Part of making my athletes the strongest around is getting them to believe that they can do certain things. Many times, I know they can do it while I can see a look of doubt on their faces as to whether they actually believe they can do it.
Great athletes have an almost cocky type of attitude and they will embrace the challenge. The ones that are scared to go for ‘it’ in the weight room never really amount to much more than an average player.
I have trained myself over the years to embrace and attack challenges and I taught myself this in the gym. 20 sets of 315 for 12 reps in the squat as an example, back when I was more actively competing in bodybuilding.
I have only been off of my crutches for 8 days and the improvement since then is almost scary. I drove my truck for the first time yesterday. I got the seat in to a level 11 on the recumbent elliptical at PT, the pain nothing short of excruciating, but I loved it. I was using 4 plates on the reverse hyper yesterday while most able bodied fold are scared to go above 1 plate per side.
My subconscious got the immediate message that it was okay to start pushing the boundaries once I got off of the crutches and out of the wheelchair. Tommy, one of the PTs that is working with me said he thinks I will set a new record and standard for coming back from this type of injury.
The point being, you can do far more than you think you can. If you have the right attitude, you will go to high altitudes. Believe you can and you will….
I am often amazed that people claim they don’t have time to read. I always try to preach to my athletes that they don’t have time not to read. I’ll admit that the first couple of days after my knee exploded, I actually found myself down and out, crying on and off.
I realized that although I read constantly, it had been a while since I read a purely ‘positive mindset’ book. It was books of these nature that I built myself up, to the point of believing in myself when no one else did. I am gonna tell you right now that if you are gonna succeed on the highest level, you are going to need a way to weather the storm when it hits, and it will hit.
There are hundreds and hundreds of trainers and strength coaches that fail miserably although they might be quite bright in the subject matter. Newell Strength has thrived not only because of our ability to turn average athletes into top notch athletes, but because of our ability to send athletes out as more confident versions of themselves.
Coaching is an art, more than writing down reps and set schemes for some people and it is because of books like Norman Vincent Peale’s the Power of Positive Thinking, that I am constantly coaching the mental and emotional sides of my clients and athletes as much as the physical.
This is one of the first and most influential books on the topic that I had read some years back and it is a classic. I am about half way through it this time and I can’t help but feel good every time I close a chapter.
You NEED to constantly feed your brain positive info, once a week, once a month or never won’t get the job done. Another reason to be very mindful of who you hang out with (masterminds).
Def check this book out:
I got a few things on my chest which are going to come at some of you like venom. One of my members had a knee MRI this week. Turns out, it is a knee strain. Now, this is the part that irks me…the doctors told my client that squats and lunges are terrible for the knees. At which I replied, “False”. This is part of the problem when it comes to health and fitness. The people that are supposed to be leading the charge, the doctors, don’t take the time to really find out the truth. Here is what the doctor might be referring to:
- There was a book written in the 1960′s, the name which escapes me, where the author talked about pre-existing knee conditions and squatting. In that case, then squatting might not be the best (although I could make the argument against this). Many people read only that headline or part of that book and came to the conclusion that squatting is bad for the knees. Nothing could be further from the truth. Look at the squatting motion in which you go through the full range of motion. You are strengthening the leg musculature while at the same time lubricating and washing the joint in synovial fluid. Squatting is the most natural and healthy knee movement there is. Look at pictures of babies in the squat or pictures of some African tribes in which even the senior members are in a full squat.
- The doctors hear that if the knees go past the toes, you are screwed. Wrong again. First of all, when looking at the lunge, what happens to the back leg and knee when lunging? It is past the toe! How come no one ever mentions this?! Look at all types of sports and games, the players knees are constantly out in front of the toes. The logic doesn’t add up! And then, the doctor told client X to strengthen the thighs more…hello Doc! What the hell do you think is the most effective exercise for strengthening the things?! Food for thought.
I was at one of my best friend’s weddings on Sunday night and I had the chance to see a lot of guys that I haven’t seen in a while. I had a revelation while at the wedding which I would like to share with you today. First off, it is very important that you define for yourself what success means. Is it love, money, happiness? If you go back to last week’s post on the 5-6-7, I believe that if you really dig deep, success will come down to happiness. For me, that means doing what I love everyday and having someone to share that with. Many times, I think people get caught up in ‘the end’ goal, not realizing when they finally reach that goal, there will be an empty feeling if that did not take time to enjoy the process.
I had two of my younger brother’s good friends come up to me at the wedding and tell me how happy they were that I was living my dream. But why can’t everyone be living their dream? I feel it is always within reach of a person if they are just willing to make some short term sacrifice. I also had 3 different men pick my brain about business since they had recently or were planning on starting their own ventures, having nothing at all to do with the fitness business. That is where the title for this article came from. Success cuts across all boundaries, other people will recognize it and appreciate it. I suppose it is a good indicator of when you should sit back and count your blessings. Sometimes others can see it more clearly than you when you are already far into the road. Devon often thinks its funny that all these guys want to talk to me when we go to social events and I do to.
This all goes back to the energy you give off and people can pick up on that. Success is like planting a garden, it takes a while and it needs to be cared for and nurtured everyday. If you show me someone that has had quick success, I will show you someone that will be standing alone within an equally short amount of time. My father in law, Big Dave, was over for dinner last night and we were talking about this very topic. Dave was a very successful businessman in how own right and he was saying how only a half of one percent of people are truly cut out for success, kind of like how I am always talking about the 1%ers. Just something to think about. Do you want success or not?
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.
Just a quick story I wanted to share with you guys. I had one of my guys come up to me yesterday after the workout to talk about mental toughness. He happens to be a Fire Chief and that means he had his hands full during Irene a few weeks ago. He said he was up for basically 72 straight hours! He managed to sleep for 2 hours somewhere in there, but for those of you that have never tried this, it is insane! When you are awake that long, you start to hallucinate and systems start to shut down.
He credited his workouts at the gym for making the difference. He said before joining the gym, he would have never been able to that. But the mental toughness gained through his workouts and other guys pushing him, helped him to develop the psyche he needed.
I always say that lifting is just a metaphor for life. You can mold yourself into a champion of life during your workouts if you so choose. I am proud of my guy for stepping up the plate during Irene and risking his life for us. Way to go Dave!
I had a few different topics that I was going to write about today, but after listening to one of my audio-cds with a few marekting experts, a new idea popped into my head. I have always had the knowledge that if someone else did it or can do it, then I can do it too. This might stem from my days of competing in bodybuilding and I know for sure that those days cemented this idea firmly in my mind. One of they guys on the CD referred to the opposite thought of success envy, meaning that most people hear these other ‘stars’ in their field of choice and they think, “Man, they know it all. I can never do that. They are lucky. They have it all figured out.” He then made the point that it is VERY important to stay away from that line of thinking and I have to say that it was refreshing hearing someone else that is one the same page as my own thoughts. All those ‘stars’, whether in your sport or career, started out at the same spot you are in right now. Dan Kennedy says that all overnight successes take 12 years. It is a funny statement, but there is more truth to this statement than almost any other that I have heard on a while. I try to instill this thought into my athletes. Are you here to get better? Are you getting up early to get that extra meal in? Are you outworking your opponents? Don’t let success envy happen to you. If you want it, GO FOR IT!!
♣It is almost 12:30 in the morning as I am writing this. This will not directly deal with training, but rather a topic that is always on my mind: success. When I look up from my computer screen, I see about 100 books that all have to do with success and going for your dreams. I do not think it is an accident that my dreams are coming true. I am using the same work ethic and drive that allowed me to excel on the bodybuilding stage. You need to be sure to do ONE thing everyday to move you closer to your goals. I have no patience for people that want to jump on my back and hope for a free ride to the mountain top. I have no patience for a negative mindset, in fact it repels me. I try to instill these same principles in my atheltes. It is not only about the physical. Their athletic careers will come to an end one day, but will they be living and awesome life? I am not going to stay up until 1 or 2 in the morning to jack around or because I am restless, I am doing it because I am driven to dominate my field and become the best strength coach in the world. Someone has to take that title, why not me? You may have every right to have a comfortable job with a pension and have no work every on the weekends, but do not ever jump on the people that are: rich, successful, and have the life of their dreams because these people DID put in the blood, sweat and tears. Start working on your mindset as much as you work on your body. WIN!