You can too if you just do the right stuff!
I regularly get called a “mutant.” Now you have to understand that in my world that’s a compliment. They usually don’t mean, “Texas Chain Saw Massacre,” type mutant. They mean not a normal human who can do things like a superhero, which really is an awesome compliment, however it’s also a backhanded compliment.
Without meaning to they are implying that the rules for normal humans don’t apply to me and that via genetics or whatever reason, the training and things that I do, do not apply to normal people. They are in essence saying that I get away with doing things that normal people couldn’t do and I say, that’s wrong. I simply think I’ve found some pathways to being able to do things most people won’t do. It’s not that they couldn’t do them with the right training, but most people are not willing.
So there’s the question – Are you willing?
Let me quickly address genetics before I start telling you what you should do. Yes, I have good genetics for strength. However, physical genetics are nothing without the mentality to actually use them and genetics always come with a flip side. One of the most insulting things people say to me is, “If so-and-so trained hard he’d be stronger than everyone else on the planet – he just doesn’t train like you.” The implication here is that so-and-so is actually stronger, he just doesn’t want to be. Lies. You are what you are. Not what your “potential,” that is undeveloped says you could be. I don’t care if you could lift 2,000 pounds or make a million dollars or write a dozen books or compose a symphony – if you don’t do it. Genetics and potential are all theoretical until you actually do the work. It’s the only way you can see what your real possibilities are.
Everybody on this planet has both good and bad pieces of their genetics. Well I guess there are a few exceptions who actually have good genetics for basically everything, but that number is so small they statistically don’t count. Yes, I do gain strength and muscle well. I was born with a lot of fast twitch fibers, but here’s my opposite side: That made it extremely difficult to gain endurance and my body fat genetics are horrible. I can eat lettuce and gain weight.
Some of my friends are the exact opposite. I have a friend who is constantly trying to gain weight. He skips one meal and you can see through the veins on his abdominal muscles into his spleen. I skip one meal and actually gain weight. So he always looks like the leanest version of himself but he’s never happy with his size. The point to all this is that genetics is a “so what,” situation. Sitting around saying you don’t have the bone structure for this or you weren’t born with the ability for that, is ridiculous. Yeah there are a few situations you simply have to be born with the abilities to do. I will never be the Women’s Olympic Gymnast Champion, but sitting around lamenting about what you can’t be is a great life waster.
What you can be is better than you ever thought. Many if not most of the people who come to do amazing things had some kind of deficit to overcome. In overcoming that, they make themselves into what they want and do what the world says they shouldn’t be able to do. Don’t you want to do the same? You can if you’re just willing.
People know me for doing physical things, but I believe there’s much more to life than physical. I’m going to relate these physical training points, but I want you to remember that each one of them comes with a commensurate mental ability or some applicable similarity in training to do whatever you want to do beyond the physical.
“Science,” and popular “Bro” knowledge, say I shouldn’t be able to do some of the physical things I can do. I’m 290 pounds and have been able to pull off endurance feats that very few people on the planet can touch as well as bodyweight feats that most think are absolutely impossible for a man my size. Things like a one-arm triple clap push up, and a one arm/one leg dive bomber push up. Like snatching a dumbbell or kettlebell for more than 300 reps in 10 minutes or carrying a 300lb weighted vest for more than a mile. I don’t tell you that stuff to brag about what I can do. I tell it to you, because it’s a concrete example in actually getting the job done in something people think is impossible for me.
If I can do it – you can do it. That’s the whole reason I tell you that and write this article. So here’s how I actually train to get this stuff done:
Overwork your strength.
What does that mean? Most people train to do just the minimum of anything. Just to be barely strong enough to do the thing they’re going to do or have just the endurance to live their life. I do the opposite. I train to be stronger than you think is possible. Why? Because that absolute over abundance of ability helps fill in the gaps to do things you don’t think are possible. When I feel like I’m about to die from some ridiculous endurance feat, the fact that I’ve lifted 1,000lbs, thousands of times has engrained in my mind and my body the fact that I can continue pushing, because I have an absolute reserve of strength to draw from.
The catch here is most people think that takes 18 hours a day to do. It doesn’t. In fact for 99% of the world and drug free people it shouldn’t be a lot of training. It should be concentrated intense training with the mind set of actually getting to your greatest strength. In real-life, this is the ability to actually work hard, something that most people never really do. They never find out what they’re truly capable of in intense effort. If you don’t think the life you want will sometimes require intense effort, you’re not paying attention.
Overwork your endurance.
Listen – 15 minutes on a bike is not going to cut it for real ability. You need to do things that are both desperately hard and long enough to create real physical change in how much endurance your body has. For me that never happened until I got into the ½ hour to one hour long high pace muscular cardio work. I don’t care what the science says about making changes, they’re talking about the beginnings of minor changes. I’m talking about the levels of maximal physical ability change. Again – this doesn’t need to take all day and you do have an hour to devote to training now and then.
When I’m trying to do something that seems absolutely impossible I can keep repeating multiple attempts because I’ve built endurance systematically that gives me the ability to apply 100% effort many, many times. Sometimes it takes many attempts to get something amazing done. In “real life,” i.e., work, job, home, etc., I can keep going when it’s tough. That’s how this makes your life better and get you to where you want to be success-wise, not just in simple physical training.
Actually do training that touches all the possible physical areas.
Most people and most programs in physical training are geared towards just one thing. Most people talk about training both strength and speed and endurance and flexibility and mobility, etc., but rarely actually give any real effort to all of the factors. They usually like one area much better than everything else and it gets really easy to skip the things you perceive as extra. The thing is – they’re not extra. Not at the top level and not when you’re trying to do things out of the ordinary, everything becomes essential.
The area that you let slip in training is the one you end up needing when you’re trying to do something that really stretches you and they’re the things that actually build on each other when you get the formula right instead of holding each other back. The stronger you are the faster you’ll be. The greater endurance you have, the greater you can apply strength. They are not inhibitive if you do enough of the move to create the change that you want, but not so much that it becomes the dominant factor. In real-life, this is actually doing things that produce direct result or support direct result in the areas you want success in. Not skipping stuff because you don’t like it.
Balance and rest.
One of the important things about physical training for me is being able to do a high-percentage of anything that I want to do at basically any given time. It might take me several months to get my all-time highest result at something I’ve very developed at or haven’t practiced in a long time, but I want to be 90% of that at any given time on any given day. You do that by balancing how you train. You cut to the bone of what actually pays results in what you do and concentrate on that. When you have time and extra energy you can add some extra work to what you enjoy doing. I’ve cataloged over 1,000 exercises that I’ve done in training, but I don’t do those thousand exercises all the time. I always do some variation of the big-dog things that actually pay off. I do them at a high level in moderate to small amounts. That way I’m constantly in touch with every area of strength and endurance, but not beat up or overworked to the point that I can’t function.
Earlier in the article I mentioned the word, “Overworking,” but I don’t mean that from a perspective of total volume or frequency. I mean overbuild a particular ability in the smartest, least damaging dose you can use. Hence the reason I do 1,000lb lifts or one to two hour long endurance workouts, but only often enough to get what I want, not every day. I actually rest when I feel the need for it. In real life you need to have balance – do things other than train. Take care of the people and things around you who need you – be fresh for them. Be ready.
Now that might be very specific for an article that has life-thoughts on it, but hear me out. I regularly include some kind of isometric work in my training. It varies as to what kind and experimentation, but since I’ve been doing that I sure have gotten to be able to do some things I didn’t think were possible. Why? Isometrics are a physical capacity potentiator. Sounds fancy doesn’t it? What does that mean? Isometrics literally turn your body on. They open up and excite nerve pathways and in doing so literally make a muscle able to contract harder or longer or faster. They also radically engage stability in a way that most people have never thought about training it. They bridge gaps, because you can do them at angles you can’t do with any other training. So when you go to do something you don’t think is possible and you’ve done things that literally turn everything on as well as expose you to, and build strength from positions that are out of your normal range, that’s a pretty huge help when you get in positions where you need it, which is often where you find yourself.
There is something in your real life that you could be doing that’s a potentiator. Maybe it opens up your body to think faster or be more perceptive. Maybe it builds your breadth of knowledge so you have a bigger base of information to acquire what you need. Maybe it opens your heart to love those people around you or stokes your desire to be better. Your job is to find it.
This is going to sound funny seeing as physical training is very empiric, but everybody I know who really does things at the high level has an intuitive sense of what they are doing in one of two ways. They have paid attention to their body to the point that they get a gut feeling of what they want to or should be doing at a particular time. They are also listening to immediate training feed back in the middle of a workout. They add or delete a set, or decrease a percentage, scale back or go for a new maximum based on exactly they are feeling and how the actual performance is going at that moment. Within this there is also the place for discipline. The days when you crank it out even if you don’t feel it, but when you are disciplined enough to know that you are going to be training long term and not going to be lazy, it is smarter to pay attention to what you’re body is telling you to do or not to do and make adjustments along the way.
When you are committed to getting to a goal and trust yourself to work hard you can relax and listen. Understand that sometimes it’s better to work harder and other times it’s better to dial back. Trust yourself and trust your body. Start listening and start building your intuition. In real-life this goes the same. You will feel when you are ready to create something. You can’t always wait on an urge to do it, but you must be committed to doing it in a way that allows you to burst when you are ready and rest when you need.
Truth is most people don’t get what they want out of training or life because they simply don’t believe they can. Part of the reason I mentioned genetics in the early part of this article is that I’m tired of listening to people say, “I have blank-blank genetics therefore I can’t (insert activity name here).” Truth is, you can for the most part, but you may not be willing to do it and that’s okay, just don’t use it as an excuse.
I have never trained with anybody who didn’t make great gains when they got around people who believed, who pushed them to really work hard. Who didn’t magically hope that more weight would appear on the bar, yet your effort would stay the same. They made it happen. Suddenly hard gainers were gaining pretty good.
This mindset applies for life – Believing you can do something is the first step to getting there. Get around people who actually know how to do what you want to do and are actually doing it. Get around people who relentlessly believe things can be done and in you. Get around unconquerable positivity and then do what you think is impossible. It gets to be a habit.