27 November 2017

Get Help If You Must, But Get It Done


Squatting is one of my favorite lifts. Few movements engage your entire body and builds strength the way this pilar of the big three will. In my peak I was doing around 500 pounds with ease. But I always needed some kind of "help."

Without some sort of knee support or wrap, I can barely get past my warm up sets without my knees feeling they're just going to buckle and collapse under the weight.
Besides the usual wear and tear of decades of pumping iron, competitive running, both track and distance, and just being a big guy, my knees have really taken a beating. I was shot in my knee, by and unknown gunman, basically a sniper.

I've also suffered numerous injuries to the area, many of them unrelated to sports or competition. But I press on anyhow. For me life isn't about giving up or making excuses.

Despite my having to use braces and wraps, I've still gained a ton of fitness and strengh from doing this exercise. In fact, you'll find nearly 99% of the highest level, world class weightifters use some sort of knee support when squatting.

Life Is Like Lifting

There are many things in life that we need to do, that we'll grow from doing, but often shy away from because it seems too difficult. Or something about our condition or circumstance makes it seem like we'll just never be good at it.

It could be a certain course or class. Maybe taking on new challenges at work. But we shy away and avoid it.

Sometimes we hesitate too long before seeking assistance. Asking for help is so often associated with being weak or less than whole. That simply isn't true. It's better to get something done, even if you need some kind of help, be it coaching, mentoring or guidance, than to not get it done at all.

It is virtually impossible to attain your full potential as a person, as a human being, without getting assistance along the way. So don't be afraid, don't hesitate to get help when going after what you want, when seeking what you need. Go get it done!

And at some point you'll be given the opportunity to be someone else's help. Do the righeous thing, pay it forward, keep your cycle going and give back. After all, in this life, the more you give it's the more you'll get.
x

19 November 2017

On Life And Lifting

We're never gonna be what we used to be, but each day we have an opportunity to become something we've never been.

When I first started lifting more years ago than I care to admit here, I had all these big goals and aspirations of what I was gonna get out of lifting. Now decades later I look back through the years and see some it I've achieved, a lot of it I haven't.

My workouts have changed greatly through the years.

When I was young asthetics held a much more prominent place in my motivation than it does now. I mean, who doesn't want to look good right?

But as I've gotten older and have had to deal with natural age related changes in my physical appearance, from thinning and graying hair and other things I rather not talk about, I realized how I look may change more quicker than I can control.

Whereas in the strength department, I'm still basically off the charts, and I've learned I can hold onto that, even increasing and improving it, much more than I can my ruggedly handsome good looks. 

I want to be able to look at heavy stuff, whether weights or real world objects, command it to move and with my might and my muscles, make it move -- without blowing my back out.

Today for the first time in a year I deadlifted in the high 400 pound range and didn't feel like I  was going to die. I also curled 60 pound dumbbells with ease.

Once I was strong, well balanced, a muscular young man. Now I'm middle aged, hanging on to what I got, and looking forward to making the most of what's lays ahead in life.

Today I lift to live. For the long haul. A life of strength and health is what's most important. All else is secondary.

07 November 2017

Trucker Josh -- Living In America

A few weeks ago I had the misfortune of being stuck just outside of Omaha, Nebraska.

Standing in a long line of people waiting for a table or booth to open at a highway diner, it began to look as if it might be lunchtime before I got breakfast.

Josh was ahead of me in line. We struck up the sort of small talk typical of people stuck together in long lines.

He pointed to an elderly couple and told me he'd let them skip ahead of him. I told him that was really kind of him and it just seemed like the right thing to do.



Breaking Bread Together

"Hey, if you want man, when they [the hostess] calls me you could sit with me and you won't have to wait as long, Josh said.

Although home is Virginia, Josh rarely sees it. Not just because he's a long haul, over the road truck driver, but his soon to be ex wife basically told him she really didn't want him around. So for now, he's more or less made the road his home.

He told me stories of some of his epic, near record breaking coast to coast drives. He also explained to me the difference in driving for a good company versus a bad one. For 21 years now, driving trucks is what he's done for a living.


I Got It

When the check arrived, before I could reach for mine, Josh told the waitress "give em both to me, I got it." I asked if he was sure. He insisted.

After exchanging numbers we parted ways and continued on our separate journeys. His was his occupation. Mine was one of discovery and exploration.

"We'll meet again," was the last thing he said to me.

We've stayed in touch and exchanged a few texts and pics from our travels.


A week ago we learned we'd both be in Armarillo, Texas around the same time. So we met for dinner. This time I paid.

Indeed, we did meet again.

29 October 2017

Postcards From The Road

When you travel the country as frequently as I do, your often forced to make a deliberate choice about your direction.

Unlike a daily commute to work, where you can pretty much get by on autopilot and still end up at your destination, a long journey requires a bit more precision if you ever expect to get there. Wherever there may be.

Of course, it's exactly the same in life.  Achievement requires deliberate decisions and persistent effort to get where we want to be. You can't just give up and call it quits after a few wrong turns.

We can get by day to day without ever putting much conscious thought or effort into making decisions.

But in the long run, in the big picture, if you really want to get somewhere with your life, it's going to require accurate, clear thinking  and ongoing deliberate decision making. Not just letting things happen, but MAKING things happen -- the way you want them to.

Somewhere Along The Way You Might Find Out Who You Are

When I first started #JamesAmericanJourney my motivations were pretty simple. I wanted to get up, get out and see the country, meet people, and have unique memorable experiences that would have been impossible had I stayed within the bubble of my everyday routine familiarity.

A year and a half later and having visited 46 states later, a new dimension is being added to the journey. I intended to more carefully chronicle and document some of my experiences and share them with you.

I hope you join me as we explore and discover different places together and meet people and learn their stories, all across this vast and diverse land that is our country.

This is #JamesAmericanJourney.

Welcome Aboard!