Althought I love Halloween and this time of year, this is not a post about that kidn of fear. This is a post about fear in the weight room and how it relates to injury. Too many times, this will hold people back from reaching their true potential. The few examples I will cite here involve real people and injuries such as herniated discs and ACL tears.
Let’s start with Randee. Randee is a member at Newell Strength and he tore his ACL and mensicus in his right knee a year ago. Randee recently went to his doctors and they were amazed at his progress and hypertrophy (muscle building) in his right leg since he has been coming to me. There are times when Randee is fearful of cutting the wrong way or doing the wrong thing and re-injuring his knee and rightfully so. I wouldn’t want to go through that again either. But that’s all it is….fear. We have had to modify certain things such as planting and cutting for Randee, but he going with it and the fear is starting to melt away like butter on hot bread. By the way, Randee will be in an upcoming MTV reality series, so stay tuned for the updates.
Now on to me. I had a pretty severly injured back a few months ago and it is something that I have had to deal with throughout my competitive career in bodybuilding. When we got the MRI last spring, it showed two black spots where my L4 and L5 discs used to be. That means there is nothing there and I struggled for about 3 months before I was normally functional again. It is not all the way healed and it is something I will always have to deal with and I take great care in making sure I implement strategies for traction every single day. Am I fearful it will go out again? Yes, I am, especially with the competition this spring coming up. But again, it is just fear. I have to modify certain things and I haven’t back squatted heavy or deadlifted heavy since last spring (did 300 pounds for 20 reps on the back squat a few weeks before it went out—>see link below). But I know that to develop the back thickness necessary to bring home a bodybuilding title, I will have to deadlift. So, I was back at it this morning. The weight was only 150 pounds, pretty humbling for a guy that has pulled 600 pounds, but its a start.
I also have a number of female athletes that have had ACL injuries in the past and unless you have been living under a rock, ACL tears are pretty epidemic with female athletes. The reasons are debatable, but I know they are caused by a weak posterior chain. The issue from coming back from them though is again, fear based. Too many girls have re-torn the ACL after making their comeback and this sits in the minds of other female athletes. However, if they take the correct steps, proper training and education, it is only fear that holds them back.
YOU have to feel the fear and roll with it. You cannot let it stop you. Fear nothing people!
Me: “Ok, so we are getting near the end of our time. Let’s get a few more questions in. What are you planning on doing in the next year?”
Arnold: “I am going to be in a few action movies this year. I love acting and it is a way of competing for me. Competing against myself and other action stars. I will also be doing a lot of traveling and such, speaking a ton at corporate businesses and even a few jails. The corporate guys love being able to schmooze with me and it allows me to polish my speaking skills. You never know if that law will be changed…you know, the one about foreign born presidents (laughing). I go to the jails to speak with the guys like I did back in the movie, Pumping Iron. It may sound strange, but it brings me back to my primal days being around these guys and I actually think I have a great impact on a few of them.”
Me: “Cool. There are also rumors of you being a part of the Illuminati. Do you care to comment?”
Arnold: “All I will say on that is that I do have a unique inner circle. I have accomplished many great things in my life and there are other men that understand and harness this same power. When you put two or more of these minds together, earth altering things can happen. So, hopefully that answers your question.”
Me: ” I won’t push it. What would you like to leave with?”
Arnold: “You can have and do anything you want in life if you focus so intensely on it that you can almost burn a hole through the ether. This is and will always be the great secret to life. Keep pumping!”
Arnold: “Well, what the public saw was only a piece of the puzzle. Maria and I have been married for over twenty years and many of those years were great. We have 4 wonderful kids together and those kids are the focus of my life now. Yes, I did cheat on Maria and no, I didn’t go about it the correct way. With my celebrity and power, I have always been approached by a large number of ‘female fans’. Sex to me is a bioligical function, nothing more, nothing less. I don’t really care if this offends people, but we need to look at nature. I have always had the ability to have flings with no feelings involved. As a male, even a female for that matter, novelty is one of the biggest aphrodisiacs. By the way, that goes for anything, not just the opposite sex. I have always been a man that holds nothing back and I understand our primal needs. Obviously, Maria wasn’t alright with this, but it was something she had to deal with. We didn’t go public until after I was out of office for political reasons. Listen, I am not saying what I did in my past was right or wrong, but it is what I did.”
Me: “How’d you explain that to the kids?”
Arnold: “Simple really. I was honest with them. Sometimes as adults, we put too many stipulations on things and are overly sensitive. My love for my children hasn’t changed, it grows stronger by the day.”
Me: “Thanks for being so open about that. Let’s get back to what the fans want to hear about. Tell me some crazy training stories from your competition days.”
Arnold: “Ahh. The good old days. Kyle, there are so many, so I will keep it to just a few. Back in Austria, me and my buddies used to take a full keg, 3 turkeys, a squat stand and some lady friends and go traveling into the woods. We would squat for hours, drink, eat and have some fun with the girls. Think about it, what else does a person really need? We were hitting all of our bioligical needs. We did that quite often actually. Then there was the time that a young, arrogant bodybuilder came to me for posing advices. So, I had to shoot him back down to Earth. I told him that when you put your arms up, you have to scream and when you bring them down low, you need to do a low pitch scream. I said that the judges and crowd would go crazy for this and they will absolutely love it. So he did and they carried him off the stage because they thought he was crazy.”
To be continued with the final part tomorrow….
Me: “So, what do you think of today’s bodybuilders? Are they getting out of hand?”
Arnold: “I will always have a brotherhood and fraternity with all bodybuilders. It is such a unique sport that the only people that will ever know what you go through when getting ready for a contest are other bodybuilders. It is a surreal experience, but one that is priceless. With that said, today’s guys are huge. But, they are only playing to what is called for. Yes, the physiques might not be as ‘appealing’ as they were back when I competed, but if I competed like that today, I would not place. If I were competing today, I’d have to play the same game. I do feel that bodybuilding would gain a ton of fans back if it were a little less freaky.”
Me: “Who is the number one bodybuilder of all-time?”
Arnold: “Kyle, do you even have to ask? I can say unequivocally that I am. I am not being arrogant, but if you look at who has had the most impact on the sport, it is clear. If I did not retire from ’76-’80, I would have won 12 Olympias in a row. Compare that to Michael Jordan. Jordan probably would have won 8 in a row if he did not stop to play baseball, and that in itself is incredible. Can you imagine if I had won 12 in a row? And, even though I wasn’t as big as the guys today, my frame would hold 50-60 pounds more than some of these guys if I were competing today. Don’t forget, I am 6’2″, a virtual giant in bodybuilding. My arms topped out at 22″ and my chest was 57″ in my prime at 240 pounds. But again, stats aside, I had the biggest impact on the sport.”
Me: “Wow, you really do tell it like it is. Could you tell us who has the freakiest physique of all time then?”
Arnold: “Without a doubt, Ronnie Coleman. In this day and age he won 8 in a row, pretty incredible. His thickness and density are unrivaled. I would have honestly liked to see him win 9 and break my record. Ronnie is also a great guy and one of the strongest bodybuilders I have ever seen. Don’t forget, he turned an IFBB pro as a ‘natural’ guy. That is pretty damn hard to do.”
Me: “Ok, now to the hard question. What the hell happened with you and Maria?”
To be continued….
Me: “So, the mind is the key to all of your successes. What would you say to those that are quick to point out the steroid use?”
Arnold: “Yes Kyle, you must train the mind. Now, about the steroids. I don’t condone them for youngsters. In fact, we only used them from about 12 weeks out from a show and in minimal doses compared to what you see today. They were not illegal then either, so yes, I used them, but I did nothing wrong. The side effects of steroids are highly exaggerated anyway. For a healthy adult male, there is no problem in 90% of the cases as long as they are used in moderation. Kind of like 100% of any other drug out there.”
Me: “Interesting, I have to agree on that point. Would you ever consider using them again? How do they play into your exercise regiment now?”
Arnold: “If I had to get ready for a movie in which I had to be in top shape, then yes, I would consider them. However, I only used them back then as a tool to enhance my physique. Just as I used bodybuilding as a stepping stone, I used steroids as one of the tools in my tool box. Let me point out, that working out to me will always be a spiritual enhancement. I know people have seen recent photos of me and they are quick to put me down because of my condition now. I am 64 years old and enjoying life. I have no reason to be ripped and jacked up right now. I do have a workout center in my home and I workout every single day for an hour. I will always have that to fall back on and get into the right mental state.”
Me: “I always get pissed when people put you down because of your body now. You led a revolution. Do you have any good business success stories for us? ”
Arnold: “I always had the same mindset in business as I had in bodybuilding. I knew the end before it happened. I used psychological tactics to always have the upper hand. One time, I wanted to put an add in one of Wieder’s magazines and he sends me a bill! He wanted 50% of all the prophets. I couldn’t believe it since he had built his empire around me. However, I then proceeded to send him a bill for all the times I have appeared in his magazines and I let him know that from now on he would have to pay to use my likeness. He was caught between a rock and a hard place. I won. By the way, the ad was for a muscle building pamphlet I sold which did quite well.”
To be continued tomorrow….
Sometimes you need a little jump start at the beginning of the week. Your steel mindset will be forged in the fire of your trials and tribulations. I am in the business of making other men and athletes stronger. I create the fire every time they come to the gym and if they are smart, they jump in for an hour or so and each and every time they leave their mind is molded and welded into a stronger organism and if you haven’t heard me say it before: “A stronger organism is harder to kill”. By getting jacked up in the weight room, you are not only making your brain more built for the long term but you are making it built for daily challenges.
Here is an interview I had with Arnold Schwarzenegger (not really, but I can pretend):
Me: ”Arnold, I have looked up to you for 20 years and I know a lot of my herd were big fans of yours too. You were the king of psychological warfare and you could win a contest before you even stepped on stage. What was the secret?”
Arnold: (strong accent) “Thanks Kyle. Yes, I knew from the early years that anything that I would accomplish would start in my mind. I told all my boyhood friends that I would one day go to America, become the best bodybuilder in the world, go to Hollywood and be a movie star and then go into politics. Keep in mind that I couldn’t even speak English at this point. I also weighed about 150 pounds at that point.”
Me: “So how do you explain that?”
Arnold: ”Simple, I already knew the end before it happened. I pictured these things in my mind long before they happened until they were already a reality. It was almost like I could time travel and plant the scene in the future and then I was go back to the present and just wait. I shouldn’t say wait, I had to wait for that time, but I would take daily action. I came here with $20 in my pocket and now my empire is worth over $800m.”
Me: “Is this available to anyone? Or are you special? Were you one of the lucky ones?”
Arnold: ”No, not lucky at all. I was just a champion in my mind before I actually physically became one. My mindset is rare, but everyone has access to it. Most just think they can’t access it. My mind has been the secret to all of my success. Kyle-train your mind first and let the physical body follow.”
To be continued next week….
I am now a fan of Matt Kroc. As you can see from the pic above, this dude is an absolute beast. I don’t follow powerlifting as much as I do bodybuilding, being that I compete in bodybuilding and have never competed in powerlifting. Needless to say, I have a lot of work to do for the competition this year-his forearms are about the size of my leg right now. Ok, enough ogling. What I really wanted to talk about this Sunday night was his mindset.
He has had at least 12 horrific lifting accidents and each time he has come back for more. I am talking about muscles and tendons coming clean off the bone. Matt has developed a mindset in which he literally doesn’t even the feel the pain and in no way would these injuries stop him from becoming the strongest man in the world. He reached his goal in 2009 with an insane total of something like 2200 pounds. However, once he reached that, he said he had an almost empty feeling because as you know if you’ve ever reached a worthy goal, after the fact you can feel lost. This is the point when you realize that it really is about the journey, not the destination.
Matt was out at the Arnold Classic and he was getting ready for his first bodybuilding show. One of the guys from Muscular Development asked him what his ultimate goal was with bodybuilding and Matt said it was to get his IFBB pro card, which is damn difficult to do. The guy pretty much smirked at him and Matt said he has used this as motivation to make sure he one day gets his IFBB pro card. Matt plans on reaching this goal within the next 2-3 years and I have no doubt that he will reach his goal.
Matt says he didn’t come from ‘great’ genetics and he has had to fight tooth and nail for everything he has achieved and I believe him. A mindset like Matt’s is very rare, but not impossible at all. He has just chosen to harness the power of his mind and use it to it’s maximum potential. As an aside, one way he has done this is to take a 3 inch nail and drive it into his bicep without flinching. He separates the feeling from the pain-if you are going to get under a 1,000 pound bar, you have to be a little bit insane. Not recommending this, but there are other ways to train your mind. I am rooting for Matt and will be posting more about him in the future.
It’s getting somewhat late on a Friday night in Ohio and I still have to hit some meditation biking’ and pool in the hotel before I crank out three hours of work. But nonetheless, I am psyched up as hell. I had a great day at the Learn To Train Seminar in London, Ohio at the EliteFTS compound. I met some cool ass people, talked shop with some great coaches, got to meet Dave in person and even set up a BIG TIME interview for you guys that will happen within the next few weeks. They always say if you can learn one thing from a book or seminar, then it was a good seminar. Check out what I learned (I am keeping it to one item per presenter):
- Dave Tate-You need a philosophy for your fitness and strength training. This can even be applied to your body composition goals. Too many people do what he calls, “lily pad programming”, jumping from one plan to the next with no continuity. You will never get any where doing this. Develop your philosophy and take from others what you can to apply to YOUR OWN philosophy.
- Vincent Dizenzo-Vinny is a funny ass guy and I enjoyed him greatly. ”If you want to get better, find the people that know what they are doing and that can help you get there and hire them. If not, stay mediocre.”
- Jeremy Frey-Coach Frey is a very smart mind. The goal of GPP is to raise overall work capacity. Once you do this, you will have much more effective workouts int he other phases of block periodization.
- Andy Deck-A good way to train is to make stuff harder to do without making it heavier. Definitely add fat grips to your training on all applicable moves.
- Matt Kroczaleski-Matt was an interesting dude. He is one of the strongest lifters of all time and is now focusing his efforts on becoming an IFBB pro bodybuilder. Matt has one of the best mindsets I have ever seen. I think he has had like 12 nearly career ending injuries but he has never let them stop him. Matt is up on my interview list and it will be a pleasure to speak with him more.
- Jim Wendler-Funny as hell. You have an infinite training life, do it while you can. What is it? Lifting heavy stuff, running fast as hell and stretching hard. He said something very profound: “Would you take take any amount of money to give up your arms or legs?” Hopefully the answer is no, YOU are already the wealthiest man in the world in one sense.
- Dr. Ryan Smith-The good Doc spoke a lot about tissue tolerance and back issues. He covered the lower cross syndrome which was a good review. This is the fact that the erector muscles and the hip flexors are normally both tight and the gluteus and abs are usually not firing properly.
- Shelby Starnes and John Meadows-I am a big fan of John Meadows way of eating. Eat the foods that eat their natural food sources. I am going to be doing much research into this as I have already begun to apply it but I will also combine it with many of my old principles such as caloric spikes.
That’s it, time to hit some meditation, got to get into the right mindset for the work to come. Off into the night I go!
I am so psyched to say that I have a few HUGE learning experiences coming up. If you receive my emails, you know how big I am into investing in education. It is the single biggest factor to your success that I know of. ONE BIG FACTOR in learning is stimulating the correct hormones in the brain first through exercise. There are many mornings when I have to get work done as soon at the alarm goes off at 4:45AM, but sometimes the thoughts don’t flow at that time. Exercise always get the trick done, that is one of the main reasons I am considering putting in my Schwinn Dual Action bike in my office. An excellent book I recommend for this topic is:
Pretty cool book whether you are a serious student, serious meathead, or both.
I am also in some high level business and mastermind groups this upcoming year which I am super excited about. When I spoke with Pauly Reddick the other day he said the reason he likes to put himself in these situations year after year is to be surrounded by better people and better ideas constantly. I couldn’t agree more.
I will also be having a monthly consulting phone call with THE top exercise programmer in the world in order to pick his brain and learn as much as I can from him. The reason I do all if this is to be the best I can be to serve my members/athletes. Something about growing physically and mentally is very exciting to me. IF YOU WANT TO BE THE BEST, START LEARNING FROM THE BEST!
This dude is jacked and fast, but how? What I do with my training is a blend of both worlds. I don’t want a super strong skinny athlete nor do I want a super slow muscle bound athlete. How can you accomplish the best of both worlds? My workous include:
- Strength movements trying to use maximal weight (1-5rm)
- Power movements (2-3 reps at high speed with 60-70% max)
- Faster paced, shorter rest complexes including pushing, pulling and leg dominant
- We use the sled for conditioning
- Bodyweight work must be a part of the program
- Spriting and jumping
This list is pretty simple when you look at it. If you have a combination of the above principles, you will become a beast. Remember, you can be good at all things at once, there must be a focus to your methods and program. If you are going to shade to one side heavily, then you must only lightly shade the other side. My own personal workout for today is: DB BENCH 5X5 W/BOX JUMPS, FAT GRIP PULLUPS 3XMAX, OH PRESSING W/SHRUG, DIPS AND CURLS. This is simple and to the point, no BS!