Mon, 30 June 2014
Aubrey Marcus might have the most interesting title of any Barbell Shrugged guest to date.
You can call him a spiritual experimentalist, human optimizer, unconventional fitness junkie, and warrior poet. He’s also CEO of Onnit, a unique human performance company which sells performance and health supplements, as well as some novel training tools. They also make some pretty righteous YouTube videos, including this jewel with Joe Rogan.
Watch that video right now if you’re in need of a motivational kick in the ass!
Aubrey’s interest in human optimization began during his basketball career. With the help of his step-mother, a naturopathic doctor, he was able to experiment with all manner of supplements and develop a regimen to aide his performance on the court. That’s really a huge advantage, especially when you consider that most young athletes are 100% uninformed on the topic. They are completely subject to marketing spin and are left to experiment on themselves, which is obviously less than ideal.
First things first, before you invest and consume any supplements, make sure you do your research. Read all you can on the topic. Visit websites such as examine.com, which can help you quickly sort through the available scientific evidence (Do that!). And sure, if you happen to have a qualified Naturopath in the family, please ask them what’s what before you go snorting bee pollen or powdered deer antler during your next heavy deadlift session.
As you understand more and more, please do experiment with supplements and pay close attention to how they affect your performance. Read the available research. Add them in one at a time. Take careful notes. Track your training numbers. Hey, you might be surprised. The addition of nootropics or some cordyceps sinensis mushroom’smight make a real difference. There’s only one way to find out.
All of these unique supplements are really interesting and potentially beneficial, but the coolest thing Aubrey has to share is the importance of unconventional fitness tools.
You probably know all about barbells, dumbbells, and even kettlebells, but I would bet that you’re much more unfamiliar with things like steel clubs, maces, and maybe even battle ropes. It would be easy to label this stuff as little more than functional training gimmicks, but before you make any conclusions consider the history.
Tools like heavy clubs have been around for the better part of a millennia, making people strong, and preparing them for the dangers and rigors of war. That’s really the foundation of human performance training. It’s not sport, really. We began training to become bigger, stronger, faster, and more mobile or stable in key joints because we wanted to decrease our odds of getting chopped up into ground beef on the battlefield.
Imagine, how much harder would you train if that was your reality? If that was the training goal? We don’t face much in the way of real danger outside of the gym today, but it’s fair to say that almost none of us train as hard as we could, or should. That’s the first consideration, before programming, before supplements, before judging your tools. What is it that you are training for, and be honest, how hard are you prepared to work?
If you want to see just what unconventional fitness looks like, pop over to the 19:00 minute mark in the episode and see Aubrey rough up the entire Barbell Shrugged crew in the Onnit gym. Laugh all you want, but those clubs and maces are no joke!
For more human optimization info make sure to check out the Onnit podcast, especially Aubrey’s chat with Chris and Mike on episode #28. You’re sure to enjoy it. Also, if you want to learn more about those unconventional fitness moves, go visit the Onnit Academy on YouTube. Just be careful with those clubs, they are much harder to handle then you think.
Direct download: bs126.mp3
-- posted at: 9:29am PDT
Wed, 25 June 2014
This week on the Barbell Shrugged podcast we are joined by Andrea Ager, former collegiate track & field athlete turned high-level Crossfit competitor. If that name rings a bell it’s for a very good reason. Andrea is one of the most well-known and recognizable athletes on the scene, which is actually a very interesting topic of discussion all in itself.
“You may know Andrea from her Instagram feed, where she can’t stop smiling.” I figured this topic would come up at some point during the podcast, I just didn’t realize it would be the very first thing out of Mike’s mouth. “In fact, Chris Moore has described you as, ‘Smiling too much.’”
The obvious downside of being well-known is that there will always be haters and trolls, that’s for sure. They are going to comment about you, your style, your choices, your beliefs, your mistakes and short-comings, and yes, even your smile. I was ready to take all that on at the start, I just didn’t expect being called one myself!
Mike was smiling just as wide as Andrea ever has, so it was obvious he had this move planned. I was left squirming with nothing to slide underneath or behind, so I tried to back away slowly to higher ground, without much success I might add. “Now, hold on, I was simply saying that, Wow, Andrea smiles a lot. Let me say, having met you, I get it. I think I’m smiling more often now myself.” Even a bit of kind editing leaves me sounding guilty. Mike easily blocked the shot. “That’s not how I remember the conversation.”
He was right to pin me down. I had done a bit of hating, at least in his view. In truth I think I was just envious, maybe a little aggravated. I might have even been more motivated by Andrea than I would have liked to admit. That’s because, if nothing else, she is a reminder that the clock is ticking. If there’s something you really love in this life, like training and sharing your fitness story for example, then you should probably spend more of your precious time doing it. Sure, why not smile more often and just as wildly?
After chatting with Andrea it became clear that she was more than just a really happy Crossfit chick with a popular social media feed. She’s an experienced, high level regional competitor who has been part of some really tough competitions. She’s learned some valuable lessons the hard way, like the importance of setting better, more intrinsically focused goals and spending far less time comparing yourself to others.
That last bit might be the most important lesson of the show. You just cannot make the most out of your training, your situation, and your uniqueness if you’re worried about what others are doing, what they are capable of.
Andrea’s also surprisingly open minded and receptive to new training ideas and styles, which is something aspiring athletes should really pay close attention to. She waste’s no time, surrounding herself with the very best training partners and coaches she can find. That might mean flying into San Francisco to drill weightlifting with the magnificent Diane Fu, or maybe it’s committing to a wild and novel three-month training sabbatical with THE powerlifting master, Louie Simmons.
It’s clear to us now why Andrea is so well known. It’s not luck. It’s not the smile and looks alone, although this certainly does help, who are we kidding. But no, the bulk of Andrea’s success still comes from where you would expect. She has devoted her life to becoming a better athlete and coach. She works incredibly hard, takes on the risks, makes all the necessary sacrifices, and delay’s gratification today in exchange for better performancetomorrow. Let me say, I’m glad I got the change to know her better. She’s the real deal.
To learn more about Andrea, or to book her for a seminar, make sure to visit TheAndreaAger.com. You can also check out her YouTube page for some cool training videos. Who know’s, you too might find yourself looking past the smile.
P.S. Make sure you to check out this weeks TechniqueWOD during the break. Doug will teach you all you need to know about the front squat. Who know’s, maybe you’ll learn how to grow a killer pair of Ager Bomb style quadriceps!
Direct download: bs125itunes.mp3
-- posted at: 12:00am PDT
Fri, 20 June 2014
This week on a very special bonus episode of the Barbell Shrugged podcast we are joined by Jackie Perez, competitive Crossfit athlete and one of the lead trainers at Crossfit CSA in Dublin, California.
If you haven’t heard about Jackie then you’re in for a treat. She’s one of the most entertaining and unfiltered guests we’ve ever had on the show. If you do know her, well, you can guess what happens next. Let’s just say you’re in for a treat.
I’ll be honest, we spent the first half of the show talking about partying, the sensual pleasures of almond champagne, and how she really doesn’t take her training all that seriously. You won’t find too many pearls and nuggets at the start, but you’re very likely to laugh out loud a few times. Enjoy the banter, but understand that this party side of Jackie is really just a ploy, a facade, a clever bit of misdirection. As we learned during the second half of the show, there’s actually way more to Jackie than first meets the eye.
Here’s what you need to understand - When it comes to performance there are no exceptions, short-cuts, or free lunches. Physical gifts will only get you so far. If you want to be an extraordinary coach or athlete, then you’re going to have to work very hard, just about all the time. You also have to make tough choices and sacrifices in your personal life. There needs to be plenty of room made for all that effort and output.
“Coach or athlete”, that’s really the choice. Jackie fills her days from dawn to dusk by working with clients. She cares, she grinds away at the craft, and she’s just as animated and salty in her classes as she is on this particular podcast. In short, she’s made her choice and understands that it comes with a cost. There’s just not much room or energy left over for pushing her body to the limit.
Jackie gets results in her training because she accepts her personal limits. She prioritizes, doing more with less. Most importantly, she understands that making a serious run at winning the Crossfit Games as an individual athlete is just not a realistic expectation. That would mean spending a lot less time coaching. It would mean passing on that second glass of champagne, which is something that she would rather not do. For her, the balance is more important.
That’s a lesson worth keeping. If you want to be the absolute best at what you do then go all in. Make the full commitment. Be willing to cut and make room for the effort. If not, fine, just do not pretend. Don’t make excuses. Don’t beat yourself up when things don’t go as planned. Instead, pop a fresh bottle of bubbly and learn to enjoy yourself.
For more Jackie check out her YouTube channel. See for yourself that she’s no barbell lightweight. You can also find her on Instagram, just in case you’re curious about that almond champagne lifestyle.
Direct download: bs124itunes.mp3
-- posted at: 12:28pm PDT
Wed, 18 June 2014
This week on Barbell Shrugged we are honored to chat with Mark Divine, retired Navy SEAL Commander and founder of SEALFIT and U.S. Crossfit.
Surprise, surprise, this show will leave you reconsidering your training, the true effort you’re applying in the gym, and the direction you’re heading. In short, its just what you need to hear.
For those who don’t know, SEALFIT is somewhat like Crossfit, only it’s more…Way more. Quite literally, this is what your whiteboard should say if the goal of the day is to prepare Navy SEALS for the rigors and chaos of military conflict. It’s also the sort of thing we should all experience from time to time if we want to be fully prepared for the rigors of civilian life. These lessons, to one degree or another, are for special forces bad asses and civilian warriors alike.
Mark’s training philosophy centers around the so-called “5 Mountains” of personal development. First, there’s the stuff any crossfitter, strength athlete or serious fitness enthusiast would recognize. The mountain of physical preparation includes strength, stamina, endurance, work capacity and durability. For the most part this is exactly what most expect out of a good strength and conditioning program. On the flip-side, this is usually all most would expect. Four mountains remain largely unchartered.
Full personal development and the realization of one’s true potential is impossible, until there’s awareness and an acknowledgment of what remains to be explored and cultivated. Incidentally, this act of discovery is also the first of the remaining mountains. The others are emotional control, intuition, and last but most important, Kokoro, which is the warrior’s unconquerable spirit.
Consider what your training might be lacking. Right now, be honest. When was the last time you ventured outside of the gym and trained in an intentionally hostile and challenging environment? Something like isolated woods, or perhaps rocky and bone chilling surf? Do you practice spiritually renewing activities like Yoga on a regular basis? Do you put the same amount of effort and intent into into breathing and meditation exercises as you do your snatch or back squat? If not, you should. After all, what good is a strong body if the seat of emotional and physical control is undisciplined and prone to failure? What exactly are you capable of if quitting is simply not an option? If there’s really nothing out there to fear?
We all need the barbell. We need to train with proven methods in order to develop ourselves physically. But those remaining mountains must be explored. These methods – as new and foreign and painful as they might be – must be included in the DAILY training plan. The warrior is strong, spiritually healthy, and as we also learned duringepisode 116 with Joe De Sena, has experienced, embraced, and disarmed suffering. Indeed, that’s what turns the common athlete into a true warrior.
To learn more about Mark Divine and his methods, make sure to check out 8 Weeks to SEALFIT, Unbeatable Mind and The Way of the Seal. They are simply amazing books. Also, if you are interested in becoming fully aware and experiencing the SEALFIT experience for yourself, you should definitely check out some of Mark’s live training events. Just know ahead of time that this will most likely be the most difficult challenge of your life, but hell, you’re after the profound personal transformation and empowerment, right? …Right, so you know there’s a cost.
You’re capable of paying that price. Go ahead, do it, just start with the 20X Challenge, which is a one-day course designed to take your training and leadership skills to the next level. From there you can consider the SEALFIT Kokoro Camp, which is an intense fifty-hour experience modeled after US Navy SEAL Hell Week. And if you’re still hungry for more, there’s always the SEALFIT Immersion Academy, a highly formidable and extremely comprehensive 3-week course designed to install the core skills and traits of elite Navy SEALS.
Go on, what are you waiting for? Get up the mountain. Go find out just what you’re really capable of.
P.S. During the break make sure to check out the latest episode of TechniqueWOD on squat fundamentals. After all, we want to be tough as SEAL warriors, but we still want huge squats, right?
Direct download: bs123.mp3
-- posted at: 8:11am PDT
Wed, 11 June 2014
Direct download: bs122itunes.mp3
-- posted at: 12:00am PDT
Tue, 3 June 2014
Direct download: bs121itunes.mp3
-- posted at: 7:00pm PDT