There are many first times in a person’s life. Heck, there are still many first time events at Newell Strength that I encounter on a weekly basis. Let’s go down memory lane into what helped form some of the philosophies of Newell Strength, from my earlier lifting days to the present.
FIRST TIME PUKING FROM TRAINING: I remember the first time I puked from training. I am sure I puked from a conditioning session in high school, but that’s not what I am talking about. Any Coach can make a kid puke, its not hard and it doesn’t show ANY expertise. It is actually the sign of a moronic approach to getting better. But that’s a different story for a different time. I am talking about the first time I willingly pushed myself to puke from a weight training session. I was a few years into competing and I had befriended Tim Martin after he beat me in the Mid-Atlantic Bodybuiding show. I would take the weekly trip to train at Tim’s gym because he was the best and I wanted to be the best. So, it was a few days after Christmas and I went up for a leg workout. Tim’s legs were legendary and I thought I had good legs. Well, about 20 minutes into our workout, I had to run to the bathroom. I had pushed so hard that a temporary increase in lactic acid, which can and will make you nauseous, caused me to puke. What did I do? I went right back out to squats and kept going. People simply don’t workout as hard as they used to and training with Tim showed me how to push and how to train. Its an ability that needs to be developed, both in the gym and with your nutrition.
Tim Martin, IFFB pro
FIRST TIME I PUKED FROM A MASS SHAKE: OK, this is not really the first time I puked from eating, but it is the most memorable. Whenever I give a high school kid a nutrition plan, I need to make it known that they are going to be uncomfortable if they are going to try and gain muscle. I knew from the get go that gaining muscle meant and still means I have to go way outside my comfort zones. The body doesn’t wanna do it. From the summer of my junior year of high school, a summer in which I gained 30 pounds of muscle, on, I would routinely eat to the brink of vomiting. Why? Because I knew I had to force the body to gain muscle if I were to get it to budge. I developed an over ride system that still serves me to this day, kind of like getting right back to squats after puking in the above example. If you aren’t willing to eat to that point, kiss gaining muscle good bye because you aren’t willing to do what it takes. And anyone that says otherwise is undoubtedly a pencil neck dweeb who would rather talk about nutrition theory than actually gaining muscle. Onto the story…It was my freshman year of college and I was still frantically trying to gain muscle. I developed a reputation early on that had guys on the football team asking me advice about training and nutrition because they could see the changes from day one that I was making. So one night at the dining hall, about 7 of us went in to eat and they were serving fish. Yummy! Well, I got about 8 pieces of fish and some potatoes. About six pieces in, I was feeling a little off. I sat there for about 10 minutes sweating and decided to wash the last two pieces down with water, hardly even chewing. My friends were kind enough to wait, probably because they never witnessed anything like it before. Well, on the way to bring the tray up to the line, I started puking which lead to a full mouthful of vomit. I looked like a chipmunk with a mouthful of food. I swallowed it 1wn and ran down the stairs outside the dining hall. And bam! Like a bursting fire hydrant, I projectile vomited into the grass. The guys loved it, and still talk about it. Anything to gain muscle, right?!
THE FIRST TIME I COMPETED IN A BODYBUILDING SHOW:
My first bodybuilding show, 2nd place
It was the first year out of college and a year after doing a summer internship with Rutgers strength and conditioning and Coach Jay Butler. During that summer, the seed was planted. I was working hard and really dieting down for the first time and I thought I might just have what it takes. I knew I loved the field I was in and decided to make the commitment to compete the following spring. I had no real idea what I was in for and no one to really turn to. It was at this point that I the Wolverine befriended me and gave me some advice. No one else in the area or in town was competing back then so it really was an Oregon Trail. I told everyone about it as I intuitively knew that with any big goal it’s easier to use other people’s will power than your own. I needed to save mine for when it would really get hard. What I mean by this is that if you tell others what you are going to do, they will continually ask you about it, holding you accountable to it. If someone has a goal and they want to keep it a secret, more times than not they will never follow through. I dieted for 16 weeks, felt like a weirdo in my posing trunks and didn’t have one cheat meal! That was pure stupidity but the guy helping me with my posing thought he knew about dieting, he was a tool in hindsight. I would wake up early on Thursdays and Sundays to have a whole pot of coffee and then do cardio. I didn’t want to get too used to the effects of it since I was using it as a fat loss aide and I loved it! I went into the show and had 7 body builders in my weight class, the first and only time I would be anything other than a heavyweight (I weighed in at 189!). I took second place and the guy that beat me went on to national prominence in the years to come. I look back on the guys that I have been fortunate enough to compete against and the list is quite impressive and I learned a lot from those guys. It was a great experience and lead to 4 more shows. Good memories.
THE FIRST TIME I GOT SEVERE LEG CRAMPS: No, I am not a glutton for punishment, but as I said earlier, I have learned to over ride discomfort from my junior year of high school and sometimes it means I go a little too hard in the gym. I trained with Tim and another body builder at the famous Diamond Gym up in Maplewood, NJ one day during intermission of a bodybuilding show we were working. We absolutely crushed it! I didn’t think much of it and proceeded to drive home later that night after the show was over. Well, when I got out of the car, I dropped to the ground in agony. Both my legs were cramping and both the quads and hamstrings in each leg! Talk about pain! And I couldn’t use the technique of trying to stretch the muscle out because then the opposing muscle would cramp even harder! After about 10 minutes, the cramps ceased. I made it inside and my older brother, Brooks aka Budgy was home for the night. I was still at my parents house (failure to launch, lol). Well, it was a cheat night for me and I was having McDonalds, yes, I shutter at the thought now, and lo and behold, here come the cramps again. This went on for another 20 minutes to the point I thought I was going to have to go the ER to get pumped of some electrolytes. We got them to cease again. I thought it was over until I went out to get our dog some food before going to bed. So of course, I was in a t-shirt and shorts on a chilly October night, going out to the garage and BAM! They locked up again. This time I was on the ground for 30 minutes before Budgy came out and found me. I was shivering and unable to move because of the severe cramps. By the grace of God they finally stopped and Budgy got me back inside. I had to crawl down stairs the next morning because the cramping had made me incredibly sore. It was at this point that I started doing some investigating and found out that TUMS or Rolaids worked best for short term cramping and they should always be consumed on leg day! This is one of the reasons I have many of my athletes keep TUMS on hand during games because once you cramp, you are usually up the creek for the day. I am still shocked that most athletic trainers and coaches don’t know this little trick, one that was passed on to me by my former Coach, Scott Abel. The puppies still cramp from time to time and Devon thinks its hilarious. All the sign of a great leg workoutJ
There you have it, a trip down memory lane for Newell Strength. Some of these events were monumental in forming Newell Strength and my approaches to coaching my athletes to get bigger, stronger, more powerful and faster. Hope you enjoyed it!