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Archive for the 'Training' Category

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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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

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

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Train Where You Are With What You Have

One of the obvious themes throughout this site is our ability to exercise with minimal equipment. As I have stated many times before, much of my training is performed with homemade tools or objects that were not initially intended for exercise. I am a firm believer in the simple premise that if you want to exercise, you have everything that you need to get started. It does not matter where you are or what you own, there is always something that can be done.

To convey this point, I naturally use myself to demonstrate the potential of low-tech training. Walking the walk is important to me so I will always practice what I preach. I don’t waste time talking about things that I won’t do or haven’t done. Training with minimal equipment is a way of life for me. There are few things I’d rather do than exercise outdoors and enjoy the fresh air around me.

Fortunately, I am not alone in my quest to spread the potential of outdoor exercise. People from around the world have embraced the concept. For instance, an individual from Slovenia recently passed along the following video of him and a trainer partner. You will see a variety of exercises performed throughout their town. I particularly enjoyed the wooded area that can be seen at the 3 minute mark. That short segment has given me several ideas that I hope to build in the future.

In summary, it is always nice to see people from opposite ends of the world who have embraced the same concept. It doesn’t matter where you live. We are all people. When we learn from each other and share ideas, it doesn’t just benefit us, but also those around us. The downstream effect can be significant.

If more people promoted the potential of outdoor exercise, we’d have more people up and moving. And getting more people to become more active will ultimately benefit everyone. It would be amazing to live in a world where the majority of people were healthy and active. I doubt it will ever happen, but making exercise more cost effective and accessible is certainly a step in the right direction.

 

Related Entries:

Outdoor Pull-up Bar

Outdoor Workout In Germany

The World Is Your Gym

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Simplicity of life, even the barest, is not a misery, but the very foundation of refinement. – William Morris

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New Training Interview – Ross Enamait

Below is a link to a new training interview that I recently conducted for a German website. Throughout the interview, I answered a variety of questions that some readers may find useful. A few of the topics include dealing with bad days, mental strength, and strength training for fighters.

As always, if you ever have any other questions, you are welcome to message me directly at [email protected]

New Training Interview – Ross Enamait

Ross Enamait interview

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Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned. – Peter Marshall

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Mental Toughness In The Cold

In previous articles, I have discussed several facets of outdoor training in the winter. I have not only highlighted the potential of outdoor exercise, but I’ve also emphasized the significance of dressing appropriately. Extreme temperatures are nothing to take lightly. It is always important to prepare yourself for the elements around you.

For instance, last year I wrote the following:

It’s vital that you keep the hands, head, and feet warm. Personally, I opt for waterproofed boots, gloves, and a winter hat. I also wear a ski mask if the wind is strong and always dress in layers. I prefer to wear three layers. The first layer is for wicking, the second for insulating, and the third for external protection…

Considering that advice, I was not surprised to see some questions after I shared the following pictures to Instagram.

Winter training - pushups

Winter training - pull-ups

Many people asked if I had a change of heart in regards to winter attire. The reality however is that I still believe it is important to protect and prepare yourself for the elements around you. Over time, I have simply conditioned myself to handle temperatures that may have been too cold for me previously. As a result, there are times when I go outside in a t-shirt or even barefooted as seen above. I don’t stay outside too long, but I am able to perform some exercise without succumbing to the elements.

What’s The Point?

A natural follow up would be to ask what’s the point of conditioning yourself for colder temperatures. Personally, my initial reasons were unique to my situation. During the winter months, my gym becomes quite cold. The temperatures inside the gym are typically lower than outside. Once it gets cold, it stays cold throughout the season.

In previous years, I brought in small heaters to help warm the gym. Heat isn’t cheap though. It gets costly to warm a frigid garage gym. As a result, I eventually decided that I would train without heat. It has now been a few years since I used any heat for myself when training. Early on, I needed much more time to prepare for the cold. Gradually, I was able to improve my tolerance. Now, I am able to train in the frigid winter months without any problems. It isn’t an issue, where in previous years, I couldn’t wait for the summer.

Mental Toughness

Another reason that I conditioned myself for the cold was to challenge myself mentally. I am always looking for new ways to test mental toughness. Conditioning yourself to perform in extreme temperatures all but guarantees a mental battle. At some point, you will be forced to operate outside of your comfort zone. Training in the cold has improved my ability get comfortable being uncomfortable.

A great video that touches upon this topic can be seen below. Former Olympian Cary Kolat shares a story about a Mongolian wrestler that he encountered during his first trip to the world championships.


 

Final Thoughts

There will undoubtedly be readers who question my sanity after reading this entry. Before anyone comments, let me start by saying that I am not urging anyone to train in the cold. It is not necessary for most people to condition themselves for extreme temperatures. It is also worth noting that there are certain environments that can be potentially deadly if you are not dressed appropriately. Extreme heat or cold should never be taken lightly.

I am only writing this entry to share what has worked for me. My decision to train in the cold began as a money savings idea to reduce my heating bill. To my surprise, I was able to condition myself for colder temperatures than I would have ever imagined. I am quite pleased with the results as my outdoor sessions continue to improve from year to year.

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Mental toughness is to physical as four is to one. – Bobby Knight

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