O'REILLY AUTO PARTS STORE AisleThis past Friday my fiancé, Kelsey, took her 16 year old car to be inspected so that she could renew her tags and pay the government their money for . . . uh for . . . oh wait that's right for NOTHING. Yeah I am not a fan of big government if you can't tell, but that's another issue for another blog. Anyway as you might expect with a car that age there was some things that needed to be corrected before the shop would sign off on the inspection that the car was road ready. These things needing fixing included a brake job and the entire right headlight being replaced. And since I am more of the "why put off till tomorrow what you can do today" kind of dude I decided to have Kelsey call the salvage yards to order a replacement head light and I headed to the local auto parts store to pick up a pair of brake pads and I figured since I was going to be under there anyway I'd just change the oil as well so I added 5 quarts of oil and an oil filter to my shopping list.

Your probably at this point wondering why the hell do I think you care about my amateur mechanic antics, but stick with me there is a point here.

So I arrived at the auto parts store, grabbed the owner's manual to Kelsey's car, and headed in to find the right brake pads and oil change stuff. Now even before stepping foot in the store I had already begun to fill with anxiety. You see I am not much a man's man. I mean I like to think of myself that way, but the truth is I don't have much experience with working on cars, repairing things around the house, or building things; but I can cook a mean steak on the BBQ so I have that going for me, right? Anyway this feeling of anxiety was brought on my the worry of looking inept, incompetent, and well unmanly in a store that by most societal stereotypes should be a place where a man feels right at home.

It wasn't my first time going into this store either. I had been in previously to buy these exact same things for my vehicle and I knew the staff would be helpful and get me exactly what I needed, but I still felt that anxiety about being somewhere outside of my comfort zone and way outside of my scope of knowledge. It is an intimidating experience, but something that I feel very strongly about needing to experience more often. I always tell clients to get comfortable being uncomfortable and I try to live out this advice in my own life so when confronted with these experiences I try to embrace them, but that still doesn't mean I won't feel that anxiety and intimidation, but it does mean I will overcome them every time.

Anyway like I mentioned earlier the staff was super helpful and they got me exactly what I needed for the jobs. I was in an out in less than 20 minutes and only 50 dollars poorer, which considering the cost to have the brakes and oil done professionally is a big deal for a college kid trying to run a small business.

But this experience really opened my eyes to the feelings that all my clients must have experienced during their first consultation or even during the first time we ever spoke about training. They must have felt so anxious and intimated. But yet they came anyway and followed through anyway and having done it myself I can appreciate how impressive that is. I can also now appreciate why it is so difficult to get people up off the couch and through our gym doors. I can appreciate why someone might know they should take action, but never does.

I know that I can't take that anxiety or intimidation away immediately, but I would encourage anyone out their who is holding back because of these feelings to push on and push through them because the experience that lies on the other side will help you grow as a person and see the world through a new perspective. It is the experience you don't want to miss out on. And I promise in time these feelings will fade as this new endeavor becomes a familiar and welcomed habit.

I just wanted you to know that I can empathize with how starting a training regimen or beginning with a personal trainer might make someone feel and I can seriously say how impressive both those actions are. And that these feelings are normal, to be expected, and should in no way hold you back from new things.

Now for that list of stuff to read I promised.

1. Adaptation, Not Exhaustion by Girls Gone Strong (Umm so yeah I couldn't find the exact author for this piece)

622x350Damn it is about time someone spoke up and said this (he says while kicking himself for not saying it sooner himself). I think this is a concept that has been widely forgotten by most coaches and trainers. With the proliferation of Crossfit and the growing popularity of strength training and weight lifting among the general public and the culture that comes along with it there has been an increase in the amount of people who train with super high intensity.

In fact I often find myself trying to explain to clients that soreness and sweat are not the measure of a workout. It seems that to the general public a workout isn't a workout unless it leaves you wiped out and exhausted. Which is one of the reasons I think Crossfit appeals to so many people. It gives them that feeling of exhaustion and like they worked super hard, which must mean they will get results.

However educated strength coaches and personal trainers know that this is not the goal of training of any kind. We know that training doesn't have to beat someone into the ground to be effective. In fact Mel Siff informed us of this many years ago in his book Supertraining. However his words of wisdom have been long forgotten and instead replaced with a "harder is better" mindset.

2. Best Exercise in Ever: The Front Plank. Seriously, in Ever by Dean Somerset

I know I know you have probably done a Front Plank a hundred times before so why would I want you to read about it. Well, the fact is most people butcher this exercise and thus repeat little of the benefits it offers. In this piece Mr. Somerset shares a very well done tutorial video of how the Front Plank should be executed. Watch it. Internalize it. Practice it.

3. 5 Life Lessons Learned From Powerlifting by Tim Henriques

head-fake-cartoon1One of my favorite books of all time is The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. In fact there is rarely a period longer than two weeks that goes by that I don't watch his last lecture video. In the book and in his actual last lecture Professor Pausch talked about this concept of "head fake" meaning things you learn while doing something completely unrelated to that learned thing.

These head fakes then carry over to the rest of our lives. That is why I loved this piece by Mr. Henriques who talks about the "head fakes" he experienced during his career as a powerlifter. Experiences that I can relate to intimately as I had similar experiences while participating in athletics throughout my childhood and early adulthood. 

Happy moving and heavy lifting!

Practical, Purposeful, Effective Training