Saturday, October 15, 2016


Our parents constantly forced us to do things we didn’t want to do (at least, if they were at all interested in raising us to be somewhat productive members of society).  One of the biggest battles, of course, we eating vegetables.  This is a battle waged across dinner tables all over the world; parents engaged in a war of attrition and negotiations with the children, deciding exactly how much “3 bites” of broccoli really is, while the rest of the meals get cold and much TV goes unwatched.  Inevitable, we grow up from spoiled children and become spoiled adults, and many of us live out our childhood dreams of never eating another vegetable again.  Some manage to engage in this practice for the rest of their lives, while others enjoy the mac n cheese orgy for about 3 weeks before they realize what a terrible mistake they have made. Our parents were trying to force us to do something we didn’t like because they knew, ultimately, it would make us better.  When we grow up, we still need to eat our vegetables.

Image result for Veggie chips
No, these don't count

Yes, of course this is a metaphor. You know that’s how I work by now.  However, it’s literal too, because when I look at the diets of many trainees, they aren’t eating any goddamn vegetables.  I blame this on the prevalence of the whole “If It Fits Your Macros” culture, because a bunch of nerds decided they wanted to make lifting and nutrition a mathgame and figured that as long as you hit the calculated numbers, you “win.”  The notion of the benefits of micronutrients and fiber eludes them because it’s not as easily quantifiable or measurable compared to scale weight, but ask anyone living off of BigMacs how they feel once they “detox” and start eating steak and salad, and it’s night and day differences.  “If it tastes good, spit it out”, as quoted from Jack Lalanne, still holds true.  If all you’re eating is stuff you enjoy, you’re probably missing out on stuff that could benefit you.

It goes even further than nutrition though.  In training, we have our “vegetables” too.  Conditioning is one of the most unappetizing vegetables out there, as evidenced by the fact that very few people are eating it.  Lifting weights is “fun” to most people, because it’s only about 20 seconds of exertion max, but you get to feel like you accomplished something, you can move heavy weight, and it makes you look bigger.  Additionally, you get to spend way more time recovering than actually training, so you can tell people you train for 90 minutes, when it’s really more like training for 15 minutes with 75 minutes of rest.  Conditioning is the complete opposite; you strain for far longer, you’re not really moving anything heavy, and it doesn’t generate the outward physical presence that lifting weights does.  Additionally, once it’s done, you feel like you’re going to die for a LONG time after the fact.  However, what conditioning DOES do is make the weight training more effective.  It reduces rest times and improves recovery, which means you can lift more weight for more volume in a workout, which means a better training effect from lifting.  We eat our vegetables here, so that we become better elsewhere.

Image result for Puking after conditioning
Yes, I've seen people do this after conditioning AND after eating vegetables

But even in the “fun” part of lifting weights, we STILL have our vegetables. We all have those movements that we are terrible at, and in turn, we tend to avoid.  I was absolutely awful at the continental clean, so I decided I was just not going to train it. How did that work out for me?  At the same comp where I ruptured my ACL, earlier in the day I ended up zeroing my first ever event in a competition by not being able to get a 245lb axle to my chest.  That’s a weight I have strict pressed before, and could have easily managed at least a few reps on had it made it off the floor.  I failed to eat my vegetables in training, and now I wasn’t getting my dessert.  I apologize, even I am getting upset with how hamfisted my own metaphor has become here, but I’m too committed to change it at this point. However, it took that moment for me to prioritize the movement, and in my most recent training cycle, I’ve been hitting the continental 2-3 times a week, to include using it as a conditioning exercise with a 10 minute EMOM workout, effectively combining 2 “vegetables” into some sort of vegetable medley.  How many other folks decide that they are bad at benching so they’re no longer going to do it?  Bad at squats so they cut those out?  Or what about the guys who are too cool for school and decide they’re not going to do any direct arm work?

You’re an adult, and you can do whatever you want now.  You can set out on your own and eat dessert for dinner every night of your life.  You can never eat another vegetable again, and live out your childhood fantasies of what you would do if you were alone.  But guess what?  The people that are out there eating their vegetables and doing the things they don’t’ enjoy are going to be the ones that beat you.  They’re going to be the ones who toiled and suffered enough during training that, come the big game, nothing will stop them from succeeding.  They’ll be the ones standing at the podium, reflecting the efforts of their labor, while you stay in the stands, munching on French fries and calling ketchup your vegetable.

Image result for government food pyramid
How many folks are living these days

Grow up and eat your vegetables.

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