Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Hints Of Conditioning From The 60 Min. Men

           Back in the old days of Professional Wrestling, if you were the world champ and you had a main event, it was common for wrestlers to go for an hour or more draw. Now just being physically gifted is one thing, you also needed the mentality because wrestling for that long would give the average person a stroke if not kill them. Men like Lou Thesz, Vern Gagne, Ric Flair, Ricky Steamboat, Jerry Brisco, Harley Race & the Funks all at certain times in their careers had what was the called The One Hour Broadways where commonly if there was running feud, they’d have matches that went to an hour draw or drew from 2/3 falls. Ric Flair was considered the 60 min. man because he constantly went that amount of time with whomever he wrestled when he was the main guy.

            Granted, this was around the early TV era to about the late 80’s, nowadays, hour long matches are rarely seen, mostly in the indies or every now and then Ring Of Honor but long before the TV era, matches sometimes lasted more than 2 hours. One match where Ed “Strangler” Lewis and I believe Joe Stecher went at it for more than 5 hours. I couldn't sit through a match like that and I’m big on technical/scientific wrestling. To be prepared for a match of an hour or more is insane, the conditioning is beyond its peak and you’re mental capacity is taken to the limit.

            To even get to that point, your training has to be at the top of your priority, even back when wrestlers fought for real and entertainment wasn't a factor yet except in the carnies you had to be in the best shape of your life otherwise you’re out of a job or if you couldn't handle it, your pay was cut short. One of the best in the game who didn't have the charisma but the physical and mental attributes to be tireless was the late Karl Gotch. He emphasized the importance of training your musculature from every possible angle to get the best benefit for a match or to stay in peak physical condition. Squats, Push-ups, Bridging are key ingredients but keep in mind the supplemental exercises that become a factor.

            One of my favorite forms of conditioning is training like an animal in the jungle where you learn to move in awkward positions, think about it in wrestling (not WWE crap), you’re going to be in a position that isn’t always natural and might need to get out of a hold or keep your opponent at bay. Training with basic elements using multiple muscle groups keeps you in shape for the long haul. Barbell & Dumbbell Exercises are great for moving weight but they don’t have that same awkward positioning you have to make say like from lifting Odd Objects or moving with weight on your back.

            In India where wrestling was the sport of all sports, athletes worked in many different aspects and most likely Physical Culture developed. They used exercises in a more circular fashion (Hindu Squats, Hindu Push-ups, Clubs & Mace) so they can get great benefit for when they did Jor (aka Wrestling). Their matches in tournaments would commonly last an hour or more and the better man was usually the one in more condition and would end up beating the opponent by a throw or a pin or even took him by surprise when the other man was exhausted. These guys were some of the most feared in all aspects of wrestling; the most feared of them all was the great Gama to a degree that even American Champ Frank Gotch wouldn't want anything to do with him. Gama’s conditioning is the stuff of legends and although most of his matches rarely lasted more then a few minutes, he most likely could go easily in an hour or longer bout if he wanted to, he was that well conditioned.

            You don’t have to be a wrestler to understand conditioning but it wouldn't hurt to learn how you can keep your endurance up in other sports say like the Ironman, Basketball, Football, Gymnastics, even Soccer & Rugby. Every sport has specific conditioning programs to them but if you want to be the very best, you have to condition more than the other guy, not to compete against him in a training session but to keep you as less tired and fatigued as possible. In the UFC, conditioning is a tool you need more than anything else. You can punch, kick, slap a hold on or takedown as many times as you can but if you can’t keep it up in the later duration of the fight, you will get your ass kicked. If you want to be in serious condition, train like you can go an hour or more without blinking an eye.

            Nobody knows conditioning more than a wrestler does. He/she has to go through training that breeds a special kind of athlete, to understand conditioning to the highest level, turn to a wrestler and they’ll tell you how easy you have it made. You don’t have to be a wrestler to be in crazy condition but it’s important to learn the aspects of conditioning from a wrestler that’ll give you the competitive edge over your sport and training in general. Even if you just want to get in great shape and high levels of energy, a wrestler can give you the best tips.

            If you know the fictional legend of Tarzan, he is the embodiment of the ultimate athlete. He climbs, runs, swims, wrestles wild animals and can move through the jungle like nobody’s business. He’s one of my favorite characters and I strive to train the best I can to be like that, maybe not to the extreme like he does but to keep in awesome life-long shape. Want to know a certain way to in touch with your inner Tarzan, look to Erwan Le Corre, the founder of the Physical Education system MovNat that teaches you to unleash your inner spirit for natural movement like when you were a kid. Keep in condition, stay healthy and have a kick ass time doing it.

Monday, July 22, 2013

It’s Crazy, You’re Stupid, You Can’t Do That

           It’s funny how certain people define training ideals. When you do something different or even “traditional” you’ll find how people see you, sure they’ll ask what you’re doing but they’ll always go to the “Wish I can do that” comment. In fitness there are many ways to get in shape, you have crossfit, animal training, Functional Movement, even that P90X or Insanity crap but the one thing to remember is that no matter what you’re doing someone will always give you a hard time and 99.9% of the time they’re the ones who don’t have a clue what real training is.
            In Commercial Fitness; you know the lame ads about the new gym in town, the deals of a lifetime, home workouts that you see in the infomercials and don’t get me started on those idiotic ghostwriters in the overrated Muscle Magazines, all of these don’t give you any real benefit of how to be successful in your training. They don’t give you in-depth details about starting from scratch, how to progress at your own level, teach you the value of self-discovery and relying on your own intuition to what can work for you.

            If you plan on using a gym, use equipment that’ll give you the most bang for your buck and that’s being as basic as possible, Barbells, Dumbbells, Racks, pull-up bar and keep the amount of machine work to a minimum if at all. Don’t research on the latest gadget or what machine can give you but instead look to the strength giants of olde, look to how they made their progress and became fit without the use of drugs, heavy supplements or protein shakes. These pioneers used basic formalities to create simple, progressive and useful functional strength and health. There are very few of these guys left and many of them never seem to get the credit when it’s due.

            I firmly believe in the power of intuition, having a sense of feeling through your energy and mind. In order to practice this, it’s best to think outside the norm, using your mind and body together to create an effortless affair of sensing what works, what’s wrong and how to use it to your advantage. Some people can learn fairly easily, others have a tough time and then there are those that have it but can’t accept it because it feels like you’re a crazy person and people will misread the difference between psychic energy and intuition, trust me they’re two very different things. You can follow along with these mainstream fitness fads all you want but in the end, you’re only hurting what’s really inside you, the gift of feeling what gives you the sense of what is useful to you.

            I've gotten looks and even some in my own family give me a hard time about my intuition and make it sound like I’m nuts. When you feel something, there’s energy to it, to me intuition is a version of the Force like in Star Wars. If you learn to believe and listen, you can hear your intuition speak to you. I’m not saying there should be voices in your head or believe in paranoia but what I’m pointing out is that there’s like a Jiminy Cricket, letting your conscience be your guide, telling you and your body what seems right or wrong and how to use it to make yourself successful in anything you want in life. I’m no expert on this and have no clue the science behind it but I really believe when something comes to you and it might be random at times or there’s a sense of energy you’re having don’t just knock it out and move on, listen to it, let it help you. I've learned for nearly a decade that if I want to build on something whether it’s writing, training or even listening to my favorite meditation, I listen to my intuition, it doesn't always have a voice but it gives energy that can be good or bad and I pay attention to it and when that happens, it hasn't failed me yet and whether I like it or not, it’s helping me find my true calling and what works for me in my own training.

            What do you really see? When you train, what feels right to you, what pushes you, what drives you to do the very best or put your best effort? To understand this stop listening to others and learn what you can do that works best for you.

            Want to know a secret? When you watch a DVD of a guy training and ask you to follow along, sure it’s great to get a workout in but in the end it’s just a man or woman working out on your TV, that’s it. To follow the same pace as your DVD trainer is just tedious and boring because you don’t have the same body type, the same speed, the same tempo and don’t always have the same height, the only person you should keep up with is yourself. Learn a technique or two but use your own pace to make your progress. Learn your body’s energy, create your own speed and tempo because you shouldn't need to be as fit as some other person, they’re already taken. See yourself getting fitter each day, learn to be effortless but at the same time make the effort to use what works best for you. Now go do that voodoo that you do so well.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Animal Ability

           Do you want to have the strength, mobility & toughness of an action hero? Well let me tell you about my own method that I have used training myself (& others as a former fitness trainer) to work towards this goal. Let me preface this by saying if you want to be a powerlifter, bodybuilder, etc you need proper guidance for steering this toward your specific goal. Also if you play a specific sport you need to make sure you add in specific skill development.
        My methods will take you 80-90% towards anyone of these categories. If you want to be prepared to take on anything then this is a (if not the) style to use. Strength, power, speed, agility, quickness, mobility & flexibility are what this style will help you build.
       So let's jump right in & quit the yammering, the following is a guideline to the order I have found works well in most cases. Now when I say most that means it is NOT written in stone. Do not be afraid to experiment! Just don't hurt yourself doing something weird. I train six days per week, one day conditioning/cardio type movements, the next more explosive/strength/power oriented work. I use Monday – Saturday with Sunday being a free day.

       General Warm-up – I know, I know, boring, but it needs to be done. Take at least five (5) minutes of moving all or at least the majority of your joints. Do not just get on a bike for 5 minutes & think you have done good, because you haven't. Jumping Jacks or a variation are a good thing to start with, but you need some squatting/hinging, some reaching & twisting.

       Specific Warm-up – This is usually used mainly on  explosive/strength/power days as your body works best when your nervous system is stimulated. This usually (you may see this word a lot) consist of the first 3-5 exercises or movements simulating them. I even do this for explosive jumping/plyometric movements, I just do them without as much explosiveness.

       Stamina/Conditioning/Cardio - I sometimes use a certain skill or skills I wish to learn at or near the beginning, but then I get into the meat. I use rounds/timed tempos with minimal rest between movements & rounds/tempos. I usually end the session with some odd work like muscle endurance in my feet, light resistance high reps.

       Explosive/Strength/Power – I usually (that word again) start with a jumping &/or sprinting drill. I try to make sure the combined rep total is 20. Depending on S/C/C day I choose drills that are not compromised from that training. This is important as it further stimulates the nervous system. This can allow stronger muscle contractions.

    Next I usually move to some high resistance lifts. I usually perform a squatting &/or hinging, upper body pull (vertical – horizontal), upper body push (vertical – horizontal), ofttimes I will follow with midsection or posterior chain work. I try to stick with certain basic movements & place specialized odd movements after basic heavier movements. Some people would choose to do it opposite, but in my experience the basic movements are so much heavier than odd movements that with focus it doesn't really matter that you have worked those muscles.
   A final comment before I go to the next part. E/S/P is not stamina/conditioning/cardio so take at least 0:30 or longer between movements. Having said that it is rare that I rest longer than 2:00.

       STRETCHING!!!! - This is the life saver. For the last five years I have been using http://www.yogabodynaturals.com/ method called Gravity Poses. I have no monetary interest in this company I just have found Lucas' Gravity Poses to work the best.

       General Warm-up  5-10 minutes

       Specific Warm-up (especially on high resistance days) 5-10 minutes

       Stamina/Conditioning/Cardio 10-30 minutes

       Explosiveness/Strength/Power (jump, sprint, basics + esoteric) 15-30 minutes

       STRETCHING! 10-20 minutes

       Total Time S/C/C = 30 - 60 minutes

       Total Time E/S/P = 35 – 70 minutes

       You should always strive towards the lower end of the time scale. Most important take away is use the minimum amount needed to achieve your fastest gains.

       So if you wish to be prepared physically & mentally for any activity or sport try the Animal Ability style!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

My Journey Into The Underground


       When my friend, Ben Bergman, asked me to write about my journey into the world of Underground Strength training, I didn't have to think twice about it. I was blessed to find several coaches back around 2004-2005 whose methods were unorthodox, but highly effective. Some of the strength & conditioning renegades I found then were Mike Mahler, Diesel Crew, Bud Jeffries, Greg Glasman, and Zach Even-Esh.
All of them were training in warehouses, garages, parks, back yards, or playgrounds; any where except in gyms.
        I still learn from all of them to this very day. However, Zach Even-Esh is in the spotlight today.
I had trained in martial arts for quite a few years and had always looked for something to that would fill the void in the training we'd been doing. I knew strength and power had to be improved to improve what I call "stopping power".

      When I learned of Zach's wrestling background and got his first training manuals, which I still have and study), something just clicked for me.
Though I opened one of the earliest CrossFit gyms in the USA, number 35 to be exact, I continued to follow Zach's methods. I was kind of the "black sheep" in CrossFit, and still am, because I believed in learning from all valid sources whether they are CrossFit or not.

     Let me clarify one thing right now, I refuse to become a CrossFit hater or basher even though it is now the "cool" thing to do. If someone who doesn't do CrossFit can whip Rich Froning, Jr., then maybe their opinion is worth listening to. We are one of a very small number of gyms that offer CrossFit and Underground Strength training, in fact our gym has become known as the Cave, not by its' legal name of CrossFit Gulf Coast.

   We are a strength-based training center. Our training regularly includes bench press, squats, deadlifts, and shoulder presses. All our athletes do strict pull-ups on a variety of apparatus like Zach's original Underground Strength Gym in NJ. Odd object lifts often replace barbell lifts, though we do a lot of heavy barbell work still.

   I could go on about this for hours, but let me narrow it down to the subject Ben asked me to talk about, that is why I go the Underground route and how it has affected my business. Underground Strength workouts are harder and longer than what most people are accustomed to, but they produce great results.  We usually train from 1 1/2 to 2 hours, not 15 minutes.

 Another plus for Underground training is the shorter learning curve with odd object lifts than with barbells. This is especially true for the Olympic lifts, though they are tremendous. Underground Strength has let us rise above the herd. I have refused to run a "cookie cutter" gym.  You could say, "I took the road less traveled, and that has made all the difference."

Monday, July 15, 2013

Putting The Super In Superhuman

       Becoming beyond the realms of human abilities in fitness isn't as far fetched as most people want to believe. Sure you won’t always be someone who can deadlift 1000 pounds, run 50 miles, do 100 pull-ups or swing a kettlebell 10,000 times but you can however push the very brink of your natural abilities to become something more than yourself. Being superhuman doesn't mean you’re just a physical specimen and do whatever the hell you want; a superhuman has physical gifts using his emotional content to define his spirit and conquer him/herself in their own endeavor.

            To reach certain levels, you must push yourself out of your comfort zone naturally and with reason. Don’t be just jumping into something already advanced and think you won’t be sore or get hurt, that just makes you a moron. Instead focus on the progressive elements of what you’re capable of and little by little keep pushing. Testing your limits are tests of your will power, how far you’re willing to go. There is a bit of a price but it’s worth everything you've put your heart into. Some people go so deep it might end up crippling them, others keep edging and finding what they’re capable of and in doing so learn the value of your mind and body’s strengths and weaknesses.

            To become superhuman is to follow simple and basic rules or you can come up with ones suitable for you but the most basic ones are as follows:

  1. Never be satisfied with your training, keep learning.
  2. Train hard and smart, use your mind and body as if they’re the same thing.
  3. Sleep & Recover, very important in building the body and resting the mind
  4. Push yourself progressively, never take a short cut or you’ll end in a way you won’t like
  5. Value your true friends in your field for they’re the ones who give you the best advice and keep you motivated either through a conversation or just a few words.

            One of my favorite teachings to become superhuman is to follow your own path. This is one of the toughest things to do and I’ll tell you why; people want to follow someone else because they see how they do things and want to follow along but never go beyond that. I realize some people like to do that P90X or Insanity type programs and I’ll admit it’s better than nothing and if it works for them awesome but they’re missing the big picture. You’re watching the DVDs and you follow along as best as possible and if results come great, however, DVDs tend to wear out or get scratched, stolen, ripped and whatever could happen how will you do your workout? You going to pay another couple hundred bucks to get them new? Think about it.  I have my own opinions about them but let me tell you something, just watching and following along is really only good for techniques and tempos.

            To have life-long results is to follow your own way of doing things, not what someone tells you what you shouldn't or should do. If you learn to do things right for you and your body, you can do them however you want. Self-Reliance is a major key and we all have different needs and our bodies don’t always react to the same ordinary or even extraordinary programs. Be sufficient to who you are and become Superhuman in ways that’s geared towards you. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Why Old School Is Superior

             Back in the old days of the early 20th century, you had workers in mining towns, quarries and other places where things needed to be dug up, barreled out and transport heavy equipment or rock/stone that weighed more than you can imagine. These men were extremely strong from this back-breaking work and can topple just about any modern strength athlete today. You want to talk about hard times, try being underground for 10-12 hours a day, cutting, toppling and carrying out rock, stone and coal for a living. It’s a point to learn what real strength is like.

            In my opinion Blacksmiths are some of the most underrated artists in their profession. There are paintings in Paris that are as beautiful as a smoking hot woman but when you assemble a weapon or a crafting tool by your very own hands, the labor, the grip strength, the mind and precision is just off the charts. Blacksmiths are very rare today because you have machines that cut down the object making to a 1/3 of the time. These guys were very good at what they did and the strength of their hands was second to none. I wouldn't doubt some of those guys would be able to bend tough steel or crush your hand by shaking it or squeezing it. There’s a lot we can learn from them.

            If there was the type of athlete we should strive to learn from is that of the ancient athletes of the remote past especially the original Olympic athletes of Greece and Rome long before the modern games came into play. You had guys that can most likely destroy athletes of today. In India, wrestlers were the best soldiers the old empire had because of the discipline, the conditioning and the level of strength that came when they were called upon for war. Milo of Croton would lift and carry a calf everyday, as the calf got older and bigger, Milo would still pick it up and carry him on his shoulders, when the calf matured into a full-size bull, Milo was still at it carrying this massive animal. This was one of the first documented ways to progress to a heavier weight. In the middle ages, you had to be tough as a knight because of the armor you wore was pretty damn heavy and still had to have precise accuracy and strength to fight in battle.

            How can we learn and use to create certain methods for old school strength and fitness? For starters, want to get an idea of what it’s like to work in a rock Quarry, get a tire and a sledgehammer and hit that tire for as long as you can. To simulate moving and carry something heavy, lift odd objects and/or sandbags and carry them a certain distance. Learn the ancient traditions of Indian Wrestling by swinging the Clubs and the Mace, when you’re doing them right you’re carrying on a legacy that has lasted for centuries. Don’t have equipment, learn how to handle your body in awkward positions by moving like an animal in the wild, or learn how to use natural movements that the very first men had to learn; sprinting, jumping, crawling, lifting/carrying kind of like moving like Tarzan. Push-ups and Squats are great foundational movements if you’re in a closed-in space or learn how to handle your body similar to a gymnast or wrestler. These modern fads in fitness today really cannot compare to those who actually had to bust their ass back in the day, training can be fun as I've always emphasized but to really get to what you want, it’s training hard and smart that gets you the best results. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Combo Workouts To Make Things Interesting

             Its fun when you combine things together and make them unique but not many people think they’re that creative and just follow others’ movements and just don’t learn how to use their brain. Not saying training isn't a bad thing, whatever works is cool but when you bring certain things together because it’s what you’d want to do, it’s a whole different ball game.

            When you create certain workouts, sometimes you need a place to do them. A park with benches, swings, bars and walkways make up for a very unique training experience. Another example would be your backyard or garage if you have room, building and setting up your own style of training. Say you want Kettlebells in one corner, Maces/Clubs in another area & a pull-up bar or rack in the back and you've got it made, maybe you’d like to have some Odd Objects laying around and picking them up at random moments in the workout who knows. For you Bodyweight Practitioners, you can do things just about anywhere and have just as much fun without ever spending a freaking dime. Here’s an example if you’re up to the task….

Do a kettlebell snatch for a minute or two

5-10 reps of Bridging Gymnastics

Lunge to the furthest odd object you have and lift it

100 Squats

50 Push-ups

50 Tire Swings with a Thor and/or Sledgehammer

Do a couple rounds and finish off with some stretching

Now that workout might seem a bit advanced but it’s very random and it’s unique. Pick exercises and combine them into what works for you or try something different and see how it turns out while understanding how your body reacts.

            The best thing you can do for yourself is go outside the norm. Make things work for you that others can’t fathom of doing, not to prove anything towards them but to prove to yourself that you can step outside the box and have fun with what you have. Be resourceful, learn to see things differently. If anyone knows how to make oddball exercises work its Steve Justa, he just finds things and works with them in unique ways like lifting up a tire off a 2000 pound truck or holding an isometric for an hour straight hell he’ll even circle around a 500 pound stone or barrel just for kicks. The more you learn to do things outside the box, you begin to understand the limitless potential to become super strong and crazy fit.

            One of the things I learned in my years of Physical Culture is to “learn to be your number one self instead of being a second rate somebody.” You are one person, one mind, one body and everybody else is taken. It’s great to have idols and learn how they do things but in the end it’s up to you to become just yourself and not try to be someone else otherwise you’re missing out who you truly are as an individual and as a human being. Own it and be quirky because most other things are just sound tedious and boring.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Discovering What You Love


             Fitness is about discovery, finding what drives you to be in shape and live a better life physically, emotionally and spiritually. Some find it and learn to keep it going with changes, new ways to challenge and again learn, others take years and don’t get anywhere because they don’t know what really works and drag themselves along and then there are those that just hate it and let’s leave it at that.

            Being in shape is great don’t get me wrong, you look awesome and can do cool things but it’s important to explore new possibilities. What can you do to challenge yourself and create different goals and setting them? There are people who get in shape just to look like a hot shot and impress others, more power to them for that but that can only go so far, if you look awesome but you’re an asshole what good are you? Find ways to not only stay in shape but have the strength and endurance to back it up. Explore what is out there, moving in different directions, being out of the gym and having to find a way to train. In the gym it’s automatic; there’s weights, machines, mats, cardio stuff all there for you but it’s a closed in space. Now go outside and find how to adapt and move freely with the environment around you, very different huh?

            One of the things I believe in is using your instincts, valuing intuition and sensing how you do things, feel and understand. It’s like the Force in Star Wars; you sense things around you, how you think and using your intuitive powers to find different meanings. If you trust your instincts and follow your energy and understanding it you’ll discover things you never thought before but there’s a dark side to it (just like Star Wars) you have to pay attention or your instincts can betray you. Learn and pay attention to how your body and mind respond to certain things, just because you think them doesn't always make them true. Follow how you respond to things, the more positive they are, the more likely you’ll love doing it but also pay attention to the negative things, if you are in pain or just don’t feel that something’s right, then you need to adjust and find something different.

            Have fun with what you do, keep it interesting and learn to get better at it. Learn to flow with things and do what you can to resist pushing too hard too fast (I've done it and I've paid for it). Have patience and make it a habit to be strong and believe that things will go the way they’re suppose to. The universe works in odd ways but there’s always a way to make it work for you. Learn the attitude, trust in yourself and be joyful to make things in your life happen. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Real Reasons To Be Super Strong

           So you lifted a heavy weight and/or bent some steel & can do pretty gnarly bodyweight exercises, big freaking deal. Sure it’s cool to do those things but what do they really mean? Becoming strong isn't always about how much you can handle, it’s about building the strength that you can use in certain situations when troubled or being needed is called for. Have you ever been in a situation where you might need to save someone’s life or help your friends & family when they move? I’m sure the latter is more common for you but the first one is a real eye opener. Let me give you a prime example of this….

I went to a concert once with a girlfriend back in the day, it was fun even though everyone around us was having a bit too much weed and the room was hot as hell. All of a sudden out of nowhere she just passes out right in the middle of the crowd and I panicked like any guy would but I had to do something, with little to no help I picked her up off the floor and this is dead weight I mind you. She was fine after catching her breath and I helped her out the concert doors so she can call her mom somewhere.

            It’s those things where being a strong person is most crucial. Am I saying this to scare any of you or give you a big wake up call? In some ways yes, sure I can be all fun, have a kick ass time but I can also tell you how scary life can be when someone’s is at risk and you have to be prepared for the unexpected.

            Be prepared to have unexpected times being called upon you and one of the best ways is build a foundation that will have you stay functionally strong and aware of certain things. Helping someone move or working your body in different environments such as construction, carpentry, mining, being a blacksmith, military, law enforcement or whatever is important to keep a good strong body intact.

            One thing I've learned for nearly a decade is one of the things you hear like in Captain America from Dr. Erskine “A strongman, who has known power all his life, may lose respect for that power, but a weak man, knows the value of strength and that’s compassion.” There are a lot of strong guys out there but very few know their strength’s true value but there are also the average Joes who have a power that can express extraordinary abilities when you or they least expect them. Don’t go looking to save someone just for the spotlight that just makes you an asshole in the end; learn to use your strength when you need it the most, that’s one of things training is all about.

            The next time you train, sure have fun with it, use your imagination and have a kick ass time but at the same time, in your mind you’re doing these crazy things for a good cause because you never know when the time comes to use what you have built. In your life you may never have to use your strength but you never know don’t you? Train hard, help each other and be safe.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

When Is It Time To Change Things Up?

          People in fitness like to hang onto a routine, having a routine in the first place feels comfortable. Having one is used mainly as a goal, if you’re a beginner or more advanced and it’s in your comfort zone and you’re use to it. The trap however is if you keep doing the same things over and over again eventually your progress begins to die out, results aren't coming in, you’re frustrated but also those who have a routine and stuck with it for a long period of time also eventually begin to only know that routine and don’t know how to change it.

            I know what it’s like being burnt out, your body begins to take a toll on you and it’s time to make a change because your mind needs to be fresh, your body needs to re-energize and your exercise routine needs to bring out a bigger and exciting challenge. I was on a routine for about over a month doing mostly push-ups,squats and bridging using a deck of cards. What I've noticed lately is due to the excess work over 3-4 times a week is that I've gotten stronger and have more endurance but my shoulders and knees are breaking down on me and need to stop. Most likely I’ll change it to 1-2 times a week because with the cards you’re looking at a minimum of 388 squats and 238 push-ups (I make it 400/250 to make certain goals) and the bridging is hard enough as it is.

            When your body begins to hurt more than it should from a routine, change your pace, use less volume or learn to exercise the joints, tendons and ligaments so you don’t get an injury. Find something fresh and fun to do because if you overload the body without using multi-directional exercises you can get hurt and you will be in pain. Also being burnt out means your mind isn't there anymore and if you keep it up, your mind just goes dead and you’re going through exercises like a zombie, it’s not fun and you’re getting the results you want and it’s bad for your health.

            There are people (I happen to be one of them) who has a bit of ADD which means they can’t always pay attention to what they’re doing and they change things up frequently. This has been a bit of a habit for me because quite frankly I hate routines; aside from doing the deck of cards and some of the bridging for the last month and a half I’m constantly doing different exercises. This could also mean people like to go by feel, what they’re in the mood for. Some days they’ll do odd object lifting, other days gymnastics and even every once in a blue moon they’ll just hammer out whatever energy they have and try to go as far as they can go. Be careful how you do things but at the same time have fun and learn to use your imagination.

            Here’s another reason to change things up; boredom. I've been there and seen plenty of guys in the gym do this and that’s being bored as hell with what you’re doing. If you’re not having fun and your routine is dull and what I like to use from the movie Your Highness is what Prince Thaddeus refers to as “It sounds tedious and boring” then you need some serious changes my friend (watch the movie and try to say it like he does, you’ll perk right up). You should never be bored with what you do. Want to know what boring is, look in the magazines and the routines they have, most of that shit is boring to do and who the hell can finish them in the amount of time it needs? Find a way to train that gives you freedom and challenging. Find what gives you a reason to train, make it interesting and use the power of being happy with what you do. An exercise program is supposed to make you feel good, not terrible and hurt; it gives you energy and happiness not dark and un-eventful. 

            The ultimate reason to change things up is to create a new challenge. If you can do a deck of cards doing push-ups and squats in full within a period of time after a while, it gets easy, how do you make it harder? Double the push-ups and/or squats and see how far you get. That’s an example, how about doing animal movements? Eventually you’ll get the exercise down and you need a change of pace, to make it more challenging, move slower to the point where you hold a position isometrically and then take a slow step.

            Everything needs a challenge so we can learn to grow mindfully and get stronger physically because when you challenge yourself, you learn new things, how to make the exercise a bit more difficult or the tempo and timing of the workout. Maybe you’ll do a challenge once a week/month/year whatever but do it and find new ways to make it interesting and learn how to handle yourself in certain situations. Growth is a natural part of life so what makes exercise any differently? Get to it and change things up, you may find certain things more fun to do than others.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Having Fun With Your Brothers/Sisters In Physical Culture


           When you’re apart of a group that has great admiration for fitness and willing to help you in any way possible, they become more like a family sort of speaks. It’s that camaraderie that just has that special bond that you don’t get from other people in your life. It’s when some of us get together and you never know what’s going to happen. One of my best friends in this type of world is Logan Christopher and he’s one of the first guys that helped me shape up what I’ am today. Whenever I hang out with him, he always ends up putting me in some weird workout situation, one time he pretty much threw me into a kettlebell contest, he even got me on the rock climbing walls after kicking my ass in warm ups, even pushed me to get better at bridging. It’s all about making someone better and the right people will talk to you.

            Helping each other out is one of the coolest things in the world. Sometimes we struggle to make a goal or at times you doubt yourself, that’s when they give you that big slap in the face (figuratively and literally at times) to wake your ass up and make things happen. I had one of those experiences when I spent time with Bud Jeffries when he came around my town in Idaho. He helped me out by putting things in another perspective and from his knowledge and wisdom I learned a lot from him in a very short period of time. When you have someone or some people like that, it’s very rare to find and it be wise to be around those types of people. Even when they might try to hook you up with a couple girls at Wal-Mart (thanks Bud).

            There are people in your life that want to bring you down but they do what they can to hide about it and some are right in your face. When those people don’t believe in you, there will be people that will and they’ll go out of their way at times to tell you so and show you why they do. Being around positive people that share similar goals and want to help you in any way they can, those are the people you want in your life. There are plenty of men and women I've met and even more that I've chatted with more than being in person with but the principles are still the same. I love helping others because I had the opportunity to be helped out by those same people and want to pass that on. Doesn't matter what color your skin is, your background, religion, creed, passion you’re another human being like me who’s doing their best to make it in this world.

            In the world of Physical Culture, just like everybody else sometimes there’s a bit of chaos but in a good way, when you have a group of guys who train their asses off and then get together at a restaurant, its bound to get loud at times, telling stories, cracking jokes and even learn a few tips. Other times when you hang out with each other, they’ll push you like no one else will and at times there’s no remorse. You hear stories go around that are just plain strange and others are just funny as hell (Bud told me a story about Dennis Rogers that just made crack up). Even with all that shit going on, you’ll know when they have your back and give you that love and respect for one another even when one of them is a bit nuts but then again we’re all nuts in our special way.

            You are never alone and you’ll learn sooner or later who your brothers/sisters are in this wacky world because there comes a time when everything is in its place and you share things with other people that even your own family will never understand. It goes back to that bond you don’t see much in this day and age. Find them, learn from them and help each other out because eventually, success will be well in reach and you’ll soon find out how you got there.