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Some thoughts

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  • Some thoughts

    Well, I posted something like this awhile ago and let me preface this by saying this is more for me than anything, just wanted a chance to organize my thoughts and writing seems to help that. I'm posting it because maybe others might take something away from it. It's kind of a presumptuous thing to do considering that I'm not a professional trainer/athlete or whatnot, but I myself have found insight from normal, everyday people sometimes more useful and appropriate. Let me also add that I'm posting this to hold myself accountable--it's rather hard to deviate off course if you "preach it" (although this seems easier for some than others).

    This forum is dedicated towards performance and aesthetic enhancement via weight training and manipulating your diet. Going even further, many of the people who have taken the initiative to find this community have a passion beyond this...some internal relationship with this 'lifestyle' that is unique. Consequently, people have differing goals, expectations and priorities. We can talk training and diet philosophies all day (and rightfully so--there IS an optimal way to do things and people pay good money for such information). However, to me, at the end of the day... what can make or break you is your mentality.

    I'll attempt to share 'some thoughts' that I myself have found useful and have helped me. I've created a list of 10--this seems to be the magic number for lists.

    1. Why? Call it goals, priorities, agenda—whatever, it all starts with the question why? If you can’t come up with a good reason for why you are doing what you do on a day-to-day basis (and you’re the only judge here) then you’re just wasting your time. The answer doesn’t always have to be some profound reason or lofty goal… it could simply be, “I’m doing this because it’s fun and I enjoy it.” I know people always put an emphasis on having goals, but it doesn’t always have to be a goal or a specific number. This may be helpful to some, but just being internally aware of why you’re doing what you’re doing is key. It will help you stay on track and keep you focused. There are days in the gym or in class that I just won’t be “into it.” It’s especially important at times like these to remind yourself of your why’s. The only person that can deem your answer to the question why? as yourself.

    2. Work smart then hard. Analysis paralysis is a bad thing. This has been harped on many, many times. Getting caught up with nuances and spending 95% of your time thinking about stuff that will have a 5% impact on your progress is simply a waste of time. At the same time, however, “putting the blinders” on all the time may not always be the best thing. Just remind yourself to keep things in perspective. Work hard and try to learn your craft as you go along. I just feel that this is important to bring up because the term “putting the blinders” on gets thrown around and this definitely isn’t a license to stop using your own brain.

    3. Dealing with failure. Call it a set back, or adversity or whatever you will. Failure can mean a lot of things and the word can conjure up a lot of mixed emotions. Failure can be a motivating force and it can also be paralyzing. On a day-to-day basis, failure to me is not making the progress I want in the gym, quitting on a set when I know I had more in me and things along these lines or not doing something that I set out to do on that particular day. Failure is bound to happen to everyone at some point or another. I feel that it’s important to establish a good relationship with failure. When things just don’t go your way, how do you react? When you, deep inside, know you quit early on a tough set, do you let the guilt plant the seeds of fear for next workout…essentially setting yourself up for another failure or do you forgo this entirely and just convince yourself that you gave it your “all”? It’s important to recognize your failures and shortcomings and acknowledge them. How you react is individual. Figure out what works for you. Just know that redemption can almost always be had—the weights aren’t going anywhere, anytime soon.

    4. Dealing with success. I’ve always tried to use my successes as guides to what works and what doesn’t. However, it’s important to always keep success in perspective. I’ll quote Dave Tate here and say that you should always be proud, but never satisfied. For many people, getting a big head isn’t a problem… but it’s always nice to remind yourself that there’s people behind you and most definitely people in front of you.

    5. 24/7 Effort. This is big. When you’re at work, be the best damn worker you can be. When you’re in the gym, train like a bull. When you’re out with your friends, have the most fun you can and be the best friend you can be. When you’re helping the old lady across the street—be the best damn, old lady street crossing escort you can. The point here is, no matter where you are, what you’re doing or whom you’re with, it’s almost without a doubt, in your best interest to give it everything you got.

    6. Fear. I credit Shelby Starnes with this. If you’re not a bit afraid of a weight or get that dreaded knot-feeling in your stomach, then you’re probably not training heavy enough. I find this to be true and it has helped me recognize and handle fear. I guess I’m being antitestosterone by admitting this, but there are times (a lot actually) where I’ll get a bit nervous before a tough work set. I know it’ll be heavy and I’ll be straining and it’ll get very, very painful and burn like hell. Once you recognize that this is okay, you can start to embrace it and welcome it. It’s just another part of the process…

    7. Self-awareness, honesty and potential. Being realistic must be balanced with not selling yourself short. Most people can surprise themselves with what they can accomplish but at the same time, you have to be honest with yourself. Life is inherently unfair (see: genetics), but the more you know about where you are now, the better chance you have to unlock potential that you didn’t even know you had. You can’t improve something that you know don't about.

    8. Believe. I believe Wendler said before that it’s more important to believe whole-heartedly in your program than what the actually program calls for you to do. This is because you’ll be more inclined to put in effort towards a cause you believe in. If you believe in a program, you know that if you do X, Y, Z… you’ll get the results you want. It’s impossible to force yourself to believe in something. However, the best way to believe in something is to find the answers to the “why?” that satisfies you. But think of the last time hard work just didn’t pay off at ALL in the end…

    9. You can’t fake tough. Credit goes to Shelby Starnes again. All of the aforementioned points have helped me to approach my training with a different mindset. A lot of the points aren’t even directly related to training itself, but again..this is a “lifestyle” is it not? So… you can’t fake tough. To me, this means that when all is said and done, when the program is laid out to your liking, the diet is planned out, and the food is even already cooked. There will come times where you lose motivation (not because you forget the “why” but because you’re tired, or you’re mentally fatigued or you’ve got this going on in your life or that….)… this happens to everyone. In micromanaging your life, every action really boils down to a simple yes or no. Are you going to do it? Yes or no. This mindset has gotten me through some tough workouts. You’re tired, it’s the end of the week, works been tough, you’re sore from the other workouts, you burp up that last meal of not-so-delicious chicken and plain rice. You have a heavy set of leg press followed by a 20 rep squat. What do you do? Again, talk all the game you want, write long rants on (like this one) all you want, make as many loud grunting sounds as you want… you are either going to get under the bar and give it 110% or you’re not. You can’t fake tough.

    10. Are you living the life you want to live? It’s a great question…
    Last edited by grit; 06-14-2011, 12:02 AM.
    True Protein Discount Code: AWC155

  • #2
    I think number 2 is one of the most important lessons in life in general and one that I believe in more and more every day. Hard work alone will no doubt put you above the average norm, but if you want to compete at the top you have to learn how to intelligently funnel you energy and determination.


    • #3
      Good read, I think the best part for me was not the traing tips, don't get me wrong some were good and others great but the best part for me is where you wrote "I myself have found insight from normal, everyday people sometimes more useful and appropriate."
      I often have to deal with people who have struggled through very difficult lives, been to prison or that I am charging and sending to prison and their insight into their success and often their failure is the thing I take away.

      Basically thanks for the post. I agree.
      "Be gentle in what you do, firm in how you do it."
      Buck Brannaman.

      "It is the certainty of punishment that deters crime, not the severity of it."
      'Hanging' Judge PARKER

      "Nothing is so powerful as an insight into human nature... what compulsions drive a man, what instincts dominate his action... if you know these things about a man you can touch him at the core of his being."
      ~William Bernbach


      • #4
        Awesome post AChoi.
        Use the following discount code: BDB830 and save 5 to 10% on your order at


        • #5
          LOL I was just thinking about #6 today, actually every Bi/leg day. During/Immediatly after my leg day I have anxiety, a knot in my stomach, and sometimes get phtsically ill. I ask myself is this worth it?? Am I going to hard??? I always push threw and 30 minutes later I am a better man for it. when training DC the right way this is a serious aspect of your training and you really need to be mentally tough.