Throughout my life I’ve encountered numerous individuals who had little to no passion for anything. No hobbies they really enjoyed, no sports team they got behind, no causes they felt strongly about, no interest in world issues, they never read a book and were very indifferent towards music.
I find it impossible to relate to these kinds of people because I am beyond passionate about a whole hell of a lot of things. My friends would probably say obsessed. Unhealthily so, even.
Most regular readers know by now of my love for music, particularly Pearl Jam and old school hip hop. I’ve seen PJ live over 50 times and probably have another 50 shows in me. I listen to old school hip hop every day of the year and make it to any live shows within driving distance. Between iTunes and concert tickets I probably drop over ten grand a year on my music obsession.
When I walk into someone’s house for the first time my initial instinct is to make a bee line toward their book shelf. In the old days I was torn between that and their CD case but the invention of the iPod has made this decision easier the last few years. I want to know what they’re reading and what they would recommend to me.
If they had a case of live fitness models on display in another room I’d still stop at the book shelf first.
I’ve seen every episode of Seinfeld about a hundred times each and can recite the lines right along with the characters.
I was at the first five WrestleMania’s and up until things started going down hill the last 4-5 years I never missed a pay per view or episode of Monday Night Raw.
Jen and I watch all nine innings of all 162 Yankees games per year and are rabid New York Giants fans. I can still vividly remember running through the parking lot in ten degree weather with no shirt on and my face painted back when they won the NFC Championship game in ’86.
I have a strong love for movies with a message that deal with social issues I’m passionate about like Glory, American History X, Hotel Rwanda and Mississippi Burning.
But the one obsession I have the eclipses all others is that for training, nutrition and all things health related. Obsession is actually too tame of a word and doesn’t describe it adequately.
While I may be iTunes favorite customer, Amazon has got to have a special place in their heart for me since I don’t seem to be able to get through a single day without ordering a new book on training, nutrition, digestion, natural healing or longevity. I read at least one new one per week, often times two. I can’t get enough.
Back in high school you couldn’t pay me to read anything but Sports Illustrated and Rolling Stone. My 1.7 GPA probably reflected that. As did my SAT score. Although for someone who simply checked “C” the whole way down for every single answer I thought I did pretty good… (Sorry, Mom)
Nowadays I discuss the topics of training, nutrition and health endlessly throughout each week. I’m lucky enough to know many of the worlds top experts in each of these fields to bounce ideas off of and learn from.
Which brings me to the point of this whole thing. Since I never stop experimenting and learning, my views and recommendations are bound to change from time to time. It’s just part of the natural evolutionary process.
Any organism that isn’t growing is dying.
It is not only my obsession but also my job and my responsibility to you guys to constantly be in search of a better way. I don’t want to just rehash the same old tired stuff I was telling you five years ago. If I did that it would mean I haven’t learned anything new and that I was a failure as a strength and conditioning professional.
Back in ’96 I might have given you the old “squats and milk” answer if you asked me how to get big and strong. But now I know that a large number of people can’t squat safely and that milk (unless it’s raw) is unfit for human consumption.
In 1999 I might have recommended supplements full of artificial ingredients like aspartame, dyes and other chemicals. Now I know that performance increases and physique changes start with optimizing your gut health, first and foremost above all else.
Consuming fake crap does not optimize your gut health. It destroys it. That’s why I only recommend the highest quality supplements these days, like One World Whey made with raw milk from grass fed cows. It’s simply not worth risking your health and will only slow down your progress.
In 2001 I thought gaining size was simply a matter of calories but now I know that it’s quality calories. I also know now that you can get by on fewer calories and carbs than previously thought if those calories are from ultra high quality, nutrient dense foods.
In ’03 I might have allowed clients to train to failure more often than they should simply because it created a better, more competitive atmosphere in the gym. Now I forbid it.
If you came to me for fat loss advice in 2005 I wouldn’t have told you that the most important first step is to detox your liver, simply because I didn’t know that yet.
A program I wrote in 2007 might have higher reps than a program I would right now, which would have very few sets going above eight.
A few years ago I would have been more concerned with over training than I am now because I’ve come to realize over the years that Louie Simmons was right all along and that most people just aren’t in shape to train and would be well served to bring up their GPP and work capacity.
In the past I may have recommended 5-6 meals per day whereas now I recommend 1-3 (more on this and The Renegade Diet in future posts).
Was I wrong about some of the things I’ve said in the past?
And I have no problem admitting that.
The best I can do is move forward and always continue evolving and learning through research and experimentation. Now, that doesn’t mean I was wrong about everything or that I’ve changed my mind on every single topic.
Nor does it mean that a program I wrote three or four years ago won’t still be effective. Not at all. It’s just that I’m always in search of a better way. As soon as I find that better way I experiment on myself and then some of my clients and friends. Finally, when I’m confident in what I’ve learned, I present the information to you guys.
I’m dedicated to always brining you the absolute best information I can and helping you get healthy and achieve all of your performance goals as fast as humanly possible.
Over the last several months I’ve been able to think with a clarity I never have before. This is all due to lifestyle and dietary changes (such as improving my sleep, lowering cortisol, detoxing my liver, regenerating my adrenals, going on an anti fungal/parasite regimen, certain supplements I’m taking, etc.) which I will share with you in the near future. It’s some of the most life changing stuff I’ve ever encountered and I want you to experience it first hand.
Because of this new found heightened level of mental focus and clarity I have been able to look at things in a different way. I’ve been able to make an honest assessment of every single thing I was recommending and decide if I still believed in or not. Sometimes the answer was yes, sometimes the answer was no.
I’ve always taken great joy in watching human beings evolve dramatically. Malcolm X was a completely different person in the middle of his life than he was in his early years. And after his trip to Mecca he made another remarkable transformation.
I’ve also experienced disappointment when seeing guys who haven’t evolved. The old friends who are still acting like they’re in high school or even coaches recommending all of the same things, across the board, that they were a decade ago.
I went to see House of Pain perform recently and couldn’t have been more let down after seeing that they were still playing the tough guy roles and fighting being white like it was still 1992. Everlast, in his mid to late 40’s, challenging a guy in the audience to brawl was quite the turn off. (Although I’ll still rock La Coka in the gym on a regular basis).
I never want to be that guy. I look back at myself from ten years ago and hardly recognize the guy I see in my memories. We’re two very, very different people. Hell, we might not even get along that well.
That’s why I respect Mike Boyle so much. Mike will always tell you before every seminar he gives that what he is recommending right now may be different next year. It’s simply the best information he has to present at the time based on his most recent findings. In other words he never stops learning. How can you not love that?
On my left arm I have a traditional Japanese style snake tattoo. According to the mythology it represents constant change in a positive direction because the snake is always shedding its skin. To me it’s all about evolution and continually getting better and reinventing myself.
“I believe that one defines ones self by reinvention. To not be like your parents. To not be like your friends. To be yourself. To cut yourself out of stone.”
– Henry Rollins
On my right arm I have a traditional Japanese style koi fish. According to Japanese mythology the koi has to fight its way upstream throughout its life with the goal being to make it past a gate, where upon doing so it gets to become a dragon. To me this represents always setting goals and striving to get better, even if it means I’m swimming upstream against the norm or popular opinion.
And that is my goal for this website, my business and all of you that take the time to read what I have to say…
To constantly evolve and get better.
So if you see me say something in 2011 that contradicts something I said in 2006 now you know why. I will never stop experimenting, researching and learning.
I love this stuff too much.
And at the end of the day I want to help as many people as possible. No Pearl Jam concert or Giants Super Bowl victory could make me happier than knowing I was able to do just that.
So I hope I’ve been able to help you in some way, and I hope I can do even more for you in the future.
As always, thanks for reading, my friends.