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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Nobody owes you shit. Earn it and create your destiny.

I’d like to take a minute and speak to the younger readers and the parents. Since I became a father, all of my priorities changed overnight.

I have done quite a bit of reflection and observation since then and have adjusted my compass. I’ve also observed a lot of things that I think need to change in our country.

If you know me, you are thinking: “here he goes on politics”. You are wrong.  I am going to talk about the younger generation and our kids.

Let me start off with saying that by no means, am I a perfect person, role model or parent.  

                                                     We all have flaws.

I do try and be the best father that I can be, and taking a life lesson learned from my good friend Rich Angelo, I try to be better every day.

Rich is on the right side.

Some days I hit the mark, some days I don’t. I also realize that I need to teach my son how to be a good man and a good person.
Kids only know what they are taught.
I must teach him the right way and guide him to adulthood so that he will be strong, both mentally and physically, smart, self-sufficient and a problem solver. Not a problem causer.

One of the things I am teaching him is the value of health and strength.

He is learning these lessons now in the gym and on the playing field. I have learned over the years that what you do in sports and in the gym can build your character and expose weaknesses in in it to be improved.
As Dave Tate says, you learn life lessons Under the Bar. He wrote a book by that title and I highly suggest that you read it.

Life lesson learned under the bar are invaluable. Strength training and sports build character.

They teach that you must not to quit, ever. If you want to be successful, you must earn it.
Nothing is handed to you and you don’t deserve anything.
You must work for it. This was taught to me at a young age and through my life.

It seems that is not so much the case now. I see a lot of younger people feeling that they have a right to things, a sense of entitlement. Something is owed to them.

Of course this is not all of them, but it is many.

It seems it is predominant in the culture now. I have discussed this many times recently with my friends who own businesses and they all agree.

I have a message for you, nothing is owed to anyone.

Not me, not you.
We all create our own destiny and success.
Success is bred on hard work, dedication, an undying thirst to be better and a will to never give up.
The sooner each of us acknowledges this and then strives to be better each day, even in one small way, the better we as a nation will be.

We need to teach our children that hard work is required, in school, in sports, in life.
Hard work breeds success. They say that after a certain age, parents have little influence on their kids.
Research is saying that the peer group is more influential than the parents, especially in the teenage years. I will disagree here partially.

Especially coming from the background that I did and having the peer groups that I had.
If you believe what the experts say on this topic, I am dead or in prison due to my peer groups in my youth and early teens.

Sorry, I chose to associate myself with a new peer group upon entering high school. Why, the examples and lessons set by my uncles and grandfather, and then mentors I sought out as I got a little older.

Without the guidance and lessons from them I would not be the person I am today. They taught me to do things for myself, to figure out how to fix something and solve problems, and if I couldn’t, to ask for help.
They taught me to stand up for myself and to fight my own battles.
They taught me to be strong as a person. Rich is one of the influences who taught me to be strong physically (and mentally). I always had the desire as long as I can remember to be strong physically.

Maybe it was due to where I grew up, or maybe it was from watching the Wide World of Sports on T.V. as a kid.
Who knows?

  The point here?

Teach your children from the youngest of ages to be strong: mentally, physically and in character.
Teach them the value of an honest day’s work and that things are not owed to them.
Teach them to create their own opportunities through education, effort, a desire to be the best and through hard work.
Teach them about U.S. and world history. A lot of lessons for the future come from the past and school isn’t teaching that anymore.
Those who ignore the past are doomed to repeat it.
Teach them to give back and be charitable.
Teach them to be self-sufficient and to be able to solve their own problems. No one is going to solve problems for them.
Teach them how to be successful, even if you are not.

Please don’t take this as an angry rant. It is not.
I was fortunate enough to have great influences and I feel it saved me. I also feel that I owe that to my son.
I owe that to the greatest country in the world.
It is MY job to prepare my son to be a winner and a leader so that he can be successful.
I want all of your children to be successful too, so I thought I would take the time and share some observations with you all.
If you are one of our younger readers, take this to heart. If you don’t have a lot of positive influences, find a mentor. If your peer group is not the greatest, find a new one. Create your own destiny.
Thanks for hearing me out.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Father's Day

Father’s Day

I wrote this for another site and missed my deadline. It's the first deadline I have ever missed!
I figured, why not just post it on Weakness so my family can read it.

I have been lifting a long time, longer than many of the readers have been alive and in that time I was only concerned with two things:

Lifting more than anyone else could

Being huge, at any cost.

I wanted to be the strongest guy in the world when I was a kid and spent a good portion of my life dedicated to that pursuit. I have competed in Strongman, Powerlifting and Grip contests and have had a small amount of success. I never reached my goal of becoming the strongest guy in the world, but at least I was the strongest guy on my street, for a while. 

I also wanted to be HUGE. I got pretty big. Sometimes big and fat, sometimes fatjacked (thanks Harry), and sometimes actually big and lean. At least a little lean. This was awesome and awful at the same time.

 Walking around at 300+ has its benefits and its downside. 
On the plus side, you are strong and people get out of the way when you waddle by.

 On the downside, it really takes its toll on your joints, sitting on an airplane sucks, you cannot buy a suit and walking to the car is like running a marathon.

When my son was born I didn’t change a thing about my training. I was still chasing my dream. I decided to try and comeback to powerlifting and wrote extensively about it in the 44 and Broken series.

If you didn’t read it, I suggest you do, especially if you are a younger lifter or if you are older like me.

During the time I was writing the series and training for the meet a lot of things occurred to me.

In no order they were:
  • Everything hurts
  • Stuff is tearing, a lot (muscles and tendons).
  • I need to wrap my whole body in ice every night.
  • I can’t get on the floor and play with my son
  • I can’t toss him a football or run around with him.
  • What kind of lessons am I teaching him?
  • Will I be able to do anything with him as he gets older?

Every minute I spent away from him I could hear Cats in theCradle playing in my head. As someone who grew up without a father, and a mother who was never around, I vowed when he was born to be different. 

But was I living up to that?

I sat down with myself and did a lot of reflection on this after my piss poor performance at the meet and what to do next.

About my performance:

 I did not do nearly as well as I had hoped. 


I sustained a few pretty serious injuries in the gym. It was not the training. I was dialed in. 

It wasn’t my gear. I was fully supported with the best gear available, Metal.

It wasn’t my mindset. I wanted this. More than almost anything.

I realized that is was almost 30 years of hard lifting and competing that took its toll on my joints as well as 21 years with the Sheriff’s Department. Much of that time spent engaged in activities that routinely smashed me and the parties involved to the floor or ground. This cumulative smashing adds up. It is not good for you orthopedically. It didn’t bother me when I was 25, or even 35. When I got closer to my 40’s I could feel it the next day, and the day after. You get the idea. This career also severely injured my left knee, requiring 3 surgeries to put it back together. It’s still not right and never will be.

I had to re-asses what was important to me. This was a hard road to walk. I realized that what was important to me for my whole life, what caused me to sacrifice friendships, relationships, my shoulder, my hip and much more was not going to take my health away from me any longer.  Doing the meet was the best decision I ever made because it made me truly realize what the most important thing in the world was to me: my family. Yeah, I know that makes me sound like an asshole, but sometimes we all need a smack in the mouth. This was my smack.

I talked it over with my wife and came to the decision that I was done trying to be the strongest guy in the world. No more contests. It was the hardest decision I ever made and I have had to make some hard ones.
I looked at training and what I could do and spent the better part of a year trying to get healthy. I am still trying.

My body is beginning to respond to it. I can’t squat, at all. I can’t bench. I am not strong but things hurt a lot less. This is good because now I can do much more with my boy. He is 9 years old now and he is awesome. I spend every free minute with him and would not trade one second for anything. He’s only going to be a kid for a very short time and I feel like I missed a lot of it. 

My goal now is to be the best father I can be, the best family man I can be, and if he wants, I’ll help my son to be the strongest man in the world. He will benefit from my many mistakes, and I will benefit from spending as much time with him teaching him to love fitness and strength. 

Funny thing, Cats in the Cradle is fading in my head.

I have the picture below tattooed on my arm to remind me of this every day.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Is Weakness dead?

I got an email the other day asking if my blog was still up.

I thought it may have crashed. It didn't. It's just not very active.

I'm busier than a 1 armed paper hanger!

I have been busier now than when I was working 2 full time jobs. It seems there is never time to write anything.

There are a lot of new things going on at TPS and in my training and life and finding the time to write is almost non-existent. Being super busy also limits the amount of energy you have for creative thought.

Don't take this a whining. It isn't. Just a statement of fact. I am happy to be busy and would be unemployed if TPS wasn't thriving.

I am always trying to find ways to improve our product and services. I have been focusing a lot of attention on developing my mangers and my Total Performance Method program.

We plan on launching the TPS Method as an information product (E Book/DVD) in about a year and we are using the gym as a laboratory to see what gives optimal results with the least amount of work in a group setting. We have had some outstanding results, some good ones and some with no success..

So far we have seen that the ones who get the best results are the ones who work the hardest. The ones who don't work look, feel and perform the same. That's not out fault.

We are coaches not feel good social workers. If I have found one thing in my years training and training people it's that hard work is REQUIRED.

Effort is required.

Not eating like an asshole is required.

This breeds success.

It would be great if everyone who pays for coaching bought into that philosophy.

Sadly they don't.

If you are not getting what you need or want from your workout program, don't blame the program.

Sure it may suck, but even a bad program will give results if you work hard at it.

A good one will give even better results.

Look in the mirror. Is the face looking back at you doing everything possible to achieve success in whatever it is you are trying to do?

 Never forget, Weakness is a Crime.

Don't be a criminal.