Friday, November 30, 2012

A Day With A Legendary Strongman

 Just before Thanksgiving, there was a strongman traveling to a town to do a show, when I found out he was going to be heading only an hour away from my city, I couldn't pass up telling him I was near there. After his show we met up and trained outside in my backyard smashing tires with my Thor Hammers along with his Stronger Grip Sledgehammer and after getting my ass kicked while needing a few breaks this dude finishes with 1000 swings in 21 min. We ate dinner down the road and the first half was how awesome his son is doing, the other half was about training, putting knowledge and wisdom into my head and even talked some stories about Strongmen and even about his time with Matt Furey. We said our goodbyes but the story doesn't end there, there’s more to come.

 After Thanksgiving has passed, the strongman came back because he had some traveling to do shows and I caught up with him again, this time it was more than just a few hours, it was for more than a day. He did a show no more than a couple miles from where I lived, I got to help out with the show and be apart of it by ripping a phonebook in front of 400 kids plus their teachers. It was an experience I’ll never forget and being a performer from a different era of my life it was nerve-racking but exciting at the same time. I learned how he performed and spoke in his shows and how to get an audience’s attention but getting his own message across in different types of situations. I’m sorry you’re probably wondering who the hell I’m talking about, my apologies. This is Professional Strongman and Motivational speaker Bud Jeffries.

 After the show, Me and Bud packed up and were about to grab some food when he needed to get his oil done for the truck so we stopped at a shop and sat in the truck while we talked about wrestling, the old-timers and even about a cousin that was legendary in his own right, it was the Boxing Legend Jim Jeffries. He told me a story about him and Jack Johnson that was pretty awesome. After the oil was done, just before we left, he rips up a deck of cards just for kicks for the mechanics and one guy even said jokingly “Thanks for making me feel afraid of you.” We get a bite to eat at Subway and before we did this, this powerful and humble strongman tries to hook me up with a pretty girl not once but twice. Messing with him calling an a-hole it was pretty funny and I literally nearly turned purple from blushing really hard. We get dinner than its back home for the evening.

 Before I continue with this story I just need to point out that being in his presence and admiring him for years it was like if a baseball fan spent the day with just a Barry Bonds or a Albert Pujols, it was that awesome. Training alongside him was an experience you can’t comprehend, not even at a workshop and I’ll tell you why later on. I couldn't keep up with him at times but how can I? I’m just learning the tip of the iceberg on conditioning and here he is just pounding on those tires. For the most part despite needing breaks quite frequently, he just about literally broke me down because I had jut gotten my ass handed to me and although he never said it I kept thinking of him saying “Come on man, keep going.”

 This guy I felt took me under his wing and wanted to help me put things in perspective and understand what you can do to help people even more than what you’re doing now and make something happen. Learning from him was surreal and it gave me something to use for the rest of my life and do something nobody can do. I’m still young and I have far more to learn but for one night, it has given me a lifetime to use.

 Continue on with the story, we’re eating and decided to put on the Expendables 2 and while watching this, we broke into little conversations about the actors and than for a brief pause during the movie we got to talking about each other’s obstacles and sharing funny stories and let me tell you and I know he may not admit this but Bud had stories that made Jeff Foxworthy sound dull and I just couldn't stop laughing at times because the way he expressed them was just priceless. If you truly want to know Bud, making you laugh is one of the best things he can put on you and it shows that we as strongmen are not big, tough and demeaning guys; we’re just like everyone else with different backgrounds and finding ways to make each other laugh.

 After the movie was over we set everything back up, sat in the lounge chairs and went over stuff about the old-timers, steroids, guys in the upcoming Superhuman Workshop and helping me move more forward with my passion for Physical Culture and although it lasted only a couple hours, it felt like a lifetime in a good way just listening and sharing knowledge and wisdom. He truly is one of the best guys in this business and I’m proud to call him one of my brothers. He’s not just a mentor or a guy who helps you out a little bit in time, he was like an older brother and passing on his words of the business onto me. It was one of those things you just never forget.

 Before I end this I want to tell you the difference between being in an idol’s presence one on one vs. being at a Seminar or Workshop. Being at a workshop, you connect with them and get to learn what they know so you’ll get better but no matter how you slice it, there’s another person sitting right next to you getting the same teachings and doesn't have that same feel if it was just the two of you. One on one however is a whole different experience, it’s not even the same league as being taught at a seminar, it’s just the two of you and going into much deeper levels of knowledge, stories and getting to know your idol on a very different level to the point where it’s not just a few conversations, you literally feel compassion and hold a place in your heart for them that you just can’t get anywhere else.

 With Bud it wasn't just being with one of the strongest guys in the world, it was like being with that older brother you wished you had growing up and being apart of something that has a mystical feel to it and feeling like you’re a part of a family that you’ll always be happy with. Spending time with him was one of the greatest experiences of my life and I’m already getting a bit emotional just looking back on it and it’s something I’ll never forget until the day I die. I hope I get the chance to do it again in the coming years and learn from him as much as I can stand and pass on to my kids because he’s one of those people that you can’t help but like and get to be apart of something that you love and cherish. Thank you Bud and I’ll always be there if you ever need me, you truly are one of my dreariest friends and you’ll always welcome. Stay strong brother and never stop what you’re doing, you are an awesome friend, a loving husband and a damn good father to Noah, he is the luckiest kid in the world.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Embrace Being Criticized

 I use to think anyone who thought what you do was negative than you don’t seem to be doing anything right and the positive notes come and go. Realizing after knowing a few guys and what the represent, negativity is like a block for them. Being criticized should help you, not wear you down. There’s going to be people no matter even one’s you’d never expect will give you a harsh time about what you want to do or already doing.

 If you do something that’s going to get people riled up, you’re still getting noticed. There’s an old saying, “it’s better to be hated than ignored.” Sure you’ll get positive feedback and that’s awesome let them come in but the negative feedback is very unique. You’ll get people talking about your stuff and most of the time, not always you’ll get some dumb idiot who has no clue what he’s talking about and at times has nothing to do with what you say or do, they just run their mouth but you’re still getting noticed.

 The only person you should really be a critic on is yourself. Not saying you should think of yourself in a negative way but embracing what your strengths and weaknesses are and keep improving yourself. It’s kind of like shadow boxing, you’re fighting your most difficult opponent and that’s you brother/sister. Be better for yourself and learn to block that negative vibe but embrace what is happening with it. One of my favorite courses I have is from which is called Psychic Self Defense. It teaches you how to handle negative energy and using visualizations and feel on what you can do to block that energy from a variety of ways, most teach offensive strategies, this is one of extreme few to teach a defensive strategy and like they say a great defense brings a great offense.

 Being motivated isn't easy but look at from this angle like on a coin, one person is motivated to get things done no matter what it is, the other person just goes about his life not making progress and not making himself what he wants to be. I realize motivation is hard, I go through it all the time and plenty of other guys I know, some of them it’s pretty easy, for others it’s a pain in the ass but it still keeps them going. Find ways to be motivated, find a friend, listen to music for inspiration, watch a rugged action movie whatever it might be use it to motivate yourself just make sure it’s illegal because I don’t want you to put yourself or someone else in harms way for the sake of motivation. One other thing on that note, when you’re doing something that gets you going, someone else is going to envy you because they can’t do it themselves so they’ll be on you like white on rice at times.

 Never try to change who you are, you can adapt and learn different things to improve yourself but never change the type of person you are because you are a good person deep down and you want to be something beyond anything else, it’s up to you to make that choice and help improve yourself. The more you improve yourself the more others will bitch at you because they don’t know any better and they don’t want you to be happy, just be unhappy like them, never do that. Let the criticism in and learn to take a punch every now and then. In Rocky VI he says “It’s not how hard you hit, it’s how hard you get hit and keep getting back up to fight.” Keep on working your goals and make things happen; if someone gives you a hard time, so what, you’re doing something they don’t know how to achieve. Have fun and until next time, keep living the dream and achieve the things you want to happen.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Learning From A Physical Culturist

 I have doing exercise since I was a little kid in PE and first got a taste of Weight Training when I was an early teen. After High School I joined a gym and learned from a few guys here and there but never made a big impact with them and just didn't get it. After my accident back in 2005, I began learning just a few things from a book called Combat Conditioning by Matt Furey. When I began walking again and was cleared to train, I dedicated myself to get stronger and healthier and it just happens that one of my good friends lived only literally a couple doors down, we call him the Duke but to a lot of people today you know him as the Garage Warrior Tyler Bramlett. He was the first guy that taught me real conditioning and mental toughness. This was my stepping stone into Physical Culture.

 One of the guys Tyler had me research on was Karl Gotch, the man who’s considered the God of Pro Wrestling in Japan, one of the first things I learned was how to use bodyweight exercises on a deeper level. I had already done some work on the deck of cards workouts but another thing I learned later on was “You think you know, you’re dead.” Getting that stuck in my head I understood that if you want to be great, you got to keep learning. Just because you know a thing or two doesn't make you a superior expert, you keep testing yourself and when you pass your knowledge onto others you want them to succeed more than you did, if you don’t than you’re not a good coach and you haven’t learned a damn thing.

 Another great wrestler of the old days was Billy Robinson who has quoted saying “You learn how to learn” by this he means no matter what you do in life or in training you keep filling your head like a sponge and although you could be a master later on, you will always be the student. Understanding this isn't easy because you've done so many things in your life and yet you feel there’s nothing left but only have touched the surface. In nearly 8 years of being in the Physical Culture world, I have learned more than most guys my age have learned in their entire life and yet I haven’t even peaked the mountain. Constantly learning helps you become more successful, doing things one day at a time.

  Taking foundations from different elements of training gives you variety and teaches you which ones to work with and not to work with. Taking from Tyler and other guys it is essential to build your style and learn how to maximize them with different parts from different people. If you just do the same stuff over and over and expect something different to happen you’re on your way to be insane (literally). The ability to find your own style makes you unique and although most people don’t like change it’ll make them think twice about what they do.

 A golden rule in the Physical Culture world that made me learn the hard way with a few guys is the level of respect. Respecting others who have made big impacts, small ones and even crossed in the middle should be respected. I’m not saying you should like everything someone puts out, hell I can’t stand some of the crap that’s out today but I give those men and women credit for doing what they think is best. There’s guys out there who hate weights but love bodyweight, some loathe bodyweight and embrace weights and then there’s guys who are caught in the middle like me, Tyler, Bud JeffriesLogan Christopher and many of the old-timers. We all have our own opinions of what works, what doesn't and what can be improved but in the end you learn respect not just to them but yourself because the moment you learn to respect that you are as a person and/or athlete, the bigger your opportunities will be.

 There’s always going to be debates on who’s the best of the best but in my opinion there’s no such person. Each Physical Culturist over the last 100+ years has had something that made them successful and they’re the best at it. I’m not going to compare who’s great at what and who’s the most successful because come on that’s just a waste of time and you’re not going to accomplish much. There’s a lot of great strongmen, wrestlers, steel benders, hand balancers, bodybuilders and others that are no different than you and me, just have something special about them that you can also find within yourself.

 To truly understand Physical Culture it’s a lifelong journey from your beginnings up until the day you die, there’s no real destination. You constantly learn, take things from different places and mold them together creating your own jigsaw puzzle so do speak. It’s finding who you are as a person physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Gift Of Health Is Far More Rewarding

 Today is Black Friday and that means the plague of shopping for Xmas and getting deals left and right that just boggle the mind. It sucks mostly because it’s really the only day where people get ran over or run over for things after a day of what they’re thankful for. Sad isn’t it? The one thing good about Black Friday is that you do the best you can to get your family something special later on next month but with the right leverage, you don’t need to get trampled all over the place.

 A real gift that you can use for a lifetime rather than a few times out of the year is really the gift of health. Help those who are in need to be fit and strong. I realize exercise may not be on your mind because you’re clawing your brains as to what to get for your loved ones especially your kids. Training however can relieve stress on the mind and body if you give it time to relax and breathe. Your body can take only so much from the stress of getting something at a fast clip.

 The biggest shopping day of the year can be used to your advantage and here’s why, in my opinion almost everyone has a computer these days and has an internet hookup so why not use that to get what you want instead of running off to some store where the crazies just go nuts and become something they’re not normally as. If you don’t have internet or a computer, shop a little before Black Friday by a small percentage, this way if you saved up enough and do your research, you can find better deals long before thanksgiving and store them so the kids don’t see it, it can be effective and you won’t have to get your ass kicked all over the place.

 For the most part if you want to give a great gift, I believe exercise is a better option because it’s not just for you but your loved ones as well. Exercising together as a family creates bonds and helps teach kids rules, boundaries and how to earn what you want. Don’t need to force them or anything like that, find a positive and productive way to get fit for the holidays. If you really want to be an animal than I suggest you start here. Kids love toys, I get that I was part of that generation too and wanted every toy from tv show I watched from Spiderman to the Power Rangers and these days kids love Justin Beiber and Spongbob Squarepants. Kids and families deserve a little something so why not earn it and put a little effort in it. One of the greatest gifts I ever got as a kid in the late 90’s was a ticket from my dad to go see WWF Royal Rumble ’98 at the San Jose Arena long before it became the HP Pavilion, I was massively into Pro Wrestling at that time and got to see guys like Stone Cold Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, Undertaker, The Rock and Triple H when he was with Degeneration X. I never forgot that night and it’s stuck with me for life.

 Not saying you should spend a lot to do something but the key is that having something for a lifetime rather than a few times is far more awesome in my opinion. Exercise is a lot like that, you can do whenever you want at anytime when you want or need to do it and you can use it for the rest of your life. Be sure to have fun this holiday season and don’t stress so much about what to give someone and hurt yourself in the process of doing it because as much as you love someone, you don’t want to go through the trenches of World War 3 to do it. Be safe and happy holidays everyone. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Movies That Inspire Me To Train

 Ever since I was about 3 or 4 years old, I've loved watching movies ranging from Disney to the most awesome action packed movies ever. Movies are a great way to look at things at a different perspective whether you’re into fitness or not, you’re being pulled back into a world where anything is possible and the impossible just doesn't exist. It gives you hope and realize that you can dream and make things happen. Granted there are some terrible movies out there and you know which ones so it’s better to understand the type of movies you love.

 When I began seriously training when I was in high school there was a film we watched in class when I was in Sports Occupations that gave me a sense of what I wanted to do at the time and that was Bodybuilding. It was Pumping Iron, the film that put Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno in the limelight. I've seen big dudes before but nothing compared to them. To me they were monsters of muscle and do things that would make the average trainee cringe. I wanted to be just like them, I took supplements (no not steroids), I ate like there was no tomorrow and trained like a mad man. I didn't get to that level and now I don’t want to be at that level, it’s much different but the principles are the same, train hard, eat well and rest.

 Over the years I've watched action films from Arnold to Stallone to Lundgren but one action star caught my eye after watching Rush Hour and that was the legendary Jackie Chan. This guy was fast, agile, strong for his size and just flat out incredible. Once I began studying his films which led me to guys like Bruce Lee and Jet Li, his comedy and action sequences were some of the coolest in the film industry and wanted to learn how to be fast and powerful. After my accident in ’05 I learned how to use my body alone and move with ease and increased my reflex, speed, agility, flexibility and strength all in a short period of time. I realize I’ll never be a Jackie Chan but it is a lot of fun learning your own quickness and putting different elements together.

 Overtime I've had plenty of favorite actors to some of the guys I just mentioned to Adam Sandler, Bob Hoskins, James Earl Jones, Robin Williams, Billy Crystal and others but one guy stood out in my mind as an actor who just has it and became one of the biggest icons in history, forget Jack Nicholson or Tom Cruise, it was Harrison Ford that got me interested in epic film watching. As Indiana Jones it was practically the end all be all of action stars, there are great actors no question but I’ll watch Ford at any time. Out of all the actors I admire, he had a look, presence and charisma that just outshine them all, he wasn't a bodybuilder or anything like that but he had a built that I can relate to and was lean and athletic and to this day I would like to have that lean, athletic look but still have great strength and abilities under that. By far the Indiana Jones films are my personal favorites of all-time.

 The last few years, I liked some of the Comic Book movies that have been out like X-Men, Spider-Man, Dark Knight Trilogy but nothing more got me more hooked than the Marvel films of the Avengers from their separate films all the way up to The Avengers movie. Seeing guys like Thor, Captain America, Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk just had me in awe the entire time and that rarely ever happens with me when it comes to movies, this style of Comic Book series alone got me into reading Comics and look at my own training and see what I can do with it. If you get a chance look up my Can You Become Your Own Avenger? Series and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Because of the Thor movie I got my own set of Thor’s Hammer and haven’t looked back since.

 This is just the tip of the Iceberg of how I’m a movie buff and if anybody knows me or seen my house they can vouch for me having a over the top collection of movies. Do I watch movies all day, hell no I love what I do and I train each day as best as possible but the point is from my perspective a movie is not just a way to kick back and have fun for a couple hours, its like studying, researching and learning different aspects of not just film making but how certain actors train or learn for their role in that movie. It’s way better than watching TV and having to listen to the BS you see in it with the dumb reality shows and all the political crap that goes with it, that’s the beauty of a movie, no commercials, no big ads in the middle, just a good solid watch and getting into the characters and settings. Happy Thanksgiving everyone and be sure to watch a good movie after having the feast of your life and have the joy of being together as a family.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Developing Real Jedi Powers

 As you can probably tell I’m a huge fan of Star Wars but I’m more interested not just in the Space Opera but its true meaning and that’s the ability to use the Force as a means to become stronger physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. It’s not always what you see in the films but yet what you don’t see is the real importance. I’m not saying you’ll be able to move objects by making them float in the air or you’ll develop magical powers and ignite a light-saber, what I will tell you however is what is real about the Force and what you can do to develop realistic Jedi Powers.

 Miracles happen all the time but what if we learned to harness certain levels of our own power to do certain things that leaves a mystery to the untrained eye. One of my favorite Jedi Powers is the ability to heal and recover much quicker. A known factor in the realm of Physical Culture that has been almost lost today is the way you breathe. Your breath is a big source of your life if not the biggest source. If you learned how to breathe in such a way, you can learn the ability to put yourself in a state where your body heals itself from certain diseases or wounds. Legendary Catch Wrestler named Martin “Farmer” Burns wrote in his 1914 mail-order course which you can get here stated “Deep Breathing exercises alone can make many a weak man strong and many a sick man well.” This statement is as true as you’ll ever get. Healing using this fashion can reap rewards in ways you can’t imagine. I have had bruises, cuts, scrapes and open skin wounds from bending some of the toughest steel you can imagine, once I learned how to harness my breathing to heal, I healed much quicker and gotten stronger every time I did this. How is that possible, it’s something you got to find out for yourself.

 What if you learned to harness the power to create super strength and speed at a moments notice? This Jedi ability isn't that far of a stretch. Scientists have said that with all the strength and speed we develop, we’re only using 5% of our brain at max level. I believe you can achieve this with a few percentages higher and do so without years of training or getting frustrated because of its difficulty. It’s a lot simpler than you may believe. Is it easy? No, it takes practice and patience but if you put your mind to it and learn to infuse your body at the same time, you achieve levels of strength and speed that can practically triple it within a short period of time but again everyone’s different, it can happen within an hour, a few days, couple months who knows but the principle still applies

 Meditation is a very powerful tool once you understand how it works and not always what a book or a guru says, it’s the ability to understand it for yourself and how you harness it. A lot of us Westerners have the notion that meditation is just sitting or standing and trying to bring in positive energy and block out bad stuff, doesn't always work that way. The power of meditation is the ability to create energy by infusing the mind and body together through different factors including breathing, thought, visualization, at times movement and other things. Some people have trouble finding a way to meditate when they sit or stand, I happen to be one of them because its very difficult for me sit or stand still so I use moving meditation, using my body to connect with my thoughts and my breathing. This way helps me be more centered and be more connective spiritually and when I use a certain thought to connect my breathing, things happen in ways I can’t explain, things like calmness, positive attitude, my strength is higher, my thoughts are more clear and my imagination becomes a reality. Others are better at standing or sitting and building greater energy that way, its all about what works for you.

 A great Jedi ability is learning to increase your instincts. Developing this can be used in meditation but as good as it is, there’s more into it than you might think, instincts is using your intuition, being aware of your surroundings, sensing certain things by feel, touch emotional connection and your reflexes. One of my favorite movies is based on a book by Dan Millman called Peaceful Warrior. Having met the author and seeing the film I get a sense of what transpired during his time as a gymnast trying to find his place and learning from an old man named Socrates. Socrates taught the value of learning to use everything around you as a source of finding your own abilities and building them. The mind is a very powerful thing and if you don’t practice using your instincts, it can play tricks on you and may even deceive you. In one scene of the film Socrates puts his hand on Dan’s shoulder after the boy says “There’s nothing going on”, the moment that hand touched his shoulder, Dan began to see things differently and noticed certain sounds, his sight heightened and felt things more than usual like the wind blowing and many other things all in the glimpse of a few seconds, after that, he turns to Soc and the old man says “There’s never nothing going on.” Think about that for a minute.

 Still don’t believe there are some form of Jedi’s out there, well wrong again because the closest I can think of who have the ability to harness instincts, strength, speed, reflexes and spiritual power are the Shaolin Monks. When it comes to athletic and mindful abilities, these guys rank at near top of the list. They don’t just train to be strong and powerful, they train with love, peace and acceptance just like a true Jedi. They teach how to harness your inner power through Chi or in other words life force. Harnessing your Chi can bring wonders to your health, athletic abilities, strength, flexibility and many other things. One way to look at harnessing this Power is to learn what’s called CoreForce Energy by a man I highly admire, respect and recommend named Garin Bader. Remember when I talked about harnessing your Strength & Speed at a moments notice, this is one of the biggest topics this course goes into detail.

 Another look at a Jedi are the Samurai, they didn't just practice living and dying by the sword, they practiced poetry, painting, combat, powerful movements, meditation and a plethora of other things. The man Socrates Dan learned from had a saying in the film “You practice Gymnastics, I practice everything.” Just like the Samurai, Soc practiced not just one thing because if you only put yourself to one ideal and not look at other things in life, you’re limiting yourself. Another look at it is if you believe in one thing and it gives you meaning and teaches you everything else, the rest don’t matter. In the movie City Slickers with Billy Crystal and Jack Palance, good old Jack tells Crystal’s character “You know what the secret to life is? One thing, just one thing, you find that out the rest of the world don’t mean shit.” It’s how you look at things from a different perspective.

 Now out of all things philosophical about Jedi and having great powers, what about the power of the Dark Side? In reality the Dark Side is the other side of the coin, it’s learning too soon and taking it for granted, using your powers for personal gain, anger, hatred, lust for power, all the things that a true Jedi practices to avoid. In spirituality there’s God and there’s Satan, the foundation for good vs. evil and overcoming unexpected obstacles when you’re being overpowered by something or somebody. Really, no one is born a monk, a murderer, a sadist, Christian, Jewish, Islamic or even a lawyer or a cop, its developed overtime who we become from different influences, background, history and Creed. The Dark Side clouds the judgment of everything around us and it’s a factor of taking the easy way out, cheating and bullying others to get to the top. A real practice is to look at things from various perspectives, how to build a positive and productive outlooks. Some fall to this side of the coin too late, picked it up early in life or got caught in the middle and had to make a choice.

 Don’t fall for what you can make a real impact on and believing in the good of others and being happy with yourself. Avoiding the Dark Side isn't easy, it’s a constant challenge and the real power is within you to find out where you go and what you’re willing to do to get there.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The World’s Strongest Marine

 Every now and then in the generations of strongmen, there are a few that come and go, some stay on as performers, others teach and bring in a new generation but this time around only one has not only done both but is also a Marine and is one of the toughest men out there today. I’m talking about Professional Strongman and Coach Mike “The Machine” Bruce. Not only is he known as a Strongman but also one of the coolest guys you’ll ever talk to. Trained by the Grandmaster of Strongman himself Dennis Rogers and one of the most conditioned Heavyweights of the modern era Bud Jeffries, Mike has become one of the best destroying steel in his path and in one of the most dangerous places to bend.

 Throughout his life he’s dealt with abuse, ridicule and always wondered what he will become. Joining the Marine Corp. as a young man he made the choice to create something of himself and not only made it through one of the toughest military factions in the world but served his country the best way he could. Upon returning home he tried out wrestling and I believe either kickboxing or boxing or both and excelled by winning the majority of his fights and became known as we know today as The Machine, a man who’s conditioning is world-class with people who couldn't tell if he was human or not because he didn't know when to stop. He literally and figuratively became strong in every since of the word.

 His trademark and famous strength is known because of the strength of his neck. Forget this guy that bend horseshoes and destroy steel at a moments notice, his neck is considered the strongest out of not only the majority but possibly of all strongmen. He own records for having steel bend over his throat such as long steel bars and believe it or not horseshoes, seriously I’m not joking you can look it up yourself. When you put up 300+ pounds using only the strength of your neck and have steel being bent over your throat and not just any easy type of steel, I’m talking steel the majority of people can’t bend with their own hands let alone around the neck, you are a freaking beast. He’s not just strong in steel but has one of the strongest backs and abdominals in the world and that’s just the tip of the Iceberg.

 I believe coaching was something he wanted to do before and after retiring as a performing strongman and has opened up a gym in Kentucky called The Machine Shop and has produced many clients that not only got in awesome shape but became something more than themselves and a lot is influenced on Mike. I've always wondered what it be like to be coached by a former Marine, I've dealt with great coaches in the past including a few being trained personally by some of the strongest and most conditioned people on the planet but a Marine takes it to whole new level in ways you can’t imagine unless you’re there experiencing it.

 To me he has gone through such great adversity yet is one of the most humble guys I had the chance to speak with a time or two. A man who has put God ahead of everything else except maybe his beautiful wife but anyhow and still able to have a great sense of humor and a wonderful motivational speaker to kids and adults alike, he is truly a man’s man with a lot left in him and I hope to be trained by him someday and want to not only shake the man’s hand but salute him with the best of intentions. I’m proud to have written this article and hope it gives him something to check out and know that when I write something, it came from the heart and has more meaning than he can imagine, Happy Birthday my friend.

Semper Fi

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Art Of Bodybuilding Without Ever Picking Up A Weight

Going to the gym can be fun, exciting and learn a few things about fitness but most people don’t have time for it or since gyms these days don’t have real world-class training and instruction for lifelong health and fitness it’s better you find alternatives. There are those who also don’t have much money since the economy has become a bit of a downward spiral what can one do to get fit? I’m a fan of old school bodybuilding and I’m talking about long before the Arnolds and the Lou Ferrignos, I’m talking of guys like Bill Pearl, John Grimek, Reg Park, Otto Arco, Maxick and the likes.

 There have been decade(s) long debates about building muscle and how to acquire it, some say you need to lift weights, some say do bodyweight exercises and others have certain things in between. I feel from my own experience you don’t need a gym to get in awesome shape and certainly don’t need weights to build muscle. One of my all-time favorite methods is what’s called VRT or Visualized Resistance Training. This is a system where you mimic lifting a heavy weight using the mind/muscle connection and use tension to move through the exercise. This is another look at Muscle Control, being able to move individual muscles however you want. In bodybuilding today and yesteryear this is a look at posing.

 Using your own tension and resistance creates blood in your body hence forth the pump you get from an exercise. Think of a curl that targets the biceps, you do a certain amount of reps and blood rushes to the muscles and builds a pump, you can do the same exact thing without ever lifting a weight. You can create any exercise you want with this program, you can visualize lifting a car or pulling on the toughest of cables. It’s all about using your imagination while flexing the muscles in a dynamic movement. This is effective because not only does it build muscle but it protects the joints and can give you a bit of a cardio workout from breathing hard after doing an exercise.

 This was created by one of the most underrated Physical Culturists of our time named Greg Mangan who discovered the way to a better alternative from weightlifting. Not saying weights are bad this is just another option you can use to get a quick workout in anytime, anywhere. Infusing the mind/muscle connection is the key ingredient to this program and Greg will show you how that works. In his course he even states you don’t have to do the routine layed out for you, you can create any type of routine you want. I once tried some bodybuilding programs from the champions in Joe Weider’s Ultimate Bodybuilding book and they wiped me out and I didn’t have to switch stations, just stand or sit where you are and have at it.

 Muscle Control is one of the coolest and mot effective ways to build muscle and did you know that when Arnold was winning his 7 Olympia titles, he would stop lifting 6 weeks before contest to work on his posing to build that definition and symmetry and it worked, that’s another look at Muscle Control, forget the steroids and all that crap this was done back in the early 20th century, Sandow did the same thing and one of the greatest artists of MC was a man named Maxick who looked like he was carved from granite. Lifting weights is fun to do I get that and whenever I do hit the gym once in a blue moon I want to hammer out as much as I can get my hands on but at the same time it does get expensive and gym memberships are crazy expensive and only less than 5% of those who do go to the gym actually do it the other 95% quit after a while because they get burned out and are tired of driving, changing and god forbid wait for some douche to get off his set so you can do your thing. 

 You have a choice and you have more options than you realize. Don’t get frustrated trying to get fit, find alternatives that suit your lifestyle, this could be one of them and you don’t need to do 2 hours of training for this to be effective, 20 minutes a day is really all you need and if you don’t have that amount of time, start with just a minute and work your way up. Make it happen for you.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What Wrestling Taught Me & What You Can Learn From It

 When I was a senior in high school back in 2002, around this time during the year I wanted to join up the wrestling team. I knew some knowledge about wrestling but never understood the training of it as only seeing glimpses of wrestling training. I was in a rude awakening, up until then I didn't have any credentials on conditioning and how to do it and I’m here to tell you here and now I got the crapped kicked out of me, technique drills, push-ups, squats, sprinting, running up and down stairs, it got to the point where in my 2nd or third workout I had to tape up my hand because of the beating I put on it. My training lasted three days because I ended up hurting my knee in a training match and once the adrenalin wore off I was in bad shape. One of my friends at the time named Jesse who was an assistant coach told me to keep trying and not quit. I wish I had listened to him but I was way too stubborn and a bit of a wimp back then and just quit the team. If I had any regrets in sports it would be this but it gave me a lifelong lesson later on in my later years.

 If you’re not use to be being in that environment, you better learn quickly or are like me at the time and quit. It gives you a reason to be tough but if you’re not tough enough you won’t get very far, I now know that and have been through training sessions that I could used back then and might be in way better shape now. I’m happy with where I’m at and I continue to improve and because of this lesson I've increased my toughness by 100 fold. Being tough is not who’s the strongest, the most agile or who has better guns, being tough is taking that extra crawl from taking all the torture and still willing to keep going and its about making your limits go beyond your capabilities.

 The one thing about wrestling that I've learned was that even though in school and teams you rely on points and having a bit of a team effort, in reality when you’re on the mat, no ones there to help you or fight your battles and the only person you can rely on is yourself. It’s like this in life, if you want to make something happen you do it, people can show you a few things but after that you’re on your own and you win some, you lose some and when you lose you can’t blame anybody but yourself. You don’t need to be a wrestler to understand this, this happens not just in sports but business, relationships, life and it’s up to you to get the things done for yourself. Even after 10 years I’m still learning this and it continues to improve but not easier, actually the opposite but that’s the beauty of it.

 Respect is one of the biggest things you can have not just for yourself but those who were around you. Even to this day I have high respect for wrestlers and other world-class athletes, they get the job done and they take the torture with a grain of salt. That assistant coach I mentioned earlier, me and him grew up together and were still friends to this day and I consider him one of my brothers. Another guy I have found respect for what he accomplished in his life is Luke Rockhold of MMA fame who is I believe still or was the Strikeforce Middleweight Champion and why am I saying this, I wrestled in the same exact gym with him back in High School. I don’t know him much and never really had a chance to get to know him and hope one day I will but I’m proud I got to be in the same room with a world-class champion for a short period of time.

 Whenever you win at something it’s awesome and you learn certain strategies or keep that same strategy to run that winning formula but it’s the losing that makes the big difference. Losing makes you think about what you did wrong an what you can do to correct or just quit but in this case quitting is not an option, make it a habit to learn your mistakes and turn them into strengths and later on understand your winning ways when you find that formula. Hating to lose means you can’t stand it and you want to find out what you can do to prevent it, losing with pride is a whole different ball game and this goes one of two ways, being cocky when you lose or you understand what the mistakes were and handle them OK  Overtime I've come to hating losing because I want to be the best at what I do, I want to be stronger and more conditioned, be a better writer and learn more to do better business and bring in money and when I lose at times its frustrating but you learn your mistakes and make them your strengths by working smarter, harder at times and push it the way you want it to be.

 Life in general is a wrestling match, it’s a game of Physical Chess, you win or lose, you have good matches, bad matches, certain things work and some don’t and it’s usually unpredictable. The key is to keep fighting, keep driving to get better and make adjustments, be adaptable and learn to use your intuition. Find what works and stick with it and throw out what doesn't  Bruce Lee even knew this and now he’s one of the biggest Icons in history. Be consistent, make it happen and who knows, you might find yourself being a winner but even as a winner, you want to remain who you are and not lose sight of what’s important. Believe in yourself and trust in who you are because no one knows you more than that person you see in the mirror every day. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Why Is Conditioning Important?

 Being in condition for anything you want to be good at is as important as anything else is but what makes it important? First off having the strength to do something awesome is great but how you keep up that strength in the long run is up to you. The importance is that to get good at something, you condition your body or in other words practice the type of condition you want to achieve whether it’s Juggling Kettlebells, doing Handstands, playing sports or whatever you want to teach your body to withstand that particular subject. Even conditioning your mind is important because the stronger your mind is, the easier it is to find how to condition the body henceforth connecting the Mind/Muscle together.

 It doesn't matter if you’re in a sport, a workout, a meeting or whatever, you want to be as strong and aware when you first started and still have that amount left in the end. It’s called being in the clutch, still having what’s left in the tank for that one final moment or that one moment towards the end where you’re just as strong as you walked in as much as you want to walk out. Being prepared for a situation that still gives you that awareness and realize that you’re not still sticking with the other guy but chances are he’s gotten weaker.

 The type of people who taught conditioning the most were the most successful take John Wooden of NCAA Basketball fame at UCLA, a man who has taken the Bruins to 10 NCAA championships and produced a couple future hall of famers along the way including Bill Walton and Lew Alcindor aka Kareem Abdul Jabaar. He wouldn't let his players play unless their conditioning was top notch. Another would be the great Dan Gable who coached more NCAA champions in the sport of wrestling than any other before or since at the University of Iowa, he even coached a mentor of mine for a couple years by the name of Matt Furey. Gable made it a habit that his wrestlers are able to be ready for anything on the mat and some of them won matches by a landslide and others won or lost when it was time to be in the clutch. Probably one of the most important teachers on conditioning was the late Karl Gotch (1924-2007) who made it the number rule of all because if you’re not in condition and you lose your touch within the first couple minutes you might as well die in the dirt. If you have the right tools you can get in the best condition of your life but it doesn't just start in the muscles, it starts in the mind.

 Being in serious condition makes you tough and makes you want to get better, one of my favorite Pro Wrestlers is Ricky The Dragon Steamboat who had some of the best technical and scientific type matches and quite a number of them would be one hour draws against the likes of Ric Flair, Harley Race and others and I don’t give a damn the matches are fixed and who wins or who loses, to be able to wrestle and entertain a crowd for an hour straight is a feat in an of itself and the closest I can think of that caliber would be Lou Thesz, Verne Gagne, Ric Flair and Harley Race. Not that making this all about wrestling but the fact of the matter is if you want to master something, condition yourself to get to that level. It takes practice, it takes patience and it takes will, if you don’t have the will you won’t find the way.

 Some guys just don’t have the heart to condition them, are they tough enough, maybe not for that particular thing but in some way or another they’ll be in great condition at something. Being able to handle it is up to the person doing it. If you want to be able to handle such training or competition, your mind has to be more conditioned than your body, once you master that than your body will do the rest. One of my favorite stories of being tough to go through something is the Verne Gagne wrestling camps at his barn or office building in Minnesota, you have a number of guys going through the drills doing push-ups, squats, sit-ups, running and sprinting left and right and getting hammered in the ring, in the end there would be only a handful of guys left who made it when the majority quit. Being tough is not about how strong or fast you are, it’s about going that extra mile and even if you have a little left in the tank, you push through till the end. Being in condition is a bit of the same thing just the difference on developing your strengths to keep going and you’re just as strong if not stronger in the end.

 Learn to handle what you can and progress, that’s all you can do and have fun with it. If you’re too serious about conditioning you’re going to miss having a good time with it, enjoy it, challenge yourself and make it work for you.  

Friday, November 9, 2012

Last Chance At Achieving Kettlebell Glory


This is your last opportunity to grab The Definitive Guide to Kettlebell Juggling 2.0.

After Tuesday it closes doors for several months. The generous $1 offer will also disappear for good.

$1 Kettlebell Juggling Offer

Several people are already climbing their way up the progression levels and becoming greater at these skills and stronger with each step.

Why not have fun will getting in the best shape of your life?

You get all 21 Module on Kettlebell Juggling.

You get the Kettlebell Games.

You get the Crush the Rankings Videos.

You get access to the Private Kettlebell Juggling Community.

You get the bonus interviews

You get the Workout Guide.

All for only $1 starting today.

Ben Bergman

P.S. This is also your opportunity to secure your seat for the free kettlebell workshop Logan will be giving just for members. Go here to do it now.
$1 Kettlebell Juggling Offer

Monday, November 5, 2012

It's Official, One Of My Best Friends Has Gone Nuts

What's up guys,

Logan Christopher has always been known as a crazy guy.
From pulling a firetruck by his hair to juggling a kettlebell that's been lit on fire are just a couple examples.

But today he's announced that you can get started with the brand new Definitive Guide to Kettlebell Juggling 2.0 for just $1.

Click here to watch the video that explains it all.
Kettlebell Juggling...$1

And check out all the bonuses he's throwing on top.

Ben Bergman

P.S. If building your strength, stamina, and skill is something you're interested in, for just one measly dollar you can get access to several hours of video explaining how it's all done with much more to come...
Kettlebell Juggling...$1