So it’s been 3 Years since I opened up my gym, The Forged Athlete.
In celebration of having my gym up and running strong, I wanted to first show my appreciation for your support by letting you know about an awesome 3 year 110% H.A.M. SALE I’m having on ALL of my strength training manuals.
If it weren’t for my gym, I wouldn’t have this blog nor would I have any of the manuals I produced over the years. It all stems back to The Forged Athlete and everything we get accomplished within those gym walls.
It’s important to note that I’ll be having this deal for 3 Days ONLY so TAKE ACTION fast!
Now, let’s get into some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over the last few years…
Lesson #1 – Strength Always Comes First – Conditioning Comes Last – Early on in my career I was always one to quickly put more focus in on conditioning vs. strength training. Over the years I’ve come to learn and see first hand how much more you’ll progress when you put your focus on STRENGTH 1st then add in conditioning to fill the gaps.
I still see people make the mistake of focusing too much on conditioning. Don’t make this mistake. STRENGTH comes 1st then you can have your fun beating the sh*t outta yourself via conditioning.
Lesson #2 – Keep Strength The Same – Mix Your Conditioning – This lesson goes right along with lesson #1 in that if you want to progress with your overall strength, you’ve got to stay consistent.
To make this happen, you can’t be switching up your main movements every single week. What I’ve found to work best for myself and my athletes it to stick to the same movement variation for at least 3 weeks then switch.
The mistake people make with this is they switch up their main movements way too much and way too often. Instead, see what kind of mileage you can get outta your main movements for at least 3 weeks then move on.
As for your conditioning, this is where you can keep it fresh and mix it up. Feel free to change that up at will, but make sure to keep your strength training more consistent.
Lesson #3 – Ankle Mobility Is Key – For the longest time I had the worst time trying to improve on my pistol squats.
I tried stretching my hips and low back more… Didn’t work.
I tried stretching my hamstrings more… Didn’t work.
No matter what I did I couldn’t progress to being able to easily do unweighted pistol squats.
It wasn’t until I really started to focus more in on my ankle mobility that I could finally start to see more improvement.
I started doing more drills before and after training sessions and over the course of a few weeks my pistols improved dramatically. The extra mobility I’ve built up in my ankles also crossed over to my overhead squats, regular squats, and front squats.
Overall lesson – don’t underestimate the power of good ankle mobility.
Lesson #4 – Coconut Oil Is Magic!
If you’re looking for the magic oil out there that’s great for cooking, adding to smoothies, or eating on it’s own, look no further!
Coconut Oil is pure magic.
It’s loaded with healthy fats and is extremely healthy for you.
Look to add this to your diet immediately and make sure to get UNREFINED Organic Coconut Oil.
I used to cook with conola oil and other cheap oils like that. Little did I know that those were complete crap.
Trust me on this. Make the switch.
Lesson #5 – It’s Grass Fed Beef Or NO Beef For Dinner…
Now if you didn’t know, I’m a BEEF lover!
I love my meat and it wasn’t until just about a year or so ago that I finally made the switch over to eating Grass Fed Beef. I absolutely refuse to have any type of beef unless it’s Grass Fed.
I’ll break this rule every now and then if I’m eating out at a steakhouse, but any other time, it’s either Grass Fed Beef or NO beef for dinner.
The differences between grass fed beef and regular corn fed beef are just ridiculous.
Bottom Line – Grass Fed is extremely healthy for you and is an extremely powerful food to include in your diet.
I get my Grass Fed Beef from either Whole Foods, the local farmers market, or I’ll get it delivered from GrassLandBeef.com which has a ton of different selections of high quality sources of meat that’s HEALTHY for you.
Lesson #6 – Rotate Your Food – Another important lesson that I’ve been implementing into my own nutritional habits for the last few months is that of rotating my food sources.
Instead of having the same exact meal day in and day (which I used to do a ton) now I make sure to rotate my main food choices.
For example, if I eat chicken for dinner on Monday night, I make sure to have pork or fish on Tuesday night.
A typical week looks like this:
- Monday – Chicken
- Tuesday – Fish
- Wednesday – Steak
- Thursday – Turkey Or Pork
- Friday – Chicken
It tough to not ever repeat the same meal twice but the main point you should get from this is to NOT eat the same thing over and over and over. Instead, have more variety.
In short, this will improve your energy by helping increase your digestive health. You’ll absorb more vitamins and nutrients from you food.
Lesson #7 – Alkalize To Recover Faster – I’ve known for a long time about how alkalizing the body can be a huge benefit to your health, but had never really pursued to fully alkalize my body until just about a month or so ago.
Since focusing more on helping alkalize my body via adding in more “Greens” drinks during the day and for post workout drinks, I’ve felt 100x’s times better.
My mind is more clear, my energy is higher, and my recovery between sessions feels faster.
I’ll continue to add in more ways to further help alkalize my body via juicing and taking in even more greens. I’ll also continue to have a “Greens” drink for my post workout recovery shake vs. my old high protein shake. I still take protein, but wait about 30-45 mins after I first take in a greens drink.
Lesson #8 – Keep It Simple For Strength – If your goal is to get yourself stronger, one of the things that I learned right away was to always K.I.S.S.
Keep It Simple Stupid!
I can remember when I first started training athletes many years ago that I was fast to make the mistake of trying to make my programs all flashy and more about the “wow” factor then sticking to the basics.
I quickly learned that if you want results fast, just keep things simple. There’s no need for highly complicated, flashy routines unless you’re super advanced and even then, it’s not necessary.
If you’re currently stuck in a rut with your results, one of the best pieces of advice I would give to you to do is to go back to the basics.
Hammer out your bodyweight movements like push ups, squats, and pull ups plus your basic barbell lifts like military press, front squats, bent rows, deadlifts…
If need be, cut out all the extra sh*t your doing now and focus on the simple stuff for a few weeks.
Lesson #9 – Cook With Coconut Oil, Drizzle With Olive Oil – I know I’ve already mentioned Coconut Oil above with lesson # 4, but I just wanted to add this one in for good measure because it’s very important to you and your health.
I used to make the mistake of cooking with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, but little did I know that when you cook with EVOO, you basically make it TOXIC.
Without going into too much detail here, use EVOO for topping your food vs. cooking.
Use Coconut Oil, Grass Fed Butter, or Macadamia Nut Butter to cook with.
Lesson #10 – Hail To Paleo (It’s The Bomb) I shouldn’t have to talk about this much.
Bottom Line – When I switched to a Paleo like eating style, my physique and performance changed rapidly.
If you’re still eating a ton of grains, sugars, and processed sh*t, I suggest you switch to Paleo ASAP.
And NO, Paleo is NOT a diet. It’s a LIFESTYLE.
Do two things from here…
1 – Grab my FREE Manual Paleo Ripped HERE
2 – If you’re a competitive athlete, I suggest you check out Paleo In A Box – One of the BEST resources I’ve found in regards to eating and implementing Paleo into your lifestyle and it’s geared towards serious lifters and athletes!
Lesson #11 – Have 2-3 Strong WHY’s At All Times – When it comes to accomplishing your goals and getting things done in life, you must have yourself a set of strong WHY’s for what it is you are trying to do.
If you do not have any strong WHY’s that truly resonate with you and what you’re trying to do, when it comes down to really pushing yourself through barriers and hard times, you will quit.
In order to keep yourself steadily progressing on in life and achieving goals, I recommend that you always have at least 2-3 strong WHY’s to keep yourself focused, committed, and determine to achieve your goals.
A strong WHY will always out-weight a strong goal. A why will give you reason to pursure forward where a goal is just a goal. There is no meaning. WHY’s carry meaning and create purpose and passion.
In short, write down what you top 3-5 goals are and then after you have those written down, write down 2-3 reasons WHY you want to accomplish these goals.
When you write down your WHYs, make sure you dig deep to the source. Don’t just write something down to write something down. Make sure these WHYs have true meaning to you and what you want to accomplish and that they have some sort of emotional connection to you.
When you read your WHYs, they should instantly create a strong feeling within your heart and belly to get sh*t done.
This is WHY you need WHYs.
Lesson #12 – If Your Busy, Just IF. – When it comes down to getting more things done, I highly recommend implementing in Intermittent Fasting.
I can’t tell you how much IF has helped my productivity, energy, and overall health.
Here’s some past resources to read up on if you need to catch up
The best resource I personally recommend getting in regards to how I personally use IF is through RenegadeEating.com
Lesson #13 – Always Check The Source! I used to think that just because I was eating “Cage Free Eggs”, “Organic Beef”, and even drinking “Coconut Water” that I was getting in high quality sources of foods.
I was wrong!
Something you should NEVER overlook when it comes to your food is the source of where it’s actually coming from.
Always check on this because some of the sources of food I was getting for a long time, even thought they were labeled with health buzz words like Organic, Gluten Free, or Cage Free doesn’t mean that their a great source of food.
I like to do research on the different brands of food that I buy to see what type of source my food is really coming from.
This will open your eyes up a little bit.
Lesson #14 – We All Have Our Own Personal Genius – Listen To It! – Back in early June I had the privilege of being a guest attendee at Zach Even-Esh’s Underground Strength Conference.
While there I was witness to one of the most powerful live speeches I’ve ever had the chance of being present at.
The speaker was none other then The Ultimate Warrior and one of the biggest take away messages he shared was that of “personal genius”.
To keep this a bit short, what we all have is our own form of “personal genius” inside of us and what we need to make sure and to is listen to our own personal genius.
The big mistake that many people make is that they live their whole lives listening to other people instead of listening to their own thoughts and ideas for guidance. In other words, people don’t even listen to their own “personal genius”.
When you have an original idea or gut feeling about something, this is the purest and the truest form of an idea or thought that you can have in the world. And until you start listening to these thoughts and ideas, you will never live the greatest life ever because you will never truly live as yourself.
The bottom line is that no one can control your thoughts and ideas beside yourself and no one can ever create more pure or original ideas then you can yourself.
If you want real guidance in life, you must first listen to and harness your own personal genius. If not, you are missing the boat big time.
Lesson #15 – Coffee + Organic Grass Fed Butter Or Coconut Oil = Best Cup of Coffee Ever! – I don’t drink coffee as much as I used to over the last year but when I do, I drink it mixed with Coconut Oil = Best Cup of Coffee ever!
Just brew up a cup of Fair Trade Organic Coffee (I prefer a black Guatemalan blend from a local coffee shop in town, Caffeine Dreams) then drop in 1.5-2 tbsp of UNREFINED Coconut Oil, Blend and drink.
Lesson #16 – NEVER Caffeine After Training! – Since we’re talking about coffee, I thought it would be super important to note a mistake I was making for a long time that may have been having an effect on my recovery and performance.
There’s people out there that argue against this and for it, but I’m letting you now that I for NOT having caffeine after you train and here’s why…
In short, you should NEVER drink anything that contains caffeine after you train because anything with caffeine in it will raise your cortisol levels.
This is good thing and a bad thing, but if you’ve already trained that day, it’s bad because you’ve already raised your cortisol levels. Raising it again in the same day will not be the best for you and your results.
If you don’t know about cortisol, basically it’s a stress hormone that if raised too often can begin to break down muscle tissue and increase fat storage.
Bottom Line – Avoid any type of caffeine consumption post workout if you’re trying to speed up your recovery. It will not help your recovery. It will only hinder it, raise your cortisol levels, and drop testosterone levels.
Lesson #17 – Serious about Olympic Lifting? – Get Olympic Lifting Shoes – For the longest time I was such an idiot and thought I could get away without using a good pair of Olympic Weight Lifting Shoes…
In short, if you’re serious about Olympic Weight Lifting or just want an extra boost to help you squat better, get a pair of solid Olympic Weight Lifting Shoes.
I’ve got a pair of the Reebok Oly Shoes which are good, but my next investment when needed will be with either a solid pair of Adidas Oly kicks or The Nike Romaleos.
Lesson #18 – It’s All About Digestion – I briefly mentioned digestion back in lesson #6 but to be completely honest, when it comes to having more energy and getting the most out of the food you eat, it always comes back to digestion.
If your digestive system sucks from all the toxic, low quality, highly toxic food you eat, everything else will suffer such as your overall heath, ability to recover from workouts, your mood, and your immune system. I can go on and on here…
Bottom line is you need to have a healthy digestive system. I’ve helped improve mine by doing the following…
- Drinking lemon juice and apple cider vinegar before large meals.
- Supplementing with high quality Digestive Enzymes.
- Adding sauerkraut to my bigger meals.
- Cutting out Meat For 1 whole Day /week.
I’m also going to try a full week cleanse which will allow for NO meat at all to help clean up things even more. Not that meat is bad, it just wears the old kidneys and liver down a bit.
I’ll let you know how to full week cleanse goes when I actually get around to going through with it.
Lesson #19 – Plan To Succeed Vs. Plan To Fail – If you are having trouble being productive or getting all of the things you want done during the day, do what I do every night before I got to bed… Plan Your Day.
This works like magic and any other successful person will tell you the same. You’ve got to be organized in order to get a lot of sh*t done.
I still get off track from time to time, but overall planning my day out the night before has worked like gang busters.
Lesson #20 – Win Small Battles With Everything – This little lesson I picked up from Mark Divine, a well known Navy SEAL.
In listening to him talk about how he got himself through BUDS training (AKA – Hell Week), Mark hit on how he would continuously “fight and win small battles” within his head in order to stay focused and “in the fight”.
This was common thought with all of the Navy SEALs I’ve had the chance to speak to in regards to how they passed BUDs training.
They all talk about the same thing – To Win Small Battles…
So what does it mean to “win small battles”?
Well, the way Mark explained it went like this…
Instead of focusing the whole length of BUDs or even a whole week, he would instead focus on getting through a few hours at a time thus making the daunting task of getting through a whole week of hell not seem as bad.
Focusing you mind on winning smaller battles will seem a ton more doable, give you more confidence as well as keep you more focused.
If you look at the big picture often time when you have something very challenging to do, like a hell week, it can be very intimating and thus can drain you mentally. It’s best to keep yourself confident by focusing in on the smaller tasks at hand.
This same concept can be used for training sessions and rigorous workouts as well.
Instead of thinking about what you have next within your training session or how many damn rounds you have left in your finisher, focus in on smaller battles like completing a certain amount of reps at a time or getting one set done at a time.
Once you get those small wars won, you can then focus on the next small war. Then again and again… Do that until you complete what it is you’re trying to complete.
Lesson #21 – Mobility, Mobility, Mobility – – I cant even begin to say enough about mobility and the importance it plays in getting you more results fitness wise.
Thanks to Kelly Starret and his awesome blog, Mobilitywod.com for the great info he shares for FREE on a weekly basis. If you’re a serious coach or athlete, this is a mandatory must read / watch on a weekly basis (it’s packed with awesome videos).
If it weren’t for him, I would not put as much focus in on mobility nor would I know as much as I do in regards to mobility.
Bottom Line, treat mobility just as you would a normal training session by spending more time doing it.
For me, I like to hit up some extra mobility work in the evenings when I’m winding down for the day. For example, when I get stuck having to watch TV (because of my fiance and all of her favorite shows) I get in some extra mobility work then.
Trust me, Your results will show.
Lesson # 22 – Want Faster RESULTS? – Hire A Coach – Around this time a year ago, I hired myself a coach for business. Before doing so I had the mindset that I could do everything myself.
I thought as a coach that I didn’t need a coach… I was wrong.
Within the first 30 days of getting myself a coach, I had made more progress within my business then I had made in the last 18 month.
That’s No BS!
In fact, I’m actually in the process right now of hiring another coach for training. YES – me hiring myself a coach.
The truth is, everyone needs a coach. Even coaches 😉
Bottom line – hire a coach if you’re serious about accelerating your results. The investment you make will pay for itself. Hire yourself a good coach to get you where you want to be.
Lesson #23 – Train The Grip – You’ll Get Stronger – want your deadlift to go up? How about being able to do more pull ups? Funny that when you train your grip, not only will your pulling movements get better, your pushing movement will improve as well.
If you think about it, you hands are the great connectors between you and pretty much anything else you lift. When you get that connection even stronger, it will only help improve.
Bottom Line – train you grip 2-3 a week at minimum. I personally throw in anywhere between 2-5 grip movements in at the end of my training sessions and I make this mandatory to get done before I leave.
Tailor Your Warm Up To Your Session
Lesson # 24 – Take 100% Responsibility For EVERYTHING – To round out part numero uno of my BIGGEST lessons from the last 3 years, I wanted to end with this lesson on taking more responsibility in your life.
When it comes down to getting things done and achieving success in life, there is only ONE person to blame for your triumphs and failures and that one person is YOU.
Until you can come to an understanding of knowing and accepting that YOU are 100% responsible for everything that happens in your life, you will never become as successful as you truly are capable of becoming.
What it comes down to is having the self-discipline and the will power to accept total responsibility for your life. When you can do this, you’ll take complete control over your thoughts.
In the end, you won’t spend time blaming other people or things for your faults because you’ll be too busy taking action by doing things you need to do yourself instead of relying on others.
Just take 100% Responsibility for everything in your life. No more complaining and no more blaming others.
“If it is up to be, it is up to me.” – Jim Clemmer
So, I hope you enjoyed Part I. Stay tuned for Lessons #25-39 in Part II of 3 Years – 39 Lessons!
In the meantime, go ahead and drop your thoughts and comments below on which lesson or lessons you enjoyed the most.
Keep Living Aggressive and Get Strong!
PS – Don’t forget about the HUGE SALE I have going on in celebration of my 3rd year in business.
All of my strength manuals are on SALE – BIG TIME!
Only good until this Friday! ====> CLICK HERE for The 110% H.A.M. Sale