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18 October 2010

Seriously... Get Your Fucking Head Right

In my most recent entry, I stated that it's important for a person to have their head right when they're entering the gym. I posited that we're so saturated with negativity (which is really just a boatload of excuses people have compiled to excuse shitty performance), that it's tremendously difficult to have success no matter how enthusiastic or willing the lifter. I truly believe that this is a massive problem facing most people, and it's one of the most difficult to overcome- forget the training routine selection, adherence to the routine selected, dieting, etc- the biggest battle you're going to fight will be against yourself, inside your head.
You'll notice, reading through old blogs, that I've made comments like the following:
"When you hit the gym, you should be focused on the larger picture- hitting your goals, whatever they may be, and making everyone weep with fear when you stomp around the gym like a miniature Godzilla, not quibbling internally over nonsense that will have little to no bearing on achieving your goals."

"Here I was, perusing a bunch of New Age books in search of alternative methods of getting so pumped up that you could slaughter legions of your enemies, Arnold-in-Commando-style, when it occurred to me that I knew of a way, right offhand, that'd work."

"If you're a hooligan, you eschew bullshit and all of its unpleasant trappings, and you grab life by its throat and fuck it into submission."

These aren't meathead-esque exhortations to act like an asshole in the gym or on the street- they're statements meant to set the stage for how you should feel when you're in the gym- you should feel indomitable, like an immovable object, a force that cannot possibly be opposed. This is not because you're to physically beat everyone around you into submission- you should feel this way because you should be so infused with positive aggression and overall positivity that you feel invincible. Why? Because your mind controls your body, and if you constantly proclaim to it that you're awesome, it will have no choice but to physically realize that thought. That is why I'll generally suggest that someone try harder and get more pumped up before a deadlift attempt rather than spending time dissecting their form. Let Bennie Magnusson be your guide- get pumped the fuck up and wreck shit.
This is not just some esoteric, happy-go-lucky, Tim Robbins bullshit- this is science. It has been proven ad infinitum that one's mind is far more powerful than one's body, and that one can alter one's physiological processes simply through the power of one's mind. I'm not suggesting that you should get all Jean Greyed up and utilize your telekinesis to levitate your next deadlift PR- I'm stating that you can actually make yourself stronger, bigger, and leaner through the use of positive thought, and by the same token, if you constantly obsess over being fat and weak, your body will alter itself to match your perception of reality. Like Henry Ford said, "If you believe you can or if you believe you can't... you're right."(Lipton 112)
Perhaps the best example of this phenomenon is that of a sect of Tibetan monks in Northern India, who are able to drastically alter their body temperature to stave off hypothermia through the utilization of intense meditation. Using a yoga technique known as g Tum-mo, they entered a state of deep meditation. Other monks soaked 3-by-6-foot sheets in cold water (49 degrees) and placed them over the meditators' shoulders. For untrained people, such frigid wrappings would produce uncontrolled shivering. If body temperatures continue to drop under these conditions, death can result. But it was not long before steam began rising from the sheets. As a result of body heat produced by the monks during meditation, the sheets dried in about an hour. Attendants removed the sheets, then covered the meditators with a second chilled, wet wrapping. Each monk was required to dry three sheets over a period of several hours." (Cromie) Similarly, monks in Sikkam, India can lower their metabolisms by 64%, and other monks in the Himalyas have been documented sleeping in sub-zero temperatures with only a thin cotton blanket as protection from the elements. Despite this fact, the monks didn't even so much as fucking shiver in response to the cold, as they simply did not believe in its effects.
I realize that it must sound as though I'm about to offer you a choice between a red pill and a blue pill, but this isn't the Matrix, and this shit is fucking real. The power of belief is so strong that Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer proved that she could induce weight loss in hotel maids by explaining to them exactly how many calories they burned at works- a number that vastly exceeded their perceived metabolic expenditure. (Spiegel) Similarly, studies have shown that the placebo effect is so strong that 32% of severely depressed people show marked improvements with a sugar pill, compared to only 50% who actually receive medication for their illness. (Lipton 110) In most clinical trials, "fake" drugs prove just as effective as the real ones, simply because the people being tested believe in their power. (108-9) This is not simply limited to drugs, either- a 2002 study at Baylor School of Medicine showed that a faked knee surgery was just as effective at reducing chronic knee pain as was the $5000 surgery, a fact that the doctors conducting the experiment found disconcerting, to say the least.
If your spotter gets negative, that barbell may end up rearranging your teeth.

By the same token, you can royally fuck yourself up with negative thoughts. I've always fucking detested spotters who will call the lifter a pussy while he's lifting, or other assorted nonsense. That sort of negativity has never fucking worked, in my mind. It's another thing altogether, however, to think to yourself that "so and so thinks I'm a fucking pussy, but I've got their fucking pussy" and then crush a bunch of weights in outright defiance of their suggestion, and to prove what you know to be the truth- that you're a fucking badass. It's a subtle distinction, but a vastly important one. Just as the placebo effect can work in your favor (I've heard of people gaining weight and getting stronger within 24 hours of taking "oral GH", for instance), it can fuck you up royally. In 1974, a guy named Sam Londe was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, a disease for which there's little hope of recovery once it's in an advanced stage. Londe was given a couple of months to live, and he ended up dying in a few weeks- in spite of the fact that an autopsy showed that the initial diagnosis was incorrect, and he showed almost no cancerous cells in his throat. (Lipton 111) This effect, called the nocebo effect, can have just as profound an impact on your health and lifts, but in a massively negative way.

For those of you still unconvinced, I can understand your skepticism. Whether it's the effects of the mind on quantum physics (as asserted by Lipton and friends) or that reality is mere perception, and that one can change in on a whim (like the Buddhists and Hindus think), or if it's simply that we've some untapped reserve of energy that can affect our internal chemistry on an atomic level- our minds control our bodies. Not only that, but they control the bodies of others. Practitioners of Transcendental Meditation participated in a study that was published in the Social Indicators Research journal, wherein they allegedly lowered the crime rate by 20% over an 8 week period utilizing group meditation.(Hagelin, et al) Exactly like Ghostbusters II, right? The power of positive thinking might sound like some homosexual "The Secret" bullshit, but there's something to it. Thus, I enjoin you to stop being so fucking negative about yourselves- and there are those of you who are massively, horrifically negative about yourselves- and buck the fuck up. You're likely more awesome than you think, and if you're not, you can literally fake it until you make it.

Now go fuck shit up.

Sources:
Cromie, William. Meditation changes temperatures: Mind controls body in extreme experiments. Harvard Gazette. 4/18/02. http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/2002/04.18/09-tummo.html
Hagelin, JS, et al. Effects of Group Practice of the Transcendental Meditation Program on Preventing Violent Crime in Washington, DC: Results of the National Demonstration Project, June-July 1993. http://www.mnaimhac.org/resources/Effects%20of%20Meditation%20and%20crime%20-%20DC%20study.pdf
Lipton, Bruce. The Biology of Belief. Carlesbad: Hay House, 2005.
Spiegel, Alex. Hotel Maids Challenge the Placebo effect. NPR. 1/3/08. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=17792517

54 comments :

  1. Fucking kickass Jamie.

    Its got my vote for best post on the site!!

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  2. Chaos and Pain is Fucking awesome dude!
    my name is Gregory Jimenez

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  3. I agree. This is the best post I've seen on this site, and I've read all of them. Absolutely excellent.

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  4. Out of every post I've read and reread here this post is what will get me laying waste in the gym tomorrow morning. Thanks Jamie.

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  5. Quite possibly the best thing you've ever written. Time to go crush some skulls.

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  6. Thanks, I'm really fucking stressed out training for a hardass high paying job going low on sleep. I'm gonna have to sneak in workouts by hook or crook. Shits not going good and spirits are down but I know it's all in my head, like the Black Flag album.

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  7. I'm a huge Godzilla fan.
    I have seen almost every single entry in the series.
    Thank you for posting (another) Godzilla photo.
    And bad ass post, by the way.

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  8. Damn man, I'm gonna have to fucking crush shit tomorrow after reading this.

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  9. Great post Jamie! Even though you piss me off sometimes with your over the top posts, this one is excellent, and very true.

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  10. Badass post. I wouldn't mind seeing some more studies in this area. Any recommended books in this subject area?

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  11. I think a lot of people are weak-minded and don't need to be. I'm the guy who passed out into the rack of dumbells after deadlifting a paltry 329. I have been mocked on Comedy Central by Tosh without permission, and on many other shows after they paid for licensing. ($$$$) I could choose to care about whatever Tosh ('s writers) think and every once in a while the thought crosses my mind, but I have no good reason to. I have no history of strength training and brought my deadlift from 255 in November of 2009 to 455 as of August of 2010. Squat moved from 175 to 345 in that time and my BTN PushPress moved as well. I am becoming a lot stronger in a shorter amount of time than I thought I could. I know gains won't be as exponential in the future, but I know I have the fortitude to keep bulldozing goals. I revel in the fact that I got pumped enough to pull a PR and pass out 3 weeks into lifting.

    I can give in to the shit-talkers and the naysayers and the endless pointless youtube hate calling me a pussy, or I can (and I do) lift my balls off and continue to visualize the beast inside.

    I gotta hand it to Jamie for sparking the interest in lifting. Had it not been for stumbling across this blog I would have been following Men's Health, Nate Green, or some other well-meaning but coddling form of lifting philosophy. The sheer ferocity of his lifting mindset has motivated me to harden the fuck up.

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  12. ^^ Holy shit, an internet legend. Manbearpig, honest question: if you didn't want to be mocked, why did you put that video on youtube? I'm seriously not trolling; I'm curious.

    Awesome post, Jamie.

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  13. Thx Jamie, thats was an awsome read!

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  14. The book Ironmind: Stronger Minds, Stronger Bodies discusses the mind and lifting quite a bit and is worth the quick read that it is.

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  15. manbearpig - if what you say is true, you're a beast. Keep it up.

    Jamie - Thank you for this post. I needed to be reminded to be more positive about my lifting. I can't wait to squat tonight.

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  16. Badass post. I wouldn't mind seeing some more studies in this area. Any recommended books in this subject area?

    Great Newsweek article on depression, anti depressants and the placebo effect. A real fucking eye opener:

    http://www.newsweek.com/2010/01/28/the-depressing-news-about-antidepressants.html

    Also, a great article somewhat related: http://www.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/10/11/elliott.branding.disease/index.html?hpt=C2

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  17. Fuck yeah!!! Anyone fancy a bum?

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  18. I don't want to give up my future sources on this, but you guys can rest assured that this will be a series. It's gonna get a bit New Age-y at times, but you fuckers know I'll keep it brutal.

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  19. Damn, Jamie
    Thanks for the reminder to kick my own ass when I pussy out.
    great post, bro!

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  20. AWESOME FUCKING POST!
    Now that It's been confirmed I'm INDESTRUCTIBLE i'm gonna fuck some shit up!

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  21. Jamie , firstly this was a top quality post.

    I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of this series.

    When you mentioned new age-y I remembered a site you might want to check out.

    http://www.pfaf.org

    It's a massive database of plants and there edibility, medicinal benefits and general uses.

    It looks pretty legit. I figured you might want to have a look, see if you can find anything worth getting a hold of or even growing.

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  22. I'm not complaining about being mocked, I'm saying that there have been times I've thought about giving weight to what people say. I uploaded the video because it's hilarious. It's all the more motivation to lift if there are fat people on the internet passively wanting me to fail. It's not like I lift solely for the sake of spite, but it can be a good motivator. It would be nice if tosh would have me on for a web redemption, but it doesn't seem to be happening.

    I finished the lift, bad form or not, and I was pumped. I know people want things done perfectly and everything, but fuck that. Erika Medlin threw up in the middle of her pull and got a ton of "FAIL" comments, but she finished it and looked badass. My pull is nowhere near as epic as hers, but I have the PR or ER mindset. I actually went to the ER to stitch my jaw back up and I was pumped as hell before I even knew the lift was on camera. It's still hilarious that I passed out on that little amount of weight and after yelling like an asshole. I'd much rather get dinged up and enjoy life rather than tip-toeing around a near-empty gym afraid to set off a non-existent lunk alarm.

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  23. Guys, I have to tell you... If you want to get really pumped, I mean so pumped you will go out, crash your car at 60mph then headbutt the first person you see, do yourself a favour and go buy a copy of the dvd set Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Seriously, it is the best TV you will see unless they start showing live executions of criminals or such. The show is literally a bloody fight scene followed by full frontal nudity followed by a sweet fight followed by graphic sex etc etc. If you don't get totally pumped from this show, I don't want to know you. Even my girlfriend loves this show. 95% of the people in it are fit wimmins or jacked dudes. I mean, half the chicks in the colliseum audience have their tits hanging out FOR NO GOOD REASON! There's this one bit where the rich Romans are having a party and they get their gladiators out for the guests to touch and stuff and one of the Roman bitches says "come look at this shit" to her friend, so they go in a back room where there's a bunch of Romans watching a gladiator do a hot slave girl doggy style. It was awesome. When he's done the woman tells him to do it again and he sighs like it's a chore but you know he's actually like "awww yeaah". Honest fellas, your balls will grow from watching this stuff.

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  24. ^ Above post is truth.

    It's an awesome series.

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  25. Unrelated, but does anybody do good mornings?
    My DL has kind of stalled and I'd rather not waste time with a bunch of useless shit trying to increase it.
    P.S. I hate RDLs.

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  26. Also Mind Gym is a great read on positive thinking. Great post.

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  27. Good shit manbearpig, your video is truly hilarious with large ammounts of fail, but I still respect you for putting it up and you have a good attitude towards everything haha.

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  28. Tim Robbins Bullshit!?!? Not so fast....


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dt4jJUeIWFY

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  29. I myself like to get myself pumped up by envisioning myself slaughtering nonwhites and promiscuous women.

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  30. I want to pick up something I can't, just because I know I can.

    Seriously badass post.

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  31. just the fire i fuckin needed brother!
    TB

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  32. Tosh mocking deadlift guy
    http://warmingglow.uproxx.com/2010/01/tosh-0-takes-on-deadlift-faint-guy

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  33. Awesome, post, but I just don't know if this positive thinking stuff will work for a loser like me.

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  34. Crackwhore's AssistantOctober 21, 2010 at 11:52 AM

    Get your bald head right too: Rogaine studies show a placebo effect.

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  35. Random question:
    What are your thoughts on the aspirin requirement in an ECA stack?
    Do the potential harmful effects on the stomach outweigh the positives?... Can this be remedied by taking an enteric coated version?

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  36. Fuck it. First comment. This is correct as all hell. I've been in quite the funk/depression over the last week. Stalled on squats, unmotivated, the works. Being a shitty captain to the rugby team. Today, I just went to the gym with the intention of "wrecking shit". Set 10 lb pr's on both squats and deads, and added 50lbs to my shrugs.

    Getting awesome for the win. Thanks, Jamie.

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  37. O-BAMA! YES WE CAN! O-BAMA! YES WE CAN! O-BAMA! YES WE CAN! O-BAMA! YES WE CAN! O-BAMA! YES WE CAN! O-BAMA! YES WE CAN! O-BAMA! YES WE CAN! O-BAMA! YES WE CAN! O-BAMA! YES WE CAN! O-BAMA! YES WE CAN! O-BAMA! YES WE CAN! O-BAMA! YES WE CAN! O-BAMA! YES WE CAN! O-BAMA! YES WE CAN!

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  38. They were talking about doubling the deficit in 2 years, and they achieved their goal.

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  39. Thankfully, the republican administration had us on the right path.

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  40. Great, great article. One of my favorites I've read on here.

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  41. Some twat recommended:

    http://www.pfaf.org

    -typed in "tongkat", no results, "eurycoma longifolia", no results, "ginseng", no results. Load of crap.

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  42. Some twat tried the site I recommended and isn't bright enough to read anything on it.

    The search isn't working because they are in the process of redoing the site and the search function hasn't been redone yet. You can either use Google to search it or manually navigate to the item that interests you..

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  43. Some twat said..

    "Some twat tried the site I recommended and isn't bright enough to read anything on it."

    ...then pointed out it wasn't actually working anyhow. So who's the twat?!!

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  44. Christine - I've just re-watched your "Split Stretching" video again, and i have to say, watching it made me masturbate so hard that i nearly ripped my cock clean off. Good job!

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  45. Guys, seriously - starting at 1min 24sec of that video, picture yourself flat on your back with her coming down either on your cock or face. I've tried both, can't decide which does it most for me.

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  46. "Homosexual"? Seriously dude, you actually used that word to describe "The Secret"? LOL! Look kid, if you want to use a derogatory, homophobic term then at least have the balls to use a good one, like "faggy". You could have written: "...that faggy 'The Secret' shit."

    Now, take it from a gay man, there's nothing "homosexual" about "The Secret" but there sure as hell is someting "faggy" about it. Your article/rant was good up until the point you went from being a pseudo bad ass to being a politically correct bad ass by using the word "homosexual" because you didn't have the balls to use something stronger. For shame.

    Either you are the bad ass you profess to be or you're a poser. Which one is it?

    (No need to thank me for making you a better writer, just do me a solid and let it show in your future Internet scribblings.)

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  47. Did someone say homosexual?

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  48. years spent cold gets my head right.

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  49. Does anyone have a link to the split stretching video by "Christine"?

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  50. Hagelin, formerly a respected particle physicist, conducted that study about crime reduction after becoming a follower of the Maharishi Maresh Yogi, a bearded hippie vegetarian guru who claimed that transcendental meditation, in addition to saving the world, could also allow its practitioners to literally fly through the air. Stage I of this "yogic flying" involves hopping around while cross-legged (seriously check it out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHwhGUo90jw). Nobody has yet demonstrated the ability to reach Stage II, levitation, but a lot of people paid the yogi a lot of money for the opportunity to practice. Apparently they went so far as to stage track and field events wherein all the contestants moved solely by means of this hopping ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TM-Sidhi_program#History ), which I would pay money to see.

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