Archive for the 'Inspirational' Category
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.
No one ever excused his way to success. – Dave Del Dotto15 comments
I’ve been busy offline so I haven’t had much time for blogging over the last few weeks. Therefore, I hope you had a nice holiday and I wish everyone a Happy New Year. I’m surely looking forward to 2015. I am eager to remain active and productive just like any other year. And while I don’t personally adhere to New Year’s resolutions, I wish the best to anyone who uses this time of year to spark a change.
If you find yourself in that position, you may wish to view the brief video below. It was recently passed along to me and it certainly uplifting. I have already listened to it a few times and thoroughly enjoyed the message that is presented within.
Videos like that above remind of a classic quote from legendary boxing trainer Cus D’Amato.
In his words,
A boy comes to me with a spark of interest, I feed the spark and it becomes a flame. I feed the flame and it becomes a fire. I feed the fire and it becomes a roaring blaze.
Clearly, a short video cannot take you from a spark to a blaze, but the right message can definitely feed a spark to a flame. Once the flame begins to burn, the individual must then keep the fire going. Getting the fire initially started is often the most difficult step in the journey however. Once you see the flame, it’s much easier to recognize your potential and continue to fuel the fire.
If you have goals for this year (or any year), there is no time like the present. As I’ve said many times before, human life is an amazing gift, but unfortunately it does not include a rewind button. We can never recapture lost time. If there is something that you want to achieve in this lifetime, it’s up to you to get it done with whatever time you have left.
Now is as good of a time as ever. What are you waiting for?
The vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps — we must step up the stairs. – Vance Havner5 comments
As each year passes, I become more and more fond of a simplistic approach to exercise. I make this statement as someone who went through my own phase of complex programming many years ago. During those formative years, I split hairs over decisions that I eventually realized were insignificant. I now train with a style that is as simplistic as ever, yet just as effective as anything I’ve ever done.
I say this not to suggest that you should train haphazardly without planning, but instead to emphasize more important variables. Speaking for myself, each year seems to pass faster than the year before. When I see pictures of my children, I am constantly amazed at how fast they have grown. It seems like it is only a hop, skip, and a jump away before they’ll be headed off to college. The last thing that I want before that time is to be lost in paralysis by analysis with my own training. I’d much rather work hard with a smaller group of exercises that I enjoy without beating my head against the wall over trivial details.
Hard Work and Consistency
Although I have simplified my approach, my belief in hard work has not changed. I just don’t spend as much time worrying about how that work will be applied. As long as I am consistent and diligent, I know that I can stay in shape without hindering other aspects of life. In other words, I can continue to thrive physically without life passing me by.
As for inspirations to my philosophy, there is no denying that the age-related section within my own blog has been a motivator. I first created that section to inspire readers of the site, but the stories actually served to motivate me as well. Seeing countless examples of men and women who have thrived in their 60s, 70s, and beyond has undoubtedly influenced me. I hope to one day create a video that is similar to what can be seen below.
Take a look at the latest addition to the age-related archives. Within the video, you will see 80 year old Walt Ottenad Jr. perform 500 pushups in approximately 30 minutes.
This 80 year old Marine has kept himself in excellent condition. I don’t know much about him, but it is safe to say that he grew up in a much different world from what we see today. He certainly performed his share of calisthenics while serving and has continued to do so throughout his life. No one knocks off that number of reps at 80 without years of practice beforehand.
Thus, while there are clipboard trainers who may critique his technique or argue about alternatives, I’m guessing that few will be as active and capable as Walt if they are fortunate to live 80 years. As an old saying suggests, actions speak louder than words and Walt is clearly a man of action. He continues to do while others debate what should or shouldn’t be done. I see him as a huge inspiration in that regard. I too plan to keep doing without worrying too much about what others believe to be optimal. As long as I’m working hard and consistent with my efforts, I’ll take my chances doing what I enjoy. The specifics matter less than the conscious attempt to regularly apply yourself diligently and effectively.
None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm. – Henry David Thoreau13 comments
I have been a fan of Dan Gable for as long as I can remember. I don’t know if the sporting world will ever see such a dominant athlete again. He wasn’t just a legendary wrestler though. Dan Gable was equally successful at developing other wrestling champions. Such dominance is rarely seen individually as an athlete or coach. To accomplish what he did on both fronts is beyond impressive.
This entry isn’t about Dan Gable’s past success however. Instead, it is about another wrestler who has at least one thing in common with Dan Gable. Willie Burton wrestles with the same heart and determination that Dan Gable possessed throughout his career. The difference is that Willie Burton was born with cerebral palsy.
In the video below, you will see an ESPN E:60 special about Willie that is narrated by Dan Gable. It’s a 12 minute video that a viewer was kind enough to upload from his phone. The footage is a bit shaky at times, but certainly does not take away from the power of this story. If you’ve ever contemplated quitting any difficult task in your life, Willie Burton’s example will offer some powerful perspective. I was literally at a loss for words after watching the video. I can’t recommend it enough.
I only wish I could figure out a way to replicate Willie’s heart. Even the most gifted of athletes would benefit by possessing what he has inside.
A lot of my intensity in wrestling was due to my mental preparation before the matches. I got myself into a different world. – Dan Gable8 comments
In the video below, you will see a reader of the site who is 41 years old and still going strong. He demonstrates countless exercise variations that would humble most men half his age.
This man is not just physically strong however. What I liked most about his video is the creativity that accompanies his strength. He is clearly capable of training almost anywhere with almost anything. He is not dependent on any particular facility. The bulk of his training is performed with nothing but a pull-up bar and ordinary household items such as chairs. This man certainly subscribes to the idea that the world is his gym. It is always open and can be found wherever he goes.
It is also great to see yet another example of a 40+ year old man who possesses such strength and athleticism. So many adults in our world today have been fooled to believe that 40 is over the hill. Sadly, it has become the norm for parents in their late 30s and early 40s to label themselves as old. Speaking as someone in this age group, I literally hear these words uttered on a weekly basis. I am always left speechless when a man or woman who is younger than me describes themselves as being too old for brisk exercise.
Personally, I think it is pathetic that society is surprised whenever a 40+ year old displays above average strength and athleticism. I wish I could share these stories as just another day in the neighborhood. There should be no need to highlight this man’s age. We should just be able to appreciate his strength and creativity.
Unfortunately, much of society still believes otherwise. It is not as if people want to become sedentary and unable to enjoy the world around them. The real problem is that many intelligent adults honestly believe that they are too old for exercise. This notion has become somewhat of a wives’ tale that has been passed on from generation to generation.
With that in mind, it is videos such as that above which truly need more widespread attention. Not only do you see a 40+ year old who is strong and capable, but also one who can train anywhere without spending a dollar. He is truly self sufficient. Wherever he goes, you can be sure that strength and vitality will accompany him.
Yet, perhaps most importantly, these priceless attributes are not just available to him. Strength is readily available to almost anyone who desires it. Ultimately, it boils down to an individual’s willingness to display hard work, consistency, and dedication. And fortunately, you can work hard regularly without feeling miserable. It is not difficult to see that this man is enjoying himself. He obviously enjoys his time outdoors.
In summary, the man above provides yet another example that exercise can be fun at any age, and doesn’t need to break the bank. If you wish to stay active as the years pass, you need to stay active. It is as simple as that. There is no secret formula or equation that is yet to be solved. Strength and vitality are there for the taking.
Growing old is a bad habit which a busy man has no time to form. – Andre Maurois12 comments