Thursday, August 1, 2013

Whats Wrong With Being Strong?

I was just driving to the Monster Pets store to get a Super Pooper Scooper and drove by a Lucille Roberts with a huge glass window in front. I didn't see any free weights, just some machines, and certainly not a power rack. That would be medieval or some bullcrap. A power rack!? Oh, my god, that would be scary for those women! Everybody in the corporate offices probably sat around this huge table and decided that women couldn't handle something like a power rack. Little do they know that by denying these women a barbell and a rack that they are denying them the fastest way to actually help themselves get stronger, get rid of body fat and and build amazing amounts of self confidence.

In addition, it smacks of sexism- "Oh that is for big old muscle heads, women need machines!" Seriously, I have heard it before. From men, of course. Skinny men. Weak willed men. And then the women fall for it! Ugh again.

Of course, there were plenty of elliptical machines going strong. Fine, do your cardio- great for your heart and circulatory system and you will burn some calories.

But nothing replaces weight training with free weights. Why are people so scared of a barbell? Shoot, you could go out in the woods with a barbell and some weights and live off of what you could kill and not pay a dime to one of these corporate wasteland gyms and make better gains than all of those folks spinning their wheels.

I was watching a lady I know train the other day. She is 35 years old, about five foot seven and 120 pounds. She usually begins her training session with the elliptical machine. Lots of elliptical. Then she does some lunges with some ten pound dumbells, and some presses with the 10 pound dumbells. Then she talks a little, does some squats with no weight. Then some more elliptical.

So of course,watching this take place, this so called workout,was making me nuts.  I walked over and gave her a workout that I had just written. It was a list of exercises that she should do to get the most out of her training sessions. Squats, Press, deadlifts, bent over rows, one arm rows, dumbell bench press. I told her to make sure that she does each exercise 2x a week for around 5 sets of 5 to 8 reps. She looked at me like I had 2 heads on my shoulders. Oh no, she said, this workout will make me too big and strong. She just wants to tone.  I just laughed and walked away. Why did I walk away? Because after 30 years of explaining how tough it is to get big and how great it is to be strong, I have grown weary of it. Great, see you later, waste your time.

 I train a lot of women. around sixty a week. Two of them want to get big, monstrously so, so I train them that way. They are my training partners,  Cristi and Tracy. Cristi deadlifts over five hundred pounds and Tracy squats and deadlifts over four hundred pounds.

They train until they can't squeeze out another drop of effort and then they pound the protein. Heavy weights, high reps, low reps, high percentages, short rest periods. They also have the genetics to be muscular. Everyone else that I train? They just get much stronger and gain a little muscle. And guess what? That little bit of muscle looks good. Does fat look better than muscle? Does skinny look better that muscular and athletic?

Why would anyone not want to be strong? Why would anyone want to ask someone with help performing everyday tasks such as carrying a heavy suitcase, putting a box on a shelf, moving something?

  I was exchanging emails with Dr. Rob Wagner the other day. He is a former National Champion in Powerlifting and a mentor of mine. Here is what he wrote to me about being strong:

"The beauty about strength is that it changes your perspective on all physical events. When the object or your own body feels easier to move it has resonance with that individual. And as you mentioned the toughest part is getting people to understand that the effort put forth will be a mere memory when the rewards of the training are reaped or actualized."

Man, that is beautiful. But it ain't easy, and its not meant to be easy and of course most things in life worthwhile aren't easy to obtain. It takes hard work, and it takes a mindset that being uncomfortable is something that one must put up with in order to gain significantly.

 Don't waste time. It is as simple as that. Everyone is so busy, we only have so many years on this earth, so many breaths to take,  why waste it doing exercises that aren't doing a damn thing for you? Why waste it talking and fooling around in the gym? If you aren't going to put the effort in at the gym, find something else to do, something in which you will do your best, that you love doing.

And, if you do decide delve deeply into this strength training, I promise you that after a few weeks, you will never want to be weak again. You will look at others and wonder why they are spinning their wheels, why they haven't bought into the program.

Of course its not just women that have that "just wanna get toned" idea in their mind. Men have told me also that they don't want to get to big, that they want to be athletic. Have you ever seen a defensive end in the NFL? Can they move?  Yes. Are they muscular and strong? Darn right they are,  and they are some of the best athletes on  earth.

And you know what else? It doesn't take much time out of one's day in order to get results. Thirty to sixty minutes, three to four days a week will do the trick. Focus on the basics and go to work and you will do fine. Efficiency is what matters.

Shift the whole darn thing around. Let the myths die. Skinny and weak  are out. Explosive and strong and muscular is in- for both men and women.


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.