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.

 

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.