In early January I was working on a year in review, it got scraped it as it seemed much of the same content regurgitated in humorous ways. So, I decided to offer a different format. These are the 42 things I have learned leading up to 2013.
1. Know what you are training for. We often sat at the seminars and my gym, “What are you training?” This translate into, you need a goal, a destination for your journey. Without you are left to wander, and this site is not called Kung Fu and you are not Caine. Pick a goal, chart a course, keep your head down and don’t come up for air until you meet it.
2. The squat is the foundation of any good program. A program that does not involve the squat is incomplete. Any coach that tells you, you shouldn’t squat as it is bad for your back and knees, but if it is done you should not squat below parallel needs to be punched. Email me and I will send someone out who specializes in punching people who need a punch. And when I say squat, I mean the one where you put a heavy bar on your back. If I were talking about the front squat or overhead squat, I would have said front squat or overhead squat.
3. Be a performance whore. Your only mark for progress should be performance and success. Don’t get caught up in dogma, realize all that matters is performance. Don’t get married to one philosophy or stuck in one circle. Look to expand your training arsenal and realize your only master is getting better.
4. “Know when to hold’em, know when to fold’em.” When you start hitting the weights, certain days you feel like the weights are made of foam and you could lift the gym. Other days, the weights seem to be made of adamantium. Realize on the days when the weights are light, go for broke and set a new personal record regardless of what the program says. On the days when the opposite is true, all you need to do is survive and realize the weights will be there tomorrow.
5. Don’t fall prey to the Secret Squirrel Program. This is what happens when late at night while scanning the internet you decided to hybrid CrossFit Football’s strength WOD with CFE’s running 2 days a week with CrossFit’s hero WODs and Outlaw’s Olympic programming just for good measure. All the while doing 23 hours a day of ketogenic interment fasting. If you think this secret squirrel program will help you become the fittest man on the planet you are delusional. All that will happen is you become a massive ball of injury, end up doing nothing but Mobility WOD for 2 years with the testosterone levels of a 14-year-old eunuch.
6. You need to warm up. Warming up is key to raising core temperature and getting the muscles, tendons and fascia warm. You are warming up because you are preparing to train. Take the old boxing proverb to heart. “If you go into the ring cold, you come out cold.”
7. Use Lacrosse balls If rolling out with a soft foam roller is painful, you have led a life of luxury and share the energy expenditure with a veal. Real athletes roll out with two lacrosse balls and Kelly Starrett sitting on your body part adjacent to it.
8. Static Stretching is great way to cool down. Period.
9. The first movement at the beginning of your training week needs to involve a heavy bar on your back.
10. All the machines and praying in the world will not build a physique like the one crafted from lifting free weights over 85% of your 1 RM.
11. Weighted Pull Ups can cure world hunger.
12. Isometric holds build stability and strength.
13. It is better to live like a farmer than a bartender. Farmers go to bed when the sun goes down and wake when the roosters crow. Bartenders hang out with drunks, don’t go to bed till 3 or 4 in the morning and sleep all day. Be a farmer.
14. Heavy prowler pushes cleanse the soul.
15. Sleeping 8 hours or more a day makes you bullet proof. Yes, if you sleep more than 8 hours a day, bullets will not harm you and you will be able to control the minds of those around you.
16. Shower in ice-cold water in the morning. Hot shower before bed.
17. Vitamin D is the most important vitamin of all, so go outside and get a tan. As George Robert’s dad once said, “Georgie, even fat looks good tan.”
18. The only proteins that count are the ones with faces, souls and a mother. I do not care how you process hemp and peas…it is not real protein.
19. Earn your carbs. Don’t get lulled into thinking a primal or Paleo diet is low carb diet. If you are a hard charging athlete that lifts heavy weights, sprints and moves, eat some carbs. Low carb diets are for fat people and sedentary people with metabolic disorders. If you are training for the CrossFit Games, playing football or trying to run a hundred miles you have earned your carbs.
20. I don’t care how far or often you run, running slow will never help you get fast. The road to hell is paved with good intentions and marathon runners. I am not impressed that you finished a marathon in 5 hours. I am more impressed that it took you 7 hours to sprint 421 100-meter repeats.
21. Percentages are a waste of time for beginners. Why you ask, because to efficiently lift a true 1 RM you need an extremely well training central nervous system. And efficiency in the CNS comes from prolonged training. Hence, how could a beginner have enough control over their body or their CNS to put forth the ability to lift a true 1 RM? They can’t. So don’t do it.
22. Every man should own a slow cooker and a grill that uses lump wood charcoal.
23. Meat from grass-fed cows should make up the bulk of your daily food consumption.
24. Drink water. Anyone who tells you they don’t like to drink water needs to grow the fuck up. How much…at least 1 ounce per 2 lbs of body weight.
25. Dont let fear be your limiting factor. Louie Simmons told me, “To master kung fu, the training must be severe.” What Louie means is, don’t take the easy way out. Winners and champions are forged in the crucible of competition and hard work. Don’t let fear of not meeting your goals be your limiting factor when it comes to training or success.
26. Full Fat Greek Yogurt is an excellent source of protein and probiotics. Anyone that tells you dairy from pasture raised animals is bad, should be pushed in the mud.
27. Have the talent to rest. If you think taking a rest day is weakness, you have never really trained hard. And you definitely have low testosterone levels.
28. The Second Amendment was put in place to guarantee the First Amendment. Problems arise when we allow our leaders to suspend the First Amendment and many other rights given to us in the Bill of Rights because of fear. When terrible things happen in society, we are so quick to give away our rights so the government can protect us and make it so it never happens again. It is impossible to stop bad people from doing bad things, but you can train and prepare for the day when good men are called upon to stop evil men. That is Edmund Burke.
29. Guns are inanimate objects that can be used to do harm. Much like cars, airplanes and knives, all these things can be turned into weapons if someone so chooses. Banning the sale, use or ownership of inanimate objects will no better cure the world of evil, and then eating low-fat food will cure a fat ass.
30. Lift heavy and awkward implements. The power from picking up and lifting awkward and heavy objects creates a strength not found in a weight room. Anyone that grew up on a farm or wrestled or played football with farm kids knows what I am talking about. We also call this Field Strong.
31. Having kids puts everything into perspective. My wife and I had twin girls in late 2011; I just came up for air in late 2012. Kids put things in perspective. The things that mattered so much, seem small and unimportant. What is important is raising your kids, providing a positive role model and keeping your wife happy and loved so she doesn’t drive the whole train off the tracks.
32. Learn to cook. Even if it just involves adding meat, water, salt and root vegetables to a slow cooker or burning meat on a grill. Learn to cook. Nothing is as unimpressive as someone who cannot or will not learn.
33. Stop posting on message boards. If you have more than 100 posts on any message board, kick your own ass.
34. Twitter rocks. If you can’t say it in a 140 characters, it doesn’t need to be said.
35. Training Vs. Testing. Learn certain days are training days other days are testing days. Have a plan each day and realize professional athletes don’t compete everyday. They save that for when the money is on the line and the crowd is in the stands.
36. Read. Real. Books. In this Internet age, digital books, periodicals, websites and blogs consume us. I feel something is missing, hard copy books.
37. Bacon. I started eating bacon in the 70’s. I am not sure when many of you found bacon, but if it was last two years, I am sorry. Up until recently for many, bacon has been a mystery. But upon finding it, it is all they talk about. I am proud of you for finding bacon. I am sorry your dad didn’t make bacon on Saturdays when you were growing up. I believe it makes you feel primal and talking about bacon on social media is your way of thumbing your nose at society, but enough. Welcome to the party and guess what? We are serving bacon.
38. I don’t care that you are 100% Paleo; if a friend offers you a beer, drink it. Nothing says “FU” like not accepting a drink from a friend because of a diet. Grow the fuck up.
39. Work the tissue. Active Release Therapy. Graston. Deep Tissue Massage. Mashing. Do something to mobilize tissue and speed recovery.
40. Move the bar as fast as possible. When lifting weights, you should move the bar as fast as you can at all times. Think compensatory acceleration. If you have never head the term “compensatory acceleration”, go google it now. I will wait. Slow reps are akin to the splinters in your ass from sitting on the bench watching the explosive guys play. The only thing moving slow did, was make me slow. Fuck slow.
41. Don’t be a cartoon character. In today’s age of social media and virtual existence, people are not held to the same standards they were so long ago. Individuals are more cartoon characters than real people. Be a real person that can be depended on and does not take every opportunity to take advantage of those around you. Being a man involves more than growing a beard and drinking whiskey…even those things do help.
42. High testosterone levels = nice guys. I read a study a while back that related mental wellness and all around nice guys having higher testosterone levels than their male dick head counterparts. Next time you meet a douche bag, instead of cursing the day he was born, realize he is a lesser male and just has low testosterone levels. Pity him, because there is nothing worse for a man than having low testosterone levels. If you are reading this and think you might have low test levels, go see a doctor