Go All the Way

This will be a short post on inspiration. Watch this youtube video version of a Charles Bukowski poem by Wilhem Martinot.


The lesson here being to go all in. Whatever it is that you are struggling or fear, attack it with 100% of your mind, body and soul. Shed the nagging things holding you back.  Buy all in. Conquer your fears and yourself. Don’t take no for an answer. Go all the way.

Let me know what you think.

A Journey of Iron

I was fortunate enough this past month to travel to Germany and Austria. It was an incredible experience with some of the most beautiful scenery that I have ever laid eyes upon. Castles (Schlosses), cathedrals, snitzel, bier, museums, Sound of Music tour, and countless other experiences made it an amazing trip, but there was one part of the trip that stood out in my mind. Out of everything I saw and did there is one attraction that I tell all my friends about, and they shake their heads in envy. This journey did not take us to an important battlefield or beautiful landmark, we did many of those tourist things, but instead it took us to a small village outside of Graz named Thal to a decent sized country home. Not just any house, but the childhood home of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The journey began like many other days on our trip did with us, my girlfriend and I, sitting in our Salzburg hotel room plotting our route across Austria. I had been quite pleased with our vacation so far having seen and done a great bit around Munich. As she scrolled through her phone an idea struck my girlfriend that changed this trip into a pilgrimage for me. You see originally we had planned on making a beeline across Austria to Vienna not wanting to ‘waste’ our precious time delaying our journey to Vienna. As we scoured the Internet for the best activities, she came across an article about a guy’s trip to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s childhood home, now museum to the bodybuilding/acting/politic dabbling/action movie superstar.

At first I was a little jealous, why hadn’t I thought of such an awesome idea? Visiting the childhood home of one of my heroes sounded fantastic. Then she added the icing on the cake, his original gym, where he first started weight training, was only 12 miles from his house, another easy stop. It seemed that the stars were aligning for me. I was sold. Then she said that there was a problem, it was a two-hour detour on our three hour trip from Salzburg to Vienna, cities on either end of Austria. As we weighed our options, I realized that this was something I had to do. Arnold was an idol to me and influenced me to get into the gym, something that has stuck with me to this day, but it’s more than that. Arnold has always been a person who has set the bar so high for himself and come through on top. Aside from his various scandals, he has proven himself to be at the very least a role model for success in his multitude of careers.

The next day we followed the signs to Graz flying down the autobahn, but avoiding the far left lane, much better left to the locals going 120 mph+. We drove to the small village of Thal, in the mountains west of Graz. We traversed the back roads and with only a few turnarounds, due to a spotty GPS, we arrived at a beautiful cream colored home with a small parking lot out front. I looked around expecting lines of Arnold fans waiting to get in, well at least a few other cars, but we were the only car in the lot. This better be open, I thought, or we wasted the better part of the day and our trip on a fool’s errand. We got out of the car and situated in front of this nice Austrian country home was a giant bronzed statue of the Austrian Oak himself doing his most massive full flex back pose. I exclaimed excitedly, “This must be it.”

I raced toward the house like a kid on Christmas morning bounding toward the presents under the tree. Empty parking lot. Closed doors. Could this gem in the mountains be closed? Could today be some obscure Austrian holiday causing the museum to be closed when my pilgrimage was so close to being complete?

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After taking a few photos with the statue trying my best to imitate the full-flex, and sadly falling way short, I placed my hand on the door and pushed. Without a Herculean effort the door swung inwards, and we stepped inside. It looked a lot like any other home, but I could feel the source of awesomeness ebbing forth from it. A friendly lady at a welcome desk waved us inside. “You guys aren’t closing are you,” I said tentatively fearing the wrong response. “No, come on in,” she replied. Whew. She explained the tour, we paid, and she pointed us toward the first room inside this home turned museum.

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The first room was dedicated to Schwarzenegger’s childhood and life as a young man in Austria. It had childhood toys, his bed and memorabilia from his time as a tank operator in the Austrian military. After another round of photos, we stepped into his governor’s room. It had Arnie’s gubernatorial desk and another chance for a photo op with a Governor Arnold manikin. Up some stairs we found a room dedicated to the movie star’s long film career. The room held posters from films, Terminator manikins, his suit from Batman and Robin (albeit not one of the better Batman films), and my favorite the Conan the Barbarian sword. The next room was dedicated to this bodybuilding career housing weights, trophies, a bodybuilding Arnold manikin (pictures took place again), and a bench press. I was really hoping to squeeze out a few reps, but a ‘Please Do Not Touch’ sign blocked my path of lifting where Arnold lifted, don’t worry this was rectified later when we went to his childhood gym. We finished our tour by viewing the Schwarzenegger family’s original toilet.

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All in all, it was a small museum, but filled with enough goodies to please any true Arnold fan. We went back to the check in area where we decided to purchase a wide array of souvenirs, as well as a beer. We stepped outside to the Schwarzenegger’s back patio which combined with some nice fall weather was wonderfully relaxing. But our Journey of Iron did not end here. The woman that worked at the museum was nice enough to give us the address of Arnold’s first gym located 12 miles away in Graz.

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So we piled back into our car, and we followed patchy GPS commands toward the center of Graz. There we pulled up to an old industrial looking building with a sign on it that read Sport Union. We weren’t exactly sure, but it seemed to be some sort of community gym. We parked the car in a dirt parking spot on the side of the road. We probably needed a pass, but somehow I got the feeling that nobody would care.

After the 20 minute car ride, we were in impressed by the fact that young Arnold would walk/ride his bike to this gym. A symbol of true commitment to their craft and an eye opener for anybody who is daunted by the fact they must drive 2 miles to the gym.

We started looking for the entrance. There were no signs where we had parked so we boldly walked around the back of the building. A soccer (football) field lined the back of the building, along with some picnic tables where a couple of men sat drinking beers spoke to the casualness of the entire area. Unheard of in America, but we weren’t in America.

We walked through some doublewide doors and down a bunch of steps. It was dark, and reminded me of my old high school gym. Down a few more steps and the walls were covered top to bottom with bodybuilding photos, photos of Arnold with the owner Kurt Marnul, and other famous weightlifters from the area.

Kurt Marnul was Arnold’s mentor when he first started bodybuilding and weight training. Unfortunately, Marnul wasn’t there because I am sure he would have given one hell of a tour. In fact, as we walked into the gym there was only one patron. He didn’t bother to give us a second look and continued his workout. Aside from the lone unenthusiastic gym goer, I could feel the power of this place. I knew in my gut that Arnold trained here and trained hard. I looked at all this old equipment, the polar opposite of the large gyms in the United States, and I had a better understanding of Arnold’s ambition.

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You see it was a different time then. Bodybuilding was still in its infancy. It hadn’t become this mainstream phenomenon it is today. Back then, people weren’t shelling out thousands of dollars a year on gyms, trainers, and supplements. It was growing. It was a small sub-culture. As its followers grew bigger and stronger so did the sport. Then again, most things start small, sometimes in someone’s dank basement or in Arnold’s case, Marnul’s dark gym. I knew one thing immediately from stepping into this gym, and that was it took dedication and true love of the sport to come here everyday.

The old equipment and even older rusted dumbbells, placed the gym in time, and it made me long for a gym where I could go to that was bare to the bones. One that was simple and raw. A gym that was made for people that were serious about lifting and training. I imagined that this was what Marnul’s gym was at some point. Filled with a few dedicated sportsmen regarded warily by people on the outside. People that could not understand their dedication or why they did it. I think about my current gym with all its patrons standing around, sitting on benches, chatting it up while all the weights lie in a position of rest, while this old gym, birthplace of Arnold’s spirit lies barren of sportsmen. Fancy equipment, state of the art machines, and expensive memberships didn’t give Arnold the edge. They really don’t give anybody anything. Hard work, consistency, perseverance and drive are what builds people up. Or in Arnold’s own words. “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”

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I walked through the machines and weights picking up a few and gently laying them back down, in awe that at some point one of my heroes started out here. I hopped on the dip machine and ripped out a few reps for my poor girlfriend holding the camera. I am sure that she would have much preferred visiting a winery or walking the streets of beautiful Vienna or stopping in a coffee shop frequented by writers and musicians, but instead she stood in a dingy basement gym in Graz watching me revel in my weight infused glory. She understood what this meant to me, but I don’t think anyone truly understands the impact of Arnold on American pop culture especially for men my age. Either way I was grateful to have the experience. To me it was a once in a lifetime experience, one that will never be forgotten because sometimes you never can really understand someone’s journey until you’ve seen where they’ve come from.

If you find yourself in Austria and want to visit Arnold’s home, check out their webpage at: http://www.arnieslife.com/inhalt/en/welcome.html

It was incredibly hard to find the address to the gym. Almost every website link just says ‘he trained in a local gym in Graz.’ Not very helpful. However, after a good amount of research and talking to the staff at the museum you can find his first gym and hopefully Kurt Marnul here: Athletik Union Graz, Hüttenbrennergasse 31a, 8010 Graz, Austria

Thanks for reading. If you like what you’ve read, sign up to be on my mailing list. I promise to never give away or sell your information. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please do not hesitate to leave a response below.

Photo Credits: The author reserves all rights to photographs except Conan the Barbarian Sword photo found on theheadbangingmoose.wordpress.com.

 

The Remaining Book Series Review

I would like to give a very serious thumbs up to DJ Molles author of The Remaining series of zombie apocalypse books. DJ Molles is a relatively new author who has taken the zombie/apocalypse genre by storm since debuting his first indie novel The Remaining in 2012. Since then he has published three more books in the series, Aftermath, Refugees, and Fractured and two novellas Trust and Faith. Just recently he announced that he has been picked up by Orbit in a publishing deal. Major props go out to this young author and his success.

So far, he hasn’t released all the details of how long the series will be, but there will be at least one more full-length book in 2015. I suspect he will probably extend the series out to at least seven novels, but only time will tell.

The first book of The Remaining series, focuses on a single hero/protagonist, Captain Lee Harden, who is part of a secret government program that has him go into a bunker under his house, anytime there is a national emergency to ensure that the there is a continuity of operations should the government collapse. I don’t want to spoil any surprises, but let’s just say he must go into action when a virus destroys most of mankind leaving it up to him and his fellow survivors to begin the rebuilding process for the United States.

It is a unique idea for a beginning book of a series, and each book thereafter both widens the scope of world he shares as well as the depth of the characters. The main character Harden is both believable, likable, and at most times invincible, and you root for him the entire time.

The books are not epic in length, but they might seem shorter because Molles keeps you engaged throughout each novel.

I have not read the novellas yet, but the novels are 5/5 star books that deserve a spot in your reading queue. Read The Remaining. If you don’t think it is worth reading the second book Aftermath, I would be very surprised.

As always, thanks for stopping by. If you like what you are reading, please be sure to sign up to be on the email list. The subscribe box on the left. I promise to never share your information with any outside parties.

Check out The Remaining Facebook page(he admittedly doesn’t update often)

https://www.facebook.com/iamtheremaining

Here is a link to an interview with DJ Molles

http://zombiepop.net/d-j-molles-signs-orbit-book-5-delayed-early-2015-wth/

Links to his books


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6 Must Dos and Must Eats on Mackinac Island

One of my favorite places to go is Mackinac Island, MI. If you haven’t been, it should be the top of the list for a visit to the Great Lakes State. Here are some Must Dos and Must Eats on Mackinac Island.

6 MUST DOS

  1. FORT MACKINAC: A beautiful white limestone fort originally built by the British to control the Straights of Mackinac that connect Lake Michigan with Lake Huron. The place of an American surrender in 1812 and an American defeat trying to take back the fort in 1814. Garrisoned for most of the 1800s this fort is filled with history. Today, the fort is kept like when it was garrisoned by American soldiers in the mid 1800s. Reenactors explain to kids what was like to live at the fort and they shoot the cannon off periodically during the day. Great for kids and adults alike.
  1. ARCH ROCK: A very unique limestone arch rock bridge formed in glacial periods. It is a great photo opportunity over looking Lake Huron.
  1. GRAND HOTEL: Built in 1887 this wonderful old hotel boasts one of the longest front porches in the world. If you have the opportunity, staying here is a once and a lifetime experience. Between the excellent 5 course meals, afternoon tea, a cigar room, a jazz band with dancing, along with a dress code attire after 5 PM, this hotel feels like you have stepped back in time. It has also been the setting of two films: Somewhere in Time (1980) and This Time for Keeps (1947). I would suggest watching one before you go or both.
  1. PLAY A ROUND OF GOLF: The small island has two golf courses. Wawashkamo Golf Club is the oldest golf course in Michigan(1898). The Jewel at the Grand Hotel is the other. The two 9 hole courses are split up with a 15 minute carriage ride.
  1. OLD BRITISH FORT HOLMES: An earthen redoubt/outpost built by the British to defend against the Americans from retaking the island in the War of 1812. It is located at the highest point of the island. A good hike to the top of the island offers an excellent view.
  1. BIKE/RUN/WALK/CARRIAGE RIDE AROUND THE ISLAND: By far one of my favorites is a jog/run around the island. Most people ride bikes or take horse drawn carriages around the 8.01 mile island. Following the M-185, the only highway in the United States that doesn’t allow automobiles on it, this relatively flat paved road has a host of scenic stopping points for pictures and panoramic photos. A great way to enjoy the summer outdoors with the family.

6 MUST EATS

  1. The CHUCKWAGON: Has an EXCELLENT BURGER. The small diner sized restaurant won’t disappoint. The owner and grill master cooks the delicious food right in front of patrons. Make sure to get there early because there is almost always a line for the limited seating establishment. $
  1. THE WOODS: For some GREAT AMBIANCE AND GREAT GERMAN FOOD, take a carriage ride to THE WOODS, a beautiful Bavarian style manor. Have a cocktail and hand bowl in one of the oldest bowling lanes in the country. The food is a wonderful Bavarian cuisine and I loved the schnitzel. $$
  1. GRAND HOTEL DINING ROOM: FIVE COURSES and AN EXPERIENCE TO MATCH. If you do nothing else on a trip to Mackinac, ensure that you dine in the GRAND HOTEL DINING ROOM. It is an experience in itself. Set in a gorgeous open dining room, it feels like you have stepped back in time with luxury. The wait staff is very professional and the food is very good. $$$
  1. RYBA’S FUDGE SHOP FOR ICE CREAM OR FUDGE: There are a host of fudge shops on the island. Apparently, the locals from the island call the tourists “fudgies” because they just come over from the mainland for the fudge. I guess that makes me a fudgie. Ryba’s, May’s, JoAnn’s, Murdock’s, and the list goes on. Everyone has their favorite. My favorite is Ryba’s, but my recommendation would be to try them all and figure it out for yourself. Note: This is not the most paleo option. $
  1. PINK PONY: If you are looking for a good lunch place with a nice view of the harbor, try here. $
  1. CUPOLA BAR at the GRAND HOTEL: Best place for a before dinner cocktail, and has one of the best views on the island. You can see both Lake Huron and Lake Michigan as well as multiple lighthouses and the Mackinac Bridge, which for a period of time was the longest bridge in the world. It connects the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan. $$

Want some more information. Check out these websites.

http://www.mackinac.com

http://www.mackinacisland.org

http://www.grandhotel.com

Want go to a festival? You have to do the Lilac Festival. Check out these links.

http://www.mackinacislandfestivalofthehorse.org

http://www.mackinacislandlilacfestival.org

http://www.mackinacislandfudgefestival.org/#

Feeling healthy? Want to do a race? The island has plenty. Check out this website.

http://www.runmackinac.com

 

 

Staying Fit on the Road

For most people, traveling can be the death sentence to any good workout program. This does not have to be the case. As I have traveled more and more for both work and personal trips, I have come up with some tips to keep your much deserved or required travel from sabotaging your workouts, diet, and health.

Make the time: Be consistent; find the time. Yes, it’s that important. If you are going out of town for a few days, plan some light cardio days or workout days for your trip. Use a calendar. Having a plan will make you more likely to do it.

Hit the gym right when you arrive: It is easy to just want to crash when you arrive, but getting a workout in can energize you and stifle jet lag. As always, it will help you sleep later.  An alternative to this is to get a good workout in before you leave.

Watch what you eat: Traveling can kill your diet plan. Airports are filled with fast food places and high carb snacks. Even if it costs a few more bucks, skip the fast food. All of it. Hit up a real restaurant with real food.

Pack your own food: Sometimes it can be difficult to keep your protein intake up while traveling- Convenience foods tend to be high in carbs. I always travel with a host of high protein items. At the very least, I travel with protein bars, nuts, packages of tuna, baggies of whey protein, and I will often pack whole meals of food. Fruit isn’t a problem unless you are coming into the United States from a foreign country. Liquids are a no-go everywhere. Bring a water bottle so you can fill it up when you get through security. Interested in packing meals? Check out these great travel food carriers.

6 Pack Fitness Innovator 300 Stealth Black

6 Pack Fitness Voyager Laptop Backpack with Insulated Meal Management System, Black/Red

Go for a run or a walk: A great way to explore the area you are staying in. A walk is a relaxing way to get a pedestrian eye’s view of your surroundings.

Must have weights: Make sure your hotel has a gym. Many hotels have decent gyms that you can at the very least get in a light lift session.

Bring a Yoga DVD: When the weather is not cooperating or the area surrounding your stay is not up-to-par, exercise in your room. I travel with a yoga DVD on my iPad so at the very least, I can get a yoga session in. Or you could do a burpee challenge in your room- although, I don’t think the vacationers below you would appreciate it much.

Get some sleep: Depending on the duration of your trip and the number of time zones you cross, ensuring that you get good sleep is vital. People who are tired not only make generally bad decisions, they make especially bad eating decisions. Catch some sleep on the flight, at least a nap. Need to know more about the power of sleep?Check out my previous post.   http://awarriorscholar.com/?cat=7

Don’t want to pack your running shoes, try a swimsuit: Don’t want to mess up your business suit with your dirty sneakers, pack your trunks instead.  They are easily smashed in with your clothes and can provide you with a great workout.

Drink plenty of Water: Flying makes you dehydrated. Being on an airplane is like being in a desert; on top of the sodium rich foods they feed you. My recommendation- do not eat the food and crush plenty of water.

As always, thanks for reading! Questions, comments, ideas about the post? Please leave a comment below. Like the post, please sign up for the email list to make sure you don’t miss a thing!

Related Readings to Staying Healthy while Traveling

http://www.forbes.com/sites/melaniehaiken/2014/05/20/deadly-bacteria-can-live-for-a-week-on-planes-study-shows/

http://www.frommers.com/articles/4606.html

http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/keeping-healthy-while-flying

Photo credit: freehdphotos.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

WOW#3

WOW #3

 Diversifying your weekly routine

I would like to share a great way to change up your training regimen. It’s called the Workout of the Week or WOW for short. This is a way for people to break out of their routine, diversify their training, maybe jumpstart their routine and bring some excitement back into exercise.

 The Body Weight Workout

Bench Press Bodyweight x50

Squat Bodyweight x50

Pull-up (bodyweight) x50

Deadlift Bodyweight x50

So for me I would be Bench Pressing 205 lbs. 50 times (you can break it down into 5 sets of 10 or 3 sets of 15 and one set of 5.) Its up to you, but you must do 50 before you move on to squats.

Questions, Comments, Ideas? Please leave them below. If you like what you are reading, sign up in the subscribe box to the left. As always thanks for reading!

The War of Art Book Review

A Warrior Scholar Blog Post #6

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

Folks, I apologize for the prolonged absence from the site. I had to have ankle surgery last week, and it has laid me up a bit. Since I will be off my feet for a while, I figured this would be a good time to focus on some scholar and literature based posts. Don’t worry I will continue to post the WOW for you, but I will be sitting these ones out.

Before my surgery, I ordered a book I had heard about in passing a few times called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Now, if you don’t know the author, Steven Pressfield, I would suggest you become very closely associated with him. He is most well known for The Legend of Bagger Vance, The Gates of Fire(my favorite), and Killing Rommel- all excellent books. The War of Art is different than those because it was written for you. This book is written for every person, in particular, anyone out there who needs a quick read/kick in the pants, to getting on track, to accomplishing his or her true purpose here on Earth. If you have not read the book, buy it now, read it, and share it with others. There are very few books for which I give that recommendation, but this book is head and shoulders above the rest, excellent.

You could probably read this in one sitting. Its approximately 165 pages (many of them short). I read one of the three books a day, so I could absorb the material better. One rainy Sunday afternoon and you will be off to share your gift with the world.

The War of Art is broken down into three parts, Books 1, 2, and 3. Book 1 focuses on Public Enemy #1 of all people, especially those who create, Resistance. Pressfield breaks down all the horrible ways that Resistance stops a person from accomplishing or sharing their gift with the world. The thing that stops you from writing that book, dropping those pounds, helping others, or making a deep commitment to the ones you love. Resistance is always there, it is always trying to prevent you from doing the tasks that make you truly happy. It can be overridden.

How does Resistance make its appearance? Through self-sabotage, procrastination, short-term gratification, self-medication, and victimization, to just name a few. In other words Resistance can attack us at so many different angles. However, all is not lost.

Book 2 is called Combating Resistance. Pressfield’s main message here is to take your passion and make it a job. Even if you aren’t in it for the money, treat it like a job. Show up everyday, put your time in, and work it out. He puts forth many different ways of thinking about your passion that defeat Resistance. Accept challenges, be patient, embrace fear, and master your craft. It’s easy to tell yourself that ‘it’s too hard’ or ‘I’ll do it when the timing is right’. Whether you are wasting time or doing what you love, time marches on.

Book 3 is called Beyond the Resistance. I can see some people will be intrigued by Pressfield’s interpretation of a higher plane and others will be turned-off by it. Bottom line, this section implores you to embrace your ‘talent’, not to waste it. I personally enjoyed this section of the book, but thought the first two sections of the book more valuable. I love the last page of the book and the last line especially hits home for me:

“Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.” –Steven Pressfield ‘The War of Art.’

Read the book. You will not regret it. It is short and powerful. Add it to your reading queue, and if you want to get moving on your life goals, read it today. This book sits on my desk as a reminder, to get after it.

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

Thanks for reading. Please let me know what you think in the comment section below. If you enjoy this post, please sign up for the mailing list under Subscribe. I will never give away or sell your information.

WOW #2

Workout of the Week (WOW)#2

 Diversifying your weekly routine

I would like to introduce a great way into changing your training regimen. It’s called the Workout of the Week or WOW for short. This is a way for people to break out of their routine, diversify their training, maybe jumpstart their routine and bring some excitement back into exercise.

Every week I will post a new workout that people can plug into their regular routine or build a routine around. It is similar to a workout of the day (WOD) except I don’t tell you what to do everyday, just give you something new to try once a week.

WOW #2

“An oak is not felled by a single blow.”  -Spanish Proverb

 The Oak Tree

Do ten of each exercise. As many rounds as possible (AMRAP) in 15 minutes.

Free Squats x 10

Pushups x 10

Pull-ups x 10

Sumo Deadlift with Kettlebell x10

Dips x 10

Dumbbell Shoulder Press (lighter weight for you) x 10

The goal of this circuit is to strengthen your entire body by completing the 7 most essential exercises. Instead of focusing on weight, we are focusing on number of rounds. Focus on form.

Simplify your Workout

Simplify to the Core

A theme of the Warrior Scholar lifestyle is simplicity. Simplifying your life. Focusing on the things in your life that are important, and letting go of the things that are not. Stop wasting time on trivial things or activities that are draining of energy with little reward or benefit for you.

Back to the Basics

This can be applied to physical fitness training. Simplify and focus your workouts. When creating a workout plan, always focus on your core functional lifts/activities. Everyday you exercise; you should be selecting at least one core functional lift and one core functional cardio activity. These should be the building blocks of all workouts.

If you spent your time just doing these complex functional lifts, you would see massive improvements and gains in your strength, real world activities, and overall health. We need to get away from the auxiliary isolation lifts and focus on the lifts that provide us with the most benefit. Below the Core lifts are laid out with instructional videos.

Core (Functional) Lifts

Deadlift: Romanian Deadlift, Regular Deadlift, Stiff-Leg deadlift, Sumo Deadlift

Video on Form: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfYez7-h55c

Squat: Back squat, front squat, hack squat, Smith machine squat

Video on Form: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoZWgTrZLd8

Bench Press: incline bench, decline bench, flat bench

Video on Form: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JtP6ju0IMw

Overhead Shoulder Press: Military press, push press, standing press

Video on Form: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJFjYyA40ss

Pull-up: Chin-up, weighted pull-up, wide grip, close grip, kipping

Video on Form: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Ig8DQXLeD0

Dip: weighted, wide grip, close grip

Video on Form: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrevqAaaFr0

Core Cardio

Sprinting

Walking on incline: I would recommend any incline above 10

Biking

Rowing

Jump roping

Swimming (I’m not a huge fan, but this is a great cardio activity)

My challenge to the reader is to simplify your workout. Take one or two Core Lifts and one Core Cardio, and do them everyday. When in doubt about what to do in the gym, start with the basics, not the pecdec machine. Quit wasting your time. Do 150 pull-ups not 150 arm curls. Make it easy on yourself. Focus on the important core lifts and shuck the rest.

I personally love doing the core lifts first then moving into HIIT training or doing the core lifts in conjunction with my cardio to focus on high intensity work. For example: 10 back squats with 250 meters of rowing. One minute rest between sets. 10 rounds.

Here is a full week plan. (All I did was pick one, sometimes two core lifts and one core cardio for everyday)

Just the Basics Workout Plan

Monday: Back squat 4×10, Front squat 4×10, Free Squat 4×10, 30 minutes of incline walking

Tuesday: Overhead Shoulder Press 4×10, Shrugs 4×10, Military dumbbell press 4×10, 30 minutes of biking

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Bench Press 4×10, Incline Press 4×10, Dips 4×10, 15 one minute sprints

Friday: Deadlift 4×10, Stiff-Leg Deadlift 4×10, Sumo 4×10, Pull-ups 4×10, 20 minute row

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Jump Rope for 30 minutes

Most Simple Workout Plan

Monday: Back Squat 12×10, Incline Walk for 30

Tuesday: Overhead Shoulder Press 12×10, 30 minutes Biking

Wednesday: rest

Thursday: Bench Press 12×10, Sprinting 15 minutes

Friday: Deadlift 12×10, Rowing 20 minutes

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Pull-ups and dips 12×10, 15 minute jump rope

Before attempting any sort of weight with the lifts, make sure to work and rework your technique with light or no weight. Watch videos online. Practice with free form. Have a friend who is knowledgeable help you train. You can’t train if you get hurt, so make sure to use the appropriate form, and keep yourself in the game.

Bring a level of simplicity into your workout. Focus on the most important aspects of training. Keep your workouts basic. Train your core lifts and core cardio.

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The Thirty-Six Stratagems

Ancient Chinese Warfare Philosophy for Today

An ancient Chinese General Wang Jingze created the thirty-six stratagems. The stratagems were thirty-six strategies for ancient warfare.  As with many philosophies these principles have stood the test of time, and with a little work can be applied to today.

How could thirty-six ancient Chinese warfare tactics possibly have any impact on my life? More than you think. The stratagems can be directly applied to business, negotiations and winning situations. Let’s review a few of the stratagems that have some easy applications today.

“Borrow a corpse to resurrect the soul.” Kind of morbid, but hang in there. Take something that has disappeared, fallen out of style, an old technology, and use it to reinvent your business or yourself. This follows the saying, “There are no new ideas, just respun old ones.” You do not need to reinvent the wheel. Many times the things you need are already available; you just need to find a new application.

“Take the opportunity to pilfer the goat.” Who needs a goat? You might need a goat. Be flexible in your plan. Opportunities arise all the time; do not be too rigid to embrace them.

“Replace the beams with rotten timbers.” I don’t build houses, and its okay if you don’t. Change the rules. Go against common thought. People take strength from understood rules. Make the rules to your favor.

“Wait at leisure while the enemy labors.” Can be taken literally, but pick the time and place for a confrontation, engagement or challenge. Bring a challenge into your home court. Make the timing of an event to benefit you. Be prepared while allowing for your opponent to do all the extra work.

“If all else fails, retreat.” This is probably the most famous of the stratagems. If you survive, then you are still in the fight. Know when to quit and regroup. Live to fight another day.

“Chain stratagems.” One should be weaving many stratagems and tactics together to be successful. Be flexible in your strategies. Change them as needed. He, who adapts, will win.

I really like the aspect of flexible planning. I think everyone has life lessons they can learn from a good deal of planning, but keeping a flexible plan in order to embrace opportunities as they come along.

Please take a look at the full list. Maybe an ancient Chinese strategy or two can help you accomplish your goals. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirty-Six_Stratagems

Other people have correlated these strategies into business books. Here’s a link The Art of Advantage.

The Art of the Advantage: 36 Strategies to Seize the Competitive Edge

This is  another good interpetation of thirty-six strategies.

The 36 Stratagems for Executives (Sun Tzu’s The Art of War for Executives)

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