Compared to What
Life has its ups and downs.
Once in a while we all go through something tough. That could be a death of a loved one, sickness, injury, divorce…Whatever.
And sometimes that can lead to a dark place.
A place of pain and heartache.
There are instances when people get to such a dark place in their lives that they never bounce back. They’re so devastated that they don’t ever try to get back to being themselves.
I empathize with that.
I get how a painful situation can push people to the point of no return.
However, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Of course there is a period where we need to be upset and grieve. That’s part of being human.
But there comes a point in every situation where we have to make a decision.
We get to a point where time has passed and we must decide on whether we will continue down a dark road of depression, and never really accept what has happened, or we can choose otherwise.
We can choose to learn from our situation, and make the best of what we have.
That’s the beauty of being human. We are given the power of choice.
And when we make choices that put us in a better place mentally, physically and spiritually we tend to overcome ANY obstacle that comes our way.
Let’s take a look at former Rutgers football player, Eric LeGrand for example.
If you don’t know Eric’s story, he was a college football player who had a bright future ahead of him. During a game vs. Army in 2010, Eric encountered a big hit while making a tackle on a kickoff and fractured several vertebrae in his cervical spine which left him paralyzed from the neck down.
20 years old with tremendous ability and a bright future ahead, no longer has the use of his arms and legs. The doctors told his mother that he will never breathe again on his own.
Eric isn’t only now breathing on his own, but he is making more and more progress every day on his quest to walk again. He is now a motivational speaker and even won the ESPY Award for Perseverance in 2012 and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year as only the third recipient ever of the Warrior Award.
This is someone who could have given up. Someone who could have said “why me” and really who would have blamed him? He could have chosen to not go through with therapy and let his injury get the best of him.
But he didn’t.
Eric LeGrand MADE A CHOICE to devote his life to walking again on his own, and inspire millions of people around the world in the process.
The moment that Eric woke up in the hospital and looked at his mother, he mouthed the words “I’ll be back”.
He knew that this would not be the end of the road for him.
When you talk to people he knows, hear him speak or look at his social media, you’ll see that he is one of the most positive people in the world. He is always smiling and speaks of his injury as a blessing, because it has given him the platform to help others.
I tell you this story to not only inspire you, but to share with you one of Eric’s sayings that I always turn to when I go through a difficult point in my own life.
And that is, “compared to what”.
Eric says when he is in pain or frustrated with the repercussions of his injury he says to himself “compared to what”. He says he looks at difficult times that others are going through around the world, and realizes that no matter how bad you have it, someone else out there is going through something worse than what you are. He mentions people that don’t have a home and says that at least he has a roof over his head and a family who loves him.
Considering the severity of Eric’s situation, it gives me chills to know that he has the ability to look at his circumstances in that regard.
Eric’s story helps me look at the things I have gone through and realize that other people are out there suffering. That doesn’t mean that your situation should be overlooked by any means. It means that we need to accept our problems for what they are, learn from them, make the best of them, and move forward, because we aren’t alone.
Work on what you are going through, instead of being a victim of it.
No matter how bad or how painful a situation may be, ask yourself “compared to what” because someone out there right now is going through something that may be even more difficult.
When we start to look at life through this lens we realize that we can get through it, and we will get through it.
If we choose to.
I type this article with tears in my eyes. Not due to the unimaginable fear, pain and worry someone must face when suffering an injury of that magnitude. But due to the inspiration he has given me and millions of people around the world.
For being strong enough to play the hand he was dealt without pessimism and show tremendous amounts of courage.
I hope that you can use Eric’s story to help you through whatever it is that you are going through. Because although you may feel like you can no longer go on, just ask yourself “compared to what” and remember Eric LeGrand’s story.
Put forth the effort and mindset it takes to move forward with your life.
Remember that pain is part of life. At one point or another you will feel the inevitable pain. However SUFFERING is a choice.
Learn from your pain and grow through life, but refuse to suffer.
If there is anything I can do to help in any way, please feel free to comment below.
Thanks for reading, guys.
Mindset: The Difference Between Success and Failure
I have been in this business for a long time.
Since 2006 I have worked with athletes and different kinds of people from all walks of life.
Over the years most of my clients have made tremendous progress in their training and lifestyle.
But there are also those who have not.
As a coach, I take full responsibility for those who haven’t made the progress they had originally set out to. Maybe there is something I could have done differently to help them succeed.
However the one difference between those who have seen great success and those who have not may be different than you think.
Some may guess age, injuries or something along those lines.
But none of that is true. In fact, I have had great success with clients and athletes that were both older and dealing with an injury.
The one thing, the only thing holding people back from achieving their goals is their MINDSET.
I don’t care what obstacles there are to overcome, if you have the right mindset you will make tremendous progress in any realm of your life. If you don’t, well then it doesn’t matter if you’re training at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, your results will suffer.
Mindset is one of the major factors in one fighter beating another, or one team collectively defeating another.
Your mindset can make all of the difference in any aspect of your life.
And unfortunately, most people do not have the right mindset for success.
Most people like to blame outside circumstances for their problems. They like to complain about things going on in the world that are out of their control. Or they will talk bad about people out of envy instead of being happy for someone else’s success.
Whether in training, sport or life the wrong mindset will set you up for failure and/or unhappiness and lack of fulfillment.
It is those who look at unfortunate circumstances as a challenge, and accept that challenge head on who see the most success. Because it doesn’t matter to them what anyone else is doing or the obstacles they need to overcome. What matters to them is the decisions they make and the actions they take.
They don’t get mad and piss and moan. They TAKE ACTION. And rather than have life happen to them they take life by the balls!
Worrying and complaining isn’t going to do anyone any good. It’s only going to create more stress and toxicity so avoid doing it and be sure to avoid the people who do it too.
Most of this negativity comes from self-doubt and insecurity. People don’t believe in themselves, so they try to knock others down for achieving the things that they feel they can’t.
They are too afraid to take chances so they will shit on others who have the guts to do what they want.
If you ever catch yourself criticizing someone else’s success, take a second and actually think about why you’re not happy for this person. Why would you rather shit on them than support them?
When you begin to peel back the layers of the onion you start to realize it’s because of your own lack of belief in yourself. If you fail to recognize that then it will be very difficult to ever truly live a fulfilled life.
The mindset of those who crush their goals and see success in all facets of their life are those who support other people.
Those who are nice to others and hope to see their success.
Successful people have an iron will. A never-say-die mentality which propels them to crushing their goals. They don’t hate on others, or ever make excuses as to why they can’t do something.
Successful people don’t have time to shit on others! They are too busy putting in the work it takes to achieve their dreams.
They simply dig down deep, get their hands dirty and work their fucking ass off.
All of the people I have been fortunate enough to work with and help get to the next level are those who are willing to roll the dice and take risks.
They may risk criticism from their peers for choosing a salad over a burger. Or maybe they take financial risks in a business endeavor. Or perhaps they risk being judged for making a decision that isn’t “the norm”.
People who achieve success understand that taking risks is necessary.
Fear is accepted for what it is. It’s important to understand fear and that it’s normal for any human being to feel it. You need to feel it, and do what the fuck you need to do anyway.
Go all in!
And most of whom I have worked with treat their training the same way that they treat their careers, relationships, hobbies and parenting.
There is no grey area. It’s either black or it’s white and they decide to give it their absolute best.
There is no missing training days or cheating on your diet for some BS reason.
When you decide to focus on the things you can control and give it your very best, you will achieve more success in fitness, business or whatever else.
You just have to fix your mind and do the work!
Trust yourself, trust the process, go all in and take fucking chances.
This is the one lifetime that we know is certain. Don’t live it with fear, anger and jealousy. Live it relentlessly and pursue your dreams while helping everyone around you do the same.
Shift your thinking and change your life!
I know that if I can do it you sure as hell can too.
Thanks for reading, guys.
3 VALUABLE LESSONS FROM FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR.
Love him or hate him, it’s safe to say that Floyd Mayweather Jr. is one of the greatest boxers of our time, if not ever.
You may not agree with his antics, or his actions outside of the ring. You may not even agree with his fighting style because let’s face it, his fights aren’t what you would necessarily call exciting.
But one thing that is undeniable is he is now 50-0. Fifty fights and zero losses. I don’t care what any of his critics say, that is pretty damn impressive.
After watching his recent fight with Conor McGregor, I noticed a few things about Floyd. Again I can’t say that I am a fan of his, however his skill is unquestionable and there are some valuable lessons to be learned here.
Lesson # 1
To be great, self belief is necessary.
I know what you’re thinking, he is one cocky son of a bitch. Call it what you like, there is no denying that Floyd Mayweather has more belief in himself than any other current fighter.
In order to get to 50-0 and be in the conversation about being one of the best of all time, Floyd has never showed any doubt in himself.
If you want to achieve greatness in your life, you need to have strong belief that you can achieve anything. No you don’t have to talk trash the way Floyd does when he’s trying to sell a fight, and you don’t need to put others down. But you do have to have a sense of confidence about yourself if you’re ever going to reach a level of greatness.
Michael Jordan, Steve Jobbs, Muhammad Ali… They all believed in themselves and in their mission. Without the belief that they had in themselves I highly doubt these men would have ever accomplished what they had .
Lesson # 2
To achieve greatness you must have an unrelenting work ethic.
Floyd Mayweather spends hours and hours mastering his craft. Putting in this type of work certainly does not come easy. He’s human, so there are days that he’s been tired, sore or just having a bad fucking day. But for twenty years the guy has put in the work, regardless of his circumstances.
His motto is “hard work and dedication” and that has helped lead to 50 victories. His conditioning has been second to none for the last twenty years, which is a direct reflection of his work ethic.
If you want to get to the next level and achieve greatness in your life, then you can’t be afraid of hard work.
Passion for what you do isn’t good enough. You have to master your craft, by putting in hours and hours of hard, gritty work.
There is a price to be paid for greatness, and the check is written with blood and sweat.
Lesson # 3
To achieve greatness, you must have a singular focus.
Floyd Mayweather is a boxer. He has mastered the art of boxing at such a high level that he has barely been in danger in fifty fights.
Throughout his career, Floyd did not say he wanted to also be the best actor of all time, or the best rap artist.
He boxed, and focused solely on that.
We often get distracted in what it is we want to do. I have come across many people who one day want to be a lawyer, then the next week want to be a cop, then an entrepreneur.
Fast forward 5 years and these people are still having the same conversations. Still unsure what it is they want to do with their lives. If they would have just made a decision and went all in then there’s a good chance that they would have gotten to the next level.
You want to start a business? Go all in!
You want to lose 50 lbs? Go all in!
If you say you’re going to lose 50 lbs, but also want to gain 30 lbs. of muscle, and also want to run a marathon, how the hell are you ever going to get anywhere?
Just DECIDE on what it is you want and then never look back. Greatness is never achieved through multitasking.
For more on this topic I HIGHLY recommend the book “The One Thing” by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan.
People who try to do too many unrelated things will never achieve the level of greatness that Floyd Mayweather has. Forget about the money and fame, that’s not what I’m talking about.
I am talking about the kind of greatness it takes to achieve fifty professional victories and zero losses.
I’m talking about the drive to train everyday at 3 AM.
If Floyd focused on more than becoming the greatest boxer ever, he would have been mediocre.
Don’t waste your time trying to do too many things. Pick the one thing that you want to do and become fucking great at it.
Put in those late nights and early mornings and achieve what those who are unwilling will not.
The only way to get to the highest level possible is to focus on YOUR one thing.
The jack of all trades and master of none lives a life of mediocrity. Don’t settle for being basic. Focus and achieve the level of greatness in which you are capable.
Instead of arguing over the things you disagree with about Floyd Mayweather, learn from what he has done right. Learn from the things that have gotten him into the conversation of being the greatest of all time and one of the few athletes that has earned over one BILLION dollars over the course of his career.
You don’t get to that level without the belief, work ethic and singular focus that Floyd Mayweather has shown over the years. Understand that, and start to apply these values into your own life.
I guarantee that if you do it long enough, you will be in a better place in one year from now.
Give it a shot and go be fucking great.
Stop Destroying Yourself and Make Better Gains
Guys like us have goals.
We’re determined to get bigger and stronger as fast as possible.
So we go 110 mph all the time, in the constant pursuit of making gains.
If you played sports, you probably carryover that same mindset to the weight room. You have the mentality that you have to go as hard as possible, all the time.
Although this can be a great attitude to have, it can actually leave us beat up and over trained with lesser strength and hypertrophy gains.
Ever see the guy in the gym using a weight that he’s absolutely struggling with? He’s usually not the most jacked guy in the gym.
On the other hand, the most jacked dudes are actually doing the opposite. They’re using a challenging weight that they can handle for the prescribed rep range and leave one or two reps in the tank on sets. Just check out The Rock’s IG for example.
If you are a genetically average, drug free lifter training to failure is actually going to do the exact opposite of what you’re training for. Over time you’ll get weaker, smaller, frustrated and burned out.
If you’re not sure what it means to train to failure then check this out.
Training to failure means that if you are doing a set of bench press for 6-8 reps for example and your last rep you either go for and can’t get it up or you get it but it literally takes every single thing you got to get it up. The last rep is painfully slow and you could not have gotten one more if you had a gun to your head. Either way is hitting failure.
When you train to failure day in and day out a few things happen.
- Technique breaks down and your movement quality goes to shit. Leading to excess joint stress and overcompensation.
- Your Central Nervous System gets absolutely fried which makes your workout very difficult to recover from and leads to systemic fatigue.
- Underdevelopment of muscular strength and growth due to what I mentioned above and the fact that you aren’t going to be able to follow the progressive overload principle. To add, you’ll constantly be missing reps.
Although our egos can lead us to training to failure time and time again we have to keep that shit in check. We have to constantly remind ourselves that trying to do too much is going to lead to the exact opposite of what we want.
Here’s how to avoid training to failure.
- If you are healthy enough for the big lifts (bench, squat, deadlift) find your 3 or 5RM on those movements. Then use percentages of your max for certain rep ranges. For instance, if your 5 rep max is 275 lbs. on the bench press and the following week you are going to bench press for a set of 6-8 reps, you can take 85% of your 5RM (230 lbs. in this case) and use that weight for your sets of 6-8. Prilepin’s Chart can help you out with this.
- If you are doing a body weight exercise like chin-ups, imagine during your set that if you had a gun to your head and can only do one more rep, you’re going to stop and leave that rep in the tank. So if with a gun to my head I can do 15 chin-ups, I’m going to stop at 14.
- If you are using dumbbells or doing an exercise you can’t take a percentage with, select a weight that you can do about two more reps with than the prescribed rep range. So if I am doing a dumbbell row for a set of 10 and I know that I can get the 100’s for 12, I’m going to use the 100’s for my set of 10.
If you follow these guidelines you’ll be able to follow the progressive overload principle and make more weekly progress in your training.
Training to failure is very difficult to recover from and will only impede your gains and performance, so be smart about your weight selection.
Although you still want to train hard and never train like a total softy, you also have to be smart and avoid failure. Doing so is only going to save your joints and leave you bigger, stronger and feeling better.
So leave your ego aside and choose an appropriate weight. The longer you’re in the game the more gains you’ll be able to make.
I hope this helps, guys.
Thanks for reading!
P.S. As always if you have any questions feel free to drop a comment below. If you found this post to be helpful then please click the share button so your friends and family can check it out too.
Do the Work!
Over the years I have toyed with many types of training templates. From bodybuilding splits to powerlifting, from Strongman to HIIT, I have spent countless hours playing around with many different training modalities. Only to try and configure the best training program around that produces the best results.
What I have found is that every style of training can work if you use it properly. The style you choose should depend on what your goals are.
If you want to be the next Mr. Olympia, well you should be following some kind of bodybuilding split.
If you are a college wrestler and want to get strong as hell without putting on additional bodyweight we need to take that into consideration.
If you are a regular dude that wants to get jacked and shredded but still have the ability to play some pick-up basketball you can do that too.
Your goals will dictate your programming.
However, I am about to share with you the type of program we use at Tutela Training Systems in Clark, NJ that have proven to produce incredible results time and time again.
But first let me kick it off with my story and how I developed this system and got into training in the first place.
Ambition to become the king of arm wrestling
My training career truly started when I was 13 years old. I was challenged to an arm wrestling match back in the 7th grade by a kid named Mark. Mark was probably about half my size, but the kid used to destroy everyone in arm wrestling. I took the challenge and he literally laughed at me mid-match, right before he nearly ripped my arm off. All the kids that surrounded us laughed hysterically, which left me humiliated, pissed off, and more importantly, determined.
The next day I walked my ass down to the Modell’s about a mile from my house and purchased one hexagon 20 lb. dumbbell . 13 years old and about 140 lbs, I was barely able to carry this thing back to my house. And naturally, I did the one exercise that I knew, for probably about 20,000 reps.
The bicep curl.
I was determined to never lose another arm wrestling match in my life. I challenged Mark almost every day at school, and took beating after beating. Until, 8th grade came around and about 9,000,000 bicep curls later, I was finally able to beat that SOB!
That was my first taste of getting stronger and seeing first hand results.
Welcome to high school football
The summer going into my freshman year of high school my friends talked me into playing football. Only a few of us 8th graders were committed to the 8-AM workouts at the field house that summer.
This was my first experience in a true weight room environment and it was incredible.
Like all typical teenagers, I was immediately attracted to the bench press. So, I benched, I curled, I squatted, leg pressed, deadlifted and cleaned, with what was probably the worst form anyone has ever seen. Luckily, despite the fact that I had no clue what I was doing, I never got injured and actually saw some results. That summer I grew from 150 lbs-165 lbs.
Making the game
After four years of lifting for high school football, I started to get even more serious with my training after football my senior year. The first book I bought on training was Triple H’s “Making the Game” where it took you through his workouts with all kinds of exercises and pictures.
I spent hours in the gym, literally 3 or 4 a night.
I knew very little about training at that time. So what I did was follow a typical bodybuilding split. Monday chest and tri’s, Tuesday legs, Thursday back and bi’s, Friday shoulders, arms and calves.
Any of you that have been following me for a while know that I wouldn’t typically recommend this type of split for any genetically average hard gainer like myself. But initially I did make some progress, until I eventually plateaued and couldn’t get any bigger or stronger.
During a family get-together that year I was talking training with my cousin and mentor, John Alvino, who is one of the best in the strength and conditioning business.
I remember being so excited and proud to tell him about all of the work I have been putting in.
When I did his reply was simple.
“You gotta stop wasting your time.”
I was shocked! What the hell do you mean?! I have been putting in hours almost everyday!
“Come to my gym on Monday” was all he said.
The start of a new career
The name of my cousin’s training facility was called Iron Athletes. As soon as I walked in I was immediately hooked. He had all types of equipment that I had never seen before.
Naturally our first session together was leg day. And naturally, I puked all over the place and nearly passed out.
Regardless of all the puke and outer body experiences I loved training there. The atmosphere, the music, the guys pushing you…everything about it. I knew that this is what I wanted to do.
While training at Iron Athletes I started training more like an athlete, using less isolation movements and more multi-joint stuff. Military presses, squats, deadlifts, bench presses and all kinds of assistance exercises that I had never used.
Over the summer I went from 175 lbs. to 190 lbs! I was also the strongest I have ever been in my life, benching 305 lbs, squatting 400 and deadlifting 425!
It wasn’t until then that I learned the benefits of combining powerlifting, bodybuilding, bodyweight and strongman training. This combination known as powerbuilding gets you big as hell and brutally strong!
The birth of Tutela Training Systems
After working under John Alvino for nearly three years I decided to open up my own training business. So in March of 2009 I opened up TTS as a contractor at a private gym in Clark, NJ.
From 2009-2012 I became obsessed withnot only getting people bigger and stronger but getting them shredded. During this time I played around with a lot of metabolic conditioning stuff. If you’re unsure what that is, Met Con is strength training exercises put together in a circuit to create more of a conditioning effect.
Typically we did 3 full body days per week.
Although these workouts are extremely effective for getting people lean, they are also pretty taxing and become tough to recover from when you do them long enough.
I found that most guys who are more advanced and already strong don’t typically enjoy this style of training; however beginners and women tend to love it.
This is due to the fact that advanced trainees have more strength and muscle, which requires a greater demand for oxygen. This makes it much more taxing with a much greater conditioning effect for advanced guys and girls.
The biggest bang for your buck
The way I train myself and most of my clients and athletes now after opening my brick and mortar location in 2012 has been proven to give us all the biggest bang for our buck!
That is using an upper/lower split most of the time with a powerbuilding type of template. On off days you can do your conditioning work. You can use met con, HIIT, sprints or play a sport or martial arts on your higher intensity days.
On low intensity days go for a walk, bike ride, hike, swim or do some type of low level activity to break a sweat.
These days I typically strength train 3 days per week. One week is upper, lower, upper and the next week is lower upper, lower.
I do martial arts twice per week, sprint once per week and do something with low intensity once per week.
I also walk everyday first thing in the morning every day on an empty stomach to get my head right for the day and to burn some fat.
I have used this split for myself and for many clients over the years and have had tremendous success.
Putting it all together
As you can see from my training experience throughout the years, I didn’t do everything right. I actually had no idea what I was doing at first. But I did the work and saw results.
Once I stopped seeing results I tried something new, then I saw more results. One that stopped I tried something new, and saw more results!
My point is if you’re constantly looking for the next best thing, you’ll never know what works and what doesn’t. You’ll waste more time and energy looking for the best training program rather than just putting in the damn work.
The time may not be perfect, you may not be sure what to do, you may think there is a better way… but if you just stop thinking and DO THE WORK you’ll find that is what actually produces results. Regardless of how shitty your program looks on paper.
Because if you have the best training program on paper but always second guess it and change what you’re doing your results will suffer.
Just get in the trenches and start doing SOMETHING!
That’s the only way you’ll find out how to achieve real-world results.
I hope this helps guys.
Drop a comment below or shoot me an email to let me know what you think.
EAT TO COMPLETE
We will be writing about a variety of informative topics to help you achieve your health, weight management, and fitness goals. Be sure to check back often and let us know if there’s a specific topic you’d like for us to include. Here are some of the topics we will be covering – hope you’ll enjoy it!
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