Dominance

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If you want to succeed in life you must be dominant. In order to work, dominance must be authentic, consistent and congruent in all areas of your life. You can’t be a pussy in the gym and expect to go out and dominate women or your business.

What I mean is this: look at the guys who are the losers, the 95%. Their lives are at the mercy of others, the weather, the market or the alignment of the stars. You name it and they have an excuse. They work jobs that they hate, living with women who don’t respect them and look forward to pissing away their whole weekend on video games and weed.
If they have a relationship with a woman, and I use this term lightly, they are dominated by her. They are dominated by her moods, her whims, her wants and “needs”. These are the guys who are married for 10 years and maybe get laid once per year on their birthday, maybe. These are the “male feminists” who march in the womens’ march flashing their SJW street creds.
Conversely, the dominant man is the one who has control over his life. He controls how he feels, thinks, what he puts into his body. He is dominant, yet respectful. He exerts total dominance over women. If they don’t like it, they are free to walk, yet they rarely do.
His woman adores him. He gets laid often, and many times it is her who initiates the sex. He dominates in the bedroom.
This is a noble pursuit and it begins with your daily life, habits and thoughts. You cannot be dominant in one area of your life and submissive in another. You must have consistency, integrity and have your thoughts and actions line up with each other. I cannot stress this enough. If you aren’t at that point then this will need to become your first priority. Begin by setting a schedule for yourself and living by it. Get your house in order first. Be authentic, because one of the greatest factors in being dominant is a true ZFG attitude.
Here are some ways to be dominant starting today:

Thoughts: This is the first step. Begin by consciously thinking dominant thoughts. You must get rid of insecurities first. If you don’t, you will become domineering rather than dominant. There is a huge difference. A domineering personality comes from insecurity. True dominance doesn’t require disrespect. Actually, the foundation of dominance has to do with self respect which in turn reflects itself in a healthy respect for others. Work on thinking thoughts worthy of self respect. Think positive, strong, masculine thoughts. It takes a consistent, focused effort to think in this way but it is essential to get this down. This is another reason why it is necessary to cut out the tv, video games and other distractions. These things put your mind in a passive mode. You want your mind to be in active mode, actively pursuing thoughts that you want it to and creating the life that you want to live. Live a deliberate life.

 

Boundries: If you choose to become a dominant force in your own life then people will test you. Women will test you. Expect it. Thrive on it. If you are truly dominant these tests will mean nothing to you. You’ll pass them and people will just respect you more. Some boundries that you may need to work on are as follows: your time, how people treat you, how you expect to be treated, your views of the world, religion, politics and your overall outlook on life. Begin by setting out a schedule for yourself and follow through to a “T”. No compromises. Get use to saying “no”.

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Style: Your style of dress needs to be dominant. Start dressing like a man: sharp, masculine and exuding strength form inside.
Business: Rise to the top. Be bold. Be outrageous. Be the man. Take charge of your work. Dominate your sphere. I will give you a word of warning in regards to business: weigh dominance carefully if you work for someone else. Dominance can get you to the top of the heap but it can also get you fired. So, you make the decision as to how you are going to utilize it. Now, if you are running your own game in business then you have no choice but to be dominant. The success or failure of your life depends on you: take charge of it!
Dating and Relationships: Take the reigns. You are the man therefore you are in charge of the relationship. I want to write a word on chivalry. The chivalric code was developed for warriors in order to give a guideline on how to act in the company of the fairer sex. Even on the right, chivalry gets a bad rap. Many well meaning guys believe that being a “white knight”, and pedastilizing women is chivalry. Conversely, many guys think that they should only treat “ladies” with respect nowadays. Both are wrong and have nothing to do with chivalry. Chivalry is about dominance in the public sphere, this is why man-hating feminists hate it. This is also why a feminine woman will love it. Try this: next time you are walking into a store and you see that woman, smile and open the door for her. She will seethe with contempt and spit venom at you. Why? Because you are showing male dominance.

Remember, being “nice” is weak, but a strong man willing to be kind is like catnip to women. Dominate her in all aspects of life including the bedroom. She will love you for it.
Health and fitness: You must dominate in the weight room. Think about it; you’ll be lifting weight that could kill you. If you don’t dominate it and take positive control of the weights, they will literally crush you. A dominant mindset will help you lift more as well. Think of yourself as the strong man that you want to be. Get yourself into a dominant frame of mind, even thinking of yourself as much bigger and stronger than you are. You’ll see the difference in the weight that you push and soon, with a lot of hard work, you will be that bigger and stronger man. I want to write a few words about martial arts and weight training as well. These two disciplines will not “give” you a dominant mindset. Nothing is given to you or me. What they do is set up the conditions for a man to learn how to think properly to overcome his boundaries and weaknesses. For a man, these two disciplines are essential for all aspects of life.

Until next time.

 

What Does It Mean to Be Strong?

Being strong physically and emotionally is essential to being a man. Emotional strength is something that is sorely lacking in today’s men. Emotional strength is so important that this is why other men and women are hard wired to shit test you. Yes, other men will shit test you and if you think about it, you shit test other men. The reason is simple: women shit test to see if you are a worthy mate, men shit test to see if you are someone worthy of allowing into their tribe. Ultimately, a shit test is something that is testing your emotional strength.

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In short, emotional strength boils down to having an incredibly strong sense of self. The lion knows who he is. There is no angst, no anxiety, no worry, he IS the king of the jungle.

 

A strong sense of self is your frame. If you read any PUA sites or forums you’ll immediately notice that frame and frame control are among the most written about topics. The PUA definition of frame is certainly true, yet myopic. Your frame is much more than just passing shit tests and controlling your interactions with women. Your frame is your belief system. It is the set of beliefs that guide you in all interactions, not just with women. Once you’ve established your belief system then you must be congruent with your inner beliefs. This is often referred to as integrity. Behaving this way becomes your frame. You need to know who you are, how you interact with the world around you. Violating your integrity will cost you. The less you live authentically, the more depressed you become.

To begin with, you must find your core values and beliefs. Who are you and what do you stand for? What are your non negotiable stances? You should know who you are in relation to all things. If you don’t know any of these things then work on establishing these foundations. One of my favorite quotes on this topic comes from “Operation Werewolf”: “Know who you are by becoming who you want to be.”

Who do you want to be? What would you look like if you were this man? How would you behave if you were the man that you want to be? What would that man stand for? How would his relationships be with other people? Be honest with yourself. Remember, you are not living someone else’s life and they aren’t living  yours. In this quest of yours taking time to write in a journal will be essential. I would also recommend controlling your thoughts by mindfulness and presence. Once you have a basic idea then begin to act like that man. Action will be the only thing that changes you. Be authentic. As you gain strength your own weaknesses will be more apparent to you. This can be frustrating. For most guys it is demoralizing and they give up. While you will act to correct your weaknesses, you should also accept that you have them; every man does. As you uncover more and more of yourself in relation to who you want to be, your ideal may change. This is OK, it means that you are growing.

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Strive for consistency in your moods and behaviors but balance it with passion for life and fearlessness. While I am a major fan of reading and educating myself, much of your progress in this area will come from the ring or the gym. In order to know yourself and who you really are you must fight and you must lift. Getting into a ring with another man and fighting or grappling is a great equalizer; there is no bullshit. The gym will also teach this to you as 300 lbs is always going to be 300 lbs; either you can lift it or you can’t. As Henry Rollins said; “Learning about what you’re made of is time well spent and I’ve found no better teacher.”

Finally, its not all about you. Others are relying on you to be a strong man; society, your business, your buddies, your wife, your kids,, your animals and your parents. They all need you more than ever to dig deep down and become the strong man that you are destined to be.

Until next time.

 

Sports

There is a massive difference between watching and participating in sports. Participating in sports is a masculine pursuit. Certain sporting activities have, through the ages, been ways to keep your senses high and competitive spirit sharp in times of peace. Sports were ways that men practiced for combat. Masculine sports are ways to feed virility, become robust and foster male friendships. In order to achieve these goals there is one important rule: women cannot participate. There is a time and a place for the women in your life. Neither the field of battle nor the field of sport is that place. The reason is really very simple, there is no honour in competition with women and part of your purpose in sport is to increase your masculine edge and make male friendships. Particularly in combat sports, women always bring down the level of intensity and competition.

Now, not all sports are manly. Here is a solid list to start:
Rugby: This is a man’s sport through and through. Have you ever met a beta male rugby player? No, I didn’t think so. Rugby is a traditional masculine sport of the Anglo-Saxon sphere that has spread throughout the world. Playing rugby promotes good health, vitality and robustness as well as fostering solid, masculine friendships.
Fencing: The art of the sword. Fencing promotes robustness and virility as well. In addition, it provides you with excellent physical challenges, aggressiveness, mental acuity and self defense. If you can handle a foil you can handle a stick.
Martial Arts: There are two kinds of martial arts; sport and combative. You should always go with the combative such as Krav Maga, traditional forms of Karate such as Kyokushin, Goju, or western style boxing. I will write more in depth on this topic at another time. The main things to look for are aggressive, real world training and sparring. I don’t recommend sport martial arts such as BJJ, MMA or Tae Kwon Do as they are based around fighting an opponent with rules. If someone attacks you or your family, there are no rules. Martial arts training will provide discipline, a warrior’s outlook on life, physical fitness and real world self defense skills. As with the iron, getting into the ring with another man will always kick you the real deal. Either you are good enough or you aren’t. Martial arts aren’t an option for a man. This is something that you should be doing already.
Horseback riding/Polo: These may sound strange to Americans but both of these sports stem from a time when officers needed to be excellent horsemen. Obviously, both involve the control of not only yourself but an animal as well. If you can’t get involved in Polo then check out regular horseback riding. Western saddle is more accessible, but English saddle requires more skill. Either is incredibly manly.
American Football and Ice Hockey: I’ve lumped these two together because they are both beneficial but only when they are full contact. I played both sports in my younger days but when I tried to join an adult hockey league I found out that all of the local leagues did not permit physical contact or slap shots. I hung up my skates. Playing football or hockey without contact completely defeats the point. If you can play with contact then these are highly competitive, testosterone driven masculine sports par excellance.

Competitive shooting: This is a close second to martial arts. Just like the martial arts, this is something that you should be doing already. There are several organizations that offer competitive shooting courses as well as competitions. Not only will this keep your self-defense skills sharp but it also provides the opportunity for camaraderie and friendly competition. Shooting skeet/trap is also an excellent and traditional way for men to bond.

Stay away from watching sports as much as possible. Its OK to get together with the guys every now and then to watch a fight, but in general mainstream sports in the west have become extremely pussified. In addition, the major networks as well as sports league have it out to emasculate American men with their leftist SJW agenda. Stay away from this poison. The other pitfall with sports is the ease with which you can vicariously live through your favorite athlete and wind up living your own life less and less. You can hear this when guys speak about their team using the words “us”, “we” and other possessives as if they are actually on that team. How often have you heard, “Our defense was solid, but what we need to do to win next week is…” ad nauseam. The other pitfall is the cult of the athlete that is so prevalent with the American beta male. Some guys know more about their favorite athlete than they do about members of their own family, much less any sort of heroic figure of ages past who would really be worthy of emulating.

Now, there is one final word of advice in regards to sports: never put another man’s name on your back. How many guys do you see walking around wearing a jersey with another man’s name on the back of it? I see a lot of them. Don’t be this guy. Your name is your signature. Your name is your brand. Do you, not someone else. In addition, as a grown man you shouldn’t be walking around town wearing a jersey anyway. But that is a story for another day.

Until next time.

Assertive Masculinity Part II

 

 

 

 

Another essential aspect of assertive masculinity  is masculine energy. What is masculine energy? I’m not sure that it can even be put into words. When a man has it you can see it and you can feel it. You can even see it in still photography, you know when a man has it. Women can spot it from a mile away and find it both irresistible and rare nowadays. I have finally found an explanation on this topic that has eluded me for a while. This explanation comes from Mishima’s commentary on the Hagakure, the Samurai code. In it he touches on the virility of men. He touches on mania. The author of the Hagakure states that greatness cannot be achieved in a normal state of mind. Men must be virile, they must act like men. This is why it is so disturbing to those who do not possess it. This is why people try to denigrate the jock, the masculine and the military man. These men, among others, posses a sort of mania, a masculine frenzy. This is what makes them successful. People may think what they want, but according to the author of the Hagakure, “Greatness does not happen in a normal state of mind.”

That being said, how can we gain masculine energy? Where does it come from?

Masculine energy could best be described as the overflow of a man’s internal state, its authentic, it cannot be faked. “Modeling” is of the utmost importance here. A man should have several role models that exhibit this energy. Having at least one who is living and observable is essential but the rest can be men from history, or even a fictional character that resonates with you. The important thing is to keep it as a tool that will advance you to your goal, rather than getting stuck in only acting as if and not being. Here are some of the things that can be used to cultivate your masculine energy. I will give one word of warning; as with respect you can only cultivate masculine energy for yourself, not for others.

Being the Man:  Years ago a good friend of mine made a very astute observation. He claimed that women are attracted to a strong man willing to be kind rather than a nice guy trying to be strong. There is a lot of wisdom in this saying. An alpha doesn’t judge people, he protects all, he shows all respect. In order to make any of the following work for you, you must first be “good at being a man”. Plain and simple. This is really the fun part of the whole thing. Be unashamed to be a man. Do the masculine things that you want to do! Life is worth living.

Posture: Posture is both a reflection of how you see yourself as well as a signal to others of your status. Posture must be actively worked on daily. There is a cause and effect relationship here; the better you feel about yourself, the better the posture, the better the posture the better you feel about yourself. Personally I have worked these exercises into my routine and they have helped tremendously. Give them time, it did take me about 6 months to start feeling the results.

Vocal tone: Like your posture your vocal tone and timbre of speech contribute to your masculine energy. Like posture this is both a cause and effect. Speak clearly, say less, speak audibly, and deeply. The more you do this the more masculine you will feel. The more masculine you feel the deeper you will speak.

Confidence: Ahhh…confidence. The Holy Grail that every man is seemingly in search of.  “Confidence” has been thrown around for the past ten years over the internet as the magic elixir for picking up women. While it certainly helps with the opposite sex, confidence is much deeper than that. Confidence is needed in every day life, in both the mundane and the extraordinary. Confidence is gained by expanding your comfort zone. Confidence can be gained only by action and proper thought. If you lack confidence there are two things that will help. First, you must think confidently. See yourself as someone who is competent and courageous, able to do the things that you set out to do. Journaling and daily quiet time will be necessary for this. You must also actively engage your thinking. Often, lack of confidence will come from your past experiences and your thinking gets caught up in a vicious, unconfident, fearful cycle. Its going to take work but the rewards will be worth it. Secondly, it is important to push yourself in your actions. Often, the most mundane things are causes of anxiety. Do you not like crowds? Force yourself to go to a party. Are you shy? Force yourself to talk to several people, particularly women each day. These may seem like trivial matters, but the little things add up to big things. Ultimately confidence is gained by action.

Friendliness: Jack Donovan compares the alpha male to an “older brother” figure. I agree with this. One of the characteristics is an easy going friendliness. Very masculine men who are confident are extremely friendly, kind and approachable. As a matter of fact, this is one of the reasons why so many people are attracted to them. They are also a father type figure. They are warm. Be interested in the world around you. Many big time alphas are knowledgeable about other cultures, well travelled and speak other languages.

Caring: This goes right along with the friendliness. Caring has often been portrayed as a “feminine trait” which it is, if it is expressed in a feminine way. Think of the stern master seargent or master chief in the military. They are stoic disciplinarians, and you don’t want to get on their bad side. Really, this sterness is caring. They must be the strict in order to teach men to survive almost unsurvivable situations. Often, a masculine man needs to be very stern, the disciplinarian. He does this in his role at work and particularly in the home. This comes from his ultimate care of the one whom he disciplines and cannot be compared to putting someone else down in order to elevate himself.

Virility: To me this is something that we often overlook. I have met several very masculine men in my life who were in their 70’s yet maintained this youthful kind of energy and enthusiasm. If my memory serves me, the things they had in common were as follows: they were either retired or ex military, police or they were foreigners. They were all physically active, mentally sharp, aware, friendly and paternal. What does it mean to be virile? Virility is strength, drive, manliness and even your sex drive. Virility encompasses all of these above mentioned qualities; I never met and older, virile man who was angry, depressed or complaining. Much of this virility comes from a long held belief in their own masculinity and a positive type of entitlement, particularly in regards to women and how they expect to be treated by women. As I think about it these men in their later years also possess clarity and acuity. This is how important T levels are in older age. No matter how old you are in the present moment, now is the time to start. Don’t let yourself degenerate in thought. Study a foreign language, music or simply study things that will interest you and keep your brain working. Never stop learning. The other thing that I noticed about these men is that all of them were fit even into their 70’s and 80’s.

 

 

Cold Showers and Excellence

After taking ice cold showers in the morning for several years, I recently realized what I had truly learned from these showers.

What I realized is that I was doing the bare minimum, just kind of sucking it up and getting it over with. This was fine, but after a while I needed to grow. It was then that I realized this was a moment to excel, to push myself. The cold shower itself was uncomfortable enough, but forcing myself to stand under it the complete time and other small adjustments enabled me to push myself further.

There is a huge difference between doing something, even something strong or noble, with an aggressive attitude or a defensive attitude. The difference lies in this: with any combat sport if you get back on your heels and just block punches you will eventually get hit. Actually, you are gonna get pulverized. If you get aggressive, block and counter you may still get hit, but you are going to move the fight in your direction.

How many times have you gone into the gym to crush a workout and only wound up doing the bare minimum to call it a work out? Yes, you did it, but did you do it with excellence? This is difficult. One of the temptations in being task oriented is to become robotic just doing the task and crossing it off of your list. Don’t get me wrong, laying the foundation of making lists and completing them is necessary, but this is a stage that you must grow out of. The next stage is deeper, this is the arena where you battle not only your physical limitations but your emotional and spiritual limitations as well. This is a battle that we will all face for the rest of our lives.

The lesson applies to all facets of our existence. In work it will make the difference between a life of mediocrity and a life of excellence. For instance, if you have a blog in the hopes of making money you will want to work on it daily. You can write a few sentences here and there. Technically you’ve done what you set out to do; the bare minimum. The other option is to write, research, learn and doing whatever it takes to make your blog a success. This is excellence.

I recently began reading an autobiography of a man who completed Kyokushin Karate’s “30 Man Kumite”. For those unfamiliar with this, it is a grueling sparring session against 30 men consecutively for 1 minute each. The skill of the fighters faced also increases with each man. There are some certified bad asses roaming this planet who have also completed the “100 Man Kumite” and a “300 Man Kumite”. I digress. This book is interesting in that it is really the author’s karate autobiography. The point is that all of his training for his whole life came down to this moment, it prepared him for this moment. All of the difficult training was its own philosophy, it taught him what he needed to learn. It taught him to understand in strength. Had the author not pursued excellence in his training at all times he may not have been passed this test later in his life.

It takes work and strength of mind to build ourselves up in this way. We live in a society where people expect accolades for just showing up. We also live in a society where appearing to be is just as good as actually being. We all want the rewards without the blood, sweat and tears. This is one of the many, many benefits of the combat arts; when you get into the ring or on the mat with someone else you are authentic, there is no faking your skills. There are no excuses, you find out who you really are and what you are made of. I recently watched a documentary on Vice’s “Fightland” about a dojo in Amman, Jordan. One interviewee, a very religious man, stressed how he was planning on fighting in the ring because he said, “I don’t want to lie to others and I don’t want to lie to myself.” He wanted to find out exactly what he was made of. He was searching for authenticity. This is a truly noble search.

 

Winter Training

For those of us who live in areas where winter will be dark, cold, rainy/snowy this is a great time of year to up the intensity of our training programs. Its not all about locking yourself in your garage and working out 6 hours per day. The winter weather, particularly snow, can offer ample opportunities for conditioning as well; after all, Rocky did it to train for his fight with Drago.

Let’s face it; it is much easier to get outside in the summer when the sun is shining, the days last longer and the weather is warm. As a matter of fact, it may be a challenge at this time of year to get yourself to the gym and work out. The winter, on the other hand, is cold, wet and the sun sets at like 4:30. This often makes it easier to get into a great rythym for training, as well as pushing our game to the next level in terms of conditioning. For those who go through a bit of depression during the winter time, ratcheting up the intensity of your workouts can help overcome that.  I realize that a lot of bodybuilders use this period to “bulk up” adding muscle at the same time adding fat which they will “cut” before summer. I don’t subscribe to this theory. What I am talking about is using available time to lift harder, heavier, jump rope, hit the heavy bag, condition, condition, condition! Using this method we can come out in the spring stronger, faster,more agile and looking great!

Here are some simple ways to up your game this winter:

1) Lift heavy: This goes without saying. Spend some more time with the iron, maybe even an extra day. Decide and act on a specific goal that you would like to achieve over the winter and do it. This could be something as simple as adding in an extra shoulder exercise daily. Its your call. Since I train 6 days per week anyway I usually like to lengthen the duration of my individual weightlifting sessions. I also add in training whenever I can. I took a cue from Cade Courtley and I often do pullups everytime I enter or leave my bedroom. This can be switched up as well to pushups, situps, squats or anything that you want to challenge yourself with; it is extremely versatile.

2) Getting outdoors during the winter also provides fantastic training opportunities. If you live in an area with snow or close to snow there are several excellent sports that you can add in to your routine. First, just consider going for a walk in your locale while there is snow on the ground. Go walk several miles or several hours. Walking through somewhat deep snow adds a considerable amount of exertion; I guarantee that you will be starving afterwards. If you have small children put them on a sled and pull them during your walk. If you live in the mountains or near by, adding in snow shoeing or cross country skiing periodically is a great way to up the ante on your program. Maybe these are things that you have never done before and you can use it as a challenge for yourself as well. If you don’t often go into the woods or nature take the time to prepare seriously, nature is a beautiful thing but it must be respected as well.

3) Do some extra conditioning this winter. If the weather is crappy outside and you want to condition inside there is a tried and true, inexpensive method of conditioning that is among the best; jumping rope. Boxers train with it because it works so well. You can get a decent jump rope for next to nothing. I would recommend getting real rope. I have tried several synthetic jump ropes and I keep coming back to the old standard rope with wood handles; nothing else works as well for me. Jumping rope for a while will get your heart rate up and give you that burn in your lungs that you get from a good run. Sandbag workouts are another excellent form of conditioning.

4) It is important to take care of ourselves all year round but the winter months will afford us some more time to devote to self care. Stretching is important. I do a deep stretching program in the morning and in the evening before bed as well as a warm up before working out. Sounds excessive but I wouldn’t have it any other way, my flexibility is great and at 41 I still workout like crazy with a minimal amount of injuries. The older you get the more you need to focus on flexibility and stretching if you want to continue to push yourself in your workouts.  In addition to the stretching program its great to go get a massage periodically as well as a sauna and anything else that relaxes you. Foam rollers can work as well if a massage is not in your budget right now.

5) Increase your focus on specific body parts. Our bodies develop in different ways, some part develop faster than others. Pick those parts that need extra work and hit it like mad. You can also focus on those parts that are specific to a sport or combat art that you do. I like to really focus on neck bridges and forearm development at this time. Stretching and maintaining flexibility is also vitally important here too, particularly for kicking and grappling.

6) Try something new. If you are looking for a new weightlifting program I highly suggest Victory Pride’s, “Body of a Spartan” This is the program that I have been using for some time now. Not only is it a great program for your body but it is also good for your emotional health. This program will get the testosterone pumping!

7) Discipline. Finally, this is a great time to focus on self discipline and challenging one’s self outside of the weight room as well. This is also time where I  check in with my motivation. I like to go through Victor Pride’s, “30 Days of Discipline” as well. If you are just learning about masculinity, being alpha or motivation then this program is an absolute must; go get it now and start right away, it will change your life. If you have been doing this for a while then this is a great refresher course; I use it several times per year just to check in, almost all of these things are now daily habits for me but it is good to refresh and rebuild. Setting a time apart to intensely focus on acquiring greater self discipline is immensely valuable. This program will help any man do that. Being as we are nearing the end of the year, it is an awesome practice to do the 30 day program and then work on your goals for 2015 after that, you will be in a completely new state of mind, totally motivated.

8)Earn it. Finally, with Christmas and New Years coming up, there is a lot of eating that will be taking place. I like to enjoy myself during the holidays and take part in all of the festivities. In order to do that, I make myself earn it first. For instance, on Thanksgiving day I added in extra HIIT training in addition to my regular workout. As a matter of fact I will probably do that every day of Christmas week. Nothing in life is free, including eating tasty food. The “conventional wisdom” is that you eat like a pig and then make up for it by working out like crazy the day after. I prefer to do the working out beforehand. This way I not only train my body but also strengthen my self discipline; if I don’t earn it beforehand then I don’t eat it.

Please comment and let me know what you do for winter training.

Motivation

Keys to Success

“Your success depends on you.

Your happiness depends on you.

You have to steer your own course.

You have to shape your own fortune.

You have to educate yourself.

You have to do your own thinking.

You have to live with your own conscience.

Your mind is yours and can be used only by you.

You come into this world alone.

You go to the grave alone.

You are alone with your inner thoughts during the journey between.

You make your own decisions.

You must abide by the consequences of your acts…

You alone can regulate your habits and make or unmake your health.

You alone can assimilate things mental and things material….

You have to do your own assimilation all through life.

You can be taught by a teacher, but you have to imbibe the knowledge. He cannot transfuse it into your brain.

You alone can control your mind cells and your brain cells.

You may have spread before you the wisdom of the ages, but unless you assimilate it you derive no benefit from it; no one can force it into your cranium.

You alone can move your own legs.

You alone can move your own arms.

You alone can utilize your own hands.

You alone can utilize your own muscles.

You must stand on your feet, physically and metaphorically.

You must take your own steps.

Your parents cannot enter your skin, take control of your mental and physical machinery, and make something of you.

You cannot fight your son’s battles; that he must do for himself.

You have to be captain of your own destiny.

You have to see through your own eyes.

You have to use your own ears.

You have to use your own faculties.

You have to solve your own problems.

You have to form your own ideals.

You have to form your own ideas.

You must choose your own speech.

You must govern your own tongue.

Your real life is your thoughts.

Your thought are your own making.

Your character is your handiwork.

You alone can select the materials that go into it.

You alone can reject what is not fit to go into it.

You are the creator of your own personality.

You can be disgraced by no man’s hand but your own.

You can be elevated and sustained by no man but yourself.

You have to write your own record.

You have to build your own monument-or dig your own pit.

Which are you doing?”

B.C. Forbes 1917

Most Workout Advice Will Turn You Into a Pansy

If you do an internet search for something like, “best mass building workout program” you will receive pages upon pages of information. There is no shortage of opinion out there. I have been lifting weights for close to 20 years. I have had success with a few programs, less than hoped for results with most. I followed the advice of many a bodybuilding article, after following some advice I made some gains, after following others I put inches on my waist. I ate like they told me to, I took the latest and greatest supplements. I found after time that only two supplements really worked for me . What I did not know was that I was following a dead end road over and over and over.

Within the past several years I have learned some valuable lessons. I share those lessons with you so that you won’t have to make the same mistakes that I made. I will also share with you what I have found that works.

The first lesson that I learned was that typical body building routines are for juicers. The routines that you find on bodybuilding sites are written on the assumption that you are already juicing.

The second lesson was that while I wanted to lift to increase my muscle mass, make me a better martial artist and toughen up my body, I found that the conventional wisdom really seemed to turn us into a bunch of pansies. Think about it; “be careful! Don’t over train!”, “Don’t work the same body part more than so many times per week!”, “Don’t let yourself get hungry! If you are hungry you are already burning precious muscle mass!” When I really thought about it I came to realize that this type of thinking is a reactive, fear based approach. No matter what I did eating 6 meals per day consistently put fat on my adbomen, even though I was supposedly turning my metabolism into a “fat torching machine”.

The third lesson that I learned is to stick with a program that works. You will often read that you should change up your program every 12 weeks as your body gets used to what you are doing and therefore you will no longer make any gains, but what if you are lifting more weight than you used to? For instance, if I bench press 195 lbs in week 8, and progressively am adding at least some weight, say by week 12 I am benching 210 lbs, does that mean that I should just quit because my body is now “used to it”. Does this mean that I will not put on any muscle or gain strength? I have found that sticking with the same basic program for the long haul works best. I keep the basics the same and tweak some of the less important exercises like curls. If I am adding weight over time, I will see gains, period.

Based on these lessons here is what I have used to work for me:

Eating: I no longer eat 6 small meals per day. I usually eat 2 meals. I practice intermittent fasting. I get up at about 4:45 am and will not eat until at least 11 am. My next “meal” will be a small shake of 1 scoop protein powder, about 2 cups of coffee, creatine and heavy whipping cream. The next real meal that I will eat will be after my workout. That’s it. I would never have fathomed being able to do this previously. I thought my muscle gains would melt away in front of my eyes if I didn’t eat every two to three hours. I was wrong. I thought that my workouts would be terrible if I didn’t have the right amount of carbs/protein several hours before working out. I was wrong. Some of my best workouts have come on a completely fasted stomach! In addition, I feel much better eating less. I have more energy, feel more awake, I sleep better and my mental acuity has certainly improved and I have gained muscle mass. I don’t know about the science, but from everything that I have seen all roads seem to lead to very positive health benefits to fasting. Mentally, fasting makes you tougher. I realized that constantly being concerned about what to eat and when wasn’t good for me. Nobody likes to fast, but that is exactly the beauty of it. When we force ourselves to do things that we don’t like it makes us stronger mentally. Intermittent fasting is like anything else; find what works for you. Some men can fast several days per week, some only one. It must work for you in order to work for you. What I mean by this is; don’t push it to the point that it becomes detrimental to your health. Experiment and you will find your ideal zone.

Training: Training really depends on one’s goals. I personally believe that a strength program is the best. First, if you work on getting stronger you will add muscle. This will be functional muscle though, not just for looks. When I was in the service it never failed that the overly buffed dudes could not physically keep up with the rest of us. It is not functional muscle. Have you ever seen a real life Navy SEAL jacked like a bodybuilder? I rest my case. My main concern is to increase strength, stamina and work capacity. I like the old school heavy lifting programs. After reading the “Body of a Spartan” by Victor Pride I realized that I could work the same body part even daily. Think about it. Old school farmers were buffed. They did the same thing day in and day out. According to conventional wisdom their muscles should never have grown due to “overtraining”. Once again, complete and utter b.s. Reading “Body of a Spartan” was really eye opening for me. I love being able to bench every single day. Some weeks I squat every single day. I work my back every single day. My muscles have not withered away to nothing. I have gotten stronger. I trained with weights for over twenty years and this program has by far been the best for my body. I have learned that my body reacts very well to a low rep/high weight program. I have tried high rep/lower weight programs and have only put on fat. The other thing with a strength based program is that it just feels good to deadlift a ton of weight. It feels great to squat a ton of weight. It feels great to bench a ton of weight. Lifting heavy will also increase your testosterone output. Its just a manly thing to do and it will make you strong.

Here is the program that I now use, check it out, it is well worth the investment: Body of a Spartan

Supplementation

Man, there is a lot of information out there about supplements and supplementation. Some writers recommend supplementing with whey protein, creatine, an amino acid complex, nitrous oxide and on and on. Then there are those who believe that supplements are basically snake oil and have no effect on training whatsoever. They blame the supplement industry for promoting useless supplementation so they can make money.

Personally, I have taken supplements on and off for years. I have followed the conventional wisdom and taken several different supplements at one time, then have gone years without taking any supplements at all. After more than a decade of doing an on again, off again supplementation routine I have boiled it down to two that actually work for me. Here are my reviews, recommendations and experiences of how they worked. There is no science here, just the results of about 15 years of trial and error. As a side note, I have never used steroids, so all of the information presented here has to do with being a true natural. I am not a “bodybuilder” per se. I lift and lift heavy 6 days per week but I also do a ton of flexibility excercises and practice Krav Maga.

Whey protein: Most fitness articles that you read about whey supplementation deal with the speed at which the protein will be distributed to your muscles. I suppose that is somewhat true since drinking it in liquid form would theoretically speed digestion over eating a chuck of meat. I have supplemented with whey protein considerably. I also gave it up at one point for about a year, only focusing on my eating program for gains. I actually found that for my body, I experienced better gains in both size and in strength by not using the whey. Focusing on whole foods definitely gave me more of an edge , particularly in the strength department. Now, recently I have begun to experimentally supplement with whey again. This time I use it in a very limited role with a bit of coffee and heavy whipping cream about 1/2 hour before lifting. The reason for this is the anti catabolic effects of whey protein. I now only ingest about 10-20 grams per day, as opposed to the 50-60 grams that I previously ingested. I noticed that I often felt bloated and had a ton of gas with the heavy supplementation. I do not experience either of these side effects the way that I use it now. I recommend using the powder version and making your own shake as you have more control over it. The other important aspects are as follows: it will taste better, the pre made commercial brands have too much crap in them and have been pasteurized thereby killing the protein. I do have one word of warning: look at the sugar/carb content of your powder, many powders have extremely high sugar values. I use MRM’s chocolate protein powder which has less than 1 gram of sugar per 18 grams of protein. The other great benefit of MRM is that it is natural.

The other supplement that I still use regularly and have found results with is Creatine. I started using creatine about 15 years ago as well, on the recommendation of a body building friend of mine. At that time, I would purchase Creatine Monohydrate in powdered form, mix it with a high sugar fruit juice and try to drink it without throwing up. I followed the manufacturer’s recommendation of having a one week loading phase. The loading phase meant that you ingested a certain amount of creatine per day, then dialed it down for the rest of your usage. As with whey, I have used creatine on and off. What I have found is that creatine helps me to lift more, I do get better pumps. After a certain period of usage, 4-5 weeks for me, it seems that at that point my body has gotten used to it and the effects are not the same. I will then cycle off of the creatine for several months. I have found that as long as I keep lifting heavy I will keep the gains that I made even after coming off the creatine. The only reason that I use creatine at this point is to help me break through a plateau. Based on things that I have read as well as my own experience, I have found that the initial loading phase is unnecessary. Research points to no noticeable difference by loading. There are several things to say about creatine as well. First, if you lift heavy, it will make you cramp. I find that not only do my muscles cramp from lifting, but when I work out in martial arts I am much more susceptible to cramping as well. I counter this by drinking Pedialyte when I do Krav Maga; it mitigates the cramping. I have also found that the old adage, “you get what you pay for” rings very true for creatine. There are some cheap options out there, but they have many impurities in them. I have learned to buy the more expensive brands as they are more pure, and generally will last you a long time. Some guys also experience bloating with creatine. I have not experienced this myself.

Supplementation is a very broad sword. Every one’s body reacts differently to them. These are the supplements and methods that I have used that work for my body. The main thing, I believe, is to remember that supplements are exactly that; supplemental. I rely on lifting heavy, eating right, stretching and getting plenty of sleep with whey protein and creatine added in to supplement the foundation.

If you have any differing experiences with supplementation please comment and let me know.

Why I Said the Previous Video “Says it All”

A reader asked me privately why my previous post, a video from YouTube, was titled, “This Video Says it All”. I figured that this was a good question and would also provide material for a good article.

First of all, lets start with the title. I believe this video “says it all” because it shows several key factors to being a man.

Of course, there is the obvious; this guy is a warrior. He trains, and trains hard. He is out doing his “road work” in what looks to be early morning, still during twilight. I’m sure that he would much rather have been in bed. As he is running he pulls a muscle or something (I’ll admit, he won’t win any academy awards for acting.) but he pushes on. He trains tough, pushing himself. There is kind of a crescendo to the training portion of the video, you get the feeling that he has reached that point where his mind tells him to quit but he pushes himself until he reaches a certain point. Anyone who has seriously trained will know what point I mean. Its the point where his mind tells him that he is at failure, his mind says that he can’t go any further, but as he pushes on he reaches that point where he actually becomes stronger.

We see him helping what looks to be his son with homework. This is a lost element of masculinity in our times. Men must teach, we are bound by our honour to teach the next generation of men. He also teaches a younger guy hand to hand combat, at one point knocking him down and beckoning him to get back up. This is tough love, how men are made from boys.

Finally, we also see the main character working on some sort of course work as well. We don’t know what it is, but most likely it is for his betterment. As men, we are always learning, growing and striving to improve ourselves whether it be physical, emotional, intellectual or spiritual. For some reason, whatever it is that he is working on frustrated him; he balls up a piece of paper and throws it away, but then he keeps on going overcoming his sense of frustration.

Essentially, what we view in the video is one day in the life of a man; training himself both physically and intellectually, working through pain and frustration, giving back by teaching and mentoring the younger generation and finally walking off to face the next day.