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How to Live With Fire

Recently I’ve given much thought to Reebok’s campaign to #LIVEWITHFIRE.  From time to time I get philosophical and sort of lost in abstract thought of the weirdest things.  So this blog is me inviting you for a road trip with me and my brain.  Turn the music up and take a look around my cerebral cortex as I ponder what it is to “Live With Fire“.

Living With Fire is NOT Complacent

ComplacencyFirst, I think about what it isn’t.  Living with fire is not complacency. I think its important to be fulfilled, and even satisfied, about where you are going – but maybe not be overly satisfied with where you are.  Content with your present, but pressing on to be all who you were called to be.

Living with fire is not living with rage, or resentment.  That state of mind can drive us to overcome and accomplish a lot of things, but to what cost?  In that frame of mind, we are rarely satisfied in accomplishing anything except vengeance, and still are never satisfied.  No, friends, that is NOT living with fire.

tenaciousTenacity, perseverance, consistency, courage, willpower – THESE are a few defining characteristics of what it means to me to  #LIVEWITHFIRE.

1. Living With Fire is: Tenacity

Tenacity is defined as the quality of being determined to do or achieve something.  And I love the following definition: firmness of purpose.

2. Living With Fire is: Perseverance

Perseverance is next on my list of defining this Reebok Mantra.  Perseverance is definitely a synonym for tenaciousness, but lets further define living with fire by defining perseverance with a definition from Webster: continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition.  To me, living with fire comes alive in the second part of this definition; to continue DESPITE difficulty!  I think I should end the blog now – but I wont.

3. Living With Fire is: Consistency 

consitstencyConsistency brings the “ing” to the phrase. See, to live with fire could be mistaken as a moment in time, but livING with fire gives the idea of continuing to strive for that “pressing forward” . To be consistent in our quest to live with joy and zeal for more in life. Consistency could have a couple of different meanings. Both of which I believe are applicable.

The first, is degree of firmness, density, viscosity, or resistance to movement or separation.  Our ideals and level of effort should have a routine firmness. Not hot and cold, not soft and hard, but consistent effort in every attempt. Then, the more traditional thought for the way we describe consistency is the ability to be asserted together without contradiction. This would also be the idea to live beyond contradiction, above reproach. (We all fall short here, but when we get it right what victory we have.)

courage-john-wayne4. Living With Fire is: Courage 

This brings us to courage on my synonym list of living with fire. Webster says courage is: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.  Interesting that courage is not the absence of fear, but for someone to withstand fear or difficulty.

In other words, to persevere even in the face of fear. OK, I hear! WHOA!

will power5. Living With Fire Requires: Will Power

Lets finish our thoughts of Living With Fire by defining “WILL POWER”: The strength or will to carry out one’s decisions, wishes, or plans.  This definition left no discussion for feeling or emotion.  The idea is to DECIDE on what you want and SEE IT THROUGH – not allowing circumstance or excuses to compromise your decision!

What if we all “lived with fire”, in learning more, loving more, living more?  I believe the key is in the desire.  Decide what it is you really want.  Dig deep to find a burning desire to accomplish or acquire it with a relentless, stubbornness that knows no quit.  Never never never give up!

I believe this so much, I tattooed it on my body:
SEMPER PERSEVERA – Meaning, Never Give Up.

Never Give Up

Here are some pictures of some amazing athletes who clearly Live With Fire and never gave up – even when they had some pretty awesome excuses. If this doesn’t inspire you, I don’t know what will. 

amputee

Bethany-Hamilton


141100_-_Athletics_track_female_arm_amputee_close_up_-_3b_-_2000_Sydney_race_photo

bp1

ronniedicksonclimb-222x300

Victor_Konovalov_Interview_-_www.Wheelchair-Bodybuilding.com

19a08ca895 

scouttrain-300x199

images-12

oscar-pistorius-double-amputee-sprinter

171944762

live with fire

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Formula for Success

goal“If you take your eyes off the goal, for even a second, doubt will rush your mind like a band of brutal thieves.”

Doubt intends to kill your dreams, destroy your desire, and beat you down with fear.  Evidence of this is obvious in the most trying times.  When we are hungry, when we are tired, when we are angry, when we are in despair…

arnold Be Hungry

When you are hungry, let that hunger be your purpose.  It is a burning reminder in your gut of what you want to accomplish. When you are tired and your eyes grow heavy, don’t be the martyr the world excuses you to be, no one owes you anything. If there is something you want, you stay up one more hour and you go out and get it!

Be Productive

train like you want itAnger?, rage? Make it productive, and focus the intensity of this moment into success instead of resentment.  No one can control your emotions but you.  And when you are in complete despair — Stop. Shhhhh. Be still, and listen.  You are more than “just being”. You have the potential to be even more than your desires. You have the ability to accomplish things you havent even dreamed of …yet.

One of my favorite quotes of all time comes by way of the late Henry Ford.  He reminds us that we can decide what happens next… he said “he who thinks he can, and he who thinks he can’t, are usually both right“.

Go Beyond 

“Attaining the goal isn’t success.  Success is found in the pursuit, attaining your goals is the icing on this cake we call life.”

Work harderLastly, it isn’t enough to just dream. I love visualization. Wondering what if, thinking just maybe…  Hoping, even praying, for that desire of your heart.  Instead of praying for “the goal”, pray for the opportunity to make a way for your goal. The satisfaction of accomplishment comes in the effort – the blood, the sweat, the tears, the years, in pursuit of the “goal”.  Attaining the goal isn’t success.  Success is found in the pursuit, attaining your goals is the icing on this cake we call life.

“Vision without execution is just hallucination” Henry Ford

Equation for Success

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. #LiveWithFire

Sculpting Better Legs: Simple Leg Workout to Improve Your “Sweep”

vastus lateralisIf you have been following this mess I call a blog at all for the last 5 months you may have heard me whine and whine about my knee. If not, you’re in luck because here I go again.  5 months ago I was getting ready for my first ever MMA tournament.  I know,… shut it! But anywho, I was gonna try. Here’s a shocker: my 42-year-old butt got tore up by a 19-year-old monster.  I tore my medial meniscus and sustained a 90% tear to my MCL.  I was devastated, but now I’m back and I want to not only return to competing, I want my quads bigger and stronger than ever. The area I want to focus on for this workout is the Vastus Lateralis, the largest and most outer portion of the thigh.

How to Improve Your Sweep

Bikini competitors legsHow do we isolate out the vastus lateralis muscle, or as we call it in the physique world, “the sweep”?  Vastus externus or vastus lateralis, depending on your A&P professor, is the largest of all the quadricep muscles. The action of this muscle is to extend the tibia or shin bone at the knee, but I’m here to help you learn how to perform knee extension to isolate out the other muscles that synergistically aid in this action.  In sculpting, it is very important that we learn isolation. Whether we are a bodybuilder, a bikini competitor or a stay-at-home mom that wants to scult their body, we can all use these principles to learn to sculpt nicer legs.

Target Training

target fatFat burn or spot reducing fat  can not be limited to specific areas of the body, no matter what  “bogus science” and pills tell you. However, sculpting most assuredly can be reduced to a single area, action, and in some cases, specific fibers of a specific muscle – all based on how we execute the exercise.  You don’t need a degree in kinesiology to learn these principals, just a little common sense is all.

So, how do we excite and fatigue the fibers of our outer quad to hypertrophy our SWEEP?

Narrow-minded

Leg press sweepOk, so here is one exercise you should be narrow-minded about. Narrow is better when we talk about our stance to accentuate or facilitate the contractile tissue of the outer quad.  So lets think narrow when doing squats and leg extensions.  Whatever exercises you do, stand with a more narrow stance (feet together).  You may stop and ask, does that mean if I stand wide, I will work my inner thigh and medial quads?  Yeppers! Now you are getting it.  (another blog perhaps)  Moving on…

Self-Centered

building better legsWith leg extensions, it’s all about being self-centered – literally. If you point your toes outward, you are working the  vastus medialis, the tear drop shaped muscle on the medial side (inside) of the legs close to the knee. Since we want to work the opposite side of the legs, then (yes, you guessed it) we want to point our toes in the opposite direction, pointing toes together. Note: this doesn’t work by just pointing the feet from the ankle down, the whole leg must internally rotate to the center to excite the appropriate muscles.

Here is an example of my own leg workout where I use these same principles to improve my sweep.

Yesterday’s Leg Workout

Warm up:  4 sets / 20 reps  

Deep weighted walking lunges  (35-50 pound dumbbells) 45 seconds rest btw sets

Couplet: Leg Press & Leg Extension Super Set
(zero rest between super set, 1 minute between sets)

#1 Heavy leg press
5-8 plates each side, narrow stance (4″ apart) and push only on your heels
10 sets / 15 reps

#2 Moderately heavy leg extension
Moderately heavy leg extension (130lbs-160lbs) internally rotate your femur’s in (toes are pigeon-toed), and squeeze your outer quad in terminal extension.
10 sets / 12-15 reps

Repeat Super Set 10 Times

Puke and repeat for 10 rounds(sets) with 1 minute rest between (rounds) sets

Here are some pics from my last show, the Daytona Classic, just 10 days after getting hurt.

daytona classic

How to Get Perfect Abs

I love fundamentals.  Fundamentals are the foundation from which more complex and effective derivatives are built upon.  So many pro athletes achieve stardom and fame only to eventually fall into a slump and return to the basics.  Many coaches and athletes alike will tell you, if you perfect the fundamentals, there may be no need for much else.

My Striking, and grappling skills are continuing to get better.  As I get more advanced,  I’ve noticed that every class starts with repeating basic drills that I learned from the very first day; and so it is with abdominal work.

You can do V-ups, X-ups, sit ups, roll ups, knee ups, or just about any abdominal exercise you want,  and without using basic fundamentals,  you will never effectively work the target area.  Most ineffective abdominal work is caused from poor set up.  If you can accomplish a good starting position and maintain good positioning during the range, your abs will cry sweaty tears of bliss.  So, how do we set up to get all the “goody” out of our abdominal training? glad you asked!

1. Lay down on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor
2. Roll your belt line (low back)  into the mat or ground (a slight posterior pelvic tilt)
3. Use the hamstrings to lock your pelvis into position.  Do this by digging your heels into the ground and pull them toward your buttocks to tighten your hamstrings holding your pelvis in a posterior tilt
4. Place your hands behind your neck holding the base of your noggin (nuchal line) and keep your elbows open and wide.
5. Look straight up keeping your chin off your chest.
6. Pull your naval into your spine AS YOU EXHALE.
7.
As you exhale, PULL YOUR TRANSVERSE ABDOMINALS IN, LIFT YOUR SHOULDER BLADES OFF THE FLOOR UNTIL ONLY THE MID BACK (THORACIC REGION) IS TOUCHING
(NOTE: LIFT STRAIGHT UP AS IF YOU HAVE A GLASS OF WATER ON YOUR CHEST… TRY NOT TO ROLL UP IN AN ARC)

Congratulations, you just executed a perfect crunch!

Continue to use these same principals for all abdominal work.  These fundamentals will help facilitate and recruit more abdominal musculature durring your workout giving you “perfect abs”.

NOTE: Don’t forget – no matter how great your ab exercises are, you’ll never see them if you don’t diet. Diet is 80% of getting the abs of your dreams!

Tractor Tire Abs

Here is an entire ab & core workout I put together for GNC utilizing a tractor tire. Since many MMA camps and boot camps us tractor tires, I decided to come up with a few exercises to help you make the most of your tractor tire. Don’t have one? You can get a used on free at your local tractor repair store or dealer – or you can use a stability ball or bench.

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this Campaign. All opinions are my own.

If you Run from the fight, you might miss the Glory!

The temporary pleasure of sin will never out weigh the devastating long term consequences, as the temporary pain of training will never out weigh the amazing long term consequences! 

Bonnie and I were both brought up in the south, and for many of us that means that we were in church everytime the doors were open.  One of the phrases you hear a lot in the church is “we really hate SIN”.  Don’t tune me out, I’m about to make a point.  As much as church, Bon and I in our adult lives spent a lot of time in the gym as well.  One of the phrases we hear all of time at the gym is “I love my workout”.  So “we hate sin and love our workouts” hmmm

Hate Sin?  Not at all.
We love sin, its exciting, feels good, it’s attractive, it taste good, it’s a total rush…  No we don’t hate sin.  What we hate is the consequences of our sin.  Sin can lead to drug addiction. divorce, obesity, disease, or even death – not to mention total seperation from the Dude who created you.  (another blog, another time).  But to say we hate sin, well, that just isn’t true – but to truly hate the devastating affects of sin is such a huge reality it isn’t a lie to say “I hate sin”.  Hold on, here it comes…

Love your workout? Not truly… 
Right now I am doing 315 pound shruggs.  I think I just popped every vertebrae in my back, just ripped a callous, my legs are trembling and I have sweat in my eye and a charlie horse in my calf.  Love my workout? …not so much.

HOWEVER, I absolutely love the consequences that I experience from working out.  Health, aesthetics, energy, increased self esteem, confidence, the ablility to defend myself and my family against danger, and vitality are all considered bliss – directly related to the suffering and drudgery of the afformentioned workout.  Knowing the amazing results of hard training, I can honestly say, “I love my workouts”!

The same way a person who has been caught up in SIN becomes so hurt and disgusted with that lifestyle, another can honestly say they love working out becuase of the amazing results and positive influence, that it can acutally be said, “I love my workout”

In short...The temporary pleasure of sin will never out weigh the devastating long term consequences, as the temporary pain of training will never out weigh the amazing long term consequences! 

How do we change our belief system to be able to honestly say… “I love training”?

1. Set goals and BELIEVE you can attain them.

2. Visualize the prize (end game) seeing the goal as if its complete.

3. Make a plan that is realistic and effective to meet your goal.

4. Grow a pair.  Dont be afraid to “gut it out”. Know it will be worth it.

5. Start over a million times – but dont quit, not even once!

Train Hurt or Go Home! (or should you?)

No matter how careful you are in the gym, sooner or later you will be faced with some sort of achy extremity or throbbing appendage.  What you learn next could redefine how you train during injuries.

I got caught in an arm bar last Monday night at the Forge, where I am learning mma.  Yes, apparently I suck; however, after being caught in this rather precarious maneuver,  I thought my elbow had been broke.  Not so much from my arm going numb, or the excruciating pain in my elbow and shoulder, but mostly because of the huge tearing sound that made my opponent let go and say “did I break it”.  Not exactly what you want to hear.  Now the critical point… Am I just “hurt”,  or am I “injured”.  If I’m hurt but not injured, should I continue fighting or should I rest?  How do I know?

Let’s define the difference between hurting and injuring your body.  Here is my own rough definition:  when you are “hurt”, your body has sustained some sort of benign pathology, or an ouchee, that is sensitive to movement or touch.   The integrity of the tissue is usually not compromised to the point where continued movement will cause more or excessive damage to itself or surrounding tissue.  In other words, you’re ok; it just hurts like a bitch.  And then… and then… there is injury.  I don’t like any of the definitions I googled, so let’s look at some cinnamon’s (ha-I crack myself up) destruction, ruin, impairment, mischief… If tissue is destroyed or ruined, it could be said to be “injured”.  I’m not Webster, but let me make this clear.  When part of your body is compromised to the point that further use is unavailable, or attempting to use said body part may cause more damage, I would define this as an “injury”.  Now knowing these terms, how do we distinguish between being hurt, and being injured, without diagnostic equipment like an X-ray or MRI, or one of those cool scanners that “Dr Bones” had on Star trek?

To determine if you are injured or just hurt, in most cases, you can do a quick field assessment to get a rough idea if you should continue training/fighting/playing.  You must take into consideration your pain threshold when assessing your status.  For instance, if you’re like me, you could have a paper cut and think you need stitches or, on the other end of the spectrum, be like my father in law who could have a bone sticking out of his leg saying, “it just a little bump”.   If the pain was acute from a blow or a spasm, or a movement you just did during exercise, you may need to rest at least a day, as pain, adrenaline, and activity can mask your diagnosis.  Even if the incident is acute, you can still use these principals as long as your better judgment prevails.  This assessment is most accurate for a potential injury sustained over time, when the origin of when the pain began is rather ambiguous.  Usually if you sustain an acute, “potential injury” during training, it is usually best to stop the training session at least for the day, observe the pain pattern, and -of course- ice immediately.

If you find yourself hurting, and wanting to determine if you should train through the pain or not, try these simple rules… Read the rest of this entry

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