Not much time ago I wrote a post called "Your Worst Enemy". You can find it here. So this article is sequel. Or better to say work on mistakes. I was talking with one of my clients recently and he pointed out that it would be cool if I write more articles on psychological aspects of training and dieting. So aforementioned article came up to my mind right away. But after chatting for a little bit longer I realized the biggest flaw of that post. I touched the problem and defined it well but forgot the most obvious thing: ways to solve it. And today my goal is to fix my mistake and concentrate on possible solutions. Time to defeat your worst enemy.
So Who's Your Worst Enemy Again?
You. Your worst enemy is nobody else but you. You may disagree. You may deny. You may get angry and pissed off. But this won't change the fact that your worst enemy is you. Not me, not that guy in the gym, not lunar phase, not government, not genetics, not anything else. It's all you. I can go on and on but you can check out the previous article for that. Why you? Well, if you think long enough on subject you will inevitably find out that your poor strength/performance/look/insert your weak area is the consequence of your bad decisions. They are poor habits, poor diet choices, lack of sleep etc.
So what's now? Let's try to solve the problem. First of all we'll need to explore why do we make bad decisions?
Why Do We Make Bad Decisions?
It's impossible for me to analyze everyone on planet Earth so I will use my own example. Why do I make bad decisions? In my experience there can be several answers for this question. To be clear they are:
- Lack of discipline;
- Lack of planning;
- Bad circumstances;
- High life pressure.
I think that most of the people make bad decisions due to the same reasons. Let's take a look at all of them more closely.
Lack of Discipline
I already wrote about lack of discipline in this article. But, anyway, let's recap. This is the most widespread reason of bad decisions, in my opinion. People today live comfortable lives. We have access to anything we want. Just look at stores, it seems that there is a special gadget for anything. Machines wash dishes, machines wash clothes, machines slice bread etc. You can find any food you want in the supermarket. We become so lazy that we order food home. We live in the age of ultra-high comfort. What's bad about it? All that comfort makes us weaker. People now can't even open the bottle of beer without special gadget. I miss the times when people just put that bottle next to the table and hit hard to open it. Fuck, I can open a bottle of beer in at least 5 different ways without any gadget. It is considered awesome here in Ukraine if person can open bottle of beer only with his/her eye. But I digress. Of course, it's not true for everybody but I see the trend. What's my point? This weakness because of "overcomfort" leads exactly to lack of discipline. In old times if you wanted something you needed to work hard and long for it. You required discipline to get something. Now people are used to instant access to what they want. They want everything and now. Well, this clearly leads to poor decisions in life. As experience shows instant approach doesn't work in real life. If you want something valuable (strength/performance/look) you need discipline. You need to work hard and long. Just like in old days.
Lack of Planning
Again, I wrote about this before. It seems that when people don't have a clear plan they are more likely make wrong decisions. For example, if you don't have solid training program you'll be doing everything you like (bench press, curls and abz, right?) every training session (possibly everyday). Obviously such approach won't give you results other than frustration. Why this problem appears? Because very few people realize that plan is one of the biggest requirements for success.
Ah, bad circumstances. Before you rant how bad your circumstances are I'd like to define what can be considered as bad circumstances. It can be death, some huge accident, bad injury, for some people break-up with boyfriend/girlfriend, stuff like this. In other words, some event that can break you easily. Anyway, bad circumstances tend to not last long. So it's important to get back on track as soon as possible. Arnold told in "Pumping Iron" that he hadn't flew to his father's funeral because he was preparing for some bodybuilding contest. Of course, he acted and that was part of the script (not real life) but it was taken from real story of some boxer. I respect such dedication (not saying that it's right thing to do) and this example just confirms that your worst enemy is you. That boxer overcame bad circumstances to be successful in what he did. Talking about necessary sacrifice.
High Life Pressure
Again, what is high life pressure? Kids, high-demanding work, high-stress work, some chronic disease etc. It's easy to understand bad decisions made by people with high life pressure but it would be wrong to justify them. Well, yes, you have hard life, so what? There are plenty of stories about old-time strongmen that worked 12-hour shifts and worked out for 2 hours afterwards. Almost everyday. And had families and kids. So deal with it.
So How to Defeat Your Worst Enemy?
My best advice would be: defeat your worst enemy one battle at a time. Of course, it's hard to be consistent with training and diet if you have lots of other stress in life. But you can always divide and conquer. Any problem can be broken down into several manageable parts. And your goal should be to deal with them one step at a time.
What should you do? Firstly, deal with the reasons of your bad decisions. Work on your discipline, get a good plan, prioritize your goals. It all starts in your head. Training and diet don't need to take much time. 3 workouts per week is within access of anybody. All you need are 3 hours per week. You can train at home. Read Rough Strength Blog on how to do it. Read these articles for more info:
If you need more routines check out these articles:
As for diet it doesn't have to be complicated to work (at least before you get to extreme stage (when you'll have visible abs but will need to lose some more fat to become shredded)). Read this stuff:
As for sleep, my advice would be to get as much as possible. As you can see from my articles training and nutrition shouldn't be complicated to work. It shouldn't take much of your time but on the other hand it SHOULD take lots of effort and hard work.
What you must clearly understand is that your decisions today affect how long will be the distance to your goals tomorrow. The more right decisions you'll make the closer you'll be to your goal. There's one good habit I'd like to share with you. If you care about something then do at least one thing everyday to get closer to your goal. Start slow. Start with putting one spoon of sugar into your tea instead of two. Start with 1 workset per exercise but workout 3 times per week. Start with drinking 1 glass of water per day. And then gradually work your way up from that point. This way chances that you will stay in the game will be much higher. And stop watching TV or surfing the internet till 3 AM. Sleep is essential.
Learn some time management skills if you need. You know, Einstein and Arnold also had 24 hours in the day. So there are no excuses for you not to get results. Yes, it can be very hard but it is possible. One problem at a time.
Remember, only you are responsible for your strength, performance, look, endurance etc., as well as your life. If some people stop you from making progress (your boss that thinks that you are lazy piece of shit that should get much less money, your retarded friend who gives you cigarette when you are trying to quit smoking, your colleague or spouse that doesn't understand why do you want to improve) kick their ass, leave them behind and NEVER look back. There will be people that will grow and improve with you. You can always find such people reading this blog.
So you got it. The only way to defeat your worst enemy is one battle at a time. And time for battle is now. Thanks for reading. Use the knowledge. And don't forget to share with friends.
I'm always ready to help you.
P.S. What are your experience with fighting that dude/dudette in the mirror?
It happens that today is second Rough Strength birthday. So I decided to come up with something special and fundamental at the same time. I have written lots of articles on training and nutrition. But I never wrote a whole article on why I think Rough Strength method is superior than others at least for my goal as well as for any strength-related goal. I can speak about this whole day but I won't bore you to death with long intros and get straight to the point. But, firstly, what is Rough Strength?
What Is Rough Strength?
I want people to have clear understanding of what Rough Strength is. Word 'rough' is used here not only like hardcore but first and foremost meaning without any luxuries. It's something you can use at home with anything you have.
I don't want it to be confused with trendy street workout or crossfit, or gymnastics, or powerlifting etc. Firstly, Rough Strength is obviously not a sport. It can have some competitive edge but it's not the main point. Why? Because it has no rules except for training for strength and progressive resistance and minimal effective equipment. You can use any implement you have at hand. Do you have nothing? Well, then there are calisthenics and gymnastic skills that will build strength just with your bodyweight. Want to add difficulty and challenge? No big deal, get a pair of rings. Want some variety but don't want to spend money on equipment? Make a sandbag. I wrote a lot on why and how to implement it. Want some versatile interesting and fun strength training implement? Get a kettlebell. Or better pair of them. Do you have access to barbell, dumbbells, tire, sledgehammer, gripper etc? Awesome. Use them if you want. The rules are the same. But in the end you don't need any fancy equipment to get results. And aren't results all that matter? You can get superstrong with as little equipment as bodyweight and sandbag. So what's your excuse?
Rough Strength is more of a personal struggle to get stronger, leaner, better. It's about getting in tune with your own body. It cultivates right attitude and discipline. It makes you better human and person. It's all about self-development. You and only you are the main piece of puzzle, not some unimportant things.
I will use term Rough Strength method later in this article. While there are no hard boundaries on what equipment to use Rough Strength method here means using calisthenics, kettlebells and sandbags separately or together like complete strength training system. These are the tools I found the most versatile and inexpensive. Anybody can have a full home gym even with these 3 tools.
Rough Strength Mission
As you can see there are no set in stone rules in Rough Strength method. Then what's the mission of my blog? Simple. Take a look around. What do you see? You see people that are believing that they need to pay for gym memberships to get in shape. You see people that believe they need fancy equipment to get lean and/or muscular. You see people that concentrate too much on external aspects instead of internal. This is wrong. Rough Strength mission lies in educating people. We live in whole new age. It's the age of information. I want to show you that you don't need gym memberships anymore. All tools are almost free. The thing you need to concentrate on is education in physical training and nutrition and/or getting help from professional. That is what makes HUGE difference. Never stop educating yourself.
If you are interested, I have 3 fundamental rules:
- Never teach what you haven't done or have little expertise at.
- Practice what you preach.
- Share the knowledge.
So what you read on my blog is the result of following these rules. I'm not one of those "fitness gurus" that claim that they know everything (but in reality they just full of crap and know only how to make testosterone shots in their ass). I'm just an ordinary guy with average metabolism and genetics sharing his knowledge and experience with the world. I think, honesty is the thing that makes difference. That's who I am.
And HUGE thanks to all of you who shared my work, who subscribed to my newsletter, facebook page, twitter, RSS. You all are awesome. You all took part in spreading the knowledge and helping Rough Strength mission. We all are family.
And why the F do you need to use this RS method? I'll give you 10 reasons.
10 Reasons Why You Should Be Using Rough Strength Method
- It's almost free. I train now only with rings and sandbag (I don't have kettlebells here in Kiev, and I occasionally touch barbell and dumbbells). Again all you need is education and coaching. I got my recent sandbag for under $5. If it's expensive for you then training is not your thing, go cry in pillow.
- It's sustainable. When you have education you can sustain your training (and nutrition) for a lifetime. Who cares whether it's crisis or all gyms are closed? Or you are at the uninhabited island? Whatever. Knowledge gives you freedom and sustainability. No matter what you will always find how to train and progress further in your quest for strength.
- It's based on facts and reasonable progressions. I really don't like when people make unsupported claims. All of the information I share was tested by me and my clients. I filter useless crap and put out only what works. Also I don't like just-do-it approach (used, for example, in street workout). If you do something you do it on purpose. Proper programming is one of the most underrated things by regular gym rats. That's why they are so weak and girly. And that's why we are strong. Besides, I like to improve my knowledge every day so Rough Strength method is never out-dated.
- It builds real-world strength. Machines and bosu ball won't give you these awesome results in strength that you can use anywhere: from helping your friend moving furniture to bar-fight toughness.
- It builds mental toughness. That's one of the most important aspects of strength training. And Rough Strength method take it to the whole new level. You'll find out that coping with stress will be much easier. Work, family etc. If I wasn't training I would have jumped off the cliff already (living here in Ukraine is pretty tough, you know; 95% of people can barely earn money for decent food and living).
- It teaches you how achieve "impossible" things. As well as any proper strength training method. Progressive resistance and practice are keys to achieving any goal or skill. Handstand, Planche, the One-Arm Chin-Up, Big Bench Press, Huge Squat, playing guitar, riding a bike, being a good manager etc. Make one step at a time and practice more.
- It will help you with aesthetic goals. Who said that only barbell and dumbbells are good for getting ripped and muscular? It's all possible to achieve with calisthenics, sandbags and kettlebells but it will take longer time. Who cares in the end?
- It can be used to supplement any sport-specific training. If you are participating in some sort of sport then you will definitely benefit from this method. Read the reasons above. You will be stronger, leaner, more muscular etc. Isn't sport about being all that and playing sport?
- It's simple. But not easy. You concentrate only on important things. That's how you will not waste your time on useless crap. Doing only important things is simple but never easy. Train, eat right, rest, repeat. How it can be more simple?
- It's just awesome. Nothing to explain.
How to Use Rough Strength Method?
Firstly, who is RS method for? It is for serious and dedicated trainees only. Regular estrogen men and gym chicks will probably find it too difficult and demanding. If you are one of them stop reading right now. You won't get all the sophistication of the method, anyway. For all the others (I mean, hardcore dudes and dudettes) - read on.
So how to use this method? Well, it all depends on your level of dedication to it. Basically, there are 3 ways:
- Incorporate exercises you like into your current routine;
- Incorporate unconventional (or home) training days;
- Use Rough Strength method solely.
There's no best way. It all depends on individual. Everybody will find different use for the method. There is one important principle you need to understand: any exercise you perform in commercial gym can be performed at home with bodyweight, sandbag or kettlebells. When you understand this principle you can find substitution for any exercise. This is how you achieve freedom from commercial equipment. This is how you use RS method. Bench Press can be replaced with Planche Push-Up or One-Arm Push-Up, Barbell Rows can be replaced with Front Lever Rows, Barbell Squats can be replaced with Pistols or Sandbag Squats etc. Of course, these exercises will feel different but who cares. Again, the only thing that matters is result.
To understand this more deeply let's breakdown an example. There are basically several movement patterns of your body. For example, Bench Press is Horizontal Push movement. Just imagine how your hands travel during the movement. Why "horizontal"? Because of the position of your body to the floor and gravity. It's horizontal to the ground. "Push" because you press weight away from the body. Now when you understand what type of movement Bench Press is you can find a substitute for it keeping in mind that it is horizontal push. It can be Planche Push-Up, One-Arm Push-Up, Weighted Push-Up, Kettlebell Floor Press, Sandbag Floor Press etc. Read this article for more.
Important VS Unimportant
Another skill you need to develop is separating important from unimportant. Not to bore you completely here are two random lists.
- Progressive resistance;
- Basic Exercises;
- Calories and Macros;
- Education etc.
- Programs of Champions;
- What exercises do I (or any other guy except you) use;
- Fancy gym clothes;
- Ab and biceps training etc.
That's it. Is my method the only right thing to do? No. If you are doing something and it works for you then do it by all means. But if what you are doing now doesn't work you can use Rough Strength for help. If you are open-minded and ready to challenge yourself with something new then you are welcome. Thanks for reading. Do me a HUGE favor by sharing this with as many friends as possible.
I'm always ready to help you.
P.S. What are your thoughts?
So the 2012 year is over and gone forever. It was pretty tough. But a lot of good things happened either. The first thing I've learned (or just been reminded) is that there is no limit to human stupidity and naivety. There are apocalypses and different ends of the world almost every year. Sometimes several times per year. Why do all those sheepeople still believe that crap? I think, it's because people are too lazy to think. Do you really believe that end of the world will come in one day or one hour? If you analyze that "prophecy" you'll find out that the end of the world should have come due to displacement of the Earth's axis (well, according to the "prophecy" I know). Think about it a bit. Do you really believe that such HUGE process is possible in one day? The Earth evolved during 4.54 billions of years. So that all is crap. And you shouldn't believe it. I digress. Let's get back to my theme for today.
I wrote lots of articles on this theme. It's one of the main principles you need to understand. And it works not only for training or nutrition. You can use it anywhere. Examples? Let's take business for example. You build your base one client at a time. You open new branches only after the first one is working good. When you can't do everything by yourself you hire new employees to make more. You provide new services only when your first one is working well etc. It's progressive resistance. If you want to learn new skill you need progressive resistance. If you want to learn guitar you need to learn hand placement first. You need to develop coordination. You need to learn how to play right. Then you can develop your skill further. If you want to learn how to play chess good you need to know how the pieces move, what are the rules etc. Then you need to learn basic rules of opening, middlegame and endgame. Then you can progress further. You got the idea. Progressive resistance is probably the most powerful weapon in your arsenal. Be wise. Use it. There is nothing impossible if you understand the principle of progressive resistance.
Protein and Diet
Another big theme for me. Many people say: "Protein is not that important". They can be right partly. I found out that protein is the most powerful macronutrient out there. At least for me (and probably for you too). Let me put it another way. High-protein diet + intermittent fasting = optimal nutritional approach for me (and for all the people with average-to-slow metabolisms). This is what works. Everything else fails. 5-6 meals per day - fail. High-carb - fail. High-fat - fail. Eating throughout the day - fail. But again, this is what works for me and probably will work for people with average-to-slow metabolisms. If you have fast metabolism and fail to gain size then forget about intermittent fasting and you will probably need much more carbs.
Regarding diet there are only 2 factors that matter most. Yepp, only 2. Calories and macronutrient ratios. Everything else matters much, MUCH less. Calories and macros should be your primary concern. If these bad boys are in check you WILL get results. If not it doesn't matter whether you drink water from plastic or not, no matter you drink diary or not, nothing matters much and you will probably fail.
Another topic is sugar. This mofo should be eliminated from the face of the Earth forever. Stop eating it.
If you sleep less than 8 hours then you are in suboptimal state. You ARE losing possible gains.
I like the principle of Occam's razor. Cut all secondary to get to the primary. This principle helps me to see what is necessary and stay sane in this age of information overflow. Simple stuff works. Basics work. Learn the basics and then progress to more complex and advanced stuff but with simplicity in mind. Training programs and diet plans shouldn't be overcomplicated to work. Remember this.
Time and Discipline
Too many people don't understand such simple concepts. Besides hard work you need to put in time to get results. You need to be patient and disciplined. Work hard consistently and when it's time you'll get anything you worked so hard for. Be patient.
Fuck them. Stay away from them. Never look for excuses. They make you weak.
All this is simple stuff but it needs to be reminded. As for me, in 2012 I took my handstand training to another (much higher) level. I reached straight handstand and several different handbalancing tricks. Also my planche and planche push-ups improved big time. I learned 2/3 one-arm chin-up, reached claw fingertip push-ups and much more. The closer I get to my training goals the harder training becomes. There were lots of plateaus in 2012. Much more than before. But I know one thing - the harder you work for something the more you appreciate it when you get it. My training quest is far from over. It's 2013 and there are big things that wait. Let this year be better than previous ones. Thanks for reading and support. If you need help don't be afraid to ask.
Play rough in 2013!
So you've been training for a decent time. You've made some gains. In strength, in muscle, in fat loss. But after a few weeks you stopped progressing. No amount of bench pressing, curls and crunches can make you progress again. You blame everyone for your fail. Bad genetics, crappy gym environment, wrong lunar phase, politics etc. But reality is quite opposite. You just suck. And suck hard. And your program sucks. And, of course, your diet sucks too. As well as your overall approach to everything in life.
Guess Who Is Your Worst Enemy?
You and only you. Never blame anyone except yourself for your fails. You are the the only one person who can take action over your life (or take no action at all) and that's the person you should blame. There's a good proverb: "If you want to change something start with yourself". So start. You can use help if you need. That's nothing wrong with it. But there's no such personal trainer that will do everything for you. I'm big believer in hard work. If you want to get something valuable out of any endeavor then you should put some serious work into it. As my experience shows this rule can be applied to any situation in life. If you can get something without any effort then you won't understand its value. There are tons of people with better than average genetics but they don't appreciate what they have because they don't pay the price of hard work. Ask any successful businessman about hard work and he will tell you what hard work is.
And if you think that you don't need to put in hard work to get results think again. I had a conversation recently about diet. After my tips on the right diet approach the person who I was consulting said to me: "You know, holidays are coming and I won't be doing all the stuff you told me". So I replied: "No big deal. You'll just remain fat and ugly". I don't care whether it's holidays or not. Holidays are 2-3 days out of the month. You have at least 26 days to eat right so don't fool yourself or anybody else. You are fat because of you. You are weak because of you. You have no muscle also because of you.
The Importance of Understanding...
...that processes in your body don't get any better with time and never will. Your metabolism gets worse and worse with every day. You'll get fatter and fatter with age (if you're not lucky ripped bastard). You need to understand that if you're not happy with your health/strength/look then you're doing something wrong. You need to cultivate the habit of exercising and eating right in you. And yes, you'll need to exercise and eat healthy till your death. There's no way around this. If you think that you'll just exercise and eat right for 3 months or so and then get back to your old sitting-and-eat-all-the-cakes routine then you are totally wrong. It's not a quick fix. Bring back the bad habit and you'll get back to where you started in no time. It may sound pretty rough but the truth is what important. I guess it's time to wrap up. I think, you got my point. Thanks for reading. Share and comment.
You don't need a review of this book because you probably read it. And I don't want this to be just another review because my serious training started after reading this book. Besides, it's not just a book anymore, it's bible for many lifters and tranees. And I'll be brave enough to say that it is one of the best books ever written on strength training. This post is for all younger lifters and trainees who haven't heard about this book or for some reason haven't read it (what is a big mistake). Yes, it's blast from the past but it is well worth it. Dinosaur Training has its own pluses and minuses and I want to discuss them in detail.
Why Should You Even Bother?
Believe me or not, but it IS really one of the best books on training you could ever possibly read. It's not about bodybuilding, it's not about 'toning the muscle', it's not about gyms, it's not about fitness etc. It's about pure rough strength training as it is. It's honest, it's straight-to-your-face, it's about strength and how to obtain it. It has right approach. It's really hardcore (very popular word nowadays, but it really became overused by kids who know nothing about strength and true hardcoreness; squatting on bosu ball is not hardcore; grunting and screaming when working with weights less than your bodyweight is not hardcore; wearing brand new tank-top and rapper-style cap to the gym is not hardcore; hard work, sweat and dedication are hardcore). You should read this book because it's about the true essence of strength training.
What Was Brooks Right About?
Well, just about everything. You don't need expensive equipment or expensive gym membership to get results. You don't need to follow crappy bodybuilding magazine programs to get results. You need to concentrate on basics. You need to make your resistance progressive. You need to squat. You need some sort of grip work (yes, you do). You don't need machines. You should train with odd uncomfortable objects. You can build tremendous strength and physique with just a barbell. Old time strongmen knew what they were doing. Heavy weight for high reps principle works. 5 x 5 works. Training with singles works. Visualisation and concentration are very important aspects of strength training. He was right about modern attitude to training. It's just visual. And this bothers me big time. How stupid should you be to train only for your look? Why do you need muscles that are not capable of anything? Why not get strong? Strength is the key to everything, not your look. I have nothing against training to build muscle. But I fucking hate people that are only concerned about how they look in a tank-top and can't stop looking at themselves in mirrors. You all know them. They train just for the pump. They often use steroids because their training sucks. Don't be one of them. That's what I preach. That's what Brooks preaches. That's what Brooks was right about.
What Was Brooks Wrong About?
Despite the cult status of the book the author was wrong in several things. Most of them are minor and don't even worth mentioning. But the main is big. You can't train too heavy all the time. When intensity is too high you'll burn out in no time. I totally understand and agree with Brooks on hard work but hard work shouldn't mean dumb work. You just can't max out all the time. This ain't going to happen. Your nervous system will shut down this possibility sooner rather than later. It's our inner defensive mechanism. Train hard but train smart.
If you haven't read this book yet what are you waiting for? If you had then read it one more time and get nice boost of motivation. Again this is one of the best books on strength training out there. We all dinosaurs inside. Thanks for reading. Be brave to comment and share.
P.S. You can check out Brook's blog here: http://dinosaurtraining.blogspot.com/