All In On Training
I absolutely live to train, and put 100% of my available time and energy into it. Add to this a fairly sizable money outlay for information, diet and supplements (in that order), and I have more than a vested interest in gains. It’s going on almost 4 decades now, so I’m all in – I’ll be doing this until the day they put me into the ground.
At age 48 though, you begin to consider your own mortality. I often wonder what they’ll say at my funeral, and was haunted by that fact until several years ago, when I decided to publish The Blueprint, offer my knowledge on SHR to anyone that would listen and in general, try leaving the world a better place from whence I came.
I’m satisfied I’ve made a meaningful contribution, and you need to too – if you’re wired like me. Part of that though, is doing things outside bodybuilding, things that my son would remember for a lifetime. So it was with that thought that I delved into my recent trip to Disney. It was a big financial outlay, but some things can’t be quantified in dollars and cents. This was one of them. The look on my little man’s face was in a word, priceless.
The trip involved me (and him) taking a full week off of training. With 7 parks to visit in 7 days, there was little time for it. I even loosened up on my diet, so I could enjoy the full experience with my son. What transpired during that week I’ll never forget, and he won’t either: Disney delivered on exceeding expectations, and expectations were high.
The thought of a week off though caused me some trepidation. I had been training flat out for 4 weeks, and the gains were predictable and steady. Even with the thought of my son being happier than he’s ever been, it wasn’t easy. You think you’re going to lose momentum. You think your muscles are going to shrink. And you think you’re losing ground. Here’s what I did to disprove all of that…
Prior to the trip, I took all my measurements, recorded my weight and carefully documented my strength levels. A week later when I returned to the gym, I was bigger. I was stronger. And I was hungry again for the heavy stuff. Specifically, I pressed 135lb dumbells on the flat bench for 5 reps.
A 5lb and 1 rep increase over my previous best. I looked and the mirror and thought I was losing size in my arms. They taped the same after the trip as they did before. Ditto for my chest. My legs actually gained a little. And the rest of my lifts were similar to my flat bench: Everything went up.
Without those hard measurements, your mind plays tricks on you. You look in the mirror and think I’m shrinking. You’re not, at least the vast majority aren’t. In fact the longer you’ve been training without a break, the bigger and stronger you’ll be after a week off.
In the Past
In past cases, I had gone even longer – 12 full days of rest. Previous best on the flat bench was 125lbs DB’s was 5 reps. For 4 workouts in a row, I tried hoisting the 130’s: Nothin’ doin’. Couldn’t even budge them. After 12 days off, I walked in there and pressed the 130’s for 4. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that for people that’ve been over-training (even slightly), taking time off is the surefire way to getting bigger and stronger.
No Time Like the Present
It was the look in my son’s eyes though, that was worth it. Even if I HAD lost something, it would have been worth it. Prior to this trip I was always too worried about $, too worried about training. But it was now or never. He was 12, and in just a year he might be too cool to hang out with Dad. And know this: Nobody guarantees you’ll wake up tomorrow. Both he and I got a stark reminder of that this past Halloween: One of his classmates was hit and killed after he got off the bus and tried crossing the street, his home literally feet away. 12 years old, didn’t live to see 13. When stuff like that happens, it stops you cold. As it stands I get a reminder every week – I take jiu jitsu with his father…
So I want you to re-think your future and how you’re spending your present, particularly if you have children. We’re all in this to have some fun, build some muscle and maybe feel better about ourselves. But please – don’t let something as silly as you might lose a few pounds stand in the way of making memories and maybe even more importantly – making a contribution.
I can assure you, that little boys father never thought he’d be burying his son. You can only imagine how awful that was, but I got to see it firsthand. There are some things in life a lot more important than your bodybuilding goals. Just make sure you’re taking stock of them.
I learned the hard way that in the blink of an eye, everything can change. My message is simple, regardless of what you’ve been putting off.
Go for it now, for the future is promised to no one.