One second between Fear and Greatness

They say everything you want is on the other side of fear.  This picture was that precise moment for me this morning. With yesterday being Father’s Day, I chose to not go to the gym to train legs, and instead decided to go to the gym before work Monday morning, around 6 am.  It was leg day and we have just started a new training program that includes heavy leg presses.  These are something I have loved and have always been able to really load up the weight on.  However a few years back I had a slight pain, maybe more than slight pain, which I eventually learned was due to a very tight TFL and IT band and launched me into the world of self myo-fascial release techniques and self care.  I healed but that experience definitely left it’s mark with me mentally.   Around the same time as the injury, we had switched gyms, which opened up a great deal of exercise variety and options.  Pete and I have used the leg press for several programs after that and I have had no further issues.  However, getting back to heavy leg presses, does stick in the back of my mind.

Getting back to this morning….Pete wasn’t there and I was training alone.  I had the thoughts and questions of how to handle the leg press today – do I go all out and load up the weight I wanted, or do I back off and switch it up since Pete wasn’t there and I wouldn’t have peace of mind having him there.  It took some rational and honest evaluation of the situation.   I did this weight last week.  When the sled is loaded up, the safeties on the machine are in place for a reason, if something goes wrong. Plus, there really isn’t much Pete or I could do for the other as far as pushing the sled with that much weight on it.  So it came down to me.  I knew I had eaten well all week, slept well, warmed up and stretched properly. There was no reason not to go for it all.  I wanted to do more than last week.  I wanted to move forward and be better than before.

And with that it was time to work or move on.  Thus the picture.  In that moment, the sled is loaded up, but not yet in motion. It sits securely on the pins.  It only takes one decision and action to conquer the fears, the unknowns, and to crossover into the world of action, reality, and success.  Everything is in place and ready.  All I need to do is push the sled and move the sled to start the set. One action. With a confident and focused mind, I put my goals into action and powered through every set of leg presses.  I got more reps than I had last week in each set and every rep was full and deep.  Each set drove me on to the next set.  By the last set, I was focused on “daring to fail.”  I wanted to see how far I could go until either the weight no longer would move and I would fail on a rep, or until the form broke.  It is a very powerful feeling to conquer a challenge.

The rest of the workout had that same intensity and determination.  Overall it was a great workout, and my legs will pay the price for success for the next few days.

I share this story as an example.  We all have that moment between fear and action.  Do or do not.  There is something that we must answer for ourselves each day – whether to take the risk and move closer to accomplishing goals and dreams, or delay them for another day.  The challenge is not relegated to the gym.  It could be a phone call we need to make, a conversation that must be had, questions to be asked when we fear the answers but need to know.  It may be fitness, sport, or nutrition related.

The fear is only in our mind.  It is often the fear of the unknown that keeps us frozen and from taking action.  But here is the challenge I have for you, and one that I use over and over -just as I did this morning in the gym.  If it is our thoughts that create the fearful scenario, why can’t we change the thoughts and create a more positive outcome and scenario?  For me, it was switching my mindset from a fear of the unknown to telling and visualizing myself doing exactly what I wanted to accomplish in that workout.

So I challenge you.  Instead of creating fear in your mind, change your mindset and create, visualize, and act on creating success and action that brings those thoughts into the realm of reality.

One Decision You Must Make Today

20170108_125137Not every day is a great day.  Things happen. Unexpected events and circumstances catch us off guard and can throw us for a loop.  Regardless of how well prepared we are for the day and various situations, sometimes getting knocked down is inevitable.  And guess what – it is perfectly ok and even a good thing.  We are meant to be challenged, defeated, confused, frustrated, disappointed, etc.  These are all part of a process of growth and will come to us often on the path to finding our greatness.

I had one of those days recently.  The day started out on track as I was planned and prepared for the day.  At some point, out of nowhere, things slowly slipped down hill.  I maybe was tired, drained a bit from the week and let my emotions and mental sharpness start to slide.  I started eating things I had not planned and didn’t seem to want to stop. I was a bit sluggish in continuing to execute my plans for the day and get things checked off my list.  By the end of the day I was dragging, down on myself, mad and frustrated at some of the decisions I made during the day, and just felt overwhelmed with so many things.

The next morning, I had that same feeling.  That is when I had a decision to make.  I could wallow   in my new found funk and write this day off before it even gets started or gain control of my thoughts and emotions and start to take control of what is or was getting me down.  It took me a little bit, but I chose to make this day different.  I vowed to move forward and climb out from my own little reclusive mess.  I had to shift my mindset and gain a new perspective in order to be able to conquer the day.

It is often said that every day is a new day.  I will go even further and challenge you with every moment is a new moment. It comes down to one decision.  It is the power to shift our mindset, our focus, our energy that empowers us to forge a new path at any given moment.  It is in those moments of doubt, negativity, hopelessness, that we must make that one decision which will change our moment.  We must choose to do different.  We must vow to no longer stay on the path we are on and do that one thing, no matter how seemingly small it may be, that is going to drive us into a different outcome for the day.

This is not to say that every problem, struggle, or conflict is going to be resolved and made better in one moment.  It is not about solving every problem in an instant.  It IS about coming to a point to accept that the molehills are not necessarily mountains and the mountains are not necessarily insurmountable.  It IS about accepting that we do not have to have all the answers and allow ourselves the time to come to some clarity at a future time.  It IS about allowing ourselves to be human, to mess up, slip, stumble, and to know that we can leave it in the past.  The past begins now. It ends and the present begins with a decision.

The power to choose is an extraordinary gift.  It is the power to choose different – particularly in our thought process and in our perceptions that is extraordinary.  You must make a decision today, at this moment and every day.  Will you let the day run you, or do you choose to take control and run the day?  Dictate how you want the day to go and how you will react to events that arise along the way. Forgive yourself of the past – whether it is the past year, day, or something you did or didn’t do 5 minutes ago.  Let it go.  Choose to move forward from this point, with a clear mind, and the willingness to try one more time.

3 weeks Post Competition

69-frank-17-of-30This past week I increased my macros and continued training with the superset program.  I had one day that was a higher and somewhat looser re-feed.  It was still not an all out free for all with eating everything under the sun.  Instead it was just being a bit more free with my choices and mostly increasing serving sizes of foods I was already going to eat.   Then on my 3 lifting days I had increased my macros, while on the 3 remaining days, I kept those macros where they were from the previous week.

My goals is to increase size and strength in the gym, consume more calories, keep my metabolism burning the extra intake efficiently while keeping the increase in bodyfat down.  I have been using the scale and mirror once a week to judge my progress as well as taking notes of my clothes and how my strength and energy levels are in the gym and throughout the day.

As of this week, again my weight has remained unchanged from the previous weeks, even though I am increasing calories.  In the gym, the weights and or reps are increasing on every exercise and I feel good in there.  The weights themselves are lighter but the intensity is there with the supersets and we are making the most of every rep and set.

Again this week I kept my cardio session down to one 20 minute jump rope session.  The routine I have been doing is a bit more intense than just jumping straight for 20 minutes and involves a variety of jumps including double unders.

In this week’s evaluation, my conditioning is still there; the striations, definition and vascularity.  My strength levels have gone up, as evidenced in the workouts.  A few weeks before Worlds I had to add a notch to my belts to better keep my pants up as I was leaning out.  At the moment, I am still using those same notches.

All in all I am happy with the progress of this reverse.  I have been changing up meals, using a variety of foods to meet my nutrition goals each day.  My energy levels are good and consistent and the training is right on track.

This coming week is Thanksgiving and my birthday in the same day.  I will use that as my high refeed day so I can enjoy all of the foods I want.  I will keep my lifting macros the same and perhaps a bit higher, while keeping the 3 off days at the lower levels this week. Cardio will remain the same this week too, with just one cardio session.

After this week, it will be time to increase macros again depending on how this week goes and also I will end the superset program and write up the next workout program to start building muscle and making improvements.

 

Heavy and Intense Training Program

Those of you that have followed my posts and know my training style, know how much I love following in the Blood & Guts/Heavy Duty style of lifting.  This program that we are in now is no different.  So far it has been intense and all of the lifts and reps have been all out effort. 

If you haven’t read some of my other routines, please know that while we are only doing 1-2 working sets, we are definitely doing several warm-up sets leading up to the two all out sets.  At the end of each workout, we are completely spent and have put every ounce of energy into each and every rep.  It is an all out fight – but that is what I love about it.

My leading thought for most of this cycle has been – as long as I can move the weight, without breaking form, I will keep fighting for one more rep.  This mentality has led to some awesome workouts – especially surrounding squats.  I start preparing mentally at least a day ahead of time and repeatedly tell myself that until my form breaks or I can no longer stand back up I will keep going.  My sets have ended on a few occasions with me holding steady just above the bottom of a rep but unable to stand it back up.  Thankfully I am flexible and so failing at the bottom of the last rep is not a big deal to squat down even deeper when I can no longer fight the resistance and let the bar catch the rails we set in the rack. 

I know it has been a while since I posted a workout but this one has been great both mentally and physically.  This cycle has really been pushing us hard.  While we are aiming to use a weight that limits us to the 6-8 rep range, we are continuously trying to push through that range or working til failure on the 2 working sets. 

Day 1 Back and Biceps

Barbell Rows (overhand grip) 2 sets 6-8 reps

Weighted Pull-ups 2 sets 6-8 reps or as many as possible

Barbell Curls 2 sets 6-8 reps

Preacher Curls (with an EZ curl bar) 2 sets 6-8 reps

Day 2 Chest and Triceps (we gave shoulders a break this time from any direct work)

Decline Bench Press 2 sets 6-8 reps

Incline dumbell bench presses 1-2 sets 6-8 reps

Overhead tricep extensions (with a dumbbell) 2 sets 6-8 reps

Weighted dips 2 sets 6-8 reps

Day 3 Legs

Squats 2 sets 6-8 reps

Lying leg curls 2 sets 6-8 reps

Why do we do this?

I am sometimes asked this question – usually by people close to me who just don’t understand why I want to train or eat like I do, or take it to the extreme of getting stage and competing. I never feel the need to try to answer this question, because there is never an answer to convincingly explain why I do what I do.

It seems we, and I mean those of us that are pursuing general health and fitness goals and lead a healthy and fit lifestyle are viewed as different, or out of the norm. Can you think of anyone asking a person who watches tv for hours each night, why they are doing that to themselves?

We got in an unbelievable leg workout today that really pushed through the limits of anything we thought possible. I loved every minute of it including the feeling of being completely drained the rest of the day. I am sure you know that feeling too. But let’s face it – why do we do it? No one is forcing us to push ourselves the way we do, or to eat the way we do, or to even go to the gym. No one cares if we do or don’t.

But we care. We have made a commitment to ourselves and hold ourselves accountable when we miss a workout or skip out on a healthy meal. We want more for ourselves.

I find it interesting that as “health conscious” as society has supposedly become, no one thinks twice about spending hours on Facebook or in front of the tv, but we get questioned or looked at differently for living a better life and holding ourselves to a higher, healthier standard.

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe the blood is still stuck in my legs and my brain is slightly off-balance,but as I go through workouts, cardio sessions, meal preps, contest prep, and I have my days where I question why I do this- I just absolutely love the amount of self – discipline, determination, and drive it takes to do what we do. Regardless of how different our goals may be there is just something great about striving for fitness and health goals that are simply for ourselves. We do it for ourselves, because we want to, because we can, and because we have made a pact within ourselves to hold ourselves to a set of standards and we won’t let ourselves off the hook until we reach our goals.

Train hard. Make yourself accountable to yourself and keep reaching higher!

Gratitude

Today is Thanksgiving in the US and when it comes to this I have so much to be thankful for.  First, I am so appreciative of each and every one of you that have somehow found this page and made the choice to like and follow it.  There are so many pages out there and I never take for granted that people find value in my posts, articles, and information I share on here.  Through this page I have been given the opportunity to connect and interact with people from around the world.  I cannot tell you how uplifting and inspiring your stories and pursuits are and how much I enjoy interacting with you.  There have been many pages and people who have contributed to the growth and success of this page by interacting, sharing posts, and even promoting this page.  I thank each of you. 

I have recently read that the only way to repay a gratitude bestowed upon us is to “pay it forward” by bestowing gratitude onto others.  On this Thanksgiving I want each of you to know I am extremely grateful for each of you on here and for your continued support as we move forward in pursuit of our goals.  I will continue to bring the best of myself in each post and aim to provide honest and real thoughts and information as I have been.  As always, if there are certain topics or information you would like to see, don’t hesitate to ask and I will do my best to cover each topic.

I wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving.  I thank you all for your interactions, continued support and I am looking forward to our journey together.  Train hard.  Make it count. – Frank