Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Staying hungry, and getting full

I'm from Louisiana.  So naturally, I'm a Saints fan.  However I've also been a Chiefs fan for quite some time.  Back when Marty first took over and Chrisian Okoye was running the rock, and Derrick Thomas and Neil Smith were sacking QB's like J. Ellington Wimpy eats hamburgers.

The Chiefs had a lot of spectacular running backs in that time.  Priest Holmes was probably the best, although it looks like Jamaal Charles could pass him up if he can stay healthy.

However, in 2005 and 2006, there was a dude by the name of Larry Johnson that ran the rock for them, and he was fucking awesome to watch.  Especially in 2005.  That year, Larry ran for 1,750 yards at 5.3 yards a clip, 20 touchdowns, with 410 yards receiving.  To borrow from wiki........

At the end of the 2005 regular season, Johnson had nine consecutive games with 100+ rushing yards, passing the 100-yard mark in every start for the Chiefs that season and earning a Pro Bowl berth.[4] During the final game of the 2005 regular season, Johnson set a new franchise record of 1,750 rushing yards in one season, despite not starting in 7 games during the season.
In other words, he was the fucking man.

Yes the Chiefs had an awesome offensive line that year.  Will Shields, Casey Weigman, Willie Roaf, Brian Waters, etc.  However Larry wasn't some product of that line.  All it takes to know this is to watch the highlight reel from that year to know better.  Larry was 230 pounds and fast as fuck.  His vision and balance were as good as any back in the league.  He had all the tools to be a great back.

Yet Larry was passed over in the draft until the 27th pick.  He played at Penn State, and rushed for 2000+ yards his senior season.  However Penn State at the time, had a reputation for delivering prime busts at the running back position to the NFL.

The Chiefs already had their starter in Priest Holmes.  However Priest was coming back from a pretty significant injury at the time and weren't sure if they could resign him..  So they felt like getting an insurance policy in Larry seemed like a good idea.

But Larry hated all of this.  He hated being a contingency plan.  He hated being labeled a bust before he ever took the field, simply because he played at Penn State.  He hated that he was passed over by 26 teams.  He hated that the fans hated the selection of him.

Larry was filled with anger, and attitude, and hate.  It burned him up inside.  He wanted to be "the man".  He wanted to be appreciated for what he had accomplished in college.  He wanted to be given a chance to start, and prove he wasn't just another Penn State running back bust waiting to happen.

So Larry was filled with hate.  With anger.  He ran like a man pissed off at the world because he felt slighted.  He never ran out of bounds.  He took on tacklers and tried his best to annihilate them with every run.  He had one friend on the entire team.  Tony Richardson.  He was seen as brooding, and sulking.  He was deemed to have a bad attitude.

But Larry was hungry.  In fact, he was fucking starving.  His appetite was fueled by all the perceived slights that he had.  The chip on his shoulder was monumental.

Just watch...........

In 2006 Larry was given the job full time.  And he again produced, but his coach at the time, Herm Edwards ran him into the ground.  To the tune of an NFL record 416 carries.  The next offseason Larry received a contract extension for his efforts.  I remember reading how when he returned to practice he was smiling.  Teammates embraced him now.  He made playful fun of his coach in press conferences.  The fans now chanted "LARRY - LARRY - LARRY!" when he made a big run.

Larry had arrived.

I remember thinking during that time...."I wonder if Larry will run with the same ferocity and anger he did in those years before?  He just got paid.  He seems happy.  The brooding and attitude is gone.  That's what made him great."

Essentially, would Larry still be hungry now that all the things he wished for had arrived?

In 2007 Larry got injured 8 games into the season.  But still, he was averaging a paltry 3.5 yards per carry.  Yes, the team wasn't quite as good as it had been the years before, but Larry was not the same player either.

All the anger was gone.  His desire had waned.

He was full.  He was no longer hungry.  And that manifested itself in his running.

Every seminar I've done, and every person I've ever talked to about training all have a similar story about goals and complacency.

They set goals they so desperately want to achieve.  And when that happens.......they become very full.  Complacency sets in, and they coast. The fire that drove them to reach those goals wanes, and sometimes dies all together.

Without fail I see it over and over again.  People feel good about their accomplishments, and they rest on their laurels.  Now, I think everyone should in fact feel good about achieving their goals and moving the mountains that might have been in their way.  However, what's not good is to sink into complacency after that.

And I will tell you why.

Without fail, the people that lose that hunger, eventually regress, and then only have their "stories" left to talk about what they USED TO BE.

I trained a woman once for quite some time, that lost a significant amount of weight.  More than 100 pounds.  When she reached a certain weight, which was still 20 pounds or so above where I told her she needed to be at, she told me "I feel good at this weight.  That's enough.  I think this is fine."

It wasn't fine.  The reason she didn't want to push towards that extra 20 pounds of weight loss was because she felt it was too daunting.  In essence, she pussed out.

What she had was good enough.  Spare me the ideology about "being happy with where you are." nonsense.  That's exactly how people find themselves quitting or regressing.  Which is exactly what happened to her.  Since then she's gained a significant amount of her weight back, and doesn't train anymore.

I know quite a few women like this.  That they lost a significant amount of weight, and then tell people about it, but fail to mention that they haven't made any progress in quite some time.  I think most of us know a few of these.

"I've lost X amount of weight in the last X months/years."  

"What have you done since then?"  

"Well I've been stuck for a while at this weight, but I'm ok here".


You've been stuck because you are complacent and resting on your fucking laurels.  Because you're way too god damned proud of yourself.  Notice I say TOO PROUD.  Again, be PROUD of what you have accomplished, but don't ever let your accomplishments quench your thirst for improvement.

Men often do the same with their lifting.

"I wanted to bench/squat/deadlift/press X amount.  And I did that."

"What have you done since then?"

"Well, I've just been kinda you know.....fuck, yeah nothing."  

Fucking whatever.

It's the same issue.  You've not moved past your goal at all because once you arrived, that fire left you.  The immense feeling of urgency that drove you for so long and so many months has now dissipated and now you're "full".  The desire and hunger and NEED to get better is gone.

You got your fat contract extension.  Your teammates love you.  The fans chant your name now.

You're on your way to "hasbeenville".  There have been no PR's in months and months.  Hell, you don't even know what the fuck you'd like to set a PR in!  There has been no fat loss in months and months.  In fact, you think it's perfectly fine to have cheat meals whenever the fuck you want.  You dieted for months and months. You "paid your dues".  You can eat what you want to now.

Listen, you're either about getting better, or you're not.  And it's really that simple.  You're either getting better, or getting worse.  The truth is, there is no stagnation.  I know.  I've been there.  I've also watched dudes who said they could do something that they had trained months and months for, FAIL to have the ability to do so because they let their desire wane to the point that they had regressed.

You see, the truth is, time is always passing.  While it is, you are either doing things to improve, or you will regress and get worse.  Inching forward is still inching forward.  Small improvements still count.  It doesn't matter if it's a single pound of weight loss in a month.  That's 12 pounds of fat loss in that year.  That's better than none, or weight gain.

That 5 pounds you put on your bench is better than zero, or losing strength.

Set specific goals, for a month, three months, six months, a year, 10 fucking years I don't care.  Do what you have to do to retain that fire.  To me, there is nothing more annoying than talking to someone who reached a certain "milestone" and brags about it, but then can't talk about any future goals to get better.  I know, I've been that person.  I woke up one morning to the realization that I hadn't made any significant progress in over a year.  A fucking year of my life gone by, in the gym at least 3 days a week or more, with nothing to show for it.  I annoyed myself.

If that's you right now, then wake the fuck up and stop trying to rely on god damn motivational posters and sayings and stop resting on your fucking laurels.  I write it all the time, you're either about getting better, or you're not.  But the fact is, you're either about getting better, or getting worse.  There's really no in between.

By the way, Larry Johnson choked some bitches later and is now out of the league.


  1. great Job Paul Vigorous read right here YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

  2. I played HS football with Larry Johnson in Maryland. I was a senior when he was a freshman, but we would sometimes bring him up from the JV squad to practice with us.

    He hadn't fully grown into his body yet, and was almost funny-looking with his disproportionately long and powerful legs paired with a short, skinny torso and gangly arms. But the coaches would line him up at fullback (the primary ball-carrier in our Wing-T offense) and he would pump those powerful legs and plow through everyone. It was fun to watch.

  3. Whoa. That is exactly how I have been for the last year. Thanks, Paul. Time to get my ass in gear.

  4. Beautiful.
    The only goal that will never leave anyone full is true transcendence. We only become truly human when we reach for transcendence. There is no "oh, cool, I reached transcendence" - by definition. Except after we die, then I really wouldn't know :)
    Let's keep transcending.


    You guys realize he kills 'cause he's hungry, right?

    1. I'm going to kill midgets and make their progeny bring me cheap cigars and do dances for me.

  6. That last paragraph freaked me out as that's exactly what I've been doing since my last major accomplishment. I never realized how stagnant I have been until recently. I'm glad that someone was able to tell it to me like it is. Thanks, Paul

  7. I'm not sure whose post confused me more. Marilia or Jamie.

    And seriously Paul, in a fight to the death, how many midgets could you kill empty handed. I'm thinking you could probably get past 10 but if there was 12-15 of them they would get you to the ground. Midgets are actually crazy strong.

  8. Tapin this one to the fuckin fridge. Thank you Paul.

  9. I've been in this mode for a while now, although have made some small progress this year. For me though, I seem to just lack the anger I once had in the gym. Life has been real good for me the last few years with having kids, a good job, a great wife, etc. I find myself struggling to get myself fired up at times since I have to manufacture it more these days. Any practical thoughts on how someone who is pretty happy and content with life can still find the necessary rage/adrenaline to push hard in the gym?

    1. Makes sense, I just need to find the right thing to compete in. I did a couple strongman shows 2+ years ago and that helped my training back then. I just did another show, but when it came time to compete it just didn't do it for me anymore. I think rugby could give me a spark as I miss playing a sport like that. Thanks Paul.

  10. Great article. I worked with a girl who's good friend dated Larry Johnson when he was in KC. The domestic violence charges he got brought against him where from this same girl. Apparently Larry liked to use a loaded handgun during sex. Put it next to the girls head. Put it next to his head. All sorts of weird shit. Its what got him off. Randomness I know but whenever I hear his name I think of naked handgun sex. LOL

  11. Or you can just feed yourself so little that you don't starve but are only barely living!!!

    ....I find the hard part is remaining hungry on all aspects of life. I can usually bring that drive to one or two things that completely consume my mind and energy, but then there is little left over for other areas.