I am not a person that believes in coincidence. I believe that things are placed at certain points in our life and it is up to use to connect the dots. I had gotten the above tattoo the week of my injury. I was going to wait to get it, but for some reason, I got it on Monday, April 9th. It means ‘Fear Nothing’.
Connecting the dots with what has happened with me recently, I know what I have to do now. I was telling Devon last night, that if I let the fear from this injury win and I never compete again in bodybuilding or basketball, then I have lost. Once I get to that point, stepping on stage again, I will be the champion. Regardless of what happens in the placings, to come back from this injury and compete at a high level will be the culminating event on an already extraordinary set of circumstances. When I go back to playing basketball, I will be doing so not just for myself, but every person out there that has lived in fear of re-injury.
I am so fortunate to have this opportunity that lays ahead of me. How many times in life or how many people do you know that get the chance to put everything they have ever learned and worked for to the test? All those early morning hours, battling against the weights when there was just the sound of iron and me. All of those late night hours or rode trips spent learning and working on my craft. When other guys were out partying or sleeping in, I was training my body and mind. When I was going through the tough times of my stomach illness for two years back in 2005-07, my spirit was being molded.
This is the moment of truth….will I have what it takes to come back at a high level? In the handful of times this injury has happened at the NFL level, many of those guys never made it back to play again. The few times it has happened in the NBA, it for the most part has been a career ender. I told Devon there are two ways to look at this, the first option would be to say, ‘oh shit, this doesn’t look good’ but instead I choose the second option of ‘This is going to take a monumental effort BUT I will do it’.
I spoke with a PT friend of mine this morning and he said this injury is so rare that the only guy in the area that could confidently do this surgery is Dr. Gecha. Otherwise he said I would have had to go to Alabama or Cincinnati to get the surgery. I tell you this to again show that it is rare and I would have it no other way. I needed something like this to push me to the next level of life. I am not bitter, I am not angry that this happened, instead I will find the opportunity that lies the eye of any disaster. The hotter the heat, the harder the steel. The higher the pressure, the better the diamond. I leave you with a poem my good friend Steve wrote for me a few days after the injury. It brought me to tears and I am not ashamed to say that I cried in front of another grown man…..
By Steven J, Proud Member of Newell Strength
Ignites my fire,
My love, my passion, my desire.
Keeps me apart from Joe,
No Excuses, No Weakness to Show.
Reminds me of the great,
In which the average would escape.
The Human Strength Expert,
And my dream is not asleep.
A torn patella tendon,
Can keep me off my feet!
I figured I would highlight one of my other athletes, Jimmy Neutron. This is the type of kid that you can build a team around. He came to me back in June and he continually amazes me by his work ethic and discipline. Neutron is a track athlete and recently he ran a record 40 time of 4.71 seconds. Jimmy easily can jump up onto the 42″ box without a pre-step. He is on the high school nutrition plan, ie-eat as much as possible and as you can see from the pictures below, it is paying off! Good job Jimmy Neutron!
One of my friend’s passed away unexpectedly on Monday of this week. We taught together for 4 years or so and this was her first year of retirement. The timing seems ironic, and it was a great loss for the school that I teach at. She was a wonderful woman. But the thing I take away from this is that the line between life and death is so very thin. If there is something you want to do, stop waiting to do it and just do it! Too many people wait until then, until next time, until tomorrow and the problem is that we aren’t promised tomorrow. I have spoken of having the sense of urgency for life before and how we can use that as a catalyst for achievement and living a life full of richness and dreams and that is never more apparent to me than now. This is two months in a row that I have had someone that I was friends with pass away long before they should have. I will keep both of them in my mind and heart as I push forward in all areas of my life for the next year.
P.S-I realized that some of you don’t get my emails (different than this) and I often put different things in there. If you want to start getting them, simple enter your information below. -Kyle
I am going to touch on one more thing from the book, The Alchemist, and then move on.
There is one point in the book in which the Alchemist says to the boy, “Usually the threat of death makes people a lot more aware of their lives.” If I may connect the dots….
In 50′s book,
50 talks about how when he almost died after being shot 9 times, he had a new sense of urgency in life. He knew that at any moment, he could be killed or die and he said how too many people don’t want to acknowledge that our time here is limited. It could be tomorrow or 80 years from now, but our time is finite. This sense of urgency is crucial to anyone that wants to get the most juice out of life. When I was a child, I was petrified of dying. I used to cry to my mom every single night from the time I was 6 until I was 8. Maybe a bit weird, but I honestly believe it was that period in my life in which I realized life was precious and I would be damned if I were ever going to let it just slide by. Every time in my life before a significant change has happened, the thought of death and what it all means has preceded it. My wife, Devon will tell you I am very much philosopher on this topic and I don’t mean to be morbid. It is all very fascinating to me.
But the point is, maybe I act boldly and with a sense of urgency because I have acknowledged and accepted that my life is precious. I remember speaking to Matt Kroc a month ago and he said when he was in college, he would break into the weight room to lift heavy as hell by himself. He would bench press and squat insane weights with no spotter and he knew, it was succeed or die. Pretty intense but then again, do you think it is coincidence that he is one of the strongest men ever to walk the face of the earth? Do you think it coincidence that he will soon be an IFBB professional bodybuilder? I think not–>he trains with a sense of urgency and finiteness.
Every time I ask someone in the gym when they tell me they can’t do something if “they could do it if their life depended on it”, a new animal emerges from them. If you could take this same approach to every training session, every day, every goal, then you will no doubt have nothing left in the tank at the end of your road. -Kyle
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!
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….
This post has nothing to do with the insanely huge pair of legs to the left, but they are interesting. They belong to Mike Lockett, a very nice guy that guest posed at one of my shows a while back. He was the freakiest physical specimen I have ever seen and I have seen a lot! I will talk about him some other time. What I do want to talk about is an interesting conversation I had with one of my members tonight. He is a very bright guy and owns his own company. I always like talking with my men-members at my gym because many of them are former athletes, and very successful. I will call him member X. X was saying how he reads people in certain situations, including when him and his buddies or clients play sports together. Are they the type of person that just kind of hangs back and waits for the game to be over (never really exerting themselves)? Do they go all out on every play. Are they like Rocky Balboa…you can’t keep them down and they won’t give up? I found it fascinating because he said 100% of the time, however they are on the field or court or course is how they are in life. I am constantly analyzing my atheltes, whether they are aware of this, I am not sure. The ones that miss sessions, the ones that won’t push outside their comfort zones, those are the ones I worry about. They won’t make it in life-harsh but true. The ones that won’t give up, no matter how hard I push them, those are the ones that have the ‘greatness potential’. I try to shine the light on it for them, but they are the only ones that can truly access it and bring it to fruition. The workouts are just a small part of what goes on at Newell Strength. There is a reason why I have atheltes traveling from over an hour away. There is a reason why I have men and athletes signing up for the next year-it’s not just the training (although that does kick ass). It is because guys and athletes want to be surrounded by other guys and athletes that have already achieved a level of success that so few people will ever reach. You can’t teach that type of stuff. Stay tuned for the upcoming seminar details. Keep checking back on the website, it will be the first of its kind and the best around. Peace!
Fear can have many meanings to different people. I am going to talk about the type of fear that drives you to be better, the fear that is really an ally for our achievements. Fifty Cent talked in his book about the FEAR of death after he got shot 9x. He said that from that point forward, he knew that he could die at any moment so he would make sure he got the most juice out of life possible. This meant little sleep and a lot of ACTION. He developed a healthy fear that spurred him to greatness. (Whether you like him or not, he has become great in his ‘world’.) I had a man at the gym the other day that wanted to try 315 on the squat, this was the second time he was begging to do it. Granted he got 285 a week before, but 315 was much to big of a jump. I decided to teach him a lesson and I do not recommend this to you! I have a lot of experience spotting people and I was confident I’d be able to handle it. Continue: We put 315 on the bar and his first rep was more like a 1/4 rep. On rep number two, I told him to get deeper. Well, once he descended into that position, I swear that you have never seen a bigger look of fear in a man’s eyes. I spotted it all the way back up. But the lesson was learned, he will not fear and respect heavier weight. We need fear to teach us and for us to realize the power of certain things. Many times we can use fear to our advantage. However, most people let fear paralyze them, never leaving the starting line. Some people’s fears are so bad that they develop phobias. You must respect and FEAR heavy ass weight if you are going to conquer it!
The more I see others trying to copy me, the more motivated I become. Those strength coaches and/or gyms know who I am talking about. Man up, be your own person and create your own path! I often have people as me who my competition is in my area and the answer is: no one! There are other strength coaches and ‘gyms’ and to the gyms I say, you are not competition. People that are going to you are simply paying to use your equipment. What is your differentiation to other big gyms? You are boring! To any of the other strength coaches in my area, you can copy my lead in business or advertising, but there is a reason the athletes are coming to me and not you. I could even give you ALL of my programs that I have for my athletes and it wouldn’t matter. You are not genuine and YOU are not unique. You either have it or you don’t, nothing that can be done about that. That is why I say I have NO competition in this area. I hope that those certain people read this to let them know that I am on to them and it feels damn good to get this off my chest!
On a side note, do not forget, this Friday, 8 PM is the Pumping Iron premier movie showing on the big screen at Newell Strength. Muscle Maker Grill food will be provided and it is all FREE! I want to give back to you guys and put on a fun night for everyone. Please RSVP if you are coming so I can get enough food. Stay tuned for more fun at Newell Strength as I plan on putting on a monthly event.
Life is chaos. If you think you have it all planned out, you are dead wrong. You need to have the quality of water. Water is the most powerful force in nature. It can wear down rocks and steel and it can over, through or around obstacles. Most people in life will be pissed off if they can’t figure you out or your next move out. The reason is that most people do not like change even though its the only constant in life. People will get upset with you if you are unpredictable but that is one of the only ways to be remarkable which in turn leads to success. I am really trying to instill this in all my men and athletes at Newell Strength. Life is about dreaming and then making those dreams a reality. Life will surely throw you a few curve balls, it is your job to hit it out of the park. Are you in the top 1% in the world? You shouldn’t even hesitate. YOU can be great, for it! Check out the book below, and don’t judge by its author. Awesome book, great read!
Hope the holiday weekend was great! I got some much needed rest but I am back stronger than ever and will be bringing you guys some cool thoughts this week. I wanted to just show you guys what is possible with some dedicationa to a plan and having a qualified Coach in your corner. Mark has only been with me for a few weeks and he is one of the many men that come to the facility. His intensity is ferocious and even the athletes feed off of his energy. Take a look:
Way to go Mark! Get jacked!