I’ve been lucky enough in my time training and coaching to have been around some spectacularly talented athletes and martial artists. Some were professional fighters but not all by any means. One quality that I found in each of these people was the right attitude toward training. They were willing to work hard at learning (aka take their lumps) but also really loved and enjoyed the process. If you don’t love and enjoy the process, you will be miserable. And your misery won’t just be yours. Misery has a way of touching everyone around you. And chances are they neither like it nor deserve it.
There’s a saying that I’ll dilute a bit to maintain my PG rating: “If you hang around 9 jerks, you’re bound to be the 10th.” Basically, everyone we surround ourselves with will affect us. If you hang around bad people with bad attitudes you’re gonna make bad choices and be a pain to be around. If you hang around good people with good attitudes…you get the point.
This is exactly one of the things I love about the students and staff at Source 1 – they are all incredibly positive. I don’t know if this I had anything to do with this but either way it is a welcome quality in people I interact with on a daily basis and I assure you that I don’t take it for granted. I do my best to set a positive, hard working example, but in the end everyone makes the choice to follow that lead or not. And I am grateful that the Source 1 students and staff do.
I recommend you regularly take a moment of introspection and evaluate your attitude. Is it good? Could it be better? In the end we will all fail and succeed any number of times at any number of undertakings, often as the result of circumstances beyond our control. But the attitude we have during these times is COMPLETELY under our control. Take control of your attitude. Make it a positive one. Find the silver lining. And watch the amazing ripple effect it has, not just on you and your life, but everyone around you.
Stay strong, my friends.
Aristotle (384 – 322 BC) said, “Teaching is the highest form of understanding.” The act of teaching requires us to gain a depth of understanding prior to teaching and also implies that we must maintain our thirst for knowledge even after we have begun teaching.
John Wooden (1910 – 2010) has too many amazing quotes to list but one of my favorites is, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” Aside from being a pithy, backhanded compliment, the point is clear: don’t stop learning. If we lose that we lose the drive that made us an inspired teacher in the first place.
I find it quite interesting that a guy who died 2,300 years ago and a guy who died 9 years ago had a similar outlook. What can you call this kind of timeless connection that transcends millennia, language and culture? Given the consistency of human nature, I would call it “wisdom.” What made sense in Aristotle’s time also makes sense now.
If we understand this we know that while we need to constantly learn and explore and investigate, we don’t necessarily need to reinvent the wheel all the time. There will still be plenty that needs figuring out but there’s no need to do a trial and error approach with every aspect to what we want to accomplish. Follow the example set by those who have done what you want to in years prior and mimic them.
Our job is likely not to create a new way but rather to continually polish that which has been established. Let’s make the future better!
Stay strong, my friends.
Having recently completed the StrongFirst Lifter (SFL) certification and achieved “StrongFirst Elite” status I have set my sights on a new goal: Beast Tamer. I would say that it’s a goal for 2019 but it might take me til 2020 to actually achieve it! For those unfamiliar, the Beast Tamer Challenge is one…beast…of a task. It consists of 3 events, strict military press (no push press or jerk), strict pull up (no kip) and pistol (one-legged squat) with the 48k (106#) kettlebell.
Beast Tamers and StrongFirst’s resident Iron Maiden in action!
Everyone has their strength, so to speak. By that I mean people will excel at one or maybe two of these events but rarely does someone waltz through all three. For me the press is the most comfortable. At a body weight of 180 (right now…) I can comfortably press the 36k for reps on both sides and the 40k for a single with no prep. That’s not to say that adding 8k to my press won’t be a challenge, but at least it’s within sight. The pull up is a bit further off. I could probably grunt out one ugly rep with the 32k if my wife’s life depended on it, but that is not very close to the 48. The pistol, however, is literally miles away. Maybe light years…
Basically I have a lot of work to do. But it’s incredibly exciting to have a specific goal and one that can be attained with good programming and diligent practice.
What’s your current goal?
I admit to being a dinosaur. I was born in 1968, have never cared about pop culture or the “cool” thing to do, and drove used diesel cars that ran on vegetable oil for over a decade. Let me tell you, nothing screams “hip” as much as a used diesel car that smells like tempura shrimp when it drives by. If that isn’t proof enough, I shoot and hunt with a longbow. If you’re still not convinced, I smoke a pipe. If you’re STILL not convinced, well that’s all I’ve got. Anyway, this intro has been a long winded way of saying that while I’m out of touch with what’s “in” and popular, I am an observant person and I coach for a living so I have to be tuned in to people – at least to a certain degree!
In any event, something has been mildly percolating in my dome for a while that I recently put my finger on. I hope it’s as interesting a question to you as it is to me: When did it become OK for men to grow massive beards while accomplishing their daily tasks with hands as soft as those of an infant?
I actually think there is a cognitive dissonance of sorts to this beard vs. callus situation. I liken it to a certain generation simultaneously producing MMA fighters and “snowflakes.” The former can withstand massive amounts of punishment while the latter melt at the slightest discomfort. Likewise, there was a time when sporting some Paul Bunyan style growth required the swinging of axes and the felling of trees. And although clean shaven Popeye always downed his spinach in time to settle his bully nemesis Brutus’s hash, at least Brutus was scrappy enough to make having the beard make sense!
Paul Bunyan swinging axes and felling trees
Popeye cleaning Brutus’s clock.
Soft baby hands…
**Now seems like the appropriate time for a quick, but necessary, disclaimer! To my friends, family and students who sport some Paul Bunyan facial growth. None of you have the hands of an infant so it’s all good!
My point in all of this is I have no problem with guys growing massive beards. But please don’t have that be where the growth stops. Get some calluses by spending time in training of some kind. I don’t care if you rock climb, swing kettlebells, powerlift, train Jiu Jitsu or Muay Thai, but DO SOMETHING! While the signs of wear and tear from these undertakings are obviously seen on the outside, there is far more growth on the inside.
Avoid too much focus on how things look. The surface is just that. Go deeper.
Stay strong, my friends.
There is a fascination with going heavy in the weight room. It seems logical. If I lift heavy weight I will get stronger in less time than if I lift lighter weight, right? Wrong. While you will likely make some initial progress lifting heavy and often, you will eventually burn out or hurt yourself, either one requiring the necessary layoff you could avoid by just going lighter. In short, going too heavy too often is counter productive.
The bulk of your monthly volume should actually take place around 80% of your 1RM. This sounds way too light to get strong but I promise you that is not the case. This doesn’t mean you don’t at times go heavier, nor does it mean you don’t go lighter. But that is the sweet spot where the majority of your monthly work should be done. Assuming you want to get a LOT stronger and remain uninjured, that is.
I’ve been at this game for a while yet sometimes even I get surprised by the fast and measurable progress I make when I follow a program at the appropriate intensity – aka not too heavy. For example, finishing up my SFL (StrongFirst Lifter) requirements this week I was able to easily add 15 pounds to my bench within 6 weeks of consistent training on a PlanStrong style model!
For more on this, I “strongly” recommend you attend the PlanStrong event offered by StrongFirst. There is one coming up in San Diego in March. The foundation of this approach is based on simple concepts that you can apply IMMEDIATELY for you and your students, assuming you’re a coach. If not, SEND YOUR COACH TO THIS COURSE!
Stay strong, my friends.