11 October 2011

What motivates you?

The other day I was conversing with a guy who likes to lift weights too.  Most of the time, when people ask me for advice, I often do not give it.  Most will not get answer they will like (either because it is not easy, it seems esoteric, or because they have to put in the minimal effective amount of effort for their own self experiment).  So I tell them this, and if I am pressed I will explain what I do, and why it might not work for them.

The question posed to me this day, however, was so good I decided I should write about it.  My friend asked, "How do you stay motivated?"  I will share my thoughts on this now.

First off, going to the gymnasium--especially where I train now--is an immensely positive event, and something to look forward to.  I look forward to it because my day job is monumentally boring, and involves talking to a lot of people that I normally wouldn't associate with on a regular basis.  With all these thoughts running around, engaging in physical culture gives me the chance to be thoughtless--a zen like state if you will--and it's not something that happens too often.  If I sit cross-legged for too long, I will start moving eventually and get restless.  The gym allows me time to meditate, and decompress.  Knowing I can do that any time I want is a pretty big thing for me. 

One of the other motivating factors is not following a prewritten program.   I have talked to some people who think it's appropriate to kick themselves in the groin repeatedly for missing a preordained day of their program.  This certainly isn't good for your psychological well being, and when your head's fucked, you get stressed.  And I know a lot of you can attest to the fact that stress can manifest itself physically.  Which can further fuck your performance, hormones and god knows what else.  If you know you will PR any given time you lift, and you are apparently free to choose when you do so, you have released yourself from a bond, which can feel liberating and motivating.

The last part of the preceding paragraph is a nice segue into this one.  PRing every day.  Highly motivating.  If you know you are gonna be better than you were yesterday, what motivating would you not have to go and do something awesome?  And this applies to anything.  I apply it to playing instruments, reading books, and writing.  Not just lifting.

And you can literally PR in anything.  Even in intercourse.  One of the strongest motivating factors for lifting weights, for me,  is to have better sex. I am pretty sure I don't have to convince you that there might be a
a relationship between lifting weights, eating high amounts of protein, and your testosterone levels.

Imagine what a little stamina could do.
Not to mention that there is an obvious correlation between the hip extension of a deadlift/kettlebell swing.  More importantly, if you don't have to worry about whether you will be too winded to bang your significant other(s) you can stop worrying about yourself, concentrate on your sexual partner, and hopefully make it a better sexual experience. 

Besides the obvious relationship between the pelvic motions, the deadlift (and general posterior chain training) is my favorite stuff to do because it can make some really stimulating sexual positions possible.  For instance, there was a time when I could not hold a sexual partner, while free standing.  What a sad day for both of us.
What amounts to a quarter squat and and a little arm work can have a high payoff for both involved.
 If you are especially virile, you can potentially start in a missionary style of position, and go from the floor up.  This will make you feel more manly, and be pretty impressive too.

So, as you can see, sex is a pretty big motivating factor for me. 

Lastly, and I have touched on this before, the weights can be symbolic in many ways.  If there's a bar on your back, and it starts getting easier to move, this is powerful imagery.  As my squat goes up, the imagery becomes especially striking to me, and makes me realize that I can over come obstacles I face in my life.  This is perhaps the most important motivating factor of all.  Overcoming obstacles.  More often than not, you do things to get you to where you are. So it was a choice all along, so in the end you are the only one to navigate these obstacles.  Much like when you decide you want to squat heavier.  You made the choice, you better goddamn do it. 

Please, tell me.  What motivates you? And if you lose motivation often, why?

09 October 2011

A Gym Movement Success Story (and still in the making)

Editor's Note:  A while back I was playing on my Facebook and I received a message from my old friend Aaron Musgrove.  I didn't know he read anything wrote (I don't get a lot of comments here, so it's hard to track who reads or just looks at the pictures).  The message Aaron sent me said something to the effect of how he didn't feel like a piece of shit after he lifted weights and how his stamina is better.  So, I asked to write a bit about his experience on the Gym Movement protocol. Without further ado, Aaron Musgrove.

Pete asked me to contribute. I’m honored. I decided to write about my experience with this method and let the results do the talking/raving.
I started at around 176 lbs and I could bench around 205 a few presses and I couldn’t dead lift more than 225 for a few pulls. I had no idea how to listen to my body and I was mad that x reps and x sets don’t equal the results advertised in muscle magazines.
I now weigh around 189 lbs, I can press around 275(mostly on Mondays and Tuesdays) and I can pull 295 2-3 (mostly on Saturdays) and I don’t read muscle magazines.
I realize that this isn’t a lot of information, but it is more than I ever got from a magazine and way more that I ever did in 4 1/2 months of training until puking, making shit faces, buying supplements or whatever new gimmick was on the menu.
What I do: I wake up and eat. I walk into the gym and walk on a treadmill or something else like that for like 10-15 min. Then I think about what I want to do today. I think about executing that movement and feeling my muscle contract. I take into consideration how I feel, what I did last time I was here and then I make a totally random choice. I can consider whatever I want and think about it all day, but the answer will come from my body. Let’s say I feel like I can dead lift the world today. So I’m going to test dead lifts.

I do a stretch test for a solid baseline and then I simply execute that movement. Now I test again, did I respond well? Let’s say no, I did not respond well. I find that for me I test better on the opposite of whatever  didn’t test well. I didn’t do well with dead lifts so let’s try pressing something. Wow, shoulder press tested great!! Now I shoulder press until I don’t respond well. Next I might try leg extensions, just kidding (that’s for Peter).

 Mondays and Tuesdays I almost always test well with pressing and especially well every 4th week (by this I mean that I actually see a notable difference in the amount of weight I end with. I can actually see my strength increase coming and look forward to it). Saturdays I test great on pulling type movements. Knowing what days I typically test well could have an effect on how I respond as I am thinking about these movements well before I get to the gym.
Essentially I threw out everything I had ever been told and thought and started from scratch using this protocol as my basis. I am sure that I did some things wrong or even differently than I was supposed to or whatever, but the shit changed my life.
I actually promoted this system ( I like calling it a system) to other people, which is a first. I never told people to get this issue of that magazine, or check out this guy’s website or suggested a particular supplement. I would however tell people what routine I was using or what supplement I was on at the time, but only if asked. This I feel strongly enough about to actually push on people like cheap dope at a fair.
Dickhead: what the fuck are you doing?
Me: I’m testing this movement to see what exercises I will do today
Dickhead: bewildered look
Me: I explain the system to the dickhead
Dickhead: yeah well how much longer have you got on this rack because I need to do curls
Me: you need to try this shit, because rack curls are for dickheads and assholes. I used to do rack curls and everyone though I was a dickheaded asshole for doing it
Dickhead: rants about his “guns” and offers to test anything I can think of and that it wont matter because he is jacked and gonna suck today’s dick
Me: ok let’s see about some chest pressing (my strongest exercise for whatever reason)
Dickhead: let’s do it
We both test, I test well and he does not. I suggest that he goes with what his body says and he laughs. We continue to press while my weight goes up consistently, and his peaks quickly and begins to go back down. This asshole admits he is there is “something” to this and says he is gonna have to try it. I like to think I saved this asshole a lot of money and pain. I ran into this dickhead about two months later and he attributed big gains to using this system. He also says that rack curls test well, much to my disapproval.
I have also showed this to just about everyone I know at my gym. Some people claim it is bullshit, some say it works while others are indifferent. I would say that everybody responds differently and that this is the most effective way I have ever found to see how my body responds. I promote this system and encourage it whenever I get a chance. I intend to use it FOREVER. Thanks Peter.