I overheard some young guys — around 20 to 23 years old — talking about training. They were very enthusiastic and were seemingly sharing “insider knowledge”. One of them talked about a specific type of protein he bought from GNC, how it was good for “building”, and how he would transition into another kind in order to “maintain”. The other referenced his “older brother” and how “he said” that another product was very good, and that he only uses that brand. Then he talked about his older brother went and talked with people at GNC and Gold’s Gym for, “like, half an hour” to learn about working out and stuff. “He’s insane,” he said.
Most of you saw the words “GNC”, guffawed, and knew where this was going. The truth is, we were all there at one point. I remember carrying around a couple issues of Muscle and Fitness for reference (I was 17). One in particular was an barbell-only program. It was actually pretty useful at the time, because it was a poor, haggard man’s strength program that used barbells. Weird, huh?
There are thousands, possibly millions of guys like this. They are young, alarmingly skinny or small, yet enthusiastic. Those “conventional fitness” resources that they read may help them get a bit more muscular, but they’ll be horribly inefficient. A strength program with compound, systemically stressful movements with appropriate rest and caloric intake will work much faster. If they wanted to squat, bench, press, and row for sets of 8 to 12 reps, they will be able to use more weight if they were stronger. Getting stronger will result in bigger muscles. It’s a pretty simple formula that isn’t really preached by the alleged “experts”.
I wanted to intervene in the conversation. I wanted to say, “Look, do three sessions a week of a squat, a press, and a pull, eat over a pound of meat a day, and get a good night’s rest. That’ll be exponentially more beneficial than buying shitty protein powders and talking to weirdos with sea shell necklaces and shaved chests.”
But I didn’t. They never listen to a stranger. Before I started 70’s Big, I remember telling some high school football players in a Gold’s Gym, “Stop playing with these dumbbells and go over there and squat every time you come in here.” They didn’t squat that day. Fuck me, right?
I hate when people write critiques of training programs, methodologies, or how stupid people are without some sort of solution to the problem. For example, I talk about how much I hate hipsters, or vegetarians, or society’s notion that females should be starving and men should be shorn waifs, so my Revolution articles end with proposed action.
In this case, young and dumb kids may not listen to what you have to say, but maybe we should try? Maybe you can help them in one small way by suggesting they squat more often, eat meat instead of powders, or stop worrying about “body parts” and get stronger. But, your words will mean much more if you are a big, jacked, strong guy instead of merely being decently strong and kind of fat.
Eat clean food, jack fucking steel around, and don’t be as douchey as the roiding tanned weirdo who smashes sets of incline bench to pre-exaust his pecs and you might have a chance at reaching these kids. But it starts with you and your success.
Yesterday I told you to enjoy your holiday break, but to reflect on 2013’s training. Now I want to hear what it is you accomplished. Though PR Fridays have been less frequent, they historically provide a venue to talk about your own weekly improvement or personal records. Let’s face it, sometimes your wife (husband?) or co-workers just don’t give a shit or understand what it’s like to get a 10 lb deadlift PR, so sharing it with other lifters nets an appropriate response.
Look back over 2013 and think about what you accomplished. Did elevate your training to the next level? Did you compete? Did you experience any injuries? Let us know how it went. Training is intimately related with what else is going on in your life, so recap the non-training part of your life. Did you get married (I did), graduate, or get a new job? All of these things effect your training but also count as leveling up in life.
Lifting isn’t just something we do because we love it; we need to do it. It’s the great leveler, the thing that brings you back to reality or reminds you how progress requires blood and sweat. The lessons under the bar have direct application in life’s success; let us know how training has influenced your life in 2013.
‘Tis the season of hanging out, drinking coffee out of a mug with a bear’s face on it, wearing a flannel robe, and watching the final season of Breaking Bad. Christmas holidays usually give us a chance to slow down and breathe before the new year. And that’s perfectly fine; you’ve earned it (or at least pretended to). Use this time to hydrate, sleep a lot, and eat a lot of meat; rest and digest, homie. I’d also recommend getting outside to explore, build a fire, and shoot things, but in the biz we call that a digression.
But as you sit there taking a dump and reading “How To Survive in the Woods”, take a few seconds to reflect on the past year’s training. Every January 70’s Big puts out a post called “Letter of Intent Day” that asks you to figure out what you want to accomplish in the coming year. Did you accomplish what you wanted to this year? What could you have done better? What physical attributes need work? By getting your shit together now, you’ll have prepped for January’s Letter of Intent.
Do yourself the favor of taking your vitamins, eating your protein, and resting nine hours a night while you have time off. It’ll at least help your hangover, but it’ll prep you for next year’s training. Happy Holidays, but get your shit together.
Four years ago one of the founding principles of 70’s Big was to reset the idea of body image in society. At the time, CrossFit was fairly “anti-strength training” — evidenced by HQ’s proclamation that focused strength training wasn’t necessary AND rejecting an article I wrote detailing how the “CrossFit Wichita Falls Program” (a program I wrote while at Rippetoe’s WFAC; I refer to it as “The S&C Program” now) made all of my trainees very much stronger while increasing their CrossFit performance. I was told it didn’t contain “measurable, repeatable data”, which it did, but that is neither here nor there.
It was thought that the “workout of the day” was enough to increase performance and that structured programming was unnecessary and less effective. Let’s ignore these stupid fucking points and focus on the result: it was more popular to only do met-cons, and most CrossFit guys were lean and small. 70’s Big was a kind of “fuck that” to CrossFit and bodybuilding and focused on the “big because you’re strong” look. Long story short, I give less of a shit about how people train, so long as they do it intelligently and efficiently…which almost always means they should strength train.
The 70’s Big mentality is focused on strength, muscularity, healthiness, and being jacked because of it. When I hear bullshit about women thinking they need to lose weight in order to have “the gap” (which Mike and I talked about it in 70’s Big Radio Episode 15), or how young girls think they need to weigh a certain amount to “fit in” with their friends, it drives me fucking crazy.
As long as civilized society exists, people will be concerned with conforming to it. I have no god damn idea why it’s so important, but to some people it is. I’ve spent most of my life trying to do the opposite, and hopefully I can help others think the same way. It seems to me that one of the barriers in doing what you want to do instead of what others want you to do is self-confidence. Lifting weights, getting bigger, faster, and stronger can develop confidence. I’ve seen it in kids, teenagers, young adults, and older folks. Society is fucking weak. Most people get comfortable with something and stick with it. Then they feel chained to it because they think they can’t do anything else. They lack the confidence in themselves to make it happen.
Yet lifting weights can give people a little kick in the B-hole. They work their ass off to achieve a goal, and they realize that they can do something that previously seemed impossible. When Chris was deadlifting mid 400s for reps, and he said, “I want to deadlift 600×5,” I thought it was kind of far-fetched. But the mother fucker trained his dick off every. god. damn. week. And you know what? He eventually did it (watch the vid and read about the journey; learn about the program to the right).
I’d like to think that people who lift have a different understanding and expectation of what is sexy and healthy. I’d like to think that a woman who lifts doesn’t give a shit about “the gap”, which I don’t even understand. Why would a guy think a space between skin is sexy? How did a bunch of weirdo-neck-beards on the internet popularize this? Some piece of shit in his cubicle at work has power over a young girl’s mind — this is truly the future. Furthermore, why do girls think they need to be skinny to have “the gap”? You take most chicks, including those with muscular legs from squatting and deadlifting, bend her over, and she’s probably going to have a gap (Note: only try this if you have female compliance). It’s called the subpubic angle, and women have a wider pelvic opening because they need to be able to drop a watermelon-sized child out of their pelvis. This is of course a BIG fucking digression since a space between thighs is not fucking sexy anyway; it’s probably the fact that there is a vagina sitting right above it. Let’s call a spade a spade; dudes like seeing lady parts and the gap has nothing to do with it.
The internet is a mob, and the mob has power. I’m here to be the sniper on the clock tower picking off the mob’s leaders. The gap is a shit-head development from the mob. Instead, aesthetically confused girls (or boys) should focus on strength training and health with the byproduct of sexiness. I’ve discovered something incredibly important. Since I have that aforementioned narcissism self-confidence, I named it after myself.
This information was garnered from a series of observations in repeated experiments in which the result is always the same. Of course there are other variables that are important, like conditioning (i.e. cardiovascular and respiratory training), other lifts or exercises that can fit into the “strength” equation, or other variables that define health like hydration or supplementation, but this is a simplified look at the law. It states that if you put these variables together, the result is sexiness.
Not to insult your intelligence, but notice there isn’t anything in there about “losing weight” or even “gaining weight”. There isn’t anything about “being able to see through someone’s legs while their feet are together”. There isn’t anything about seeing beads of oil accumulating on rippled abs. There isn’t even an opportunity to leave your sexiness up for interpretation, even to yourself. Most importantly, there is nothing in this equation that indicates someone outside of you has any control over your sexiness.
This is a monumental point; a fucking fat weirdo fapping onto his keyboard does not define what your sexiness is. Your friends do not provide a comparison to derive your hotness. People in your demographic group (i.e. gender and age) do not define your attractiveness. I’m not even giving you false hope in saying that your mindset determines your sexiness! There are fat people out there who think they are da bomb, but we all know they aren’t, so I’m not going to bullshit you into thinking you can look however you want yet feel like sexual god. I’m giving you an absolute, measurable way to determine your sexiness. How strong are you? How consistent is your training? How well do you eat (learn more to the right)? How well do you sleep? This is all quantifiable and can be recorded with any effort or OCD. If you’re gonna have a complex about your aesthetics, let it be a healthy one. Frisbee your weight scale out the window and tell the people that try to influence your body, clothes, or style to go fuck themselves. You’ll be free; you’ll be in control. Implement Lascek’s Law, because, like me, it’s never fucking wrong.
Getting stronger is a process that demands that you get smarter by learning from mistakes. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? You just go to the gym, have a “workout”, get strong, occasionally mess up, but fix it and keep “working out”…right?
No, sir. The process of training is grueling. It can be fun when training with friends, pumping loud music, having a grand ol’ time. But for most of us, we don’t get that luxury. We’re in a gym, a garage, or a “fitness adventure”…alone with our thoughts. There isn’t anyone there to encourage crushing the first set of squats or to hit a sixth snatch in a row. Each set, each rep requires that you make a decision: “Do I give it my all here?” Doing it on every rep isn’t easy.
It would be pretty easy to not try. It would be easy to slack on some reps, to not bounce the hell out of a squat or not finish the pull on your cleans. Sure, it’d be easy. It’d be so easy to quit. It’s much easier to quit than do something hard, so why bother?
Fuck. That. Never avoid doing something that’s hard. Avoiding “hard” makes you a coward, and you can never experience or learn anything by being a coward. By convincing yourself to do something that’s hard when you don’t want to, you won’t just grow physically. You display a quality of strength that correlates and resonates far beyond the barbell. By overcoming the difficult, that process sets you up for success. Your thoughts formulate your feelings, your feelings compose your emotions, your emotions are exhibited through your actions, and your actions define who you are. By structuring your thoughts to tackle difficult challenges, to strive towards success regardless of the obstacle, you formulate into a better person. You manifest into 70’s Big.