Hardcore quotes of the day

“We are what we repeatedly do, excellence is therefore not an act, but a habit”. Aristotle

 

“Persistence is the twin sister of excellence. One is a matter of quality; the other a matter of time”. Voltare

“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one”. Bruce Lee

“When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion”. Abraham Lincoln

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The injury was short lived………….Use caution when weight training on “machines”.

Fact is, if you train and push yourself there is a good chance that you will get injured. But the idea is to only get injured a tiny bit and say to yourself “whoa, something just happened here and I need to stop and take a break”. In the old days I would keep training and then that tiny injury would be a bigger one and my time off would be longer.

I was hurt while doing shoulder press on the Hammer Strength shoulder press machine and I wasn’t even going heavy. The system puts you in a seated position with your shoulders cocked back in a pretty rigid form. Suddenly this position is not very nice for me. I felt it the minute I started using the machine. Thats why I didn’t go heavy. It just felt off, slightly awkward.  My right shoulder seemed like it was being put in a bad place. But this never happened before! So after a few light sets I walked away and within that hour it was throbbing.

So for two weeks I did not train shoulders. I didn’t even bench press but I was very happy to see that dips were not a problem for me. One big problem was that I couldn’t do anything over head with my right arm. I am a ladder guy or a truck guy if you will on the job and raising ladders was a big problem. But I compensated with using my left arm for any type of overhead action and asking for help from my work mates. After two weeks and a few advil a day it felt good but still wasn’t right.

It was clear to me that somewhere in my shoulder cuff there was an impingement. It felt like it needed to “pop” to feel better but I just couldn’t get to. Then one morning I was playing rough with my almost 2 yr old daughter and I reached out and did something and all at once I felt a pop with a little tinge of pain and then a big relief at the end. It was still sore for a few days after but quickly went away.

I conclude that I may have lost some mobility in my shoulder(s) from either age, too much work,too much training or all the above. I either have some torn up cartilage that got “hung up” or I just beat up some ligaments that went into recoil and shock from what I did to them. Since the injury I have gone back to doing shoulders using free weights and have no problems. The only other time I hurt my shoulder was when I was doing shoulder press on a smith machine. It was like 10 yrs ago now but that injury took a full 2 yrs to fully recover.

The bottom line….. shoulders can be strong muscles but the joint is actually weak based on its nature. It is also very complex and susceptible to many forms of injury. It has been argued that using “machines” for weight training are where we get our injuries from because they fix the movement into a plane that lock your joint in. Out of experience, I have had 2 shoulder injuries , one in each shoulder, and they both occurred on a machine and not when using free weights.

I will still use machines and free weights but I will never use a smith machine or hammer strength machine for shoulders ever again. That seems to be one of my weaknesses

12 Mistakes You’re Making In The Gym

12 Mistakes You’re Making In The Gym

Not Bringing Your Music

I could go into detail on this one but do us all a favor and make sure you bring your best jams. Most people with bubbly personalities or to many friends in the gym tend to talk to much. That means not only are you messing my workout up but your also hurting yours.

Music is also a beast motivator. There is nothing like getting ready for a lift listening to that one song that gets you fired up. I remember when I wrestled in high school and the one song I would listen to before every match was “Break Stuff” By Limp Bizket. I don’t know why, it just got me fired up.

What gets you fired up!? Make a play-list of your top 10 most motivating songs and hit shuffle. Your workouts will get better.

Only Doing Your Skill Set

We all do it in more areas of our life than fitness. We like to do what we are good at. It’s time to step it up. Do something new. If all you do are lunges and leg press because you think your beast at them then try one of the other hundred ways of working legs.

It’s nice to be really good at a few things but you want to be good at as many things as you can. It also gives a challenged to your workouts. Doing something new usually causes you to either drop weight or spend more time mastering…it’s like your starting from scratch! Embrace it, you haven’t always been a beast!

Focusing On The Little

Unless you’re competing for your pro-card and taking buckets of steroids you don’t need 6 different arm exercises on arm day. I have learned so many weird bodybuilding tricks over the years that it would be confusing to explain them all. One thing I have learned, is if you focus more on the major muscle groups and worry less about how much your wrist twists at the top of your bicep curl then your doing fine.

Stop adding all these filler movements and exercises and talk about different angles and blah blah blah. The average person doesn’t need that. Yes, angles play a role in lifting but not as much as you think.

Plan It Out

Where are you going to go? What are you going to be doing between sets? What exercises are you going to do first? Which ones are your compound exercises and which ones are not? How much weight did you do last time? How are you going to change your program up this week to support progression? Most of these questions need to be worked out before you start moving around.

Call me old school but I am getting back into writing everything down so I know where to challenge myself next week and what needs to change for the next month cycle. Sure you can just walk in to a gym and start moving stuff around but you’re not going to get far. So if you’re serious about seeing results, start writing.

Protein Powder

It’s not that big of a deal. There are thousands of brands of protein supplements on the market. There is no way I could tell you which ones are the best out of them all. I can say that getting an organic, grass fed whey would probably be the best but I personally don’t do that. Costco sells a giant tub of 100% whey protein that I have been buying for years.

Lately, I have gotten away from drinks and turned more to chewing my protein…. to each his own. Watch the carbs, sugar and any other filler crap that they put in those other powders. If your whey powder tastes like a Starbucks Caramel Macchiato then odds are it’s not the best for you.

Lifting With Your Boys

I have lifted with small groups of guys before and the majority of the time gets spent messing around and getting too much of nothing done. Stick to one partner or none at all (see my next point). The more people you have the less you can get done. 45 minute workouts turn to 1:15 minute workouts.

You may have all the motivation and drive in the world but banking on the rest of the guys your with to have that same drive…don’t hold your breath. Stop using the gym as your social hour.

Lift Alone

I am blessed to have a beast partner that pushes me and is always down to try new things. We are seeing results and getting things done. I have had partners in the past that always showed up late or never at all, never really changed much up. I just wasn’t there to do that and like anyone else time is precious.

These kinds of partners are not going to help you get results. You’re better off lifting alone and getting more things done. “But I need a spotter” I answer this in my next point.

Lift Till You’re Blue In The Face

Do me a favor for a few weeks try not going to ultimate failure and then some with every set. Tone it down some. Do as many reps as you can with perfect form then hang it up. You can do this with any rep range whether it’s a low rep or high.

Do what you can with good form and leave it alone. This protects your central nervous system from being over worked and not being able to help repair your body after your workouts. You will feel better and recover faster for the next lift.

Lift With Your Girl

As long as you two part ways the minute you walk into the door. Odds are she is afraid to do anything heavy and will walk over to a few machines and end up in the stability ball and band area. If you take the time to explain to her the importance of doing heavy weights and compound exercises and she is on board, then let her join you.

My wife is pretty rocking. She will do just about anything I tell her to as long as it’s not going to put her life in danger (although sometimes there is always that chance). She is willing to push heavier weights and stay away from the bosu balls. Total respect for you ladies doing work in the gym!

Being A Member Of A Globo Gym

Meat market, drama, and clickish tendencies is what I hear the most coming from these places. They are great for the classes and variety of equipment but if you’re like any other social person your workouts could turn into a social hour. I’m not knocking them completely. Total respect for the guys and gals who go into those places and grind out killer workouts and not get mixed up in all the mess!! BUT….The hottest gyms are the little hole in the wall studios you see around town.

Working for Old Dominion University as a trainer for a little while gave me somewhat of a feel for the bigger gym atmosphere. Spending most of my career in small studios has really allowed me to grow a passion for the smaller studio feel. It’s just better. You get the family atmosphere and depending on the owner you can find some pretty odd objects to use in your workout.

Doing Olympic Lifts With Straps

I have heard horror stories of noobs trying to hang clean or full clean weight and actually breaking their wrists because of the weight and lack of proper technique. You can’t clean tons of weight and expect your wrists to have the proper range of motion (along with the rest of your arms) as a noob. If your new to the clean then go light and work on your catch and ROM when its at rest (top position).

Catching with your elbows pointing straight out and landing the bar across your upper chest and delts. If your grip is suffering then spend some extra time on your off days working on grip exercises. Check this video out! Start with these and use some chalk until your form and wrist/arm ROM is on point. By then you shouldn’t even need straps to do them. Win-Win situation.

Bring The Celly

Leave the phone in your car. In today’s day you probably send well over a thousand texts a month…if not more. You don’t need to have that thing right on your side the whole time. Facebook, twitter, emails etc. all get sent to our phones which means your probably checking some kind of notification every few minutes. This is time away from your lifts. Whatever it is can wait.

If it’s an emergency then let those people know where you are. What happened to just calling the main building the person was in. That’s what intercoms are for right? Now, if you’re doing everything I say then you’re probably lifting at a small local studio therefore they can call you there almost directly.  Don’t worry, I am guilty of this too! I hate it when I catch myself wasting time looking at an email or post. It’s all about productivity.

Go after it!

Tempus Fugit

New Years came and went and I wasn’t even awake to see it. In bed by 9 so that I can wake up at 4 am to go to work. Sitting in the firehouse on New Years Day like any other holiday we work can be tough. Watching the clock all day. Running bells and getting back to the firehouse to see only a small chunk of time has passed. We all have been in the position before where you are bored out of your mind and the clock just seems to never move as if you are perpetually stuck in time going nowhere. Sitting in the car on a long ride or standing in a long line for something. You keep looking at the clock again and again trying to will it forward at a faster rate.

Then again, we have also seen time fly , tempus fugit, where we are having a great deal of fun and so immersed in our interesting activity that we don’t even see what time it is and when we look up 2 hours have suddenly lapsed and you can’t believe it.

Its all a matter of perception and wanting to be elsewhere when you are somewhere you don’t want to be vs. being where you want to be but knowing you need to be elsewhere where that you don’t want to go.

This perception of time is robbing us of our best moments on earth from both sides of this tumultuous arrangement.

When we sit in traffic for 3 hours and feel our precious minutes being stolen from us we languish in the frustration. Missing the fun and satisfaction you would have found had you just been there a little earlier. Or not fully enjoying your family or friends when you are with them because you know that you have to leave in a few hours to go in to work.

Being in the moment can be hard for us to do. It takes patients and the ability to find the worth of every minute, even the shitty and misreable ones that you try to escape.

I like to listen to music. I mean I really like it. Im the guy you see driving down the road with the radio cranked up and singing and playing air guitar and air drums. I like to feel it punch me around with a heavy bass or sway me into a trance like state. So over the years I have adopted many songs for my own  personal theme songs.

One song that really fits to how I perceive myself is Frantic by Metallica. This is the opening track on their St. Anger album and it is raw and ominous. Take this with a grain of salt because the song more or less depicts someone who is at a very disturbed state of mind and being. I am not at this level by a long shot! But there are lyrics that I can identify with on another level. For example. One line is ” Do I have the strength to know how I’ll go, Can I find it inside to deal with what I shouldn’t know” that is then followed with ” My lifestyle determines my death style……..”  Finally the chours hits with some pretty creative play on the word Frantic….. ”  Frantic, tic, tic, tic, toc. Frantic, tic, tic, tic, toc.”  So in this dark painted world this character is racing the clock knowing that his death is near and how he lives it will be how he ends it. Yes a dark, dark song and I love it!

Like I said take it with a grain of salt, Im not going over the deep end. I have forged myself over decades of physical training that has helped me become healthier the older I get. I gauge my progress to all  the medical stats and sadly to the population around me. When I see younger guys than me who can’t even go up 3 flights of stairs and take boat loads of medications I commit even more to pursuing better health. My lifestyle WILL determine my deathstyle. The clock ticks away and I can’t slow it or speed it up…… I want to be everywhere and do everything…..damn fire under my ass!

I see the time ticking away and every moment I sit idle makes me itch with craziness! This Frantic tic tic tic toc is both a  blessing and a curse. Nothing can wait so I must do, I must act. But ahh, what a great motivator it is!

I’m nervous now, maybe you think that I am a hyperactive nut? Yup, but only sometimes.

I know when I need to slow down.

For now lets enjoy some Metallica  

Stepping up

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. But if you want to be someone and maybe even live an exciting and daring life, you have to be ready to be criticized. One of the strengths of a good leader is to be able to withstand criticism from all levels and make use of whatever is useful criticism and discard or ignore the terrible criticism.

Even if leadership is not really your bag there will always come the time where you have to step up. Stepping up and doing something or saying something and putting yourself out there to be critiqued by your peers, your boss, your subordinates…. its how things work.

For the most part it is very hard to do the right thing. Those that do will find that this group is often a minority.

Men and women are challenged everyday with this. To take the higher road when the low road is wide open. To work harder when being lazy is just as simple as saying “I’m tired and I don’t want to do anymore.”

For every time you “step up” there will be others who see that they don’t have to and instead step down. This can be frustrating especially when you are trying to lead. When this happens several times it gets harder to maintain your hard work ethic.

But focusing on this is negative. It will drag you down. Instead you have to think like a man ( or a woman who chooses to be powerful ) and focus on the job at hand. Stay firm, this is a test. It is a test on how you handle yourself. But who is it that is testing you? Is it the crowed who lets you go at it alone? No. They already made their decision, if they don’t want to participate then leave them. It is rather a test on you by you! Always work hard to not impress others but yourself. Show YOU what you are really capable of. Never look for approval. Like I said , be a man and a leader.

Focus on the positive and there will be the ones whose eye you catch. They will recognize what you are doing and they will believe in you. These people will find inspiration and be motivated by you. They will let you lead.

It may only be one or two people while those who step down and away may be plentiful. Expect this ratio because again, it is hard to do the right thing. It is much easier to let someone else do the work, especially when the same benefit is had by all. But that is how it is.

We cannot be bogged down by this group of people, realize that you bring quality to the table and you mean business.

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Sisyphus smiling

TRAINING– Powerlifting gives me purpose. To become stronger than I was yesterday. Gravity doesn’t change. It will remain constant today and tomorrow. I either get stronger or I improve my technique… But gravity never changes. This journey is about overcoming obstacles. I’ve had my fair share of injuries and setbacks. I’ve pushed that boulder up the mountain to only have it roll back down again as soon as I hit an injury. But my character never wavers…it builds. You’ve all been there before. This is my journey and even when I make it to the top of my mountain that mountain will only gain more height and I must push this heavy boulder further…climb higher. The key  to realize is that I enjoy pushing that boulder up this wretched unforgiving mountain…that weight on my shoulders..I don’t wish that this rock were to get lighter..I wish to endure more…..it gives my training purpose.
“The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”

Sisyphus by Titian, 1549

Sisyphus by Titian, 1549 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Normally, I have a Bulgarian mentality when it comes to training. I like to lift heavy and lift often. High frequency and high intensity. In the last year I have learned to be more patient and to bring down the intensity. This is due to injuries.

Hardcore Thought Of The Day

Enough talk……Any one can talk, especially in this day and age. You can talk and be a big man online or in person, but a true man doesn’t talk, he does. When you have an idea or dream why wait, go after it and never stop until you make it happen! Always ask yourself a few questions; what’s the worst that can happen and what better time then now? We can’t do it all so get resources, find people who believe and believe in yourself. Together you can do anything if you put your mind to it. And at the end of the day, the real failure lies with in the man who asks himself: what if?….

 

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