Forget Motivation, Build Habits

WendlerBack

Writes Jim Wendler:

It’s that time again and everyone you know is ready to make a change. More times than not, this means they want to get their ass in a gym and get in shape. Well, I have no idea what “in shape” means to everyone but 100% of people fail for the following reasons:

  1. They have no good training habits. Habits require discipline, not motivation. Motivation drains you and is empty. Discipline and habits always work. They never fail.
  2. They have too many options. I have talked about this many times, but the more options a person has, the more paralyzed they become. You give a person a huge commercial gym and they don’t know where to start. Too many roads, too many decisions. Give a person a squat rack and a platform and the there is only one way they can go. One reason why garage/home gyms work so well for so many – because they don’t have the room or money for much more than a rack, barbell and weights.
  3. They have no idea what to do. Lots of people telling you lots of things; studies totally contradicting each other. Yoga, shake weights, diets, Crossfit and whatever else social media in an attempt to sell you health. What a mess.
  4. They just don’t care – there is nothing anyone can do about this. If you don’t care, just admit it and move on.

So in order to make this new change easy to follow and something that will actually work, here is my plan. Give this to anyone that is ready to start anew. It is not fancy. It does not promise you 25 pounds in 2 weeks, in either weight loss or strength gain. This can be followed by just about anyone who is willing to do what is necessary.

Step One:

Get the book Starting Strength. Learn how to squat, press, bench press and deadlift. Follow Mark’s recommendations for learning and progressing the lifts. Mark is a friend of mine. Mark is also the best resource anyone has on beginners learning how to do the lifts and do them correctly. Do this for 3 months. Don’t change your diet. Don’t add in anything. Don’t take out anything. Just do this. Besides the lifting, I want everyone to do the Agile 8 EVERY SINGLE day. Doesn’t matter when you do it, just do it. In summary: get the book Starting Strength, do Agile 8.

Step Two:

Get the book 5/3/1 2nd Edition. Once you have learned the lifts, follow the 5/3/1 program 2-3 days a week. The only assistance work you will do other than the main lifts are bodyweight oriented (push-ups, sit-ups, back raises, chins/pull-ups, inverted rows, one-leg squats, lunges, step-ups, planks). Do this for 3 months.

Summary: do the 5/3/1 program, bodyweight work and continue to do the Agile 8 every day.

So now we have a very simple plan to follow for the first 6 months. All I’m asking you to do is get the books and train 2-3 days/week with Agile 8 done every day.

Step Three:

Develop great eating habits. All diets suck unless they become habits. Losing weight is great but only smart, habit-fueled people can keep the weight off. And not ruin their lives in the process. Cutting and bulking are horrible ways of teaching you nothing. Smart eating habits make everything easy. To make things simple, I’ve taken some knowledge and condensed it into 6 easy steps.

  1. Eat 3-5 meals/day.
  2. Have some kind of whole food protein at each meal (eggs, chicken, beef, fish). Full-fat meats/eggs are not bad.
  3. Have a fruit or vegetable at each meal. It doesn’t matter what kind – eat what you like.
  4. Drink no-calorie beverages. Yes, you can drink diet soda.
  5. Have some rice, potatoes, oatmeal, whole grain breads, pasta at each meal. Carbs are not the devil.
  6. All meals/food should be WHOLE food.

That’s it. This is called developing good eating habits. Eat less at each meal to lose weight. Eat more of each to gain weight. The key is to develop the protein/fruit-vegetable/carb guidelines at each meal. Don’t count calories.

Step Four:

After each lifting session, do some kind of conditioning work. This means running, biking, elliptical, pushing a sled, mobility circuit, etc. Doesn’t matter too much what you do other than you work for 20-30 minutes. Do NOT kill yourself on this. “Killer conditioning” is moronic. You work hard, smart and will be able to fight another day. This is to be added to your training after 6-9 months of lifting. Until you learn how to lift and be consistent, don’t add anything to it. This is to be done 2-3 days/week.

So in conclusion we are working first to develop great training habits and learn the technique. We will do the Agile 8 every single day to help grease the joints and work on feeling better in every day life. Then we will transition to the 5/3/1 program with bodyweight assistance work. Then great eating habits, which you can carry with you your entire life, are introduced. No more falling for diet bullshit! Think of all the money you will save. Finally, we will do some kind of conditioning work.

  • Lift weights – 2-3 days/week.
  • Conditioning – 2-3 days/week
  • Agile 8 – every day
  • Eating habits – set for life

Stop with the madness of the latest and shittiest trends. They all suck. Develop habits with tried and true methods, don’t overextend yourself and think about LONG TERM results. 365 days from now, where will you be? Small steps lead to great rewards.

Make sure to visit Jimwendler.com for more of his musings on training. You can also find Wendler’s articles on T-Nation.com.

Ramblin’ In Mississippi

Erik Rittenberry

Sun Studio in Memphis

It was a sizzling day in July like all summer days are in Florida. My wife, as beautiful as she is, released me from my domestic responsibilities for a few days to go on a solo trip. I needed to feel something real in this world, you know? I needed a taste of something new, something raw.

With this new found freedom, most dudes would go to the beach, or party it up in Vegas or maybe even California. But not me. At least his time.

I went to the Mississippi Delta to find heaven.

Now… myself, a huge blues lover, was thrilled to be off to where it all started…alone.  I wanted to taste the true America, real America, the authentic America. I wanted to smell the fertile land that the seeds were planted many years ago that  blossomed into the most beautiful sound known…

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Making Money, Getting Strong: Two Grownup Responsibilities

cover-model-physique-franco-deadlift

Writes Mark Rippetoe:

There are more important things in life than money. There is family, learning, music and art, love and friendship, and your health. There is joy, laughter, passion, triumph, the rebound from failure, and the pleasure of accomplishment.

Now it’s time to grow up, son. Because all these important things need to be paid for, and some of them can be expensive. Money is handy like that.

Physical strength is like money in the bank in that it enables you to do the things you want to do with your body. Work, play sports, hunt and fish, and be physically independent well into your later years — physical strength is the basis of all these things.

I know that sitting around the table at The Academy, solving calculus problems, grappling with tough philosophical questions, writing art criticism, calculating reparations payments, and making decisions for other people might seem to be a more satisfying use of time and intellect. If you’re physically lazy, it certainly is.

But you can still do all these things while getting your deadlift up to a respectable weight. I manage.

Intellectual pursuits are indeed important, but having a strong enough body to host an intellect effectively and to enjoy the fruits of intellectual accomplishment into old age is part of the equation. Strength is the antithesis of ill health, and ill health is not how an intellect flourishes.

In fact, the muscle mass that comes with the development of physical strength has been proven to prevent the diseases and afflictions that come with careless aging, the irresponsible lack of attention to maintaining the strength that is everyone’s birthright. Everyone can get and stay strong, but this requires work, and excuses are easier than squats and deadlifts.

The muscle mass that is the hallmark of physical strength is the key to longevity, to health, and to the maintenance of physical function. In its absence, a towering intellect in a weak and sickly body is a sad legacy of physical laziness or profound misfortune.

Unless you plan to get killed, you’d better plan for getting older. All the “cardio” in the world will do nothing to maintain your muscle mass — but effective strength training both grows muscle mass and keeps your heart and lungs in shape. If you have enough sense to know you must devote some time to exercise, strength training is the far more logical way to spend that time.

Money in the bank, muscle on the frame. Both are the consequences of effective planning, and both are among the most important things you can do — if you’re thinking ahead.

Why the Economy Sucks and Will for Years

In the wake of yesterday’s blood bath in the stock market, the so-called financial “experts” are all over TV throwing around their misguided diagnosis. The fashionable opinion of the day is to blame China, tell everyone not to panic and that it’s just a small correction and everything is fine. Very few “experts” are willing to point a finger at the true culprit that has been distorting and artificially propping up a sick economy for decades—the Fed.

For my friends who are unfamiliar with the Fed, here’s a brief summary from Wikipedia with my commentary in parenthesis:

“The Federal Reserve System (also known as the Federal Reserve, and informally as the Fed) is the central banking system of the United States. It was created on December 23, 1913, with the enactment of the Federal Reserve Act, largely in response to a series of financial panics, particularly a severe panic in 1907 (which was manufactured by the financial elite for justification to pass the Federal Reserve Act). Over time, the roles and responsibilities of the Federal Reserve System have expanded, and its structure has evolved. Events such as the Great Depression in the 1930s (which was caused by the Fed and prolonged for over 25 years because of the Fed’s policies) were major factors leading to changes in the system.”

What does Wikipedia fail to mention?

One of the biggest enemies to a free society is a central bank. The founders were vehemently against a national bank because they knew that a handful of individuals put in charge of the money supply would be able to control the interactions of the people and financially swell the government. As Thomas Jefferson acknowledged, “I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.”

In 1913 the US, in secret, created the Federal Reserve, the first national bank. It was created with the goal of restoring financial stability in the US economy. Obviously, it has failed miserably.

Since the birth of the Fed the dollar has lost over 95% of its value and it has created countless boom-bust cycles that have been slowly swallowing up the Middle-Class since WW2. The Federal Reserve’s inflationary policies (printing money out of thin air) is a hidden tax–reducing the purchasing power of our money–which is imposed silently on the American people. The more dollars floating around in circulation the less our dollar is worth.

Writer Erik Voorhees points out:

“The Federal Reserve System is fraudulent. Whatever its stated purpose, its effective purpose is to create a mechanism of deficit spending by politicians, through the insidious invisible taxation of monetary debasement (aka inflation). With printed money, the Government can buy services for its voters before the effects of inflation are felt. It is then the voters whose money buys less the following year, as the new money has raised prices, and they are none the wiser.”

Today, in the name of financial recovery, the Fed’s perverted policies force interest rates to the floor as to “stimulate” a spending spree. Sure, it works for the short term, but what it truly does is punish honest savers who get zero return on their savings. So instead of saving people spend and rack up obscene debt. The  zero-interest rate policies also cause a massive misallocation of resources by business owners. This causes false prosperity (boom) across the economy, which in time, is followed by a bust. This is what we’re seeing now. And it’s going to get uglier.

Former Congressman Ron Paul as been trying desperately to shed light on this fact for many years. And he also understands that “though the Federal Reserve policy harms the average American, it benefits those in a position to take advantage of the cycles in monetary policy. The main beneficiaries are those who receive access to artificially inflated money and/or credit before the inflationary effects of the policy impact the entire economy. Federal Reserve policies also benefit big spending politicians who use the inflated currency created by the Fed to hide the true costs of the welfare-warfare state.”

The mere fact that Trump, like all US politicians and presidential contenders, are solely blaming China for the market plummet is just another fabulous sign of how much trouble we’re in. What eludes the political establishment is the basic understanding of macroeconomics. As usual, no one’s looking at the true culprit—the central bank and its expansionary monetary policy. And if you aren’t able to comprehend the problem you’re unlikely to present any logical solutions.

What is needed?

The Fed doesn’t need to do anything (except go away forever). Allow the correction. Let the system flush out the bad assets. Quit tinkering with interest rates and let the market determine the price of money. No more QE (money printing).

In short, let the economy work naturally. This approach worked well in the economic downturn of 1921. But of course it’s rarely studied or talked about by the imbeciles of finance.

Jim Grant, in an excellent interview on CNBC yesterday, speaking on the market collapse rightly pointed out that “we have too much of something, which is financed by an excess of credit or debt. That, to me, is the essential backstory to this morning’s difficulties. It’s the mispricing of asset values, led by central banks who think that by inflating or lifting up stocks, bonds, real estate, they will thereby engender prosperity…

“In capitalism there is meant to be failure. It’s like the forest floor. There is life, there is regeneration, there is death. Without that, what you find is a bunch of dead fern.”

Anyone who is serious about living in a free society with real prospertiy must realize that central banking is the enemy. A government that has its own bank in its back pocket to print gazillions of dollars at will to finance whatever war they want to wage, or pay for whatever program they want to start, will continue to swell in size. Wages will remain stagnant as they have been for decades, and our freedoms will continue to diminish along with the purchasing power of our hard earned money.

End the Fed.

The System Will Not Be Fixed Politically

Writes Paul Rosenberg at freemansperspective.com:

Another American election cycle is upon us, and large numbers of people are lining up to pour their time and money into the sewer of politics, to be lost forever.

This system will not be fixed. Period. This is Rome in 460 AD. The rulers, as in Rome, are liars, mad, or drunk (these days, drugged)… or all three.

The “fall of Rome,” of course, was far more complex than we learned in school, but through all the many years of its decline, Rome was full of well-meaning people trying to reform and save it. And by the way, among the people who tried the hardest to keep the Roman game going were the Goths. They tried hard to keep Rome operational… and they failed too.

Let me be clear on this: Once ruling hierarchies get beyond a certain point, they cannot be reformed. And I am sure that the modern West is beyond that point.

  • Do we really believe that central bankers will just lay down their monopolies?
  • Can we seriously expect a hundred trillion dollars of debt to be liquidated without any consequences?
  • Do we actually believe that politicians will walk away from their power and apologize for abusing us?
  • Do we really think that the corporations who own Congress will just give up the game that is enriching them?
  • Does anyone seriously believe that the NSA is going to say, “Gee, that Fourth Amendment really is kind of clear, and everything we do violates it… so, everyone here is fired and the last person out will please turn off the lights”?
  • And does anyone believe that the military-industrial complex will stop encouraging war, or that corporate media will stop worshiping the state, or that your local sheriff will apologize for training his cops to be vicious beasts?
  • Do we really believe that public school systems will ever stop lauding the state that pays all its bills?

I could go on, but I think my point is made: This system will never allow itself to be seriously reformed. Trying to fix this is like trying to revive a long-dead corpse.

The systems that rule the West will fail.

Whether the wider Western civilization fails is up to us: Do we have civilization inside of us? Or was it all just a pattern that we followed?

Read the rest of the article here

jehovah’s witnesses at my door

jehovah witnesses knocked on my front door the other day.

two old ladies, sweet and pleasant,
with beautiful southern hats
were standing on my porch as
I opened the door.

hair disheveled, shirtless,
my tattooed body staring
at them.

they greeted me with nervous eyes
as they talked to me about their god.

they smiled, made small talk and
read their cherished scriptures
written by unknown authors.

soliciting their view of salvation.

it took all I had not to expose some of the
fallacies in their belief system.

it took all I had not to remind them that
being devoutly passionate in their beliefs
is not a measure of their accuracy.

but I was quiet. I let them read
and I politely took their pamphlet.
I gave them a thank you smile,
figuring nice people are better off
left alone in their fantasies.

as long as it gives them hope and meaning
in this circus of life, you know?

as they left, I shut my door,
tossed the paper into the trash
and headed out back to my patio.

I sat beside the dead ferns and the stale leaves
that had fallen from my backyard oak.

I subtly sipped my whiskey
and sucked in my version of salvation
through a cigar
and slowly exhaled it out to the gods.

and as I sat back,
trying to find my place in the book I was reading,
my mind wandered and
I caught myself recklessly
bleeding nonsensical thoughts on
fate, eternity and immortality.

damn those sweet old ladies,

they got me.

shadow

DSCF2071

it’s rare to find someone real,
someone with intelligence
who can speak unfiltered
on the beauty and enigma
of life. and smile too.
it’s rare.

me and you
stardust messed together
with perfect elements of
chaotic wonder,
sitting on the dock
of eternity
drinking
consumed by the
epilepsy of the hour,
gazing up
at our dazzling ancestors
laughing, as the world
blisters
one another
with ignorance.

we remained radiant
among the filth
promising each other
to never catch fire
as we walk through this flame
and we accepted
our insatiable
hunger,
our unquenchable
thirst
to turn away
from it all.

And with your
midnight eyes
your red lips
your black nails
your black dress
& heels,
a graceful martyr
of the violent night
baptized in your shadow,
the one you’ve asked me
to surrender to,
many times.

in your dark
i see a glimmer of light,
your light
illuminating
that lost place
between
past and future.