Monday, February 1, 2016


I am sitting here looking at a picture of myself when I was a baby. I guess that I was a little over a year old? I am sitting in a baby seat eating a turkey leg. I asked my father if he was afraid that I would choke. He said, "You had some teeth, you could chew." It was 1968, and the hovering over their kids that parents do these days had not yet been invented. I do it also. 

The other day, at a 9 year old basketball game, there was a player on the other team, an overweight kid with a headband on and a smart mouth who was pushing my son when the ref was not looking. My heart was beating out of my chest I was so angry. And then his "father" says to the troglodyte, "That is it, stay aggressive." Real nice. Classy. So eventually my son gets irritated at the pushing and pushes back and the kid goes flying. Of course my son gets the foul. Doesn't matter,  most of the parent's are all a bunch of babied cowards who think that little league is the BIG leagues because the furthest they have ever gone in athletics is maybe high school where their big job was squirting water in the star player's mouth during timeouts. And all the coaches are screaming and yelling and the kids have no idea what the hell is going on. It is comical. I hate every second of it, crowded gyms with the masses of humanity who yell for the sake of yelling. 

Your kid , who you have outfitted with the latest gear that Lebron wears and tights and a special haircut like somebody famous that you admire, does not enjoy you being there.  It is written on their faces. (And what about squirting water in the player's mouths? Oh my god, you look at a college football game and there are ten managers or flunkies asking the player's if they need water and then squirting it in their mouths for them . I guess it comes from boxing where the boxer's are wearing gloves so they can not squirt it for themselves. Football players can squirt it for themselves.)

Nobody really plays "pick up" anymore, where no parents are involved or around.  My parents never knew if I got pushed or beat up someone or got beat up. In fact, if you told your parents about stuff that went on, you were ostracized forever from the group. 

I used to walk through the woods and play basketball with my friends. Alone, I walked through the woods. About a half mile walk. Then I stayed in the woods after the game, carving my name on trees, JS LOVES ....(whomever I was infatuated with at the time. )Yes, I had a knife. I was 10 and we all had pocket knives.  And a BB gun. 

Now, you are so fearful of letting your kids out of your sight because of the wackos out there. And do not tell me that they do not exist. Two nuts were in the neighborhood the other day trying to entice kids into their car by giving them candy. What the HELL is that crap? Electric chair right away for those scum. Pisses me off royally, that what we had as a country is falling apart. Maybe it is too late. I had a conversation the other day with someone  in the know who told me that things were a lot worse than we think they are regarding homeland security and what is going on in our government. Great. But lets just think positive thoughts and just get terrorist's jobs because that is what they really need to just stop their hatred, and lets get the races fighting against each other and lets depend on everybody for every damn thing. Everything is such a touchy subject that folks walk on eggshells and everyone is so sensitive(You can't say THAT!) and we have given much importance and celebrity status to everyone from  athletes and actors to youtube daredevils to reality show "stars" who aren't really stars, but just people who look pretty good. TAKE A PICTURE OF THEIR BABY OH MY GODDDDD!

All of them should squat to failure, go bass fishing and go hunting. They wouldn't be worried about the temperature of their latte or what he said/ she said or Oprah's latest weight loss horsecrap if they were thinking about a 8 point buck emerging in the clearing. 

But that is just what I think, and I know that I am in the minority. If you have never been outside, really outside, with the sun coming up over loblolly pines and the first bite on your line sending shivers down your spine or  maybe at dusk and a lone goose comes setting into your decoys, the utter magic of those scenes,  you have a tendency to focus on the little minutiae that the media and the government tells us are important. 

I know that those days are gone, the good old days. Maybe the best way to combat all that stuff is to not fight the losing battle but to just take care of your own little circle and ignore the goings on with the rest of the sheep, and just train your own to survive and prosper.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Revisited- Kirk Karwoski Never Before Seen Training Footage

I wanted to post this again because it is amazing, inspiring training footage of Captain Kirk. Note the speed on the deadlifts.

This is never before footage of Kirk Karwoski training for his Raw AAU Meet in 2004. I also have the footage of the meet. I will put that up in a few days.

A little background here: Kirk trained and lifted in this meet "raw" , which he defines as "wearing just a belt". Kirk weighed 252 in this footage.

He squats 545, 675 and 745.

His last heavy squat workout was 2 weeks earlier, where he did 815x1. He was jumping 20lbs every other week in the squat.

Between those weeks, he would take 80% of the planned 20 lb jump and just perform a single. He felt like this kept himself "feeling" the weight without taxing him too much. For example, if he did 700x5, and 2 weeks later planned for 720x5, he would just single 575 the week after 700x5.

For the bench press, he goes, 225, 405, 445 and 485. He had a "very inflamed rotator cuff which was a nightmare". He benched 505 a month earlier.

On the deadlift, he does 495, 585, 675. The week before, pulled 785.

He only trained once a week for this meet, doing all three lifts on one day.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Just Some Thoughts

Sometimes the reality of it all just sinks in. The reality that this "younger generation", defined as anyone younger than me by 10 years, is killing us as a country. Not sure why. Maybe video games, maybe ICarly, maybe the lack of fishing and hunting being stressed by parents who are scared of their own shadow. Lack of dirt being played in by kids. Lack of being uncomfortable.

 Do you feel the delineation between the people who GET it and the people who don't get it? The folks who think that everything will be alright are kidding themselves. 

It kills me that we can't find many reasonable qualified candidates for President. And you know that if John F was running today, he never would make it. Too many skeletons in his closet. But then again, he was an amazing war hero who saved the planet from Russia at one point. And Teddy Roosevelt? Come on! You know that he would have been portrayed as a neanderthal with all of his, "strenuous life" stuff that he was espousing. Too macho. Too strong. Too tough.  Course the man did amazing things in his tenure as president and in his life in general, but no way would he make it today. Too offensive. Too much, ! Tone it down. TEDDY! Stop being sooooo.....well, stop being a man. Or just wait until 2016 when being a man is frowned upon and just grow a half ass beard and don't say anything that you really believe and go against guns and trucks and country music and the American flag. Then you will fit in just fine. Do not, I repeat do not, think any aggressive thoughts or think that anyone not in your party even has one good point because well, its not your party and I only believe what they tell me to believe. Toe the line! The Party line! Don't give an inch. Don't question anything. And don't use any, any , any, common sense at any time.

Saw The Revenant the other day. Watch it. It is real as hell. It's what life was like in the 1800's out west. Really well done and beyond motivational and inspiring. When you see the Pawnee Indian create a sweat lodge in a blizzard, you will be amazed. And if you read your history, that kind of stuff was done all of the time. Just like Indians shooting arrows as young boys while they were hanging off the side of their horse. Yep, that is real, not just in the movies. 

A wise man wrote the following to me one day-

 Love your family above all else and protect them above all else, lift weights, hit the bag, shoot guns and hunt, chop wood, have dogs,  Don't worry about material stuff, read the great authors, get rid of all negative losers from your life, go fishing, throw out your cologne, grow a real beard, love your country, be willing to die for what you believe, don't let anyone get away with a damn thing and endeavour to persevere.

And there you go.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Keep Learning/ What a Book

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day, a man who has trained with weights for decades. He was coming off of an injury and hadn't been able to squat for months. So he started back slowly, performing super slow negative squats and hitting rock bottom. He was so weak that he started out with 95 pounds. And this is a 500 pound squatter when healthy. So he does the 95 pounds. Lying in bed the next morning, he feels good, so he goes out to his garage and finishes with 105 for a set of 10. He feels good, better than he has in a long while. Next day, same thing; squats, finishes with a set of 10 with 115 for 10. And so on, squats everyday. He starts to make bigger jumps, and in 10 days, gets 255x10 in super slow fashion, rock bottom.

He has been, for a very long time, a once a week squatter, and it had worked for him. Worked great for him. In fact, the man has squatted over 800 pounds. 

But here is the point: you are not too old to try new methods, and you must be open to new methods. If you swear that your way is best and you close your mind off to everything else, you are really doing a disservice to you and if you train others,  a disservice to them also. He was so excited telling me about his progress, and I get it. It's motivating when you find a different way to train that works for you when maybe you thought that you had it all figured out. But he had an open mind and went with his instincts and voila! much progress.

There is no right way to train, no matter what anyone tells you. There are some basic tenets that should be followed like barbell training is more efficient, fundamentals in form should be followed, that kind of stuff. But for programs? Everyone is different and cookie cutter programs are not the most effective. Individuals respond differently to different programs. Much of it is mental. If  they believe it works, it works, even if it is absurd in it's methodology. If you go in to the gym thinking that it is bullshit, this program sucks, etc. , it ain't gonna work.

And some folks respond best to intensity and some best with volume and then the same people, a year later, may respond the opposite way.

Something that I use constantly in programming is taking into account the person's sheer toughness when programming.  So much of  all of it is mental that I have come to the conclusion that the mental aspect of training, the toughness aspect of what a person just has, is the most important attribute to own in training and in life, for that matter.  Others call it character. You can throw away the calculations regarding volume and intensity and the phases of training and what the latest guru espoused and what the meme from the coolest lifter put up on the internet.  This means that some people (very few) can handle just about anything; a stressful job, a divorce, kids, tragedy, and still make crazy gains with a tough program. These are the super motivated, never- miss- a workout- crowd that thrives on adversity.

Others let everything bother them and moan about the tough life that they have and are looking for something that can derail them because they don't want it that bad. The type who misses training because of a cold (they always say it's a sinus infection for some reason, maybe it sounds more extreme). These are the type of people who like to talk about training more than just training. They need a program that isn't too tough, maybe 3 days a week, leaving lots of room for light days and easy days and missed sessions. Or they are too busy. And why aren't they making progress? its obvious as hell. They like the idea but not the application. They will never be great. They almost get there, but not quite. They have lots of opinions and theories but they are too weak to ever get there.

I just read a book that ranks right among my favorites of all time. It is called, "PT 109: An American Epic of War, Survival, and the Destiny of John F. Kennedy.", and it is an amazing book. If you want to read a book that highlights toughness, kindness, character, survival and just plain old guts, READ THIS BOOK.

You can say what you want about JFK, his personal life, his indiscretions, but the man was a war hero, and that means a whole lot in my book. I mean , he was brave as hell and he saved lives and he never forgot the members on his team. What a book and what a man.

A quick story here: My mother was a teacher back in Maryland years ago and a young Senator from Massachusetts came and spoke to a group of she and her colleagues. She said that when he came into the room, you could sense that this guy was something special. And after his speech, the crowd was stunned at the man's words and sheer presence. My mother came home and told my father that she just heard a speech from a man who was really going to be somebody. My father asked who it was, and my mother answered, "Some Senator named John F. Kennedy."

She also was in the same room with Al Gore years later and she said that there was no comparison between the aura of JFK and Gore. Gore had zero and JFK sucked the air out of the room.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Striving and a Real Man


How was the year for you? Did you get to where you wanted to be in your fitness goals? Did you get stronger? Did you get massive like you wanted or ripped like you wanted or as strong as you wanted? And if you did reach the goals that you had set for yourself, they came and went and then you probably asked yourself, is that all there is?

Because yes, that is all there is, and the reason for that feeling is because it's the striving that is the crux of the whole damn thing. No matter what you accomplish, you have to keep going, correct? Because that's what it's all about, waking up with new goals or new thoughts that push you to achieve again and again. That's an important part of succeeding in life, methinks. Because hell, if Peyton Manning just decided that winning MVP was enough and winning the Super Bowl was enough, he could have just quit right then and there years ago. But he keeps going and setting goals, conscious or not, to be better or to come back from injury, and then when he does that, he goes on and strives to better himself in another way.  I remember thinking that when I started weight training in 7th grade that if I only could get so strong or only get so big, that I would stop training. That's funny looking back on it, but when you are young, you have a tendency to think in those ways. Little did I know that it doesn't work that way, that you have to keep going, pushing to get to other levels. And that's really what makes it all worthwhile, anyway.

 A Real Man

With all of the websites out there and books out there bemoaning the loss of masculinity and the loss of manliness and all, I started thinking about men that I have known who were real men. My Uncle George was a real man for sure.

He grew up working in his father's gas station, helping in the garage. He made his way to the University of Maryland in the 1950's and becomes friends with my father, working as teacher's together. Uncle George ended up getting his PHD from LSU like my father and then teaching at Maryland for years, and even becomes the acting dean at one point.

So, what made Uncle George a real man? In my mind, it was because he was well rounded as hell. He could set his mind to doing something and he would just , by sheer force of will and stubbornness, get it done. 

He was the most amazing guy when it came to fixing every thing, building anything, and taking care of everything. If he was around, you had confidence that everything would turn out alright.

It was the early 1960's. Those were the days when men didn't take lessons in anything. That was laughable. You need someone to teach you how to lay bricks? You need someone to teach you to scuba dive? To drive a 40 foot sailboat? To run a whole department and have everyone from the janitors to the professors respect you? You just do it yourself, with the confidence that if you don't get it right the first time, you will on the next try because you will figure it out. He turned our garage into a living room with a bedroom and a brick fireplace that you had to see to believe. It is still standing 40 years later with not one brick out of place and no repairs ever needed. He never took one dime from my father for anything that he worked on.  And he did a lot. He'd say to my dad, "I will be there at daybreak, have the cement ready." And my dad would be up at 4 am stirring the cement and then Uncle George would arrive shortly thereafter, ready to work. And work all day, who needs to eat, just work and work .. 

Oh! I almost forgot the beginning of the whole story when the building of the addition to the house.   My parents and Uncle George were sitting at the breakfast table . My mother was always saying to Uncle George, "When are  you gonna start the addition?" "When are you gonna start the building?" So Uncle George stands up, grabs a sledgehammer from the work room and puts a huge hole in the wall. "Now we have to get started," he said. 

He was funny and he loved to bust your chops. One day he pulled up to my dad's and I was in this girl's car and she was in the driver's seat and I was sitting close to her and he just looked at me and I was so embarrassed that Uncle George saw me sitting all close to her.  Later, he said something like, "Sitting with your girlfriend?" and I was mortified that I even had a girlfriend, let alone sitting in the middle seat while she was in the driver's seat. Even now, I am mortified. I shoulda been helping my dad do something in the yard or playing sports. 

Uncle George never talked about women much. My dad said that he had a fiance one time and it didn't work out. And that's about as far as my dad went with it, he probably felt like it was none of my business anyway. Maybe she broke his heart, I don't know. But I do know that he was not the type of guy to chase after anyone or go on dates. Too busy with important stuff to do those things. In fact, I just pictured him holding hands and I just laughed out loud.

He was strong, too. Never lifted one weight. No way that he would ever go to a gym.  He did gymnastics training. I have no idea how he got into that, but he did, and he used to pick up people over his head while on a balance beam and do the rings and stuff. Of course, he never took a lesson or had a coach. I was real little but I can still see him doing it.  I used to hang from his biceps when I was a kid, they were so big. 

He bought a sailboat without ever having sailed before and goes out on the Chesapeake and just started sailing. He needed to get under the boat so that he could clean it or fix  it while it was in the water, so he put on scuba gear having never scuba dived before and just did it. No big deal. He bought a shack on the water and made it into a beautiful house. He bought an old broken down fishing boat and made it into an award winning yacht and won all kind of awards and was featured in Chesapeake Magazine. 

He played tennis and basketball everyday. Not a great athlete but tenacious as hell and tough, too. He dislocated his shoulder one time, so he taped his one arm tight to his body and played with one hand. 

When he was the acting Dean of Kinesiology, he got me a job working in the equipment room. In those days, everyone exercised at noon. This was when those in Physical Education actually did things that were physical. The Greek ideal was still going strong. So the teachers would come down to the equipment room and get a shirt, shorts, socks and jock. The equipment guys only let two people behind the counter. Uncle George and my father, the only two guys that they respected. Anyway, I get a job working there one summer, folding towels, doing odd jobs in the building. Uncle George says to me one day, "Jimmy, I have a job for you, an easy one." I am thinking, uh oh.

We walk up to a locker room, hundreds of lockers in there. "Take apart all of these lockers," he says, and hands me one wrench. One. Now I am not mechanically inclined in any sense of the word. I can dig a hell of a hole and move dirt and I can chop wood with the best of them, but even turning a screw can get challenging at times. So he hands me the wrench and walks out. It's July in Maryland, which means extra humid and there was no air-conditioning and I am sweating my butt off and I spent at least a half hour trying to take apart one freaking locker. I'm thinking , oh man, what do I tell Uncle George?  He is gonna be so disappointed but I knew that this was just not gonna happen , me taking apart those lockers. I tried and tried and finally I thought, screw it, and took a nap. I knew that if I went out there after only a half hour  he would say that I didn't try hard enough. So I took a little nap. Laid my butt down on a bench and closed my eyes. I woke up a little while later, drenched in sweat and went to find him, wrench in hand. "I tried Uncle George, I tried", I said.  "How many did you get done?" he asked. "Uh, none." I answered. He just put his hand out for the wrench. I handed it to him and walked away. Later, I asked him if the lockers ever got then taken apart, He said, "Yeah, I gave the job to some kid. He did it in about ten minutes."

Years later, he got bone cancer. It was strange seeing him wasting away a little. But he fought it into remission, of course he fought it into remission. It came back and then he was gone one day. Tough to take, tough for my dad to take also.  But looking back, it is what he left us that is important: A legacy of independence and work ethic and toughness,  and a shining example of what being a real man is all about.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Little League

Sports Illustrated, a few months back, had an article about the "End of the Abusive Coach." It was pretty spot on in my opinion. Some of the stuff that coaches do and say to their players is wacky as hell and some of it borders on criminal. Belittling players, pushing players, screaming and not teaching. All of that stuff is CRAP. 

I have always thought that Vince Lombardi was the worst thing that happened to coaching. No, not the man or the man as a coach. It is more the idea of what Lombardi was like to everyone else. A screamer and yeller, a tough ass who didn't give a damn about his players. That's the image, not the truth, but it seems like he is remembered like that by some coaches, and so they try to live up to that image.

I reckon that I was fortunate.  I began playing football when I was in third grade and continued until I was done with my senior year in college.  Little league, high school, junior college, senior college.  

In all those years of playing, both in practice and games, not one coach grabbed me or even screamed at me.  That is a long time not to catch an ass chewing.  And I played for some tough guys.  Ex-Marines, guys with bullets lodged in their spines.  I respected them, hell, I liked them as people.  Almost all of them appreciated hard work and enthusiasm.  

That doesn’t mean that they didn’t get pissed off at times, but usually they pulled players to the side and taught them. They just got a stern talking to.  These were confident men who didn’t need to belittle anyone or push us around to make a point.  Confident men who were good athletes and actually played the game.  They understood that just running people just to run people wasn’t the brightest thing in the world to do. Better to teach. Be a teacher. All of these experiences, especially the little league one, started my fire for football and made me love the game like crazy.

I had a situation a few months back where I was around some little league football and it was outrageous. Yelling, screaming, and no teaching, at least no teaching that was worth a damn. Very few water breaks, even in 92 degree heat. If you were playing the whole game, the only time that you could get water was at halftime. No taking off of the helmets. It was unreal, some dark ages stuff and those coaches were fortunate that nothing happened to any of those little kids. If something did happen, the screaming and ass chewing and little tiny armbands with plays on them(!) and the insidious practice of running long slow laps and the throwing the football at players and the "I am so great but really I couldn't play dead in a cowboy movie" personas wouldn't mean a whole helluva lot, now would they? 

But it seems to be par for the course these days, all show and no go, don't take the time out to teach anyone, just act like you know what you are doing and then blame the athletes. Parents weren't much better, gesticulating, running onto the field, cussing out opposing teams (these are 8-10 year old kids), and generally acting like asses. 

I guess that since I hadn't been around little league since the 70's that I was expecting stuff to be like it was back then- One or two coaches, some cheerleaders, players having fun but still getting after it, and parents who were there to watch and be quiet and eat hot dogs and they seemed to know that it was all a learning process. 

Screw it! Nothing is just cool anymore, it all has to be over the top craziness, and Facebook posts and filming every play and everybody just dying for attention for themselves. Makes me a little ill and angry and a little , no more than a little, disappointed in how this whole thing has turned out.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Weekend

I went to a Carolina Panther's game the other day in Charlotte. I was impressed. Never have I been to a pro football game where I did not see one fight or one drunk fan. And there were kids everywhere, and families and people were happy and the players signed autographs, and everybody was singing and smiling. Of course, I think that part of it is because it is the South and I am biased towards the South. People are just nicer in smaller cities and towns and hell, no reason to get drunk and be hateful and ruin every body's time. They gave away two trips to the Super Bowl to some military men and they also honored military folks and the National Anthem was sung by an amazing little girl from North Carolina. Yes, they are undefeated and their defense is a bunch of death machines and Cam Newton is the best quarterback that I have ever seen live and I have seen some good ones. But still.

The game was done right. And I was impressed. Restored my faith in the NFL and even America a little bit.

I stayed in a small town in NC where everyone I know has a handgun and a rifle and a shotgun. And it is totally foreign to them that guns would ever get the blame for anything,  they understand that it is people , not guns. It's so far away from DC and the crooked special interest politicians that I always wonder, do those suits really know how much of America really feels and what most of America really is like? Folks who support the military, who nod at everyone who passes by, who put their hands over their hearts when they hear the National Anthem, (the announcer at the Panther's game actually told people top remove their hats and place their hand over their heart), who get along because its the right thing to do. And whether you are a Christian or not, the fact remains that the people in the small town have lives that revolve around the church and the good deeds that come from out of the church are impressive- feeding homeless, fund raisers for underprivileged kids, etc.

People are so cordial that after awhile, it becomes amusing. I walk down the steps in the hotel and I am going out the door to go to my car to get my phone charger and the guy at the front desk is like have a great day, Mr. Steel! and then I am back in the place in 2 minutes. Doesn't matter though. Going to the gym? Have a great day, Mr. Steel! Nighttime? Have a great night, Mr. Steel!

When I was checking in, I was trying to get the price down for the  room and the desk lady kept asking me if I was an AARP member, I was like, "No, but I am a NRA member," and she said, "That's a great organization, but it won't help you get a better rate." And then she asked me again if I was an AARP member and I said, "I am not that old!" And she was crushed. She said,"Mr. Steel, I did not mean to imply that you were old in any way and I apologize if you took it that way."I felt so sorry for her I said, "You really can't offend me and I was just kidding around." And she plugged in the discount anyway and I got the room for a good rate.

I lived there for 10 plus years but going back was just what I needed to restore my faith in folks.

And then there was the gym. The guy at the front desk with his headphones in acting like emenim and looking at me like I was a dumbass needed a serious ass whipping but I let it go. But the funniest scene was going on at the squat rack. Two guys, I guess in their early twenty's, were squatting.  Both of them talking as loud as they can so that everybody in the gym hears them and they are are texting between sets and they are spreading their lats out and I am thinking, this is gonna be real good. One says, "WE MAXING TODAY!" "We are?" the other one asks. "YEAH BUDDY!" his friend exclaims. "My knees are sore!"one of them says, so he promptly started stretching his groin. Then they started warming up. 135, 185, 225(that was hard), 275 and now, here come the knee wraps and 315 on the bar. Crash! the first guy bombs out with 315 and the weight sits on the spotter rails. Next guy? Crash! same result. It was a classic moment and I did take great pleasure in it all.

And there was a boot camp going on the aerobics room and they were yelling and screaming and then they all got together and made their little protein shakes and talked about the workout and drank their shakes and if they just would squat , deadlift and press, they wouldn't have to go through all that stuff. But then there wouldn't be any story to tell, would there ?

It was a good couple of days- A great game won by an impressive team, some funny moments at the gym and folks who just know how to act.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Life Strong

 The other day, somebody asked me if I missed competing. I do miss training for something, but I'd rather just get as strong as I can so that I can handle challenges when they come my way in life.

I had a couple of  incidents recently that illustrated to me just how important strength is in life.  The first was at Thanksgiving dinner when my 83 year old father fell backwards out of an unstable chair. He's a tough guy but has had knee replacements,  a hip replacement, and a bunch of other stuff. So it was gonna be a real challenge for him to get up by himself. I was fortunate enough to be there and to get behind him and lift him up and get him back on his feet without any problem. He is around 200 pounds. No, that isn't that heavy.  But if I couldn't do it, he would have had a heck of a time getting to his feet. And then I was duck hunting and my 85 pound lab went out for a retrieve and couldn't get up on the dock because he has an artificial shoulder and his hips don't feel so good either and I was able to reach down while I was holding on with one hand to the duck blind so that I wouldn't fall in, and pull him up to the blind ( with the duck still in his mouth). Not earth shattering, but if I hadn't been lifting weights, I would have struggled for sure.  After that, I was like, OH! That's why I train. It was like this electric charge of HELL YESSS! went through me and I thought, Always train because it is essential for life. Stronger is always better than weaker

What I am saying here is that as you get older and you are not training for a specific competition, train for life. Train because daily tasks are easier when you are stronger, and train because life can throw some curve balls at you that require you to step up and display your strength. Ah, people say. I don't need to be that strong. Yeah, how strong is that strong? Get as strong as you can! And if you have injuries, get strong as a mutant Viking in the exercises that you can perform. And focus on the basic exercises, the bang for your buck exercises that involve lots of muscles. Life exercises. And get both lower body and upper body strong.

It is not that hard to get strong for life. You can train as little as 2 days a week and get there.

Here is a 2 day-

*Feel free to substitute the Power Clean for the deadlift on day 1 or 2. I would just do sets of 1 or 2 in the Power Clean and add 10 pounds a week.

 Day 1
Squat or deadlift- work up, in 5 sets, to a heavy set of 2
Bent rows 4x5
Max set of 5, in 5 sets in the close grip bench.
Chin-ups 3x whatever you can do

Day 2
Squat or deadlift- work up, in 5 sets, to a max set of 5
Press - DB or BB-  work up, in 5 sets, to a max set of 5
Dips 3x whatever you can do
Hammer curls or grip work(wrist curls, Captains of Crush) 4x5

Each week, drop a rep on the squats or deadlifts, and on the pressing exercises. Sets of 5 this week, 4 the next, 3 the next. Keep the assistance work the same.
And if it takes you 6, 7, 8, sets to get to a max set, that is fine. Or if you get there in 4 sets, go for it. 5 sets is just a guideline. After you work up to a max set of 1 rep in a few weeks, start the program over again.

Easy, huh? And you can do 3 days also, just bookend the squats and deadlifts on a Monday and Friday, and then add a heavy pressing movement on Wednesday  or a heavy weighted chin-up and dip and biceps day on Wednesday.  Or strongman stuff on Wednesday. Or a heavy Prowler day, where you get cardio and strength.

Whatever program you choose to do, just know that you don't need a lot of work to get there, but you need heavy work to get there.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Training when you start to get older? I get some questions about it. And the answer? It  depends.

If you played college athletics and it was a contact sport that you played, you most likely will have lingering injuries from those sports. If you powerlifted competitively or weightlifted competitvely, you are gonna be banged up some, so all training has to be adjusted accordingly. If you were not a competitive athlete, you can probably push hard and be fine. 

If you just took some karate lessons and then talked about it forever and never put yourself out there, you'll be fine. Train like crazy.

I have known people who will, not under any circumstances, change things around in their training, meaning that they must squat, bench and deadlift no matter what. Although those exercises are beneficial, you can do variations of those exercises and still get a whole lot out of them.

Here is the deal- you must train what you can train. Put your ego aside. At some point these surgeries become worse than the injury itself.

I broke my elbow in 1987. over time it became more and more stiff, The surgeon was so cocky before surgery, After? "Your elbow is the most screwed up thing that I have ever seen. ", he said.

Whatever. I knew going in to playing football that I'd probably end up messed up. Didn't care at all.
But it changes the way that you train. Let me state this clearly:If you never try to do anything different than the citizenry , you will never get hurt.

I train Division One wrestlers. They are all always sore and hurting. Zero complaints, zero grimaces, zero quitting. It's amazing.  They have been doing this stuff since they were so young that they just accept it. You can't be elite and be healthy. Think about it. Everyone that you know who did great things is messed up. I'm talking about heavy duty stuff. Everyone that you know that is an all america or something like that has crazy mental or physical trauma. I'm talking about football, mma, lacrosse, wrestling. Your body will never forgive you, but it was damn fun while it lasted and you were in the arena! Not sitting on the sidelines criticizing the amazing souls who ventured forward. Anyone who criticizes those that strive is a loser for sure. But I digress.

So train what is healthy, let the past go, realize your limitations. push when you can, kill negative thoughts, get rid of vampires who suck your life blood, realize that being strong comes in many ways, and train every day. Do something every single day even if it is doing 10 pushups when you wake up. that's nothing? Seventy a week, 280 a month. Better than not doing anything and starting Monday. Train when you can't, train when the days are short and the nights are long, train when your girl cheats on you, train when you can barely walk, train when the president is getting  slapped by a terrorist organization, train when there are surgeries or deaths. Train when you are so hungover that the last thing that you want to do is train. Realize that will, only WILL is what matters. Let go of the BS and train, walk in and train, wake up and TRAIN, go in the woods and train.

So the moral is this: Get it done every day, get it done because you are better than everyone else who just talks. Pull your hat down low, put on Slayer's latest and grab it and go.

All About Being a Lifer

What's a Lifer? Someone who isn't in to something for just a day, a month, a's for life. Whether its training or your family or your 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.