MIC DROPS: A TRAINER? I DON’T NEED A TRAINER!


Well guy, you might actually need one…

Why does anyone need a personal trainer?

Well there are various reasons. All pretty logical ones, if you’re into that logic stuff. And since you’re clicking on my completely amazing “backed by science” blog here, I’ll give you a quick, slightly hilarious run down of why.


Pictured: So wrong. So very very wrong. We’ll save comment for a future article about advertising.

1) You have a motivation issue.

You would think that not feeling good, or fast, or strong, or able to lift something in the kitchen would be motivation enough to want to get in better shape, but for a lot of people they stack literally everything in front of the need for a better, healthier life. This can be tied into an accountability issue for a lot. There are some very proud people out there that won’t admit they need someone to bark instructions at them to do something in their minds, as trivial as exercise. But motivation and accountability go hand in hand. You aren’t getting to the gym, and you are justifying all your excuses to where it’s easy to dismiss making and developing better lifestyle habits.

Because really that is what it is. You’re replacing not-so-healthy habits with good-for-you habits. Fitness works when you make it a part of your life, not try and wedge it into your week when it’s easy. A good trainer will help you develop these. Or die trying.

2) You want to be educated by someone.

There are roughly 16 billion fitness articles on the internet. All of them claim to be right. There are some pretty easy ones, that are “backed by science” (no really, we mean it this time). A good trainer who is constantly learning, studying, trying out new exercises, taking seminars, and doing research are what you want, mostly to either get you interested in something or to answer questions. Now this doesn’t necessarily mean someone is certified knows everything. In fact, some of the best trainers I’ve met don’t have a million certifications (some can get certified and forget a lot of what they learned) but they are always doing things to make themselves reliable pillars of information. Like myself, I would like to have a brief answer to most anything. And if I don’t, I will get it as soon as I can to give them an answer.


The answer usually isn’t speaking in tongues either.

This also means that when you hire a trainer, you want to know they will understand proper form, basic nutritional information, and how to explain things in a way that make sense to someone who might not have any background in fitness.

3) When you do exercise, you don’t know what you’re doing:

Are you the type who wants to figure it out on their own? You might be. But when it comes to exercise you can do one of two things: watch a lot of bad form in the gym and copy it or spend hours looking online for how to do things right. And if you’re a busy body working a lot, you might not have that kind of time.


“Do you at least have time to check out my sweet watch? It’s pretty sweet…”

This is where hiring a fitness coach makes all the sense in the world. You’ll have someone who has repeatedly shown others how to do the basics, and watch in order to correct it. Trust us, as the leader of the <a href=http://www.metalmadefitness.bigcartel.com/product/defend-proper-form-unisex-shirt”>”Defend Proper Form”</a> movement, we see bad form in the gym a lot and wonder “they would benefit from even a few sessions to learn how to do this all the right way”. Developing good habits with fitness aren’t just limited to making it a part of your life, it’s doing it the RIGHT way once you’re in there.

4) Getting Some Results?

If you are not able to motivate yourself, if you don’t know what you’re doing in the gym or how to perform exercises, chances are you’re not getting the results YOU want. And becoming stronger, leaner, more flexible and healthier isn’t something you can just think about. The number one thing we hear from people as trainers when they come to us for help is “well, I’ll think about starting or getting sessions” but they’ve already been thinking about it for 6 months. In that six months, they’ve hurt their back, developed irregular exercise patterns, obtained bad form and gotten frustrated and stopped trying. This is the case a lot of the time.

This is why we train. To be that go to for YOU. To help you with all of the above.


That and we just got tired of flipping out desk over at a job before we started becoming trainers. It got expensive.

There are plenty of reasons to not get a SPECIFIC trainer, and believe us we’ve seen some bad ones. But just like a great metal show, don’t let that one bad apple keep you from going into the crowd and bouncing around and joining in. Chances are either at your local gym or personal training studio, there are trainers that will fit what you are looking for. Wish to train with a female instead of a male? Most gyms have both. Looking for someone with a diverse pallet of methods? You should want that in a trainer, as any trainer should never try and train every client only one way. Are you looking for a trainer that is a good people person that can really listen to your needs and create a program for them? Again, this is a good thing.


Pictured: Just turn in your certification and go home.

So it’s March 2016. Time to stop thinking about it and get to your local gym and INVEST in your health. While training might not seem cheap (and cheap training is a ‘you get what you pay for’ kind of thing) it is certainly a worthwhile investment that will be cheaper than constant hospital visits the older you get. Speaking from experience, living a healthy lifestyle has kept the clock from going mach 5 in my life, and I intend on staying as young as possible because of it, for as long as I can.

MIC DROPS: DEATH TO ALL GYM CREEPS!

DISCLAIMER: Before we start, this rant is more of a public service announcement from the perspective of a straight male, that of which is yours truly. Yes, there can be women who are a little on the insane side of things, but this is primarily about dudes. Just to throw that out there.


We’re not the only ones who think that…

SECOND DISCLAIMER: If you think at all this is an anti-homosexual piece because I happen to mention homosexual men, just stop. Seriously. Humans of all shapes, sizes, sexes and preferences can be creepy assholes. No one is exempt from this. We at Metal Made Fitness do not single people out because of who they are, it’s what they do and their actions. Anyone from any walk of life can be an asshole. Agree? Agree. If you don’t, you got problems. READ ON METAL PEOPLE!

Dear Guys at the gym…..STOP BEING A GYM CREEPER.


Or just stop being creepy in general…TOM

I’m pretty observant. I like to keep my eyes open and keep tabs on my surroundings. And I’m also very good at seeing what other people are doing via mirrors. It’s something I learned when I was 19 working as a Floor Manager at a strip club trying to use mirror to tally couch dances. This was before my lucrative career as the DJ, but even then we learned to use mirrors to keep an eye on dancers so dudes wouldn’t get out of hand. So using mirrors is something I’m pretty good at when surveying the landscape.

In my years at the gym I have noticed and come to a conclusion: Men, whether gay or straight, are predators. That’s right, it might not be PC to say that but gay men are just as guilty of this as straight guys. Dudes are dudes. You’re not exempt or immune from criticism on this subject. If you have a penis and testicles you probably have this thing called “raging testosterone” and you wake up with the need to put your penis into anything possible, because testosterone happens. No matter who you go for your in your private life though, you still have that same asshole predatory “invading space” mentality as any college frat guy harassing girls at a party. Even if you don’t want to admit it, it’s there. Shit, I have it sometimes. Some can control it, and meet their desired types no problem, but others have serious issues with keeping it in check. Match that with social awkwardness and you might do some creeping without knowing it. So stop being delusional that this isn’t a thing. This is aimed at ALL types of dudes, no matter your preference. Mostly straight dudes, but all dudes included.


Oh shut up Dude.

For the guys out there who are cool, and go in, and mind their business at the gym, and kick ass, work out, and respect everyone’s space, kudos! You the real MVP. This isn’t for you. You’re doing great, probably have healthy relationships with others and you keep just on keeping on.

For the guys who are being creeps, you’re about to get a verbal assault. Chances are you’re completely oblivious to the fact you think you are doing anything wrong in the first place. So you’re getting called out. Starting now.

1) YOU STARE TOO MUCH, TOO LONG.
Staring does not do anything but make you look like a psychotic freak. I don’t care if a woman is dressed in form fitting clothes on the leg machine or the guy you’re trying to bore a hole through with your gaze looks good. YOU ARE MAKING IT OBVIOUS WHAT YOU ARE DOING. I have been at the gym and pointed out to friends “dude that guy stopped what he doing and is literally staring non-stop at that girl”.  You might as well have binoculars. And I get it, I’m a guy that loves women and I will look when I see one. Key word LOOK. But I also know anything past 1-2 seconds is not a “look” it’s a stare. I’m there to workout and do my thing. If a woman and I start mutually conversing, then cool. But I’m smart enough to know the difference. If you wanna look at people in a creepy-ass way longer than than a second or two, go to a strip club of your choosing. Otherwise, don’t be shocked if someone calls you out for being a GYM CREEP. Eye-raping isn’t attractive, it’s pathetic.


And even if you’re famous, it’s creepy.

2) YOU FOLLOW/STALK
Dude, seriously. I’ve seen guys completely modify their workout to follow a girl around the gym. For example, the gym I train at there is this guy who is on a normal schedule for a bodybuilding program. He does the same stuff each day of the week. The other day he did legs, and then arms. The problem is the day before he did back and arms. And this second day of arms happen to be where this young girl wearing form fitting clothing was, EVERY STATION SHE WENT. It was obvious what the guy was doing too. We’ve seen people go as far as to modify their workouts to stock people to where we’ve kicked them out of the gym for it. If you’re there to follow someone without talking to them like that, that is called BEING PATHETIC. If you don’t know how to approach someone and say hi, LEARN. And if someone isn’t interested, CEASE ANY ACTION TOWARD THEM. And if you’re clearly making the other person uncomfortable and you don’t realize it YOU MIGHT BE PART TED BUNDY AKA SERIAL KILLER. Seek help immediately asshole.


And lose the Kid Rock bandanna please.

3) YOU HAVE A SPYCAM ON YOUR PHONE
I can’t believe I even have to say anything about this but apparently there are whole websites dedicated to dudes who take secret pictures of girls at the gym and THEY POST THEM ONLINE. WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU DUDE? If you’re doing this, go call your Mom or Dad immediately and tell them they screwed up raising you and you’re a disgrace of a son. This is illegal to do  and I hope you get caught for doing it you CREEPY ASS BASTARD.


Pictured: Creepy Ass Bastard

4) YOU CROWD SOMEONE
Ok this something unfortunately I’ve seen gay men and old guys do at the gym more than anything. Straight dudes generally will creep from a bit of a distance from what my female friends have told me. Old guys don’t give a fuck, and gay guys seem to think this is like acceptable also. If a girl or guy is at a part of the gym where there is a lot of space, doing planks for example DO NOT SET UP RIGHT NEXT TO THEM. That is about as creepy as can be. This ain’t a parking lot with no cars in it where you’re trying to get close to the mall entrance. It’s a gym floor. There are plenty of spaces and unless it’s cramped, back off. Nothing says “gym rapist” like a dude that tries laying next to a girl doing ab crunches. And the other thing, if there is plenty of mirror room, DON’T STAND BEHIND SOMEONE. That is really fucking creepy.


Self explanitory

Here are some testimonials about what you gym creeps are doing. Seriously, this is how pathetic you dudes are….

“…. a guy kept following me around the gym, and when I’d start using a piece of equipment, he’d just find one about 5 or 10 feet away and act like he was actually just working out. I lost it when I sat on the machine to work adductors, which would require me to spread my legs, and he sat down on a machine directly opposite of me. I jumped right back up, glared at him, and went to the front desk to complain. The staff at that time was afraid of any sort of confrontation or awkward situation, so they did nothing. I saw him in there a few more times after that, then never again.” CREEPSTER McCREEPERSON!!!

“…At my old gym there was a guy my dad’s age that was always staring at me and smiling and one day he was clearly “excited”. So yeah, I went home and vomited a little.” Hashtag #THATCREEPERLIFE

“… I did have a guy sign out his kids from the day care after me and found my name on the sign out sheet. He then Facebook messaged me that that’s how he found me. He got kicked out of the gym for that, there was more to his message than that but just gross…” GRADUATE OF THE TED BUNDY ACADEMY OF CREEPERS.

So are we clear Gym Creeps? You hear what we’re saying here? Hopefully. If not, you have a mental problem and you probably shouldn’t be in a public setting until you get it fixed. Women are not there for you to gawk at like a piece of meat, ESPECIALLY when they are there to reach their fitness goals. I don’t care how ‘hot” they look. Stop living in a porn fantasy. Same goes for guys towards other guys. If you’re being creepy towards a guy to the point where one says something to you like “mind your business”, do so. The gym is where someone goes to obtain fitness, health and a better self. It’s not your meat market. It’s not your fantasy grounds. Stop being a CREEP.

MIC DROPS: DOWN IN A HOLE


Well…Dragons…and I thought my problems were bad….

Been a while since he have taken a break from the “here is a food” or “here is a band” articles. We prefer not to rant here at Metal Made Fitness, because quite frankly we’d rather keep this site as hilarious as possible and full of as much useful information put into laments terms as possible. Too many stoned face over serious fitness types or “drowning in an ego” figureheads in the industry out there and we just don’t want that here at all. And we know anything put from a personal perspective is something you’d not want to read all day. You want metal right? “F those rants man!”

But, we do say, it’s sometimes needed so you can relate with us. Because we’re all squishy beings with a brain that says we have a heart and we feel more feelings sometimes than a Nickelback ballad. Unfortunately. And it just happens we’re, on a personal level, stuck in a bumpy road in our lives.

Depression. Down days. Down moods. Sadness. It happens. Sometimes for short periods. Sometimes for long periods. Sometimes for five minutes, sometimes for five weeks. Depending on who you are you can get into these ruts and also depending who you are, you can get stuck in them. In the same way someone on Ketamine gets stuck in a K-hole, which I’ve seen and it’s hilarious unless you’re the one sitting on a flooded kitchen floor naked, with a naked black woman on the couch holding a large double ended dildo. Yes, we actually walked in on a roommate in that situation when we were much younger. It wouldn’t have been so funny had we not been high ourselves. See, now you’re laughing. And you thought you came here to be down, huh?

But fast forward back to the now. We, personally, love doing this site and making it happen. But for those of you who believe there isn’t a real person behind the shirts and the band interviews or the countless hyperlinks that go to funny pictures, there in fact, is. We might sometimes appear badass and all “fitnessed” out and tattooed and have that smirk on our faces, but much like your standard circus clown, inside we’re crying. Now often, we resort to the gym on a down day. Sometimes we pick up the guitar and play it. As a grown ass man who needs to stop talking in third person, I have learned over my years of being a squishy being with cow eyes, that there are a few REALLY essential ways to dealing with depression. And having sex isn’t going to be on this list.


Sorry Obama!

I believe that with every fiber of my being that we, in our own way, are super creative creatures. And I believe if we do not get to create or build things on a regular basis that we crumble inside. We all have a talent in some way. And if we ignore that fire to make or create, we slowly can burn out inside. So my first tip on dealing with the depression is, don’t go posting it on Facebook like a twerp. Go solo, grab the one thing you love to do that involves losing yourself in it, and DO IT.

So what if you tried that, and you wrote a 74-minute symphony and you still feel like you wanna jump into traffic? Well there is hope for you in the form of glorious conversation. You need a friend. And not, again, a social media post where 43 people can like it, and three guys can believe it’s a sign that you’re trying to get laid or 6 people can ignore the fact you need to be listened to and just try and relate and pull you into their issues….no. Find one friend. And fucking call them. Or text them. And tell them, “it’s time to be a real life, no online, legit friend because I’d do it for you” and then find the time where you can both pick up the phone or meet and be there for the other. We have fallen so far into the concept of “virtual” that we forget that there are some beautiful things in life that can’t be web conferenced. Unless that friend is overseas and you have to Skype it, fucking get a face to face. And don’t think you need to advertise your shit online. Seriously. That’s attention seeking. Real problems are personal and shouldn’t involve the rest of the world.

So let’s say you’ve talked with a friend. And played guitar. And built a candy house. Still down? It’s possible. Again, I’ve been there and I’m still there now. One method is distract yourself enough to where you forget what was bringing you down, even for a bit. I am the last person in the world to say, “Ignore your issues and bury them” because I’ve seen and experienced what repressed emotions can do. Never repress them but sometimes coming back and dealing with them later so you can go LIVE and enjoy the day for a while is a good thing. It’s like writing a song and getting stuck and instead of banging your head against a wall with it, walking away from it to become unstuck on it. It can work.


…but if you really need to…

Sometimes, depending on the problem of what is eating you, yes you can just “man up” and realize the problem isn’t really as big as you’re making it and brush it off. Rollins is right on a lot of these things. Not everything is that simple. Like I’ve stated, humans are blessed and cursed with emotion. And for some of us, it takes longer to deal with things and it’s harder to brush off to where others just read an inspirational meme and go “oh well, everything’s great! Thanks Instagram!” (And we love posting these things for our followers in hopes you can get a smile on your face and do the damn thing…) But that doesn’t always solve something like clinical depression or grieving for the loss of someone you love, or being trapped in an abusive relationship. Things of that magnitude require a bit more work to get out of than reading a meme online. Real life, quantifiable issues that are crushing us, this is where you need to not be too proud and in denial and possibly talk with someone, as in a counselor. Sometimes these fine folks can jar something loose that we wouldn’t have figured out otherwise. Seeing a counselor doesn’t not mean there is something wrong with you. Never think that. It’s like talking to a friend that sits in absolute logic when we might not be able to find a logical answer. I personally have been to them for a variety of issues in my past and they have helped. Not always but sometimes.

More than anything, like I stated above, you’re ok. You’re going to be ok. You’re not a mess and life isn’t out to get you. I believe, and I believe this for my own sake also, that if you’re doing what you can, and doing your best to be kind to the friends you have, the right ones will be there for you. And that you will find a better path at some point to start walking down that involves a brighter pasture to graze in. Life is pretty damn cool, and just to be alive and experience it is pretty amazing. And maybe you’ve had a brush with your own mortality, whether it be with skydiving or a traffic accident or fighting a disease, to where you have realized how quick it can just go away. Life ends here. I don’t believe there is anything that keeps us going. It’d be egotistical to think we live forever somewhere. We end like all life ends. So to know this, and be reminded of it, can smack you around into not taking any of these seconds we get for granted. And if that’s the case it means that we better not be sad during them all the time.


Well, there is always that I suppose….

When you skydive, like I have, you get about 30 seconds before you find out if your canopy will open. Imagine it. You think you’ll be fine, in the back of your head you get a “what if” and 30 seconds before you face your possible end. Which is the thrill. But the real thrill is the 30 seconds of letting go, of fearlessness. Staring the end in the face. When the chute opens, you get 7 minutes of beautiful silence to see the world from above, and you remember how small we are. But if those are to be your last few minutes alive, enjoy them or worry? I try and remember this whenever I face depression. Right now, I am depressed. I am dealing with some heavy personal stuff. But I know I am also ok. And I’ll survive. And you will too.

Because you’re made of metal.

MIC DROPS: GOING OFF THE RAILS ON AN OVERTRAIN

In a training society where everyone is obsessed with “GAINZ” and making Kermit the Frog memes about them, something needs to be pointed out that is super important: Overtraining is real. Yeah I know, you wanna lift all the time, because it’s your drug and it makes you “feel all the feels” and other Generation Me things you see online, but knock it the F off. Seriously.

Rest days need to happen. Period. You’re causing a ton of micro tears and trauma in your body that need to be repaired and because you’re an organic being that requires rest to function properly, as that rest of any kind is important. Your hormones need it. Your neurotransmitters need it. Your immune system needs it. Even your gym shoes could use a day off to air out. You know those friends you never see? Your bed buddy? Your mom? Yeah, they kind of miss you too. And your floor needs vaccuming too.

The problem is you’re being fed from all angles that these big massive people who aren’t you or have your goals, or guys and gals that are training for 9 shows a year that talk about training twice a day for gains and fat burning and to look a certain way probably can get away with it for a short period of time because they don’t work normal jobs or a multitude of reasons. But the influence they have on a large group of people is very real. Some folks have insane genetics, but MOST don’t. You see people who look a certain way on social media and you want what they have, failing to realize a vast majority of the huge and large use growth hormones, steroids and a cornucopia of other drugs to sustain a certain look. But if you even talk to a large amount of them, they sleep as much as possible. They also eat twice as much you.

For the folks who don’t make a living as a bodybuilder or high profile fitness model, trying to train as they do and still balance everyday life can break someone down in a variety of ways. THIS IS WHY TAKING AT LEAST A DAY OFF A WEEK IS VITAL. Remember we do not grow in the gym while lifting, we grow at home, while sleeping 6-8 hours a night and by resting and eating well. We’re only in the gym 60 minutes a day five times a week.

So you want progress? Try rewiring your outlook and program as such:

1) Train 4-5 days a week.
NO MORE. By this I mean lifting heavy and kicking ass. The more ass you kick on the days you lift, the more rest you’ll need to bounce back.

2) Train no more than two days in a row.
If you train 10 days straight without a break it’s like you’re flipping of your body and immune system. Do you love your body? Then get in, kick ass, and give it a day off before your next two days of ass kicking.

3) Hit it hard but hit it FAST
If you’re in the gym for 2-3 hours you’re DOING IT WRONG. There is labcoat Helsinki evidence that after this period of time, that testosterone levels begin to drop and cortisol begins to rise like an erection. This will drag your body down by making it more difficult to achieve growth once the workout has ended. If you’re there longer than this, you’re being too social. Shut up and get to work.

4) Construct a program that uses free weight compound movements.
Machines have their place but ideally it’s all about the free weights. You wanna use them as much as you can to achieve growth and progress. The balance and focusis takes to lift free weights activates more muscles, more muscle fibers, and “excites” the nervous system more than machines do. Anyone who is big or developed will always preach about the basics: deadlifts, squats, military presses, bench presses, bent rows, curls and so on. For optimal progress, go the route of the free weights.

Training is a joy. It’s our release and how we get to our physical and asthetic goals. It feels good. But like anything that feels good, like having sex while on esctasy and skydiving all at the same time, too much of it can eventually break you down and kill you. No lie. So learn to pump the brakes a little bit and you can achieve the results you want without sacrificing your body and brain.

MIC DROPS: NEW YEAR…TIME TO GET AFTER IT

Harsh truth it is but you’re back staring a new year’s resolution in the face again. Welcome to the new year.

I’m going to be a bit of a blowhard in this article but the whole “nice guy” approach is a bit overdone in articles like this. It might come off as negative so bear with me.

You can do it.

Whatever you want to do, you can. But for a lot of you, you’re not doing it. You might post something with a hashtag “#Beastmode” but going #Beastmode to drop off dry cleaning doesn’t apply. Remember the line in Fight Club “this is your life and it’s ending one second at a time”? It’s true.

Procrastination is the great obliterator of goals.

You’re going to wake up one day and wonder where 6 years went. Or why you have a half done project. Or feel like you’re standing still. It’s a shitty feeling to think you’re breathing to pay bills and die. But the thing is that isn’t life. It’s what the powers that be might want you to think is out there so they can separate the drones from the queen bees. Maybe ‘their’ version of life is constructed so you feel down about where you’re at and you look at someone doing what they love and instead of picking yourself up you get bitter or jealous or depressed, and you just stay where you are.

I know this because it took me years to get off my ass and start doing what I REALLY loved to do.

I dabbled in various efforts. I tried certain hobbies and crafts, which there is nothing wrong with experimentation. But the whole time, I really knew my ‘thing’. My purpose. I just avoided it because as Sworn Enemy sings “I had a fear of failure”. Takes a lot to admit that to others. And it’s FAR easier to just do nothing and sulk than put in the work.

Then I realized the people I knew who WERE on the path of doing things they loved were not crazy or shut-ins or ridiculously obsessed or whatever certain psychological articles might pin people who are obsessed with goals and dreams. They were on the attack. They’re good people but their focus makes them seem egotistical to others that didn’t get it. You can go after what you want with laser focus and not be a dick about it. And I decided it was time to do exactly that. Wake up. Kick ass. Be Kind. Repeat.

And that is where we are now. MetalMadeFitness is nowhere close to where I want it to be but I’m working constantly on learning how to get it there. As a personal trainer, I’m learning everyday how to train clients, to work with clients, to step outside myself to be better at helping people. I’m looking at my skill set and seeing how I can improve it. How I can get better in every faucet of my abilities and my craft. How I can take everything I’ve learned and put it back into this. And I might fall down a few times. I might stumble a little. But as Jim Rohn said “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse”. You’ll have bad days, and you deal with them. You’ll have off moments, and you’ll figure them out. But ultimately whatever your goal is, that is your goal. Get after it. No delusions. No excuses. No more.

1) WHAT IS YOUR PASSION? YOUR “THING”? The thing you want to do more than anything else in the world. What you want to do for a living. Your career. Your life. Know WHY it means everything with. Don’t half ass it. Know it with your soul. Write it down.

2) FIND ALPHAS. Seriously. Find people you know who are doing what they want, or who are on path to get there, and learn from them. Ask them questions. Get inspired by them. If someone is bitter and not following their dream, they’re going to probably not be a good support team. When I started all this I knew I had wonderful support from my family. But also from my friend Anna (who is the primary investor in MMF), as well as my old buddy Zach aka RYLE. I sought out an old friend Adrienne who always has done things her way, and I got the vibe from all these people that I could and I WILL. Seeing them do what they love inspires me daily. If you don’t have these types of people, find some.

3) GET YOUR SHIT IN LINE. Figure out the “how”. Need an investor? Find one. Need a game plan? Ask others who have been there. Read some books on the ‘how’. Even if you don’t agree with them 100% you’ll learn something from others who have figured out the ‘how’. Everything can be a tool for the toolbox.

4) HAVE BACKUP PLANS. Because not everything will work as you planned. If you’re breathing, you know this to be true about life. The path to getting there isn’t a straight shot. If it was, the word “struggle” wouldn’t have any meaning. Some things along the way will be easy, some won’t. Know you have resources to use when Plan B needs to happen.

5) WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, MOVE MOUNTAINS WITH A SMILE. Easy days make it well, easy, to be happy about motivation and going towards a goal. Hard days make it a bit harder to smile. EMBRACE THE SUCK. And then smile. And know that every day that you are doing SOMETHING about it, you’re moving forward. You’re getting there. Smile. Enjoy those crappy moments as much as the good moments. Eventually, you’ll learn they can all be good moments. It means you’re that much closer to where you envision yourself.

6) LOSE YOUR DELUSION. Be real. 100%. Never lie to yourself about the reasons for doing what you are doing. Be authentic about it. And be honest with yourself. Don’t think because you want to , you can. You might need to stop, LEARN SOMETHING NEW, and THEN move forward. Michael Jordan didn’t just wake up and go “I can make any shot in the world”. He might have that mindset but he had to PRACTICE HIS ASS OFF. Over and over. Take a million shots to truly know his mindset matched his ability.

2015. New year. New goals. Whatever yours are, START NOW. Stop reading this and go. Now. You can. You will. The moment you start to get after it is when life starts changing for the better. We’ll talk in June to see how you’re doing.

MIC DROPS: AVOIDANCE IS NOT A GOOD OFFENSE

Deal with it.

You might have heard this in your life a million times from various people’s mouths about various situations. It’s pretty sound advice too. Think about the numerous issues you’ve encountered in your life, big and small. Relationship issues, work issues, friendship issues, personal issues. On a daily basis, shit happens. Good or bad. Usually with the “good shit” there isn’t a lot to deal with. A lot of the times when the good stuff happens, we smile and keep on with our lives. A lot of times, good results are the cause and effect of going after goals and passions. Or Karma. You can spin it any way you wish. The good stuff is always the easiest because of the reward factor.

We’re talking about the not so good shit.

So what is a defense mechanism? A defense mechanism is a tactic developed by the ego to protect against anxiety. Defense mechanisms are thought to safeguard the mind against feelings and thoughts that are too difficult for the conscious mind to cope with. In some instances, defense mechanisms are thought to keep inappropriate or unwanted thoughts and impulses from entering the conscious mind.
Because of anxiety provoking demands created by the id, superego, and reality, the ego has developed a number of defense mechanisms to cope with anxiety. Although we may knowingly use these mechanisms, in many cases these defenses work unconsciously to distort reality.

Avoidance is something a lot of people do, and they aren’t even aware of it, when it comes to facing issues in life. Some will subconsciously shut down and be in complete denial of a situation. Others will turn to substance to ‘escape’ from having to deal with issues. Or turn to various addictions to feed the anxiousness of having to face any sort of pain. Others will do absolutely anything to avoid confrontation. For confrontation usually means being called out for their wrong doings.

Shutting down socially or “stuffing the issue” is a form of denial. Knowing full well there is an issue but the mind tricks itself into thinking it will just go away, instead of being dealt with. What this does is tells the individual that their problems are not worth expressing, that their issues are not important enough to face or get help with. And there are many small issues that come in up in life that you can move past without a great deal of effort. It’s the ones that are large and damaging that some people wish to avoid due to pain. So with this, certain defense mechanisms will be used.

Escaping is a form of avoidance, and a defense mechanism. I know this because I lived it as an alcoholic. It’s far easier to drink or drug yourself into a hole than have to look in the mirror. And this can tie back into “stuffing the issue” down. It’s like trying to push food bits into a sink drain that don’t fit with more liquid instead of picking the bits up and throwing them into the trash. The more you use this as a defense, the more it becomes your habit on dealing with most anything. Before you know it you’re living in a constant state of escaping. If you do it enough, you can convince yourself there was never anything wrong, and you have a whole new set of issues.

Using this tactic, you in turn, do nothing to deal with the issues or confrontation of the problem. It’ll be there, and if it’s inter-personal, you leave the other person in charge of bringing up an issue they were not the cause of. It’s negating responsibility. Hoping it will simple go away by doing nothing.

To define this, remember that “denial” and “Problem manipulation” are very different. One is a defense mechanism, the other a manipulation and responsibility avoidance tactic. One is an unconscious mechanism of protection from deep emotional pain; the other is a deliberate, calculated lie. Yet many use the same term to describe these very different behaviors. It is distressing to me how often even mental health professionals presume that there is only one type of denial and how often they assume that whenever denial is involved that it’s of the defense mechanism variety. People who are still “in denial” about one problem behavior or another when what they’re really describing is a person who is still “lying and manipulating” as part of the game of impression management and responsibility-resistance.

Denial, repression, suppression, displacement, sublimation, procrastination, regression, Intellectualization …all ways to put up defenses and avoid dealing with issues.

The ways to overcome these are not complex, they just take someone to be brave and admit certain thing to themselves. Recognize that avoidance coping doesn’t work. At the end of the day, avoiding just means you’re still stuck with it. Ever heard the expression ‘where ever you go, there you are?” It’s the same tactic alcoholics use when they think moving to a new city will help them escape internal distress. It is called a geographical avoidance. Avoiding it is impossible because within you, the issue still exists.

Also recognize what avoidance is costing you. The added guilt or stress that builds up from it, can eat like a cancer. It can subliminally effect relationships, how you perform on a daily basis, how you think and talk about people or interact with people. It can become an invisible demon on your shoulder at all times.

It all comes down to two things: learning to face uncomfortable situations and not bottling up. Yes, all bad situations are uncomfortable. They aren’t “fun” to deal with but from personal experience, facing them head on will get you better results than acting like they aren’t there. I’ve had many friendships in the past become damaged from trying this. The guilt from doing this to people who have done nothing wrong in situations will eat at you, and you can only out run it for so long.

Which means, get it out. Talk about it. Bring it up. Find the person involved, whether it’s a boss, or lover, or friend, or family member, and get it out there. Express yourself from a non-accusatory stand point and an honest place as well. It’s vital in order to cleanse yourself of all the negativity and bad energy stored up. We’re animals at our core, but because we have all these complex definitions for emotions and intelligence, we think we can out smart ourselves sometimes, and each other. But we can’t out run the truth, we can’t hide from ourselves forever. And by talking and expressing and confronting these uncomfortable situations, the resolve can come much sooner and yield much better results than we get from avoidance. It’s vital for personal growth.

MIC DROPS: DOWN IN A HOLE? CURE THOSE WINTER BLUES!

Down in a Hole?

Ah Winter….(que Peter and the Wolf) a magical time of crisp air and wonder. A time where snow may fall or couples may walk hand in hand, sipping hot chocolates in the park. School children playing and snowmen watching over houses in the front lawn. There are many things to love about winter. The clear, cool mornings with frost on grass. A feeling of peace. The joy of fireplaces ablaze and the sound of wood cracking from being dry when the fire strikes it just right.

But then…you wake up, and you feel like bawling. You feel like the world is ending! Your favorite show isn’t on for another three days and you’re out of coffee and OH MY GOD I WANNA JUMP OFF A BRIDGE!!! (que “Tired of Me” by Jesu)

That’s right. With winter for some comes the dreaded SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER. Holy shit, you got SAD!

SAD affects more than 10 million Americans, and about 75 percent of them are women, according to studies by Mayo Clinic, the Oregon Health Sciences University and other researchers. Geography (actually, latitude) also plays a big role in who suffers from it; up to 10 percent of all New Englanders are likely to be affected, but only 2 percent of Floridians and Southern Californians are. Many in my home state of Washington suffer through it, myself included. As much as I love winter and all that comes with it, it’s something I’ve dealt with my whole life during this time of year. So if I act weird my friends, now you know why! (of course, I’m always weird…)

Besides depression and loss of energy, SAD symptoms include anxiety, social withdrawal, oversleeping, appetite changes and weight gain. Because SAD is a type of depression however, there are many options and remedies to help with this.

1) GET OUTSIDE WHEN THE SUN IS OUT
Many of us don’t want to be outside when it’s cold due to various excuses. Sun is sun though. Whether it’s 80 degrees out of freezing, sunlight is good for you and your mood. So during your breaks at work, or off time, if that sun is out, break out the sunglasses and get out there and stand in it, walk in it, bundle up and go for a jog. That vitamin D is important, year round!

2) LET THERE BE LIGHT! (Even if it’s fake)
Throw open the curtains to let the sunshine stream in as soon as you wake up. Install skylights, if possible, and keep tree branches trimmed so they don’t block the sunlight coming through your windows. Or try indoor light therapy. Also called phototherapy, this approach uses different colors of light to treat different ailments as well as UV lamps. You can also use a a light bath, a small appliance that looks similar to a lighted makeup mirror. Light baths use full-spectrum natural daylight bulbs to simulate sunlight and offer some of its health benefits — without harmful UV rays. There are many theories about why light therapy works; that it “tricks” the body into thinking it’s still summer, preventing the hibernation response. Light therapy has been used also to help everything from PMS to jetlag.

3) LET’S GET PHYSICAL
The healing power of touch works wonders also. So get a massage. Or, have more sex. Or both. In humans, oxytocin is released when they hug or experience other pleasant physical touch. For those with depression, massage can alleviate sluggishness, back pain, joint pain, and muscle aches. It can also help with fatigue and sleeping problems. So basically what I’m saying is, if you have someone to do it with, DO IT! If you don’t, go get massages, Either way, it’s super useful. And fun. Because it’s sex. Need I say more.

4) PUT DOWN THAT CAKE MAN!
Eating well is also super important this time of year. Often we think because it’s the holidays we can crash on our diets and meal plans for “holiday food” but by doing that you can be sabotaging your mood also. Warm cereal, hot drinks like tea, and fruit, are several things that can warm the body up and/or raise serotonin levels. But you’ll wanna limit alcohol and caffeine this time of year. Caffeine may give you a brief lift, but it can also cause anxiety, muscle tension and gastrointestinal problems. Alcohol, on the other hand, is a depressant, which can further exacerbate your low mood. Any herbal tea is a better choice than teas with caffeine. Your reduced energy level may cause you to turn to caffeine for a boost, but it can also cause anxiety, muscle tension, and stomach problems, so opt for herbal. Chamomile, peppermint, and cinnamon are pleasant-tasting choices. Drink a cup instead of giving in to your carbohydrate cravings.

MIC DROP: BE REAL and BE YOU

Ah, New Years. It’s almost here folks….

Every year people flock to the gym looking to get their new year’s resolution going, itching to shed the pounds from the year before that they swore to themselves that they would shed the year before which turns into more pounds to shed the upcoming year. And a lot of people drop out of programs right from the start. They are discouraged that it isn’t in the form of a magic pill or that they’ll get results right away. Coming up this year, I’m going to be experiencing this at my gym. Mentally I’m prepping for a very busy time. We’ll get a lot of new clients, which I love, and get a lot of drop outs also, which I do not.

Are you a potential dropout? I hope not! I would hope that you are here reading this because you’re an asskicker. But then again, maybe you’re waiting to discover your inner asskicker. Maybe it’s time you did.

1) You expect too much too soon.

Probably the biggest way people bail on training programs at the start. Blame InstagramBook. Or the TwitteRest. People are constantly seeing pictures of the carved and shredded or the slim and saucy models out there in the world, thinking “that is how I want to look!” not realizing a few vital things. First, so many of those pics are photoshopped. Hell, I’ve photoshopped my own to go for a certain vibe. Second, what about the unfiltered selfies in the bathroom? People have to remember that it takes LOTS of work to get to a certain point where you have extremely low body fat and a lot of muscle mass. A lot. You have to be realistic. All the top models and fitness gurus have nutrition plans that are measured out to the milligram. They rarely stray from this to look as they do. Michelle Lewin didn’t become Michelle Lewin overnight (Yeah I know, she has implants. Whatever! I’m not a hater on body modification; I’m talking about the fitness aspects). She got her body by busting ass, learning all she could and getting it locked in point of where she consistently looks top shelf. It’s how people like her can make a living being a model. Keeping in mind even the top models have bad hair days and don’t always look photoshop perfect of course. It’s about hard work, education, applying what you knows and patience. You have to have patience with yourself. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. You can get to where you want to go, but it takes time my friends!

2) You don’t accept your body type.

For a long time, every guy in America wanted to be Brad Pitt in “Fight Club”. I’ll admit, he was cut up in that film. Know how he got to looking like that? No standard office job to keep him from boxing and training for hours and hours a day. And a flawless diet. About 2% of the guys in America or the world for that matter will ever be able to reach that exact body. Why? I’ll tell you why! You’re not Brad Pitt in “Fight Club”. You’re you. You have a different body, different amount of time to commit to training, food urges, things that drive food urges, habits, doubts, and everything else that makes you human. It’s ok. But accept your body type for what it is. Maybe you lose fat faster than build muscle. Or vice versa. Once you know your strengths and weaknesses you can make a better plan to stick to and overcome them. Acceptance on a lot of levels is golden. Being delusional about your physical self only leads to an eventual downfall. So accept who you are and how you are. And love who you are. You’ll get further this way.

3) You don’t understand that being healthy only works as a lifestyle.

The flash fad diet. One of the great evils in the world.

Starve yourself and look great. Take this pill and burn fat. Order now. Operators are standing by.

No. Nope. No way.

The people who have the results you want understood that consistency and discipline were what were going to be the keys to getting themselves in the shape they wanted. You cannot get there without those things. And those things become a part of your life. If you’re good at this, it will spill over into other areas of your life as well. Which is a GOOD thing. Give into the idea you will be working out 3-4 days a week. Accept that you will be eating better throughout the week. You can’t just do this for a few days and expect to look magazine flawless and feel like a Demigod. Say it with me “IT TAKES TIME!”

Fitness forced me to face many harsh truths about myself, which for a lot of folks, is frightening. It’s like going sober. Once you know who you truly are, without any candy coating, and can be open with yourself, you can start the process of improving yourself. If you consistently deny things, or turn a blind eye to those things that are wrong (I’ve been there and know how it’s done and used to give EVERY excuse in the book), you stay in the cycle where you’ve always been. Living in the negative feels awful. It is a stress and it feels like you’re carrying around a heavy kettle bell in a backpack all day. So be honest with yourself, but be KIND to yourself and accept where you’re at and know where you want to go. And if self-improvement through physical fitness is how you want to get there, you can. And will. Through self-love, through self-worth and through self-awareness. Then changing your lifestyle will seem more like a welcome addition than a chore.

MIC DROPS: THE ZOMBIE HOME TERMINAL

I found myself awake at 4am finishing up Season 4 of the Walking Dead. I was tired, and groggy of course, like anyone would be at that time. I knew I would be up by 8am getting ready for the gym, powering through a pre-workout drink and getting my shoes on. Probably rubbing the crap from the corner of my sleep eyes. This is not a normal thing for me. Staying up this late to catch up on a television show. But, I have reasons for it.
First is, I don’t own a TV. I don’t need one. I don’t think anything really good comes from it. I know of a few shows I find entertaining, and I have a small collection of movies. When I feel the urge, I watch them. Often the movie will just be on, while I clean or cook. And the few television shows I enjoy I never watch live. I will either download the newest episode, or watch a full season in a few hours.

The best part about not having a television is I don’t feel the need to be chained to it. This time of year, the time suck known as Football takes over a large part of the American population where for 13 hours straight, from pre-game to post-game, young men are glued to a television from 9am to 9pm. Now, if my memory serves me correct, you get two days off usually from work. You decide to spend one of them eating food all day and watching millionaires give each other concussions. For 5 months straight.

Really?

Before I go off on the great Opiate of the Masses I’ll humor you. I like hockey. I enjoy soccer. And sometimes I do enjoy watching the local boys battle it on the gridiron. Like anyone else, entertainment is entertainment. And to me, that is what a sport is. I don’t live or die by it. I sometimes find enjoyment in rooting for a team I like. And when I can, I’ll indulge in a game in a live setting, especially if it’s in Canada. But between reality TV and sports, media has taken people’s drive and dry humped it into submission.
So I want you to do a few things for me. For starters, start telling yourself you don’t need television. You don’t. We think we do to ‘escape’ because real life is this or that. Truth of it is, we can escape via creativity. If you lack creativity in your life, get some. figure out what it is you like creating. Generally what has worked for me is I’ll occasionally use a movie as a spring board for an idea, but that’s it. Get out into the real world, see people, go somewhere, people watch, browse, go to a park, ANYTHING MAN!!!! Life is out there waiting to trigger something in you to MAKE SOMETHING AWESOME. Can’t do that scratching your nuts on a couch flipping channels.

Second, the other and best reason I don’t like television is the time suck keeps me from BEING ACTIVE. Even on rest days you could be doing something active like hiking or walking or riding a bike or yoga or anything besides scratching your nuts on a couch flipping channels. And it’s not that scratching your nuts on a couch flipping channels might not feel good but during that same time you could be DOING SOMETHING AWESOME.

This might sound redundant, I know. But think about what you are. You’re a machine that is constructed with the concepts and function of doing something no one else can. Put together by years of cellular development and synapses firing and atoms crashing into each other with blood racing through veins and we run and jump and passionately kiss and grab a hold of something and make something small into something massive. Imagine what we could do if we figured out that ONE THING to make our lives amazing and constantly were trying to make it happen. Imagine that for a second. The hour you just spent watching your weekly reality TV fix, you could have started an online business, learned to play a song on guitar, networked to create an idea with others….the list goes on and on.

And in typing this, on a computer, I know it might seem a little strange. “Dude, shouldn’t you be out doing something!?!?!” Well no, it’s night time and I’ve had a full day. Making rants like this to throw out into the interverse to see if it sticks feels good. My thing is this. To give you something to read to get you go to after something awesome. Reality TV just gives you a window to someone else’s shallow existence. A show about living a fake life in a fake setting that isn’t real.

What’s real is shutting that off, and doing something. Anything. Whatever your soul screams for. Shut it off. Turn it off. And dive head first into yourself.

MIC DROP #1: I KNOW YOU

My mother always told me I was the kid in the sandbox playing by myself, building my own castles. Whether or not the sand and water would hold wasn’t what amused me, it was the imagination I had during the building process. A half-crumbled sand lump was a tower. Falling sand with water looked like nothing at all was where a knight stood guard. I could put myself into that world and my brain would take over and let whatever it was in front of me become more. It would be all that would exist.

We’re human beings. We all want some form of interaction at some point. We all want to be heard at some point. An idea to bounce off someone else’s ideas. A thought thrown at someone to see if it clicks with others. To see if anything sticks. Whether you believe we’re apes that evolved or aliens that were left here to develop into what we are, and trust me I’ve had long discussions about those sorts of theories, we communicate to express. Whether it be love. Pain. It’s how we bridge the gap between our own energy to others.

But that being said, there is peace and a vital enjoyment of knowing full well, you do not need to be around others constantly for happiness. There are some who can’t go 12 minutes without needing to be around people, allowing a co-dependency to run wild. The need to always be in a relationship. The need to be in front of people or a crowd. Where silence bothers them. Where solitude is a dirty word. Where they must always be doing something or anything besides finding who they are. Developing who they want to become.

I state this because I’ve been in both spots. I found the essential idea of having “alone time” more meaningful than at times feeling temporary fixes to the above. To be alone without having to have people fill the voids of people missing from one’s life. Through years of writing music alone. Through years of running, training for marathons alone. Through years of writing spoken word alone. Through years of being out of relationships for a good amount of time. Leads to being able to motivate without the help of others. And this brings me to the important point….when you train, when you are in that weight room and your ears are full of your favorite music and you don’t care there is a smokin’ 10 in tight pants working out next to you or you ignore the guys gawking at you making awful comments, or you leave your phone in the locker….because nothing is more important than this time for YOU. Yourself. You’ve earned this. Through getting beat up mentally at a job, or having issues with family at home, or a husband or wife you feel that doesn’t “get” you. That time you train…that hour you lift…that hour you run, or ride your bike and don’t have to say a single word to anyone because it’s you and your body and your time to find out what you’re made of, at this solitary second.

 
I know you. I might not see you from across the gym. I might not be at the gym you’re at. Or the street you race down. Or the class you’re taking to dance. But I know you. I get you. You could have the worst dedication on earth in some areas but that hour you’re there and pulling and pushing yourself around through the burning inferno that is whatever took you to the weight room that day…I know you. I see you.

Find that hour and extend it to 23. Make it your day. Find yourself. Find that and use that and I swear, if you do…you might be in your sandbox by yourself, but my friend, we’ll be in ours right next to you. And you are NEVER alone.

D