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14 June 2017

Let The Hate Flow Through You

"Hate is as good as any to keep a man going. Better than most."
— Sandor Clegane, Game of Thrones

The last day of his eighth grade year, Herschel Walker finally decided to step outside and join his classmates for recess.  This kid was so timid mice would brazenly walk up to him and piss on his shoes, and so fucking frightened of other people that his stammer had his teachers thinking he was retarded (although he went on to become class valedictorian in high school).  Herschel had never joined his classmates outside, but since it was the last day of eighth grade, fat, smelly, little Herschel decided that although he was the weird, possibly retarded fat kid, a game of kickball might be all he needed to right the ship and set the tone for a badass high school career.  He was right, but for all the wrong reasons- his lovable little middle school classmates proceeded to kick the everloving shit out of him, apparently with as little preamble as Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait and less explication than Mel Gibson's anti-semitic rants.  No matter what their reasoning, the result was epic- from that point onward in life, Herschel Walker was driven by one thing, and one thing only:
Hatred for his fellow man.

The face of hate.  Did I mention he's 49 in this picture?

Driven by hate harder than a kid from Colorado in a trench coat filled with guns, Herschel spent the next summer doing thousands of pushups and situps a day, dragging sleds, sprinting and jogging, and racing a fucking freight train.  So great was his hatred that in one summer he went from being one of the worst athletes in his school to being one of the fastest kids in GA.  From there, he became  perhaps the single greatest high school running back of all time, racking up an unbelievable 3,162 yards in his senior year and probably injuring more players than any linebacker in the country.  In college, though he was one of the greatest running backs in NCAA history, Walker nearly terminated his career and joined the Marines because he hated people so much he wanted to make killing them his job.  Let that sink in- Herschel Walker was being hailed not just as the greatest collegiate running back, but the greatest college football player of all time, and he nearly quit that to slaughter random brown people with firearms because hurting people on a football field would not quench the fire of rage burning within his chest.

Had Herschel Walker joined the Marines, this would be the profile pic of every human being online in Iraq and Afghanistan today.

Luckily for the denizens of whatever nation would have seen Walker's wrath unleashed, he remained in football because the day he was to quit, he broke his trigger finger.  Thus, he went on to set the USFL on fire, then jobbed his way through the NFL a shell of his former self after averaging almost 400 carries a season for three seasons, capped off by an insane 2,411 yards on 438 carries in his third season.  After retiring from the NFL bitter as hell because he was never given his due in that league, Walker directed his hatred towards Russian Roulette and MMA, luckily winning at both (he is 2-0 in MMA with 2 wins by TKO, both at 48 years of age).  Still unsatisfied with breaking every human being he's ever met in half, Walker is contemplating a return to the NFL, claiming that he's still running a 4.3 40 yard dash, at 6'1" and 220 lbs, which would make him incredibly competitive even at age 55.


Herschel Walker isn't the only man who has benefited from the power of hate- the concept of hate as a primary motivator driving one's success is even a trope in television, print, and film.  As the author of the website TV Tropes explains, 
"Hate gives you power and fuel to move you. What you do with hate depends on who you are. Sometimes hate makes us change things because we are angry and see they don't work like this. Sometimes it makes you murder someone and makes you the villain. Sometimes, when the villain gloats at your poor dead dog, he makes a mortal enemy. Then there are the times when you are just furious at how horrible the world is and thus, with The Power Of Hate, a hero is born (or a villain)" (TV Tropes).  
Interestingly, that trope describes Walker perfectly (had he not broken his trigger finger his hate might have driven him to commit unspeakable (or unspeakably awesome, depending on your perspective)) atrocities, thereby turning him into a villain.  No matter what the outcome, however, hatred is for heroes and villains a motivator that drives them harder than a godawful John Cusack movie, and keeps them going in spite of any and all setbacks, pitfalls, or calamities.

"Love is a fine cushion to rest upon, but only hate can make you a better person."
- Joe Abercrombie

With the current spate of internet, do-gooder social justice warriors relentlessly screeching about positivity and avoiding negative emotions, negative remarks, and hate, it's perhaps shocking to have anyone espouse an emotion like hate.  Hate, after all, has been more or less criminalized in the Western World.  To hate is to commit crime, because if you hate, you must be a cis-gender, racist, misogynist, Trump-supporting emotional terrorist who's fit for a straightjacket and a menace to society, and it's a good reason for a judge to tack an extra five years onto a person's sentence for getting into an ordinary barfight.  Well, hear this:  FUCK THAT SHIT.  Science shows that negative emotions are just as important as positive emotions, and in pessimistic people more important than positive emotions, and that there is nothing inherently wrong with hate- it can mean the difference between failure and success, between mediocrity and greatness, and it should never be ignored.

"We know things are bad — worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is: 'Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone.'
Well, I'm not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get MAD!"

Yes, there are sanctimonious castratos who will loudly decry this as "alpha-male posturing", or somesuch nonsense.  It is not.  Sure, it's unkind to hate people, but in a world where the sanctimonious fucktards outnumber the likable humans about 1000 to 1, hate is entirely justified.  We're wedged in between a populace of fat, sweaty, uneducated, diabetic, Christian retards on one hand and somewhat-educated neoliberal fascists on the other- there is literally nothing useful people can do other than hate everything and everyone around them, to scream "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!" out their windows, to go to metal shows and beat the fucking brakes off people, to throw weights around and get jacked and read books and be even more awesome than we already are.  They're going to hate us anyway- we stand for everything they stand against.  Luckily, we can turn their hate around and use it as fuel for our collective fire, allowing it to drive us further in our workouts, to push us deeper into the zone every set, and to rage against the dying of our society's collective light.

“Tyrannical toward himself, he must be tyrannical toward others. All the gentle and enervating sentiments of kinship, love, friendship, gratitude, and even honor, must be suppressed in him and give place to the cold and single-minded passion for revolution.... Striving cold-bloodedly and indefatigably toward this end, he must be prepared to destroy himself and to destroy with his own hands everything that stands in the path of the revolution.” 
Catechisms of the Revolutionary, Sergei Nechayev

According to social scientists, psychologists, and neurologists, negative emotions are key to well being, and that we should embrace and accept feelings of anger and hatred, because they help with problem solving, realistic predictions of the future, and provide a competitive advantage for those who can figure out how to harness their hate and rage to facefuck of all of life's difficulties until they puke and pass out (Lilienfield, Rodriguez, Daskal).  Just think about your own life- when you were at your happiest, you were at your most complacent, weren't you?  For myself, I know that when life is going easily and smoothly, my lifts are generally pretty lackluster and my life will come to ruin if I don't find something or someone to rage against.  In addition, I'll train less, pay less attention to my diet, and will eventually slow my training to a crawl... at least until I look in the mirror and hate myself enough to do something about it.  If you "Stay Negative" as a bunch of beatdown hardcore bands espouse, you actually set yourself up for success, because you're predicting problems and formulating solutions before anything bad has actually occurred- you're undermining your own complacency by expecting the worst and planning for it, rather than resting on your laurels with a smirk on your face and changing your profile pic on Facebook to a rainbow flag and some missive about how you champion the rights of the differently-abled, non-white, gender-neutral indigenous peoples of wherever, and it's good that terrorist attacks on the white patriarchy occur to highlight the anger of the downtrodden and misused.  On top of that, when the shit does hit the fan you, unlike the social justice warriors who can only wring their hands and whine online, have the skill of turning failures into lessons, which is absolutely essential for crushing the opposition on the platform, the sports field, or in the boardroom.

"I can't stand living, I can't stand you, and I just can't hate enough."

If Instagram is any indication, none of the #Fitspo people will agree with any of this, but that's because they're fucking halfwits who would fuck up getting drunk at an open bar and then manage to go home unfucked after the orgy afterparty.  Anyone who needs to masturbate their inner child with daily admonitions against negative people and constant paeans to surrounding themselves with positivity, they're damn near guaranteed to be saddies who surround themselves with the same.  Happy people need daily reminders to be happy just like dogs need daily reminders to wag their fucking tails- it's petty, transparent posturing by weak people.  Moreover, if you're in any way pessimistic, that shit does not help.  At all.  In fact, defensive pessimists are at their best under stress and in anticipation of a negative outcome, and 
"'positive mood impairs the performance of defensive pessimists.' When they’re in a good mood, they become complacent; they no longer have the anxiety that typically mobilizes their effort. If you want to sabotage defensive pessimists, just make them happy" (Grant).
As we all know, complacency is the enemy of greatness, and there is no kryptonite like happiness to a pessimist.

Throatfucking is the antidote to kryptonite, even though it makes everyone happy.

Just like happiness brings about the downfall of any devout pessimist, encouragement does the same.  In fact, pessimists do 29% worse when tested after receiving touchy-feely words of encouragement.  Instead of Tony Robbins, pessimists need is the best of all the Muppets, Statler and Waldorf, sitting up in the balcony talking shit and stoking our inner furnace of hate. We thrive on criticism and shit-talking, because it allows us to rail against and destroy our opposition- they are the enemy we require to thrive.  The same goes for anxiety- when optimists are anxious, they distract themselves, lowering themselves to using lame new-age self-help techniques to escape their reality.  Pessimists, like Tyler Durden in the chemical burn scene of Fight Club, live in and for reality- anxiety motivates us to succeed, so we ruminate on extreme outcomes to drive us to victory (Grant).  

Yuri Vlasov (center), an Olympic weightlifter so ridiculously jacked it's hard to believe he ever even had a naysayer, nevermind enough to fuel 31 ratified world records.

I'm sure you have plenty of experiences in your life that reflect this, since my entire fucking life has been one giant effort to prove everyone wrong, whether their shit-talking was real or imagined.  And don't pretend like you've never sort of fantasized that people were talking shit, or been paranoid that they were, when you weren't even in the minds of the people you believed were talking shit.  In any event, a bit of shit talked is a gold mine for pessimists, and it drives us to glory.  Consider this tidbit from Olympic gold medalist in Olympic weightlifting, Yuri Vlasov, whose entire career was driven by pitting himself against the evil Americans and anyone who talked shit about him:
"I had a story that happened when I was competing in Nationals in Gorko. I was just starting competing and was complacent whether I would become first or second. Then I heard from my competitor’s coach talking about me: “this trash will never become a champion.” It tipped me over. I called for a huge weight on the next attempt. Without any hesitation I nailed it like an empty bar" (Winters).
As if reality hadn't shit on the Fitspo pussies' collective weaksauce parade enough, consider this:
"Studies show that positive fantasies discourage achievement—when people imagine losing weight or pursing a relationship with a crush, they’re less likely to follow through. Also, people perform worse when they say “I will” than when they ask themselves, “Will I?”
At the same time, we need pessimists to anticipate the worst and prepare us all for it. On average, research indicates that people who never worry have lower job performance than those who worry from time to time. Studies also show that when entrepreneurs are highly optimistic, their new ventures bring in less revenue and grow more slowly, and when CEOs are highly optimistic, they take on more risky debt and swing for the fences more often, putting their companies in jeopardy. (This may be why there are fewer optimistic CFOs than CEOs)" (Grant).

I may have said a lot of things here that offended some of you, but nothing comes more from my heart than this: 
- Bad Luck 13 Riot Extravaganza

To top it all off, defensive pessimists aren't failures at the outset- they're highly successful.  They tend to have better health and higher incomes than the #Fitspo fucktards.  Scientists think this is because they better anticipate the shitstorms life throws your way, so they prepare for them and their health benefits as a result.  They are also in far better position to deal with the hard times they might face because they've anticipated, so they have far less acute stress in exchange for higher levels of chronic stress, off of which they thrive (Abrams).  We win because we hate and fear failure, and as a result we only lose, if at all, after we've won- it's our cross to bear and happiness is tragically the bane of our competitive existence, but what the fuck... it gives us one more thing to fight.  

Bad Luck 13 Riot Extravaganza.  Prophets of a post-modern, nihilistic, go-fuck-yourself age.  By the way, the dude on the right who has Kill tattooed on his neck is Shlak, who's now jacked, a badass tattoo artist, and a wrestler for CZW.

If all of that weren't enough, history has shown us that some of the most brutal, epic, and insane badasses deliberately cultivated a mentality to harness that hatred in order to be victorious in battle.  This condition, known as somafera, or berserkergang among the Norse, was one wherein warriors would enter what could be considered an ecstatic religious state that made them superhuman.  In the Ynglinga Saga, these people were described as such:
"... his men went without mailcoats, and were as frantic as dogs or wolves; they bit their shields and were as strong as bears or boars; they slew men but neither fire nor iron could hurt them.  This is known as 'running berserk'" (Skallagrimsson, Putting on the Wolf Skin).
These warrior cults deliberately cultivated this state by a variety of methods ranging from inflicting pain on themselves to ruminating on things that enraged them to pacing like wolves, and in some cases wore wolf skins and bear skins to try to adopt the mentality of the fiercest animals, and these things worked.  Whether it was the Dacian Wolf Warriors, the Viking Berserkers, the Chinese Boxers, or any of a ton of other warrior cults of this type, they were devoted to harnessing all of their rage and hate and utilizing that energy to destroy anything and everything in their path.  It was this energy that carved for them a name in history, and it for this reason they are remembered today.

So there you have it- hate makes you strong.  It fills you with adrenaline, which you then turn into victory (Seltzer).  All of the touchy-feely neo-liberal non-offensive drivel in the world can't get your inner child's dick hard like some good old fashioned hate.  It is the most primitive of all emotions, and it is the most powerful.  It confers invincibility, drives humanity to greater heights, and turns men into superhumans (or demons, depending on your perspective).  So stoke that inner fire, put on your wolf skin, hit the gym with an epic murder boner, and crush the opposition.  

I ain't like you!
And I don't want your love
And I don't need your respect
I just can't hate enough
But I got no tears or regrets.

Abrams, Lindsay.  A case for pessimism.  The Atlantic.  13 Mar 2013.  Web.  12 Jun 2017.

Daskal, Lolly.  The surprising power of negative thinking.  1 Oct 2015.  Web.  14 Jun 2017.

Grant, Adam.  The positive power of negative thinking.  Huffington Post.  16 Oct 2013.  Web.  14 Jun 2017.

Lilienfield, Scott O.  Can Positive Thinking Be Negative?  Scientific American.  1 May 2011.  Web.  12 Jun 2017.

Oyler, Lauren.  The surprising benefits of hating everything.  Vice.  8 Sep 2016.  Web.  14 Jun 2017.

Rodriguez, Tori.  Negative Emotions Are Key to Well-Being.  Scientific American.  1 May 2013.  Web.  12 Jun 2017.

Sasaki J, Sakamoto S, Moriwaki A, Inoue K, Ugajin K.  The recognized benefits of negative thinking/affect in depression and anxiety: Developing a scale.  Japanese Psychological Research
2013, Volume 55, No. 3, 203–215.

Seltzer, Leon F.  The paradox of anger: strength or weakness?  Psychology Today.  29 Jun 2011.  Web.  12 Jun 2017.

The power of hate.  TV Tropes.  Web.  12 Jun 2017.

Winter, Gergor.  Yury Vlasov documentary "A 20000 Ton Barbell" and excerpts from his book "Justice of Strength."  All Things Gym.  20 July 2014.  Web.  14 Jun 2017.

06 June 2017

John "I Basically Committed Suicide By Unreal One-Handed Deadlift" Y. Smith- Baddest Motherfuckers Ever

"You may never equal the grip strength of John Y. Smith who at 160 pounds bodyweight and in his 40's deadlifted 450 pounds in his right hand and 425 in his left before completely destroying his back while lowering the bells to the floor and as a result suffered a massive stroke resulting in having to live out the rest of his years in a deadlift-eccentric induced coma" (Batchelor).

After several aborted attempts to conjure up a hyper-compelling opener for what might just be the granddaddy of all Baddest Motherfuckers entries, I realized that no sentence I could possibly compose, even at my most hilarious, brutal, and eloquent, could possibly outdo the above quotation, which is entirely the reason behind this mindblowingly brutal motherfucker's biography.  What you are about to read is the story of a man who is equal parts Arthur Saxon and Popeye.  A story that may make you rethink even bothering to go to the gym because there is no way you will ever come to within screaming distance of this man.  This is the story of a man who didn't start lifting weights until he was 30 and went on to pull ONE-HANDED DEADLIFTS OF 450 LBS. AND 425 LBS at a bodyweight of around 165... and AT THE AGE OF 60. 60 years old and he pulled more with one hand than most 20 year olds on r/weightlifting of the same weight can pull with two, and is still only 95 lbs off the two handed all-time world record in that class.  Afterwards, according to arm wrestling and strongman legend Mac Batchelor, he suffered a massive stroke having destroyed his body in setting a world record in the one handed deadlift and competing in the strongman competition with the largest attendance ever in the same week.  I couldn't find any corroborating sources for that claim, but Mac Batchelor doesn't seem to be a man who spent a lot of time exaggerating, as he was busy crushing beer cans lengthwise between his thumb and forefinger.  I can tell you this- John Y. Smith didn't die until age 90, and in the 30 years between that competition and his death, there are no anecdotes of his exploits, which is interesting given the man's yearly insane challenges, and a man who looks this fucking ridiculous and crushes beer caps in this manner absolutely must be a reputable source... that or related to the most infamous and awesome criminal in history, Charles Bronson.

His facial hair was as preposterous as his hand strength was prodigious, but he was not a man known for exaggerating.

So here we have the stage set to tell a tale so preposterous I hesitate to even tell it, so vociferous will be the claims that the life of Mr. John Y. Smith is a tall tale.  Nevertheless, here begins a story about a man whose strength exploits defy explanation and belief.  A man who weighed between 160 to 170 lbs during the entirety of his competitive career, which didn't even begin until he was in his thirties, and who won the largest strength competition ever held anywhere, before or since.

Young's pet dumbbell, which had a two inch thick handle and he'd play around with like a child's toy even though it weighed in at 185 lbs.

A wise man once said "writing is about verbs, not adjectives", and that's a lucky thing for me, because I'm running out of synonyms for "ridiculous" without even having even gotten into the meat and potatoes of this article.  So, meet John Young Smith.  I am not shitting you even a little bit when I begin this story with his birth, which was on an Austrian ship to a Scot and a German in Chinese waters in 1866, Smith lived out essentially his entire life on the high seas.  In truly Dickens-esque fashion, Smith's parents died within a week of each other when he was four years old.  Orphaned and alone on the high seas, Smith basically just started working as a sailor as a toddler.  That seems to account for Smith's unfuckingreal hand strength, as if we spent time hauling rope, climbing rope, and lifting random odd objects on and off the boat, he'd have a pretty good base of strength on which to call when he actually started lifting... which was upon his retirement from work as a sailor at age 30.  A year later, ONE YEAR INTO LIFTING, John Y. Smith picked up two barbells measuring a half inch larger in thickness than modern Olympic barbells.  With a 220 lb. barbell in his right hand and a 200 lb. barbell in his left hand, HE ROCKED A 75 YARD FARMERS WALK.  Put that in your pipe and smoke it, people, because that'll never happen again to a person who's only been training a year, and it will likely never happen at all with a guy who weighs between 160 and 170 lbs.

This fucking crazy.

That feat pretty much set the stage for what just became commonplace for him (and ridiculous for anyone else) strength accomplishments.  Consider the following until we get to the shit that makes Charles Manson seem perfectly sane by comparison:
  • David P. Willoughby, author of the The Super Athletes, claimed Smith was second only to the ludicrously strong Arthur Saxon in the bent press by bodyweight.    Smith put up 275.5 pounds in 1903 at a bodyweight of 168 (Wilks of 88.08, compared with a Wilks of 106.71 for Arthur Saxon), but Willoughby claimed that due to the fact it was done with a dumbbell, the weight would be more like a 313 lb bent press. Google that weird ass lift or watch this video if you don't understand why it'd be harder with a dumbbell than a barbell.
  • He would routinely clean and press the 185 lb thick handled dumbbell in the picture above for sets of three or more.
  • Smith picked up 1,640 pound block of iron hand-and-thigh style and held it four inches off its platform. 
  • He overhead pressed a pair of dumbells weighing a total of 225 lbs.
  • Smith could deadlift what was essentially a deficit pull on a thick bar of 520 pounds (the bars were thicker and the plates were smaller) at bodyweight of 160 lbs.  
  • He could hang by one hand from a rope while holding a 100 lb dumbbell in his free hand.
  • He could lift one of those old-school wooden barrels weighing two hundred pounds by pinch gripping the the steel straps ringing them.
  • Smith could hang from a smooth-surfaced, one inch in diameter belaying pin with one hand while holding a 140 lb dumbbell in the other.
  • Old-timey strongman superstar George Jowett claimed he saw a 60 year old Smith a perfect handstand using only two fingers and the thumbs of each hand.
The man was ready to rumble people in strength competitions even while dressed like an undertaker.  

So, there's all of that- John Y. Smith was a bonafide bad motherfucker, and although only 5'6" and 165 lbs in his prime, he was one of the greatest strongmen in the world in any weight class.  By the time the world's biggest strongman competition in history rolled around, however, he was 60 years old... and still ready to throw up both middle fingers and rock out.  So, after being invited to the “Strongest Man in New England”  in 1926, this sexagenarian had so few fucks to give that he borrowed ten of them from a buddy and still showed up to the competition with his pockets empty, because this competition was huge and John Y. Smith was not about to be left out simply because he'd already exceeded the average life expectancy of the American male by 5 years.  When I say this competition was the biggest in history, it was a field of 34 competitors who went toe to toe in strength events in a series of elimination contests that were witnessed by a crowd of 5,000 people.  The finals, held in front of a massive crowd of TWENTY THOUSAND PEOPLE on the Boston Braves' baseball field, consisted of the following lifts:

  • Two hands continental jerk
  • Two hands continental press
  • Two hands dead lift
  • Right and left hands dead lift

The sixty year old Smith had set a world record right hand deadlift of 450 two weeks earlier, and he still managed to trash everyone in the field after a day of lifting and pull 415, which is beyond superhuman.  Smith ended up clinching the victory by 15 lbs, and walked away... well, according to Mac Batchelor, limped away.  Then had a stroke.  Then spent the next 30 years in a coma, somehow, defying good sense, the odds, and probably leaving at least one bookmaker to lose his shirt in a Dead Pool.  Nevertheless, that is his story.  Go and tell the tale of John Y. Smith, a man who lived a life of legends, gave zero fucks and 110% effort at all times, spat in the Grim Reaper's eye, and who very well might be the baddest motherfucker to have ever lived.

... oh, and you might want to avoid hyper-slow eccentric portions of deadlifts, because they seem to have killed a man far, far tougher than any of us will ever be.

Christopher, Logan.  John Y. Smith.  Legendary Strength.  8 Nov 2013.  Web.  30 May 2017.

Hoffman, Bob.  How I bent-pressed 250 lbs (1938).  Tight Tan Slacks of Deszo Ban.  30 Jun 2010.  Web.  30 May 2017.

Jowett, George. The key to might and muscle - (circa 1926) - Chapter 9 - The value of finger strength and how it is required.  Natural Strength.  4 Apr 2011.  Web.  30 May 2017.

Ryan, Tom.  Profile: John Y. Smith.  Iron Game History.  Feb 1990.  Web.  30 May 2017.

Willoughby, David P.  The Super Athletes.  New York: A.S Barnes, 1970.

Wood, John.  The man with iron claw hands.  Oldtime Strongman.  Web.  30 May 2017.

09 October 2016

I Ain't Sweet Like That- Dieting and Training in Lockup, Part 3

By this point, I'm sure a lot of you are thinking "FUCK THIS BODYWEIGHT SHIT, BRING THE WEIGHTS", which I'll have to admit I was thinking a hell of a lot during my interviews.  No matter how vehemently people insist they get huge off bodyweight exercises, I have never found that I can get serious gains with bodyweight-only work.  Perhaps it's that my diet won't support growth during those ventures, the fact that I would probably be walking around at 145 lbs if I wasn't diligently out-eating my appetite multiple times a day and supplementing with protein while lifting far more poundage than my tiny frame was ever designed to handle, or simply the fact that high rep work with or without weights has never served to do more than add conditioning and definition to my body, but I harbor more skepticism for light rep work than Flat Earthers have for any sentence that might issue forth from Neil DeGrasse Tyson's mouth at any given moment.  Nevertheless, inmates definitely swear by it... though they were more than happy to tell me about their forays (and subsequent massive gains) from the wacky odd-object lifting they get up to in lockup.

It's working for former-NFL-badass-and-almost-future-Hall-of-Famer-but-serial-rapist--is-going-to-die-in-jail Darren Sharper, it seems.  Perhaps he'll avoid getting diabetes for a few extra years, bu with any luck he'll die slowly of AIDs

"I would walk the length of the 50-foot cell and back and do 25 push-ups. I would do it for one hour, I would do it for two hours. I would get a minimum of 500 push-ups—regular, elevated, diamond push-ups. I would also do dips on a half-wall—kind of like you’re climbing over a fence.
Another day I would do pull-ups. They had a stairway and there was no backing to it. It was metal and it was grated—you couldn’t just grab the stairway. You had to take toilet paper and roll it up and put it over the grate so it wouldn’t hurt your hands. I would do five pull-ups then walk back and forth and then another five pull-ups.
They would bring in coffee at five o’clock in the morning in this round jug. It was quite large—it probably held four gallons, five gallons—and we would wrap the laundry bag through the handles and we would do curls with that"
- Ryan Fergueson, author of Stronger, Faster, Smarter, which chronicles the author's ten year stint in jail (in which he was in the best shape of his life)for being accused of a crime by a friend who had dreamt it.
Laundry Bag Lunacy

The first method, which I like to call "Laundry Bag Lunacy", is not terribly dissimilar to Arthur Saxon's old school sandbag lifts, albeit with much lighter weights, as it's not common to find hundred of pounds of flour, iron blocks, buckshot, and sand laying around a jail cell or common area.  Inmates will use their laundry bags (or in California, where inmates are allowed pillowcases), which are bags made of nylon netting and apparently so flimsy and torn that they put one in mind of a clapboard shanty in some third world shithole like Eritrea.  The way the inmates with whom I spoke described the state of their laundry bags in county jail made it sound like all they needed was a mournful Sarah McLachlan song and some sad-eyed puppies in them for a commercial to spawn the greatest crowdfunding campaign in history.  In any event, these battered and torn sacks are called into action daily in lockup as they're filled with whatever is handy until they reach the desired weight... which is not to say, however, that they have any idea what it weighs.  Instead, they pick a weight that's challenging for everyone who's going to be involved in the group circuit of the exercise and go ham like they're Road Warriors during a particularly heavy coke and D-bol binge.

"Strength is Life, Weakness is Death"
- Swami Vivekananda

No one cared what Stallone actually weighed in Rambo because his forearms were so fucking big it looked like Sly could snap an assault rifle in half with his bare hands and stuff it up the collective ass of every combatant in Burma.

Typically, inmates will use bottles of water, books, magazines, blankets, food, and whatever else they can pile into their bags... making it a veritable smorgasbord of odd items to add to their buffet of muscular brutality, if you will.  Using these bags, they'll do bicep curls, tricep extensions, lateral raises,upright rows, and unilateral overhead presses.  While this method might seem cruder than Uncle Eddie in the National Lampoon's Vacation movies, it's as effective as lifting steel and places even more strain on the hand, wrist, forearm, and stabilizers than iron... so we all might think about adding daily sandbag work to our regular training.  After all, rare is the man who is mocked for his oversized forearms... frankly, if Sylvester Stallone teaches us anything, it's that massive, vascular forearms make a decently muscular build look positively fucking murderous.

Frankly, inmates are pretty fucking crafty, because when they hook their bags to a mop handle, their lifts start to resemble those done with an earthquake/bamboo bar.

Another mode of use for the laundry bag is to tie them to a mop handle and then mimic any exercise one might do with a barbell and added chain weight.  That is to say, nothing explosive enough to send a length of chain or an abrasive bag filled with odd, often hard and pointy objects, flying into the lifter's eye.  No matter what the lift, however, the goal of each set and rep was the same- to make the absolute fucking MOST of every possible advantage in an effort to move forward.  To wit:
"Prisoners also fill pillowcases with sand to use as dumbbells. In cells people fill trash bags with water and placed inside a bucket with a handle for shoulder shrugs and lateral raises.  [One inmate]’s favorite solution is to stack 40 or 50 National Geographic magazines in a laundry bag for bicep curls and tricep extensions" (Wade).
... in other words, no one cares how you do it, so long as you get it done.

Apparently, Marcus Mariota is a fan of partner-assisted rope work as well.  If it works for soy-filled inmates and hyper-rich NFL players, it could probably work for you as well.

Partner-Assisted Pandemonium

If you've got a partner, this shit is awesome for getting in a workout, or getting a pump on before hitting the bar or the beach (don't act like you've never done it, fuckface.  I know more than one guy that has or does travel with dumbbells in his truck for that reason).  These types of exercises are best done with a towel folded lengthwise in fourths or twisted to make it rope-like, and is best used for exercises like pushdowns and curls, wherein the partners work opposing muscle groups.  To do that joint exercise, partners stand facing one another, and one grabs the towel at the ends overhand, while the other grabs the towels with the same grip in the center, keeping his hands one fist width apart.  Then, one does curls against the other's effort to extend his arms to a full tricep contraction with their elbows pinned in at their sides.

Other variations include upright rows vs. pushdowns, reverse curls vs. pushdowns, and laterals vs unilateral (one handed) pushdowns.  If you hadn't noticed already, PRISONERS ARE ALL ABOUT THEIR TRICEPS (or "back arms", to use their vernacular).

Little -know superhuman Mac Batchelor was a massive fan of barrel lifting, so he'd approve of the water filled trashcans inmates use for big weights.  If he his corpse wasn't writhing with maggots and generally succumbing to putrefaction, that is.

Water Weight Chaos
Serious water weight resistance is damn near as ingenious as the invention of velcro.  Forget the 20 oz water bottles we previously covered- this is real weight.  The preferred method for using water weight in jail is to fill a 55 gallon garbage can with water, then bear hug it and use it as a sort of stone lift / partial deadlift, shrug, or for tandem shoulder work with a partner doing unilateral shrugs, overhead press, or laterals (with a lighter weight).

Another method is to knot the partially filled liner around a plunger handle and use that for a barbell for curls, overhead lockouts and overhead squats, and anything else they one might think up.  Similarly, the liner could be put into an office-sized trashcan, then put into a laundry bag and used in a workout like the following suggested circuit:

  • Bicep Curl x 5 sets to failure
  • Overhead Extensions x 5 sets to failure
  • Upright Rows x 5 sets to failure

If you need some extra motivation, just watch Lock Up or Tango and Cash for a little Stallone-style jailhouse shenanigans. 

Add to that ten sets of pullups, pushups, and dips for as many reps as possible and 400 yards of lunges a day, six days a week, and you've got a program that put 60 lbs of Prime, Grade A beef on on inmate I interviewed in a mere eight months.  I know that seems like an outlandish claim, but you have to consider the fact that most inmates arrive in jail underweight, underfed, strung out on drugs, and under-rested.  Thus, having such normalcies as regular meals, no- or limited-access to the chemicals to which they were previously addicted, and near-constant training can have a profound effect on their physique.  That, topped with the inmates' additional food choices/calorie bombs from commissary, should allay the bulk of your incredulity.  As you'll see in upcoming articles, these guys eat as crazily and intensely as they train.

"Man's spiritual nature is the cause of his material personality- his objective universal form is a crystalized idea."
- Manley Hall

In other words, motherfuckers, if you truly believe it and strive for it, you can achieve it.  Drive all doubt from your mind and allow your indomitable will to direct your hypertrophy, fat loss, massive strength gains, and increased muscular endurance.  Let none escape.

Moxley, Mitch.  I got in peak shape while I was in jail(and wrongly convicted of murder).  GQ.  14 May 2015.  Web.  8 Oct 2016.

Wade, Jonathan P.  Prisoners talk about strength training.  Motley Health.  Web.  8 Oct 2016.

03 October 2016

Arnold Is About As Much "The Best Bodybuilder Of All Time" As Danica Patrick is "The Best NASCAR Driver Of All Time"

Though I am hardly one to start some shit on the internet or raise the slightest fuss about anything whatsoever, having been surprised to read a report on the 2016 Olympia on the Bleacher Report last month, I feel compelled to chime in about claims to the effect that Arnold was one of the greatest bodybuilders in the history of that competitive sport.  Like the persistent ignorance regarding the history and ridiculously insane fallacy of body structure phenotypes, virulent, fervent, and borderline psychosis regarding Arnold Schwarzenegger's competitive dominance and his potential placings in fantasy matchups with other bodybuilding superstars is as endless as it is as retarded... and we're talking low-functioning handypotato deep in a K-Hole after a three week bath salt binge retarded, not the potato from The Ringer retarded.

Tards is about ta get feisty.

I'm certain this will cause a great many of you no little amount of consternation, given the fact that Arnold was likely involved, at least in some small way, in your participation in physical culture/weightlifting/powerlifting/whatever the fuck you want to call it, but bear with me- the proof behind my statement lies in plain sight.  Though Arnold was without question the greatest representative of weight training that the world has seen in the last 60 or so years, his greatness in competition was largely manufactured, and his fellow competitors were often few in number and usually both inexperienced and naive.  Arnold, then, was a Mensa member picking on kids in the Special Olympics... if the Special Olympics were to fracture into half a dozen organizations with different rules and a palpable hatred for one another.

Not only did Bernarr never commission a statue of himself using someone else's physique (Weider used Robby Robinson's), but he was essentially cooler in every way (O'Connell).

When Arnold entered the bodybuilding scene, Joe Weider's empire was in its infancy, often fighting dirty against its competition, in a half-hearted effort to pick up where the consummate marketer and showman Bernarr MacFadden had left off.  Like MacFadden before him, Weider dabbled in publishing soft-core gay porn to pay the bills while battling for supremacy in the burgeoning American physical culture fad, and he struggled to really find his niche until the Austrian Oak arrived on the bodybuilding scene.  Built like a Greek god, dripping with machismo, and so tall and jacked he was like Hitler's wet dream (Hitler had an obsession bordering on sexual with men over six feet tall), Arnold was the only person who could have breathed life into a bodybuilding federation that was international only in name, screwed over competitors and promoters, and was basically run like an elementary school bake sale staffed by child molestors, organized by embezzlers, and which served only weed-infused edibles.
Sidebar: In case you've forgotten, Bernarr MacFadden was a harder motherfucker than you will probably ever be at the incredibly young age 12.  Having grown up in an environment wherein he was constantly being reminded that his death from tuberculosis or some other horrible and now easily curable disease was eminent, Bernarr decided to get hard.  Essentially an orphan he had no money to join a gym at 12, so he did what he could- he bought a set of dumbbells he used religiously every morning until he couldn't lift them, replacing them with heavier dumbbells when he needed a bigger challenge. He idolized the badass motherfuckers he saw coming out of mines and loathed the bitches he saw in banks, so he started carrying a lead ingot everywhere he went at age 15 so he wouldn't go soft (though he worked in an incredibly white collar company that would eventually became Dunn and Bradstreet.  As he grew older and got more wealthy, his penchant for experimentation expanded, and he became a renowned wrestler and strongman weighting only about 150 lbs due to a fanatical, round the clock lifting program and in spite of a near vegetarian diet... all the while running massive capitalist empire ranging from mail-order weightlifting programs to the first modern bodybuilding contest (and with the biggest cash prize ever awarded), sanitariums, multiple magazines, and a variety of other wacky shit .  In other words, BERNARR MACFADDEN WAS EVERYTHING JOE WEIDER FUCKING WISHED HE COULD HAVE BEEN AND NEVER EVEN GOT CLOSE.  
NABBA Mr Universe Earl Maynard.  At 5'10" and 220 lbs, this was one of a handful of people "competing" against "The Myth" Sergio Oliva... who then was one of a couple of people to compete against Arnold.  

Arnold's "Competition" History

Yes, yes, we've all heard that Arnold's seven Olympia wins makes him the benchmark for true greatness in the bodybuilding scene, though no one seems (much like the massive ignorance surrounding body phenotypes) to be willing to do an iota of research to determine who it was that Arnold beat.  SPOILER ALERT- it was occasionally nobody or next to nobody, and the rest of the time it was either a bunch of nobodies or the game was rigged to ensure that Weider's prodigy (and his prodigy's best friend, Franco).  And before the Arnold marks start screaming about my lack of qualifications to make such a statement, the fact that Arnold's steroid reign was vastly smaller than modern athletes, or any of the other half a million excuses and justifications they could make on the Oak's behalf, let's all bear in mind that at best, the lot of you likely have only read about the controversial 1980 Olympia, wherein  Arnold was allegedly handed a victory by the judges.  As you'll see in what follows, Arnold was pretty much handed every victory he achieved with the Weiders, and competing in a sport wherein the professional ranks were fledgling in all federations and the IFBB was one of the youngest and least entrenched, Arnold's victories over a couple of other physiques nearly impressive enough to make them bodybuilding versions of Annika Sorenstam... in a sport so subjective it makes open ended questions posed by drunk college girls at bars seem like objective-based interrogations.

In case you didn't know, the Olympia in Arnold's day is hardly what it is now- it was barely a pimple on the ass of the "sport" of bodybuilding, and apparently the weightlifting world gave less than two shits about determining who was champion amongst what was then considered a complete sidebar to Olympic weightlifting and the emerging sport of powerlifting.  If that seems odd to you, consider that Bernarr MacFadden's bodybuilding competition, held in 1903, had cash prizes of $500 (~$13k in 2016) for both the male and female winners... whereas the Olympia's prize in early years, despite being subsidized by the Weider publishing empire, was only $1000 ($7.6k in 2016 dollars) sixty years later.    Arnold was the third Mr. Olympia in what was essentially a brand-new organization promoting professional bodybuilding in what was almost entirely an amateur sport, competing for small crowds, small prizes, and against very few people.  Although all of the big names in bodybuilding were invited to the 1963 inaugural Mr. O, only three dudes showed up- Larry Scott, the youngest competitor in Olympia history, Harry Poole, and the above-pictured professional wrestler Earl Maynard.  It was, as such, hardly a barn-burner of a competition.  As the Olympia grew into the next decade, the size of its competitive pool was nearly as tiny, though it perceived importance was far greater as Weider's magazine empire ground out its compeition in a variety of sheisty, duplicitous, and shrewd (if horrendously shitty) legal and PR maneuvers.

Sergio looked so good in 1973 that Weider pulled Arnold from the competition and arranged to have Sergio suspended from IFBB competition to ensure no one would make his golden boy look like shit onstage.

 As the field had hardly grown, Arnold faced very little true competition when he "competed" for the Olympia crown because the reigning Mr. Olympia was a black Cuban ex-pat, which made him about as appealing to your average white American in the late 1960s as quick-onset hemorrhagic fever in a community of hemophiliacs.  With his only real competition coming from a man who "would run into ... problems" because "his cultural background wasn't in sync with [American] ideals" (Roach, Vol 1 367), Arnold's SS-Obersturmbannf├╝hrer-good-looks made him the perfect golden boy for Weider, and if he failed, insanely photogenic Dave Draper (who took fourth out of four against Harold Poole, the amazingly brutal, always-zero-fucks-given, superhuman lumberjack Chuck Sipes, and the melanin-rich, precontest hamburger munching, genetic freak of a political refugee Sergio Oliva) could have stepped in without missing a single beat.  Without missing a single beat, you say?  Yeah- Sergio won UNCONTESTED in 1969 and lost in a two man field with Arnold in 1970.


One person, I might add, who was fucked over and over by Joe Weider until the man resembled a gibbering lunatic because he couldn't stop carrying on about what a shitlord Weider was.

So, Arnold's first win came in a racially-, politically-, and marketing-motivated judging climate against a single competitor.  His second was hardly more impressive, as he beat a 50 year old Reg Lewis and Oliva, and his third win was a complete joke- in a field of four, three of the competitors were disqualified before the show (Sergio Oliva and Franco Columbo), and the third was perhaps the most insanely hard-training motherfucker in history, Roy Callender, but the guy was just an unknown former bodybuilder who retired from pro wrestling and loved lifting.  The next year he beat Franco again, along with winner of the Most-Fucked-Over-Bodybuilder-in-History Serge Nubret. His fifth, you think might have been better, but nooooooo... Arnold beat 23 year old Lou Ferrigno, the midget Franco, and a half-starved zen monk named Frank Zane like a drunk xenophobes who had stumbled into Bruce Lee's dojo screaming sinophobic slurs.  Yes, in a field of four totally outmatched humans, Arnold reigned supreme in his fourth win. Thereafter, he retired from competition, likely since there was no point to even showing up if he was declared victory, and only reacquired the interest in competing after training for Conan and getting back into decent bodybuilding shape for the first time in a couple of years.  With only seven weeks of contest prep, Arnold won his seventh and final gift from the Weiders, setting a ridiculous and pointless benchmark for the title that people only respect because they are ignorant fucking handytards without an iota of curiosity or drive to do any semblance of research.

Arnold's Pro "Highlights"
  • 1970 NABBA Mr. Universe - professional in London, England.  Who cares?
  • 1970 AAU Pro Mr. World in Columbus, Ohio.  Sergio entered the competition after showing up only to watch Vasily Alexeev clean and jerk 500 in an exhibition, so Arnold walked away with an easy victory against one day-of entry Oliva and perrenial bridesmaid-in-competitions Dave Draper.
  • 1970 IFBB Mr. Olympia in New York.  Beat one guy who previously won uncontested.
  • 1971 IFBB Mr. Olympia in Paris, France.  Beat two guys, one of whom was 50.
  • 1972 IFBB Mr. Olympia in Essen, Germany.  Beat three disqualified opponents.
  • 1973 IFBB Mr. Olympia in New York.  Beat a guy he outweighed by 50 lbs and the sliced and diced but totally outmassed Serge Nubret, because Sergio was so pissed at Weider's shenanigans, tomfoolery, and balderdash to bother showing up.
  • 1974 IFBB Mr. Olympia in New York.  Beat one unseasoned competitor and two guys he outweighed by 50 lbs.
  • 1975 IFBB Mr. Olympia in Pretoria, South Africa.  In his final lackluster Olympia victory before retiring, Arnold again defeated the Hulk, Serge Nubret, and a handful of guys who weighed what Arnold weighed in high school, all while competing light and having only trained a couple of months for the event.
  • 1980 IFBB Mr. Olympia in Sydney, Australia.   Arnold is handed a victory in what is widely considered a fixed competition against decent competition, though seven of them would be considered "manlets" under today's standards because they weighed less than most novice lifters can bench.  
I hope I'm in better shape when I'm 70 than I was when I was 35.

A healthy degree of skepticism can be useful when investigating what appears to be a conspiracy theory, and I will freely admit that much of what I've related here might smack a bit of a David Icke-style, the-reptilian-aliens-are-our-overlords, tinfoil hat lunacy, but consider the following:

  1. According to Rick Wayne, professional bodybuilder and longtime Weider magazine editor, "It was no secret around the Weider headquarters that whenever the publisher featured a black champion on the cover of Muscle Builder, sales plummeted.  Surely a champion who couldn't sell magazines was a close to useless as an endorser of food supplements and gym equipment" (Roach Vol II 35).
  2. Sergio's 1970 Mr. Olympia loss was engineered.  Wieder and Arnold were known to be close and had entered into several joint business ventures by 1970, and Weider's fate was increasingly tied to Arnold's.  As such, Weider and Arnold convinced Sergio that Arnold was not competing at the 1970 Mr. World (though Weider had arranged private transportation to the event for Arnold), which precipitated Sergio's naive entry into the contest the day of the event and subsequent loss.  This loss destroyed his confidence and interrupted his preparation for the Olympia, which was held two weeks later. 
  3. Due to the deception, Arnold was crowned Mr. World, run by Jim Lorimer, both of whom began co-promoting the Night of Champions a few years later in the same venue.
  4. Onstage at the 1970 Mr. Olympia, Arnold tricked Oliva into leaving the stage as if he'd lost as Arnold kept posing.  According to a variety of sources, this had a measurable effect on the judges in Arnold's favor, and guaranteed that Weider would have his fair-haired Mr. Olympia for Magazine covers.
  5. Weider quickly passed rules banning IFBB competitors from competing in other organizations, which prevented any real competition from entering the Olympia and kept Arnold out of any competitions that would jeopardize Weider's investment, including an exhibition in 1972 in which both Arnold and Sergio would have been paid $2500 each to compete... at a time when only Mr. Olympia received prize money in that competition and the prize was less than half of Lurie's.

If this was my competition for anything at all, be it a math competition (he was a high school math teacher, but given that calc was so easy I taught it to myself while reading Michio Kaku) or bodybuilding, I'd not lose any sleep about whether or not I'd retain my crown.

In short, Arnold couldn't possibly be considered one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time- it could be argued that he was one of the top bodybuilders of his era, but that would still invite a tremendous amount of room in that conversation for other extremely overlooked bodybuilders from that time period, such as Robby Robinson (two-time Olympia Tall/Heavyweight Class), Sergio Oliva, and others.  Additionally, a conversation about the greatest bodybuilders in history would hardly include a man who only learned to train legs after he started winning bodybuilding competitions... no matter how sick his genetics.  I don't see Hany After all, when some of your chief competition comes from weirdly proportioned, smoother than a college freshman chick after a trip to Dairy Queen, and very likely autistic as fuck Mike Katz, it's pretty hard to drop the ball.  

This isn't to say I lament the sort of machinations that led to Arnold's rise to prominence as a foreigner who married into American aristocracy, one of the highest paid actors of all time, the prime motivator for most of our collective entry into the field of weight lifting, the man who paved the way for the inimitable and underrespected Dolph Lundgren (who punched Stallone so hard in Rocky IV he stopped the actor's heart), and generally one of the greatest public personalities of all time- Arnold is the unmitigated shit.  He simply wasn't the bodybuilder everyone thinks he was... unless recent Conan Jason Momoa should be included in a discussion of great bodybuilders, because Momoa's physique is not far off from Arnold in his prime, at this point.

Stop starfucking.  Start reading.  Dicks out for Harambe.  Lets all stop being fucking retarded, eh?  Jack off to pics of Ronnie or something- at least he was strong, for fuck's sake.

... and yeah, I'm aware that guys like Dallas McCarver are more jacked than I am.  I'm also aware of how the endocrine system works, and about the sad postscript that follows pretty much any negative response to this article.  If Arnold is the best of all time, I am a fucking Chinese jet pilot, and you're fucking retarded.
Hansen, John.  Arnold vs Sergio- Bodybuilding's greatest rivalry.  John Hansen Fitness.  28 Apr 2013.  Web.  29 Sep 2016.

Hansen, John.  The most controversial Mr Olympia- 1980 r evisited- Part 2.  RX Muscle.  7 Dec 2011.  Web.  3 Oct 2016.

Hansen, John.  The Tijuana incident.  RX Muscle.  9 Feb 2014.  Web.  29 Feb 2016.

Heffernan, Conan.  1903 and the birth of American bodybuilding.  Physical Culture Study.  22 Oct 2015.  Web.  29 Sep 2016.

O'Connell, Jeff.  Joe Weider (1919-2013): Remembering The Father Of Bodybuilding.  2 Apr 2013.  Web.  26 Sept 2016.

Roach, Randy.  Muscle, Smoke, and Mirrors, Vol. I.  Bloomington: AuthorHouse, 2008.

Roach, Randy.  Muscle, Smoke, and Mirrors, Vol. II.  Bloomington: AuthorHouse, 2011.