Monday, December 28, 2015


Dear readers, your author has once again underdone surgery in order to correct an injury related to training.  My ACL rupture and meniscus tear suffered from a 775lb yoke walk was repaired on 17 Nov, and I have been since recovering and training in a slightly altered manner.  The last time I underwent surgery was to repair a torn labrum suffered during a wrestling match when I was 16, so suffice to say things were a little different than I remembered.  For those of you that have yet to undergo surgery, I wanted to give you an opportunity to prepare for the unique aspects that come with being a strongman.  And for those that have undergone this process, perhaps you can relate to some of it as well.

-The day before surgery, when you make sure to get the angle on your 105lb dumbbell holding your dip stands steady JUST right, because you know that you won’t be able to move that sunuvabitch for a few months after your surgery.

-The moment your anesthesiologist actually lays eyes on you and immediately doubles the dosage of your pain meds.  Now, I don’t think I’m a big guy, but I kind of forget how the rest of the world works, and when the hospital hears “5’9, 190lbs”, they assume you’re coming in pretty fat.  My anesthesiologist came into the room, saw me, his eyes grew to the size of dinner plates and there was a slight argument between him and my nurse at that point.

Anesthesiologist-“So yeah, we’re giving him 2 Percocets before surgery.”
Nurse-“But the surgeon said to only do 1.”
“Yeah, but we’re giving him 2.”
“But that’s not what the doctor said.”
“Yeah, I know, so we’re giving him 2.”

Now that I think about it, he looked a little familiar

He eventually won out after just stonewalling and filibustering, which then led to my next fun moment.

-Amazing the nursing staff by your ability to dry swallow 2 Percocets because for the past 2 months you’ve been taking fishoil and glucosamine by the handful in a futile attempt to treat your torn ligaments.  It’s not the greatest talent to have, but it’s a talent none the less.

-The uneasy look the nursing staff gives you when you warn them that you tend to come out of anesthesia “combative”.

What the nursing staff was picturing

-Contemplating a future in bodybuilding after the staff shaves your knee because, now that the sasquatch-esque amount of hair is no longer obscuring your quad, you can actually see the teardrop.

-Being told that your surgeon is going to harvest your hamstring tendon for your new ACL and worrying because you know you’ve blown out that damn hamstring at least a half a dozen times.

-Your surgeon and your physical therapist both politely declining your invitation to view the video of your injury…you know…for diagnostic purposes.

-Being asked what pain level you are comfortable with being at once you are recovering at home and being corrected when your answer is “6/10”.

'Tis but a scratch

-Living off of protein bars and greek yogurt after your surgery because you can’t stand long enough to cook but still want your protein fix.

-Contemplating quitting your painkillers because they might interfere with your energy drink addiction.

-Reading “The Westside Method” while high on Percocet to see if it makes more sense.  Protip: It doesn’t.

I love Louie, but I swear he learned how to write by reading Mad-Libs

-Training in freezing temps shirtless with a fan on because the surgeon has strongly advised you NOT to break a sweat while the stitches are still fresh.

-Getting winded from band pull aparts.

-Realizing now is the time to start focusing on training your grip again and having to go on a Legend of Zelda-esque adventure to find all of your grippers again.  Except you end up finding the #3 first, which would be like getting the Master Sword at the start and having to work back to the wooden one.

-Stopping your painkillers WAY too early because it’s been years since you’ve been pain free and you’ve forgotten what it feels like.  Then, 2 weeks later, you realize there is a huge difference.

-The look on your surgeon’s face when you show up to your 1 week post-op visit with no crutches or brace on your leg, along with no idea where they are, and no idea why any of that is a problem.

-Developing some form of psoriasis on your lats because your crutches have zero possibility of actually being in your armpits if you have any hope of being able to use them in a realistic fashion.

-Being told to “slow down” while on crutches.

In reality, I couldn't catch this guy if he WAS on crutches and I had 3 good knees

-Having to cut out your gallon of water a day because getting up to pee is a Herculean task.

-Needing to be told exactly what you CAN’T do by your physical therapist, because you know that, if they give an inch, you’ll take a mile.

-Getting sick of small and weak people advising you NOT to train your good leg.

-The longing look you give your buffalo bar every time you pass it in the gym.

-Going to physical therapy and nerding out over them using jump stretch bands too.

-Having no idea what to do with information regarding when you will be able to run again.

The sport isn't really known for having the swiftest athletes

-Learning how to bench with only 1 foot on the ground.

-No one appreciating your comedic genius when they see you with only 1 crutch, ask if you’re ok, and you respond that you got the role of Tiny Tim and are just trying to stay in character.

-Becoming MacGuyver in the gym to rig up ways to train around your surgery.

-Trying to maintain your pokerface when you’re cleared to perform hamstring curls with band resistance.

-Going to PT and doing a bunch of moves you were already doing at home because you thought they were safe.  Whoops.

-Having your PT get nervous because your ridiculous pain threshold allows him to push WAY harder than he really should.

-Debating on if you should tell your surgeon that your shin is still numb 5 weeks post op because you figure it’ll make deadlifting easier.

Because socks are just silly

-Secretly counting your blessings because this is a lower body injury, which means at least your upper body will still be jacked.

While I have your attention, I wanted to point out that the blog has been running 3 years strong and recently acquired over 200,000 views.  I am thankful for all of my readers, both my diehard loyalists who have been here from the start to people who have just stumbled across it a few days ago.  Thanks to all the folks who take the time to comment, as your feedback means a ton and makes this process worthwhile.  Please, if there is anything you want covered, leave me a comment and I’ll make sure to address it, and stay tuned, as I’m not done yet.

Monday, December 21, 2015


Allow me to open with a quote from George Carlin about our subject matter today: Joe Pesci.

Image result for joe pesci home alone
Tis the season

“You know who I pray to? Joe Pesci. Two reasons: First of all, I think he's a good actor, okay? To me, that counts. Second, he looks like a guy who can get things done. Joe Pesci doesn't fuck around. In fact, Joe Pesci came through on a couple of things that God was having trouble with.”

And to reinforce this, and really drive home today’s point, reflect on this scene from one of the greatest movies of all time: Casino.

For those of you unable to watch the above, I have taken the time to transcribe the scene.  In this scene, Joe Pesci’s character, Nicky Santoro, has cornered an investment banker who has been avoiding Nicky, due to the fact that the investments failed to pay off.  Here is what was said.

Banker: “I explained to you there was a possibility that you might take some kind of loss”

Nicky: “Yeah…I think I want my money back”

Banker: *Chuckle* “What are you gonna do, strong-arm me?”

Nicky: “Ya know…I think you got the wrong impression about me.  In all fairness, I should explain to you what exactly it is that I do.  For instance, tomorrow morning I’ll get up nice and early, take a walk over to the bank, walk in and see ya, and, if you don’t have my money for me, I’ll crack your fucking head wide open in front of everybody at the bank.  And just about the time I’m coming out of jail, hopefully, you’ll be coming out of your coma.  And guess what?  I’ll split your fucking head open again. ‘Cause I’m fucking stupid.  I don’t give a fuck about jail.  That’s my business.  That’s what I do.”

I love that scene.  I’ve watched it a hundred times and it still sends chills down my spine.  THIS is the attitude you need to have with your training.  THIS is the conversation I have with my body everytime it gets injured.  THIS is the difference between champions and chumps.

Break down what’s happening in this dialogue so that you can understand how it applies universally.  Joe’s character has learned how to transcend the limitations placed upon the rest of society by disregarding the consequences inherent of negative actions.  We’ve discussed Hobbes’ social contract theory in the past, how the only way you keep order in society is by having consequences for actions negative to society.  Here, however, Joe simply doesn’t care about it, and in choosing to do so, he creates an immense amount of freedom.

Image result for joe pesci Casino
With some other benefits too I suppose

“I don’t give a fuck about going to jail.  That’s my business.  That’s what I do.”  We say the same about getting injured, hurt, overtrained, immobile, and all the other curses every other non-successful trainee levies against the successful.  We do what we do because it’s our business, and we don’t give a fuck about the consequences.  Once you stop worrying about what COULD happen, you can focus on what you’re going to MAKE happen.  When you refuse to let the fear of negative possibilities dictate your actions, YOU become in control, and it is up to everyone else to get out of your way.

Many of you may have gathered from my previous rants that I don’t consider my body to be “me”, but simply a tool that I control with my mind.  In turn, I have literally sat down with myself and had this conversation with my body when I’ve become injured; that, tomorrow morning, I’m going to load up the bar in the rack, and if it’s not ready to perform, I’ll snap my hamstring in half.  It doesn’t matter how my body feels, we have a job to do, and we’re going to do it.  I’m stupid.  I don’t give a fuck about getting injured.  That’s my business.  That’s what I do.   

Warning: there may be side effects

It’s the same thing once the injuries become too great and some time off is forced on us.  We still train what we can as hard as we can, because that’s our business: it’s what we do.  Those too concerned about the “what ifs” are those who never amount to anything.  They let the laws dictate their actions, rather than seeing who has the brass to actually enforce these laws when faced with men with violent intent and a calloused disregard for personal welfare.

Am I making a villain a hero?  Yes.  When it comes to becoming great, in many cases it requires a spirit that many would deem “evil”.  Nietzsche has spoken on this phenomena in MANY works, regarding how much of morality is based around those actions that benefit society at the expense of the individual and, in contrast, those who act out as individuals striving to maximize their own potential are branded as “immoral” for their actions work against society.  Playing by the rules keeps you average.  Breaking the rules and daring anyone to try to stop you makes you greater. 

Image result for nicky santoro

Embrace your inner Pesci-ness.  Go get your money back.

(Author’s note: I do not condone any actions taken outside of the law. Please do not become an actual criminal as a result of this blog post.  Also, remember what happens to Joe Pesci’s character at the end of Casino.)

Sunday, December 13, 2015


I constantly observe trainees asking if something is normal.  Examples include:

“When I bench, I feel a strain in my wrist.  Is this normal?”

“After deadlifts, I feel sore in my lower back.  Is this normal?”

“I get really hungry after a workout.  Is this normal?”

Image result for squats on a bosu ball
After my training sessions, I feel like a jackass.  Is this normal?

Who cares?  What does it matter if something is or is not normal?  It’s reality!  It’s the only reality you can experience, barring the use of hallucinogenics or astral projection.  You can only experience what you can experience, and the experience everyone ELSE is having has no impact on your existence.

But furthermore, why concern yourself if something is normal?  Normalcy is NOT the goal of training.  Observe normalcy around you: it’s mediocrity at best.  The status quo is abhorrent, with the majority of people on the planet being fat and weak.  Why would you HOPE that what you’re experiencing coincides with what these people experience?  Wouldn’t you pray for the opposite?  Wouldn’t you wish with all of your might that you’re the outlier, in the hopes that one day you could build something of yourself to be proud of?

Image result for Strongman pulling a plane
Does this seem normal to you?

Be a freak.  Jim Wendler spoke to this really well on a forum where someone brought up the idiocy that is “lifting ratios”.  The crux of his comment was that it’s stupid for someone to worry about their ratios.  If a dude can bench 900lbs but “only” squat 900lbs, why worry about making his bench weaker so that it’s inline with some sort of “golden ratio” of powerlifts?  Why not instead just be the craziest bencher to ever walk the earth?  Why not take PRIDE in our differences, rather than be ashamed and quickly try to assimilate with the masses?

You will get nowhere if you’re constantly trying to make your own experiences match those of others.  Successful trainees are NOT normal.  That’s what makes them successful.  In one of my many streams of thought, I documented the time I drank a gallon of water at a meeting in an hour, and the looks of shock and concern I receive from my co-workers.  What I did was NOT normal, and it blew their minds, and it was something I had grown accustomed to.  It was my “normal”, and it’s due to the fact that my sense of normalcy is so fundamentally warped because I try my hardest to exist outside of the low standards that have been set.

 Image result for Adam Richman man vs food
Wait...this isn't normal?

Again, it’s not about being “better”, but different.  It’s silly to place a great value on one’s ability to move heavy things better than others, and doing so will not make you “better” necessarily, but it sure as hell will make you different.  You want to be abnormal.  Be a freak, be a mutant, be “other”, just strive to avoid normalcy.

And no, this isn’t about “non-conformity”, or any other high school drama.   It’s not being different simply for the sake of being different; it’s understanding that reaching your goals NECESSITATES being different.  Mike Tuchscherer was once asked if it bothered him that so many people make stupid comments about how big he is wherever he goes, and his response was right on the money: “If I didn’t want to be this strong, I wouldn’t be this big.”  Achieving success necessitates being different.

Winning isn't normal...that's why there is only 1 first place

Stop comparing yourself to others and quit worrying about if you’re abnormal.  Embrace what you are, understand this journey you are on, and make yourself the 100% that YOU can be.  We have no ability to influence our genetics, but we damn sure can work as hard as humanly possible in order to maximize ourselves and become as different from normal as possible.

Get on it.