Hey, this message was originally intended for the members of my Strength Camp Nation forum. After a long absence I like to chime in and begin answering questions. But after writing it, and realizing that the forum form doesn’t allow as much text as I needed, I decided to post it on my blog.
I feel obligated to touch bases, in an intimate way (not just mindless ramblings), with all of you. That is why we have such an interesting relationship.
There are 101 things that I want to share with you right now, but this message is perhaps the best way for us to catch up.
Hey guys, before I hopped into the forum and begin answering questions again after a one-month absence, I just wanted to let you know a little bit about what I’ve been doing.
My commitment is to live and spread my motto of “become the strongest version of yourself and empower others“. That means I make decisions that I feel will make me a stronger version of myself, all with the intent to share what I experience so that others might be empowered. I try to live my life balancing these two main criteria of personal growth and sharing.
The things I teach about growing stronger must come from a place of experience. As a teacher, one must subject himself to the ideas that he would like to teach. A teacher who teaches something in which he has no experience, is no teacher at all, he is a tape recording.
In this life I have found that one of my major roles is to be a Teacher. And for me to have anything worth teaching, I must have experiences. What the world has come to watch through my YouTube channels is the display of a man going through experiences, while at the same time sharing what he learns along the way.
A big thing that I learned in my last few months away from YouTube and heavy social media communication, is that the more of a thrilling experience it is to be one version of yourself, it is just as thrilling to let go of what you now are, so that you can experience what you might become. And if we have trust, we will believe that strength is found in becoming a different version of yourself. This is a form of self-transcendence, and it is at the core of enlightenment.
I believe that life should be played with the thrilling perspective that “I should always be growing stronger”. One of the key components to true strength is found in the ability to let go. It requires great strength to let go, letting go is about having the strength to transcend the grip of your fear.
At 35 years of age I am a man in late early adulthood. I’ve lived my life by the code of strength. By accessing the force of my will, I have been able to build what some people might call a successful life. Of course, “successful life” is a very subjective term.
The amount of willpower exhibited through my character not only allowed me to bully my way through financial struggle, I even built my body up to be classified amongst the strongest men known to the world, strongmen. I showed that if you can just give what it takes, you can have anything; be it physical strength, mental strength, financial strength.
But the tools that get you on top of one mountain might destroy your chances of climbing the next, higher mountain.
In order to achieve your goals you must become a certain kind of person. That is why I always say “it’s not about what you get in life, it’s about who you become”. You become the type of person that is needed to achieve your goals. This is always the case, whether you consciously choose the direction for your life or if life is pushing you around.
Over time you will become the kind of person you’ve wanted to be, and as a result your world will start to look the way you want it to look. But a strange thing happens when you achieve your goals. You literally attain to a new stage of consciousness. It’s like you can now see the world with better glasses on. With this new perspective you can now observe that there are many other, even bigger, many times bigger, mountains than the one you find yourself on.
One thing is sure about climbing another mountain, you must first climb down from the one you’re now on. We must go through a process of being broken down before we can be built up again, into a stronger version of ourselves. Without proper perspective some people would call this a nervous breakdown. But if you understand the process of personal growth, you realize that it is just an answer to your prayers. The only thing required, is that you listen very closely to the language of your body when you find yourself in this place, which Joseph Campbell calls ” the abyss of magnified power”.
The steps that you take back down the mountain will require just as much diligence, in a yielding way, as it did in an aggressive way for your ascent.
Since January 2014, I have been slowly and methodically climbing down from my old mountain. At first even I didn’t know what was going on, but my body speaks very clearly to me. And the results was my slow withdrawal from YouTube and social media. How can you yell like a man on top of a mountain while you are climbing down from one? It’s impossible. The very first step down from the summit is the most challenging, once you submit to climbing down your attitude must become one of yielding. You are physically and psychologically stepping down from the mountain.
To the ego this feels like complete obliteration. The ego doesn’t like this process, but even worse, the people related to your ego do not like when you go into this process either. I happen to have over 1 million people tied to a version of myself. So the descent might require that much more humility. And I am still humbly yielding to the process, all while fixing my view on the new mountain ahead.
Just when things seem to be the darkest, we must strengthen our intelligence, intuition, aggression and love.
All I can say about what’s next is that I am at the foothills of what looks like a very challenging mountain. The only thing that I can do to describe this mountain is to share its elements with you.
First there is my family. I am very heavily influenced by the father archetype. If I am a poor father to my own children, I am a poor father figure to all of the young people of our world. I gauge my success heavily on the health and well-being of my family.
Then there is my mission and my work, to become the strongest version of myself and empower others. For me it begins with the barbell, football, lifting stones. But it is also equally balanced with meditation, yoga, bioenergetics, reggae music, laying in my hammock, resting with my wife, tickling my children.
It is also drinking the best water I can find, buying healthy food for my family, and at least trying to keep their diet in accordance with my values. I also love to educate myself, I love to read and watch documentaries. Audiobooks were perhaps the greatest invention ever. I love listening to stories, and new science about human potential. My commitment is, and must be to become the strongest version of myself.
I take the energy gained by loving myself, and I give it to the world, by loving it through my positive messages on YouTube. It must be evident through my face or something, but I know that most people realize I’m genuinely interested in watching young men grow stronger. Every time I meet one that reminds me of myself, I smile for him on the inside. Because I know that if he’s just strong enough he can have anything he could ever imagine in life. I really feel that way about all of you.
I was able to step out in front of the world through YouTube. And while talking to that camera I felt there might be some way that I could genuinely help people, and be richly rewarded. It wasn’t easy in the beginning; many of you know my struggles. Much of the time, I felt like I was in a dark room with no flashlight. It was a dark place but I always kept my inner light glowing. And the people in my life have been angels.
My character was so dominated by the warrior archetype that I was fighting the world on multiple fronts. I knew that I was good enough, and that if I just had faith and worked hard that things would work out someday. I literally became a strong man by becoming a strongman. I didn’t care how fat or bloated I needed to get, I just wanted to be strong. Do you ever feel like you’re willing to do whatever it takes to get what you want, and you will become whoever you have to be – to get it? Strong. Man.
I’m grateful for all the decisions I’ve made, and I’ve made many poor ones. But like I say, successful people don’t always make the right decision, but they always make the decision right.
So, many things in my life are good, because I choose to make them good. I see my shortcomings as blessings, because it is through them that I find space to grow stronger.
Always be intimate with your shortcomings, or shadows. Your shadows reveal split off parts of your conscious identity. Many of our shadows come from behaviors exhibited as children that were deemed inappropriate and aggressively shutdown. So it is not to say that our shadows are evil and should be avoided, it is to say that you might come back into relationship with that part of yourself that has been split off. There may be an opportunity to re-introduce that aspect of your character into your current being. So as some mythologists say, you must be prepared to eat your shadow.
On the journey of becoming the strongest version yourself you will be asked to eat your shadow before becoming a stronger you. Bioenergetics, yoga, meditation and Jungian depth psychotherapy are all fantastic ways to become intimate with your shadow once it emerges. The most devastating thing is to be confronted with your shadow and not know how to confront it. The worst decision is to turn away from it, because with your back turned it will manipulate your character.
While coming down off of “Mt. Yo Elliott!”, I discovered that the root of many of my fears is in not appearing worthy through intelligence. I carried onto the top of my old mountain, pain from a childhood where I felt unworthy. We all have this feeling of unworthiness in certain ways; mine comes from lack of what they would call academic skills. Yours could be because of your lack of athleticism or a birthmark on your nose, or crooked teeth because your parents couldn’t afford braces, or that you were poor, or you were really tall and all the other children that you played with seemed so little.
So we carry the stories of those early experiences with us into adulthood, and in a way we play out many of the very same dramas that we experienced as children. This happens most powerfully with the relationships in our home, and family. But while in school, we are also developing an identity to interface with the world through. So experiences while in this place might not be as damaging as the experiences in the home, but it injects a significant amount of power into our reality.
Climbing down off the mountain I saw that when stones are hurled in the direction of my intelligence, fear was stimulated. I am so glad that I came into contact with this fear and its shadow because otherwise how would I confront it?
I share this with you because if right now you find yourself at a place in life which either feels like a struggle to advance, or a struggle to retreat, understand that this is the basic rhythm of life. Inhale, exhale. Daytime, nighttime. Charge and discharge. Tenderness and aggression. Reaping, sowing. Advancing and retreating.
It is important to know where you are in your life right now, because that is like pointing your finger at exactly where you are on a map of your hero’s journey. Are you struggling in life, or are you retreating from life? Do you have anxiety, or do you have depression? It is all very normal and natural to go up, and to come down. And it’s good to know which direction we’re going, so we don’t fight the flow.
Anyway, I’m writing this post in the Strength Camp Nation forum because I like to check in with you guys first before I go answering Facebook questions or do anything else, including writing blog posts. I want you guys to have the privilege of hearing from me first, so I posted here. But I think this is such an important message that I’m also going to post it on my blog. I’m sure the guys will understand.
I’ve been learning a lot of new things about myself, and at the same time I’m learning to use new tools that might help me help you become the strongest version of your self. I have also been setting up partnerships and building a business infrastructure to handle the weight of the next mountain. We are moving Strength Camp to a larger building. We are creating opportunities for people all over the world to train at Strength Camp without ever having to travel. I am also teaching people how to build a business and achieve financial freedom the same way I have through my Non-Jobs Campaign. And most of all, I am falling back in love with the art of coaching
I do all of these things so that I can better serve you with what I’ve learned on my most recent leg of the journey. If I happen to earn more money, it is only because I am helping more people.
Will I come back to YouTube? Well, with all of the awesome things that I am so excited to share with you, I would imagine that YouTube might play a part. I don’t want to say how or when just yet, but it is very likely.
Again, I don’t want to build up too much hype around the new mountain I’m climbing… but I do want to let you know that I appreciate all of you who don’t just watch me do my crazy dance, but who are climbing alongside with me.
Every one of you can rightfully say that you are becoming a stronger version of yourself; but remember, this is a journey that never ends.
I know because I’m trying to draw a map of it
Exploding with gratitude!,
During my first years at Strength Camp one of the most fascinating phenomenon I’d experience on a regular basis was the rapid and almost complete transformation of little boys into respectable men.
Below is a pic of the “young and tender” Chris Barnard (before Strength Camp), followed by the “jacked and manly” Chris Barnard (after Strength Camp). Of course Chris has stepped up to the plate and taken on the role of Strength Camp’s new head coach, but his results are not unique.
I’ve watched dozens of young men, just like Chris, evolve right before my very eyes.
Another example is Mark Miklos who was once the youngest athletes I trained at the gym. He spent a few years training with me as he prepared for baseball. Once he hit high school I didn’t see very much of him, until he decided to show up at one of my Open Gym workouts this summer. His growth was so astonishing that I almost didn’t recognize him.
This is a video from Mark’s first days at Strength Camp:
Here is Mark pushing The Prowler a few short years later during one of our Open Gym sessions:
Finally, if you’ve been a fan of my YouTube videos long enough then you know who Abe is.
Here is a new video of our once shy and unassuming friend, who earned the hearts of Open Gym viewers due his dedication and almost flawless workout attendance record, hitting a personal best of 325 pounds in the deadlift at a bodyweight of only 140 lbs.
I would be totally bullshitting you (and myself) if I attempted to somehow prove that “Strength Camp Magic” alone caused these boys, and dozens of other boys that I’ve worked with, to spontaneously become large, physically powerful men.
The plain truth is that biology and physiology have their alarm clocks set to go off at specific times during the life path of every human being. Ready or not, come the ages of 14 – 21, a boy will grow hair on his balls, gain some bass in his voice, and given the right opportunity – build muscle.
The difference between boys that have come through Strength Camp (or another program of equal quality) and those who don’t, is best explained though the concept of Initiation.
According to Robert Moore in “The Archetype Of Initiation”, our ancestors understood and respected the principle of initiation; specifically the tools of Sacred Space, Ritual Process and Elder Support. All traditional cultures and religions understood that we need to honor and facilitate personal growth, specifically during times of transition; like the phase between being a boy and becoming a man. Unfortunately, modern life rarely respects, creates sacred space, or offers the support of elders to facilitate initiation.
Without the sacred space (containment), ritual (process) and support (mentorship) from truly representative elders, many young men either get trapped in the transitional phase only to remain a “boy” for the rest of their lives, or they intuitively try to facilitate their own initiation though gangs, drugs, sex, violence or self mutilation.
We become “lost boys” who out of despair seek to initiate ourselves. Usually this doesn’t work out very well; and those of us who make it to the other side are often scarred by the ungrounded and immature choices we’ve made during this phase. And almost always we carry a deep seeded level of resentment towards the world, particularly towards other men.
But this wasn’t always the case.
According to Joseph Campbell in his seminal book “The Power Of Myth”, he observed within a particular African tribe that when young men began to display behaviors synonymous with journeying into adulthood both the adult males and females bonded together to support the boy in his attempts to grow.
For example, if they boy began showing sexual interest towards young women, the adults would take notice and then plot to initiate him into his new role as a contributing adult-member of their society. Until he experiences and fulfills his initiatory obligations, he will continue to be regarded as a boy and may not enter back into the society as an adult.
As it would happen, the boy would be in the home with his mother, suddenly the door would burst open and several men in big masks would enter the home and seize the boy. All while the mother and other women would act as if they were surprised and terrified as the boy was being stripped away and taken deep into the jungle by the masked men. As you could imagine, the boy is terrified and has no clue what is going on.
In the jungle he finds himself surrounded by the masked men who frighten and challenge the boy. The boy fights back until the masked men relent. Finally, he is offered one last challenge to be overcome before he is allowed back into the tribe, he must kill a lion! The boy is left in the jungle with a single mission that must be accomplished before he will be accepted back. If he can not accomplish the mission he is not a man, and he is forbidden from participating in the activities of a mature male, such as hunting or sex.
Inevitably the boy succeeds and returns to the tribe where all of his loved ones are engaged in a celebration for his success and safe return. The masked men remove their masks to reveal their smiling faces, and hand the boy a mask of his own. He has physically and metaphysically crossed the threshold from childhood, into a highly demanding sacred experience facilitated by the tribal elders, and returns to his tribe to be celebrated as a man. Campbell calls this “the Hero’s Journey” and we all go though it, weather it is acknowledged and facilitated – or not.
Much of my personal experience in middle school, between the ages of twelve and fifteen, might be described as an “uncontained liminal phase”. This means that although my physiology and psychology was thrown into the dizzying phase of adolescence, there was no containment for this evolution through my submission to a process and competent elder. That is not to say that my parents weren’t involved or that there were no adults who cared about me, but like most young men during this phase my libidinal energy was growing faster than my psychology could mature, and it seemed like adults just couldn’t understand what was happening.
Fortunately, I was “saved by the barbell and my Uncle Elroy” (as explained in the video below).
I deeply and truly believe in the last statement of this video, “You teach a young man (or woman) their value, by teaching them how to Grow Stronger“.
This doesn’t just apply to young people.
Initiation, Growing Stronger and Becoming The Strongest Version of Yourself is a life long process of cycling between mental, emotional and physical deconstruction (death) and consolidation (resurrection).
Perhaps it is only when we pass into the next world that the processes of Growing Stronger ends.
If you’ve been studying my videos, blogs and products for long enough you are familiar with my conviction that “Your Body Is Your Mind”. Matters of the mind are rooted in our anatomy and physiology; and matters of the body flower (or grow weeds) into our thoughts and character.
Modern science is doing an incredible job of bringing a materialistic explanation to what our ancestors intuitively understood. I’d like to specifically acknowledge the research done by men such as Bruce Lipton PhD and Gabor Mate MD, as well as the clinical evidence offered us in the volumes of work by Alexander Lowen MD.
Given my conviction and the research that supports it, I now understand why it seems that once a boy begins to grow stronger with a barbell, while ALSO given proper containment and mentorship, he simultaneously seems to grow stronger in mind and character.
As his physiology moves into the transitional phase between boyhood and manhood, strength training with the support of a coach may prove to be one of the most powerful means for containment (sacred space), process (ritual) and mentorship (elder support) to empower and facilitate his growth. Basically, I believe that strength training initiates boys into manhood!
This has been happening at Strength Camp for many years, it is only now that I have a the language to explain it. It is from this new perspective that Strength Camp will move into the future as not only a place for lifting barbells and stones, but we’ll be conscious of how it has become a sacred space with a ritual process, facilitated by elders (AKA mentors / coaches).
Make no mistake, I am not simply intending Strength Camp to become this, nor are my words here a ploy to position Strength Camp in the marketplace – this IS what Strength Camp IS!
There is no need for me to convince you, there is only the proof given by the hundreds of young men and women who make a pilgrimage to Strength Camp every Monday between 4-6 PM for one thing – to feel the power of this sacred space, participate in the strength training ritual, and meet their mentors.
Although I have taken a break from filming videos (a part of my own initiation process), I have still kept our doors ajar for Open Gym almost every week for over a year. Every single week people come from all over the world (most recently Brazil, Sweden, Norway, England, Germany, South Africa, Haiti, and Texas to participate in a process.
After walking though the door, inhaling the sweet smell of hard work in the air, shaking my hand (or giving me a hug), we immediately begin our ritual process that always seems to culminate with a single defining moment: Lifting The Stone.
Stone lifting has no doubt become the final “initiatory event”, like that of killing a lion for the African boy, which offers a form of closure (or death) to one version of ourselves and the rebirth of a Stronger Version Of Ourselves. Again, I don’t say this because my fragile ego might need validation, I say this because it is what it is! (and of course, lifting a stone is not the same as killing a fucking lion lol)
Watch the powerful display of emotion in this short “stone loading” compilation video our buddy Danny Magic made today:
Upon celebrating with each initiate, I literally feel the power radiating out of their pores! Many people have even explained to me that lifting the stone was perhaps the most powerful moment in their lives. I know that if nothing else, lifting this stone or hitting that personal record in the dead lift may give our friend the courage to take action in difficult situations and trust that with enough effort he will succeed.
Today I share these ideas with you as a way to bring awareness to the concept and critical need for Initiation into the various stages of life. For too long we have been without the respect, containment and support needed for conscious and deliberate transformation; specifically from childhood into adulthood.
All too often young people are left alone to “grow up” and “get over it” because parents and adults are either ignorant of the fact, or lack the time and immense energy needed to foster this growth. Heck, most of us have never been properly initiated, so how are we to ever be in a position to initiate?
I also share this with you today in order to set an intention, which I will pronounce in the following way:
May you find the inner strength on your journey to persevere during the moments of your greatest adversity. For it is during theses times that The Creator has set for your personal initiation into a Stronger Version Of Yourself.
May you be so blessed as to find a sacred space and mentor to help facilitate and support you during this very natural, but also very turbulent growing process. And may you be wiling to submit to the process and allow your old and outdated character to die so that you may be reborn as a Stronger You.
May the ideas in this article plant a seed in the hearts and minds of those would-be ritual elders who have the time, interest and resources to invest in our future generations by giving them the opportunity for graceful movement through life’s transitional phases.
I offer my gratitude to all those who have found Strength Camp to be a sacred space for their growth, strength training as a sacred process, and have trusted me enough to hold me in their hearts to be a sort of strong and loving elder to facilitate and support your growth.
Finally, I am grateful for The Creator for laying a path for Strength Camp to move into a role that fosters not only strength of the body, but strength of the mind and heart.
With Eternal Strength and Blessing,
If you’re anything like me – you not only love to dream, but you are crazy and audacious enough to believe that you can make your dreams come true.
My mother still reminds me of her very first conference with my Kindergarden teacher, Ms. Silverstein. The words still echo in her ears, “Mrs. Hulse, Elliott is a daydreamer. He just sits in his chair and would rather look out the window than participate in the class activities.”
Thirty years later, I’m still a daydreamer. I love thinking, planning, visualizing just like most dreamers, but what Ms. Silverstein didn’t know was that I had full intention of making my childhood fantasies come true!
Unlike the other kids who became discouraged when adults told them to “be realistic” – I dared to be unrealistic!
I was being unrealistic when I dreamt that I would join the high school varsity football team as a sophomore.
I was being unrealistic when I dreamt that I would marry my childhood girlfriend and have four children.
I was being unrealistic when I dreamt that I would earn a football scholarship, even though my grades were poor and I was extremely undersized.
I was being unrealistic when I dreamt I was going to be the top trainer at a gym I only worked at for three months; dethroning trainers that had been there for years.
I was being unrealistic when I dreamt that I would earn enough money to not only raise my four children in my dream neighborhood, but allow their mother (my childhood girlfriend) to stay home with them and not have to work outside of the house.
And, I was also being unrealistic when I dreamt that I would design my business in such a way that I could spend as much time with them as I wanted, even taking them on vacations several times a year.
I tell you all of this because I want you to know that no matter how outlandish your dream might seem at first, if you work hard and smart you will achieve it.
And all of the people who didn’t believe in you, can kiss your ass!
This applies to absolutely ANY goal or dream you have in life, but today I want to tell you about how you can piggy-back off of my knowledge and experience to make your dreams of building a “NonJob” business like mine a reality.
For those of you who are NOT interested in this pertinent layer of becoming the Strongest Version of Yourself, no sweat… please just ignore this post.
But if a part of the vision for your life is to earn a living by sharing your passion and expertise with millions of people all over the world, just like I do, then I invite you to at least read what I have to say on this website.
Something that I didn’t learn until much later in life is that there is a mental and practical process for the attainment of your goals, and the bigger the goal the more you have to practice these principles with discipline.
When you join me and my “Laptop Millionaire” friends next month for our first NonJob Conference, I will share everything I have experienced and learned on my journey from ‘broke-personal trainer’ to a young and financially-free father, who earns a living only doing work I love!
All of the information you need is at the website link below:
Hope to meet you soon
Keep Growing Stronger,
Dieting is perhaps the most confusing topic in fitness. It seems like there are as many divergent experts, philosophies and opinions on dieting as there are stars in the sky.
What’s worse is if you gave 100 people the same exact fat loss diet, and they followed it religiously, not all 100 people will get the same result.
What is often forgotten by diet book authors, experts and results-seeking consumers is the fact that (drum-roll please) – WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT!
In his book Biochemical Individuality Roger Williams not only gives us evidence that our biochemistry is as unique as our fingerprints, he also emphasizes the variance of our digestive systems by referencing this photo from The Atlas Of Human Anatomy (which is a book everyone should have)
To be completely honest, this idea is not ground-breaking by any means. In fact, I feel a little silly talking about it because it is common knowledge that we are all different.
What makes this blog post so important is my invitation to acknowledge this reality and to reorient our choices, diet and lifestyle accordingly.
It was during one of my very first jobs as a personal trainer that I met Jon Diflorio who owns what is now Institute 3E, on Long Island New York. As my employer and later friend, I learned a ton of interesting concepts about health and fitness from Jon, most notably was his diet strategy.
One day I noticed that Jon almost always prepared his own food and brought it to work. For most people into fitness this is pretty normal, what was NOT normal to me was the fact that Jon had a predictable weekly rotation of a certain variety of foods that he would only allow himself to eat.
Upon questioning this strange practice Jon introduced me to three powerful concepts and disciplines. First, he introduced me to the world of Organic Farming. Back in 2003 you didn’t find the support or resources that make the purchase of organic food as easy as it is today.
Jon taught me that in order to optimally nourish my body that I would need to eat foods that were grown in healthy soil and was free from toxic farming chemicals like pesticides. Jon also shared a book to titled Empty Harvest by Bernard Jensen with me that gave me all of the practical insights I needed to realize just how important organic farming is.
Next, Jon taught me that I needed to only eat foods that were right for my Metabolic Type. Also, I would need to discover what macronutrient ratio was most appropriate for me and my Metabolic Type.
Your Metabolic Type is is influenced by you biochemical individuality and determined by an assessment. Generally speaking, there are three metabolic types. Fast Oxidizer (like me) perform best on a high fat and animal protein diet, Slow Oxidizer perform best on a mostly plant based – higher carbohydrate diet, and Mixed is somewhere in between.
The really tricky thing about your metabolic type though, is that it has a tendency to vary based on factors such as your genetic heritage, but also… annual seasons, stress levels, sleeping patterns, exercise choice, it even fluctuates based on the position of the moon. So, metabolic typing requires that you are constantly paying close attention to your physiological response to the diet, rather than following a ‘written in stone’ plan.
Here is an old video where I talk a little about how you can learn more about your own Metabolic Type. (forgive me, this video is pretty old and I make some mistakes… but you’ll get the point
Finally, Jon also taught me that I should always be assessing how my physiology was responding to my given diet by being aware of such PERFORMANCE MARKERS as:
Mental Sharpness vs. Mental Fogginess
Happy Mood vs. Depressed Mood
Focused Thinking vs. ADHD Thinking
All Day Energy vs. Three O’Clock Slump
Bright Clear Eyes vs. Dull Drowsy Eyes
Frequent Hunger vs. Satisfied After Eating
…and things such as the presence of skin rashes, gas, bloating, dandruff, bad breath, etc.
Basically, he taught me that I should be CONSTANTLY paying attention to how my body is responding to the current foods eaten in my rotation.
Which leads me to the third thing he taught me, Rotate Foods. Every week I follow a four day rotation, between beef, chicken, fish and pork; I also try to rotate the vegetables each day. By rotating your foods in this way you can better spot which foods might be compromising your performance, and you can quickly eliminate or replace it.
In short, he advised me to be conscious about all of the foods I put in my body and, to pay very close attention to how my performance is affected.
I don’t think there is a single person that would argue that this is a practice that would potentially add great value to your life and fitness results! Being conscious about your food quality, and your body’s response to the foods and your macronutrient consumption makes perfect sense.
The greatest challenge though, is that this requires a tremendous amount of focus and commitment to your HEALTH as opposed to your body fat percentage.
By focusing on your performance markers as opposed to your waist size first, you ensure that you are eating foods that add vitality and value to your overall health… which in turn will lead to a stronger, better functioning body that will ultimately LOOK BETTER in the long run. (besides, what good is a small waist when your eyes are always tired and you’re constantly farting?)
Don’t get me wrong though, to have optimal body fat is a sign that you’re doing something right, but in itself it is not an indicator of good health. You might be counting your calories and keeping your body in the “fat burning zone”, but by virtue of not eating high quality foods in the correct macronutrient ratio for “Physiological Strength“ , you can still be living with low vitality.
Low vitality can begin with lack of energy, a weak immune system and fungal infections; but often ends with chronic disease and sex problems. And you can almost guarantee that there is a lack of vitality, if your sexual libido is low (most dudes just call it “Low-T” and get a shot instead of getting more sleep and eating better, but thats for another post).
Here is a video where I invite our friend to take a step back from his current routine and lifestyle in order to bring balance back to his physiology. Remember, Physiological Strength is one layer deeper than Neuromuscular Strength. So in order to maximize muscular strength, we often have to consider physiological imbalances first.
So, last week I posted a picture of my current supplement stack on Facebook and I got several questions about why I was using certain supplements and not others; I also promised to write an explanatory blog post. But in order for my explanations to make sense, I needed to give you this update on my “diet paradigm” first. (I will write a post specifically about the supplements next week)
I’ve known and practiced Metabolic Typing for over 10 years, but I don’t talk about it much because for the past five years or so I’ve sort of abandoned it. I am going to take this moment to tell you that I haven’t been practicing what I preach (or practicing what I know to be true) for the last five years when it comes to diet.
In fact, I have spent the last five years bouncing from one short term diet experiment to the another. After competing as a Professional Strongman, where I basically ate any food under the sun, I’ve done everything from following your typical bodybuilding diet, to intermittent fasting. Many of these diets helped me lose fat (like when I retired from Strongman and lost 60 pounds) and build build lean muscle (like when I was doing all my videos shirtless towards the end of 2012 to June 2013) That is not to say that I don’t agree with these diets, in fact I still fast once a week, I am simply saying that they were not totally optimal for my metabolic type.
Even though these diets helped shape my body, the truth is that my performance was not optimal. I was overworked, and undernourished (with the foods my body needs to feel great) and it was only a matter of time before it all started to backfire on me. My mind was not as sharp and my focus was not as intense as it could be. And for the type of work I do, I need my brain to be humming smoothly most of the time.
Many of you know that I’ve taken a leave-of-absence from making YouTube videos for almost two months now. One of the reasons why I’ve needed to take this break is get my health back in order and once again practice what I know is best for my health, as opposed to what is popular and sexy.
During this “transition space” that I now find myself in I have made some dramatic changes to my daily habits and health rituals. Choosing to eat right for my Metabolic Type is one of just a myriad of alterations I’ve made to my health habits during this phase of my journey.
Without being even conscious of the mechanics of creating a “liminal space” I chose to take the call to adventure and trust that my intuition would guide my steps appropriately. And according to Robert Moore in The Archetype Of Initiation I am creating a form of “containment” to prepare myself for the next stage in my personal evolution. Within this liminal space I have chosen to put my personal health, vitality and long-term well-being above practically everything else in my life.
Besides choosing to go back to eating the right foods (mostly grass fed steaks, organic eggs, dark meat chicken, fatty fish and lots of veggies) and in their correct macronutrient ratio (about 85% fats/protein and 15% veggies), I have also:
* Moved into a new office away from my gym in order to increase the amount of quality quite-time I have every day. I use this new time for writing, reading, reflection and meditating.
* I’ve been doing Dynamic Meditation every day at 5:30 AM.
* I have stopped lifting weights and only do exercises and stretches that reduce muscular tension in key areas (mostly my hips and neck). This is achieved mostly though Dynamic Meditation and Yoga.
* I have been getting to bed on average one hour earlier every day, last night I was sound asleep by 9:30 PM.
* I am integrating new hydration habits including drinking a form of quality water that I will tell you about later, drinking more water and using sea salts.
* Using the supplements, that I’ll tell you about next week, to compliment my metabolic type and support digestion and nutrient absorption.
* I am back to reading at least one new book a week. I am reading books and studying more than I have in over five years (except for the four months in 2011 when I discovered Alexander Lowen
The short term results have been incredible. I have more energy, my skin is clearer, my eyes are brighter, my digestion is smoother and, my muscles are harder and leaner than just eight weeks ago (even though I have not lifted a single barbell in eight weeks, I am more anabolic due to balancing my physiology, hormones and nervous system though these healthy habits).
The long term implications are even bigger. I have a new sense of alignment between my beliefs and my actions, which means I am growing more authentic. My new habits are creating a foundation for me to approach bigger life goals and complete old business projects that had fallen to the wayside. Finally, I am overjoyed by the reflection of my actions on the smiling faces of my wife and children. I have more time and more energy to invest in the things that matters most to me!
Simply put, my life is getting better because of “weird” choices I’ve made over the last few weeks.
Just like yourself, I am on the journey of Becoming The Strongest Version Of Myself. I am not free from the challenges, struggles and growing pains of this journey. The only difference is that I objectify it when possible, or I find a coach or mentor who can help me be objective. Also, I am not afraid to take action where my heart leads me; I live by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote “All of life is an experiment, the more you make the better.” I might not always be right, but I will always act out of my purest sentiment and put 100% of my effort behind it.
The content of each of our journeys is unique, but the context is the same. There are times when we find that life is going smoothly and it seems like we’re on top of the world, or at least free from concern. Then there are times when “the call to adventure” bangs its heavy hand on your door, you can either answer it or ignore it but it will keep knocking. And finally, there is the time in journey when you return – bigger, better and STRONGER than before.
Joseph Campbell calls this cycle The Hero’s Journey, which I talk a little bit about in this video.
During this journey you will be asked to make different choices about your lifestyle, and even your diet, to facilitate the changes you are undergoing. What I have described in this post are simply some of the changes I’ve made. By no means am I telling you to do what I do, or claiming to have some revolutionary idea that is “the only way”.
Eating a diet that is correct for your metabolic type, based on your biochemical individuality is a good idea no matter what. I have provided you with all of the resources and a few of my own videos in this post to support you in whatever decision you might make.
The bottom line is that once you are in touch with the language of your mind and the language of your body, you will begin to trust it. Eating foods that your body tells you is right, regardless of anyone else’s convictions or advice, is done in the same spirit as quitting a job that you know isn’t right for you or taking that call to adventure, even if you don’t know where it will lead you.
I will leave you with one more Emerson quote:
“Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.
Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages [books and experts]… In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.
The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried”
Keep Growing Stronger,
Growing Stronger is a process of expansion.
Expanding your neuromuscular strength through improved posture, core strength and structural integrity.
Expanding your physiological strength through respecting biological rhythms, high conscious dieting, and low physiological load (stress).
And expanding your energetic strength through meditation, bioenergetics, deep breathing, learning, imagination, and manifesting your reality.
Below is a video where I discuss the physiological and energetic implications upon your posture.
You’ll learn just how important all three of layers of strength (muscular, physiological & energetic) are to for a balanced body and mind.
Lately I have been applying several new methods for expanding my energetic strength (which is synonymous with expanding consciousness).
For example, I just completed 21 days of Dynamic Meditation. I awoke every day at 5:15 AM and went to my gym where I shook, danced, yelled and vibrated my body for one hour. In almost every shamanic tradition higher states of consciousness are achieved though movement, deep breathing or dance.
When the ego (or self-conscious mind) lets go of its constraints upon your muscular system, the mind and body align to create spontaneous movement. It is in this “trance-like” state that contact with your higher self is often achieved. – This is just one of perhaps thousands of methods for expanding your energetic strength.
One of the easiest and most powerful ways to expand your mind, and energetic strength, is though experiences. The wider the array of experiences, the higher your potential for expansion. Traveling, reading, learning a new language or instrument are all wonderful ways to grow your intelligence and expand your mind.
One more, often over looked, tool for self growth is through relationships.
We often think of growing stronger as something that we do alone, in the gym, while meditating or while studying. But when we step outside of our own subjective realities and allow ourselves to become subject to the ideas and experiences of another person, we have the ability to almost “download” some of their consciousness (this is why it is critical that you are discerning about who you spend your time with). This is another reason why coaching, mentorship and mastermind groups put your growth on hyper-drive!
A friend posted this image on Facebook this weekend, and I saw the truth in it right away.
When I was starting my business and growing my family, I believed that I had no time for friends. I thought that people who made time to socialize were either rich or lazy; “no hard working, goal achieving man has time to hang out and bullshit with others” – or so I wrongfully believed.
It wasn’t until one of my older clients invited me to join his ‘men’s group’, where they met weekly to discuss matters of becoming a ‘balanced man’, that I realized that I had been missing out on gaining wisdom thought the interests and experiences of other people – particularly people who are different than me. Most of the men in this group were at least 20 years older than me, making me the youngest member with the least life experience.
Since that time I have been far more open about who I choose to befriend, or simply hold conversation with. Today, I spend most Friday afternoons at a cigar lounge in my city speaking with mostly strangers about their lives, experiences, failures, hopes and ambitions – it has become one of my favorite activities of the week.
In fact, last Friday I met a USF student named Chris who was studying anthropology. He and I spoke for almost two hours on topics ranging from decoding ancient manuscripts to the use of psychedelics for mind expansion. On paper Chris and I seem like complete opposites; he as an anthropology student, me as a father of four small children and gym owner. But during the course of our conversation we both expanded our awareness of different means for orienting towards the world – thus growing stronger.
This weekend I had the pleasure of spending time with artist, philosopher, videographer, musician and YouTube personality Frank Yang. You might remember that Frank created this video portrait of me last year.
After exchanging powerful new ideas, and eating a lunch of Blue Crab and shrimp, Frank invited me to close my eyes and listen to the following violin concerto on YouTube.
I must admit, sitting through a thirty-five minute “musical adventure” is something that I’ve never done and have never considered doing. But the experience was transformative. I was able to orient myself towards the music by watching and mimicking Frank as he silently absorbed every nuance and fluctuation in the performance.
From time to time it is essential to either discontinue old activities, begin new activities, or engage in reorienting your attention through the ideas or experiences of other people. By doing so you will loosen the ridged cohesion of your consciousness and allow for greater mental flexibility.
The more flexible your mind, the greater its capacity for expansion.
After our conversations and intent listening of violin concertos, we headed back to my gym for some dynamic meditation. Frank and his friends are used to orienting themselves towards life though critical thinking, creativity and mostly mechanical physical exercise such as bodybuilding. Dynamic meditation requires that you relax physical inhibition by releasing the control of your mind, particularly linear (or judgmental) processing, and orient your attention upon deep breathing and spontaneous movement.
It was a wonderful MIND EXPANDING weekend for both Frank and I; and I am tremendously grateful for his presence in my life. I am also grateful for my relationship to every level of consciousness that supports my growth; from the minerals and salt in my water, to the “unseen forces” that guide my intuition and life-path.
My friends, keep expanding your mind. Keep subjecting yourself to new ideas, especially ideas that are in discord with your current mental cohesion. If you are a Christian, try reading The Tao Te Ching; if you are an introvert who hates to dance, try attending an EDM festival
Keep Growing Stronger,
It has been well established by science that what we perceive as mass (material), is in fact energy. What we see as objects in the world is actually energy vibrating at various frequencies producing different states and patterns.
As fascinating as these discoveries are, how can we put these principles to practical use in becoming the strongest version of ourselves?
You and I, as conscious beings, not only take on the form of the “human pattern”, we also have the capacity to choose our very own “authentic patterns of behavior” which send vibrations into our physical world, thus reflecting back to us whatever new form is established by these patterns of behavior.
Or as it has once been said… “You become what you repeatedly do” -Aristotle
So, for example if you wake up every morning to an alarm clock, stumble into the kitchen for a cup of coffee, hop in your car and turn on the alternative rock station, while eating a protein bar five days a week… you have established a pattern. And what you get in life will be a direct reflection of this pattern.
You may or may not like the results you are getting in your life, but understand that you are creating it through your patterns of behavior.
The awesome power that we have as human beings is that we can change our pattens of behavior at any moment, which would completely alter the trajectory of our life. A new pattern would create a new form!
Just imagine if the morning I described above were changed to: Wake up whenever your body is done sleeping, take a long hot shower, sit and read the biography of someone you admire, eat eggs and feta cheese omelet, write a blog post about the book you are reading.
Without judging either pattern as “good or bad” just consider how different the results each of these patterns would be.
Almost all our our thoughts and behaviors are locked into patterns, most of which have not been of our choosing. They are usually thought and behavior patterns forced upon us, or simply accepted without question.
Here is a video where I speak about a method I use to “interrupt and recreate” patterns in my life:
If there is something in your life that you are not satisfied with, consider that you might be creating this situation though your unconscious “thought and behavior patterns.”
Back when I first went into business for myself, and things were NOT going well, a friend taught me a powerful technique that caused me to “reprogram” my habitual thought and behavior patterns. He called the method “visualization and affirmation”.
After only 21 days (3 weeks) of visualizing and affirming what kind of business and life I wanted to create, my life began changing dramatically. I began noticing things, that I otherwise would not have seen, that could support me in my vision. I began thinking differently, and as a result my life took a hard turn in the direction of my new dominant thoughts.
By changing my thought patterns, which sent out vibrations in accordance with this change, I was able to get out of $90,000 of debt and build a business that pays me very well.
Here is a video where I share some ideas about replacing unresourceful thoughts, that move you away from your goals, with positive thoughts that bring you closer to your vision. I’ve personally used this method to Grow Stronger!
Keep Growing Stronger,
Before I begin, I fully intend to share my plans with you about the current projects and activities I am engaging in now (since I have stopped making videos). But I need to tell you a few important stories and give you some background information first. If I skip telling these stories and providing you with this information, I may run the risk of being misunderstood.
These blog posts (which for now on I will simply number for you; 1, 2, 3, etc) will build the foundation for understanding my experiences and ideas which will prove as a vital resource to those who are either new to “Planet Hulse” or want to deepen their knowledge of such topics that I’ll discuss.
This series, or chronicle (not always in chronological order though), will also provide all of the information and resources that you will need in order to make a confident decision about investing in the book I am now writing. The book, which I am calling The Grow Stronger Method (2nd edition) will give you all of exercises, instructions and action plans for implementing these methods into your life and on your journey of becoming the strongest version of yourself.
I am not writing this book to be a New York Times best seller or to make 100 million dollars, I am writing this book because it is my responsibility to do so. All of the videos, on all three of my channels (1, 2 and 3), have touched slightly up these ideas, this book is my attempt to consolidate them and present them to you for practical use. Everything else in my life and business is taking a backseat to this project because I know just how desperately many of our brothers and sisters need it.
Those of you wondering if I’ll make a come-back to YouTube videos in the future, know this… that once this book and the chronicle blog posts series are complete, I am confident that a video rebirth will be in order. For now, I am only focused on one thing though, that is giving you all that I can through these written words.
I hope that these blog posts and the new book prove to be as empowering and resourceful as my YouTube videos have been. And I look forward to continuing to walk with you on our journey of Becoming The Strongest Version Of Ourselves.
Keep Growing Stronger,
A year after marrying my high school girlfriend Colleen, we found ourselves living in the basement of her father’s home.
My parents had recently decided to move to Florida. Actually, my “parents” didn’t decide to move… my father did. My dad is as impulsive as I am. So, after working for the same auto body shop and living in the same house for about 20 years, he comes home one day and basically tells my mom, “pack your shit, we’re leaving.”
I’m sitting at a small desk facing a lake in the St. Petersburg (Florida) Public Library. I have a backpack full of books, my Panner Pad, a few protein bars and two bottles of Evian water. I have a feeling that I’ll be sitting here for a long time today.
About seven years ago I use to sit in this very library writing e-books on health, strength and personal development. I was also writing free reports to give away in order to attract leads for my personal training business, which grew into Strength Camp, and for potential customers of my e-books.
I taught myself how to write sales letters, create e mail opt-in forms, autoresponder e-mail series’, I taught myself how to create websites (using code! we didn’t have simple shit like wordpress back then), I used Adobe Fireworks to create graphics and edit images of football players, bodybuilders and strongmen for my new websites and products.
All of this I did on a used laptop that I bought for $700 at a pawn shop few blocks from the library. I still remember the “card” I had to purchase for $60 that would allow the old laptop to connect to wi-fi. The card was a big blue chunk of plastic that stuck out the side of the computer. I was always at risk of snapping the card off the computer whenever I placed it in my backpack.
I’d like to share with you one of the many strange rituals I participate in when I’m feeling confused, ungrounded, lost… or just in need of mental / spiritual clarity.
If you’ve been watching my videos long enough, you understand what I mean when I say “Your Body IS Your Mind.”
It has been my experience that through deep breathing and exercise, specifically exercises that elicit spontaneous movement in the body, we might be able to transcend the limitations of the ego and reach deep into our unconscious where there may be valuable pearls of wisdom laying for us to discover.
It has been through my practice of various forms of “body meditation” that I’ve come into contact with a powerful, non-linear intelligence that I believe guides my steps, weather I acknowledge it – or not.
By Ryan Magin
Creator Of: 51 Handsome Guy Secrets
What if I told you right now someone is judging you.
What if I told you right now how you look is effecting things like:
• How much money you are currently making.
• How much your friends trust you.
• How attractive you appear to women.
Let that sink in for a bit.
I Want To Let You In On A Little Secret…
A secret so powerful that massive advertising agencies are using it to manipulate you right this very moment…
Curious as to what it is…
It’s called The Halo Effect.