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Posted: January 26, 2014 by Show Me Strength in General

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Jonny Gomes

Jonny Gomes

While getting ready for the week last night, I was looking through all my bookmarks of the motivational articles, videos, and quotes I stumbled across throughout the last few days.  I enjoy all different types of motivation or inspirational stories whether it be sports related or not, but for some reason a couple stories in particular kept coming back into my head.

The first two are baseball related. I know it’s a bit cliché, but there are so many great accounts of guys persevering through the minors to finally seize their unlikely dream in the big leagues. One of the best stories I’ve come across, I was fortunate to witness and see develop first hand…as seen below. The other is an E60 story on Jonny Gomes and his unlikely rise to the majors, fighting through traumatic events, and horrible odds to achieve the level of success he has to this day.

In the third article and video, addictedtosuccess.com brings us a really awesome story about a broke kid and his attempt to become a millionaire from scratch in two years. Really cool stuff.

Here we go. Let’s start this week off right!

This is a pic of Evan’s ID as a janitor, a job he carried only a couple years prior to making in to the MLB.

The Story of El Oso Blanco, Evan Gattis- I truly feel grateful to call Evan one of my good friends. I had the opportunity to spend the last couple years in my tenure with the Atlanta Braves getting to know Evan really well. Besides being a great talent, an extremely driven worker, and natural born thoroughbred of an athlete, Gattis is an old soul who has been through more in 25 years than most people hope to go through in a lifetime. Now that he has finally reached and succeeded in the big leagues, his story has become that of legends. Along with having a great swing, and a great story to go along with it, Evan is a class act, whom every kid out there should look up to.

Jonny Gomes : The Man Who Wouldn’t Die - In light of the Red Sox making it to the World Series, ESPN did a cool piece on one of their key additions this year, Jonny Gomes. As if surviving a terrible car crash that killed another human being wasn’t enough, Jonny suffered a heart attack that came so very close to taking his life again.

A Young Man’s Daring Journey to Become a Millionaire - With a burning desire to help his struggling mom retire, Corey Wadden set out on an outliers journey. Avoiding the safe and comfortable route, he set his earnings goal at $1,000,000, but starting from scratch. Check this out to see how he’s getting closer to making his dream come true through pure hustle.

That’s it for today friends.

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TopReads

Update: We’re excited to announce that our blog should have a brand new layout coming sometime this week.  The layout should be diesel and make it a little more sexy when reading our content!

Before we get started on a few of the great articles we found this week, here are ours.

Under the Bar by Ryan Wood

In this great piece, Ryan discusses the importance of doing in order to truly learn how to become good at something.  You can read about pitching mechanics until your eyes hurt but it doesn’t mean anything until you physically go out there and do it.  Taking action can be scary.  It probably involves failure and a good deal of it.  You’ll find if you push through the pain period, it’ll be one of the most satisfactory things you’ll ever do in this life.  Like Ryan said, “train hard, train heavy.”  In all that you do.

Hacking Your Off Season Volume 4: Three Qualities of a Good Training Partner by Chad Rodgers

In the latest installment of Hacking Your Off Season, Chad covers all you need to know when finding someone to train with.  I’m a big believer in self-motivation, especially when times are hard.  These are the moments when I feel most inspired to get up and chase my goals.  Yet, I understand that sometimes it can be hard to wake up pissed off for greatness.  Your week may be kicking you in the ass so you may need a little boost to power you through.  Find your training partner.  Find someone who is better than you and forces you to rise up.  Forces you to get motivated and train hard when it’s the last thing you want to do.  It could be the most overlooked part of training, yet one of the most important.

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Reconstructing Your Breakfast by Andrew Ferreira

In this piece, I deliver everything you need to know in order to optimize your breakfast routine.  I don’t hand out some generic cookie-cutter plan that may work for some but not all.  No, instead I deliver concepts, plans of action, and guidelines in order to optimize your breakfast to fit your goals and make you feel the best each morning.

Here are the other great reads of the week found throughout the blogosphere:

Like Hell You Could by TC Luoma

I love this article.  To put it bluntly, most people aren’t successful because they don’t want it bad enough.  It’s not because they went to a crappy school or even went to no school at all.  You aren’t successful because when there’s money to be made, you choose sleep and comfort.  You’re afraid to hustle.  Same goes for why you’re 25, full of estrogen, skinny fat, and have the shoulder width of a pre-pubescent little boy.  You wouldn’t have a better body or live more legendary if you had more time to work out.  F*** that.  There are no excuses.  Either you do or you don’t.  Either you make time or your priorities are all fucked up and that’s why you don’t succeed.  Next time you start to tell yourself that you’d have X if given Y, stop.  There are no places for excuses.  Act.  Now.

t-nation2

The Best Life and Training Advice I Received from a Homeless Man by Roger Law

The problem with most people is that when they finally find the balls to take action, they’re like a deer in the headlights and they have no clue where to go next.  Honestly, if all you do is say yes and take action you’ll be more successful than 99% of the people out there but we want the best here for you at Show Me Strength.  Roger Law does an excellent job of breaking down the steps in optimizing your plan of action.  First step: “Fuck a Wish.”  I couldn’t agree more.  Use these guidelines from Rog to learn how to embrace the suck, persevere through pain, and come out better than ever before because of it.

Why Michael Jordan Didn’t Fear Failure by Chad Howse

Chad is becoming a frequent visitor to our Reads of the Week series and for good reason.  I feel inspired after reading his stuff.  Creating inspiration through words certainly isn’t easy so I’m always appreciative of someone’s work who has this knack.  With that said, I could relate 150% with this article.  I was like Chad, I spent hours upon hours working when everyone was sleeping or partying.  Problem was, when the game happened, when I had the opportunity to showcase all the hard work I had just put in, my brain wouldn’t let me.  I was so consumed by mechanics or worrying about not screwing up that I would fail and it would leave me incredibly frustrated.  When I learned to trust in my hard work, see the game as an opportunity to enjoy myself and be loose, I played immensely better.  This approach, as Chad says, comes with a caveat though.  You can’t play loose and confident unless you know you are prepared.  This only comes through inordinate amounts of hard work.

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Franco arnold

 

Before we begin, check out this quote from the man himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

 “I did it because of something I’d seen in Franco (Columbo), which was his incredible willpower. I knew he could go all the way. I knew too that he was the training partner who could weather the ferocious workouts necessary in the coming year. It was important for me to be with Franco during a time when I wanted to adhere to a grueling workout schedule.”

That’s a really cool quote for me. I came across it the other day, and it inspired this article. It got me thinking of the gains in athleticism, strength, and power I’ve made over the past few years, and forced me to realize the importance that incredible training partners have had on my development. In one sentence I would say this.

“A great training partner can take a great program and make it superhuman.”

Yep. I just quoted myself, but I don’t care. I feel that strongly of a great training buddy’s impact on one’s progress in the gym.

I also don’t feel that a training partner is limited to just people who share the same program as you. In fact not one of the athlete’s that trained alongside me in Boston at CP shared the same program as I did. Each person brings an individual set of strengths and weaknesses to the table, therefore no program there is designed alike.

With that in mind, a “training partner” can be a coach, mentor, friend, family member, or even someone you don’t really care for, and probably would never go grab a beer with. That’s ok. They come in all shape’s and sizes, and here are the qualities that every great one possesses….

rocky training partner

1.) A great training partner hold’s his buddy accountable for effort and consistency.- Effort and consistency are certainly two of the biggest deterrents of training gains, and when working alone, it’s easy for many people to use their rational mind to negotiate around a tough ass workout, or showing up every day ready to crush it. It’s simply human nature for most individuals to avoid discomfort, good pain, and loads of sweat. An awesome training partner doesn’t care whether you hate him or her temporarily. He or she will push you to your breaking point, make sure you finish all your reps, all your sets, and take you beyond your comfort zone. If you can find someone around you who you feel is capable of this, bring them into the gym for a test run.

2.) A great training partner is probably stronger than you. If they aren’t, then they are usually just as strong. - This quality is something that I’ve noticed over and over. I’m no sociology major, but strong motherfuckers tend to gravitate and train with strong motherfuckers. The weak guys tend to workout together too. If you are weak, I recommend finding someone who trains hard, is strong, and does it the right way. By the right way I mean working their butt off, eating right, and living a diesel lifestyle. Find this person. Sack up and ask them for some training advice. Ask them who taught them to get strong and get the body they wanted. Just don’t ask them 2 seconds before they pull 600 off the floor. Have some feel…Maybe they can help you with a program or keep you accountable for showing up and getting after it like an animal.

3.) A great training partner isn’t a prima donna. This should go unsaid, but unfortunately it must be expressed. The last two months I’ve been training at a commercial gym, so I’ve gotten to see some of the umm how should I say this…”interesting” dynamics of not only what people do in the gym, but with whom and how they go about it. I give people a bunch of credit for showing up. If I was a teacher of gym101, that would be half the credit of my student’s grade. A great training companion encompasses the other half of the grade.  He or she trains and doesn’t simply “workout.” He or she pushes themselves and whoever they are with to the max. He or she isn’t afraid of heavy weights. He or she isn’t afraid of sweat, blood, and possibly regurgitation. Above all ,you and the person you train with have a responsibility. You owe it to each other to move weight around fast and hard, keep your head down and work without looking at your phone or socializing. Bottom line. Don’t be this guy….

skinny douche

In summary, take Arnold’s advice. Find that person this offseason with the willpower, commitment, and no bullshit workhorse mentality. Watch them, talk to them, train with them. It will take your training to levels you never thought possible.

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Today we have special guest Ryan Wood writing some cool content for us. I first met Ryan at the beginning of the 2012-2013 offseason in Boston training at Cressey Performance.  He was clearly a guy who went at it hard with his head down which I loved, so I knew eventually we would be getting along quite well. As we got into the meat and potatoes of our winter training, Ryan became a close friend of mine, and someone I could trust to train as hard as I like to. The perfect training partner.  Matt, Andrew, and I all have tremendous respect for this guy battling his ass off in the neverending fight to reach his full potential athletically. Ryan is everything we want our Showmestrength athletes and readers to embody, as he trains ferociously, seeks new information always, and consistently surrounds himself with likeminded positive people. Ryan has some cool insight, and a unique story to boot…

Ryan Pitching

Ryan Pitching

Some more on today’s author…

 Ryan Wood is a part time intern/coach at Cressey Performance as well as a personal trainer at Boston Sports Club. He is pursuing his passion of pitching at the highest level possible and played independent ball in the Pecos League this past summer. Loves heavy metal, burgers, and the phrase “BOOOOOM”

My interest in strength and conditioning began soon after my 2nd year in college. Having played baseball my entire life up until that point, I was intrigued by the value of building strength and improving my performance on the mound. When I first started out with weight training I didn’t know about much more than bench presses and bicep curls. That’s what everyone does right? I was a complete neophyte when it came to strength and conditioning and had no idea what a solid program entailed. I’m finally realizing at this point in my training career one very important lesson:

In order to truly understand how training works, you have to log time in the trenches…..

Ryan pulling heavy

Ryan pulling heavy

While I do believe reading up on things related to training will enhance your knowledge, I place more value on the “doing” rather than just the acquisition of knowledge.

The best thing I could have done for my baseball career as well as gaining experience in the strength field, was to venture up to Cressey Performance in Hudson, Massachusetts. Needless to say, I first visited the facility in late summer of 2010 and still train/coach there. The way they did things in 2010 was very progressive and forward thinking for the baseball community. With a baseball tradition so far rooted in old school methodologies, it was a breath of fresh air to learn correct training applications for improving baseball performance. Had I just read Eric Cressey’s articles online, I would have missed the bread and butter of what it means to fully appreciate in the trenches training.

During my second off season of training at CP I began going to the inservice presentations. During inservices, a member of the staff discusses a topic usually related to baseball training and performance. For me, this was part of the in the trenches training. I would absorb the material during the inservice and put it into practice during my own training.

As my interests in strength have grown, I’ve begun to appreciate even more the value of hands on the bar experience. This can apply to all facets of life as well. I recently started working as a personal trainer. I am able to pass on information I have learned to help others achieve their goals. I am fortunate enough to have done some coaching/interning at Cressey Performance. I was taught how to properly coach athletes and clients. This is just another example of how gaining hands on experience can be of great benefit whether you are trying to become a better pitcher, trainer, or general badass.

I don’t care who you are, no amount of reading about how to deadlift will actually help you pull more from the floor. You have to train. And I don’t mean just show up and go through the motions. I’m talking about training like a savage and striving for constant progress. You’ve got to sweat, bleed, and exert EFFORT. When you’re training and looking to improve your performance, effort is what counts. Don’t rely on a textbook, website or magazine to tell you what works and what doesn’t. So get out there and get your hands dirty.

Train hard. Train heavy.

RW

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strength from within

Today’s motivation is all over the board and I love it. We have a couple well known fitness professionals who share their story of rising from the dark and finally living the life they envisioned.

We also have an article from our favorite women’s fitness site about taking  your thought’s of dismay, disrespect, and disgust when it comes to your body, and turning those thoughts into love, appreciation, and amazement of what your body is capable of.

Without further ado, here is some inspiration to start your week…

How Extreme Focus Can Change Your Life by JC Deen-  JC is a no-nonsense guy. That’s why we like people like him so much. He is very good at understanding what makes people tick, and using those tools to better his clients. I think he gets that, because for a long time he struggled to live a fulfilled life. A life of meaning. This article over at thechangeblog.com is in a nutshell, his life story, and how JC created through focused effort, a rewarding existence. Excellent Mr. Deen.

Moving North of the Vag by Jim Wendler- A effing fantastic title from a badass strength coach. This may be an issue that never gets resolved, but if people keep being soft, badasses like Jim are gonna keep showing up. The uphill battle against lower and lower testosterone (the symptom of the universe, Black Sabbath plug!)  in the world rages on, but so do the very few who train like motheeffing animals. A short quick article to remind you to step your game up and get after it.

barbell grip motivation

Love Your Body by Girls Gone Strong-  This is a contribution article from the women of GGS. Each talk about what part of their body they love from all the work of training paying off.  “Train because you love your body, not because you hate it.” A model article for all girls to read. The cynicism about your body is not sexy, believe me.  A confident, strong woman who trains hard and loves her body is the most attractive thing a woman can do.

girls gone strong

Thats all for today folks! Please share so we can motivate as many as possible today! Follow us on Twitter or Instagram, or like us on Facebook. :)

I’ll keep it short and sweet for the reads of the week.  Part of the reason for my brevity is that I don’t have any bad government jokes to deliver.  The other reason is that Chad and I are busy working on a mini-project that we’re pretty excited about and want to deliver to you as quickly as possible.

Our Weekly Rundown

 

Cockiness and personal bias aside, we write good stuff here at Show Me Strength.  Here is a list of the articles from this past week in case you missed them.

Why I Failed: Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen

In part 1 of the series, “Why I failed,” Travis Smith offers valuable insight into a problem so many young and experienced athletes fall into: program ADD.  You’re always looking for the very best next program instead of focusing on dominating the one you already have.

Hacking Your Offseason Volume 3: Supplement Guide for Dummies

To put it bluntly, the value of supplements is largely overrated in maximizing your training.  Most don’t work and the majority of individuals’ sole focus is on what supplements they need before making sure their nutrition and recovery is adequate.  Chad gives you the bare bones essentials you need to succeed and questions to ask yourself before you go breaking bank on the latest testosterone booster from China.

Breaking the Cycle of Mediocrity

Mediocrity consumes our lives.  Break the cycle today.  Create your legacy.

The Interwebz Reads of the Week:

 

Pitching Performance: Understanding Trunk Position at Foot Strike Part 12, and 3 by Eric Cressey and Matt Blake

Pitching is the fastest motion in all of sports with the angular velocity of the shoulder rotating upwards of 7200 degrees per second.  There a lot of pieces that are required to make this explosive transfer of energy as biomechanically efficient and explosive as possible.  In this article, Eric and Matt do an excellent job of dissecting the delivery from all ends of the spectrum including a great discussion of the interplay between functional anatomy, core stability, and how they interact to produce the different deliveries of pitchers. In parts 2 and 3, they offer a list of drills and progressions to maximize mobility and biomechanics to aid in creating the most efficient delivery possible.

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Boosting Recovery: Solutions to the Most Common Recovery Problems by Kurtis Frank

There are so many articles across the interwebz (thank you, John Romaniello) that are solely dedicated to training.  What exercises do I do to get bigger pecs?  How can I increase my squat max?  All these are well and good but they’re irrelevant unless we nail the other half of the equation… optimizing recovery.

Kurtis Frank of Examine.com, an impressive website dedicated to tackling the world of research involved in supplements and nutrition, does an excellent job thoroughly dissecting all the information you need to optimize your recovery.  From nutrition hacks to utilizing supplements that reduce stress, everyone stands to benefit from this article.

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Is School the Easy Way Out by Jonathan Goodman:

Is school your safety net?  Is it protecting you from the uncertainties of the real world?  Is it the place you run to when you’re afraid to take a risk and chase your passion?  Jon offers an interesting perspective to all these questions in the hope that you will use his deconstruction to ask the bigger question which is what do you really want out of life?

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Confused by supplements

Possibly the most asked frequently asked question in both sports and the fitness industry that can be heard in gyms everywhere is…

“What supplements should I take?”

Well, an experienced coach or trainer’s answer should be,  “Sir/Mam, can I get a better look at what foods, and drinks you consume on a daily basis? And can I see what kind of training program you are currently working with? Can you tell me how much sleep you get per night? May I get a gauge on what other stressors in your life may possibly be affecting your overall health?”

So often people jump the gun and answer this question from a confused client improperly. The coach or trainer might say…

“So bro…..do you want to lose weight or bulk up?”

A great question to eventually ask, but not before gathering a host of other, more crucial information. This “gathering of info,” will most likely, considering the society we live in today, reveal a couple of things.

1.) The person asking for supplement information has a less than stellar diet which shows that needs to improve first and foremost.

2.) The person asking for supplement information doesn’t train hard or often enough to warrant the no2boostingniteroxide thing-a-ma-bob with a fancy label he or she wants to buy.

If you are reading this, and secretly you know that this is you, the uninformed consumer, rest easy. Your wallet does not have to suffer that impending loss in order for you to see the results you are after. It will, however, require something of you…

eat sleep exercise

A change in common belief. A change that puts most supplements at the bottom of the priority list. A change that will make you put real food, training hard, and resting optimally at the top of the health totem pole.

Once these changes have been made habit, only then will supplements become a true weapon for you. Here are a few that we recommend you implement with your now, hopefully bulletproof healthy lifestyle.

WHEY PROTEIN POWDER- One of the more standard supplements to include in between or in your daily meals, whey protein, will help fill in the gaps when you arent getting enough or would like some extra clean calories throughout the day. There are a number of delicious recipes to choose from out there, but for those looking for a start, check  this  out from the guys at Scrawny to Brawny. It’s a free PDF for you to download and make some awesome shakes. It’s no secret that it will help you add lean muscle, lose fat, and help your recovery in between training sessions.

Recommended Brands :

                                  jay robb protien biotrust pic

FISH OIL- Another very highly researched product, fish oil has proven to improve the health of people all over the globe. Taken from the tissue of cold water fish, the oil has many benefits. Among them are decreased inflammation, increased cognitive ability, and decreased risk for cardiac disease. As an athlete, I enjoy the fact that it helps me bounce back quicker from games or training sessions by decreasing the inflammation in my body. Here are two of our favorite brands.

Recommended Brands :

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GREENS SUPPLEMENT- If you already get more than enough fruits and vegetables in your diet, then I truly commend you. These are two of the most overlooked food groups  in any diet, including really good ones. Even very advanced athletes and ultra fit people frequently lack consistency in this area. This is why a quality greens product derived from real fruits and veggies is highly important, especially when training hard or when optimum nutrition isn’t available. I like to consider it my “nutritional insurance” in case I don’t quite get the vitamins and minerals I need.

Recommended Brands :

athletic greens

biotest superfood

It’s tough writing an article like this, knowing that what most folks need is more knowledge about a real quality meal plan with whole foods being a priority. I feel it’s necessary though to weed you guys through the nonsense, and the marketing ploys that try and sell you products that may be even detrimental instead of positive for your wellbeing.

No, we are not doctors here at showmestrength (Not yet! Founder, Matt Kramer is currently in Chicago attending med-school), but we have been through alot as athletes, and we know what works well for us. Give some of these great products a try, you won’t be disappointed if of course you are eating and training like an animal as well!

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Breaking the Cycle of Mediocrity

Posted: October 8, 2013 by aferreira in General, Motivation
Tags: , ,

Let me paint you a picture.  A picture that is a microcosm for the perpetual mediocrity that follows the majority everyday.  Superficially, it’s just a symptom, albeit a minor one.  Yet, anyone well versed in medicine or any other field, understands that major problems start small.  Cancer starts with the smallest lump.  Economies begin to crash when unqualified mortgages are handed out for the first time.

Mediocrity’s etiology is no different.  Neither is a man born destined for greatness nor from birth relegated to the vast depths of mediocrity that consume the majority of humanity.

The greats are celebrated for a reason.  They are distinguished. They are a different breed but the root of their success wasn’t given to them through genetics nor were they divinely handed the secret to success.  They are not apart of the majority because they made the conscious, arduous decision to be different from their peers every single damn day of their lives.

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Mediocrity

What is the etiology of mediocrity you ask? What is the lump?  There are several but I want to highlight one significant problem that every day sets the tone for metastasis, an opportunity for mediocrity to penetrate and eventually dominate the mind of the athlete.

Every athlete since the beginning of time has been told the importance of a hearty breakfast (the scientific qualifications of such a recommendation are not relevant here).  And no, by hearty breakfast, I don’t mean the shit cereal that you were spoon fed in middle school.

Omelets.  Potatoes.  Fruit.  Steaks.   Fuel for your body.  Fuel that will optimize systems in your body to facilitate you becoming the best athlete you can possibly be.

Yet what happens to most athletes from high school to the professional ranks?

6:25 a.m. Snooze.

6:47 a.m. Snooze.

7:01 a.m. Oh f*** I have to be in class in ten minutes.  Let me grab a pop tart and a 100 calorie breakfast bar on the way out the door.

Eyewash.  You want to perpetuate mediocrity? Keep hitting that goddamn snooze button.  Hit it again and again and again and reinforce the fact you do not seek greatness.  Keep programming yourself to believe that you are destined for the vast depths of mediocrity.  Grab that pop tart, go to class, and be content with who and where you are.

Understand where I’m coming from.  It’s not about the content of your breakfast.  Some kids will have the purest intentions in the world but they just don’t know enough nutritionally to make good choices.  That’s ok.  Steaks don’t make you an all-American.  Commitment does.  Not just any commitment.  A relentless pursuit of greatness.

The snooze button…it lacks commitment.  It oozes of apathy.  It is a manifestation of a conscious decision to choose the easy road.

It’s not fun to wake up a half hour earlier than everyone else just to cook yourself breakfast.  But fun isn’t what breeds great.

Waking up early sucks.  I get it.  Get over it.  You think walking into a gym and seeing max reps of 85% of your 1 RM back squat on your card is a pleasurable experience?  Every cell in your body believes you can only get five but your whole team is crowded around your rack and they f****** expect you to get eight.  You think that’s fun?  To push yourself further physically and mentally than thought possible is not fun.  It’s akin to torture.  But it’s necessary if greatness is on your mind.

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You better get up

So where does that leave our athlete that rolls out of bed at 7:01?  How does he fare when his team expects eight reps?  What happens when it’s the fourth quarter and he’s mentally and physically exhausted?

He fails.  When he’s expected to get eight reps, he gets three.  He failed the moment he hit the snooze button.  He failed the moment he acknowledged that he’d be better off with a good breakfast in the morning and slept through anyways.  He fails because little moments, little symptoms, slowly start to pervade his life and fuel a lifestyle of mediocrity.

You see everything matters.  There’s no on off switch when deciding to be great.  You don’t decide one day that you want to be great and then the next you can slack.  It doesn’t work that way.  There are no snooze buttons.  Waking up early is a given.

“When you want to succeed as badly as you want to breath, then you’ll be successful.”Eric Thomas

When greatness, not mediocrity, pervades your every decision then we’re onto something.  The etiology of greatness is not found in some profound revelation.  It isn’t found in a book or from some performance guru.  It’s forged between the ears.  It’s forged every time you wake up pissed off for greatness.  It grows every time your passion, not some goddamn alarm clock, wakes you up in the morning.  It manifests itself when you team expects eight, your body thinks it can only get five, but you earn every inch of ten fucking grueling painful reps.

If you haven’t already, what’s stopping you from saying yes.  Yes to overcoming every near impossible obstacle that stands between you and greatness.  With all things in life, it starts with a choice, a commitment.

Will you say yes today or hit the snooze button and sleep on it some more?  In the meantime, your legacy hangs in the balance.

Note: Today’s guest post comes from my good buddy Travis Smith, former starting second baseman at Assumption College.  I’ve known Travis since high school and he is easily one of the hardest workers I know.  We talk all the time here on Show Me Strength about what it means when someone truly grinds.  When he played, Travis was the embodiment of a grinder and I think you’ll find a lot of value in his guest series.  

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For as long as I can remember, my dream was to be a professional baseball player.

I failed.

Of course, this isn’t the first time I’ve acknowledged that I failed; since I haven’t played a meaningful baseball game since last May, its pretty clear on a daily basis that I failed at becoming a professional baseball player.  But putting that sentence down in words leads to an interesting, and sometimes uncomfortable, path of reflection.

Fortunately for you, I made it all the way down that path unscathed, and now I’m ready to help prevent you from ever having to venture down that same road.

Originally I was going to spend some time talking about my career, but it’s a long, unimpressive story that most people would not care about in the slightest.  You’re on this website to make yourself a better athlete, and I completely understand and respect that.

As briefly as possible, I was a division-two baseball player that couldn’t hit consistently.  For reasons that had little to do with my offensive ability and a ton to do with “projectability” (AKA I was tall and could throw the ball really hard across the infield), I had workouts with some MLB teams.  I had some good seasons, I had many more bad seasons, and went undrafted.

While I may not be an authority on hitting curveballs, I am an authority on what I did wrong and how I could have improved my training, my mental approach, and everything else that embodies a successful athlete.  The point of this series will be to illustrate the mistakes I made in an effort to prevent you from doing the same.

  “Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen” in Regard to Strength Training

I’m not sure where this line originated from, or I would certainly credit it, because whoever originally spoke these words had a great handle on productivity and getting things done.  To put it in its simplest form, and stick to the original analogy, its not hard for a single chef to boil a pot of water: it becomes tough when fifteen chefs have to boil one pot of water and every one of them has a different method for boiling water, a different trick to speed up the process, and so on.

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Don’t suffer from program ADD

In short, you need to be careful who you listen to.  In the age of the internet and commercial gyms, there is no shortage of weight-training advice, and certainly no shortage of bad weight-training advice.  Just because that guy in your gym has huge biceps doesn’t mean what he says should have any bearing on your training.  Chances are, he is not an expert on building rotational core strength or optimizing the timing of your rotator cuff.

When I was playing, I always enjoyed lifting, and I loved the grind.  I may not have loved every set of Bulgarian split-squats, but I loved leaving the gym everyday knowing that I was closer to my ultimate goal.  I looked forward to going to bed early on a Thursday night to be rested and ready to go for a 7 AM lift on Friday morning.

The problem arose when I started thirsting for more information on exercises and programs, and lost my ability to stick to one program.  In this way, you need to be careful what you read and what you expose yourself to.

For me, it was T-Nation.  Every afternoon after class I would head back to my dorm and read the latest post from Wendler or Thibaudeau or Bruno.  The problem for me was that everything on T-Nation appealed to me.  And when a lifting program appealed to me, I wanted to try it.  Regardless of the fact that I was already in the second week of an eight-week strength program, suddenly, in my head, I was doing the wrong program.

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And even when I didn’t directly change my strategy, the appeal of the new program made me doubt my current program.  I might have finished the remaining six weeks, but was my heart truly in those lifts anymore?  Or was I just rushing through them in order to get to the next program?

To be clear, I’m not advocating ignorance or suggesting you avoid websites like T-Nation or Show Me Strength just because you already have a program.  There is never a bad time to read an article on perfecting your squat technique or generating more power off the floor on your deadlifts.

But if you have a program, I would avoid reading that article proposing an entirely new program.  Because chances are, you’re going to like it, and you’re going to want to incorporate it, at the expense of your current program.  Maybe you’re mentally strong enough to read about a new program and not want to try it, but I wasn’t.

Bookmark the article, and come back to it when you’re actually ready to start a new program.  No matter who you are, eight weeks of one single training program will help you more than two weeks each from four different training programs.

If you enjoyed the first volume, be sure to check back next week for part 2 of the series!

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