Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Your best friend, or worst enemy

This isn't an article about your dog or buddy that you used to go streaking with.  Nor is it about the guy that banged your girl that she left you for.

It's about what could be your best friend in lifting.  Or your worst enemy.  And I'm not talking training partners either.  Though they can directly give this to you.

It's called criticism.

The cry baby - 

Years ago I used to talk, fairly often, to this kid who was a lifter who always had these preposterous goals.  He'd hit something in a particular lift, then make claims that he was going to do 50 more pounds than that in this really absurd time frame like a month or two.

Eventually, I grew tired of his nonsensical bullshit and told him if he hit this particular goal of his, I'd send him a t-shirt, or something of that nature.

He then proceeded to get a massive case of the butthurt and sandy vag at the same time.  He told me that he was all vagged up because I didn't give him positive encouragement about achieving his goal.  He never realized I had done nothing but that in the past, and he never succeeded in accomplishing any of these lofty goals he kept setting.

So for once, I mocked him a bit.  Not terribly bad, but I felt like he had enough coddling about his lifting.  Some tough love was in order.

Well, he crumbled like a deck of cards.

He was a fucking cry baby.

Let me be fair for a second.  Everyone has a little cry baby in them.  Even the toughest of mother fuckers.  Whether it's about how their woman is treating them or what someone on the internet said to them or how their buddy didn't meet them at the bar for drinks.  Sometimes you just like a bitch about something.

Just don't let that be WHO YOU ARE.

If you can't take someone razzing you a bit, just get out of the game you weak, spineless bitch.

Generally the cry baby only responds to being coddled, or the "you can do it, Corky!" speeches.  And there's nothing wrong with positive encouragement from time to time.  But everyone needs a case of tough love now and then.  And if you can't handle that, you might not want to do something where you'll find other dudes who might call you a pussy sometimes, or mock you for not achieving the things you keep saying you will.  I've taken plenty of shit for not hitting 1800 beltless yet, but I put it out there.  Until I make it happen, I will catch shit for it.  That's part of the game.  If you don't like the rules, get the fuck out.

The man -

The man, on the other hand, knows he needs criticism to become better.  Good or bad, he'll take it.  If it's worthy of application, he'll apply it and get better, or he'll toss it out and say "meh, didn't work for me."  He takes someone throwing an insult at him as a challenge, and he responds to it.

He also isn't afraid to ask other experienced lifters what he should do to get better.  No matter what he lifts or where he's at in his life.  He knows that learning is power and will help make him power.  And when you stop accepting criticism, you stop learning.  When you stop learning, to cease to get better.

In the end, you get to decide how to handle criticism.  The criticism leveled at you can be both negative and positive, but YOU get all the power in deciding how you use that energy.  You can wilt and be a cry baby bitch about it, or you can say "fuck that guy, I'm going to shove those words right up his ass."  You can get mad because your friend tells you that you need to get better, or you can say "I know I need to.  I'll listen to anything you have to offer that might help me do that."

Criticism is always going to be just around the corner.  Just be a man about it, and use any of it and all of it, to make you a better one.


  1. Hi Paul,
    Hope you don't mind me posting this here. I'm going to run a 6 week shoulder/trap specialisation based on your Big15 and a couple of posts I've seen on specialisation. Would you mind looking over this and giving your thoughts?

    I'll be traing 3 times a week

    Press Day #1
    Military Press - Big 15 + 50%
    Side Laterals - 3 x 25/15/10, 10/15/25, 25/15/10
    Upright Rows - 5x20

    Press Day #2
    Incline Press - Big 15 + 50%
    CBGP or Push-ups - 4 sets
    Bent Laterals - 5 x20
    Bent Rows

    I'll also do a Squat and DL day where I'll work up to a hardish 5 or 3 (just finishing a 6 week Squat Specialisation Routine). I'll also throw in some chins and abs wherever.

    Is there anything you would change?

    Thanks for all the posts Paul


    1. Don't like it. Too much stuff.

      Pick two movements for traps, and two for delts, and hit those hard for 4-6 weeks. Notice in my specialization routines that I narrow down what I'm doing to just a couple of things.

      So like....

      Day 1
      Press Behind the Neck
      Bent laterals
      Upright Rows

      Day 2
      Seated Db Press
      Bent Laterals

      Personally, I wouldn't do delts and traps at the same time. I'd pick one or the other. But if I DID do delts and traps at the same time, the above is what I'd do.

    2. Hi Paul,
      I got the idea for the shoulder/trap specialisation from your post here: http://www.lift-run-bang.com/2012/03/darksidinobsessionspart-3-big-empty.html#comment-form
      Have I misunderstood it?


    3. Sort of.

      If I am specializing on a bodypart, I don't really work specialization into the big-15 program. If I DID do that, that's how I would do it, but it's not REALLY specialization. If you want to specialize on a bodypart generally I go after one. Much easier that way. Though 2 can be done, it's more difficult.

      In the above situation I gave to you, that means on the other days you're not doing a whole lot. In the post you reference, the guy should still be concentrating on all the big work in general, with a LITTLE more emphasis on shoulder work.

      I hope that makes sense.

  2. It goes further than that-- seems to m that the big trick to being a grown-ass person(as opposed to simply growing up) is realizing that if you are awake enough to notice, and disciplined enough to give a shit and contemplate, you have the power to CHOOSE how you feel about what happens to you in your life. Whether or not you allow the inevitable pettinesses and obstacles and sufferings in life to drag you down... Or whether you choose to overcome them and rise to the challenge of living a fulfilling life.

    I had to learn that lesson the hard way. Unfortunately, I think that it's probably the same for most people who do. What do you think? Is that something that can be taught? Or is it the unsatisfying trthat's hat you can only plant seeds and hope thy take root?

    1. I think it can be both. Some people learn through failure and success, and some people just know better. So long as you reach the right destination without fucking yourself up too badly, then you're ok.

  3. this is definitely that guy that wanted to increase his deadlift by 100lbs in a year or something like that haha

  4. Paul,

    A girl I've been dating is pretty much perfect all round, but sometimes her breath stinks, I don't know if I should confront her about this shit, or just let it slide. Do you have any advice?


    1. Man that's a tough one. If it's just sometimes, and she's perfect in every way, carry some gum on you and hand her a stick when it's bad. That should be a good solution.