Monthly Archives: July 2016

This will be a recurring blog that celebrates the many successes of the members at NBS Fitness.  We have the strongest community of any gym in the city and we also happen to have the strongest athletes in Memphis.  If you have trouble breaking through your barriers you need to leave your current program or gym and come join us at the strongest gym in Memphis.

Combs

This months success story comes from one of my training partners Steven Combs.  He’s a father, a Jujitsu Jedi Master, and an awesome friend that has been powerlifting for about a year now.  In April of this year he took part in his very first meet.  In that meet he hit all three attempts on his squats and ended with a 475 pound PR squat in wraps.  His success story comes from our training session a few weeks ago where Combs squat 470 pounds for a set of 3 to a low box with a spider bar.  Those of you that don’t know, the spider bar is an evil invention that displaces the weight forward so that you have to fight falling forward while trying to squat.  As someone that has been watching Steven grow over the last year I can’t begin to express how awesome it was to see him nail the attempt and to see how far he has come in such a short time.  In the words of Dragon, “We’re not done yet!”  So crack open some rice crispy treats, but only post workout, and celebrate your success and congratulate Steven for his growth and his new PR!

So you just did a powerlifting meet. Now what? 

There are many potential answers to this question. Here are my suggestions, compiled from conversations, methods, and opinions from fellow coaches and athletes, many of whom are far more knowledgeable than I am.

#1 DELOAD

Take some time off from under the bar.

This is especially true for beginner and amateur lifters. Some lifters with more experience will do “prep” meets gearing up for their “main-focus” meet.

In that case, after your “main” meet, I highly suggest taking time off, i.e. AWAY from powerlifting movements entirely.

Why? Recovery.

Powerlifting meets take a lot out of you. Between the excitement of the meet and the heavy weights, the body does not brush this elevated stress in just 1-2 days (even if PED’s are at play). Your body cannot sustain balls-to-the-wall performance demands year-round. There are some athletes out there that push themselves for extended periods of time, but you can only out-run physics and biology for so long.

#2 Reflect

During your deload, I would suggest reflecting on the whole training cycle leading up to the meet. What went right on meet day? What went wrong? Figure out everything that you feel aided you, from your very first training session through your last training session prior to lift day. Determine what exercises you liked and which ones you felt did not aid you. These are the details that will make you a better, healthier, and smarter competitor. Write them down!

#3 Ease Back In

Lastly I would ease back into training, what our team usually implements is a General Physical Preparedness (GPP) phase that entails very low intensity and high volume movements. There will be a lot of unilateral exercises, and many High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) sessions that go along with this. This is what builds the base of the “pyramid.” If I was to ask you, “what is the only way to build a bigger pyramid?” the answer would be, “A bigger base!” The peak of the pyramid is when we compete. That is the pinnacle of our training, everything else leads up to that moment. This is why it is very important to have a large base (foundation), which is built with GPP.

 

Don’t go straight back to training heavy.

Maybe you were dissatisfied with your meet-day performance and want to get back to training heavy right away. I would suggest re-evaluating your strategy.

Injury is bound to happen if you push your body during a time when it is recovering from repeated attempts at (or above) maximal loads.

Whether you’re embarrassed or on a mission to “never let that happen again,” an injury won’t help you reach your goals. Take the damn week off.

Don’t keep eating like you’re trying to make weight.

Unless you didn’t cut any weight or adjust your nutrition significantly, your approach to food should change after you’ve competed.

During recovery, your body needs food (aka calories), so give it what it wants!

Just as with heavy training, maintaining a nutritional “peak” is not sustainable. No one can stay on the same food regimen their entire lifting career. Your body adapts to whatever you feed it, so find a nutritionist and have them aid you in recovering from your meet.

Change your eating habits back to a more “normal” regimen. Even if powerlifting is your top priority, you have to figure out a balance. When the meet is over, shift things back in alignment with a progressing lifestyle. It will not set you up for failure for your next meet, I promise.

Don’t dwell on the negative.

If you have a bad meet, you must acknowledge it, but ultimately move on. Learn from the mistakes, but don’t dwell on them. Focusing solely on the negative will create toxins in your mind which will set you up for failure getting prepared for you next meet. Or worse, it has the potential to torpedo your whole lifting career if you can’t get past that mental state.

Lastly… Enjoy life!

Help others and pass on what you have learned. Let your experiences add to their tool box of information. Take a step back from the bar. It will make you respect the sport and want it that much more!

Take the time to broaden the base of your pyramid. Build a solid foundation.

Once you’ve got your strong foundation, you will be ready to put your body through the next set of challenges.

As I noted in my last article, the pursuit of knowledge involves constant focus on improvement, bringing up weaknesses, and meshing critical thinking with an open mind to new information. It also has a lot to do with finding the right mentors, role models, or experts in the fields you wish to better yourself in, and utilizing their experiences to help guide your further learning.

Critiquing one’s self in order to identify and bring up a weakness is not necessarily the easiest thing to do. For me, I have identified that long term activation and correction of a movement pattern has been by far my largest struggle as a practitioner. As any athlete involved in increasing performance will understand, the biggest factor in continually improving over time is whether or not you remain healthy. In this paradigm, a competitive athlete quickly understands that its not so much how quickly you can get back from an injury, but how you can prevent future injury. This is a much harder process than simply rehabbing or treating an already occurred injury.

The best area for my improvement, to me, is the ability to provide the athletes that I work with, with means of activating the areas in which I see a deficit. As you may also remember from my previous articles, I also talk a lot about muscle imbalances. A typical muscle imbalance involves a hyper and hypo-facilitated muscle neurologically, giving it either a tonic (increased) or phasic (decreased) tone. The typical treatment plan for this is to stretch the tight muscles and try to strengthen the weakened ones. This does leave a gap for activation, and its that gap which I’ve identified a need to continue to try and fill.

This weekend, I will be traveling up to Columbus, OH to learn some of the new therapies and activation methods that have been all the talk at EliteFTS. The main concepts that I can pull from what I’ve gathered of what to expect from this seminar is that it is deeply involved with the nervous system in order to reactivate and change motor patterns in the body. So far it has been very well spoken of by many in the strength world who have utilized it. It also seems to involve a reproducible pattern of identification for these changes in motor function. I have been looking for a technique that identifies and addresses these types of issues for a while now, and have contemplated another technique before hearing about this specific one. After talking to David Allen about the seminar and then reading the results that those at EliteFTS have been having, I easily decided that this checked off all the boxes to entice me to check it out. I am excited to explore what this seminar has to offer, and will look to do a special write up about it when I get back. So stay tuned! And for those who are already my patients, I hope you are ready to be guinea pigs!

So, I wanted to share more of my struggle that I’ve been having with my training lately in Triphasic. I think it’s great to show my triumphs, and many people do that, but I also want to show some of my fails. We should all know by now that there isn’t any success without failure. I think it’s good for you all to see it, as well as my own clients, so they know that I too face difficulties in my training from time to time. Sometimes you have to fail in order to keep moving foreword.

 

This first video was actually a pr for me. That is if you want to count a wide stance, spider bar squat to a low box as a pr….lol! If you watch closely, my left foot,(your right, my left) shifts slightly foreword and out of position just a hair after I come up from my first rep. Thanks for the push guys.

 

Alright, this next video is one of my fails. we were pulling off of about 5 mats I believe. I actually decided to do this beltless because this is not my usual deadlift stance. I am a sumo puller, but we were doing opposite stance in this phase of our training. For some reason when I pull conventional with a belt, it seems to really mess with me and when I get set up at the bottom of the lift, I get a bunch of slack in my belt and it loses it’s tightness. I decided to go beltless at 405 and it felt good, 455 felt good, but then, when I got to 475, well…just watch for yourself. Excuse the language of my teammates…lol!

 

 

To be honest, I don’t really know why I missed it. The first two didn’t really feel that bad at all, but when I went of that third, it literally was just not there. After this I threw my belt on and tried it again, but it just didn’t happen. I have watched this video so many times since and found myself laughing almost every time I watched it. I freaking love my teammates and the way they push me and support me. They are a great group of guys and I wouldn’t want to train with any other group. Thanks for the push guys. Just remember that it’s okay to fail. Learn from your mistakes and move on. Every training day is an opportunity to start fresh and forget about the bad training day you had two days ago. Get it out of your mind, and SFW!

meatheadsEvery brand faces identity issues at some point.  NBS Is no different.  Every week, it feels like I am running into people who are under the assumption that NBS is just crawling with meatheads.  While I do understand from a quick glance where that idea is coming from, its actually pretty far from the truth.  While we do have great athletes that are very focused on their goals, I have found that in some aspect, each of these meatheads are actually pretty sweet men.  In this installment of meet the meatheads, I did a quick interview to show the softer side of the NBS meatheads.

 

antolaura

Christian Anto:

When was the last time you cried:  I teared up last night because a buddies grandfather died.  I hated hearing him being so upset.  He was telling me about their relationship and I just couldn’t help it.

What is your most beloved memory from childhood? I went skiing in the UP of Michigan with my family. It was a good time.

Whats the most romantic thing you have done for a girl?  I HATE country, but my girlfriend loves it.  Brad Paisley came to town and I bought my girlfriend two tickets, and went with her.  She loved it and that’s what was important.

What would your girlfriend say is your best trait?  My cute muffin toosh.

 

tomannie

Thomas Lackie:

When was the last time you cried: Recently enough.

What is your most beloved memory from childhood?:  Going to Shoneys with my dad.  I thought hanging out with my dad was so cool, and I really liked that time we spent together. He would be in his uniform and I really thought that was cool when I was a kid.

Whats the most romantic thing you have done for a girl?:  I am kind of a romantic guy, actually.  I open doors, I buy flowers whenever the urge strikes, I am liberal with compliments, and conservative with criticism.

What would your girlfriend say is your best trait?  I am always looking out for peoples best interests and am very protective

 

jimbear
Jim Sadler:

When was the last time you cried: Monday at a funeral.  I had the real feelz in there.

What is your most beloved memory from childhood?  Meeting the real life Mr. Rogers in person on a plane from St. Louis to Chicago.  I was in the window seat, and he was in the aisle seat.  No one between us.  He offered me his peanuts and I said “No thank you, Mr. Rogers”

Whats the most romantic thing you have done for a girl?   I use to believe buying flowers, beautiful jewelry, extravagant dinners or long intimate trips was the way to your special ladies heart.  It took sobriety and many years of trial and error to realize all i had to do was give her my heart 100%.  I just recently did that.  Does that count?  Or are you looking for an actual act?

What would your girlfriend say is your best trait? Protecting her son and giving him the best example I have on how to be a man

 

margarettyrel

Dr. Tyrel Detweiler:

When was the last time you cried: Two years ago at a funeral

What is your most beloved memory from childhood? Getting bribed by my grandfather into being potty trained by getting a tractor ride on the farm!

Whats the most romantic thing you have done for a girl?  I recently met my girlfriend at her apartment and had cooked her favorite meal, including chocolate covered strawberries

What would your girlfriend say is your best trait? :  She literally just said “my loving heart.”

 

davidbean

David Allen:

When was the last time you cried: I try to erase all memories of weakness from my mind.

What is your most beloved memory from childhood? : I try to erase all memories of weakness from my mind.

Whats the most romantic thing you have done for a girl?  : I try to erase all memories of weakness from my mind.

What would your wife say is your best trait?  Im very protective

…Needless to say, everything you imagine about David is actually probably true

 

Stay tuned, as next few weeks will bring you different meatheads and a glimpse into their softer side.

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This is literally the only detergent allowed to touch my clothes. Can’t be squatting and have weak shorts, that’doesn’t just be terrible. This is the detergent for those individuals that don’t just want to be strong in the gym but in every aspect of life!

anniemaria

I recently had a friend/client who was tossing the idea of competing in a figure show around.  We got to talking about the pros and cons about it, and in an attempt to oversimplify, I simply said that every aspect of it was challenging, and I wasn’t sure if that was a direction we should be looking into at this point in time.  As I should have expected, she asked me to expand on the challenges of prep, and it sparked a lot of thought for days to follow.

Regimen: Competing in any sport requires a degree of training and discipline that is fairly alien to the general population.  Anytime I am getting ready for a powerlifting meet or strongman meet, there are very very few things that will keep me from training 4-5x/week in an effort to perform to the absolute best of my ability.  I will also tend to eat a little more deliberately, as powerlifting and strongman still require weigh ins.  Competition can go down to the wire with the lightest competitor getting the win in the event of a tie.  However, physique sports are a different animal. Depending on your conditioning, your day often starts with cardio.  If you work a 9-5, this means you wake up a couple of hours early to ensure you have time to get all the cardio in, your meals packed, a shower and into work on time.  Maybe you will have to go to the gym during your lunch break, which means your time management needs to be played down to the minute.  If you get off work and havent completed a critical part of your training, guess what? Back to the gym you go.  You may also find yourself taking your professional obligations home with you if your day remotely got out of hand.  This sort of busyness is your life for 12-24 weeks and its not something you can negotiate your way out of.  Feeling beat up and want a rest day? Sorry, not happening.  Forget a meal at home and want to find an easy substitution as a local eatery? Probably not a good idea.  Want to hit up a wedding/birthday/bachelorette party and eat the food served? Nope.  The key to competing in physique sports is consistency over months and months.  It gets stale, and its not always motivating.  Its what you signed up for.

Money:  By FAR one of the most understated challenges in contest prep is financing a competition.  You may find ways to cut corners, but to give you an example of what you can expect to spend, here is a short list of expenses I have accrued, and a range that I have paid for them:

Coaching: 150-250month  x 4 months (600-1000)
Additional Groceries: 75/week   x 16 weeks (1200)

Suit: 500-1500

Heels/jewelry: 100.00

NPC Card: 125.00

Registration: 100.00

Comprehensive tanning package: $150

Make-up/Hair: $150

Posing Lessons: $50 x 4 (200)

Hotel room stay: 150

Gym Membership:35-65/month  x 4 months (140-260)

So..on the low end, you could spend 3415.00.  On the high end you could spend nearly 5000.00.  Of course there are ways to take the costs down, but these are not atypical costs.

 

ReceptionThis is a biggie. Physique sports go against everything we have ever been told.  The entire premise is to work your ass off, get on stage, and then be picked apart solely by what your body showcases.  Judging staff are not typically mean people, but they will shoot you straight on where you are not up to par.  That is exactly what they are suppose to do.  The criteria for each division is always up for debate, but ultimately you will hear what you need to bring up.  If you are underdeveloped, under-conditioned, have an unpleasing frame, are overdeveloped…you will hear about it.  There are no bonus points for being a sweet person, no one cares if you are a stand out athlete, and no one cares what trials and tribulations you have experienced throughout the prep.  You are a body on stage to be judged.  IF you are remotely sensitive to constructive criticism on your body, decide if this is a sport that will send you in a tailspin.  You will also likely be opening yourself up to criticism from friends and enemies.  When you jump off stage and resume a more normal lifestyle, you will often be accused of “blowing up” as people may have grown accustomed to your body at an uncomfortably lean level.  You will likely freak out when it appears that all of your hard work is disappearing with every “normal life” experience you have post show. The mental health leading up to and post show are two of the hardest parts of prep for most people, myself included.  I cannot stress enough the importance of doing a show for intrinsic reasons and being pretty soundly confident before you do so.

 

The truth is, I love competing and will likely do some aspect of it until I physically cannot.  I love competing more than I hate the above struggles. I think its wild to be able to live in an adapting organism, and empowering to know that I am in charge of it.  However, sometimes I spend a little too much time talking about the rainbows, and don’t address the storm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In honor of real hip hop music that has since been destroyed by feuds between a 95 lb white girl and a rap mogul, I have decided to run a monthly blog about the hip hop I was raised on.   The kind of music that didn’t make any sense but also didn’t have to.  The inaugural song comes to you from Andre 3000 and CeeLo Green and their band Dungeon Family.  To this day this is still one of my favorite songs.  So enjoy the sweet melodies of TransDF Express!

A few weeks ago, me and another member were having a conversation that I have long had with myself about knowledge and learning. This conversation was particularly about nutrition and human performance, but I would argue that it can be applicable to becoming better at your craft, regardless of what it may be. The conversation at hand was essentially the struggle of how to learn and grow with the goal of becoming one of the best in your field. I think this is definitely a struggle that is appreciated by many and understood by few. HOW do you become the best? HOW can I be like (insert expert)? HOW did they become so knowledgable? It’s as if they have an answer for everything… I won’t claim to know the answer, but personally for me, I feel as if I have been able to formulate at least a few strategies to filter through some of the confusion and bullshit which have at least helped to some level. As we discussed this struggle, I found that my findings and strategies were similar to his. Without scripting the entire conversation, albeit it was a good one, these are the take-away points from that conversation. 3 Things to Help You Evolve in Your Field.

 

1.  Surround Yourself With/Learn From Quality Individuals.

This is not necessarily meaning that you should move hundreds of miles away to intern with or train with the experts of your field (although its not a horrible idea if you can make it happen). This is simply meaning that you need to have a group of mentors or trustworthy individuals to either follow their work, learn from, or bounce your ideas and concerns off of. The issue here being that since we have entered the age of (mis)information, anyone and everyone has now became an expert. Everyone has a channel on youtube and everyone is a kinesiology, nutrition, rehab AND strength training expert all in one (and each of them have an amazing secret that no one else knows). How the hell do you sift through all this and actually find the true experts? The answer: You look at their body of work. For health care professionals who have they worked with? Where have they done their training? Who trusts them as providers? Are they involved in research and do they have any published work?

In strength training or nutrition, what have they done personally? Who have they trained under or who were their mentors? Who are the products of their training programs? Start paying attention to those things and you will realize pretty quickly that the duds are typically going to follow a “me, me, me” call, as this is the only validation or credibility they have. For example: If you see a youtube channel talking about how easy it is to get cut and have abs by doing 30 minutes of work a day at home, question why it is that there are no examples success to show for it besides himself/herself. And while we are on that note of social media, for the love of God do not ever look at the amount of followers someones has. Just because someone has followers, has no merit whatsoever in how knowledgeable they are. I would even argue that this is an inverse relationship. The current world’s strongest man has around 50,000 followers on youtube. Pick any random channel under the category of “six pack” and you have multiple groups or channels with millions of followers. Who do you think ACTUALLY knows anything about strength? Have I made my point?

Once you do find these individuals though, let them guide your journey for growth in the right direction. If you wish to seek knowledge, find out what sources those individuals obtained their knowledge. Chances are, if you are trying to learn about rehabilitation techniques, if you start with scholarly articles published by a reputable individual, you will already be on the right path. Every research article is usually based off of 20-40 or even 100 other articles which are cited at the end. Pick a few that are relative to what you want to learn and go from there. Not only are you learning something relevant to your interests, but you are also learning from sources who’s information were valuable to the individual who’s opinion you value. One starting article could lead to 30 or more which are worthwhile.

SBD Clinic 2

 

2. Learn to Be Critical.

One of the biggest mistakes that I’ve seen from those who are on the path to betterment and “becoming the best” in their field is an almost blind following or gullibility to information. I will admit that I see this a lot in my field, but that it is not exclusive to chiropractic or health care in general. I’m not advocating the need to question everything, but it is critical to be able to step back and make sure that information being fed to you still aligns with the knowledge you have worked so hard to develop. Even in scientific literature, there does exist biased research and information does need to be critically evaluated to determine its validity. This happens as well with any marketing scheme in which a successful person is placed in front of the camera or microphone and starts promising all of the money and success that he or she has and all you have to do is follow what they do, buy “x” book or do a certain technique. Some individuals will see that as a fast lane to the promised land and buy into whatever dogma comes next. In this mindset, they are essentially relying on “if this person is successful, then if i do exactly what they do, I will be successful too.” I will argue that no one technique or certification has ever made someone successful or an expert in their field. To me, certifications can be helpful, but only few can be seen as a true indicator of one’s abilities. Knowledge still needs to be applied, and its the application and thought process of how to apply that knowledge that will make an individual stand apart.

 

3. Realize There is No Finish Line.

Whether you like it or not, this is the reality. For those looking to evolve as one of the top members of their field, beware: you are not running a race. I personally avoid looking at this process as a race with a finish. There is no finish line. There is no point in which you just stop because you have “arrived”. Name an athlete, profession, company, etc. that does not constantly focus on improvement and development in order to stay at the top of their trade. I promise you they do not exist. This is probably the biggest reason why there is a spectrum of people in every profession. Not everyone will be the top in their field or a world record holder, etc. It’s just not realistic. Those positions, records, and levels of expertise are unique because of the fact that they are difficult to obtain. So what makes those people stand apart? What do you do if there is no finish line? To me I think it’s passion and consistency. First, you need to have a certain level of passion towards your field. It doesn’t mean that you have to love every second of it, but it does mean that you have to feel strongly about what it is you do and how you do it. Passion is what will push you through hardships, guide your decision making, and entice and excite you and others to your cause.

Consistency is also a huge factor in building success over time. You can only go nose to the grindstone for so long before you burn out. So if you absolutely have to think of this process as a race, think of it as a life long race. If you really want to last, you better not sprint the first leg, otherwise you will burn out. Sometimes, you just need to trust that consistency of chipping away for a few hours a day is going to yield results in the long run over devoting huge chunks of time and effort towards a short term goal. I had an instructor in my schooling who was an incredibly intelligent radiologist and pathologist. I remembered him talking about his career and noting that at a certain period in his pursuit of education that he spent 2 years studying pathologies of the hand. From how to properly diagnose and identify on imaging, to cause (etiology) and treatment of these pathologies. TWO YEARS! Most people have a hard time changing their diet and exercise regimen even when their life is at stake for this kind of time. Even in fitness, you will only find a certain percentage of individuals who have devoted two years to bring up their weaknesses in the pursuit of furthering themselves. Consistency is the ability for you to constantly push forward and improve. Having routines, methods, and goals built into each day, week, month, etc. will allow you to maintain constant growth. Time can be a positive or negative factor. If you allow time to slip by without accomplishing certain tasks because you will “do it tomorrow”, it can be your worst enemy. But if you are able to utilize consistency and accomplish tasks and improve each day, time will compound and multiply this growth over a long period. The big takeaway is that when you look at the process of becoming great over a career 2 years out of 20 or 30 is not a lot of time. Time alone will be a huge factor in growing as an individual. If you use it wisely, it will pay dividends.

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The other cool thing about consistency and passion is they eventually become habitual. After a while, you don’t so much force yourself to devote time to learning, growing the business, or building your strength because you HAVE to, but simply because it’s a part of what you do and value the most.

Growing up, my Dad was always a “toy” guy. He always had a ton of fun things to play with: guns, corvette, motorcycles, jeeps, etc. When my Dad got into something, he really got into it. When he got into hockey, he joined a team, he coached, and he bought top of the line equipment. That is a trait that I have definitely picked up. If I’m into something, I’m going to get the nice stuff. Why? Because I recognize the difference in quality and with a higher quality product, I get more enjoyment out of the activity. A couple years ago, my buddy and I got into paintball and we realized if you had the crappy rental equipment, you got your ass kicked. Paintball isn’t much fun when you’re getting shot and not doing any of the shooting yourself.

Fitness is very similar. This is because fitness is not a commodity. A commodity is a raw product. For the most part, there isn’t much difference in a commodity, so you purchase it based on price. Need granulated sugar? You’re probably going to purchase the cheapest container of granulated sugar you can find because there isn’t really any difference between the two brands. Now, if you want to take a date out and impress them, you’re probably not going to go to the cheapest restaurant. Why? Because you know a cheap restaurant probably isn’t going to provide you with the quality food and service you expect on a date.

I recently had someone ask me what the benefits of coming to NBS Fitness over a commercial gym were for someone interested in powerlifting. It’s a pretty simple question but it revealed to me that here is someone who has never experienced nor has any knowledge of what a gym like NBS Fitness is. It would be like asking what’s the difference between McDonald’s and Ruth Chris for someone interested in a good steak. Well, very simply McDonald’s doesn’t offer steak and Ruth Chris provides some of the best steak around. Very similarly, a commercial gym doesn’t offer powerlifting, while NBS Fitness is nationally recognized as one of the best powerlifting gyms around.

To give an example of why you can’t few fitness as a commodity, several years I got into a discussion with someone about the importance of training environment. I made the argument that training environment is vital to success, that it is the reason there are gyms like Westside Barbell, Gold’s Venice, and Metroflex. He believed that where you train doesn’t matter as long as you train hard. He entered one of our powerlifting meets as bench only and bombed out on bench because he did not know that you had to pause the bench or wait on a rack command. He later entered another one of our powerlifting meets and bombed on squats because he could not get to depth. Had he been training at NBS during is preparation, we could have informed him of the rules and ensured he had an enjoyable meet (ie being able to put up a total and not be disqualified).

So if you’re serious about getting results, making best use of your time, and enjoying the process, remember that fitness is not a commodity.

Many men out there may be wondering if they should grow a beard or not.  The purpose of this blog today is to help you understand the positives and negatives of having a beard.  Over the past few years of being a proud beard wearer I’ve learned that there are many positives about having a beard, and many negatives so let’s break them down starting with the positives.

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Positives- the reasons that you should grow a beard

  1. The ladies love beards. This is the most important thing you should know about a beard is that it is useful to attracting a mate.  Let’s face it most men aren’t Brad Pitt so we gotta cover that face up.  A healthy full beard is just like makeup and women appreciate the effort of having a great beard.  If you meet a woman that doesn’t like beards it means 1 of 2 things
    1. They’re lying and they don’t know that they really like beards yet or they don’t want to admit that they like beards
    2. Or they honestly don’t like beards and in that case you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life
  2. Protection from the elements. My beard saves my face from the sun and cut my face sunscreen bill by more than half, that’s just economical.  On top of that, beards are like a warm blanket in the winter to keep your face protected from Mother Nature’s worst weapon the cold.
  3. Beards hide your emotions. Look it’s okay to be connected to your sensitive side but it’s not okay for everyone to think that you’re weak.  With a luscious face full of fur you can cover up these negative emotions and protect your image.  Shoot people can barely tell if I’m smiling and I like it that way because it makes me seem unpredictable and capable of anything at any time, a wild card if you will.
  4. Beards make you look smarter. Think about all the college professors that have beards.  Every wizard I know of has one, and those dudes know everything.  They show wisdom and command respect.  Plus they make you look older and like you have more experience.  Without this beard I look like a 17 year old with the baby face.
  5. They are the ultimate conversation piece. If you struggle to get conversations started, grow a massive beard then everyone will inevitably ask you about your beard.  Instantly you will have more friends, also you should know there really is an underground beard community with laws and rules (i.e. if two bearded men cross paths the man with the longer beard has right of way).

Negatives- Why you shouldn’t grow a beard

  1. Getting food stuck in the beard. This one is miserable when you want to eat wings or anything that involves a sauce of any type.  I never fully appreciated straws until I grew a beard.  But this is also a positive because then I get to smell chicken wings all day so I’m counting this as a positive.
  2. Front squats are a nightmare. I constantly got my beard stuck between the bar and my chest when I was doing front squats, but that also means that I probably don’t have to do front squats anymore and since I hate front squats because they’re the worst this is also a positive.
  3. Tying a tie because it always catches some of the sensitive hairs at the base of the neck and rips them out as you tie your decorative noose. On top of that once your beard gets long enough you can’t even see the knot that you just spent so much time trying to get perfect because it’s covered up by the beard.  This is also a great benefit to you because your beard covers up the knot it also covers up the top 1 or 2 buttons of the shirt, and when you have a beard you should be working out, and since your working out your neck will grow and you don’t need 5 different neck sized dress shirts so leave the top button undone.  I can’t remember the last time that I actually buttoned the top button on a dress shirt and I have the beard to thank for that, therefore this is a positive thing as well.

As I look over this exhaustive and comprehensive list of pros and cons, I realize there are no negatives to having a beard.  I tried to help you see the pros and cons, but the list speaks for itself and there are no cons.  That means that it’s time for you to grow a beard!

 

 

NBS Fitness will be putting its members on display this weekend during its media day on Saturday. We will be showcasing the many iron sports offered at the facilities including powerlifting, strongman, bodybuilding, and olympic lifting. It will be an intense and fun day with individuals who are passionate about the iron sports, strength, and personal improvement.

 

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Since being at NBS Fitness, I’ve moved away from strongman despite the vast amount of success the strongman group here has been having in order to improve and build for strongman myself. In the past I had competed in the 275 class. In this class, I had concluded that my strength was my athleticism, and my weakness was my top end strength. Athleticism, I felt gave me an edge in moving, loading, and pushing/pulling events, whereas my lack of top end strength made it difficult to stick with the pack in most of the static events such as pressing or deadlifting. After my last competition, I decided that in order to improve as a strongman, I needed to drop down a weight class, recomp my body, and build my strength from there. From early 2015, I dropped from about 275 to 233 before looking to David Allen for a switch in training and nutrition in November 2015. The goal was set to move to hypertrophy based programming to build size, technique, and strength to eventually even out at the 242 class. During this time, I have still remained involved in strongman administratively, but not as a competitor.

 

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This week, however, I’m excited to get to put my training to the side and jump back into strongman for a day to hit some heavy events with fellow team members for the benefit of NBS Fitness. The strongman group will try to cover a majority of the many different events in strongman, and along with the rest of the iron sports here at NBS, provide some awesome footage of why NBS Fitness and its members are the absolute sh*t.

 

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One of the things that I love about powerlifting is the passion that people have for the sport.  From training to competitions there is no shortage of passionate people in powerlifting.  People love this sport, they love the way they feel when shattering a personal record or reach a goal that they’ve been working on for a long time.  These accomplishments fuel the powerlifter, but what happens to individuals that have the fuel dry up; what happens when passion isn’t enough to get you through the rigors of training?  As someone that’s going through a lot of personal passion slayers, I will be the first to tell you that the passion-well can and does dry up if you don’t feed it consistently.  I’m still going through things that make working out almost a burden rather than the thing that gets me up in the morning and excited about the day.  Everyone goes through challenges in life, and I’m not an exception, so I want to concentrate on what has helped motivate me to proceed and press through stress and continue the pursuit of my passion.

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Recently I had a conversation with a member of the gym about training and their need to change from one program to another so that passion doesn’t dry up.  This member said that, “everybody needs to change things up sometimes to keep motivated, well I guess not everyone because you don’t.”  This member implied that the powerlifting team didn’t have to change from one sport to the other just to keep the motivation necessary to come to the gym.  That made me think about what is so different between me and this member that keeps me powerlifting while they switched from bodybuilding, to running, and etc.  I’ve determined that there are four things that I use to keep me passionate, even when the world around me seems to be crumbling or I feel stuck and want to change.

 

Learn

When I’m passionate about something I want to learn everything I can about that thing.  If you want to raise your passion then pick up a book or read an article and try it out.  I remember when I first started working out I bought every magazine I could and tried every pro training day that I could get my hands on.  I was so passionate about it that sometimes I would spend up to 3 hours in the gym training.  My mind was focused on getting everything out of my body that I was capable of.  David Allen recommends reading an article every day and I recommend the same thing.  Expand your knowledge base and see if that won’t raise your passion.

Vision

Vision is a powerful tool used to help you generate and capture passion.  When you envision your goals what do you see?  Do you see yourself standing on a platform in front of hundreds of screaming fans as you lock out a deadlift?  If you don’t see that then what is your mind focused on?  When I have a clear vision of my goals I know exactly where I’m headed and I can see the path that I need to be on to reach those goals.  I can tell when my passion is high because I will daydream about squats.  When I’m at church I think about deadlifts.  When I lay in bed before sleep I evaluate my bench form in my head.  Vision is powerful.  Find your vision and watch your passion grow.

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Friends

       Make sure that you have a great group of friends around you to support you and keep you honest.  It becomes easy to phone in the tasks of training when everything in life seems like crap.  You have to have a great base of support from people that understand what you’re going through and respect your privacy but not your weakness.  These people will be your best ally against passion leaches.  Separate yourself from people that just want to detract you from your goals; you know exactly who those people are.  I bet you can think of one or two people that are completely distracting you from what is important to you.  Remember you set the goal, not them.  True friends realize that it’s a goal you set because it’s important to you and real friends will take you to task when you need them to.  I can’t stress enough the importance of training partners and people that will pull you up the hill of success when you feel like you have nothing left to give!

 

Successes

Concentrate on you successes.  If your passion is failing don’t beat yourself up more by saying I didn’t make this lift or life is going the way you planned.  You take a beating all day and can’t afford to keep losing, even in your own mind.  Find some success no matter how moderate it is.  If it’s just making a list and checking a few items off of it, you have to have some success.  Use that to springboard you to your bigger and greater goals.  Every success counts when you’re in the dumps of depression or stress.  You woke up today; congratulations you’ve accomplished something that a lot of people struggle with.  You’re reading an article right now, that’s a success as well.  Count them up and see if your perspective doesn’t change.  You are capable of changing so much in your life, if you will concentrate on your successes instead of your failures.

At times passion just isn’t enough to get you where you want to be.  You have to have steps to recover your passion.  These four steps are a few of mine that I’ve used to help me maintain my passion.  I won’t give up because life has been difficult, because I know in the long run if I give up I will regret everything.  If you are able to push through and reach your goals you will have nothing to regret.  Capture the feeling of reaching your goals and setting personal records by learning more about your passion through study and reflection, visualizing your joy when you reach that goal, reaching out to your friends and workout partners for support, and by concentrating on all of your successes regardless of how small and insignificant they may feel.  The passion is in there, recapture that feeling you had when you first started lifting.

So the NBS family is made up of a bunch of people who are quick witted and love to talk trash. They have gotten very good at it over the past few years. I have come up with a “Quick Chart” trouble tree for people to refer to when they ask themselves, “have I made it yet?”

#1- Double Body weight Squat / Deadlift? if yes, 2 point

#2- 1.5x Body Weight Bench? if yes, 1 point

#3- Do you weigh 200lbs? if yes, 1 point

#4- Do you have an elite total? If yes, 1 point

#4.2- Do you have an elite total but answered no to #3? Sorry denied

So to answer everyones question, “Have I Made It???”, if you can tally up 6 points you made it!!!

soooooo……. better luck next time

 

As we continue to roll through the summer, here is yet another change at Mid-South SSP: We have a new logo and a new Facebook page for you to stay connected with future activities, announcements, and write-ups with NBS Fitness. This page will allow for further connection with patients and the public to increase availability for Q&A, access to information, and outlets for patients to find scheduling opportunities with the clinic.

 

I guess we are legit now, huh?

I guess we are legit now, huh?

 

Moving forward, Mid-South SSP’s Facebook page will also be an outlet for any testimonials, videos, and sporting events that I am involved with. So go check it out, give us a like, and as always, stay tuned for new updates and information as it is develops!

I love Louisiana based bands because they just have a certain sound that comes with growing up in that area. Down blends the deep blues with a metal groove and the insane lyrics of  Phil Anselmo in their song Stone the Crow

Since joining NBS almost 2 years ago when I was just interning here, I have managed to add about 100 lbs to my bench press, well over 100 lbs on my squat, and well over 100 lbs to my deadlift. Needless to say, if you are wanting to become a stronger version of yourself, then this is the only gym in Memphis that is right for helping you reach success. In addition to adding pounds to these lifts, I have put on about 30lbs of bodyweight in the time that I have been here, too! I truly believe that this wouldn’t have been possible had I not surrounded myself with others that were more knowledgeable on getting bigger and stronger than I was. In the time that I have been here, I have learned a couple of things along the way on how to pack on the pounds, and I would like to share them with you.

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First of all, if you want to get big, consistency is king. You have to be consistent on your meals and on your training. Yes, there are probably going to be days when you “don’t feel like it”, and you may have to force feed yourself, but that is just the nature of the game. No one ever said it was going to be easy. Typically, depending on how big or small you are currently, you will probably be eating around 6 to 8 times per day about every 2 to 4 hours.

 

What you want to try to shoot for is to have all three of the macronutrients in your meals. Each meal should consist of a source of carbs, fat, and protein. Depending on what your occupation is, or how much whole food you can shovel into your mouth, you may want to supplement with one to two protein shakes throughout the day, but no more than two. A decent increase in bodyweight would be anywhere from 1 to maybe 2lbs per week. Anymore than that and you are probably going to end up having too much excess fat, or as some say, the wrong kind of weight. A little extra never hurt anyone, but too much could have a negative effect on your daily life, health. etc.

 

Recently I was dealing with some gastrointestinal discomfort and digestion issues. This, too, can be a common thing that people deal with when being in a hypocaloric state. For weeks I thought that it was something that I was eating that I just couldn’t digest very well. I tried a variety of different carbs, but nothing was working. I felt bloated all of the time, especially in the evening. I asked some of my peers about it, as well as mentioning it to my nutrition coach. I came to the conclusion that I should get some raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, probiotics and digestive enzymes. Boom! A week went by, and I didn’t have any issues. Another week and another week, and now its been well over a month, and I have not had any problems, fingers crossed. So, if you’ve been looking to pack on the pounds, but have been dealing with bloat, and GI issues, I would give those a try immediately. I’m not saying it will work for everyone, but it worked for me.

ACV1 Probiotics-word-chart

Have a cheat meal once or twice a week. If you are one of those people that call yourself a “hardgainer,” then this will be ideal for you to help you pack on those stubborn pounds. Time and time again I hear people say that they “just can’t gain weight.” Well, the answer will always be the same, eat more! You are not exempt from the laws of thermodynamics! However, I will say that just like the journey goes for losing weight, it will be the same for gaining. It is not a sprint, it is a marathon, keep chipping away day by day, meal by meal and before you know it you will be a monster.

 

One of the great things about nutrition and your body is that it is dynamic; it is ever changing. You can go through periods of adding on weight and periods of losing weight. Usually, no matter which one you are doing, you will be learning something about nutrition and yourself. You will form new habits, some good and some bad. The important thing to realize is that it is a journey and you’ve got to learn to enjoy the journey. You may have slip ups from time to time, and that is okay. There is no success without failure.

 

As I stated earlier, I had someone to help and guide me along the way. If you aren’t well-educated in the science of nutrition, then we have some pretty experienced people here that can help you gain, or lose depending on what your specific goals are. Remember, it won’t always be easy, but if you want it bad enough, it will definitely be worth it.

 

 

FILE - In this July 10, 1999 file photo, the United States' Brandi Chastain celebrates by taking off her jersey after kicking in the game-winning penalty shootout goal against China in the Women's World Cup Final at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. On Monday Aug. 19, 2013, Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy and Chastain visited a soccer camp in Manhattan and promoted "The '99ers," the latest in the ESPN Films Nine for IX documentary series that will air Tuesday night. (AP Photo/The San Francisco Examiner, Lacy Atkins, File) MANDATORY CREDIT. SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE OUT ORG XMIT: CAEXA301

Body image wasn’t something I thought I would ever write about.  Not because I don’t have thoughts about it or have no experience with it, because I certainly do.  However, I think its SUCH a hot topic for people and there’s almost no way to address it without upsetting someone.  As my reach has expanded in the past few years, I have talked to men and women on all sides of the matter.  What does remain constant, is that for the most part, people have to rewire the way they are looking at their bodies when they are involved in the iron sport world.  We often represent an anomaly when put into general population.  This is where things can get hairy.  I’m not going to pretend that I haven’t been emotionally impacted by what people have said about me as I walked by.  It stings when a complete stranger mutters under their breath how much they loath what you look like.  I have had countless social media messages over the years from anonymous accounts ranging from “ew” to “I hope you die.”  Trust me, I have been and will likely always been an easy target for people wanting to be mean.  There is no rationalizing it, and there is no predicting it.  What I can do is explain how I’ve been able to mentally progress past these issues.

Focus on your “why”Cool, Annie.  You read some pop-psych book and picked up this tidbit.”  This may be true, but I believe that defining your “why” will keep you from absorbing every single opinion that gets thrown your way.  For those that are not familiar with this concept, its a fairly regular term used in entrepreneur-motivation-type literature that encourages you to make decisions that allow you to live out your passion.  This is especially important in the realm of iron sports and physique sports because it allows you fall back to your foundations when things get hard.  Not only will this breed a strong sense of purpose, but it will allow you to keep “big picture” in mind when it feels like the world is pissed off by your body.  (I have many “whys.” I may write about that in a future blog post)

Have a clear understanding of where you are currently, and where you want to go.  I had a colleague that called this “dual vision,” and I really like that term.  I think its important to recognize that you can value your body as it is, but also strive to improve.  I have seen a LOT of social media focus lately on body acceptance, and I think that is a beautiful thing.  However, overtime, this has become skewed with the notion that wanting more for yourself comes from a place of self-loathing.  Wanting to lose weight, get stronger, compete in iron sports, have abs is NOT a symptom of narcissism or some sort of personality disorder.  Its so much more simple: we all want to be the best version of ourselves.  To be totally, honest, I am not sure when this became a bad thing.

Choose your own standards.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but with expanding social media engagement, its hard to remember that.  In 1999, I was 11 years old.  I remember watching the Women’s World Cup when Brandi Chastain scored a penalty kick that gave USA the win over China.  In what had to be the most insane professional moment, she ripped off her jersey and fell to her knees in celebration.  I remember amidst the excitement thinking that I wanted to be just like her, and at that moment taking notice to a body type I hadn’t seen before: athletic.  Since that moment, I have always admired delt caps, quad sweeps, dropped hamstring, and abs.   Maybe part of that was the excitement of that particular soccer game, and there is probably a large component of psych that I still don’t understand that made me appreciate Chastains build.  But it undeniably had me thinking about what the human body is capable of becoming.  More importantly, this was a fairly unjaded Annie deciding with minimal influence what I personally wanted to look like.  At that moment, I started thinking more into how incredibly cool the human body was in its ability to grow and adapt to stressors.  This would ultimately lead me to where I am today.  (note: my own ideas of beauty have changed significantly as I have encountered multiple admirable builds, and will probably continue to evolve as I do.)

Stop Criticizing Others:   Just as I had the above instance of influence, everyone you meet has had moments that shaped their world view and standards of beauty.  Your own experience on this planet is unlike anyone elses, and our lives will reflect those differences in preference.  Its actually a pretty beautiful part of life.  I have great friends that prefer a smaller, softer build year round and others that are professional bodybuilders.  They have had complex lives like anyone else and have formed bodies that they are proud to be in and are doing no harm to anyone.  Who the hell is anyone else to tell them that they need to change?  By insisting upon your own standards of beauty, you are perpetuating this detrimental social phenomenon of “body shaming.”  Further, introspectively, you are opening yourself up to criticism from others.  You have actually paved the way for it.  Not only are you hurting others, but you are potentially hurting yourself.  Don’t be a part of the problem.

Assess your plan and adherence:  The biggest fear I think I  have is not reaching my own potential.  I know its cliche to say that, but damn if its not true.  As of recently, moments of body image struggles have almost always been in the midst of poor dietary decision and half assing it in the gym.  I have been in the fitness industry for 10 years and know better than to not AT LEAST try to set a good example for those around me.  Beyond that, I try to give myself a little leeway.  If I am eating according to plan more than 85% of the time and training as scheduled, I know that the body I have is the result of healthy eating habits and hard work.  If that means im not ripped to the bone shredded, I can accept that.  What I cannot accept is falling into the pit of poor planning.  The negativity I feel when I’m eating like an asshole for weeks on end serves at motivation to do better.  Again, I do not think this is disordered thinking.

Own your body: This is my bullet-proof vest against a mean society.  Though it took a LONG time, I can tell you that the body I get to walk around in is pretty freaking cool.  I say that, and I believe that in my bones.  I have gotten to take a WILD ride in this skin.  I have hit elite totals, ran countless miles, podiumed at a national strongman event, and been shredded on stage in this body.  I have felt the highs of progress and the lows of a body fighting hard to maintain homeostasis.  Its hosted every learning experience from the moment of my birth to the very moment you read this.  To give a single crap what someone thinks it *looks* like is ridiculous.  As pointed out my a respected friend of mine, you cannot feel shame when you truly own the pride you feel in yourself.  I encourage you to look at what your body has carried you through and decide right now that allowing someone else to place value on it is bullshit.

This is probably a subject that I have had the most repressed feelings about.  It’s personal and it’s emotional.  However, the ability to coast past what the world wants to tell you about your body is one of the most freeing super-powers I have cultivated.  It has increased my quality of life, which has trickled into the relationships with others.  I welcome discussion about cultivating body confidence at anytime.

(PHOTO CREDIT FOR HEADER:SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE OUT ORG XMIT: CAEXA301)

IMG_4240And we are back in the saddle!  Eight weeks after my ridiculous schaphoid break, I can finally press with minimal pain.  In the past couple of weeks, USS has announced the events for the first ever Pro Womens Worlds event!  Its going to shake out like this:

–Max deadlift on Friday night.  for once I feel alright going into this.  Thanks Tyrel Detweiler and Yvonna for fixing my lower back.  I have been literally low back problem free for months now, which is its own PR.

–Viking Press at 160lbs.  I just ordered my viking press from Raw Motive Works (Pete Smith is a wizard with this stuff).  I think with my wrist back in action, I will be able to train well for this.

–Farmers walk: 160 per hand.  Moving event!  Yay!

–Husa-Keg Medley: another moving event! Yaaay me!

–Atlas Stone Series from 150-220

 

Im actually pretty stoked about these events, and even more stoked for the competitors competing as well!  Since I got back from The Jenn three weeks ago, I have been really focusing on cleaning up my diet consistently and its yielded some pretty favorable results.  At this point, theres a solid chance I will be sliding into the 148s, but dont hold me to that just yet.  Kalle Beck is still at the front of my programming and we talked about just coasting in with no weight or water manipulation.  If I weigh in at 149 and compete as a 165er, I am fine with that.  At this point, I am retiring efforts to make insane cuts to different weight classes and looking for more consistent showings each time I compete. I think for the long haul, this will serve me better in both training and competitions.

 

Many people have reasons why they are in a specific career field. Many people know a days get a job by way of connections, through pre planned schooling and hard work, others sometimes fall into a career that they stick with. Some like their job, others love their job, and the most rewarding is those who have a passion for their job that will always pay back.

Two weeks ago I ran the NBS Fitness Youth Camp. We had very few kids to sign up but had a blast for the whole week learning how to move, then implemented what we learned in obstacle courses. This camp was a time to work on the basics that many coaches and parents disregard. Specificity for kids can be a terrible thing, it can increase potential for injury and make them not like a sport as much as they used to.

Below is a note given to me after the Camp concluded by a father and his son. The fact that the son had a blast and the father recognized and appreciated the teaching’s that were implemented is not just a good feeling but reassures at least one student is on the right path to success in movement and implementing it for sports. Things like this is why I do what I do, it has been instilled in me to “Live, Learn, and Pass On” (EliteFTS) through the way I was raised in the fitness industry and it is the most rewarding thing possible.

 

anto

This last weekend, I finally found some time to take trip back to Iowa over the Fourth of July. And I can definitely say that to me, the worst part about moving 9 hours away from where you grew up is not that you can’t go back as much as you want, it’s finding a way to see and squeeze in as many people as you can into your vacation because you know you won’t be back for an extended amount of time. So having said that, if I were to describe this trip in one word, it would be BUSY!

Day 1

Although most people’s perception of Iowa being nothing but farmland is somewhat correct, there is still plenty to do if you are an outdoorsman like myself. One of my biggest complaints about living in a larger populated area is that there is almost no room to get out and do what you want, so I was very much looking forward to some of the isolation of Iowa. My family owns a few hundred acres of farm land and also raises horses. For me, that means plenty of room to spread out and do whatever I please. The very first thing on the agenda for my first day back was to get some shooting and fishing in. Although the fishing had to wait on day one, there were plenty of rounds thrown through my H&K. All you gotta do is pack up and head back into the field, set up some targets, and let the lead fly. Probably the most American thing to do to start out its birthday weekend. After that, we proceeded to bounce around a few early Fourth of July celebrations with some high school friends. The weather was definitely not as ideal as I had hoped early on, and it had rained before I arrived in Iowa. So instead of clear skies and sun for the Jeep, we ended up finding some mud instead early on.

Day 2

No matter when or how long I come back to Iowa, there are a certain group of friends that I always make sure I find time for. Last year for the third of July we got together in Dubuque, IA (about 2 hours away from where I grew up) to grill, play outdoor games and watch the evening air show and fireworks. The air show was pretty impressive last year, and is primarily skydivers and a load of different military aircraft from WWII to present day. It was a good enough time that we decided to do it again. My girlfriend also decided to make the trip from a wedding the previous night in Indianapolis, so it was also a plus for her to meet up with my long time friends as well. It was supposed to be gloomy, but instead ended up being upper 70s and sunny all day. Although the air show had more skydivers and WWII planes than it had modern aircraft, it was still a pretty awesome show, and no one can complain about grilling and playing cornhole and beersby all day.

Day 3

Once we finally got up and made the trek back to my parents from Dubuque, we had quite the busy day ahead of us for the 4th. Since my family is so involved with riding and breeding horses as a hobby, and Margaret had never really spent any time on a farm before, riding horses and spending time around the farm was at the top of her to do list for the trip. Personally, I don’t care for riding horses, but since we were able to ride around one of my family’s farms and in a few of our fields, it was like knocking out two birds with one stone. My parents came along with, as I have absolutely no idea how to saddle and bridle a horse. We rode and talked for about an hour and a half. It seemed like everyone had fun. All I know is that my ass hurt from being in the saddle for a few days afterwards.

Family was by far my biggest reason to head back for the holiday break. Specifically for a few reasons. My sister and brother-in-law recently welcomed a baby girl into their family about a week before I visited, so clearly the biggest thing on my to-do list was to meet my new niece, Cora. I also have quite a large and close extended family (approximately 30 or 35 people). Between all the cousins, there were two other kids born within the last year that I had either never seen, or saw very little of. Every year the family gets together on the 4th, which made for an entire day of visiting and catching up. It was also nice bringing someone new into the family myself. Normally when I come back, I am pretty engaged in updating everyone on how life is going and what is new. This time I was able to use Margaret as a shield to absorb a good amount of the attention and questions I normally get. It was a pretty successful strategy, so I may have to bring her along the next time I go to Iowa and do it again.

Day 4

After the busyness of the first three days, I had still not been able to go fishing. The night before we ended up staying up about 3 hours later than I wanted. Today was supposed to be the last day of the trip, and I had wanted to get back at a decent time. My plan was to get up early. Get a few hours of fishing in and then hit the road. Unfortunately I slept in and by the time we were ready to get fishing, we only had about 45 minutes to get there and get back to stay on schedule. To make matters worst, this was finally the first day on the trip that it got into the 80s and was warm enough and sunny enough to take the top and doors off of the jeep. This was something that I was really looking forward to, as for space reasons, I have not been able to do so far in Tennessee. What a great day to waste spending on the road for 9 hours…

 

Even Optimus Lime needs a vacation from that top.

Even Optimus Lime needs a vacation from that top.

 

We have a pretty good fishing spot, which is usually stocked with bass. It’s also something my brother and I like to get out and do when we are both back, so instead of trying to rush something I haven’t been able to do in an entire year, I decided to postpone our departure from Iowa until Wednesday. After about an hour and a half of fishing between me, my brother and Margaret, we pulled in about 13 fish. Even though I could have spent another 3 hours on that pond, we had a few extra things to do with the newly appointed bonus day in Iowa.

 

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Biggest catch of the day!

Biggest catch of the day!

 

This was probably the best day of the trip, as we had zero plans besides the morning fishing. All I knew is that I wanted to spend some cruising around in the sun with the Jeep. So we took a tour of Iowa all day. This included a lunch date with my brother and his girlfriend and then some sight seeing of the countryside in Iowa during the summer. As a fellow Big Ten graduate from Ohio State, Margaret also also had some interest in seeing the facilities and campus of the University of Iowa and the Iowa City area. Iowa City and the University of Iowa had actually changed a lot since I had been in school as well, so a lot of the buildings we ended up exploring were new to me as well. After a day of exploring (and in somebody’s case defacing) the University of Iowa and Iowa City, it was time to actually get back to Tennessee in the morning.

 

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Real classy Ohio State…

 

Unlike what some may think, it’s never really a dull moment in Iowa during the summer as long as you have friends and family, a little bit of creativity and maybe some open farmland and ponds to mess around with.

 

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Dethklok is one of those bands that you either love or you just don’t get and few songs do a better job of show casing their talents like the song Dethday. Enjoy and don’t for get to RSVP.

 

RSVP PLEASE
For the DETH of thee
You have little time
And you’re running out of life

Happy Birthday
You’re gonna die

Training for me since the XPC finals has been interesting. Dealing with the drive to get back under a bar, getting some stuff taken care of outside of the gym that has been neglected, and just getting back into competitive mindset. Well, finally back on track and a new game plan set in place. I have been using our massage therapist Yvonna along with our sports therapist Tyrell who both have keep me pain free since the start of this training cycle. For those at the gym that do not know I have felt with extreme tricep pain from squatting under a straight bar keeping me from training bench. There have been times where bench was skipped for weeks due to pain. Specialty bars were used for entire training cycles to decrease arm pain for a hit or miss training session on bench.

For the first time in over a year I am training under a straight bar (multiple times a week) both squat and bench and do not have debilitating pain. I will say the therapy is not comfortable but it is working and for that I am thankful. From a technique standpoint, I have reached out to EliteFTS teammate Casey Williams who has been aiding me in my setup and bench form. You wonder why I am changing so many minor things on me and other people? Its because I have someone much more knowledgable than I guiding me. Here is how my bench went this week on medium day.

 

I can’t say that I’ve seen everything but after 16 years of training and 10 years in the fitness business I can say I’ve seen a lot. I’ve seen people of all shapes, sizes, and background succeed, fail, and everything in between. One thing I hear many people talk about is motivation. Whether they claim to be in need of it or are filling up social media sites with the latest motivational fitness memes, motivation seems to always be on the mind of new fitness participants. I find this rather amusing since it’s really not something I think about, seek, or even acknowledge on a regular basis. And while I don’t speak for all my fitness friends, I know a lot of people who have been doing this for a really long time who have never mentioned anything about motivation. So where is the disconnect?

For starters, I think people illogically liken motivation with action. In other words, unless you are motivated to do something, you won’t do it. The second issue is where people think motivation and enjoyment must be connected. Both of these are not true. I can tell you that after 16 years of working out, I have had many a day where I was not “motivated” at all to train. It was the last thing I wanted to do that day and it wasn’t any fun but I did it anyway. The reason for this is because motivation is not a constant. It is a waining, ever changing feeling (and many of you know how I feel about feelings). Therefore, if you build your health, fitness, and performance on a foundation of motivation, you will for sure find yourself struggling to maintain consistency. Instead, here is what I build my training on: accountability, standards, and legacy.

Accountability

No one wakes up every day gung ho to hit the gym and eat chicken breast, rice, and broccoli all day. We all have days where we think, “Screw this. I’m gonna have a burger and a beer.” Sometimes, that’s a valid response but the reality is that no one every accomplished anything giving up every time the path got tough and they were struggling. But few people have the ability to carry their cross alone and that’s where having some accountability comes into play. Whether you like to hit the snooze button or pass on your precooked meal you brought to work for some fried chicken corporate had catered in, having someone else that is counting on you will help keep you in line.

A couple of ways to help keep yourself accountable are hiring a coach and joining a group. I have used a nutrition coach since October of 2014 and will continue to use him for a long time. Yes, it helps to have an objective point of view and yes he is very knowledgeable but more than anything he’s expensive and I have to send him updates every week (I use Shelby Starnes). This keeps me in line and keeps me from straying too far off my path. Whether you have an online coach or someone you see in person, making a monetary commitment and having someone expect certain actions from you can help steer you in the right direction. Having a group to train with makes a huge difference as well. It’s kind of hard to resist peer pressure, so when a group of people expect you to be somewhere and act a certain way, you’re more likely to follow the group’s lead.

When temptation creeps in, find someone other than yourself you need to be accountable to.

Standards

When I was in personal finance in college they made us do an exercise where we had to lay out what kind of life we wanted to live. What kind of house we wanted to live in, what kind of car we wanted to drive, what kind of vacations we wanted to go on. Then we had to create a personal budget to determine how much money we needed to live that lifestyle; we were establishing our standards of living. Likewise, everyone should have some standards of living that go beyond just the financial part of life. I have personal standards for health and fitness that I expect myself to live by. I know there will come a day where my strength will decrease, where I will start to lose muscle, and my skin will sag. But I don’t ever want to be weak, skinny, fat, or out of shape. Now, my definitions for those terms are going to be different than other people’s and that’s okay. You should have your own standards. I don’t hold myself to your standards and likewise you shouldn’t hold yourself to mine. But setting some standards to operate your life off of will help keep you in the right direction when you have tough decisions to make. Realizing that every decision you make will add up one day will help keep you from skipping the gym or consistently eating poorly. Does it have that big an affect right now? No. But if you continue making those decisions you’re going to see them add up in a monumental way down the road.

Legacy

One day you’re gonna go into the dirt and people will tell stories of you. What do you want on your tombstone? What do you want to pass onto your children? How do you want to be remembered? I will tell you I have a lot of bad traits and unfortunately my kids are going to get some of those but hopefully they will get my work ethic, my perseverance, and my passion. If they get those than I think they will be okay in life. If your tombstone told your approach to life, what would it say right now? Quitter? Complainer? Excuse maker? I don’t want those things on my tombstone. The idea of leaving being a legacy, even if a small one is a very powerful idea to me. Hopefully when I pass, people will say “Sometimes David was a bit of an asshole but he helped me do great things.” And because of that, that person will then be able to help someone else do great things as well.

If you are new to this fitness thing, ride your motivational high as long as you can. But one day, when it begins to falter, realize that motivation is not the gasoline needed to fuel your fire. Realize that there are far more powerful tools out there that can keep your engine cranking even after your motivational spark has burned out.

If your goal is to drive from Memphis to New York city, you would get in your car, buckle up, put on some tunes and prepare for the journey. You would focus on staying in the correct lane, paying attention to your GPS and following its instructions, checking your gas periodically to make sure you don’t run out and stopping periodically to fill back up and rest. You understand that there are going to be times where the road is open and you can put the pedal down and roll. Other times you are going to get stuck in city traffic, go through construction, or find yourself behind slow drivers. During these periods of your trip you do not continue to keep the gas pedal down because that would be foolish. You would get in a wreck which would slow your progress down and potentially prevent you from making your desired destination. You also don’t turn your car around and drive back home saying screw it. You patiently work the gas pedal to ensure your speed of progress is sufficient for the current situation.

This is how your approach to fitness must be. You can’t expect to go balls to the wall, pedal to the metal for the entire journey: especially if the journey is long. No instead you must enjoy the ride, understanding that there will circumstances outside of your control sometimes. You must be willing to take the journey and once you begin, you must be willing to enjoy the journey enough to have the patience to see it through. If every bump in the road throws you into an emotional tail spin, you are not likely to make it to your final destination. And if you do, you are not likely to appreciate the trip.

Work the gas pedal, enjoy the ride

 

Who writes better songs to cure teenage angst than Korn. Coming Undone is a Korn classic that brings together a solid rhythm and catchy chorus. Put it on the play list and jam out on deadlift day.

 

Online programming is a useful tool in the strength world that everyone on a fitness journey may benefit from. This ranges from the unexperienced to elite level athletes through out all disciplines. Annie did a great job of explaining how to get the most out of online programming in her recent article . After several years of practicing and being around other great coaches who program online, here are my reasons for choosing online programming.

Online programming is perfect for the fitness enthusiast’s that have a particular goal and understand their way around a weight room but need guidance reaching their goal, online programming is definitely for you. Whether your goals are powerlifting, physique, or sports related, having a coach who can program you to “peak” for your desired discipline will be key. Having more variables of your training controlled by professionals makes preparation for competitions much easier than attempting to do it yourself. General fitness clients that are training to stay fit or lose weight who have been with a trainer before can also greatly benefit from online programming. There is an art to this aspect of the fitness world and some are really good at it while others can keep you from progressing. Due tot his be sure to research the individuals you are looking into taking the reins of your training.

Another reason for choosing online programming is if you have found a fitness professional that you look up to and agree with their training methods but live far away. There is no better way to form a working relationship and a better understanding of a particular training method than someone who implements the style of training you want to test out. Many of my teammates at Elitefts have different training methods who’s professional services I would like to seek out in order to experience their programming and learn from it to help expand my professional skill set as a coach. Make sure you continue with the program long enough and give the progression a chance. You may not have instant success swapping over because it is a new style of training. Too often I see people swapping programs only after four weeks, this is silly and a dis-service to yourself.

Individuals who have a very busy schedules are another perfect fit for online programming. They can make time for the gym but not consistent enough to meet a personal trainer or decipher program methods to fit your goals. As stated in point one, this takes the thinking part out of training. You can get your mind ready to train and not worry yourself over things like, “should I go heavier, was that the right choice, eat…”  Online programming allows more flexibility of the time component than personal training.

Online programming may be the key to unlocking hidden potential that an experienced coach can pull from you. Be sure to seek out styles of programs you have researched and would enjoy to learn more about and watch how much time is saved when you leave this aspect of your training to an experienced coach!