Today is Veteran’s Day, Remembrance Day, or Armistice Day depending on where you live in the world. I’m sure you’ll see events on television or experience moments of silence. I’ll ask two things of the American readers:

1. Remember the the cost of creating our country. While this is a stereotypical sentiment, consider the individual sacrifices it took to have a country of our own. Freedom from tyranny was worth dying for and it was worth the struggle to create a republic with individual rights and opportunity.

2. Consider the individual sacrifice it took all those years ago in a rebellious fight for freedom. Now look at the image above and think about every single battle that has been fought since to preserve that freedom, that way of life. Wars and battles occur for a multitude of reasons, but the men and women who lead this country chose war and violence in order to protect and preserve our freedom (even if that reason only made up a small part of that decision). The sacrifice doesn’t lie with the country, but the individual and his family. You can read the book 1776 by David McCullough to read about the sacrifices of George Washington and his band of starving farmers. You can read Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose to read the story of how Dick Winters and Easy Company fought and survived through World War II. Nowadays you can go to any base or post throughout the country and see the personnel who continue the, for lack of a better term, tradition of upholding our freedom. These are Americans who have chosen to not only risk their lives, but ironically give up their own freedom to a country that aims to preserve liberty. The real hero in America is the mother who holds steady with two children while her husband deploys halfway around the world. The real hero is the husband who kisses his daughters one last time as he he leaves for his year long PCS in Korea. The Americans serving in the military and their families bear the individual sacrifice of preserving freedom so that you don’t have to think about it. And that’s what makes them heroes.

Today think of the past and think of the present. Place your politics aside and be thankful that these people exist, and they always will.

Military Guys

Edit: I didn’t preview the post and the formatting was all jacked up. Woops. I’ll put the blame on what is apparently the flu that I came down with yesterday.

I get a lot of e-mails from guys that are in the service, and they usually have some unique circumstances. Some times guys want to get stronger while keeping their bodyweight in check because of annoying regulations. Some times they need to get ideas on programs that don’t have access to a typical training facility. Other times they just want to get bigger and stronger and have the room to grow. In any case, it’s always a pleasure to help them (I enjoy helping people in general).

I got an awesome e-mail recently from a Captain in Afghanistan. It was deadlift day for the group of lifters that includes some “runners that have been converted over to lifting”. You have to admire their intensity — they don’t fuck around.

How awesome is this?

These are the guys you want to go fight for you. Luckily they got to finish up with a meal of fried chicken, ribs, and mac and cheese. God bless America.

I wonder if they got to have any beer with that. I’d like to drink beer with this bunch.

Here’s 1LT McGraw out in Iraq training hard on a linear progression.

I’ve coached and worked with lots of military personnel and they are always a joy to be around (one of my best friends is an AF guy). All you deployed guys take care out there.

Military Strength

“Excuse me, I’d like to speak with your manager, bleh-bleh-bleh-bleh-bleh.”


I’m over here in Iraq and a big Starting Strength fan. I’ve really made leaps and bounds in my strength and overall GPP by following Starting Strength and slowly reintegrating metcon workouts from my past as an underweight Crossfitter. I’ll be pushing my platoon to focus on strength and threatening them with disciplinary action if I catch them doing any workouts from Muscle and Fitness, and instead I’ll put up some posters of Magnus Samuelsson and Doug Young.

It’s been great discovering your 70’s Big site. It’s been good for a laugh and for some solid information. Hopefully I can find a way to choke down some more of the chow hall food here to help with my muscle mass gains…unlikely.

“LT”, 82nd ABN, Iraq

We have continued to see more and more military personnel realize that improving strength is going to have the biggest impact on improving performance in the field. This sentiment is echoed throughout the different branches, elite or otherwise. Think about it — we 140 pound guys are expected to haul 80 pounds of gear in 110+ weather on a routine basis. Is running or conditioning going to help him do that?


Here is a picture of Yosh (not to be confused with Yoshi) pulling 480 at a body weight of 165 at the 2009 Pride Powerlifting Bench and Deadlift Raw Nationals (he signed up for the deadlift). Don’t worry, he said he is on the way to 200 pounds.

Yosh pulling 480 at 165 lbs

Yosh pulling 480 at 165 lbs


“Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?”

When I first moved to Wichita Falls, I weighed 195 pounds. I began the linear progression, and ate a lot of food. I ate six eggs every morning, beef quesadillas, a gallon of milk a day, and lots of other stuff. For two or three months I ate those six eggs. It started to get monotonous, so I started trying to put things on them to mask the taste. I tried at least five different kinds of salsa. All were good (I’m in Texas, after all), but each one would turn bland after the second bottle.

It wasn’t long before I started to loathe eggs. It became a struggle to wolf them down every morning. Soon, I hated them. Despised them. I couldn’t have them in my mouth because trying to swallow them nearly produced a gag reflex. That was the damndest thing ever; I had been eating at least three or four eggs every day for the past three years, and now they were suddenly becoming grotesque.

This has happened periodically with food throughout this year. It’s natural to start disliking something because it is repetitive and monotonous. In fact, my friends Chris and AC have both become jaded with eggs too. In my case, I had to start eating something else. For a while I just ate cheeseburger patties for breakfast (with barbecue sauce). I started eating eggs again a few months later, but always with bacon.

Weird set backs are going to happen when you are strength training. You might start hating food that you have always loved. Whatever. Just make a change and keep eating.


Randy and Josh are in Afghanistan doing the linear progression. This is what they do for fun.

Randy consumes raw meat because he is raw.

Randy consumes raw meat because he is raw.

Josh refuses to get off the scale until it goes up. Randy didn’t have the heart to tell him he was already holding the bag.

Josh refuses to get off the scale until it goes up. Randy didn’t have the heart to tell him he was already holding the bag.

Oh, and just so you guys know, my abs are still sore (on Sunday) from front squatting and rack pulls on Friday night. With my belt. Because it makes my abs go to sleep.

Continue reading

Best. Pictures. Ever.

You guys won’t beat these pictures for a while…

I wanted to write an article that would inspire quality strength training and eating. The article will have to wait, because you all need to see these pictures that were sent to me today. And you need to see them immediately.

I have a friend named Springer. He trains with AC in Georgia. He sent me a picture of his weekly groceries (he weighs 215 right now and wants to be 230 by December):


Yeah. No big deal.


Then I got another e-mail.

Ladies, this is Johnny. Johnny is 6’5″ and is up to 275 from 215. He trains in a crusty-ass gym near the Afghan and Pakistan border. Aside from lifting in the gym, he pushes and pulls ATVs up the “shitty Afghan hills”. He’ll toss sandbags and do buddy carries and .50 cal can carries.

Diet: 6 times a day at the 24 hour chow hall.  6 to 8 eggs every morning, oatmeal with peanut butter, bagle with cream cheese, protein shake,  two lunches or MREs if out on a mission, and dinner. I eat everything until I vomit, then I eat more.


He’s got the beard

He’s got the beard

He’s got the clothes

He’s got the clothes

He’s got the kick-ass attitude

He’s got the kick-ass attitude

And he STILL has room to grow

And he STILL has room to grow

Gold star for Johnny.

All right knuckleheads, you’ve got a whole weekend to make submissions. Go check out the Submissions Page for the criteria. Expect the Hall of Fame page to be finished with some new Hall of Famers inducted next week. Gant and I will also be working on a special video segment, and I’m working on some interviews. You’ll get so much content, you won’t be able to contain your bowels. Oh, and t-shirts are on the way…

Get strong.