries to recover. If you are truly busted up now is the time to take your rehab seriously.

Once you are back to good it is time to start training again. Take and look at what your weaknesses are or what you have simply not been doing for the past month or two and put this at the forefront for a bit. For the kids that just got done doing cheerleading nationals you have been working hard for two and a half minutes of a variety of power and strength movements so doing a block of long distance aerobic work can be what the doctor ordered. Maybe you quit doing any type of weight training during this time so adding this back in at this point will help your performance.

Right after a major competition your body should be at a peak for performance. It is ok to slide down from that height (and a natural and healthy thing sometimes), but don’t end up back in a valley. Take a bit of time for yourself but get back out there and especially get your body balanced so that everything is working well.

Find a new dragon

If this was your last competition as a collegiate athlete the sport for you could now be all over. Some people are ecstatic about this fact and have been ready to retire for quite some time. Others might be sad to see it over with. I was a bit sad when being a college “athlete” was over for me, but I was transitioning to other sports at that time.  Depending on how much you identify yourself as being an athlete in your sport this can be more or less difficult. This is where I suggest finding new dragons to slay.

My advisor at Kansas, Dr. Fry was a competitive Olympic lifter, power lifter, and bodybuilder told me that his key was to “change his arena”. So go out and find that new sport or hobby to participate in. This is why things like crossfit gain such a following since it creates a “tribe” of people that all share in the same experience of hard work and struggling. So take some time and find something new to compete in if it is time to throw in the towel.

Remember no one cares

Well that is actually a bit harsh, but it is always strange after you go through an incredibly intense (for you) cycle of training and a large competition and then Monday you are back in the office or in class with most of the people around you having no idea of what you did. Athletes in major sports that garner a large amount of media attention get the social recognition for what they do (which has its own pros and cons), but if you compete in cheerleading or otherwise most people know nothing about your sport much less what you did. This can be a bit rough just due to the speed of the transition, I’m a fan of talking with friends that have the same shared experiences or spending some time by yourself. Just keep in mind it means more to you than nearly everyone you meet, and that’s ok. Just smile with the memory of the fact that you did something worth remembering.

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Somewhere in the line for magic mountain your soul dies (Pictured on the left).

Wrap up

Now that the competition is over and it is time to get back to the daily grind keep these ideas in mind to help get the most out of the hard work you have put in. Watching your performance on video is nice, but writing down all the factors about it and taking advantage of how good your physical condition is something you should do. Either way at the end of the day congrats to anyone that gets out there and throws down.

Side bar: I wanna be the guy

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For a very hard video game look this one up. 

So I went to the pool for a few moments and ran in to the university of Cincinnati cheerleaders and chatted with them for a few. One of my friends from cheering at Kansas (the “Legend”) was kind enough to share some of my articles and when I talked with them about our mutual friend one of them said: “I think this is the guy”.

This has to be one of the best compliments I’ve had recently, that some people actually read this (other than my mom (thanks mom for reading this)). I hope people get something out of this and thanks again for the conversation Cincinnati guys and congrats on your 6th place finish. They were super nice guys that seemed ready for the competition and pretty much all of them were doing engineering which impressed me.

New Year’s Resolution Club

So right now we are about two weeks in to the start of the New Year. For those of you that go to the gym on a frequent basis for a few years now know about what has occurred. The New Year’s resolution club has now entered the building. Now these folks mean well. They have a goal, and this is going to be the year they attain it. They come to the gym with often matching gym “outfits”. Their shoes, gloves, and other exercise accessories have the look of being new and not yet broken in.

The gym you are training at now has a line to all of the equipment that otherwise would have been open for your normal routine. Hopefully by now you have some ideas as to what you can do to still get your normal training in, but work around these folks. This is an inconvenience, but I’m glad these folks are trying. I try to be supportive (what would Alvin do) of anybody in the gym that is exercising, especially folks who haven’t done this for a while. So I’m going to write a bit today on the advice that I would give someone about coming to the gym after a long layoff.

Start slow

Too many people just want to jump in the deep end and start swimming. This is the New Year and they are going to P90 Insanity X fit themselves to a new them. Well the body adapts to the demands placed upon it, but it can only do so at a certain pace. Going 100% balls to the wall for 1 month will never net you the same progress as going an easy 70% for 10 years. So start off with a small amount of volume. I’m a fan of starting strength, 5/3/1, or even the Yessis set of 20 program for beginners (which is what you are if you haven’t trained for a year or more).

Start lighter than you think you should, they don’t hand out medals for the person that partial reps a heavy weight. All the real lifters in the gym laugh at this person. Most people don’t care what you hit in your training otherwise. I like the Henry Rollins quote here: “Know why all the old stories about men going out to impress the gods? Because trying to impress your common man is worth your time or energy”.

Aim for low impact

Once again the body adapts to the demands placed upon it. If all you’ve been doing is 12 oz. curls you don’t need to be doing sets of 30 box jumps or barefoot running on concrete day one (you can build up to it if you want, but that is another story). As much as it pains me to say it, start off with the not so excite bike (stationary bike) or elliptikillmyself (elliptical) those have no impact and will at least help you bring up your cardiovascular system. Also, do not under estimate the use of going for a walk. Yes, I know it is cold outside, but walking is free and always open (you can just look sketchy if you do this late at night).

The reason you want to do this type of easy aerobic work is simply to improve the function of your heart, lungs, etc. This has a great effect of then enhancing how much work you can do in the weight room and otherwise. Adding in some volume here at least three days of week will help you recover from your training especially if you are a rank beginner.

Slowly modify

So once you have got your train a rollin’ for a month then add in one exercise. Or you can add in one workout you want to try. Slowly build your training program with time. You don’t need to start off with doing weights twice a day six days a week and once on Sunday, you build up to this point. Follow your body here (as in are you recovering and slowly performing better from one workout to the next?), if you are no longer improving after you even add in more work it might be time to cut back on the volume (it takes time to get to this point, or being too aggressive adding in more work).

Use this same concept with your diet. You don’t need to go paleo atkins ornish pritikin asain fusion with intermittent fasting and carb back loading all at once. If you are the type that can go hard modification to your diet then by all means try it out. However, most people would be best off just cutting out the low hanging fruit. Start with figuring your calories out (what you eat everyday, write it down each meal since people are horrible with food recalls) and then cut that back by about 250 if you are trying to lose weight. This is simply not eating desert or drinking soda. I like the phrase I picked up from Dan John which is: Eat like an Adult. Seriously, children are the ones that want desert with each meal and a soda and chips and blah blah blah. Eat like an adult. Eat your damn vegetables (without butter, cheese, being fried, etc.). Everything you eat and drink doesn’t need to be sweetened or have added sugar.

Find a Friend

I’m on the constant hunt for my next training partner. The “Hop” will never be replaced in my mind (WWSCD), but you can’t fault a man for trying. Having a training partner or group is a good practice of accountability. These are the people that rely on you being there as much as you rely on them. Doing this will get both of you to be more productive and consistent.

Now these don’t need to be social friends that you train with and that might be the best case scenario, but these should be people you respect and trust. Find someone with similar goals (and schedule) and then make it happen. I’m quite sure I would have never made it through the bench assault if it hadn’t been for my training partners Pruter and Jaked. Having people to share misery and achievement with helps everyone (Joy shared is joy multiplied, pain shared is pain divided – Dave Grossman).

Ask for help

If you are a complete rank beginner get a personal training session (or more if you can afford it) and tell them you simply want to learn how to squat, press, deadlift, and bench. Those movements will take you far and having someone coach you can help you make sure you aren’t going to hurt yourself doing them. If the trainer instead wants to show you the bosu ball ask for your money back. Your goal here is to make sure you can move like a human should, not do simple balance tricks.

Some gyms (like crossfit gyms) will have a beginner’s class where you learn the movements and work your way in to harder training. This is something to potentially look in to since nearly every single cardio “pump” workout I’ve seen has worse form than an uncoached high school football weight room. This is something that more gyms could gain from having a simple class in technique. The goal is to do things right from the start so you don’t have to spend the next few years trying to fix what you did wrong in the beginning.

Enjoy it

“The warrior doesn’t give up what he loves, he finds the love in what he does.” – Dan Millman

Training is awesome. I hate it with the fiery passion of a million suns. You won’t enjoy most of it (if it is hard training), but you need to find the little pieces of joy afterwards. Sometimes it isn’t the training where you find it until you finish your last set of the day (definitely on squat days), but when you get home and walking up stairs and doing chores around the house are not taxing at all, that’s what feels good. Knowing at any moment you can do pull ups or handstand push-ups is an awesome sensation. Feeling the strength in your hands and feet after you break a person record or lift a load that terrified you initially is a sensation I wish I could bottle and sell to people. Being the person that people call to move furniture or help with heavy work is its own reward. Knowing you gave your best and the feeling of exhaustion after hard training can be their own reward.

Learn to love the training.

Wrap up

In another month the vast majority of the New Year’s resolution club will have left until motivation strikes again next January. It is a bittersweet moment for all of us consistent members since you know those people are likely not training anymore, but you don’t have the huge waits and overcrowded gyms to deal with. This year do your best to help those people. Sometimes it is just a word of encouragement, offer to help teach them the right technique, or maybe offer to have them hop in with you.

At one point or another all of us were starting off on our journey and confused about which way to walk. You likely had someone step in and give you some guidance (Coach Mo, Coach P, Eagle Gym, Lab Gym, Westside, and many more helped me and thanks again to all of them) and that helped you find your way and stay to your path. I challenge you to be that person to someone else. When back home for the holidays I caught a workout with Cue, who happens to be one of my favorite athletes that I ever had the privilege of training (he’s my Luke Skywalker but that’s another post). We went to a globo gym and saw a lot of bro’ing out (it was January 2nd after all which is a Saturday in 2016). He made a joke about it being bro o’ clock (which was hilarious and accurate), but then I asked him: If no one showed you the way, what would you think is the way a person should train? He looked at me and said something to the effect of: I guess what is in the magazines and what the guys on the Jersey Shore (TV) do.

So be the person that helps someone out this season as much as it can take from your time each day. Thanks for taking the time to read this, please share it with any friends or loved ones that could use some advice this season and please leave any comments. Happy 2016 everyone.

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Completely unrelated picture of Norbert and I near the end of a hill sprint workout on New Years day. We both saw a squirrel.

Eastbound and Down, Travelling to competitions

The week of cheer nationals (2016!) is upon us. Shortly the team here will be hopping on a bus to head to the happiest place on earth (especially if you have money and no small children with you): Disney World in Orlando Florida. This is a fourteen hour bus ride to which they will then check in to their hotel and have a bit of fun at the various parks, practice, and finally compete.

Now let me first say this is a lot of fun. Seriously, I had a great time each time I went to cheer nationals (or really any competition I travelled to for that matter) and only one person ended up in Disney Jail (not me). The issues you can get yourself in are numerous, but the basic issue is you are breaking from your typical routine (sleep, diet, relationships, etc.) and you are sometimes financially limited (park food is expensive) along with a lack of ability to shop at grocery stores (pretty safe to say no one will have a car). So a bit of preparation does wonders here:

Packing food

This depends on if you are flying or going by bus to Disney. If you are flying buying canned food or food that comes in packets (Tuna is always a good choice here), this will save you from buying one meal at the park each day. Protein bars and such can also be packed away, just be sure to not go too overboard (I’m a big fan of quest bars but don’t do more than one bar a day). Furthermore, packing trail mix, peanut butter, jelly, dried fruit, jerky, etc. can all be a great choice so you can get by on a budget and have the foods that you would typically eat. Also, if you are worried about your amount of protein (or brotein as the bros call it) take and pack your protein powder in your bag in smaller containers. I would avoid putting them in baggies so you don’t have to explain things to TSA about all of your baggies of white powder. Cereal can also be a good option to pack and plays in to the reusable mug you can buy tip later on.

If you are driving down you can take advantage of the extra space and pack a cooler full of food. Cooked meat for sandwiches and otherwise will be good for a few days since you can take advantage of the ice machines at the hotel to keep your cooler the right temperature. Pack accordingly here for what you think you will eat and then also pack some extra since there will always be some folks that are hungry. Make sure you are getting your normal amount of fiber folks, because being “stopped up” and having to tumble is a recipe for disaster pants.

Take advantages of stops

Each time you the bus stops or while you have a layover when flying get up and walk around. You just got done with practicing twice a day most days of the week and then you are going to spend an entire day doing absolutely nothing? Walking around an airport or gas station in the middle of nowhere will at least get your blood pumping and take some time to stretch out periodically when you have a chance. This is especially true if you are a person of normal size (aka not a flyer) since bus seats and airplane seats are tightly packed especially if you are a bigger guy. Your knees and the rest of your body will appreciate you getting up and moving around in a non-stressful manner. Take some time and stretch out your hip flexors and whatever else is tight too since you will be stuck in that seated position for probably a decent amount of time.

Stay hydrated

Riding in planes tends to dehydrate you along with sitting in warm buses. Drink lots of water. So what if you have to get up and use the bathroom more? You just got done with a hard block of training and probably have some joints that don’t like you right now. Water is what keeps your joints lubricated, no reason to make those joints grind more than they need to since you can just drink more water. When in doubt the color of your urine tells you where you are at. If it is clear of slightly like lemonade you are good to go. If it is apple juice colored drink some water. If it is black go the hospital you are probably about to go in to kidney failure.

Remember to sleep

You are traveling to or at Disney world. It is easy to get pulled in to the excitement and have a hard time sleeping or just plain forget to. Don’t. Go get some rest each night, you will be sharing a room with other people that might snore so pack ear plugs (JAMES BROWN). Make sure that you are sleeping your normal amount, take a nap if nothing is going on instead of playing on your phone. The night before the competition most people don’t sleep well. In my mind in is the night before that (36-48 hours) outside of your competition that matters (got that one from Dan John). Be sure to get good sleep on that night.

Bonus tip: If possible lay down on the floor in the middle of the bus. I’m serious, this works if you are a bigger guy and you can sleep well. Do be prepared for someone to step on you on accident. They might not allow this behavior anymore, but back in the day this was the way to go.

Use the free refills

As soon as you get to the hotel and go to the cafeteria buy the souvenir cup. This will get you refills. The amount of milk, Gatorade, soda, etc. you want to drink will now be there for you for a way reduced price. If you are someone that drinks a large amount due to either sweating a lot or being larger in general (or both) this is well worth the price. Plus you have a cup to bring home to remind you of your time there, since obviously you won’t be taking a lot of pictures or anything while you are there…

Wrap up

Have fun down there. You’ve earned it, but planning a bit beforehand and keeping things in mind while you are there will help you get more out of your performance while keeping more money in your wallet. Good luck to any athlete or team that reads this. You can use a lot of these same points if you aren’t going to cheer at a national’s competition, this works for any athlete on the road. Thanks for taking the time to read this and if you have any questions or comments about things you use please put them below.

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The last cheer nationals I competed at. The two kids were from Europe that we met and the guy on the right was my teammate Ryan Phillippe. Our coach gave us two rules: don’t go swim in the pool and I don’t remember the other one. I do remember that we broke both of them within hours of getting there.

Jedi Mind tricks for performance (hit your routine)

Cheerleading nationals is one week out. Right now our team has been running two practices each day, most days of the week for almost two weeks with one more staring them in the face before they leave for the competition. It is this point when you have to throw multiple full outs (the two and a half minute routines that require lots of energy, power, precision, etc.) at each practice that it starts to grind a bit on everyone.

I wrote a few weeks back about what you can do to help enhance your recovery and try and keep it together. Hopefully, if you read that one you got something out of it. Now is the time that no matter how good of a job you’re doing with recovery you are probably starting to feel beat up. This is normal, however, how you react to it is up to you. You can get soft about it, start your pity party, or you can toughen up and keep hitting it hard.

I often tell my training partners and my students: “The greatest limitation put upon the human body currently rests behind your eyes and between your ears”. You can use your mind to talk to you in to doing things or talk you out of it. Use your mind to help you accomplish your goals, not stand in the way of your progress. Over the years I’ve learned a thing or two about how to use your mind to help performance. A few mental tricks that I use when things get hard are as follows:

Commit

Every time the music is on (for your routine) you go full out. No holding back, no being milk toast about it, but going as hard as you can. This is simple old school conditioning like Pavlov’s dog, giving yourself a simple stimulus that after that your body becomes conditioned to going full steam each time.  This is a lot harder than it sounds, and yes you do need to learn some pacing, but the key is to commit fully in your mind each time that when the music starts you go full out. No thinking about anything other than the task at hand. Empty your mind and go for it.

I use the same concept with music when I’m preparing for a meet when I’m lucky enough to have walkout music (The Raw Unity Meet that Eric Talmant puts on (thanks again for everything Eric)). So I will use that same song for all of my heavy sets in training to keep me dialed up and never outside of it. This is just another way to help your focus and performance.

Visualization

The mind imagining things happening can be a very powerful tool for performance. The simple act of doing a very immersive visualization (imagining what you will do) has potent effects on your ability to execute the skills on a neurological level. Take the time to imagine yourself hitting each part of your routine perfectly. How the mat will feel under your feet, how your uniform will fit, how bright the lights will be and the music in the room, how the arena will smell. The more realistic you can make your visualization the better it will be to carry you over to your performance. Now you still need to practice your craft, but doing this can help improve your performance.

Act As If

Notice in any group how you will always have that hard working athlete that is as tough as nails. You might also have some of them that are made out of papier-mâché. I’ve had a few athletes say things along the lines of; “but I could never be as tough as so and so”. And they are right, with that attitude they surely won’t be.

We all start off soft crying little masses that are completely incapable of taking care of ourselves. Some people never leave this stage. The key is to act accordingly to what we want or need to be. If you consistently act tough you will in turn become tough. Everyone feels pain, fatigue, etc. It is how you react to these factors that makes you into who you are. Yeah you might not be that tough in two minutes, but if you act accordingly for two years or two decades you are surely going to be tough or at least way tougher than what you started off at.

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This picture really screams the 90’s. Also feel free to count the chins.
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Hope for the Holidays strongman comp. Thanks again for Willie Wessels and the rest of the folks that put this on. This was 950lbs. for a partial deadlift.

These pictures show the same guy (me). The only difference between the two is time. During that time turns out I worked and toughened myself up to be able to do things that a lot of folks can’t. If you had a time machine and could go meet me at age 16 you could wipe the floor with me easily and be decidedly unimpressed, but after years of hard work I can at least make it a bit more challenging. Some folks are naturally a bit tougher than others, but we can all work to improve in this area (and many others in life). Just act as if you were the person you want to be and be consistent.

“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” ― Kurt Vonnegut

Wrap up

There are a number of ways to use your mind to make you a better athlete. This is just three simple ways that I use my mind to do so.  If you are interested in learning more in this area please read up some of the work online by my friend Bryan Mann. He has a lot of great stuff in the sports psych area with easy application. Just remember, you are who you choose to be.

 

 

 

“This situation requires a really stupid and futile gesture be done on somebody’s part”

And we’re just the guys to do it. (click the links on this post for fun)

Sometimes in training you need to do a really stupid training day just to prove you can. Not because it is particularly useful or beneficial. Not because you want to put a montage of it on the internet (which I guess technically I’m doing right now). Sometimes you need to do some stupid hard training just because you can. Just to prove you are still here and not going quietly in to the night.

This week I am back in STL training at St. Mary’s for most days of the week with the Vulcan brothers. We chatted about a dumb training session I had done years earlier with a great friend that I’ll write about at some point later on (WWSCD). We talked about doing some incredibly painful training and sometimes you can just throw reason outside the window and just do some crazy hard stuff.

Things moved organically and one of the Vulcan brothers was jumping town to go visit their significant other in Chicago on New Year ’s Eve and would miss training for a few days. I had to deadlift on Wednesday which was the last day he would be in town. So we talked about what would be fun and crazy, and we came up with the idea of doing 405 for 100 total reps each. This sounded equal parts stupid and tough so why not we decided.

Wednesday – Dec 30th

The morning came and the elder Vulcan brother was in the gym and ready to go while we waited on the younger and his girlfriend to arrive. We took our time warming up and stretching out before the weight got heavy. The younger brother made it eventually and we of course gave him trouble (but I’m awful about being late to training myself). So then we started deadlifting and worked up to 405 once the weight was loaded we double clipped it (to avoid the plate shifting that can occur from not exactly setting the weight down easily).

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The bar (and/or nemesis) we pulled on. Double clipped for your lifting pleasure
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The board for keeping track of our numbers with a solid quote and random graphs to make it look like we know anything about training.

The two Vulcan brothers pulled conventional from the floor and I did my one inch deficit sumo work. Set one for me was 5 reps and so it was for the rest of them. From there we parted doing however many reps felt not too brutally hard (don’t want to gas out on an early set and fail the rest). With the blaring of Pandora’s Hearts on Fire radio station it carried us through. We marked each rep on the grease board to keep the running tally easy to follow.

I switched grips throughout the sets and the brothers opted for belts midway through, this helped make it a bit manageable. Using enough chalk that made it look like you had a drug dependency is probably the only reason I have skin on my hands right now to type this. Thugh both of my thumbs feel longer and nerves deader from using a hook grip for a number of reps. We all started to super set this with lay around on the ground hoping for the sweet release of death and copious amounts of excrement talking.

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Superset!
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Riding the struggle bus and his belt was on loan from his girlfriend.

Once you made it past 50 reps you started to get a little comfortably numb and the pump in my lower body and lats was solid. Thanks to listening to every montage song from the historical documentaries (Rocky films). We managed to finish. I got done first and just did a few glute ham raises and gravity boot abs to decompress the low back. The elder finished second and the younger finished third. It was the simple (and stupid) brutality we all were looking for.

Wrapping up

If you add up the volume lifted with the percentage of the max it is beyond stupid from a programming standpoint, but sometimes you have to do something to prove you are still here. That aren’t soft. That you still can lay it down when the time comes.

And that’s what’s important.