Patience & The Long Game

Let’s take it back, y’all.

Sophomore year of high school, 2010.

The year I started to get serious about lifting.

I was 16.

Starting varsity cornerback for the Ashland Tomcats, sitting probably around 5’10”, 155-160 lbs soaking wet.

Coach Gregg & I, via 2010, with post-game cheeseburgers in hand. Great coach and even better human. Based off his smile, I'm assuming we won this game.

Coach Gregg & I, via 2010, with post-game cheeseburgers in hand. Great coach and even better human. Based off his smile, I'm assuming we won this game.

I was decently athletic and had mediocre speed. Strength and size were lacking heavy compared to some of the other defensive players on our “Hit Squad”. Many of them were jacked and strong as bulls, while also being pretty fast.

We all lifted together as a team in our football weight room, but I knew if I wanted to keep up I was going to have to put in some extra work. I also knew our starting runningback and linebacker, Alber, the strongest guy on the team, went to the gym after practice.  

He went to our local YMCA fitness center, so that’s where I went too. I didn’t go to workout with him, I just went so I could do my own thing.

One problem, though. I didn’t have a damn clue what I was doing.

I would go to every arm and chest machine I could find. Did some of the same workouts we would do in the football weight room just so I could act like I knew what I was doing.

This happened for a few weeks before something really cool happened.  

One day, I saw Alber in the YMCA gym and he was doing all this crazy looking hard shit in the squat rack with another really big guy who was taller and bigger than he was.

They were using bands attached to the barbell, which was usually also stacked with 45 pound plates on each side, grunting and training with ferocity on every set. Chalk was all over their backs, hands, and the dust was spread all around their rack.

Hardcore stuff, guys.

I was on the preacher curl…

Alber noticed me and came over to say hey to me.

He had his trademark smirk on his face and said,

“You’re doin' it all wrong, bro. You ain’t lifting the right way. You should come lift with us.”

After some stammering and questioning (“The right way”??, wtf did that mean?), I walked over to meet the other big guy he was lifting with.

The other guy’s name was Josh.

Lightweight, baby. 

Lightweight, baby. 

He was a lot nicer than I expected and he actually asked me to come lift with them the next day.

That was the beginning.

The day I got hooked and bit by the lifting bug.

The day I got introduced to real “training”.

The day that could’ve been the inflection point of my entire life.

I started to see changes.

Of course, there were the physical changes:

  • More muscle

  • Less fat

  • Stronger

  • Faster

But, there were also mental changes as well:

  • I was becoming more self-confident

  • I was becoming more self-disciplined, which resulted in more self-confidence

  • I learned how to block out pain and push through my “sticking-points”

  • I learned how to keep showing up even when I felt tired and didn’t want to lift

 

These changes are what really got me “hooked” as a lifter.

Progress is addicting. No matter what form.

I wanted more and more.

But the progress started to slow.

I wasn’t gaining strength and size at the same rate as I did when I first started. I got slightly discouraged because there’s no way I could workout more than I was already (sometimes 3 workouts a day, crazy, I know).

So I knew I had to get smarter.

This led me to reading every single day, many times while we were in class and had downtime. Most of the reading came from articles online and from watching informative videos on YouTube.

 

*Side note*: One of my favorite sources of learning came from animalpak.com via my man, G Diesel (checkout his dope personal brand), and his series called “Diary of a Madman”. His raw, hardcore, and real perspective of the weight room and it’s metaphors to everyday life is something I would recommend to anyone. Truly inspiring work.

 

I was like a sponge and soaked up every piece of information I thought sounded reasonably credible.

I found people I trusted and then found people they trusted and followed their work too.

I connected with people on social media.

I read books.

I asked questions (cannot emphasize how important this is. Most people want to help).

I was obsessed with finding out the truth about how I could become bigger and stronger.

Out of everything I learned, there seemed to be one underlying principle every person I looked up to would point to when I tried to find out their “secret”:

Time.

They put in the work. Every day. For years.

Not just like 2 years. I mean like decades of consistency.

They told me there are no shortcuts to this game.

Of course, you can take drugs, but there are diminishing returns and you still have to put in the work to get anywhere really impressive and to maintain it.

As much as it killed me to find out there were no secrets of the big guys, I accepted it and realized what I needed to do.

I had to lay a brick, as perfectly as that brick can be laid, every single day, forever.

Meaning, I had to stay consistent, work hard, and play the long game.

Notice I didn’t say “lay a perfect brick every day”. Perfection is not going to happen. It is out of our control to do everything perfectly every single day.

What we can control, though, is getting back on track after we fall off.

I see it often with my clients trying to lose body fat, they will binge eat a big meal on the weekend and just say “f*ck it” and continue to eat whatever they want since they’ve already blown their diets instead of getting back on track the very next meal. This can sometimes carry over to the next day too, which can really set the client back in their hard-earned progress.

Mistakes and slip-ups will happen.

Our goal is to minimize the damage from those mistakes and learn from them for the next time.

Once we’ve figured out our next plan of progress after the mess up, it needs to be done.

No dwelling and beating themselves up for falling off plan because this does nothing but causes unnecessary stress.

Worrying about your last mistake you made won’t help you progress forward.

It’s simply draining your mental energy. Quit that shit.

Consistency >>>> Perfection

 

Once you get this through your brain, you will win.

Realize that this journey you are on will not be easy and you may not see results as fast as you want.

You cannot expect to get “shredded” after 3 months if you are not already relatively lean and have a substantial amount of muscle mass.

You cannot expect to look like me because you don’t have the same genetics, bone structure, muscle growth potential, muscle bellies, fat deposits, etc., as I do.

You cannot expect to diet and workout consistently for a few months and have your dream body.

I’ve been doing this for 7 years, without taking a break for longer than a week, and I’m still not satisfied. There is no end-goal because this shit never ends.  

Patience + Consistency + Effort + Time.   

Those are your goals.

These have been my goals since I started sophomore year in high school. While I’ve been happy with my progress thus far, I’m always hungry for more.

You should be too.

*If you’ve read this far, thank you, and I would love for you to do me a huge favor and share this with just one person who may need to read this. It would mean the world to me. :)*

Freshman year of high school (2009) to senior year of college (2016), a week out from winning my pro card as a natural bodybuilder. Patience. 

Freshman year of high school (2009) to senior year of college (2016), a week out from winning my pro card as a natural bodybuilder. Patience. 


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The Most Underrated Thing In The Universe

The most underrated thing in the universe:

The brain.

We hardly know shit about it. One thing we do know is that it can be pretty damn powerful.

If you don't know what the "placebo effect" is, it simply means that you THINK something is working, so it actually works even though you could've just had a sugar pill.

To demonstrate the mind and the power behind belief, let's use steroids. I'm quoting from an article I'll link at the end:

"Let’s take a look at two studies examining the placebo effect’s impact on “steroid-induced” strength gains.

In the first (Ariel, 1974), researchers told 15 trained athletes they could get their hands on some free, legal steroids. The subjects were already relatively strong at the start of the study – with squat and bench press maxes around 300 pounds, and military press maxes a shade under 200 pounds.

They trained for 7 weeks with the promise that the people who made the best strength gains (to give them an incentive to train hard and make as much progress as possible) in those 7 weeks would get free, legal steroids. So the athletes trained for 7 weeks, and put a combined total of ~22 pounds on their bench, military press, seated press, and squat.

Then, 6 of the participants were selected at random to take part in the “steroid” trial. They were told they were being given 10mg/day of Dianabol, when really they were taking placebo pills.

They trained for another 4 weeks, thinking they were on drugs.

In just 4 weeks, they put a combined total of ~100 pounds on those same four lifts. 100 pounds instead of 22, in 4 weeks instead of 7. Simply because they THOUGHT they were on steroids.

So the placebo effect clearly increases your strength gains from training when you simply *think* you’re on steroids. You expect more gains, so you get more gains." - http://strengtheory.com/the-science-of-steroids/…

....

Fucking crazy, right?

Take home point - believe in yourself.

Find Your Escapism

After talking and listening to some of the top people in the fitness industry, one of the most recurring themes I've found is that most of the elite lifters/physique athletes don't lift weights anymore simply to look better or get stronger. 


These vain reasons are likely still there but they aren't the main drivers. To me, and many others, lifting weights is a form of escapism. 


All your issues, problems, and life stressors disappear during a heavy set of squats or bench press. That "void" is one of the greatest highs you can experience.


Everybody has 'demons' inside of them that they get out through some form of escapism whether that is lifting, running, writing, listening to music, etc. 


Lifting has always been slightly zen to me and it means a lot more than just trying to get biceps or abs. If my body never changed from lifting, I would still do it because it helps me push through. Through life, through stress, through anxiety, through worry, through many things. 


Find your escapism.