Never Miss A Chance To Get Better

70’s Big started as a joke six months before the site launched in September of 2009. After coining the phrase, our group of friends saw 70’s Big in everything we did. Eating a one pound burger was 70’s Big. Getting eight hours of sleep was 70’s Big. Air guitaring was 70’s Big. Anything that pushed us towards the goal of being stronger and bigger was 70’s Big.

The attitude of 70’s Big has been in my life for almost four years, but the mentality has been around longer. Shouting the phrase, “Never miss a chance to get better!” and following it with impromptu exercise was one of my favorite public jokes. See two chairs together? Get a few dips in. See a sidewalk? Get some walking lunges. Never miss a chance to get better.

I distinctly remember shouting the phrase outside a bar on Halloween in 2008 when AC and I dressed up as speed walkers. I drunkenly shouted the phrase, jumped on an awning, and started doing pull-ups. When I landed, I looked down to see blood seeping out of a gash on my hand. “Never missing a chance” has its consequences, but this didn’t stop me from speed walking up and down the bar or doing jumping jacks in the corner.

This pic was taken a few minutes after the hand gash incident (I hold a napkin to stop the bleeding). Friends Brock and Taylor (gorilla) pose with AC and I.

This “joke” is a derivative of a long-time belief I established at an early age: people should not only never plateau in life, but they should never be satisfied with plateauing. The very idea should make them vomit.

Some people hang their hat on past accomplishments as if it gives them the right to complacency. “Success” is not something that a person ever qualifies for, but a state of mind that results from honestly striving for it. 

Personally, I don’t think anything I’ve done is impressive. Graduating college, coaching people, or establishing this website — to me these are byproducts of the work I’ve put in. I don’t ever focus on what I’ve achieved, but focus on what I could have done better. And there’s a lot that I could have done better. I don’t dwell or fester on the  bad, but use it as a tool to improve. Just like in lifting, if something goes wrong, figure out why, and then work towards rectifying the problem. Everyone has good traits that clash with flaws, yet it’s overcoming the flaws that allow us to show our quality while working towards success.

My intention with this website has always been to educate and subsequently motivate. If that means I have to act like a fuck-head to get your attention, then that’s something I’m willing to do. If you get nothing else from 70’s Big, I hope it’s the motivation to bust your ass in training, but it’s my sincerest hope that this rubs off into the rest of your life. Attack your life goals with the same intensity you use during a 3RM squat attempt. Train your mind, speak foreign languages, study history, understand philosophy, play musical instruments — independently think and actively learn to better yourself. It’s no different than training your body and equally important.

Above all…never miss a chance to get better.

18 thoughts on “Never Miss A Chance To Get Better

  1. Oh my…that pic is borderline NSFW (I think I need a napkin to stop my eyes from bleeding…or to clean up after a hand shandy) – Thank goodness my ALT+TAB skillz are top-notch, as my boss walked by just as the page was loading.

    Anyhoo – Great motivational article and just what I needed to snap out my funk on this crappy day in central PA!

  2. I wanted to use the following quote, but it didn’t really fit with the context. John Adams is a hero of mine.

    “I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.”
    –John Adams, Letter to Abigail Adams (12 May 1780)

  3. Justin, if you haven’t read Stephen Ambrose’ “Undaunted Courage” you really, really need to. It’s right up your alley. I’m a big fan of enlightenment thinking as well. The book is as much about Thomas Jefferson as it is Lewis & Clarke.

    • Second this. Those guys rampaged around the unknown world, looking for things they didn’t know or hadn’t seen. Horsewhipped disobedient soldiers. Played wife-swap with the natives. Learned that the Blue Ridge Mtns are not the highest in North America. Invented new boating technology. Paddled against the Missouri River for months. Sent back dozens of unknown flora and fauna specimens. When you get a sense of what is was like for L&C, as well as the political climate that Jefferson had to navigate, these guys should be a huge inspiration to never miss a chance to get better. Great book.

  4. Speaking of the quest to get better, I really don’t like when people take advantage of those just trying to improve themselves. A perfect example is people who pretend to know something about fitness and then charge people for bad advice. I finally decided to document this the other day. The man lifting in this video just joined my gym because he wanted to improve himself. He sought help from someone who claimed to be an expert. This is what he got: In the video description I wrote about how I think this is akin to malpractice/negligence.

    • I have nicknames for all the trainers/regulars at my gym. The trainer in that video is like a clone for the one I call, “God, I hate you!”. I know it’s not really snappy, but it’s all that comes to mind anytime I see him training somebody.

    • I know exactly what you are saying Maslow. People at my gym never get better, and the trainers train the same people over and over with no results. I literally have seen this one trainer train the same group of five women in a boxing class for over a year. None of them have made any progress, yet he still yells at me for getting in his way at the gym. I also see him training this old women from time to time, but all he has her do is these stupid resistance-band-bench-press-type things and yaps about his own life.

      Hate this guy.

    • While I agree with you Maslow, the sad part is I don’t think it would qualify as negligence. That suggests a failure to comply with a perceived standard of care. If you showed that video to 100 “fitness professionals”, 99 of them would probably say the novice is being trained properly! (don’t go deep, protect your knees, etc).

      Or hey, maybe (just maybe), he was showing him how NOT to squat, so that he would then be able to learn from his mistakes! :)

      Don’t Do What Donny Don’t Does.

  5. Good stuff. And it was cool to read your responses to so many of our questions/comments from yesterday.

    Sometimes I think about how strong I will be when I decide to “maintain.” But in my head, I mean maintain strength levels while transitioning to different goals like conditioning, swollertrophy, or “recompositioning.” Then go back to getting stronger.

  6. I have long believed failure is the greatest motivator, there is little joy in achievements that come easy.

    Justin, This site is an awesome resource and community of people, thanks for your efforts in continually improving the site and its readers each day.

  7. Great motivation, applicable to all aspects of life. Exactly why I quit my job with the government and started my own business.

    The complementary phrase is, of course, stay humble.

    Had a long couple of months off with a back injury after jumping back in to the GSLP at too high a weight after a two month hiatus due to travelling for work in asia.

    This post is great motivation to check the ego, dial the weights back and focus on continual improvement…. Thanks!

  8. Well said! Ever since I started really pushing myself in my training it has made me look at other aspects of my life and I strive to make them better everyday.

  9. Pingback: Re-blog: 70′s Big – Never Miss a Chance to Get Better | Bobby Gets BIG

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