We all know the importance of the big, compound movements when it comes to getting strong.
The bench, squat and deadlift are among the three best exercises you can do for developing strength. Combine them with quality back work, overhead pressing, gymnastics training, unilateral and posterior chain work and you are really making a huge dent.
But when it comes to real-world strength, whether it be for athletics or other life, there is one training modality that will give you an even bigger bang for your buck.
And that is strongman training.
For those who don’t know, strongman training involves lifting and or carrying odd objects.
Kegs, tires, yokes, sleds, sandbags, and different implements are all tools you can use from your strength toolbox.
When you train with only barbells and dumbbells your body will adapt to those specific movement patterns.
With strongman training your body has to adapt to the increased stability demands placed on it by having to consciously stabilize the unstable object.
For instance, when you are trying to clean and press a keg filled with water, you have to really place emphasis on trying to control the keg so it doesn’t rip your shoulders out of the sockets.
This is much more realistic when it comes to real life. Especially in sports like fighting or wrestling.
In addition, the extra stability demand also creates a great stimulus for increasing muscular size.
Don’t get me wrong, barbell movements are extremely important, but they won’t have as much carryover to the real world as something like a loaded carry would. Basic barbell training should be the meat and potatoes to your training, however incorporating strongman training will take your strength to new levels.
Along with added real-world strength, strongman training will also create a tremendous conditioning effect.
If your gym doesn’t have any strongman equipment have no fear. You can easily grab some equipment from a junkyard, liquor store, and army-navy store to create your own. The good news is all of that stuff is cheap and can easily be stored in your backyard or garage.
I want to run down a list of my favorite strongman exercises and how you can use them to take your strength to the next level.
The most practical version of this exercise is a farmer’s walk with dumbbells. Simply grab a heavy pair of dumbbells and stand up tall. Ensure good posture through the entirety of the set by keeping your shoulders back and your chest up high. Be sure to keep your abdominals contracted throughout the set as well. All you are going to do is walk for either distance or time.
Typically, I recommend sets for 30 seconds, but sometimes we will do sets of 45 or 60 seconds. Some people may even go longer than that.
You can also make it competitive and try to beat your buddy’s distance that he or she walked with a specific weight.
The farmer’s walk is great for developing grip and abdominal strength, as well as adding size to your traps and forearms.
Pushing a sled is one of my favorite lower body exercises. The great thing about it is that there is no eccentric component of the exercise. This allows you to do an incredible amount of work, without getting sore. Which is why I love sled pushing for in-season athletes.
My favorite variation is the Prowler sled. In terms of conditioning, there aren’t many tools that have the same effect as the Prowler.
But it is also great for strength too. If you are a football player, it doesn’t get much more “sport specific” than this.
REVERSE SLED DRAG
Reverse sled dragging is an awesome way to hit the quadriceps. Grab a pair of straps with handles, and use a carabiner to connect them to your sled. Grab the handles, keep full tension on the straps, sit back, stay low and walk or run backwards.
A keg is an incredible strength implement. Grab an empty one at a liquor store, and do a quick YouTube search to learn how to make one for training.
Once filled with water, a keg is incredible difficult to stabilize. One of my favorite things to do with it is a clean and press. Trust me, when using a keg filled with water, an 80 lb. clean and press feels like a house.
You can also do a simple standing overhead press or even a loaded carry.
A keg will help you develop strength and stability of your core, as well as your entire upper body.
Flipping a tire has become extremely popular these days. Unfortunately, what hasn’t become very popular is the proper mechanics to actually perform the exercise correctly.
That’s because this exercise is not for everyone. If you have low back issues or poor flexibility, it may be difficult to maintain a neutral spine in the starting position since you have to get extremely low to the ground.
However, if you can maintain proper technique throughout the movement, flipping a tire can be a great dynamic exercise. It’s great for developing strength and power in the lower body and posterior chain.
To execute the movement properly, approach the tire and bend your knees while keeping your chest and butt up, creating an “arch” in your low back. Stick your hands under the tire with an underhand grip. Be sure to keep your elbows fully extended and use your lower body to flip the tire, otherwise you could end up attempting a 400 lb. bicep curl.
Initiate the movement by driving your hips forward, as you would in a deadlift. Once the tire is almost standing up straight, quickly flip your hands and push the tire over to its side.
This is one of my favorite things to do and could be done by pretty much anyone.
Grab yourself a sledgehammer from a hardware store. I recommend getting a heavy and intermediate one.
Grab the sledgehammer similar to the way you would hold a baseball bat, only with your hands close together and at the bottom of the handle. When you are ready to slam your top hand will slide upward on the way up, and back down to its starting position as you slam it down onto your tractor tire.
Be sure to engage your core and use your abs to slam the hammer, not just your arms. Keep in mind that you’ll want to switch your grip and do as many slams with your left hand on top as your right.
You can do these for reps or time. If you aren’t sure where to start, try a 30 second set on each arm and count your reps. That will give you a good base for a starting point.
This exercise will greatly benefit your grip, conditioning and even power.
Sandbags have a very similar effect as kegs do when it comes to training.
They are very difficult to stabilize which elicits a great training effect. They can help develop grip strength, overall strength and conditioning.
They can be used in a much wider exercise selection than kegs however.
Since going over all the different exercises you could perform with a sandbag could be it’s own post, I’ll just go over one of my favorites.
That’s sandbag shouldering.
Lie the bag on its side, parallel to the front of your body. Get down in a deadlift position and place your hands under each side of the bag as if you were going to scoop it.
Grab hold of the bag and literally deadlift the bag up, while simultaneously pulling it to your right shoulder. Then, slam the bag back to its starting position, reset your back angle so you are in a safe pulling position and pull to your left shoulder. Repeat this process nonstop for time.
Generally I prescribe 30 second sets.
Strongman training is a staple in my training system. It is especially important for athletes since it forces their bodies to respond to a whole new stimulus.
But this is also important for the general population as well.
I hope you guys are excited to try this stuff out. It’s a great way to break away from the monotony of your everyday gym.
The beauty of this is that you can do this all in your garage or backyard.
Compete with your friends and have some fun.
If you aren’t sure how to perform any of these movements or have any questions at all, feel free to shoot me an email at email@example.com.
Thanks guys, I’ll catch you all next week!
Most people that train on their own normally don’t see the results they want.
I believe this is due to a combination of things.
One reason is that if you are training at a big box gym, there isn’t much motivation around you. Old ladies sweating on a treadmill and The Ellen Show playing on all of the 200 TV’s isn’t the most results-driven environment around.
Another thing is that most guys at a place like that aren’t really there to train hard. They are there to B.S. and try to creep on the ladies.
But don’t get me wrong. There are definitely some people that are there because they want to get better. They want to put their headphones on and get to work.
However, even these people don’t seem to ever make any real progress in the gym.
And here’s why…
Most people train with too big of an ego.
They think that adding more unnecessary weight to the bar is going to help them get jacked.
The added unnecessary weight leaves them with God-awful technique, forced reps with their partner doing most of the work, missed reps, and one step closer to an injury that will eventually put them on the sideline.
That is definitely not the formula to getting jacked.
In fact, it’s far from it.
See, you need to use a weight that is challenging of course, but you have to be able to handle it for the amount of reps you are prescribed, with near perfect technique!
You will not add strength and size by using a weight you can’t handle.
Look around next time you are at the gym. I will bet my money that the guys that are missing reps and using shit technique are the guys that always look the same.
Don’t interpret what I’m saying to “don’t work hard”. That is the last thing you would ever hear me say.
What I’m saying is that you have to be able to control the weight you use, through the full range of motion, and be able to get somewhere in your prescribed rep range on your own.
An easy way to figure out what weight to use is by choosing a weight that you can get 1-2 reps more than your rep range.
For instance, if you are going for a set of 6-8, choose a weight that you can get for about 9 reps on your first week.
That will leave you room to improve over your 3 or 4 week training block. Remember that in order to build strength and size you need to follow the progressive overload principle. Which is, to increase either the weight used or total reps each week.
So here’s a quick example.
If I am following a 3 week training block, and on the first week I use 315 lbs, on a set of squats for 4-6 reps. If today I am only able to get 4 reps, I will use the same weight next week and try to get 5 or 6 reps. If I get 5, I am going to stay with that same weight the following week and try to get all 6. However, if I got all 6 reps on the second week, I would bump up my weight to 320 lbs. on the third week.
If I decided to use 365 lbs. on the first week just for the hell of it, and I only got 2 reps because the weight was too heavy, then I would never be able to make any real progress over this training phase. I would then be just as weak and the same size as when I started.
Using a weight that was too heavy lead to shit technique and missed reps.
Certainly not the recipe to adding size and strength.
Using a weight that you can’t handle and putting your body in an unnatural position with a poor movement pattern will eventually lead to injury.
Even if you don’t get injured right away you will be putting stress on your body that will cause wear and tear on your joints and soft tissue over the years.
So now you’re small, weak and injured. Sounds repulsive.
If you want to make real progress you have to train smart. Train the right way. Work your ass off with quality technique.
Let’s take a look at a guy like The Rock.
Is he using weights that are way too heavy for him, missing reps and only getting a limited range of motion?
Just take a look at his Instagram. Unfortunately, there are times where I see guys in the gym that are about 160 lbs. using weights on an exercise that are heavier than The Rock uses. They struggle to get the first rep and I am actually in shock when I see them try to attempt a second.
That set (if you want to call it that) did nothing for that person besides almost crush him into dust.
All risk and zero reward.
To become strong, jacked and powerful you have to be smart.
Check your ego at the door and get to work.
You will shortly find out that by doing so you will see more results in less time.
Until next time folks, train hard and train smart!
Most people, wake up to an annoying alarm clock, roll over and hit the snooze button 2, 3, 4 and maybe even 5 times.
They rush out of bed, throw on some clothes as they listen to all of the b.s. going on in the world and then rush to a job they hate.
On the way to work they complain about traffic and think about how much today is going to suck.
They get to their job and start the day to day tasks. Reading emails, catching up on work they didn’t finish yesterday, dicking around on Facebook and then… get hit with more work.
They finish late, get out late and feel like they have no time for anything they want to do. Whether it be quality time with family, their significant other, hitting the gym or whatever else.
They feel that this is what life is and only live for the weekend.
These people don’t feel fulfilled, are unsatisfied with their lives and feel like there is no way out.
This is not life.
This is a form of slavery.
A life like this is only tolerated because we are conditioned to believe that this is how it’s supposed to be.
We believe that it’s normal.
Go to college, get a “safe” job, retire and die.
I’m here today to tell you that it is possible to find and do what you love.
I can tell you first hand because I am doing it!
In my early twenties I had no direction. I had no idea what I wanted to do, was broke and depressed. I had been working as a strength coach and enjoyed it, but still had no idea how I could make real money doing it and was unsure if I should get another “real job”.
So I worked other meaningless jobs just to try and make ends meet, which only led me to feeling worse and more confused.
So, I began doing my research about how I could live the life I wanted. How I could go to work every day with a smile on my face and be proud of what I did.
The advice I got came from a mentor in the form of a question. That was…
“What’s your why?”
At first I had no idea. I had to actually take a few days to think about the question.
What the hell does that even mean?
But then, as I thought deeper into the question, it started to click.
I started to ask myself what I can see myself doing and why.
All I could think of was coaching people, whether they were athletes or regular people.
And my “why” was simple.
I wanted to help people.
I wanted to help people get through their tough times. I wanted to teach people discipline. I wanted to show people that there is always a way out if they were willing to put in the work. I wanted to help people get healthy and live longer. And I wanted to show people the way, that they too COULD do it, through fitness.
Ultimately, I came up with what became our mission statement today. That is to educate, motivate and inspire EVERYONE to become the best version of themselves, mentally and physically.
I have been through some pretty shitty, times. And I wanted to use my story to help other people get through the shit that their going through and teach them how to channel that energy into something positive.
I am certain that if I was never asked the question about my why, I would have never been able to do what I am currently doing.
And that same question is YOUR way out, my friends.
Do you hate your job? Do you feel like you can be doing more? Do you feel like you’re stuck in something you can’t get out of? Do you feel like you’re living life, or merely existing?
If so, ask yourself “what’s my why?”
What do you get excited about?
What makes the blood pump through your veins a little faster?
What keeps you awake at night?
You may not be sure as you read this, and trust me that’s ok.
I didn’t know at first either.
But stick with the question. The answer will come.
From my own experiences and the people I’ve talked to, I have found that when your why is to serve other people, in one way or another, that is what leads to ultimate fulfillment.
Helping people that are in need is one of the most satisfying things you can do.
You wake up with clarity, with a sense of purpose.
Once that happens, you’ll start jumping out of bed, instead of snoozing. You’ll start getting to work earlier, and getting more done. You will start finding time for the things that are important to you. Trust me, they all go hand in hand.
Mark Twain said “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
Pretty fucking powerful.
So, if you feel lost, if you feel sad, unfulfilled or unsatisfied, ask yourself what your why is.
I believe we are all put on this earth for a reason, unfortunately most of us don’t ever try to find out what that purpose is. Because of that, many people are unhappy, and I want to help change that.
Always keep in mind that when the why is clear, the how is easy.
Find out why and you will find a way.
I’ll catch you guys next week.
What’s up everybody?!
I’m coming at you guys today super excited to share with you my favorite type of conditioning.
It’s something I’ve used to help get myself and some of my clients down to single digit body fat.
But first I just wanted to give you guys a quick update…
First off, a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has reached out via email or social media wishing me a speedy recovery. All of your support has motivated me to get back as fast as possible and that truly means the world to me.
My hand is getting better and I was cleared to start weight training again about two and a half weeks ago.
My grip in my right hand is that of an eight year old girls, but it feels INCREDIBLE just to get a pump again.
My current training is more of a body building template for the last two weeks just to get some muscle back on me. I lost about 12 lbs. of muscle over the course of my injury which is like being kicked by a mule in the genitals, but I’m happy to say my comeback has begun!
But Enough about my genitals. Let’s get into the good stuff.
Conditioning can be boring.
I’ve stressed a million times before that I am a huge fan of conditioning circuits, sprint intervals, bleachers, hill sprints and even strongman training for conditioning.
That’s all great stuff that I highly recommend.
However, if you’ve been training as long as I have, you’re always looking for different things to excite you while giving you a kick ass workout simultaneously.
It was in the winter of 2007 that I walked into my first MMA class.
I had not a clue what I was doing but was excited to try it out with my good friend and now TTS head strength coach, Ruben.
At the time we thought our conditioning was “decent”, but we learned very quickly that we were a lot fatter and more deconditioned than we thought.
After that one day, we were hooked!
And I believe that anyone reading this post, whether male or female, would feel exactly the same.
The idea might be scary to some people, but trust me, you’re not walking into a full-fledged fight the first time you walk in the door.
You can take up martial arts simply to learn a new skill, get an awesome workout in, test yourself and meet some new friends in the process.
It’s something I feel has made a huge difference in my life, and I would honestly recommend it to anyone that is willing to work hard.
In 2014 I competed in my first BJJ tournament which was an amazing experience. I can’t wait to get back out there but my hand isn’t quite ready for training until another 2-3 weeks.
But while I was training for that tournament, my diet was perfect for about 10 weeks. I was weight training 3 days per week and I was using my Jiu Jitsu training for conditioning 3 days per week. In those 10 weeks I went from 195 lbs. to 169 lbs. the day of the tournament.
Not only did I meet great people, I was having tons of fun while conditioning, learning a great skill and dropped 26 lbs. of fat in the process.
Jiu Jitsu wasn’t just helping me get lean but it was great to get competitive and learn a new discipline at the same time.
But if you’re not quite ready to give martial arts a try then I highly recommend joining some type of recreational sport that you enjoy. Whether it be soccer, basketball or touch football, the important thing is that you stay competitive.
Competition truly brings out the best in everyone, and is a much more enjoyable way to get in good conditioning work.
Competing in a sport is also a great way to improve your body’s natural production of testosterone. If you are suffering from low levels of T, then I’d definitely suggest you find a rec league ASAP.
I believe that at any age, competition is a must. I don’t mean trying to compete in the UFC. I mean being part of something that will bring out the best in you, and push you to work harder.
It’s something that gets us excited, and a lot of us lose that excitement for things over the years.
We need to get that back. We need to be kids again and have our “play” time.
Life is too short man, you have to enjoy every damn second.
Once I think about how fast it goes, I don’t ever want to waste another second on a treadmill again. It motivates me to do the things I want to do, and compete in the things I enjoy.
So get out there, work hard and play hard.
If you do I promise you will be healthier and leaner in no time.
Go have some fun, guys.
I’ll catch you all next week!
How do you go about your training regimen?
Do you just pick a few exercises that you enjoy, with a set rep scheme that you just kinda feel like that day?
Do you pick exercises that challenge you, or do you like to stick with the curls and treadmill?
Do you take the easy way out?
If so, your program sucks. Which also means, your results suck.
I put together a list of what every healthy person should be doing to maximize their results.
This list will not only challenge you, but will add muscle and strength, burn fat and help develop the mindset you need to be successful at anything you do.
Grab your pens and paper folks, you might want to take some notes on this one.
1. Squat. Goblet, barbell, back squat, front squat. Stop thinking. Just do it.
2. Press overhead.
3. Pull more than you push. Vertically and horizontally. That will keep the shoulders healthy and get your back yoked!
5. Jump rope. Single legs, double legs, double jumps. Get after it.
6. Add in bodyweight training. Dips, push-ups, chin-ups, pull-ups. They are tremendous for building muscle. Get good at them and use different variations.
7. Get strong.
8. Jump. Onto a box, for max height, for max distance, with resistance, without resistance. Jump.
9. Have sex…Often.
10. Sleep 7-9 hours per night. If you have sex often, this shouldn’t be a problem.
11. Eat real, organic, unprocessed food most of the time.
12. Use sandbags, kegs and battle ropes in your program.
13. Use a sled to push heavy shit.
14. Use a sled to pull heavy shit.
15. Throw. Overhead, laterally, soccer style, into the ground.
16. Drink about 1 gallon of purified water daily.
17. Every 10-16 weeks, take a week off of training.
18. Get massages.
19. Do conditioning at least once per week.
20. Hike, swim, run, bike. Don’t overthink. Do.
21. Set goals with a realistic time frame.
22. Always have something to train for.
23. Train pissed off.
24. If someone tries to talk to you while you’re training, make sure they don’t ever try that again.
25. Keep the music loud.
26. Crawl. It will keep the core strong as well as develop strength in the shoulders.
27. Stop wasting money on supplements and do everything on this list instead.
28. Carry heavy shit for distance or for time.
29. Use single leg exercises like lunges and step-ups.
30. Train your posterior chain more than you currently do, and focus on getting it strong.
31. Spend some time on mobility/flexibility. This is how you stay healthy. Trust me, do it!
32. Hire a qualified coach to teach you what you don’t know how to do.
33. Bring it! Every training session.
34. Don’t make excuses.
35. Create a game plan. When to start. When to finish. What you’ll eat. When you’ll train. Who you’ll train with. When you’ll cook. Everything you need must be planned ahead!
36. Stay committed to your game plan.
If you stick to this list, you will not fail.
I guarantee that you will get better results, in less time.
Enjoy it, guys. Training does not have to be boring and monotonous.
Be creative, work hard and have some damn fun!
What’s up everybody?!
I hope you’re all feeling as good as I am to finally be typing a blog post without a clunky cast on my right hand!
I realized that you really appreciate the little things once they are taken away from you (like wiping your ass). Gross, I know, but ain’t it the truth!
Anyway after a couple of fitness convo’s that I’m usually faced with while I’m out somewhere I realized how much confusion there is out there when it comes to training and fitness.
People are sadly misinformed and I wanted to clear up any confusion and get right to it today.
Here are five of the biggest myths I recognized during my conversations this past weekend.
Myth # 1: Carbs are bad for you
Carbohydrates themselves are not bad for you. It’s the types of carbs you’re consuming that can be bad for you. To simplify, processed carbohydrates that are found in breads, pastas and pastries suck for your well-being. Unprocessed carbohydrates like potatoes, rice, oats and fruit are great and necessary for building muscle and burning fat. They aid in recovery and repairing the muscle you break down while training.
Monitor your carb intake and don’t eat a fuck-load of them on a daily basis, unless of course your goal is gaining a significant amount of muscle mass, then you’re going to need a good amount.
Myth # 2: Lifting weights will make women bulky
Man this could not be any further from the truth. Ladies, the days of spending hours on the treadmill are OVER! Lifting weights are not going to turn you into the lady you saw in a magazine that looks like Triple H. That woman is on boat loads of hormones and eats baby elephants for their mid-day snack. Unless you’re into that kind of thing, I’d say you’ll be ok.
Every woman I have ever worked with told me that they want to be more “toned”. Let’s take a second and talk about what that actually means…
First off, a muscle only gets bigger or smaller. Hypertrophy or atrophy. So when you say you want to “tone” that really means you want the muscle to get bigger while you lose body fat. Well, the only way that’s going to happen is by weight training.
And no, you don’t have to do all light weights for six trillion reps. You need to focus on getting stronger in rep ranges of 8-15. From my experience that is the best range for women to develop muscle. So have no fear and set goals of getting stronger for sets of 8-15.
And for God’s sake, make us all happy and get your ass in the squat rack!
Myth # 3: You need a pre-workout if you want to get jacked
If you’ve been following me for a while you know that I’m not a big fan of supplements. Most are the biggest waste of money.
I can’t tell you how many guys ask me what a good pre-workout drink is for them to take because they want to get bigger. My answer always puzzles them… NONE OF THEM!
Pre-workouts are loaded with caffeine to give you that “I just did six lines of cocaine” feeling. That amount of caffeine will only fry out your adrenal glands over time leaving you feeling like shit in the long run. The temporary pump you get is due to certain amino acids they add in there to dilate your blood vessels and draw more blood to the muscle.
Although it feels great to have a crazy pump, it does NOTHING for actually building muscle.
In addition, these formulas consist of chemicals, dyes and artificial ingredients that are extremely detrimental to your health. Not worth $60-$70 bucks a pop if you ask me.
If you want a pre-workout drink? Grab a cup of black coffee.
Myth # 4: You need to train to failure if you want to work hard
Although I respect the thought process behind this, the statement is incorrect. Hard work is one thing and 100% necessary if you want to see progress. Training with weights that are too heavy, forced reps and failing attempts at lifts are another.
If you want to make progress you need to use a weight that you can handle. If you don’t, your form will look like absolute garbage (which will increase your risk of injury), you won’t give the muscle the stimulus it needs to actually grow and/or get stronger and you will be frying out your central nervous system in the long run.
Like the great Lee Haney said, “Stimulate, don’t annihilate”.
Myth # 5: Shrugs are the best exercise to develop the traps
Shrugs are great, but they’re not the best when it comes to jacking up the traps. By far, the best exercises to turn you into “Trapzilla” are the deadlift, farmer’s walks and Olympic lifts like the clean, snatch and high pull.
Work on those lifts and you will notice your traps growing through your t-shirt!
I hope you guys learned a little bit today.
If you dug this post it would mean so much to me if you can click the share button.
Thanks guys, I’ll catch you all next week!
Every four years we get to witness the incredible athleticism displayed in the Olympics. Every time I get to watch the events I am more and more impressed in what we are seeing.
The incredible body control and precision of the gymnasts.
The freakishness of Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt and all of the other ridiculous athletes.
But there are three very distinct lessons that I’ve taken away from the Olympics this year that I wanted to share with you guys and ways that I relate them to everyday life.
Lesson # 1: Live with Passion
Every athlete has an incredible passion for competing in their sport and representing their country. You can see it in their eyes. The hurt when they lose, or the fire when they are victorious. It’s burning inside each and every one of these athletes.
Most people don’t have that type of passion in their lives and in my opinion is one of the main causes why people are so unhappy. If you have something you are passionate about you will jump out of bed every morning to go do it. Instead of hitting snooze twenty times before you roll out of bed and go to a job you hate.
And if you’re not sure what your passion is, go find it! What’s a hobby you’ve always loved to do? What do you like to read about? What interests you most? Whatever that is just make the time to do it. That passion you discover will help lead you to a happier, more fulfilling life.
It’s the only thing that can push an athlete to put in the type of work they have to in order to compete at the highest level possible.
Lesson # 2: Losses don’t make you a failure
Every athlete competing in the games has the goal of bringing home a gold medal. But the reality is some will take home the silver, the bronze or nothing at all. Does not taking home the gold make any of those athletes a failure? Hell no! Some will be pushed to work even harder for their next competition. Some will learn valuable lessons from their experience. Either way, they become a better person from it.
If you have a goal that you don’t reach, you are sure as hell not a failure. Unless you quit. But if you try your very best to drop 30 lbs. of fat but only lose 25, that’s no failure! That’s a hell of an accomplishment and you will become a better person from the lessons you’ve learned in the process. As long as you tried your very best and gave it everything you had. And that’s what these Olympians do.
Lesson # 3: Focus
To compete at the highest level possible you need an intense, laser-like focus. You have to know what you want and focus on what needs to be done in order to achieve that.
When you see Michael Phelps before a race you see the focus he possesses. It’s one of the attributes that makes him the best swimmer to ever live. If he said, “ah maybe I’ll be a gymnast, no, maybe I’ll compete in beach volleyball, I’m pretty tall.” He would never have accomplished what he has over the years.
You need to know exactly what you want and then go fucking get it.
Maybe that’s a career change, maybe that’s earning a black belt in Jui Jitsu, whatever it is you have to possess a sharp, singular focus.
In life that doesn’t mean your focus may not change over the years. To continue to use Phelps as an example, now that he’s retired he won’t be focused on winning gold medals anymore. I’m sure his focus will now be on his family and whichever direction he wants to go with his life.
But what’s important to note is that he will now apply that same type of intense focus to whatever it is he wants to do next.
And that’s what we all need to do.
If you begin applying these 3 lessons to your own life I will guarantee you that your life will improve in some way.
Unfortunately, we are surrounded by mediocre minds all day that will try and convince you to be just like them.
Ignore that toxic shit.
This is your life and you deserve to live at the highest level possible.
Now get out there and live it!
You’ve done your research. You found the best training program you can get your hands on. The best diet you can find that you are confident will work.
You have your new gym membership and training partner and you’re ready to get started!
All of the right pieces are in place. You have all the necessary resources, but fast forward 3 months, and you’ve made little to no progress.
We see this time and time again. What went wrong? This was supposed to be your sure thing to a bigger, leaner and stronger you!
Well, here’s the answer.
Take a good long look in the fucking mirror, and understand that YOU are responsible for your failure.
Not the guy that wrote your diet, not the guy that wrote your program…YOU.
Let me explain what I mean…
There are guys that have walked through the doors of TTS and public gyms around the world. They bought the fancy t-shirts and shoes, new supplements and all that good stuff. Everything is in place, except for what’s inside.
They walk in uninspired, half-ass through their warm-up, constantly look at their phone and have zero desire to actually put in the grueling hard work that it takes to be successful.
These people are loaded with fear.
Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of hard work.
They coast through their workouts, without ever pushing themselves.
Why go up in weight, when it’s so much easier to just use the same as last week?
Why bother doing that last set when you’re tired? You’re tired, right? Just relax, no reason to push yourself.
People like this will never be successful. In anything they do. It’s possible they get a good job, a home, a family but that isn’t all success is about.
Success is about balance. It’s about a constant pursuit of self-improvement, and empowering those around you to do the same.
It’s about abundance, and if you half-ass anything you will never truly be satisfied.
I’ve mentioned before that how you do anything is how you’ll do everything. If you half-ass any aspect of your life you can bet your ass that you will half-ass other aspects.
Including your family, relationships, jobs etc.
These people live their lives being satisfied with mediocrity. Satisfied with going through the motions.
God bless em, because that will never fucking be me.
And I encourage all of you, the TTS nation to stand by me and wage war against mediocrity.
Live your lives inspired, motivated and help everyone around you do the same.
I can’t tell you how much I enjoy training sessions where I can work with guys like my longtime friend and client Josh Bettinger. This dude never misses a session, is always early, excited to train and would never even consider missing a rep, let alone a set. If he has to puke, he pukes. But he doesn’t ever bust out the white flag and surrender.
People like Nick Fischetti, Vinny Crisafi, Joe Francisco, Kenneth Bass, Carl Figueroa, Ron Salermo, Paul Kaplan and Heather Diaz. These people don’t know how to fucking quit, and would rather die than even consider it.
That’s how it should be. You shouldn’t ever go through the motions. In ANYTHING you do.
When you’re out to dinner be completely present with the people that you’re with. Don’t look at your phone and worry about what’s going on in the Instagram world. Who gives a shit?! Enjoy the fucking moment, man.
You get one God damn life and if you waste your days dicking around and slacking off when you should be working hard you’ll be going to the grave with a lot of regrets. I don’t know about you guys but I know I sure as hell don’t want to go down without embracing every second of my life. Lord knows it goes by too quick.
We all have bad days, nobody is perfect. But shit, when it’s time to bring it, bring it!
Set goals and crush them! Every fucking day. Don’t waste time!
Joe Rogan has mentioned the importance of “conquering your inner bitch”. We all have that little bitch inside of us trying to make excuses. Telling you that you’re tired. Telling you to skip the chicken and broccoli and grab some Mcdonald’s.
When that little bitch inside of you starts acting up you have to reach inside of yourself and rip its fucking throat out.
Be the type of person that needs to be tamed during your workout.
Those who are, are always the most successful people in life.
So be the lion. Stay hungry. Stay focused and relentlessly pursue a better you every single day of your life, in all areas.
That is what the TTS nation is all about.
We are about punching mediocrity in the mouth. Laughing, learning, loving, growing and pushing ourselves every day.
Don’t feel sorry for yourself now, if you do you’ll be sorry for the rest of your life.
And you’re better than that.
You know and I know it.
So be tough, and never, ever surrender.
Now flip the switch, and get to fucking work!
Training is a funny thing. You can bust your ass and train hard every day. But if your nutrition sucks you’ll never see the results you can potentially achieve.
Most people in general, don’t eat enough calories, whether their goal is fat loss or strength and performance. At the end of the day we still need to eat enough of the right foods in order to reach our goals.
One of the most common mistakes I’ve seen is people not getting a post workout meal in. I’m here to tell you today that if you aren’t having a meal within 30 minutes after your workout, you are sabotaging your progress.
When you strength train or perform an intense athletic endeavor, you are actually breaking down muscle tissue. Your anabolic hormones plummet while the stress hormone cortisol increases. As you may know by now cortisol can break down muscular tissue and hold onto body fat.
Also keep in mind that your body uses something called glycogen for energy. Glycogen is stored primarily in muscle tissue as well as the liver. When you strength train your body is using glycogen for energy, which leaves the stores depleted within the muscle.
You are also creating tiny micro tears in the muscle fibers by lifting weights. So when you are training, you are literally breaking down your muscle. In order for that muscle to grow however, you need two more things.
Food and sleep.
Which is why you want to start the recovery process and eat immediately following your workout.
Another important factor to note is insulin.
Insulin, is a highly anabolic hormone, which is a major reason why you want that spike with QUALITY food immediately following your workout.
By now hopefully you realize the importance of post workout nutrition. So let’s move on and get into some post workout meals.
Your post workout meal should consist of two things, protein and carbohydrates.
Since you want to start the recovery process right away, you want foods that are quickly digested. Keep in mind that real food is always the best way to go for any meal. But for simplicity, a high quality whey protein shake could certainly be useful here.
Either way, here are some options for protein:
– High quality, natural whey protein
– Chicken breast
– Lean ground turkey breast
– White rice
– Baked potato
– Maltodextrin powder (if your goal is to gain mass)
Any combination of the foods listed will do just fine. The important thing is that you are eating within 30 minutes after your workout.
Remember this is a must if you are serious about making some Gainz!
Take your nutrition as serious as you take your training and you will be on the road to success.
Despite what some may say, stay away from boat loads of sugary foods like ice cream, cereal and other shit that your gym’s meathead may recommend. The quality of your nutrients are what matter most for your health and progress.
So stay away from any of those wild potions out there!
If you have any questions please feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time, my friends.
I cringe from the mere thought of it. Guys with a bar on their back, using a weight that’s about 200lbs too heavy for them, squatting about ¼ of the way down and struggling to get back up.
Screaming and yelling like they’ve just accomplished something impressive.
Squatting with shit technique turns the king of all exercises into a red headed step child that smells like cat piss.
In fact, the exercise (if you want to call it that) has now become counterproductive. Leaving you even more susceptible to injury.
I’m here today to take you guys through the back squat, step by step to ensure that you will squat the right way and receive all the benefits from this incredible exercise.
Step 1: Set the bar at the right height
Make sure the bar is set at about shoulder height so you can place the bar comfortably on your back.
Step 2: Set your grip
I prefer setting the tips of my thumbs on the line between the smooth and rough part of the bar, then extending my thumbs all the way while keeping the tips on the line. Then, wrap your thumbs around the bar and squeeze it tight. If your shoulder flexibility doesn’t allow you to get in that close, feel free to cheat your hands out a bit. Just make sure that your grip is even. If that’s the case, you can try using the power ring on the bar for a reference.
Step 3: Get under the bar and place it across your traps
The bar should not be place too high up to the point where it’s on your neck. Place the bar across your traps below your neck. Then squeeze the bar tight, and place both feet underneath the bar as if you were going to actually perform a squat. Stand up and take only one step back away from the rack.
Step 4: Set your feet and brace your abs
Now set your feet just outside of shoulder width, with your toes pointed out about 5 degrees or so. At this point you should be bracing your abs, meaning, flex them as if you were going to take a punch to the stomach. It’s important to keep your abs tight throughout the entire set.
Step 5: Engage your hips and take a deep breath in
Before the knees bend think of reaching your hips back as if you were reaching for a chair and someone was pulling the chair away from you. Maintain a neutral spine by keeping the chest up. While you are driving the hips back take in a big deep breath and hold it. The air you take in will help support your spine so do not release it until you are on your way up.
Step 6: Squat down
Once the hips are fully engaged you can now begin to bend the knees and squat down to parallel. That’s right, parallel. That means there should be a straight line from your knee to your hip. Just be sure that your chest is still upright and your spine remains neutral, meaning that there should be no round in the back.
Step 7: Drive the knees out, push through your heels, drive the hands upward and exhale
It’s common for the knees of many beginners to collapse in. Especially women. You want to avoid this from happening so once you begin to come back up, push your knees out as if you were trying to rip the floor in half. You’re not moving your feet from where they are, you are simply applying outward force so your knees are not coming in. Keep in mind that you should be flat-footed and pushing through the heels of your feet, not your toes. If it’s difficult for you to keep your heels on the floor ankle stability, mobility and flexibility of the calves could be an issue. If that’s the case, add stretching the calves into your warm-up routine. Once you begin driving up through your heels apply upward force with your hands on the bar. Keep in mind that you should be squeezing the bar as tight as possible. Once you get about ¼ of the way up, exhale forcefully.
Then you simply repeat.
I really hope that you guys enjoyed this post. Remember that if you have flexibility/mobility issues or existing injuries, barbell squatting may not be in your best interest. There are other variations like goblet squats, safety bar squats, belt squats and tons of unilateral work that you can do instead. Remember that if your hurt, you can’t train so be smart about your approach.
If you are healthy enough, then check your ego at the door, lower the weight and move properly. Any exercise with piss poor technique is going to get you nowhere, besides on the sideline.
Plus, adding a ton of weight to the bar without moving properly isn’t even going to benefit you. You won’t get stronger and you want get bigger, just more susceptible to injuries.
So don’t be that guy. Back the weight down, learn the proper technique, and then make your proper progressions.
That is how you get strong.
Catch you guys next time!