Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Book excerpt - Staying the course

Staying the course
In training and in life, sometimes, things are just going to suck. 
The breakup of a romance, the death of friends and loved ones, plateaus in lifting, and a whole smorgasbord of things that will take a toll on you.  I call it the shit Tsunamis of life.

Sometimes life can make you feel like this guy

There are times when it absolutely overcomes you, and you feel like there will be no end to it.  You are drowning in life’s misery and dreadfulness.  There is nothing but black and gray, and not a speck of light can creep through it.  You can't find your way because the sorrow, anger, bitterness, and strife make it impossible to see.  Makes it seem impossible to grasp ahold of the things you use to cling to.  Like being steadfast and patient. 

The parallel here in life and lifting, is that without a code and without goals, you will start to sway and wander from who you are, and what you want to be, or become.  You can one day wake up, and find that you have drifted endlessly for months or even years, suddenly realizing how much time has passed you by without making any progress in either endeavor.  The tsunami shit wave can continue if you allow yourself to be pissed off that you let so much time to go by without accomplishing anything. 

Generally we lose our way because we lose our code, and we stop asking ourselves the right questions.  The latter being the one we are usually the guiltiest of. 

Here is a fact.  The shit tsunami will eventually subside. 

What you do during the time that it is upon you, defines who you are at your core.  There is a saying that goes "hard times don't build character, they reveal it".  And when those hard times pass, you need to be able to look back and say you held steadfast to the things that make you who you are.  And you won't have anyone to blame for your poor decisions during that time.  No one likes to hear someone passing the buck.  You know why?  Because you get all the power over your OWN actions.  So own the shit wave, deal with, and be a fucking man about it.  
The whole point of having a code is so that when things are hard, you have a compass.  Things that you know to be right and true and can cling to, no matter how high the waters rise.  Things that say you live your life with strength and honor. 

I got this.....

Training is no different.  When you shit the bed because things aren't going well, and you have no training code, what do you have to get you corrected?

Another "routine"?  Fuck no.  You should always have a training code or philosophy that keeps you on track, and headed in the right direction.  So that when shit breaks down, you can return to the things you know will put you back on track.

“Squat, push, pull, condition.”

“Start light.”

“Set goals.”

“Be patient.”

When you have a code that you adhere to, you seldom get lost.  When you do, finding your way again is as simple as asking yourself one question…..  
“Am I staying the course according to my code?”

If you aren't, get back on the course and be steadfast. 

If you are, be patient.  You will be rewarded for doing so.


  1. I like where your head's at!! inspirational piece here Paul!! Can't wait to read the book..

  2. I wouldn't call it a shit tsunami at this point, but I'm kind of dealing with a rough patch in training now. Think I did something to my piriformis. Had a lot of sciatic pain for a while. Oh well, time to lower the weight and push forward.

    But good post. Puts a lot of things in perspective. Can't wait for the book man!

    1. I hear you. I had patella tendinitis, but kept squatting and then something happened in my glute/hamstring/piriformis and I pinched my sciatic nerve. Totally sucks shit. I have the OK to lift again but since this is my first shit tsunami with lifting it still makes me nervous.

    2. There's nothing you can do. Just be smarter about your programming and train around existing injuries. Shit, my whole thing now is bringing up my upper body strength, until I can get the green light from my physician to start squatting and pulling heavy again. Do what you can do and kick ass at it!

  3. Do you have a release date yet??? Looking forward to it.

    1. A week from this coming Monday is what I am aiming for.

  4. Can't wait to buy your book brother! Your words are very articulate and inspiring....Keep up the good work!

  5. Paul,

    Quick question with your training philosophy on the big and small workouts if I am doing 2 big workouts would a small workout on all the other day using bodyweight only and some conditioning like hill sprints 2-3 times hurt my big sessions?

    Thanks for the advice and all the free and helpful knowledge that you give here on this blog. Also can't wait to get your new book when it becomes available.

    1. Not likely however the thing I don't like about that plan is that most bodyweight stuff needs a lot of volume, and on small sessions you get lots of volume with SMALL movements.

      I don't know of any bodyweight movements I'd consider small. Some guy wrote to me a while back about his bench falling and then said he figured out it was because he was doing a fuck ton of push ups everyday.

  6. Hi Paul,

    A small irrelevant question.. The only supplements I constantly use, are a good multivitamin and creatine monohydrate (with some cycling). Have you ever used creatine consistently? Did you find that it helped you in terms of recovery (DOMS or whatever) and energywise during workouts? Or by any other means?

    I'm thinking of switching to multi+BCAA and give it a try, solely with Recovery on my mind. In fact, with creatine I didn't notice any significant weight gain. For the last 1 year I have been 210 and lean (before & after creatine), so I take it for its supposed helping with short term 'recuperation'.

    * I'm not looking for a magic supp of course. I strive to keep my diet and sleep in check cause these are the only things that really matter.

    Any experiences/thoughts on it?

    Thank you,


    1. I found creatine worked REALLY well for me many years ago. But I don't notice anything from it now, but that may be because my diet is usually high in red meat.

      Most guys get something out of it for a while, but then the results can vary after that. That has been my experience anyway.

    2. Paul,

      I'm looking forward to the book and reading more of your thoughts.

      Any recommendations on creatine brands? Tried searching the blog and didn't find anything. Though, I am also sort of curious how one evaluates the various supplements out there (be it vitamins, protein powders, etc), other than use it and record the results.

    3. I don't use it so I can't offer a recommendation.

  7. Casey S. RusbridgeJune 13, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    This one hit home during a bit of a rough patch. You're fuckin right and I should know better. Thanks man.

  8. Hey Paul - just got that new poly-blend shirt in the mail today. Frigging tight shirt dude, love it. I was like a kid at christmas, opening up that package. Can't wait for that book! I'm frigging stoked to get it.

  9. Great post, Paul.

    Been reading your blog ever since the Chaos-n-Bang podcasts got started.

  10. Ironically, the guy buried under the fat chick in that pic is probably in heaven. Some guys just like that. But I suppose life has its ups as well as downs. :-)

  11. This is gospel Paul. My Finnish grandpa had a term for this ability to weather the shit storm, "sisu". Loosely, it is the in born characteristic of a person to be steadfast and reasonable in times of hardship. Talking to him, it is also a kind acceptance that life just fucking sucks sometimes and there is nothing you can do about besides just keep showing up.

    Good stuff as always.

    1. "be steadfast and reasonable in times of hardship"

      That is fucking money......

  12. Paul, this really resonates with me. I've been a lurker on here for the last 6 months but this one necessitated a reply from me.

    I've just spun out of a two-year life shit storm. 2 years ago I spent a week on a cardio ward with lyme disease (little fuckers got into my heart). Last June, my wife got diagnosed with cancer the same week I lost my job. I spent a year looking for a new job (highly qualified lawyer with 16 years of awesome international experience, couldn't be that hard, right?)

    Well, I beat all the fuckers. I just did my first week in my new kick-ass job. My wife is healthy. I'm 20 pounds lighter than I was a year ago, I've rehabbed all the old nagging injuries from 15 years of playing rugby and I'm getting strong again, at 42yo. And my wife thinks I'm a fucking rock. Some folks ask me how I dealt with it all. My response - what do you think I should have done? Flipped out and gone on a shooting spree? Breakdown and cry like a baby? Hit the bottle? (Well, maybe a little...) No, fucking-well man up deal. Don't compromise. Figure out what the problems are, figure out what the fix is, and take them front on. I just lived this shit, and you know what? I'm proud of it. I looked in the abyss and said "fuck you". And I like to think that my character was revealed.

    Here endeth the jerkoff session.

    But seriously, thanks for all the great stuff I've read here over the last 6 months. I've been doing 5-3-1 which has been great, but I look forward to getting your new book and giving one of your programs a try, wearing one of your cool tees (which I will order once I get my first paycheck).



    1. You're a lifing mother fucker, Matt. Well done sir. And awesome to hear about your wife recovering. That is the shit that matters in life, most importantly. Not weight on the bar.

      Send me an e-mail

  13. Damn straight. Being healthy enough to train to be awesome is the shit that matters most in life. I've emailed you.