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Archive for the 'Rants By Ross' Category

Separating Yourself From The Majority

The following video was recently passed along by a reader of the site (be aware of foul language). It’s focused on power lifting which I’ve never pursued but the narration resonates with me clearly. The mentality discussed is applicable to athletes from many sports.

The message will likely appear harsh or extreme to many exercise enthusiasts. That’s okay. I am not sharing this video in hopes of creating an army of maniacal followers. Clearly, you must pursue goals that matter to you. Those goals could be casual or extreme. The choice is yours.

More importantly, I am sharing the video as a reminder to promising athletes of any sport. Rarely does one achieve greatness by playing it safe. There will be times when you must take risks if you wish to separate yourself from the majority. No, I’m not suggesting that you seek out injuries or hardship, but you can’t live in fear of them either.

It’s also worth noting that such decisions will often lead to criticism from those around you. Many people in this world do not understand why others live and train with the intention of becoming everything but average. They do not understand the sacrifice, dedication, or work that is required. They will not understand what you do and why you do it.

That’s also okay. They don’t need to understand. Don’t waste time justifying the passion you have to someone who doesn’t share it.

Regardless of how or why you train, there will always be those who disagree with your approach. A week rarely passes without someone asking me why I train as hard as I do. I even have people suggest that something must be missing in my life. They assume that anyone who works harder than them has no life outside the gym.

I am here to suggest otherwise. It is quite possible to live a rewarding life despite training like a beast. I live a regular life outside the gym, but I’m everything but normal inside. Normal is boring. It’s the last thing I want to be.

We all have the right to push ourselves as hard and often as we wish. The critics of the world don’t need to understand why someone opts to be different. There is nothing worse than living your life constantly seeking approval from others around you. If your goal is to become a special athlete, don’t let others dissuade you.

Unfortunately, such words are rarely heard in the industry today. The fitness industry is one that thrives on deception. Supplement companies want you to believe that you just need to pop their pills. Trainers want you to believe that you just need to follow their routines. Equipment manufacturers want you to believe that you just need to use their gear.

It doesn’t work that way. If it was easy, everyone would do it. You can’t train like everyone else and expect to be different. There will be times when you need to train or compete despite pain or fatigue. There will be times when the only decision that makes sense is a decision that doesn’t make sense on paper. Don’t expect to separate yourself if you aren’t willing to separate yourself. At some point, you must be willing to raise the bar to surpass those around you.

Be different, do more, do better, and ignore the haters. When in doubt, follow your passion. It may take you down a bumpy road, but the journey promises to be everything but boring. It’s clearly an individual choice, but I’ll take a few bumps and bruises over a life of mediocrity any day.


Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind. – Bernard M. Baruch


Pick People Up, Don’t Put Them Down

Below is a new video where I share my thoughts about the importance of encouraging inactive individuals to exercise, as opposed to arguing with those who already do.

Time is precious. It is not infinite. Why not use it in a positive and productive way?


There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up. – John Holmes


Ignorance Is Dangerous

I started my website in 2001. It didn’t take long after to realize that not everyone will understand or agree with my ideas. I am okay with that as we’re all entitled to our own interests, opinions, and beliefs. What’s always humored me however are the comments made in regards to exercise safety (or lack of). Whenever I post a video of myself or others performing a strenuous exercise, it’s guaranteed that I’ll receive comments about the dangers of such movements.

Earlier this week I posted a compilation video of random footage from the last 18 months.

As expected, I’ve seen many comments on social media sites such as Facebook citing the supposed dangers of my routine. Perhaps the most humorous comments came from individuals younger than me who warned that I’d be bedridden with injuries as I age. Ironically, I received similar comments almost 20 years ago as an intern in college. I was a young boxer at the time and my boss warned that I wouldn’t be able to maintain the same pace as I entered my twenties. Now as I enter my late thirties, I’m hearing the same warnings about my forties. It never ends.

Such comments remind me of a quote from Chuck Palahniuk,

What you don’t understand you can make mean anything.

In other words, if you have not done something (or aren’t prepared to try), your opinion on the subject doesn’t hold water. For example, I don’t know how to fly an airplane. My opinion about flying is as useful as an ashtray on a motorcycle. The fact that it would be dangerous for me to fly doesn’t mean it is dangerous to fly.

And please don’t misconstrue the point to this entry. I’m not writing this because I care what others think of my routine. What’s more important is combating the fear mongers that discourage others from performing any physical exercise. I hear from people all the time who are genuinely scared to begin training. They’ve been brainwashed to believe that any type of physical exertion is dangerous.

If you’ve ever wondered why I share so many age-related stories on the site, now you know. I post these stories to highlight that the body can handle much more work than the average person will ever comprehend. Age is not the crutch that many believe it to be. No, we won’t live forever, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy our time with health and vitality.

Exercise is not dangerous, assuming you progress gradually, listen to your body, and don’t get ahead of yourself. I’ve been training for over 20 years and have NEVER had any serious injuries in the gym. I don’t take any drugs, recovery supplements or even a vitamin. I’m just a regular person who happens to be passionate about training.

Ignorance is dangerous. Inactivity is dangerous. Letting time pass you by with your ass stuck on the couch is dangerous. Hard work that is performed consistently and intelligently is not.

Since when did hard work become such a rarity? In today’s world, if you work hard to better yourself physically, you essentially become part of a small minority. Meanwhile, physical inactivity is slowly killing countless others.

I still consider myself young, but I see fellow parents in town who haven’t done anything remotely physical since playing high school sports twenty years ago. They can hardly walk a flight of stairs without gasping for air. I’ll take my chances with hard, consistent work in the gym any day over struggling to perform regular daily activities. The body is designed for movement. It is intended for use. You can either choose to use it or choose to lose it. The decision is yours.

As for the fear mongers out there lurking, consider focusing your efforts elsewhere. For example, I’m guessing more injuries result from texting while driving than from lifting weights in the gym. And unlike heavy lifting, it is something that you probably have some personal experience doing.


Fear always springs from ignorance. – Ralph Waldo Emerson


Raising Active Children

Like many proud parents, I love to see my kids in action. Words cannot describe how great it feels to see them excel. I have coached several of my son’s athletic teams already and will likely do the same for my daughter when she is old enough. They both love sports so there is no place I’d rather be than next to them assisting with their development.

It is not uncommon for us to be in the yard playing or out at one of the local fields. Whether it is baseball, basketball, football, or soccer, there’s a good chance we’ll be practicing at some point. Unfortunately, we are usually the only family on the fields. We rarely need to share. Many parents either aren’t making time or falsely assume that kids develop on their own.

Now before I begin my rant, I don’t claim that my opinion is the universal truth. I’m not a fan of generalizations so I won’t categorize all parents and kids together. I am simply sharing some of the observations that I’ve made as a parent and coach. I’ve been around plenty of kids and communicated with many parents.

I’ve also had plenty of parents make comments to me directly about my son. Just this past weekend, one such parent made a comment to me during my son’s soccer game. It’s a line that I’ve heard many times before. I was walking my dog around the field when my son scored one of his two goals that day. As I cheered his name, a parent looked over and commented,

Oh that’s your son? He’s a natural.

Before I could respond, he looked away and continued what appeared to be an ongoing conversation. Rather than start what could have been a lengthy discussion, I simply said thank you and continued walking.

Thinking back however, it is unfortunate that many parents assume that a talented child is naturally gifted. I honestly don’t know how much of my son’s ability is natural and how much comes from what has been a lifetime of activity. My kids have never known life without exercise and sport.

Since day one, they’ve been around pro fighters who come here to train. I still remember my son being amazed when he first saw a car in a garage. As a toddler, he thought every garage was a gym. He was puzzled why someone would park a car there. He wanted to know how they would train.

That’s the mentality he’s been around his entire life. Before he could walk, he would lift his head up and watch me exercise next to him. Seven years later he continues to be as eager as ever. I’ve never once told him to play sports or to go out and exercise. It’s just something he wants to do based on what he has witnessed his entire life.

He will stay outside as long as I let him. He never wants to come inside. Before school he wants to play catch. After school he wants to play basketball or soccer. It’s never ending. He always wants to play something.

My daughter is following in his footsteps. Not only does she have active parents, she’s also got a big brother to follow. I see similar examples from other kids in town. The kids who advance ahead of their peers are typically the kids whose parents are out on the fields helping. Almost every successful athlete that I’ve seen in town has a parent who volunteers.

It isn’t rocket science. The greatest gift you could ever give a child is time. Undivided attention is worth more than anything. Yet while some parents volunteer, I see others who view practices and games as a break from parenting. They drop the kids off before game time and show up late to pick them up afterward. Others sit in the car the entire time. They are oblivious to what is happening on the field. Forget about paying attention to the game, they don’t even know if their kids are safe.

Unfortunately, the kids of these parents often lose interest in sports. There is no one to cheer them on. They have no one to help, encourage, or play with outside of practice. They are essentially on their own and that’s unfortunate. It’s not a case of winning or losing a game. We are talking about children who aren’t given a fair chance to win at the game of life.

If you want your children to be healthy and active, it is your job to lead by example. Don’t wish your children would be more active. Show them how. Set an example that they can follow. And as I make these statements, please don’t misconstrue the message. I’m not suggesting that we create an army of athletes. I’ve always told my kids that I’ll support whatever they do. If my son wants to play the piano instead of baseball, I’d gladly learn alongside him. I’d simply encourage him to remain physically active by continuing to lead by example.

Whatever they do, I’ll be by their side assisting any way I can. I say this not only for athletics, but also academics. If you want your children to excel (at anything), roll up your sleeves and show them the way.

So many of the problems we face today would disappear if more parents stepped up to the plate and did their jobs. For example, childhood obesity would be all but nonexistent if more parents got up and took their kids outside to play. Most kids enjoy running around and playing outside. That’s how they start. The interest is there, but it is up to the parents to keep the flame burning. Naturally, different kids will migrate towards different interests and activities. Yet regardless of individual differences, all kids can share a love for physical activities and adventures.

Once again though, children tend to imitate their parents. If a parent sits on his ass eats himself into a coma, don’t expect the child to act any differently. Actions speak louder than words. It’s one thing to tell a child what to do, yet entirely different to demonstrate through your own daily actions. Kids will forget what you say, but they’ll always remember what you do (and did).

Lead from the front and show them the way.


Kids spell love T-I-M-E. – John Crudele


Handstand Pushups For All

Earlier this week, I shared a prior entry on Facebook about heavyweight athletes and their ability to perform handstand pushups. If you don’t recall the original entry, refer to the link below.

Heavyweight Handstand Pushups

Within that article, I shared stories of Paul Anderson, Doug Hepburn, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Each of these men performed handstand pushups regularly. And while such displays may stand out as unusual today, it was quite common for old-time strongmen to perform such feats. There are countless examples from previous generations. We can add to the list with the following:

Siegmund Klein


Charles Atlas


Bert Assirati


And John Grimek who is pictured below holding Glenn Sundby


And while many current trainers shy away from handstand work (often due to their own inability), it is always nice to see modern athletes perform handstand feats. One example can be seen below from a 220 pound individual. If you thought handstand pushups were only for lightweights, prepare to change your mind.

For those interested in learning how to advance with handstands, refer to the old York courses below.

York Handbalancing Course #1

York Handbalancing Course #2

As you will see, there are no secrets. It all boils down to hard work and consistency.


Everybody pities the weak; jealousy you have to earn. – Arnold Schwarzenegger


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