Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Thoughts About A Few Things

was talking to my dog, Storm, the other day. My wife had just teased her about not picking up a goose during hunting season last year. She picked one up during drills, but just couldn't seem to get it together during the hunt. She dragged it, dropped it, ran back towards me. Sometimes it just takes some time for them to "get it". I sat with her and told her that she was my little girl and that I didn't care if she ever picked up a goose, that its all okay with me. She does love to retrieve, and will pick up a duck but the goose thing has eluded her so far.


Stormy Girl

And that got me thinking just how different dog's personalities can be, and just how different Storm's personality was than my former dog, Bas. Storm likes affection, loves to be petted and talked to and babied. Bas didn't care about affection, and if you tried to pet him in the duck or goose blind, he would shake his head to get your hand off of him. He was focused and that was that. He seemed to be saying, Leave me alone, I am hunting here. And then he would whine if I missed and sigh if the birds weren't flying. And he tackled geese full speed and moaned while it was in his mouth, he loved it so much.

Storm looks a situation over, she's a thinker. She isn't as crazy brave as Bas was and that is just her personality. So I get with my buddy Steve and we figure out ways to train her that fit her personality.

Because, Steve and I have a saying that goes, "It is never the dog's fault."

Meaning, if the dog isn't getting it, figure out a way that she does get it. It is up to you as her coach.

Its the same with coaching people. If you are too dogmatic with your approach and think that it is your way or nothin', you may need to reconsider your methods. It took a long time for me to get to the point where I didn't insist that everyone HAS to squat. Back squat that is. Nothing wrong with squat variations , especially for those that aren't built to barbell squat. Safety squats, front squats, belt squats, machine squats are all alternatives. Do I think that they are better than the back squat? Not really, but I'd rather have someone performing squat variations than not squatting at all.

And the bench press also. With the techniques taught these days to offensive and defensive lineman, where their arms are extended away from the body (posting, reaching, slapping the shoulder), their shoulders are all jacked up and the regular bench press bothers some of the lineman's shoulder's. So they are prescribed variations also- Dumbbell bench, dumbbell incline, machine bench, weighted pushups (elbows in), reverse grip bench, etc. If its pain free, then it is worth it. Pretty much common sense.

It is the same with diet. If you have someone who fails miserably on low carb and has a tendency to blow it and binge when it gets tough, use carb cycling. Adherence to the diet is much better than the failure over and over again.

But back to geese

Fall is here and the geese have begun arriving from the North lands. My son , James came running into the house the other night. He was yelling, " Dad, the geese are here and they are flying high!" and I didn't believe him. Until I went to his baseball practice that night and bunches of geese were flying overhead, plus my goose hunting buddy in Maryland, Steve texted me , "The geese have arrived!" I have been hunting for a long time and the geese arriving always brings a smile to my face and a warm feeling in my bones. It brings back memories of my first goose, of my son's first goose, of setting out decoys and being giddy with anticipation of the morning's hunt.

 And you never know what the day will bring, but if they fly, its wonderful, and if they don't, that is okay too. Just  being there is enough. The hunt means more than killing, much more. It is looking at your son scanning the skies, it is laughing and telling stories with your friends, it is opening your Thermos after a few hours after the hunt has began and finding your black coffee still warm, it's your dog nuzzling against your leg, it's the warmth of the homemade whiskey after the hunt by the fire and the stories of the days hunt, whether good or bad. It is nearly always good. I have always thought that it is the anticipation that is most fun, and I realized that a long time ago. However, all of that being said, it is pretty darn special when the geese are fooled by the calling and the decoys, and your heart is beating out of your chest, and it is so cool  right at the moment before they get close enough to shoot and you have your head down, careful not to move and fighting the urge to take just a little peek at where those damn geese are, are they close? and then you are waiting for the shot to get called,  and you hear the command of "Take 'em!", and then the thrill of the harvest.  

"I got one!"



Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Woods and The Creek

I grew up in the Maryland suburbs, outside of Washington DC. I always wanted to claim Baltimore as the closest city, it had much more grit than DC, but DC was closer so what the hell. Fortunately, although it was the suburbs, and not far from traffic and crime and congestion, I had a veritable oasis in my backyard. I guess that there were more than 100 acres of woods back there.

The woods were a place that taught me many things, I believe that I discovered a lot about myself back amongst the trees and animals. And those woods lit a spark in me and it began my love of the outdoors.

I did all my running workouts in the woods, getting ready for football season, from the time that I was in 11th grade , all through 4 years of college. The reason why I started running back in those woods was because up until the summer of 11th grade, I mostly just lifted weights. I didn't really get the whole running thing. We would get tested in the mile run and I would just gut it out and I did fine. One day my Dad overheard a phone call with between myself and my buddy Carlo and Carlo was going running. I decided not to run with him, and my Dad asked, "How come you aren't running and your teammates are?" I said, "Ah, I don't need to run."

 He looked at me and said, "Jimmy, you don't have a dedicated bone in your body."

And that's all it took, his words meant so much, he snapped me right back into reality. That day, I started my running program in the woods and never missed a day. I just gravitated to the woods, I always have done that, and I couldn't see myself running around a track or even on a football field. I felt as though the woods were calling me.

Dirt bikes had made trails through the woods and they were pretty much free of debris on them. There were different trails back there, and all of them had hills on them. It was just what I needed, those trails were "man makers" and the hills were always a challenge, to try to regain your breath before you went up another one. I  believe that the reason that I was in the best shape of my life had a lot to do with the hills in the woods. Sometimes I would do a run twice a day, I had so much fun doing it. My workouts would last from 5-30 minutes.

There was definitely something primal about being in the woods, running, gasping for air, being alone, where the only other creatures around were squirrels and deer and other animals. And no humans whatsoever. I fell in love with it. Summers were the best, the Maryland humidity would be going strong, the weatherman would warn everyone to stay inside, but I would go out. I have always loved the severe heat and humidity, I have always felt comfortable in that weather. And the main thing was that when I went to North Carolina for college football, no day was as hot and humid as it was on a July day in Maryland. 

I did like running by myself, especially in the woods. You talk about solace. I didn't have a walkman either, just the sounds of the cicadas in the heat and my footsteps and my breathing.  I played mental tricks on myself, getting ready for those workouts. I'd say, today you are gonna go for an easy run, just look around, enjoy the scenery. Then I'd get going and invariably end up pushing that lactate threshold and dry heaving as I ran back to the house. 

I had a ritualistic way of getting ready for my runs. My Dad had bought me some "irregular" adidas running shoes (never new shoes, only slightly messed up shoes from the Foot Locker outlet in Langley Park). Bright neon green, totally flat and I loved those shoes. I only wore them to run and when I would put them on and lace them up, my mind would shift into running mode. I would have the garden hose ready for the end of the run, when I was finished,  and I'd sit in a lawn chair and hose myself down. The cold water felt amazing. Or if my dad was watering the flowers, he would squirt me with the hose, and then I'd take gulps of that cool, fresh water.

A bonus attraction running through those woods was a creek.  "The Creek" was what we called it.  Like, where are you going? Oh, I will be down at The Creek."

It was a winding, sometimes fast, sometimes slow, body of water that provided tremendous entertainment for a young boy.  I guess at its widest that it was around 20 yards wide. It was one of the only natural trout streams in Maryland, and I fished it often. Along with trout, there were blue gill, suckers and even an occasional bass.  I'd come home from lifting weights in high school and head down there for some peace and quiet. I'd use small hooks and dough balls and I don't believe that I ever left empty handed from my fishing forays. There were a few swimming holes in the creek, one was around 5 feet deep and a small waterfall led into it. I swam there plenty, and we caught eel and snapping turtles (big ones) in that hole also. I reckon that I never considered a snapping turtle biting one of my toes off. That wouldn't have been so great. When I really just wanted to be alone, I would just go down there to explore. Tracks from raccoon and deer would be all over the sand, and ducks would be in there swimming. Pileated Woodpeckers were there too, in those woods. And hawks and owls could also be seen and heard. You see, I loved it, but I didn't know how special it was. I was lucky. The creek used to have an old powder mill on it, and the road just off of the creek was called Powder Mill Road. Rumors that Teddy Roosevelt and or maybe Herbert Hoover hunted back there I heard for many years, including the fact that one of them had a cabin somewhere near the creek. 

I remember one time when I was a kid, the Fish and Wildlife people were wading in the creek and they had these poles that shocked the fish and they were doing some fish count. They told us that yes, there were tons of trout and that the population was healthy , too.

And the woods are still there and the creek is still there and when I visit my parents, I recall so fondly the days spent in those woods. 

Sometimes, I take my dog down there and let her swim and it still feels the same, wild and free. and I can still feel those woods and the creek deep in my soul wherever I am. 




Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Simple Way


I love the fact that legendary Strength Coach Bill Starr only had an old tv, no cable and an old VCR that played Willie Nelson in concert. His landline phone (no cell phone, of course) was a fax for his articles and then he'd call you out of the blue and invite you for soft shell crabs or to go for a walk. Old beat up car, t-shirts from where he had coached. Friendly smile, notebooks filled with notes and articles. Old centerfolds from the 1970's on his bathroom wall. He painted, wrote, lifted.

My dad is 84 and doesn't have a computer. No email. No personal cell phone. Gets the paper at the top of driveway every morning. He does watch sports on television and he was a big Seinfeld fan. And what does he have that most of us don't have? Peace of mind. He isn't not worried about social media. He (I think ) has heard of Facebook, but he definitely doesn't know what it is all about, and I swear to you, he doesn't care if he ever does, or if it exists.  And when he talks to you, he doesn't look down at his cell phone, he's looking at you, interested in what you have to say.  That drives me nuts, the looking down at the cell phone thing. Really? You can't wait two minutes before you check who "liked" your picture on social media? I catch myself doing it too.  Makes me pissed off at myself and makes me feel weaker when I do it.

Seriously, if you are in your 40's or older, you have to think that all of this is strange, like some Jetson's era stuff. And you , if you were born in those times, yearn for the simpler days. And we thought back then that life was moving fast. It wasn't. But then in literally the last 10-15 years, this stuff has taken off to where folks heads are spinning if they remember the days of no internet and three channels of TV and the gas shortage and swimming in creeks and rivers. How about that? Is that important? Swimming in a creek? I say it is. I go out of my way to find a body of water that my son can swim in, and let me tell ya, there are not too many of them around, not a whole bunch left where I am. You jump into a wild river or creek and you feel alive, not like in a swimming pool, or maybe not even an ocean.  A river, flowing , is damn special. Primal and murky and simply fun.  Wild. If you find a clean river to swim in these days, you can bet that it is in a wild area, no cities have a river to swim in. So you will be out in the middle of nowhere and that's the place to be anyway, yessir. So then instead of being glued to some stuff that is sucking the life out of your brain, go find a river to swim in. DUDE! Thats worth more than 5000 likes on an Instagram post! The feeling of freedom, man. Like just parking the phone and the buzzing of it all. It buzzes, this stuff...buzzes you to look at the screen, to check the email, to check the text at at the red light, its buzzing in all of our brains, constantly and over and over.


I am so glad that in the 1970's and 1980's, that we didn't have all the crap that we have today.  How did we do it? How did we survive without cell phones and video games, cable television? I guessed that we...played. And I remember being bored sometimes. Like when I used to have to do things that I didn't want to do. Like go visiting friends of my Mom and Dad's at Christmas. Please. Anyway, I'd just get in the car and I would go. And be nice and be bored out of my mind, but I didn't say a word. I was just like, ok, this is part of life. Stare at the wall. No iPad or iPhone or any damn thing. Fold your hands in your lap and smile . And then whatever is put in front of you when you got home to eat, you ate it, because what was at the table was all there was to eat, no substitutions. Or chicken fingers. What you saw was what you got. And the play. Unsupervised for hours, dawn til dusk! Can you believe it? I shot BB guns, jumped ramps, swam in the creek, crossed dangerous roads, hitchhiked, walked all over! 

Damn, those were the days. Seriously, good days. Why can't it be like that now?




Thursday, September 7, 2017

Levels


Isn't it funny how there are different levels of men? Like rankings of men, if you will. 

Some of this is tongue in cheek, so relax. 

There are the badasses. These are men who do not sweat the little things. They are usually (in my experience) former college athletes or military or cops or EMT or firefighters or have been through some serious stuff in their lives, stuff that made them realize what is really a big deal and what isn't. These are men who fight for what they believe in. These are men who are strong, and in great shape.  These are men who are laid back when they aren't in action. Men who follow no trends. They are kind to little kids and older folks. And loyal to a fault.  They are men who constantly say, "No problem" and just get things done. They are alpha males in the sense that when stuff goes bad, folks look to them first. They hunt, fish, shoot, eat meat, drink whiskey. And they are smart. They don't accept mediocrity in anything. They give you their all, all of the time. They listen to music with instruments in it. They don't dance. Well,  maybe a slow dance in 11th grade at the Sadie Hawkins Dance, maybe. Usually bearded, usually can fight their asses off and usually listen to Metal and Country. And drive trucks. They love knives. And bars with plywood floors.



Then there are those men who panic at the drop of a hat, who constantly think that the sky is falling, the Chicken Little's of the world. Oh man, everything is drama and whining and softness and they sorta lift weights and they act like a squat workout is so traumatic. But their numbers are stagnant and citizen-like.  Meanwhile, their own mediocrity is going strong. They are so self involved and self important that they don't realize that life moves on with or without them and nobody really cares. I have known coaches like that: They think that they know it all, but behind their back, everyone is laughing at them. They use big words but those words don't mean anything. They dazzle with bullcrap to those that don't know any better.  I hear the stuff all of the time.  I'm like, HE DIDNT SAY ANYTHING! He just moved his hands around a lot, said some corny expressions  and tried to look wise. They ask questions to hear an answer that they want to hear and when they don't get it, they dismiss the answer as wrong. They criticize what they don't understand. That's easier right?

Of course, they are not self aware enough to realize it. They are usually attention whores. Some hide behind religion as a crutch to excuse their bad behavior or their weakness. They bend religion to fit their needs. It don't work like that, but they don't get it. Jesus wasn't a coward. They are more judgmental than loyal. It's their way or nothing. And their way is usually cheesy, dramatic and self serving.



Monday, August 14, 2017

Stuff

I have a column all ready to go that I wrote about women and lifting weights and why there are stereotypes about women getting bigger and more muscular by lifting weights and society's idea of what a woman should look like, all soft and dainty.  And why some women and some men say, "OH GROSSS!" when they see a muscular or even halfway muscular woman and how shallow that is for them to not consider the work that went in to building that body and that maybe, just maybe, that is how women are supposed to look, and maybe that's the look that they should strive for in their exercise regimen. And doesn't someone who is athletic as hell and looks like she could defend herself to the end look great?




But then I thought, why even go down that road? It doesn't help anything getting all excited about it, people are gonna do what they are gonna do and think like they wanna think.

 But then I thought, where did all that come from, the idea that any type of softness is good? Evolutionarily speaking, how did being soft and weak help versus being strong and muscular? I bet the weak couldn't cut it and the tribe left them behind when they couldn't keep up and some saber-toothed something or other had a nice, tender snack. That is just common sense, bygod. But whatever. Get your matching outfit on and do your ten pound curls. I'd rather watch the Crossfit Games and see those girls getting after it like they are meant to .

Zach-Even Esh and I did a podcast the other day, and we were talking about how there were very few overweight kids back when we were in elementary and junior high schools. There was maybe a few kids in the whole school who needed to drop a few pounds. It was unusual. I spoke to a group of high school kids the other day, and by my estimation, over half of them were carrying too much adipose tissue.

And then I was watching a movie about Evel Knievel and they were showing the crowd at the Snake River Canyon and there were plenty of wiry, almost skinny folks but I don't recall seeing anyone with any weight issues. Why is that? Video games!

Just kidding. I have spoken with plenty of smart people that I respect tremendously about the reasons behind the overweight epidemic and there seems to be a general consensus of cheap, crappy food, the prevalence of advertising that gluts our airwaves espousing the positive aspects of high sugar food, the lack of playing outside by youth today, lack of education among parents.

If you are 40 or older, you most likely remember the carefree days of your youth where you played all day and then came inside to eat wholesome, home made food. Meatloaf, green beans, fresh fruit, burgers, salads, etc.  Yes, some ice cream once in awhile, but nobody in my neighborhood went out to eat except on special occasions. McDonald's was reserved for special occasions, like when my Adelphi Boys Club 75 lb football team beat Bladensburg at Fletcher's Field in the mud. But It was just a hamburger, small fries and maybe a small Coke.

Then the supersize came and then supersize folk.

I have no answers for it all, no solutions except education and awareness of the issues.

Speaking of nutrition, Joe Rogan's podcast with keto researcher Dom Dagostino was one of the best that I have heard in a long time. amazingly informative. You won't wanna eat carbs after listening to that one, and I'm gonna stop after a slice of my son's birthday cake. Maybe.

Now, Check this out- 42 reps!


Friday, July 21, 2017

First Time

I'm thinking of days gone by, I'm thinking of when I just started lifting weights. 

I was in 7th grade and we had gym class. We had our blue and yellow gym uniforms on. They were like these wool punishment clothes that they made us wear. Didn't matter, we put em on and didn't say a word. We went into a small room next to the main gym and in that room sat a Universal Machine. Basically a multistation stack loaded circuit. Bench, military, curls, leg press, etc. It was pretty cool.It looked some medieval torture device. 

 Anyway, I thought that I was strong, until my friend, Davrill, benched 20 pounds more than me and he weighed a lot less than me, 25 pounds or so. I got pissed off, and started asking him questions. How did he get so strong? How did he get his arms and chest so big? His chest was bulging through his uniform.  He said, You gotta eat protein, Jimmy, and take protein powder and do your benches, flies and curls. My head was spinning.

Davrill told me that he trained at the Boy's Club near his house. He invited me to go there. I boarded his bus after school and we were on the way. Darrell lived near the Washington DC line, in a rent controlled apartment high rise. This was quite a change for a kid like me from the suburbs.  We went up to where he lived, met his parents and brother, dropped our school stuff off and headed to the Boy's Club. 

I don't think there was a squat rack in the place, but there were plenty of big dudes in there with massive chest's and biceps. Legs weren't big back then. It was the era of Arnold and Arnold was all about chest and biceps, and everyone used the Weider Arm Blaster because of that famous picture with Arnold doing ez curls with it around his shoulders.



Bench and curls where the order of the day. In fact, I get the feeling looking back that bench and curls was the order of the day every day in that place. Lots of pumping, set after set, volume, volume, volume.

What Davrill had was a bunch of older dudes who cared about the kids in the neighborhood and helped them with lifting if they showed interest. It was a way to keep the kids out of trouble and keep them off of the streets. Those guys helped me as soon as Davrill introduced me. Set after set of bench (feet in the air), probably 10-15 sets, just pumping, and then curls and more curls. 

When we walked outside after the workout, I remember feeling so great, my muscles felt filled up, I was tired but a good type of tired, ya know what I mean? That magical pump had taken hold and I knew right then that I loved that feeling and I would be chasing that feeling for a long, long time. I was like, Davrill, I feel great! He said, thats the pump. Jimmy! Oh, I said, I love it!

 Darrell let me borrow his muscle magazines. The first one was Muscle Up! Magazine, and had Tom Platz on the cover. And then a Muscle Mag International with Mentzer on it. Wow! People actually look like they do? I was enthralled and read every single word in both magazines. And they were good. Problem is, I took it too far and would bring muscle magazines to school, and instead of focusing on my Algebra, I would read the magazines, hence summer school Algebra. But! I wouldn't trade it for anything.

 For once, I had found something, other than football, that I loved, and I was going to learn all that I could so that  pumped feeling would come back again and I wanted know the fastest, best way to get that feeling and also to get super strong and what to eat, and how many reps , and just who is this Arnold guy? A lifelong love, and a whole new world had been discovered. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Refresh

I was emailing a soldier friend of mine the other day, and we were talking about training. He has had a history of low back injuries and shoulder issues. He was saying that he has started to train for bike racing, but that his strength has taken a hit with all the riding. I told him that was no big deal, that he should train twice a week as heavy as he can, try to maintain, but that riding is his priority, and that is good.

Why is it good? Because I am firmly convinced that periods of hard training where weights are number one should be alternated with periods where weights aren't the priority. Of course you still train, (everybody knows that), but your new activity takes priority. This accomplishes a few things:

1. If you are the type of person that can't take a break from weights because it makes you feel soft and weak, you have permission mentally to kick butt in another activity.  You are still training hard, just in something else. It's mental, and it works. 

2. I think it increases your longevity in regard to lifting. You can't stay foot down on the accelerator all the time, so backing off may reduce those little injuries that pop up when your brain and body get a little stale.  Lets say that you are boxing, for example. You train boxing for 6 weeks and you jump rope and shadow box and hit the mitts and you still get in the weight room a few times a week but the weight training is fast and you are in and out after a half hour. Then after your six weeks is up, you go back to a heavier lifting schedule. This can be done 2-3 times a year.  Change the activity- kickboxing, bike riding, a Spartan Race, or maybe you want to break your old mile time or a 40 yard sprint time. Have fun with it. 

You can also switch up your training in the weight room if training for another activity isn't your cup of tea. If you are a powerlifter, try some bodybuilding and high reps. And bodybuilders can try some powerlifting or olympic lifting. How about bodyweight training? Dips, Chins, walking lunges, burpees, all done outside in the fresh air. 

 We all know that everything in this game is mental and if you change it up and then go back, you feel refreshed and motivated. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Certain Memories, Future Thoughts

And you are coming to me but then you aren't ,and you are right in front of me but then you are just a light through the curtain. Daunting light, splashing of light, light that reminds me of a lonely and scared youth

Certain memories, future thoughts.

 December. I am hunting on the Upper bay. It's goose season, and I am in a blind with my dog and a  friend, Steve. The morning is beginning. It's amazingly beautiful. Snow flurries begin and we both smile. It's like a Ducks Unlimited picture, I say. Steve nods.  My dog looks at the both of us, and we know that she knows. This is special. We have put our two hundred decoys already. I did not get much sleep last night. I still get excited like a little kid the night before I go hunting or fishing. It's the most fun that I have.

1988. Summertime in Maryland. It’s 100 degrees, and its humid and its sweltering and its just like all of the years before when I have trained. Almost fifteen years of football?  Seems like all of my life. I am sweating, dripping sweat. I love every second of it. Its “throw up hill” and it seems like an old friend of mine. Sixty yards long, complete with rocks and gravel and sand and sometimes even a small tree laid across it with a natural spring fed stream that you must jump over at the beginning of the hill. Jumping over the brook starts the vertical sprint. Nestled deep in the woods of suburban Washington DC, a veritable woodland paradise that has been your secret training place for many years. If I can make 10 of these hills without puking my brains out, then I know that I am in shape for football season. It's a challenge, a challenge that I must push myself through every offseason. You get that feeling, sprinting up the hill,  that your legs just want to stop moving as you get about halfway up. You will yourself to the top, pumping your arms to help you get there. Sand and gravel kicking up behind you. Not that bad, you think as you reach end. And then the long walk down the hill begins. The Hill hits you then, the oxygen deficit, the quivering legs. How many reps have I done? Was that 2 or 3? You can’t remember. So you decide on 2. Always better to do an extra one than to cheat yourself. The 60 yard hill has some rules, self made rules. One of them is that as soon as you reach the bottom, you must go again right away. No resting.

And then it is night time. All is quiet. I can hear my breath, my heart beating slowly, strongly. I start to wonder just how many beats of the heart that I have put through hell has left in this life. It is finite, ya know, this crazy span of nothing that we are given to smile through, to grin and bear it through, and quite brutally, to suffer through. Because we all get in in the end. No matter what you are, your success level, your material wealth, your thoughts and aspirations, your kids and your vacations, your big promotion, all of it. We all end up shitting and pissing ourselves in the end, wishing that we had taken more chances, wishing that fear never stopped us from a goddam thing. It all doesn’t seem so important what people think now, does it? Hit the nurses button and see the look on her face as she fake smiles her way through another sponge bath. You scan the room for your family, nobody is there. Your wife died a few years back, and you have been a burden to your kids ever since, going from house to house to live, a border in their houses. You feel useless, unwanted, and although nobody ever said that to you, it’s the way that you feel. Fear of what, man, fear of what? You should have done it all, you should have published that book, gone to Europe, fought that fight, walked away and done what you really loved, seen the world, made that phone call, made that speech, shook that hand, spent that money, ran that race.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Humanity

I don't want to see anyone, don't want to be near anyone.

All the cars, all the people, they just keep coming at you. It never stops, it is endless. A sea of smartasses who need to be shown that there will be consequences for all of their actions.

 All of them are just no damn good. The trash man who said something smart to me the other day, so cool hanging on the side of the trash truck. The rude hostess at the Mexican restaurant, the ass who cut me off in traffic,  Oh! How about the jerk who won't let you in when your lane is ending? Oh, you are so tough with your white shirt and tie, so safe behind your who- knows- how- much- you- paid -for- it- but- its- much -more- than- my- salary car that I would not be caught dead in. Hell, you can't hunt or fish or put a muddy Labrador retriever in it, so what good is that? Status? Status doesn't mean a damn thing to me. You will crumble just like everyone else.

 I can do without them all, every single one of them.

All these people, all the talking, all the meaningless crap that everyone is spewing out of their overused traps. Goddam, just sit there once and look around , observe , don't talk about yourself, about how you look, or if your profile is up to date. Sit.

And then

I am walking with my kids on the boardwalk of a crowded beach resort. Man, the humanity.  And I have to be ever vigilant with my five year old so that some sick bastard doesn't try to nab him when I am not looking. What kind of sick world do we live in today? Bunch of weirdo's , man.  I see it in their eyes when I look at them. How do they live? How do they make it through life? I see them smile at my kids and I want to break appendages off of them. What the hell are you smiling about? I picture myself hitting them as hard as I can, right in the throat. I picture myself, with my knife, slicing them up as they reach for my son. 

Ever vigilant, ever wary, ever alert. Stay sharp, stay ready, keep training. Listen to everything that Green Beret Tim Kennedy says, and listen to soldiers and cops talk about the dregs of society. They have seen the worst, they know just how bad it can get and how very quickly it can go bad. My detective buddy goes to Chuck E Cheese with his granddaughter and keeps his hand on his pistol the whole time that he is there, watching because of the scumbags that he has dealt with on the job. Oh, you are so paranoid, says one of my lawyer friends. Really? Last I checked, there was a convicted child molester living in my neighborhood. LIVING. Get the rope out and slap the horse right in the ass. Giddyup.

Just get gone

It all makes me want to go so damn far out in the country that nobody can mess with me or mine. And not just for the kids sake , for everything and everybody and for sanity.. Try being around people for an extended period of time, or even a short period of time. And when it comes to training with weights, especially when it comes to training with weights, people are so full of excuses that I don't even bother. Excuses. I don't feel well, I have a pain right here, I didn't sleep well last night, I have a cold, I, I, I I, I. Too much, because I could care less, I just want to train and I gave up on pretty much everybody a long time ago.  Because when I am ready to go, I am ready to go. Screw your gym bag or your pre workout or your special outfit.  You should have been ready. Look at your phone once and I am gone. Most of the time I train solo, I squeeze out the reps, I do 10 sets or 20 sets or 6 reps or 50 reps and I don't have to explain myself one bit.

It could be so perfect

I see this picture: A cornfield. Cut out of the cornfield is a path. Follow it and you will see my cabin. It is summer and it is 5:30 AM. Feel the heat starting to rise up and hear the hum of the  locusts as a far away glint of daylight starts to become visible. My family is inside the cabin, sleeping. Safe.  My dog and I are training. I am squatting on an old pair of York squat stands. Between sets, I throw a bumper for my Labrador to retrieve. She brings it back and it is time for my set. She watches me dutifully. Five reps done and I throw it again. And again.  Sometimes, after she gets all heated up, I tell her to, "Get some water," and she runs down to the pond and launches herself into the cool water. She swims and drinks and then returns to me. Time for a set. I can't think of a finer life. No phones buzzing, no music, no talking. Just life, my life, pure and simple and cut and dried, and just what I want it to be.

All About Being a Lifer

What's a Lifer? Someone who isn't in to something for just a day, a month, a year...it's for life. Whether its training or your family or your job...it doesn't matter. You work at it, you build on it, you see the big picture . You don't miss workouts because it means something to you. You are like a Shakespearean actor- no matter what is going on in your life, you block it out when it's time to train. You walk into the weight room and all else disappears. Worry about it later.