Renegade Attittude

Posted by Jason Ferruggia

There are thousands of people who read this site every day who will never make it to Jersey to train at Renegade. So I debated even posting this since it won’t really apply to most of you. But then I realized that no, that’s wrong. It will apply to anyone who trains hard, takes this stuff very seriously and expects the same of all around them.

I’ve mentioned my close friend, Mark Crook plenty of times before. He would be a great addition to any serious gym or group of training partners anywhere in the world. He brings it each and every time and sets an example for those around him. He’s also close to fifty years old, with no signs of slowing down.

The other night I got an email from Mark telling me that he had written this after being at the gym training earlier in the evening. That’s how much training means to him.

Other people go to the gym on a daily basis to get a pump or get their heart rate up or hang out with their friends. But not Crook. He’s like each and every person who visits this site regularly and trains Renegade style. It means so much more to him than that.

So, even though he’s not talking directly to you I still thought it was a pretty good read from one of our fellow brothers in Iron.

Like Dan John, I don’t get this whole idea that seems to permeate fitness these days that every workout has to be the greatest training session of your life. Nothing else gets linearly better so why should training? There is something to be said for lighter or easier workouts. And sometimes just going through the motions is actually beneficial; especially on days you don’t have it. But only if you actually train hard most of the other times.

You need to learn to train hard before you can learn to take it easy.

I hope that all the people who train at Renegade take this to heart and can answer Crook’s call.

Introducing my friend, Mark Crook, unedited, rough, rugged and raw…


I wrote this a few weeks ago and felt it relevant to post as I was happy to train at Renegade Friday night as well as help train a few crews… sorry for the length but felt it worth sharing…

Due to my office moving 2hrs away, I haven’t been able to make it to Renegade my usual 3-4x per week. Instead I try to get there as often as I can, usually on a Saturday. This week I’ve been fortunate to be able to get there Monday and Wednesday. I trained at some times and I helped train others at different times. It gave me an opportunity to see some of the usual crew as well as some of our new members– a great group of people and I was happy to see everyone.

Being gone allowed me to look at the gym and individual dynamics with a different perspective (an outsider if you will)… I observed everyone and wondered what they were thinking, where they were “mentally” regarding their training session, what their effort looked like, etc. It got me thinking even further— I wondered what Renegade meant to each one of them, what did it represent to them…

Did it mean as much to them as it does to me?

Do they think about this place all day like I do?

Now most of you know me and know what I am about, at least in the gym. I am committed to representing our place in and out of the gym …I am not the biggest or strongest but I will bring our attitude…the gym is too special to me and like me or not, I will protect it.

That said, here’s what I commit to…

•    I will bring it every day that I walk through that door. Asking for 45 minutes of 100% focus is not asking much yet the positive impact is significant– not only to me but everyone else in that room.

•    I’m on the fence about the acceptable training mental state and the science behind mental state. I also know everyone may “bring it” in their own way. Now it could be argued that one should maintain a state of control (controlled chaos if you will) — intense but staying focused on the task at hand, not frying your CNS within the first 5 minutes and strategically accomplishing your goals for the day. But I still love the days of old when I witnessed Jared breaking a florescent light bulb over his head before a lift or projectile vomit mid-way through a max effort deadlift. Or the memory I have of reaching the wooden door (no windows) to the gym and finding a large hole through the center of it so I could see into the gym from the outside (a result of a fight earlier that day that occurred in the middle of an intense workout).

No one was friends for an hour, no one spoke and everyone tried to one-up the other. We would watch video of the training session immediately afterward to check our form and congratulate each other on good lifts. There is something to be said about training in that kind of environment. So when I train, I commit to providing a blend of both worlds. I also don’t think it is a coincidence that when I work in with a group, people suddenly get stronger. Or when I train with someone with a similar state of mind, I get stronger… it is the environment that I try to create on behalf of my training partners.

•    I will be challenged and I will challenge. Not only through motivational feedback from a trainer or partner but through my actions. My days of squatting and deadlifting big are over due to my back but I promise you I will challenge and find ways to beat you in other ways and other exercises… and I will beat you.

•    I will pay attention to my training partners… spotting them, providing tips or feedback that will help them improve. I will do all I can to help you achieve your goals. I will do that even though I want to bury you. If I’m going to beat you, I want you at your best.

•    My warmups are practice for my work sets. My focus and form will be just as good with the bar as they are with a heavy set of 3.

Now I ask all that train at Renegade–  very special people to me … what do you commit to?

Will you protect this place and represent it as only it should be represented?

Will you motivate and be motivated?

Will you contribute to each and every training session in a positive manner?

Will you?