8 Strangest Things I Heard This Year

While our guys certainly know how to move big weights and train like savages, they certainly say some strange things during our training sessions.

I felt it was my duty to share some of these gems with the rest of the world, so I began writing them down over the course of the year.

Here are just a few of my favorites.

Deer in the Road

When explaining why he was 10 minutes late for a training session, one of our athletes said, "Coach, there was this deer in the road and he wouldn't move. He was just standing there in front of my car and I couldn't drive."

Right ....

Abandoned Sheet

After a training session, I found one of our guy's training sheets on the floor by the preacher curl rack. It looked like he had crumbled it up in a ball and was preparing to shoot it in the garbage can.

He either had a terrible shot or was too lazy to actually throw it.

Either way, leaving your training sheet behind is a major faux pas in Advanced Training.

I immediately texted him.

Me: "Did you leave your sheet in the gym"

Athlete S: "No"

Me: "I am holding it in my hands right now"

Athlete S: "Oh yeah, I left it there for you"

Me: "I found it crumbled in a ball by the curl rack"

Athlete S: "Yeah, that is where I left it for you"

Pulled Groin

Athlete J: "Nice program Coach. All you try to do is hurt people."

Me: "What happened?"

Athlete J: "I just pulled my groin."

Me: "How?"

Athlete J: "Doing pull-ups."

Most Beautiful Girl in the World

In an effort to get our guys to brace more on deadlift, I ask them to flex their triceps as they go down to grab the barbell.

To enhance my training cue, I always tell the athlete, "Imagine the most beautiful girl in the world is walking down the steps of the gym and you want to show off how jacked your triceps are."

To make it more tangible, I ask them to specifically name a girl they had in mind. By giving a name, I know the guys are not simply blowing off my visualization technique.

Normally, I get the traditional names like Kate Upton or Megan Fox.

Well, in early 2015 someone decided that being a normal human being wasn't an option.

Here is how it went down.

Me: "Flex your triceps on the way down"

Athlete F: "I am"

Me: "No ... act like the most beautiful girl in the world is coming down the steps right now and you want to show her how jacked you are"

Athlete F: "Okay"

Me: "Who is the girl?"

W.A.I.T.     F.O.R.      I.T......

Athlete F: "Emma Watson"

Me: "Who is Emma Watson?"

Athlete F: "The girl from Harry Potter"

Everyone Else in the Gym:  (uncontrollable laughter / disappointment)

In this athlete's defense, most of us were picturing Hermione and not the real life Emma Watson.

Also in this athlete's defense, Emma Watson was named one of the most beautiful woman in 2015 by Wonderslist.

Regardless, it was still a terrible answer and he has been mercilessly shamed for it ever since.

Hitting a PR

It was a deload week and one of our new athlete's walks into the gym with his chest puffed out and his head held high.

He whips out his cell phone and proceeds to tell me I am the greatest coach ever.

While he is certainly right, I am very intrigued how anything on his cell phone would help validate that.

Me: "What's on your phone?"

Athlete: "A video of me hitting a PR (personal record) on back squat in my basement. I never have been able to get 315 until I started training with you."

Me: "When did you do this?"

Athlete: "Last night."

Me: "Why would you workout like this (a) during our 16 week training program and (b) during a deload week?"

Athlete: "I wasn't working out. I was just going for a PR."

This guy didn't just throw paint on the Mona Lisa. He burnt it to the ground and danced around the ashes.

Meal Plan

Athlete J: "Coach, I didn't have breakfast or lunch today. Do you think I should go to McDonald's and get all of today's calories in one meal?"

Me: "Absolutely. Your body didn't need any nutrition prior to or during the training session we had. That is a very healthy way to live (all said sarcastically.)

Strained Hamstring

"I think it is from drinking too much and being hung over."

This is what an athlete said was the cause of his strained hamstring.

He believed drinking too much caused him to be dehydrated, thereby causing the discomfort he felt.

I guess he thought a lack of focus on mobility, technique, and rest had absolutely nothing to do with it?

Or, he takes all of his life advice from Jamie Foxx.

Big Calves

Athlete M: "Coach, I am not mentioning names, but a guy you used to train told me he is trying to get insanely overweight so he can get huge calves."

Me: "...    ...    ....  "

I actually had and still have no response to this.

All I can say is that all members of Advanced Training have some pretty yoked calves. It comes from years of Olympic lifts and daily jump rope sessions.

To prove my point, here is a picture of the point of triple extension on an Olympic Lift. Do you really think binge eating is going to work your calves more than this?

To further prove my point, I have provided 2 pictures of my calves. (Getting any pictures of me on this site is rare, so you know this is an epic moment.)

I am absolutely no light weight, but I am also not insanely overweight.

These calves are simply a by-product of the way we train.

Gotta love the BioTrust and the American Flag in the background

The Advanced Training Interview

"How many walkers have you killed?

How many people have you killed?

Why?" - Rick Grimes, The Walking Dead

The questions you read above may be part of the greatest oral interview process in the history of the world.
Both the answers you give, and how you give them, can paint a great picture of the type of person you really are.

For those of you who have not watched The Walking Dead, I am embarrassed for you. You clearly spend your free time watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians and cannot be trusted as a contributing member of society. Please immediately stop reading this blog and go get the latest copy of US weekly. It is definitely more up to your speed.

After having some deep "life" conversations with members of our program, I believe that Advanced Training needs a similar interview process.

Not only would it help me get a better feel for who is attempting to join the group, it may give them a better feel for what they are getting into.

All to often, people interview for jobs without really knowing what the job entails. They get the job, start doing work, and 6 months later realize they hate it.

In my world, it often means people join the program, love the workouts, but soon realize they cannot commit full time to our schedule and our lifestyle.

I immediately start thinking they are "soft" and they start thinking I am some sort of a tyrant.

All of this could be avoided with the right interview process.

With that, here are some of the interview questions I am thinking of asking all new members of Advanced Training.

1. How many times have you bench pressed this week? Why?

If the answer is zero, they are either soft or injured. (One could argue that they are on a legitimate deload week, but if they were that advanced, they probably wouldn't be coming to me for help.)

If the answer is > 1, they are either a meathead or they are using varying techniques to optimize their form and motor function. In my world, most people are simply meatheads.

2. What is your favorite type of bicep exercise?

  • Worst Answer ... "Barbell Curls" (or any other exercise that has the word "curl" in it)
  • Acceptable Answer ... "Chin-Ups"
  • Best Answer ... "I don't do biceps."
A guy that doesn't "do biceps" isn't a narcissist and would fit in very well with our program. I am not saying that developing your biceps is bad, I am just saying that actively doing so makes you someone I do not want to be around.

3. What are the top three things in your life?

If training (a.k.a. your health) is not one of the three, we will certainly have problems.

For me, here are my top 3.

1. Faith
2. Health
3. Family

Let the outrage begin!!!

To the "family" people who will call me selfish ...

Who is really more selfish ... the guy who keeps himself healthy so he can be physically appealing to his wife and have the energy to play with his kids ... or the guy who drowns his sorrows in comfort foods and booze, all the while paving the way for an early departure from this earth?

Many of you probably realized that "career" didn't even make it into my top 3. 

For me, being healthy is a major enabler to my career. 

It helps me get to work every day. 

It helps me to remain energetic and to bring energy to the people around me (which in turns makes them more productive). 

And most importantly, it helps remove the stress that would otherwise cloud my mind and stop my creativity.

Having said that, I do not recommend putting your career ahead of your own health.

For those of you focusing on your "studies" ...

It wouldn't be a blog if I didn't make some reference to my illustrious education.

Yes, I did go to Columbia University ... currently ranked #9 in the world. (Not the United States, the world).

And yes, I did get 2 degrees from said illustrious institution ... one from Columbia College and one from Columbia's School of Engineering and Applied Science.

But no, I would not say that your "studies" are more important than your health. In fact, I would tell you almost the same thing I told the career oriented people ... health is an enabler to your studies.

As a sidebar, I would like to formally state that I do not agree with school gyms being closed during finals week. There is no better way to relieve the stress from exams than to spend 45 minutes in the gym moving weight. 

To the people that are closing the gyms, I hope you realize that the students will simply find another way to relieve their stress. Unfortunately, those other ways are usually unhealthy.

4. Do you think any of these are acceptable reasons to miss a training session?

(If the answer is "Yes" to any of these, you shouldn't sign up for Advanced Training).
  • Your birthday
  • Your friend's birthday
  • Your wedding (I lifted on my wedding day)
  • To attend a sporting event (that you are not coaching or playing in)
  • To watch a sporting event
  • Being tired
  • Being stressed
  • Being sore
  • Having a hang-over
  • Having a cold
  • Being in jail (do jail house squats!!!)
  • Going on vacation (every decent hotel has a "fitness center")
  • Drafting your fantasy team
  • Going to a party / club / pub / day glow

In the past 15 years, I have only "missed" 2 scheduled training sessions. 

One was because I had unexpected oral surgery and couldn't talk. There was no way I could effectively coach without being able to speak.

The other was because I was violently ill. In my own defense, I set my alarm at 3AM to make an official go / no-go decision on a 5AM session. I didn't want my guys to be driving to the gym only to get a text that I was sick and had to cancel.

As yet another side bar, I have frequently gotten that same type of text many-o-time from guys I have trained. They amazingly get "sick" about 30 minutes before our session. Being hyper-vigilant for softness, I immediately assume they want to stay toasty warm in their bed or they have a massive hangover from the night before.

For a final side bar, I would also like to mention that I immediately rescheduled each of those 2 "missed" training sessions.

For me, missing a session is unacceptable and the only answer to interview question #4 is "No".