Monday, February 4, 2013

How the hell did I get here?

As I came to a stop at a red light on my drive in to work yesterday morning, I peered out of my drivers side window to notice a teal blue mini van beside me.  Driving it was a "man" (if you could call him that) who was eating some kind of very large ice cream sandwich type deal, "for breakfast" I guess.  He was wearing a pink scarf and yellow sweater vest.  I assumed by the aforementioned environmental standards that he had set in place, that he was also listening to Michael Bolton's greatest hits, or some Kenny G Christmas music.  As he drove through the red light I noticed on the back of said mini-van he had that collage of family stickers so many mini-vans have on them now.  You know what I'm talking about right?  The dad, mom, three kids and a dog.  The only thing believable about this was that he might have had a dog.  Because there's no way I want to believe that some woman with a working vagina would have mated and reproduced with that.  Nor do I believe he could have.  Having sex would have taken time away from catching up on episodes of "The View" or doing some paint by numbers.

Seriously, how does a "man" get himself into that position?  I'm not saying all men have to be giant truck driving-cigar smoking-beard wearing-beer drinking clones to be men.  But I wondered how the fuck he got there?  Did it dawn on him as "How am I supposed to live without you?" blared on his overpriced factory standard sound system?

"Mmmmmmm, love these ice cream whatevers....fuckkkk soooooo good.  

Jesus it's cold out.  Glad I've got on this parakeet yellow sweater vest and salmon scarf.  

Love this Michael Bolton shit the wife left in here.  

What the fuck am I talking about?  Hope no one can hear it.  I hate my life.  I've got on a fucking yellow sweater vest and a pink scarf, driving a teal minivan and listening to Michael Bolton.  I hope a sniper is zeroing me in right now for a dome shot.  I used to bang Heather Johnson, two time homecoming queen, over the hood of her dad's Smokey and the Bandit limited edition trans am!  I threw five touchdowns passes in the biggest game in high school!  How the fuck did I get here?"

I think it's funny that people read this, and get offended because they have a "live and let live" mentality.  Shit, I do too.  If that guy loves his life, that's awesome.  However my "religion" doesn't stop me from judging people on the surface either.  If you're fat, I might assume you eat a lot of really shitty food.  If you're skinny with no teeth, and sores all over your mouth, I may assume you are a meth addict.  I will not assume if that guy in the teal mini-van getting misty eyed listening to the ol Bolton jams has really high test levels.  I can just about bet money that if he got tested he'd be well below the norm.

Self explanatory 
People think that's judgmental, and maybe it is (ok so it is, that's fine) however I always wonder about such things.  How the fuck did he/she/me/it get in that position?  What all bad decisions had to be made in order to arrive at that awful stench of a destination?

No one that knows how to work the Google machine or interwebs is impervious to such witchcraft.

It goes something like this....

Google:  love seats for sale
looks at list of places selling love seats
catches interesting link with tidbit about man dying on love seat in Vegas lounge
sees pics of vegas lounge......thinks, "Looks good there!"

Google:  best lounges in Vegas
reads reviews on lounges in Vegas, reads one review about how ol boy got hooked up with two women at the same time at this one lounge at this certain hotel.

Books trip to that hotel.

Goes to usual porn website and looks at porn with two chics and one dude.

Google:  most absorbent tissue paper
Scribbles down the most absorbent tissue paper
Takes nap....can't remember what was supposed to do for wife earlier

Anytime I see one of those crazy pics on Facebook or someplace on the interwebs, I wonder "what all bad decisions landed this person in a position to get a pic snapped like that?

For example...........

How does one find themselves in this position?
Now that eye bleach is in order, how in the hell does that apply to training?

Are you kidding me?

If you've lifted long enough, you will eventually find yourself in the physical or training metaphor that exists in the pic above.  Long, silky hair that belongs on no one and plunger nips.  Yup, that's where you will be.  Wondering why it is you've been doing the stupid shit you've been doing, why you are injured, why you are skinny fat, or fat, or skinny, or weak, or all the things that fly in contrast to what your goals were just a few months ago....wait, that was years ago!  Holy shit, all this time has gone by and I've totally remade myself over into something that looks nothing like what I envisioned!

Not to stroke my own cock, but I thought I asked some pretty solid questions of Capt. Kirk in last weeks podcast.  Kirk's answers were basically....

  • I squatted to a top set of 8 over 6 weeks, then added a belt.  I then squatted to a top set of 5, and added some gear.  I worked up to a top double or triple from there, with a little play.  
  • I ate a lot of clean protein to get lean.  When I was bulking I ate a LOT of clean food.  
  • I had a manual labor job, so that took care of cardio.  
Simple.  Worked.

Kirk never deviated from this.  This WAS what he did.  It's what he used to win world championships, and become one of the greatest powerlifters of all time.

The issue is, these things are too simple for most, or they flat out don't believe the answers.  Thus, they start plugging in shit to Google, and start travelling down a training path that eventually gets them injured or telling stories such as this......

"I was doing some basic shit like a year ago.  Fuck man, made good progress then I started fucking around with blah blah blah, lost all my gainz and sizez.  I don't know where to go from here.  Fuck.  I used to fuck Heather Johnson too....."

I get e-mails that scream loudly to me, the start of this mode of thinking.  It goes something like this....

"I really like your program.  I used it with great success (Borat) for months.  I was wondering about adding in some circus tarzan flipping through firey hoops a few times a week as a dynamic mobility warm up.  What are your thoughts on this?"

My thoughts are the same every time I read this.

1.  Why are you changing shit that is working?
2.  Why are you asking me?  If I thought that was the missing link, and I knew about it, I would have added it in there.  I'm not trying to keep anything from anyone!

The longer I train, the less and less shit I do.  The less shit I do, the stronger I get.  The more I emphasize recovery, the stronger I get.

Training wise, I used to be that guy in the fucking teal minivan.  I need that Michael Bolton playing, because someone else left in the CD player.  I need that fucking yellow sweater vest, because it's cold out.  I need that pink scarf for the same reason.  I like that fucking ice crame sammich thingee for breakfast because well, it tastes delicious and I like that shiz.

Life and training gets way the fuck out of whack if we don't try to maintain a sense of simple balance at times.  The next thing you know, you're doing a fucking saftey bar squat to a high box with bands and chains for singles.  And you wonder why you don't look as jacked as the one guy who "just comes into the gym and deadlifts heavy for reps and does some heavy inclines.  I don't get it.  Shit like that only works for mutants!"

Well, you can exclude yourself from the mutant pool once you start losing sight of what got you banging Heather Johnson in the first place.  Banging out a set of 8 in the squat, bench, and deadlift with some heavy inclines, abs, and curls and little else never put them in a fucking canary sweater vest.

I have to beat the horse about staying on the path every now and then, but I get tons of e-mails from guys every week who feel like they have lost their way in training.  When that happens, try to remember what you did that worked very well for you, and I will bet you money 9 out of 10 times it was just keeing shit simple.


I hope that song is stuck in your head for the remainder of the day.


  1. For my money it doesn't get any better than when he sings 'When a Man Loves a Woman.'

    Great reminder. Sometimes I look around the gym, at all the foolishness going on, and wonder if I should be doing more/other/that/this. Then I remind myself that I am on MY path and no one else's so, who cares about the Bosu ball curls, half-rep bench reps, half-depth squats or calf raises, that some other schmuck is doing? I've got my thing to do.

  2. thank you very much for another great post.
    fuck you very much for getting that song in my head.

  3. Great shiz as always Paul, I'm addicted to this blog. Also I have a random question. What advice would you give to a college student who's struggling with choosing a career? I'm currently a senior in college and am having second thoughts about what I want to do after graduation.

    1. Chase your passion. Find out what you REALLY want to do and go after that. Sometimes, finding that out is really the hardest part.

  4. Thanks for beating that dead horse! I really identify with your message because I do feel like I lost my way for many of my mid 20's years. And I do sometimes have some dissapointment knowing those years were missed. However I do have great comfort in knowing that keeping it simple does work. And well. I'm probably strongest ever (for me) and feel the best at 20 lbs (less)of my heaviest bodyweight. I think back to how i lost my way. Realistically I think I went down the path you said looking for the secret exercise or whatnot. When in reality the secret exercise was I had no leg drive in my bench press. None. My legs were on the ground but not engaged. Just one person could have told me this but no. All i got was behind the neck press will wreck your shoulder bro! Thanks for nothing any person who ever lifted in a gym i lifted in.

    Sorry for the rant. Its cold in Pennsylvania!

    Thanks again!


  5. HaHa, no it's not the song that's stuck in my head, it's those fucking nipples.

  6. "guys . . . who feel like they have lost their way in training. When that happens, try to remember what you did that worked very well for you, and I will bet you money 9 out of 10 times it was just keeing shit simple."

    Damn skippy.
    Every time someone in my faculty (CS) tries to talk training with me, I try and drive this point home.
    Never sinks in of course.

  7. Started 531 + BBB a few months back, and had a hard time with the simplicity of it. The gains, with the simplicity(as you referenced above), are amazing.

    Prior to that, I recorded and analyzed everything, like I had OCD much worse than I really do.

    Feel good, entitlement society, getting out of control.

  8. " The next thing you know, you're doing a fucking saftey bar squat to a high box with bands and chains for singles."

    There were some bros benching 1-fucking-4-5 with bands and dumbells tied to either side of the barbell, for doubles, in the squat rack last night. I politely asked, "What the fuck are you guys doing? Can't either of you double 225?" One bro said he could do it three times...........

    Next up for them, sweater vests and Bolton...

    1. Thank them for allowing you to spot retards so effortlessly.

    2. Sweater vests and Ed Hardy/MMA-themed t-shirts... the calling card of the douchebag.

      Although it's been a good while since I've seen anyone wearing a sweater vest (except as part of a Halloween costume).

      The "I used to bang Heather J." crowd also used to squat 3,000 lbs. raw, so I don't try to compare myself to such superb specimens of manhood anyway. And some years ago I set a squat PR to "I will always love you" (475, I think that's Brian Adams or Bon Jovi or something), so I'm not one to judge.

  9. Mrs. Johnson must have had a great time over the years!

    Keeping track IS simple stupid theoretically. For an older lifter (in training years) its easier to know if something really works or is just a senseless gimmick. But as a younger lifter I am all but certain that you have to find some of the stuff out for yourself. That does not mean that you have follow some stupied path. Choose a good mentor/philosphiy but stay open minded. You have to be screwed up by something badly to really GET that leaving the path was dumb. But eventually you find something that works well especially for you.

  10. While following a simple and effective program and seeing my gains go up and up I started to get a little hurt here or there. Heavy deads and squats started to stack against me as I progressed further into the program. When these little pains started to actually impede my progress I flipped out. I had 6 weeks left in the program and I was starting to go to shit. So what I did was simple, I followed the program to the end but put more R&R in. Not only did I complete the program but my gains went up. You're 100% right!!