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Change Is Coming

I just want to let everyone know that I am in the process of moving the site to a new server. It has taken longer than expected, hence the recent inactivity on the blog. Fortunately, I am hoping to have the site fully migrated by the end of this week. The new site will be mobile friendly and much easier on the eyes. Once it is up and running, I will be able to focus solely on providing new content without the hassle of dealing with antiquated software.

If I experience any unforeseen difficulties over the next few days, I will post updates to Facebook and Twitter. Refer to the links below:

RossTraining Twitter

RossTraining Facebook

Thank you for your patience,

Ross Enamait

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Joe Rogan on Health and Fitness

In the video below, you will hear Joe Rogan share a few thoughts about living a healthy and active life. If you are listening in public, be aware that there is foul language included. The overall message is certainly legitimate though and worthy of a listen.

It is always refreshing to hear someone as prominent as Joe Rogan speak bluntly about the benefits of health and fitness. He doesn’t hold anything back and is obviously passionate about human betterment. I strongly agree with his message and believe many people would benefit by following his advice.

Body and Mind

What I enjoyed most about this video was how Rogan emphasized the relationship between the body and mind. He isn’t just telling people to exercise so that they can become stronger and feel better about how they look. More importantly, he stresses the crucial link between exercise and mental state. For instance, he shares his own observations regarding emotional well-being. He then continues (around 2:40) by stating how he personally thinks and feels better when eating healthy.

I can fully relate to his observations and experiences. My best days are always days that begin with exercise. I think, feel, and act better after a brisk workout. It does not matter how I feel before, I always feel better after I’ve challenged myself physically. I’m never more than one workout away from a better mood.

Most people who exercise share similar feelings. You will be hard pressed to find a group of fitness enthusiasts who don’t feel better about themselves (physically and mentally) after exercising. Perhaps we all take it for granted, at least to an extent. I strongly believe that more people would exercise if they were aware of the mental benefits that follow.

Unfortunately, some sedentary people fail to appreciate the link between body and mind. I’ve even had so-called scholars criticize me for training as hard as I do. For instance, one person recently suggested that I put down the barbell and pick up a book. This comment was made with the false assumption that someone who exercises his body fails to exercise his mind. It does not work that way. Throughout my life, I have never been forced to choose between exercise and scholarly learning. I strongly believe that the two go hand in hand and can actually benefit each other.

In summary, every person has the right to live their life however they want. No one should ever be shamed or forced into an exercise program. With that said, there is no legitimate argument against regularly challenging the body and mind. I truly believe that it is tragic to pass through life without striving to improve physically and mentally. Life is so much more rewarding when the body and mind grow together.

Hats off to Joe Rogan for doing his part to spread the message.

Related Entry:

Movement Is Medicine

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No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable. – Socrates

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Live Your Life Over

While browsing my Twitter feed last night, I came across the video below. I’m not sure what prompted me to tap the play button, but I’m glad that I did. If you haven’t seen it before, I highly recommend taking a few minutes out of your day to watch it. The commentary within the video drives home a powerful message that is a worthy of a discussion.

The premise behind the clip is fairly straightforward. In short, most of us have more potential than we will ever realize. Yet, while few will argue this point, it is a topic that can be difficult to ponder. It is never fun to think about what could have been. Using myself as an example, there was a time when I would regularly beat myself up over mistakes that I made in the past. It was hard for me to accept that my own ignorance and neglect as a young athlete ultimately squashed many of my dreams. I used to drive myself crazy over what I would do differently if I had another chance.

It wasn’t until years later that I realized my early mistakes were a blessing in disguise. I now understand that those mistakes helped shape me into the person that I am today. I am also more aware of what I can do each day to improve myself and those around me. I regularly hold myself accountable for whatever I have or have not done.

Self-Evaluation

Therefore, the real message that I’d like to convey from this video is the importance of occasionally taking time to evaluate yourself. You don’t need to drive yourself crazy over whether you’ve reached your potential, but you should be critical of the decisions you’ve made and the tasks you have performed. I strongly believe that everyone should conduct an occasional performance review of themselves. Doing so will allow you to identify areas where you can improve or should have done better.

Without these informal self-evaluations, it is difficult to know if you are doing enough to accomplish the goals that matter to you. By reflecting on what you’ve done or could have done better, you will never find yourself lying on your death bed pondering what could have been. You will have already addressed those concerns and adjusted your behavior accordingly.

Final Thoughts

I believe it is important to be proactive at ensuring that we do what is necessary to succeed at our goals. If you never take the time to evaluate yourself, how can you honestly say that you have done what was necessary to realize your potential? Why live in uncertainty, when you could instead take a few moments to occasionally reflect on your life? It does not take long, and it will certainly be time well spent.

There’s an old saying that says the only way to avoid criticism is by doing nothing. Hopefully you have bigger aspirations for yourself. If that is the case, there will always be something that you are doing that warrants some criticism. Don’t hide from it, and don’t wait for someone else to always point it out for you. By critiquing yourself, you will have many more opportunities to improve.

Willingness to identify mistakes combined with an eagerness to improve will always lead one towards his or her potential. Whether you actually get there matters less than your quest to actively head in that direction. Simply embarking on that journey will put you well ahead of most.

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Hustle beats talent when talent doesn’t hustle.

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Outdoor Bulgarian Bag Training

Following my most recent video, I had several questions come in about one particular exercise. In case you missed the clip, you can watch it at the following link. At approximately the 1:55 mark, you will see me performing squats with a strange looking object wrapped around my neck. Veterans of the site may have recognized it as a Bulgarian bag, but many newer readers could not identify it.

Bulgarian training bags became quite popular around five years ago. Back in 2009, I actually shared two related tutorials. Those videos can be seen again below. The first comes from Matt Wichlinski and the second from Joe Hashey.

Homemade Bulgarian bags are easy to make and will only cost a few dollars to construct. The bag seen in my video is the same bag that I demonstrated in my sandbag DVD. It weighs approximately 50 pounds and is quite durable. It is useful for several exercises, but I particularly enjoy the bag during the winter months. The shell of the bag comes from a tire inner tube. The rubber is not only strong, but also waterproofed against the harsh winter. The frozen precipitation does not damage the bag. As an experiment, I’ve actually left this particular bag outside since the summer. Six months later and the bag is still as good as new.

Get A Grip

One of the reasons that I enjoy this bag during the winter is that it is quite easy to grip. When it is cold and snowing, there is a good chance that you will be wearing gloves. Gloves will protect the hands from the elements, but they also make it more difficult to lift certain odd objects. Heavy stones are one example. Stones provide a tremendous lower arm challenge, but can be dangerous to lift if you are unable to secure a firm grip.

With that in mind, I prefer to lift stones with bare hands. Therefore, drier seasons are naturally more convenient. During the winter months, I am much less likely to lift stones outdoors. I will either perform stone work inside, or transition to a different tool or object. The Bulgarian bag is one ideal option. The bag is not as heavy as a stone, but can certainly spice up several exercises.

In summary, if you are looking for an inexpensive tool that is excellent for outdoor exercise, a homemade Bulgarian bag may be worth a look. Old tire inner tubes can often be acquired for free, or can be purchased for a reasonable price. Either way, your investment will be minimal for a durable and effective Bulgarian training bag.

For additional homemade equipment ideas, please refer to the link below:

Homemade Equipment Archives

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The smallest deed is better than the greatest intention. – John Burroughs

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Karelin Inspired Training

If you’ve followed this site for any amount of time, you know that I am big believer in getting outside to exercise. Most people would be well served to get more fresh air in their lives. Unfortunately, during the winter months, many people falsely assume that outdoor activities must be put on hold. The only time they spend outdoors is when they are rushing to stockpile bread and milk before a storm arrives.

Personally, I am a big fan of outdoor exercise in the winter. A brief sampling of some recent training can be seen below.

When I’m outside in the cold, I opt for fast paced movements. My primary goals are conditioning and strength endurance. I work at a fast rate with minimal rest between exercises and sets. Such an approach allows me to continue training without my body temperature falling.

Why Bother?

Whenever I post an outdoor video, there’s always a smart ass in the crowd who wonders why I don’t perform the same workout indoors. My response to such comments is always the same. I have yet to find a snow filled hill that I can run inside. Running in the snow has long been one of my favorite conditioners. The snow not only provides resistance, but it also cushions each step. Therefore, regardless of how fast you run, there is minimal impact with each stride.

As for my snow running inspiration, it started with the legendary wrestler Alexander Karelin. I first saw him win an Olympic gold medal in the 1988 Olympics. I then saw footage of him running through high snow drifts in Russia. Rocky Balboa was a fictional character, but Alexander Karelin was real. He was an absolute beast and I wanted to imitate his style. Snow running soon became a favorite activity of mine.

You can actually see a brief glimpse of Karelin running through the snow in the video below:

Once I began running in the snow, I quickly realized that there were other options available. It wasn’t convenient to run in the snow and then change clothes to finish training indoors. It seemed more logical to finish my session where I started. With that in mind, I began to supplement my snow running with a variety of calisthenics. I have maintained that approach for many years now and continue to enjoy the physical and mental challenge. Training in the cold requires physical and mental toughness, as well as intelligence. Mother Nature demands respect and that needs to be considered whenever venturing into the cold.

As for necessity, it is obviously possible to get in shape without ever seeing or touching the snow. I am certainly not suggesting that everyone heads out into the next blizzard. It is an option however for those who are interested. It is always nice to have exercise options that don’t involve commercial equipment or facilities. Snow running won’t cost anything, but will always provide a challenge.

 

Related Entries:

Winter Exercise – 2014

Mental Toughness In The Cold

Mongolia’s Success In Judo

Training In The Cold

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Mental toughness is many things and rather difficult to explain. Its qualities are sacrifice and self-denial. Also, most importantly, it is combined with a perfectly disciplined will that refuses to give in. It’s a state of mind – you could call it character in action. – Vince Lombardi

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