I always think its funny when trainers or strength coaches try to rehab an athlete or client when they themselves have no clue on what it is like mentally or what it feels like. One of the greatest blessings of my knee injury was knowing that I would be able to really help that many more athletes and clients at Newell Strength from a position of having been there before. I developed protocols both physically and mentally to cut healing time and comeback time significantly. I start playing in a basketball league tomorrow night, less than 6 months after rupturing my patellar tendon, IT band, medial patello femoral ligament and both sides of the knee capsule. I was told it couldn’t be done and certainly not this fast. Keep telling me it can’t be done, its fuel for the fire…
The video below will explain a little bit about how I have developed my ‘never give up, optimistic’ mind-set over the years. I have heard from a number of men that have had similar knee injuries to mine and that is the aspect they are most interested in. With that, it gave me the nudge from Mother Nature to organize my first Newell Strength Success Seminar, which you will be hearing more about next week. But don’t worry, if you can’t make it, I will still be putting out a ton of content on mindset in the coming weeks.
As far as my rehab is going, I had a deep tissue massage this morning with some ART and I just rode the bike in the basement for 20 minutes, even took it down a notch at the end to finish on a high note. The past hour is the best my knee has felt. I spoke with a young soon to be physical therapist this morning and he said that the rate at which I am healing is almost super human, unheard of with an injury involving this much soft tissue. I have to remember this as I move forward so I don’t get discouraged like last week. They told me 12 months, I’ll do it in 6, still a great accomplishment. Doc told me this morning that it would never recover 100% (once again), but I’ll prove him wrong. I am on a mission now and daily steps lead to big gains over time (read that again, it is a lesson that you can use for everything in life). Also, I found it fitting that as I was finishing up my bike session an hour ago, I finally finished the movie ‘The Wrestler’, which I had been watching in bits and pieces since first attempting the bike 2 weeks ago. It was fitting because it reminded me to follow my heart and not give up, a champion will always be a champion because it the mind that makes them so….
The above pic is of one of the gym members at Newell Strength. As you can see from the picture, his right calf is much smaller than his left. 4 years ago, Mike ruptured his achilles tendon and he says that the calf just never really came back.
Now, Mike joined the gym at the right time as I have taken a much bigger interest recently in lagging muscles because I know I am going to have an uphill battle with my left leg after I can full range of motion back. I have read of NFL players with similar injuries to mine not being able to ‘re-grow’ their leg after coming back, which will of course impair performance. Forget about any average folk that rupture a tendon, they are content just to walk again, even if it is with a limp.
So, when I saw Mike’s leg, it presented a great chance for me to put my theory to the test. My theory is that some muscles, injury or not (it is just more pronounced with injury) are ‘trapped’ by the surrounding fascia. The whole purpose of foam rolling is to ‘release’ and make ‘pliable’ the fascia. But here’s the thing, most people only put half ass effort into soft tissue work, thus getting nothing out of it. With Mike, I have him finish every workout with some direct calf work followed by some intense grinding and rolling along a barbell of the fascia surrounding the soleus, gastroc and achilles. So we pump the muscle, expanding the fascia as much as possible and then roll the shit out of the fascia making it more pliable.
I was planning on using this technique with my leg training in preparation of my comeback to the bodybuilding stage for all muscles groups, especially the legs! I will keep you posted of the progress we are making as I am pretty sure this is the culprit behind body parts that are ‘uneven’, although innervation might play a role in it too.
K, quick update, I have been making great progress each and every time at PT. Yesterday one of the therapists asked me to try not and scare the other patients because of my rapping, screaming and intensity in my corner. I approach it just like I would a personal record in the squat. I get in the zone, feel the pain and push through it. I did some light sled dragging this morning and plan on picking up the wheel barrow this weekend to start working with. Keep in mind, I am only 6 weeks post operation from what my PT calls the worst knee injury he has ever heard of. It is all in the mind at this point and I have to be careful not to let frustration set in because as is my nature, I am very competitive even with myself.
I plan on hitting some wheel barrow work early tomorrow morning, followed by PT and then an hour in the pool….the comeback continues….
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….
As I was driving back from Kentucky yesterday, Devon was cool enough to drive for part of the trip, which gave me time to jot down my thoughts and ponder as I normally do. My brother and sister in law were with us and my brother happened to be reading a manual by the head of the Bridgewater Company about success. He showed me a quote at the bottom about Thomas Edison and how many times he failed at his attempt for electricity. I had read the quote before, but it lead me to thinking about the Dip and how we learn from out mistakes.
The Dip is essentially that point in any undertaking that we will all reach when we seem to be spinning our wheels and there is no visible progress. The tricky thing is, this is the point at which we must decide if we should keep going or stop because this path really wasn’t for us. The dip is inevitable. If you expect it, then you will be able to deal with it a lot better. Sometimes people never recover from the dip, but sometimes people just give up when they hit the dip. Malcolm Gladwell talked about the 10,000 hour rule in his book, Outliers.
This directly applies to the Dip, because Gladwell shows us that it takes 10,000 to become great at anything. Think about that number and how much time that actually is. Too many people get to let’s say the 2,000 hour mark (if that), are in the Dip, and give up. It is too much for them. This is how 90% of people operate. They want instant gratification. To get it right on the first try is not realistic nor desirable. You would never learn anything this way or appreciate your success. The Beatles played in Hamburg, Germany, 6 nights per week, 4 hours per night for years before we ever heard of them. It is a universal law. All great businesses, successes, triumphs and so on will have to deal with the Dip and the 10,000 hour rule. If you are ready for it and embrace it, success may be yours. The road will be long and painful at times, but stick it through, it will be worth it.
I am sitting down here in Atlanta at a conference writing my book in a lounge and I just got the part explaining my childhood fear and how it made me run from fear but at the same time have a love affair with fear my whole life.
“Having a brush with death, or being reminded in a dramatic way of the shortness of our lives, can have a positive therapeutic effect. Our days are numbered so it is best to make every moment count, to have a sense of urgency about life. It could end at any moment. The fearless types usually gain such awareness through some traumatic experience. They are energized to make the most of every action, and the momentum this gives them in life helps them determine what happens next.”-Robert Greene
You may be wondering what the heck business a strength coach has writing about fear and death, but everything I have accomplished and help my guys accomplish is through fear of something, something pushing me to success. When I was 6 years old, a good friend and neighbor of ours died. He was only a few years older than me. Imagine what effect this could have on a young boy that thinks he is going to live forever. I was devastated about the loss of my friend, but more so about the reality that my life was finite. I cried every night for 3 years after that. Ask my mom, she had to deal with it:). Something about ending or not having forever stuck with me. I have contemplated what death means many times throughout the years and it is always somewhere on my mind that my time and all of our times here is quick and finite. This gives me an urgency and desperado that many people lack. I don’t always want to be this way as it has its downsides too. I know that every moment has to be made into something, I don’t have time to sit idle.
This was what drove me to shoot 500 jump shots per day as a high school basketball player, even in the dead of summer. I paid my younger neighbor to rebound for me. This is what drove me to ride my bike to the YMCA at 5 in the morning as a high school senior so I could be sure to get my lift on and not let basketball practice get in the way. This is what drove me to nearly inhuman, insane efforts during the 5 years I competed in bodybuilding. This is what drives me to get up at 4 AM every day to get down to work. The point is, we are all more driven by fear than pleasure. The key is….what are you afraid of? What do you fear? Find something to cause a sense of urgency and make it your tool.
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?
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!
Most people go to the gym and go through the motions and then wonder why they aren’t getting results. It is quite obvious to me if you look at it….people are in a soft-environment and no one ever taught them that they are supposed to attack their workouts, no holds barred. If you train in this manner, you shouldn’t be able to go for more than 3 days per week. I was unable to walk correctly after one set of squats last week, thats one set for the whole week and I can guarantee it was a hell of a lot harder than what you will see anyone do at the ‘gym’. I always tell my players are about how intense Michael Jordan was. (As a side note, I officially feel a little ‘old’ when I have to tell my players and students about Jordan as if an old-timer was talking to me about Mickey Mantle or something along those lines.)
I remember one instance in which Jordan punched his then teammate, Jon Paxson, in the face because Jordan didn’t think he was practicing hard enough, something that was totally unacceptable to Jordan. Jordan wanted to win more than anything and you have to carry the same attitude into each and every workout if you want the results you are after. Stop going through the motions and get INTENSE!
To succeed in the weight room you need to be mentally tough. I have always been drawn to this because of the correlation to life: you will never reach your maximum potential unless you are willing to get back up off the canvas after such things as financial set backs, breakups, haters, putting in your 10,000 hours, illness, career plateaus, etc. I teach myself daily to be mentally tougher than anyone I come across. I know that no one will outwork me, period! This is something I try to preach to my young elementary students every day: DO YOUR BEST AND GIVE YOUR BEST EFFORT DURING EVERY SINGLE MOMENT AND YOU CANNOT BE STOPPED. With that in mind, check out this short vidoe, enjoy: