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Archive for the 'Training' Category

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


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


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


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


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


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.


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


Working Hard With The Basics

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.


Related Entries:

Just Work

Beyond Sets and Reps

Grand Master Jhoon Rhee


None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm. – Henry David Thoreau


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