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Inspiration From Luke Ericson

Luke Ericson was born without a left arm and an undeveloped left lung. He has essentially faced an uphill battle since day one. There’s no denying that life hasn’t always been fair to Luke and he’s tackled obstacles that most of us could not comprehend. Even as I type this entry, I take for granted the fact that I can do so with both hands. Luke does not have that option.

Fortunately, Luke’s so-called limitation has not slowed him down. On the contrary, Luke has thrown himself at life with relentless determination and passion. The video below offers a brief sampling.

What I enjoyed most about the clip wasn’t Luke’s physical display, but rather his thoughts on life. As he says within, we only have one chance at life, so let’s all make the most of our time. And while such words may sound like common sense, it is Luke’s real life example that resonates with me. It is one thing to speak about living a positive life, but it is entirely different to go out and do it. Luke practices what he preaches and does not use his circumstances as an excuse. I find that incredibly inspiring.

Most of us can only speculate how we would live and feel if we were in Luke’s position. I’d like to think that I would remain positive, but it is impossible to say. In all honesty, I would not fault Luke if he wasn’t overly positive about life. Seeing him thrive and continue to strive should put many of our own struggles in perspective.

If Luke Ericson refuses to let a missing arm slow him down, what does that say about most of the excuses we have all heard?

For more information about Luke Ericson, check out his Facebook page below.

Luke Ericson – Facebook

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I let that negativity roll off me like water off a duck’s back. If it’s not positive, I didn’t hear it. If you can overcome that, fights are easy. – George Foreman

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Deception From The Biggest Loser

If you have followed my material over the years, there is a good chance that you have heard me ramble on about the importance of patience. Without patience, significant results are nothing but a fairy tale. There are no shortcuts or overnight miracles. Real strength requires a significant investment in time.

I have stressed the importance of patience and time for many years now, and will continue to do so. For instance, it was way back in 2008 when I wrote the following article:

The Power of Patience

More recently (2013), I spoke about the significance of patience and time through the video below:

Yet despite my efforts, my voice is nothing but a faint whisper in an industry filled with noise. Patience is not for sale so it will never be a heavily marketed attribute. People want results yesterday, not a year from now, so the industry will continue to satisfy this demand even if it means offering false promises and hope.

Consequently, many people have, and will continue to fall prey to the deceptive marketers who counter the importance of patience. I have even had people write me to criticize my emphasis on patience. Apparently, I struck a chord by stating that real results take time. Some people just don’t want to believe it.

Recently, one such person actually wrote to me asking if I lived in the woods without cable television. He sarcastically made this comment before mentioning The Biggest Loser. He stated that the show provides evidence to counter my beliefs regarding patience and time. Sadly, it is not the first time that this show has been used to counter my suggestions.

Ironically, a few days after reading his email, I came across the following article from the New York Post.

The brutal secrets behind ‘The Biggest Loser’

I don’t typically read the NY Post but this particular article is well worth a look. It essentially outlines what most credible trainers already know to be true. In short, there is no safe or healthy way to drastically drop significant amounts of weight. I can all but guarantee that many contestants from the show have endured similar circumstances to what is outlined within the story. Once again, slow and steady wins the long term race.

Final Thoughts

I wanted to share this NY Post story to make more people aware of what really goes on in Hollywood. As the old saying goes, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. And once again, I am not suggesting that you cannot make some improvements in a short period of time. Instead, I am simply reminding everyone that more significant results do require more time. Many years of bad habits cannot be reversed in a few weeks. You are going to need more time. Such a message may not be popular, but I’d rather offer the truth than see people continue to be deceived and discouraged.

Fortunately, if you do remain consistent and diligent, real results will eventually come. What’s even better is that such results are much more likely to last when they are developed properly over time. Fitness should never be viewed as a short term sprint. It is a never ending journey that should continue throughout our lives. Health should not be viewed as something that you race towards with a stopwatch in hand. Life is much more enjoyable when you simply embrace an active lifestyle. The results will come in time, and you’ll be in a much better position (physically and mentally) when they do.

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The strongest of all warriors are these two – Time and Patience. – Leo Tolstoy

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Another Case For Exercise Simplicity

It was almost six years ago when I wrote about hill sprints and simplicity at the link below.

Another Vote For Simplicity

In the years since, that old entry has been viewed thousands of times by readers around the world. To this day, I still receive an occasional comment or question about it. Most of the feedback is related to hill sprints or running. Ironically, perhaps the most important paragraph within the entry is rarely discussed.

Within the last paragraph, I wrote about a friend of mine who at the time was in his late 40s. He is a former fighter who stayed in excellent shape with what many would consider a basic routine. When I was last in contact with him, his routine consisted of a strength workout on day one, hill running and calisthenics on day two, and a boxing workout on day three. He would repeat this three day sequence twice a week.

Regrettably, I lost contact with my friend a few years ago. He’s an old school guy who doesn’t have email and never got involved with social media. I had no way to find him. Fortunately, to my surprise, I ran into him at a boxing event over the weekend. He’s in his 50s now and is still in great shape. After busting his stones about disappearing from the earth, we grabbed a cup of coffee and chatted for a few minutes before the fights. I asked him how his training was going and he nonchalantly replied,

“Same sh*t, different day.”

He went on to say that he no longer has access to free weights. Instead, he has been working with a weighted vest. He wears it for exercises such as pull-ups, pushups, dips, squats, and lunges. A strength workout for him consists of a few sets wearing the vest and then a few sets without it. He averages two weighted vest workouts each week in his basement. He has also maintained his running but has shifted towards more trail work. He likes running the trails and will usually do a few sets of calisthenics before or after the run. He also does the same boxing workout once or twice a week which consists of shadow boxing, punching the heavy bag, and skipping rope.

The Moral To The Story

Believe it or not, there is a point to this entry. I’m not just writing to let everyone know that I bumped into an old friend over the weekend. Instead, the message that I hope to convey is one that I’ve shared many times before. In short, complex routines are not necessary for general health and strength. My friend is in his 50s and could hang with most healthy adults who are half his age. Ironically, he has maintained his ability with a routine that many fitness professionals would surely critique.

My friend doesn’t care about periodization, restoration, variety or any other industry buzzword. In fact, he doesn’t even have a computer. He told me that his hard drive crashed sometime around 2012 and he had no reason to purchase another. Therefore, he’s obviously a guy who doesn’t wait until Monday morning to read the latest breakthroughs in the fitness industry. He doesn’t subscribe to any newsletters and has probably never read a scientific journal in his life.

His exercise philosophy is pretty simple. In his words,

“Push yourself and try to find something that you enjoy, or at least don’t dread doing. And if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

And while his routine and philosophy may seem archaic, the results are impossible to deny. This man’s consistency and diligence have proven to be invaluable. He is in tremendous shape in his 50s and doesn’t pay any attention to the modern fitness industry. His comments about the industry were actually quite classic, but are probably something I shouldn’t share here to avoid any lawsuits.

In summary, it was certainly great to catch up with an old friend. It is always refreshing to see an example of hard work, consistency, and simplicity. Such attributes will never receive too much attention from this revenue-driven business, but we should never forget their relevance. Our ability to get in shape is not nearly as complicated as many would like us to believe. Fancy equipment and routines are far from necessities. Plenty can be accomplished with even a rudimentary program as long as you are committed to pushing yourself.

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Beware the barrenness of a busy life. – Socrates

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Old School Lives On – A 1985 Reminder

Earlier today I shared a classic training montage on my Facebook page. In case you missed it, the video was from the 1985 film Rocky IV.

I still recall watching the film in the theater when it first came out. Thirty years later, the training footage remains as inspirational today as it was when I first saw it. And while some may argue that Rocky was a fictional character, I’m not ashamed to admit that the early films inspired many of my own outdoor workouts (ex. see here).

Timeless Classics

I am not the only person to be inspired by an old Rocky film or soundtrack. In fact, today is not the first time I’ve shared a Rocky montage. Whenever I do, it goes without fail that hundreds of people either like or share the video. There’s just something about the old Rocky films that get the blood flowing.

Ironically, 1985 didn’t just offer fistic inspiration via Rocky Balboa. That same year provided fight fans with one of the most legendary bouts in the history of combat sports. On April 15th, 1985, Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns went to war in what will always be remembered as a classic. And similar to Rocky IV, the Hagler-Hearns bout remains just as inspiring today as it was when it first happened.

It doesn’t matter that I’ve studied the bout so many times that I have memorized the commentary and sequence of punches. It is always exciting to watch two tremendously skilled and conditioned warriors battle it out.

What’s The Point?

We don’t need Captain Obvious to remind us that Rocky IV and Hagler-Hearns remain inspiring. Fortunately, there is another point to this entry. To put it bluntly, what worked thirty years ago still works today. Fighters such as Thomas Hearns and Marvin Hagler could compete in any era. In other words, what they were doing thirty years ago would still work today. And if these men could get into top condition without modern technology, so can you.

Regardless of the so-called advancements that are touted by today’s industry, there are certain qualities that cannot be manufactured by anyone but yourself. At some point, your success (or lack of) is not going to be based on the equipment you have or the facilities you use. What matters more is how hard you are willing to work with whatever you have.

Rocky IV may have been a movie but that doesn’t negate the effectiveness of the training style filmed throughout. Anyone who suggests otherwise has never worked in such an environment. Personally, I probably spent more time training outdoors last year than I have any other year. Yet despite planning less and working in as crude of an environment as ever, I can honestly say that I performed some of the best and most challenging workouts of my life.

In summary, more people need to be made aware of the exercise potential that exists in the world around us. So many individuals live under the false assumption that they do not have what they need to advance and improve. Hopefully, looking back to a classic bout such as Hagler-Hearns or a film such as Rocky IV can awaken these people to the idea that modern technology is everything but a necessity. Thirty years is literally a blink of an eye when considering human evolution. Don’t be fooled to believe that effective methods from the past have somehow expired. More often than not, the old school methods remain as relevant and effective as ever.

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The years teach much which the days never knew. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Three Excuses Crushed From A One Arm Chinning Beast

Following the holiday season, many people have ambitious goals as they begin a new year. Unfortunately, most fitness resolutions will eventfully fall by the wayside and become nothing but a distant memory. Although precise percentages are difficult to calculate, there is no denying that the majority of resolutions result in failure. I’m sure we all know someone who starts each year eager to change, only to fall back to their regular habits within a few weeks or months.

Tackle Each Day

Despite the introduction, I am all for resolutions. I have nothing against anyone who is eager to improve. I just don’t believe that we should wait until the new year. I prefer to tackle each day with a resolution mentality. Each day offers the opportunity to improve so I don’t view January 1st differently from any other day.

With that said, certain people may need to work through a resolution before they adopt such a mentality. There is a first step to any journey. Even the most successful person in the world had to start somewhere. Unfortunately, many people start, but few finish. Excuses are easy to find and deter many.

Therefore, one of my goals through this website is to eliminate any excuses that you may have regarding exercise. If you’ve read this site before, you have surely seen me stress the exercise potential that exists anywhere with almost anything. Fortunately, I am not alone in my quest to live and highlight such a lifestyle. I have been lucky to interact with athletes from every corner of the world who subscribe to a similar approach.

One of my favorite examples can be seen below courtesy of a participant from my forum. His chinning strength is beyond impressive.

Erasing Three Excuses

In many ways, the video above crushes three common excuses that I see throughout the year. First and foremost, it should be obvious that you do not need a gym to train. This man isn’t just strong, he is also creative. As you can see, he has found several ways to perform pull-ups without a formal pull-up bar. When you want something bad enough, you find ways to get it done. Lack of equipment is not an excuse.

Living and training in Finland, this man has also shown that it is rarely too cold to train. He has clearly adapted to the climate and is quite comfortable in his environment. Despite the arctic cold, he leisurely performs pull-ups without a shirt or shoes. And while it’s not necessary to copy his attire, you should at least recognize that the winter season is not an excuse to give up on movement and exercise.

Lastly, those who believe they are too big for calisthenics might want to think again. This man stands over 6 feet tall and weighs over 200 pounds. You’ll also notice that he does not have short, stumpy arms that limit his range of motion. On the contrary, he is actually quite tall with a considerable reach. Any myths regarding the inability of larger athletes performing difficult bodyweight movements should be silenced indefinitely. This man’s physique is everything but ideal for one arm chinning, yet he possesses world class ability for anyone at any size.

In summary, rather than harping on potential excuses, use that time and energy to instead determine your own potential. If you are patient and consistent with your work, results will eventually appear. It doesn’t happen overnight and it isn’t easy, but it is possible. Don’t just take my word for it however, the video above provides a powerful example. And in case you are wondering, the Finnish beast has been training for approximately 20 years. He did not develop his strength overnight. It has been a long journey that he continues to follow each day.

As I’ve said before, nothing worth having is easy to acquire. Rather than wondering how long it will take, think less and do more. Don’t let paralysis by analysis defeat your resolution to change. Instead, keep on grinding and good things are sure to come.

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No one ever excused his way to success. – Dave Del Dotto

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