October 3rd, 2017

“We are being held momentarily by the train’s dispatcher”

Eyes droop,

Lips purse,

Feet begin to tap with discontent. 

Impatience sets in,

As if eagerly awaiting a loved ones return. 

But they groan and they mumble,

For what will only take a minute. 

What is really so important,

That they must anger over such a small delay?

Their safety, health, well being – intact. 

Yet somehow tempers break like shattered glass.

“Thank you for your patience”

An unexpected jolt of inertia. 

Eyes brighten,

Lips part in conversation,
Feet now tap to the beat of the tune.

Suddenly they are relieved. 

Social Media Madness

This may be one of the more cliché posts I’ve written, but this post comes with a challenge. So keep reading. 

One night, as I was scrolling through one of my social feeds while lying in bed, I was overcome with a feeling of fear and anger after realizing 30 minutes had passed. 

Is this what future generations will be like?

Is this really worth going to sleep later than I want?

Why do I need to fill every second of empty time with the scrolling of my thumb?

Of course I’m referring to the fact that I felt like I had become addicted to my social media accounts. And not posting to them, but scrolling – endlessly – every second I got. It’s a mindless activity that has incredibly adverse effects on our physical, mental, and social health. Yes, social health, even though it’s called “social” media. 

These accounts were making me get to bed later than I wanted, because I’d scroll for 30 minutes every night before bed. I’d be looking at a bright screen, presenting my body from entering “sleep mode”, which didn’t allow me to sleep properly. 

During the day I’d be scrolling, looking down at my phone forcing my head and neck to tilt forward which can lead to permanent cervical spine alterations leading to hunched shoulders and back, and improper neural communication to your entire body. 

Moreover, my mental health was suffering. Going through difficult times made social media a way to snoop, or to post and pretend like everything was okay to show off, which didn’t allow me to cope with my feelings and emotions, and deal with them properly. 

And finally, it prevented me from truly being present during real social activities with friends and co-workers. I’d still be on my phone, distracted from reality. 

If this sounds like you, you’re definitely not alone. Which is why I decided to deactivate all of my accounts, and delete the apps from my phone. While temporary, this decision has already helped me with all of the issues I described above. More importantly, I hardly even miss being on those apps at all. 

I’ve quickly realized how immediately addicting and how much short term pleasure social media provides. And how much damage it was doing to me and how much I could create longer term happiness and pleasure by not being on the apps all the time. 

I’ve even started dedicating 1 hour a day to turn my phone completely off. 

When, truly, was the last time you consciously turned off your phone? I don’t mean “do not disturb” or silent-mode. And I also don’t mean your phone dying without a charger handy.  

Actively turning off your phone is such a relieving and pleasurable experience. It shuts you out, and keeps you present to the here and now, free from one more distraction device in our lives. 

So I challenge you to start dedicating time every day to turn off your phone. Start with 15 or 30 minutes, then work up. You can keep it during the same time every day, or don’t, but do it consistently every day. 

You may even start taking the extra steps of turning off your social media notifications, or even deleting the apps from your phone entirely. 

Let me know how it goes, and how you feel. 

Our lives are meant to serve others and help each other grow stronger, happier, and healthier together, not give people “likes” while lying in bed at night when you should be sleeping, recovering, and preparing for the day ahead. 

Why You Need to Fail

I’m going to try as hard as I can to not articulate this point like every other cliche article, video, speech about why you need to fail. But if you feel like you already know what’s coming and don’t want to hear my take, feel free to move on.

Whether it’s in the gym or it’s in life, failing is essential to growth. Why?

Because we must be constantly reminded that progress is not linear. That we can’t always succeed and succeed and succeed, and that our goals can always be achieved effortlessly.

In the gym, failing a rep or failing at a PR attempt is a great thing. Because that’s exactly the moment when you grow the strongest. Until you fail at a rep, you never truly know what your threshold is. You may be getting stronger rep by rep, day by day, but you never truly know how much you can go before you can’t go any more. Your mind is never met with true adversity in the gym. While you may struggle at reps, really failing a rep, I mean failing hard, not even able to budge the weight, gives your body and your mind a threshold and challenge.

You’ve suddenly realized there’s something you can’t do.

And you learn from that. You change up your programming, you change up your diet, you change your mindset, you change your behaviors, then get after it to attack the weight the next time to lift that barbell off the ground.

This is important in the gym and in life to fail because not only do we find motivation in that, but it reminds us that success and growth isn’t easy. And it shouldn’t be. If we continue to have everything given to us without the need of hard work, dedication, and intention then we’d go through life living with a dull flame, and excitement, achievement, and self-pride would hardly exist.

We must also keep in mind that rewards from success are not always monetary. Doing a good job at work or hitting a PR in the gym brings increased self-confidence, pride, and allows you to learn the steps that it takes to succeed so that you can apply it to the next goal you have set.

So train to fail. Embrace failure as something to learn from. You will never know your true potential until you reach your maximum threshold. From there, you will be able to recognize just how much it will take to achieve the goals that are important to you, and you’ll be informed and educated from the failures you’ve had to help you succeed in the future. All to help you become the strongest, healthiest, and happiest you can be.

When the Gym Isn’t Just a Task

I’ve written posts on will power and the importance of lifting, and I live I life that prioritizes health and physical fitness over many other things.

But I often find myself in conversation about dedication and how disciplined I am about lifting weights and going to the gym, and people tend to say:

“Man I wish I could be that good about going to the gym”… or something to that effect.

See the gym is much more to me than something to do to keep myself in shape. That’s actually one of the last reasons why I go so regularly.

The gym for me is an outlet. It’s an escape. One where I can blast music, let my stress go, and listen to – and connect with – my body.

For these reasons (and also that it’s good for me) I keep it close to the top of my priority list.

But what people see on the outside, though, is someone who finds time to go to the gym more times during the week than not, to keep themselves in shape. And this is something that seems to be envied by a lot of people.

But when the gym is more than just something you do to stay in shape, it isn’t always a good thing, or something that should be envied.

Because when I miss a workout, I’m missing much more than just an hour of mindless sweat and fatigue. Missing a workout means missing time that I need with myself, and it can make me stressed, anxious, upset, and angry.

When someone goes to the gym with the sole intention of it being good for you and something you should do on a somewhat frequent basis, it’s easy for those people to skip a workout to do something else, like grab a few drinks with friends instead. It’s easy because there aren’t many other elements tied to the workout, like the therapeutic effect, the self-competitive effect, among others.

See these people have actually subconsciously mastered the idea of moderation and balance. An idea that doesn’t come easy for some, including me.

No matter what your reasons are for going to the gym, it’s important for us to always remember that a life of balance will ultimately give us more joy than one with unequal weights.

Sometimes we must recognize when it’s okay to take a step back and enjoy the things around you and experience all that we can to help us live a stronger, healthier, and happier life.

But priorities are priorities for a reason, so we must help each other understand what’s important to each of us so we don’t feel like balance is a difficult thing.

And if you surround yourself with people who truly care about you, they will understand and work with you to have balanced relationships and friendships that will only grow stronger as time goes on, while also allowing you to attain the personal goals you set out for yourself. 

The Importance of Grip Strength

Do you train to strengthen your grip?

If you answered no, it’s time to start.

Grip strength, basically, one’s ability to make a fist and resist force attempting to open it up, has many benefits in the gym and also in every day life.

Here are 3 reasons why you should be training to improve your grip strength:

It allows you to lift heavier in almost any exercise

Because so many exercises involve holding a dumbbell or barbell, improving your grip strength will allow you to focus more on activating the proper muscles instead of focusing on trying to hold the weight in your hands for dear life.

Every day tasks will become easier

Think about how many things you do on a daily basis that require you to use your grip. From opening up a jar to carrying bags of groceries from the car, your grip is crucial for achieving tasks and promoting functional independence as you age.

Promotes healthy joints

Improving your grip strength will have positive effects on the health of your wrists, and more importantly, your elbows. The elbow joint is extremely prone to injury, so training your forearm and grip muscles will strengthen the surrounding musculature and ease up your tendons to keep the pesky elbow pain away.

So how do you increase your grip strength?

Use more Free weights and fewer machines

Using free weights forces you to use your grip more, therefore strengthening it due to repetitive use. Machines make it easy to isolate specific muscles, but often don’t require a strong grip since gravity is not an opposing factor/force, which is the reason why so many free weight exercises with dumbbells and barbells work your grip and other muscles (hence, free). Here are 2 great exercises that build a strong grip:

1. Deadlifts

Deadlifts are a great way to increase your overall strength, and one of the important muscles that the deadlifts train aside from your back are your forearms, i.e. your grip, since you are holding a heavy barbell as you lift it up and down.

2. Farmer’s Carries

A farmer’s carry is executed by holding two dumbbells of medium to heavy weight down at your sides while in a standing position. From there, you should walk around 10-30 yards at a time, depending on weight, while maintaining an upright posture. The main muscles activated are your forearms and traps, but is a great exercise to incorporate into any functional training program.


Even the smallest muscle groups require big attention and your forearms and grip strength are no exception. Being able to hold onto dumbbells and barbells with more weight, longer, will help develop strength and endurance for functional activities leading to a stronger, healthier, and happier life.