The gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery are graced by U.S. flags on Memorial Day weekend
Just a short post today to remember all who have served and are still serving.
I want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart.
It is only from your hard work, dedication, and effort that you make my life as it is today possible
Many of you I have never met and probably never will
I want you to know that I am forever thankful for all that you do.
Here we go again, a tip inside my brain as to what is rattling around in there. Trust me, you have been warned!
1) Mushroomhead is a highly underrated metal band
Adam T Glass just found them and was blown away. Great stuff. I prefer their earlier work with J Mann, but the new upcoming CD still sounds pretty cool. Awesome live shows if you ever get the chance to see them–go!
2) One of my favorite quotes of all time
“The iron never lies to you..the iron will always kick you the real deal. The iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go, but two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.” – Henry Rollins
3) Axial loading is key for muscle hypertrophy
It seems that loading the body axially like squats and overhead pressing seems to have a greater trigger for muscle hypertrophy (bigger muscles).
There is not any direct research that I have seen on this looking at similar loads (volume), but adding squats and kettlebell clean and jerks into your routine can pack on some mass quite fast.
I added about 3-4 lbs in the past month by adding these in. I also increased my calories again and my stress level was a bit lower too. Make sure those movement test well though (ala Grip n Rip).
4) Corrective exercise
I think we are making it entirely too complicated. An exercise/movement either makes you better or worse. If it makes you worse, you are not doing it correctly for YOUR body, or it is not good for you at THAT time. We are either getting better or worse. Is corrective exercise any more complicated than that?
5) Bad foods
We need to stop putting foods into categories as “good” or “bad.” Very few foods are really bad. If something is really bad it will kill you fast. That is bad. A poorly prepared puffer fish will kill you very fast. I say avoid it, but even eating twinkies for a week straight will probably not kill you. You may look similar to a twinkie by the end of the week though.
Twinkies in their natural state
6) The goal of health
Along those lines our goal of health is backwards. People think they need to eat “clean” 100% of the time. Even the most strict, pre-competition bodybuilder types don’t need to do that 100% of the time and even then the pre contest period is short compared to the rest of their life.
Having people try to get to a goal of 100% is not realistic and will set them up for massive failure.
The goal should be to eat as “BAD” as possible WHILE maintaining health (blood tests) and body composition goals.
If you can do this at a 70% compliance vs a 90% compliance, 70% is better!
The ability to take in virtually any food item and convert it into fuel (termed Metabolic Flexibility) is key to health.
Do you want to have more freedom with your diet and eat the foods you love, or feel like you are boxed in and “never good enough”?
7) PhD programs are long, really friggin’ long
I knew when I start this, that it would be a long road. I had other warn me about it. I thought they were nuts. No way I was going to be in school for another 5-7 years after the 11 years I had already done. Screw that.
Well, fast forward to many years later and I am still plugging away at it. Very few things have I started that I have though long and hard about quitting and this is at the top of the list. The good part is that I am fully determined to finish, no matter how long it takes. I have decided it will not rule my life and as long as each day I am making progress, the end will come. And I can’t wait for that day. Wow. Once I graduate, all hell is going to break loose as my ability to output will go through the roof. You have been warned.
8 ) Poor exercise form
Adam mentioned this on a conference call and some are now sooooo scared of not doing an exercise correctly that they will not even TRY.
How can you get better at say a kettlebell clean and press, without ever doing one? The answer is you CAN’T.
The first rep is always the worst rep.
I am NOT recommending that you go load up the bar with a max load and do your first deadlift attempt ever with it. That is just stupid. But starting with the bar and doing a few reps and measuring your range of motion (biofeedback) to see if it is good is an excellent start. Then work to make it better every time. Not starting will not help you. To get better, you can video your movements and keep testing or find a local qualified coach to help determine what is best for YOUR body; not what looks picture perfect. The goal is better, not initial perfection.
9) I still love the TRX
Very fun to use and easy to travel with too!
10) You should train for falling and ill movements
Joint mobility,while it can have its place and does work, is only a handful of movement the human body can do. Plus, we learn by performing large (gross) movements first and then work to refine them over time. Why would we start with the smallest movements FIRST?
If you want to learn how to squat, I want to see you friggin squat first! I don’t give a crap at that point about your ankle dorsiflexion or the ability of you to active control your pinky finger. I don’t care. If I can’t correct your squat movement, I will then start to go to more fine and fin movements. I may end up with ankle work or even thumb mobility work, but I would not START there.
You must read this post on Joint Mobility from Frankie below. It is a MUST read.
13) B-Stance Deadlifts are one of the most underrated versions
If you have a weakness in one leg (most of use do) and you want to bring up your deadlift, doing a B-Stance deadlift where once foot is closer to the bar than the other (think of a very mild or shallow lunge where one leg is about 4 inches back from the bar in an asymmetric stance). Check it out at
I love GLC 2000 for joint issues. I have been using it for several months now and it is great. Others that recommended it to have tried it love it too. I have tried similar supplements like it in the past and they did nothing for me.
While I don’t have many joint issues, they did get a bit achy after many weeks of increased volume. I even tried to push it a bit more and still had no issues. I stopped taking it and within a few days to weeks, they got a bit touchy again.
GLC 2000 has a very high form of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, which are natural substances found in and around the cells of cartilage (joints). Glucosamine is an amino sugar that the body produces and distributes in cartilage and other connective tissue, and chondroitin sulfate is a complex carbohydrate that helps cartilage retain water.
I have some other theories that this should help connective tissue health, which then should help maximal strength.
If you go to the link below, you can pick up 2 for the price of 1 from Carl at Super Human Radio (which you MUST listen to).
Lessons Learned From Untimely Deaths Part 2: Sprint Coach Charlie Francis and Dio
Charlie Francis (October 13, 1948 – May 12, 2010)
If you do know know how Charlie Francis is, you probably heard of him as the coach of sprinter Ben Johnson, the first competitor to be stripped of an Olympic gold medal for using banned drugs.
He also trained many other sprinters including Angella Issajenko, Mark McKoy, and Desai Williams.
Francis himself was a great athlete want went on to become the Canadian 100 metres sprint champion in 1970, 1971, and 1973 and barely missed the Olympics in 1972
Francis started coaching Johnson at the age of 15. So much for the use of drugs only to get results.
I remember first hearing about him from his first book “Speed Trap” and later “Training for Speed.”
This was my first realy introduction into athletic training and I remember being just blown away reading it.
It was the fist time I heard of concepts like the SAID principle and transfer.
The question that stood out to me was (paraphrasing here) “How do we get athletes to run faster, if they have never actually ran faster?”
How could you get someone to run faster, without the specific practice of actually running faster?
Francis did not advocate any running of sprints in the 75-95% of ones best time. His thoughts were that this was too slow to help improve the athlete’s time and would just make them slower of time.
Slower work below 75% of one’s best time was different enough to not transfer to top end speed.
I remember hearing about how he would listen to the athlete’s impact to determine how they were doing.
Above all he emphasized QUALITY work, not just adding more quantity. Every small detail had to be accounted for at the highest level.
In 2005 he was diagnosed with Mantle Cell Lymphoma and passed away Wednesday May 12, 2010 after a five-year battle with the disease.
I feel sad that I was never able to see him present in person.
Lessons I Learned
1) SAID Principle and Transfer
This was the first time I had heard of them outside of Physiology 101.
2) Quality over Quantity
Before this, I always thought that if you could do more, it was better. I learned that quality was much more important than quantity, although it took me several years to really incorporate that into my training
RIP Charlie. Your work will carry on and you are missed by many.
Ronnie James Dio ((July 10, 1942 – May 16, 2010)
Ronnie James Dio was a heavy metal vocalist and songwriter. He performed in 5 different bands over his career including Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Heaven & Hell, and of course, Dio.
He had a voice that was unmistakeable and regarded as one of the most powerful singers in heavy metal.
Rumor has it, he is know for for popularizing the “devil’s horns” hand gesture in metal culture.
Dio Throwing the Horns
Dio died of stomach cancer on May 16, 2010.
Lesson I Learned
1) Leverage your strengths
Dio had an iconic voice and he always leveraged that in every band. You could listen for just a few seconds and know it was Dio on vocals. I learned that working on your weakness is good, don’t forget to leverage your strengths.
RIP Dio, as the world has lost one of the greatest metal singers of all time
What lessons have you learned? Please share them in the comments below
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I used to work at a radio station, WMTU 91.9 in Houghton MI where I was doing post grad and Masters work in Mechanical Engineering.
I remember touring Mich Tech there (MTU) and seeing that they had a private weight room next to a radio station in addition to a ski hill only a couple miles from campus. Add to this one of the top Mechanical Engineering programs in the country, and it was a no brainer. It was almost all guys though, but at the time I figured it was only a few years out of my life and there was always summer break.
I started working as a DJ at the radio station and soon was the Music Director for Loud Rock. I made nothing doing the job, but I loved it. I got to talk to all the people in the music industry and received all the new CDs before they were released. I would screen them and them put them out for other DJs to play.
I remember getting in the promo copy of Slipknot’s first CD, back almost 11 years ago now. They did not have names at the time and went only by numbers, 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. I could not believe their were 9 people in a metal band, what the heck?
I put in their CD that I just got from Roadrunner records and was blown away. Wow. I had listened to a ton of metal CDs, but this one grabbed me right away.
I later saw them outside at Ozzfest and even got see them from backstage playing a small club, The Quest, here in Minnesota. I knew the opening band The Step Kings and was on the guest list for them at the show.
We were hanging out back stage and Slipknot hit the stage. Their live show was insane! 9 people running around a moderate sized stage and it really looked like they were going to kill each other, all wearing prison-like jump suits, each with their own number on it.
From the floor, you could not see what was going behind all the drum kits, but from backstage it was a sight I will never forget.
A live clip of “Wait and Bleed’ from 2000 can be found HERE. It was true organized chaos and it was awesome!
1) Never give up and you can change the world
I can’t imagine many people seeing Slipknot perform in Iowa would have ever thought they would go on to become one of the biggest metal bands ever, playing in front of sold out stadiums to millions of people over many years and even winning a Grammy award.
I know some in the record industry at that time publicly stated that if this was the future of music, they wanted no part on it.
2) It only takes 1
Roadrunner Records believed in them and signed them to their first official record deal. From there, they went on to sell 14 million records world wide. It only takes 1 to believe in you initially, to be the first follower, and where you go from there is unlimited. Only those who “get it” count, not those who do not get it.
RIP Paul Gray (April 8, 1972 – May 24, 2010)
You will be missed by many
Peter Steele of Type O Negative
Peter died of complications due to heart failure recently.
Here is one of their early videos
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It is with great sadness that we inform you that Type O Negative front man, bassist, and our band mate, Peter Steele passed away last night of what appears to be heart failure.
Ironically Peter had been enjoying a long period of sobriety and improved health and was imminently due to begin writing and recording new music for our follow up to “Dead Again” released in 2007.
The official cause of death has yet to be determined pending autopsy results. The funeral services will be private and memorial services will be announced at a future date. We’d like to share our thoughts and those of Peter’s family below.
We are truly saddened to lose our friend and appreciate the tremendous outpouring today from around the world.
About a month earlier, I heard that Peter Steele of the band Type O Negative had passed away due to complications of heart failure. My uncle died of heart failure and I also work part time for a medical device company that makes implantable devices to treat it. It is not any fun at all.
I remember buying my first Type O Negative CD “Bloody Kisses” when it was re-released in the digipack version. This was around Finals week and I always bought myself a CD that week so that I would have new music to study to during that stressful week. I walked into the Best Buy in Duluth Minnesota and picked it up for $16.99. Keep in mind this is around early 1994, before the MP3 had even been invented and you could not hop on the interwebz and get music.
I walked out of the store having $1.23 to my name and wondering what I just did. The good part in college was that your room and board was already paid for, so you did not need much money to live on. I was worried that it was going to suck though and then I was going to be really pissed.
Was it going to be any good? Turns out it was an awesome CD that I listened to about 20 times that week alone.
Peter Steele on the Jerry Springer Show
Never thought I would have a clip of the Jerry Springer show on here, but Peter has some great advice at the 5:41 point
Fast forward a few years later and I was working at the radio station at WMTU and got the chance to see Type O Negative in Minnesota. Awesome!
I did not have a car at the time, so I convinced Troy (a guy from my dorm floor) and Andy that we needed to go to this show. We piled in his pinto like car and off we went. It was winter and along the way he put the car in a small snow bank, but we would not be deterred.
8 hours later we were in St. Cloud Minnesota. Before I left I negotiated interviews with all the bands playing. It was a great bill with Drain STH (an all female band from Sweden) and the Industrial band Sister Machine Gun. I was so stoked.
The Big Show
We arrived there and they said we were going to talk to Kenny the guitar player. We were really hoping to at least meet Peter, but hey, the guitar player was awesome. The tour manager brought us back to the tour bus and as we got on their was Peter Steele sitting there eating cookies.
“Hey guys, how is it going?’ he said.
I stood there a bit dumb founded since I never pictured big rock stars eating cookies. Not sure why, but that mental image never came up.
Kenny decided he did not want to talk (but was very pleasant) so he got Peter to do the interview for us. For the next 20 minutes I proceeded to ask the standard “rock interview questions” that I am sure he had heard 1,000 time before
How is the tour going?
What is it like to be on tour?
How was the last show? ad nausea
I remember asking him about what type of music he listens to currently. His answer surprised me and took me several years to finally unpack it completely.
“I like whatever is passionate. I don’t have a particular type in mind, but anything that is very passionate I am a fan of” (paraphrased)
Wow, I was expecting the standard type answer about this or that band or this type of music.
I realized later that this applied more to life and not just music.
We bid our farewell after some autographs, station liners, and pictures.
All of us were giddy like school girls.
My signed copy of October Rust
And yes we did interview the band Drain STH who were great and very nice. They were trying to completely figure out the English to Metric conversion since it was their first time to the States. We interviewed Chris Randall from Sister Machine Gun who was very very cool. We even gave Peter’s bass tech a ride to the mall to buy a winter coat since he did not have one at the time.
Overall it was an amazing night that I will remember forever.
Yes, Peter Steele is VERY tall. I am 6′ 3″ and he is 5 inches taller than me, so it was pretty weird to have to look up to him.
The world will miss Peter and the music he made.
He was an amazing musician that had a very dark outlook, but never took it too serious.
Peter had never been a stranger to controversy ranging from time in jail to substance abuse, but their live shows were always amazing.
Here is one of the last interviews that Peter did HERE (not don’t watch it if you are easily offended)
n April 2007, Steele revealed that he began identifying himself as Roman Catholic in recent years, after decades of self-professed atheism. In an interview with Decibel magazine, Steele explained:
“There are no atheists in foxholes, they say, and I was a foxhole atheist for a long time. But after going through a midlife crisis and having many things change very quickly, it made me realize my mortality. And when you start to think about death, you start to think about what’s after it. And then you start hoping there is a God. For me, it’s a frightening thought to go nowhere. I also can’t believe that people like Stalinand Hitler are gonna go to the same place as Mother Teresa.”
1) Passion counts
Since I spent a good portion of my life crunching numbers, and steeped in logic; I realized that this is only part of the equation.
As I got older, I valued passion much more.
I get really worried about people that are not passionate about anything. I have much more admiration for those that are passionate, even if I don’t agree at all with what they are saying or doing, but atleast they are passionate about it and working to do their best.
Thanks again Peter for pointing this out to me years ago.
RIP Peter (January 4, 1962 – April 14, 2010)
You are missed, whether you like that or not.
Part II coming soon
Place a comment below on an important lesson you have learned recently. I think it would be great if we can all learn from each other