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
First, 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.
Tenacity, 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
Consistency 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.)
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!
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.
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.
FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
If 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
How 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.
Fat 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?
Ok, 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…
With 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.
I created this mantra, featured on DetourBar.com today, to remind people that all your workouts have a lot of benefits, outside of just appearance. Even though getting “picked first” is not the reason I train hard, training has affected my overall athletic performance – and it affects so many other areas of my life too.
When you are in the gym, training your guts out, don’t just focus on how your muscle looks or even how you feel in that moment. Think of all the opportunities your new fit body gives you – to be a better athlete, employee, spouse, parent and friend.
CLICK HERE to get the full-size mantra.
Mental fortitude is as important for me as physical fortitude. My parents were Old School German Disciplinarians. My fathers’ favorite quote was “brains, not brawn”. I like to think I married them both. Physical aptitude is secondary to cerebral prowess.
Things I think about:
Your body won’t do what your brain won’t allow.
Fear of failing fuels me both mentally and physically.
My weakness is allowing my doubt, or my fears, to get a head start and lobby my brain for even a second of attention.
When I push out doubt… and I will, there is nothing I can’t finish!
After I wrote my blog yesterday, Bonnie made this mantra to help us all remember what we are working so hard for.
FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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”?
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!