Hey, tomorrow morning I’ll be rising at 4:45 AM… so I’ll try to keep this quick
The best place to begin with this update on The New Strength Camp, and when I might be returning to YouTube (plus various other projects)… is to tell you why I’m waking up at 4:45 tomorrow morning.
Tomorrow morning I will be meeting two guys named Mark at Strength Camp for some coaching, mentoring and working out with the rising sun.
Mark #1 is a young man I used to train when he was in middle school. He was a baseball player and his father was the team coach. After meeting both Mark and his father in the parking lot after a baseball practice (I was putting Strength Camp flyers on cars), they decided to have Mark work with me back when I was at the first Strength Camp gym.
Mark and I trained for about a year, after which I had not seen him again until five years later.
It was this summer at one of our Strength Camp OPEN GYM sessions that young Mark showed up to workout. The only thing was that young Mark didn’t seem so young any more.
He had shot up about two feet in height, and by the size of his shoulders and legs it was clear that he had continued strength training.
So tomorrow I’ll be coaching Mark #1 on his goals for getting leaner and stronger in 2015.
Mark #2 (Mark Novack) is our new intern at Strength Camp, and he will be joining myself and Mark #1 so that I can teach him the finer details of my coaching methods (assessments, cues, periodization, etc).
The best way to learn any skill is to apprentice with someone who has lots of experience and a level of mastery in that skill.
So Mark #1, Mark #2 and myself wake up at the ass-crack of dawn so that I can teach, and so they can practice.
Now, I’m not going sit here and pretend that I deliver this free coaching and apprenticeship out of the pure goodness in my heart (although, I LOVE coaching and teaching).
The assessments, program design and workout sessions that I’ve doing with Mark #1 have all been recorded, edited and uploaded to a new Advanced Video Coaching Series that I’ve created for my clients.
So while I’m coaching Mark #1, I am also providing coaching for my online clients.
And Mark #2… well, it’s taken me decades to really understand the truth in the statement “You can’t do it alone.”
I used to think that I could single-handedly help MILLIONS of people, from all over the world, to become a stronger version of themselves. I was so arrogant to think I didn’t need anyone else’s help; but time (and maturity) has taught me otherwise.
The fact is that Strength Camp is growing, even without my uploading a dozen YouTube videos a week. And with all of this growth I need help keeping the mission of “Becoming A Stronger Version Of Yourself” alive.
People like Mark #2, Shannon Stewart (our other intern), Chris Barnard, my business partners and team all make it possible for us to keep working towards our mission; and for us all to grow stronger and empower others.
One of the main reasons I have taken a break from YouTube is because I feel it is my responsibility to create a system and service that gives anyone the tools to “grow stronger”, anywhere in the world.
Making YouTube videos is cool, but creating and implementing a system that actually helps people become a stronger version of themselves is even cooler.
The interns at Strength Camp are not only there to stand around and take notes.
Our interns are here to learn how to become great Strength Camp Coaches who know how to support their clients with structural integrity, strength building, power, diet and life mastery.
Strength Camp Coaches deliver the tools and methods for our clients journey of become a stronger version of themselves.
THE NEW STRENGTH CAMP
The lease was signed on the new Strength Camp Gym, and we’re actively getting everything set up to move next month.
A few of the new things that we’re bringing to the new gym in 2015 are:
– Turf for indoor sprinting & plyometrics
– 8 New Lifting Platforms
– And… lots and lots of ATLAS STONES!
I’ve been working out and training athletes for over twenty years, and I have not found anything that brings out the confidence, self esteem and sense of empowerment more in young men than lifting a heavy ass stone!
It’s so primal and powerful that lifting the stone has become almost a “rights of passage” ritual at Strength Camp. Its amazing to hear all of the cheers of excitement for each member as he challenges himself against a 225 pound concrete ball!
So you can only imagine how excited I am to see Strength Camp evolve and grow world wide.
Right now we’re hoping to have the doors open by some time in March.
I also intend to come back to YouTube with our first OPEN GYM video at the new gym. I’ll give you ample notice incase you want to join us (We’ll probably have a big BBQ or party).
Finally, one of the big initiatives for Strength Camp in 2015 is to spread world-wide. We want to offer coaching to anyone, anywhere in the world.
And that is why we’ve put together Strength Camp Online Coaching.
Since this is brand new, and we might still have a few kinks to iron out, we are only accepting 200 clients to start.
It would be an honor to have you as one of our founding members, but if you can’t make it this time we might be opening the doors again over the summer.
Click Here to apply.
Anyway, I’ll keep you posted on the various projects and programs we’ll be delivering this year.
Also, stay tuned for some awesome contests and scholarship opportunities that we’ll be hooking you up with soon.
Keep Growing Stronger! 2015 is going to be a BIG year for all of us
In a passage of Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra entitled, “Of the Three Metamorphoses,” Zarathustra describes a three phase process of human transformation.
He goes on to describe each of the three phases:
“I name you three metamorphoses of the spirit: how the spirit shall become a camel, and the camel a lion, and the lion at last a child”
As I did last year in this video, I will briefly describe the three phases here for you. These three phases are very similar to what you might experience on the journey of Growing Stronger, so I think it’s important for you to hear.
We all come into this world as a camel. The camel represents a dutiful “beast of burden”; the burden being all of the restrictions and expectations laid upon us by society (family, civilization, etc).
But rather than willing a new path, the camel remains comfortable and does what he’s told.
As a camel, we are at some point let out into the desert; representing the so-called “real-world” of vocation, love and responsibilities. Here the camel is faced with the challenge of navigating the desert while carrying this burden, while also carrying deep sense that he should be free from the burden.
It is on this long and challenging journey that the camel seeks and discovers a few things that helps him grow stronger, and transform him into a lion.
As a mighty lion he fights hard and wins many battles in the desert (or “real world”).
But ultimately he realizes that even though he is courageous and fierce, the lion knows that he could be even stronger… if he ultimately submits himself to a higher ideal.
In the story the lion grows stronger by breaking free from his old self, he ceases to be a lion and transforms into something new again.
He becomes a baby.
As a baby, he is a brand new organism, ready to re-play life with a fresh and humble attitude!
He is free from the limitations of the past, and is in possession of more creativity than ever before.
It is true that becoming a new, or stronger version of yourself is a truly unique path; no two people are the same. No one can accurately tell you what you must do, and how to best navigate the journey.
But at the same time, there are some universal habits and attitudes that always seem to be a good idea for us to practice on our journey.
These habits and attitudes might even be reduced to principles.
On our journey we must look for key principle to help guide our decisions.
I believe The Four Layers Of Strength, which I described earlier this week in another article, are key principles that we can trust for guidance.
The principles of good physical health, good energetic health, and living with a sense of Legacy all seem to be a good idea for most journeymen.
So, I’ve decided to share a few of my personal favorite “Four Layer” principles with you in hopes that they might help you start the new year off right
Each principle (or key) is represented by one of the Four Layers Of Strength below.
#1. Layer One – “True power comes from your core.”
When I refer to “your core”, what I am describing is the literal core of your physical being; which includes everything minus your extensions (arms & legs).
The muscles in your torso, pelvis, neck and face are physically linked to the performance of your viscera (or organs) and brain. So to take care of “your core” is to take good care of all your most vital organs and nervous system.
The exercises you do can either enhance or detract health from our organs. Exercises that create too much tension in the abdominals might cause stagnation in our organs.
Your organs are made up of a kind of smooth muscle tissue, and just like your lifting muscles these muscles need to stretched and massaged in order to keep them healthy.
Yoga instructors and old time bodybuilders always spout the benefits of twisting movements for good health.
So, add a few simple “full twist” exercises to your routine. Don’t approach it like you’re trying the strengthen your core, your actually trying to bring relaxation and fresh blood into the newly opened range of motion.
Remember though, always twist from extension and length. Use good posture with all twisting exercises.
#2. Layer Two – “Optimization is a good key to dieting.”
Since I read my very first article on Joe Mercola’s website in 2002, I’ve been privy to the declining quality in food sources.
Even if you eat a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, butter and meat, there is still a good chance of your missing key nutrients for your vitality.
I spend more than the average person on my groceries because I’m blessed to live in a place and time where I can exercise that choice.
Even though I can buy whatever food I want, I know that my body may be missing key nutrients.
There is a greens supplement that many of you know I’ve used for years, and even give to my children. I feel good knowing that there are some supplements out there that I can use to reinforce my diet, but I also know that all the nutrient fortification in the world is worthless if your body can’t utilize the nutrients.
My friend Wade Lightheart uses the term “bio-optimization” to describe a way of reinforcing your body, as well as your diet.
In one of these videos he describes how there are only a few “working nutrients” in our body, and the more of these “workers” we have, the better our chances for digesting, assimilate and utilize the nutrition in our foods.
So, of course I suggest using the products I’ve linked to from this article. It’s what I personally use every day, and my wife Colleen has also begun using them with great success.
Understandably, if you need a little more information to decide then Enzyme Nutrition by Edward Howell is a great book to begin with, also Achieve Maximum Health by David Webster.
#3. Layer Three – “Solitude is medicine.”
The seeker of truth who carries his burden with pride, will eventually need solitude.
Sometimes literal solitude is necessary (re: my absence from YouTube) , but a separation from ideas which might still be ruling you is good medicine for the mind. Most of these ideas come from the stories we’ve been lead to accept from society, whilst we were camels in the past. These ideas may be anything from beliefs about money, sex, and power to what you think about “god”.
Only in solitude can genuine creativity be brought forth.
This is why Zarathustra travelled to the mountains. “Here he had the enjoyment of his spirit and his solitude and he did not weary of it for ten years“.
It is in the desert that the camel grows into a lion, for “it wants to capture freedom and be lord in its own desert“.
No matter how difficult it may seem, create space (solitude) for yourself to grow.
You might need the physical space to let your creativity shine; or you might just need space to think for yourself sometimes, rather than simply believing the old stories to be absolute truths.
#4. Layer Four – “Legacy is the real lion.”
In the end, the lion wins all but he is not satisfied. He knows that the big show must come to an end and he’d be better off leave with humility, rather than resist the inevitable.
At some point you’re going to face your own mortality; no one escapes death.
The ripple of your existence will be left through the people and relationships in your life. These people will be the ones to carry your memory into the future.
The question then becomes, what kind of ripple are you leaving in your relationships?
Who are the people in your life, and how is your relationship with them?
That question is harder for some of us than others; many of us have been forced into relationships that are extremely painful.
But even in these situations, what can you learn about yourself from this relationship?
If you discover how to exercise will power in the face of a drunk and abusive father, then in some way this relationship can be a gift. The gift of will-power and courage.
Be grateful also for the ugly things you discover about yourself when other people reflect your shadow.
There have been many people in my life recently who have allowed me to see my shadow. Some of these people may have hurt my pride, but they also gave me new eyes to see things about myself that should be strengthened.
Give thanks for ALL of your relationships, and plant good seeds for a Iron Lion’s Legacy!
#5. Have a “Stronger Journey” process and coach.
In last week’s article about The 2015 Version Of You, I mentioned that according to cross-cultural historians every culture has some from of “rights of passage”, which simply represents a process wherein someone is transformed (camel to lion).
There have generally been three requirements for this journey; a space, a process and a mentor.
Your mentor, or coach, is NOT someone with all of the answers who tells you what to do. Your mentor is there to give you a few tools to help you along your very own journey.
A good coach doesn’t tell you what to do, instead he helps you become strong enough to answer the questions for yourself.
It is almost time for you to get an opportunity to work with me and Strength Camp; if you are chosen you can official become one of my clients.
We are working around the clock to put the final details on Strength Camp Online Coaching.
This is a coaching program for anyone seeking to develop themselves along the way of the Four Layers Of Strength.
But, I am only interested in working with people who are 100% committed to becoming the Strongest Version Of Themselves.
In a few days you will have the opportunity to apply, and join Strength Camp, no matter where you live in the world.
We are working towards an Iron Lion’s Legacy; and we’re willing to do whatever it takes to get there.
Together, we will grow stronger and empower others.
Let’s do this.
Keep Growing Stronger,
(If you missed Part 1, you can read it here)
If you’re reading this blog post it’s very likely that you’ve found my YouTube videos while searching the internet for information about strength training, fitness, health or inspiration.
Today, anyone with a desire to learn may very well attain a level of mastery through the discipline of self-study using the Internet.
Although I did not have access to the Internet until I was almost 18 years old, I became thrilled by the hope for personal advancement though weight lifting and athletics, so I studied every library book and magazine I could get my hands on (kinda like searching YouTube or Google today).
With all of the information I was learning, and mentorship from my uncle, I began transforming my body at the age of fourteen.
By age nineteen I weighed two hundred twenty-five pounds and could sprint a 4.34 forty-yard dash.
The fact that my own discipline and hard work paid off with bigger, stronger muscles was addicting. Strength training not only helped me build a stronger body, it helped me build a stronger character.
But like all good things that are taken too far I let strength training become an unhealthy obsession; likely due to my inflated and misplaced “Hero’s Attitude” towards life (but we’ll talk about another time).
I began to see the increase of pounds lifted by barbell, and the winning of strongman trophies as an increase of “WHO” I am as a person. This is not very different from many of my colleagues who are personally identified with having six-pack abs or 20 inch biceps.
At one point I even allowed my bodyweight to balloon out of proportion.
At my most inflated, I stood at 5’9 and weighed 247 pounds; until my bubble burst when my left biceps tendon snapped.
Just like any other medicine, exercise can be used to heal as well as to hurt. When used inappropriately and out of proportion, exercise might not only ruin your posture and joints, poorly prescribed exercise programs will have negative effects on your physiology and psychology as well.
If we’re on the journey of becoming a stronger version of ourselves, we cannot afford to waste time addressing physiological or energetic pathologies created by our own poor exercise habits.
For example, how frustrating would it be to find out that your horrible back pain (which is ruining your sex life because you can’t even lay in bed with your woman without extreme discomfort), is the byproduct of going to the gym four times a week WITHOUT stretching properly or strengthening your deep core muscles?
Statistics say that 80% of us experience back pain at some point in life… so be prepared; especially if you’re not training towards sound structural integrity, as well as good physiological and mental equanimity.
You deserve to live your life through a more intelligent, intuitive, expressive, aggressive and attractive body.
The kind of body that can experience the thrill of lifting a three hundred pound stone off the ground, as well as the deep ecstasy of a sexual orgasm.
The kind of body, which can sit silently for an extended period of time, but can also think deeply and critically on the challenges in one’s own life.
You deserve to be a stronger version of you, in whatever you choose to do.
If you’ve been with us long enough you are at least familiar with the therm “The Four Layers Of Strength”. I’ve discussed this four fold process for “becoming a stronger version of yourself” in videos, blog posts and reports in the past.
In this article I will give a brief overview of each of the four layers, in the future I will continue to elaborate on each layer and support you with resources on growing stronger in each.
Remember, if becoming a stronger version of ourselves is the mission, then The Four Layers Of Strength is the map.
#1. Neuromuscular Strength
As each layer is built on top of one another (like a 4-layered onion), it is important to remember that just as the deeper layers effect the outer layers, the outer layers also have equal effect on the deeper layers.
In other words, strengthening your muscular system also deeply effects your physiological and energetic strength. How you hold, cary and express yourself through the muscular system can either vitalize or deaden the health of your internal organs and mind.
We want to build strength, but we want to build it in proportion to our structural integrity.
We don’t just want to add slabs of beef to our frame, we want to construct a more structurally sound body with maximum leverage strength. But, if building muscle mass is a priority for your sport or overall health, then we make program changes to increase hypertrophy.
You will have bigger, stronger, more expressive, aggressive and attractive muscles.
#2. Physiological Strength
The easiest way to describe the global impact of poor physiological strength is with the cascading effects of gut inflammation.
Inflammation of the colon shuts down your nervous systems impulses throughout your deep abdominal wall and pelvic floor. Core weakness leads to pelvic instability, which creates back pain (the same back pain that’s causing your girlfriend to feel abandoned by you).
To continue, your body feels bad, your relationships are suffering, and your also missing days at work.
It would really suck to find out that the root of all these problems is your over consumption of one of your favorite foods.
We not only consider diet in the realm of fat loss, but also in its impact on your whole being.
Physiological Strength also encompasses sleep and life rhythms, hydration, stress, breathing and thoughts (although now we’re digging into layer three).
#3. Energetic Strength
The field of psychology is perhaps the best place to begin when speaking about what I refer to as “Energetic Strength”.
I must admit a few things before I share my ideas about this sensitive topic. First, I am not an expert in psychology. It is a field of great interest to me, and I enjoy reading and studying a myriad of perspectives and methods that might personally help me grow in my journey.
So, everything I say in regards to Energetic Strength is an outgrowth of my extensive research, including years of professional analysis, courses and certifications, reading lots and lots of books… and of course, self-experimentation (of which I’ve been an addict since I began strength training over two decades ago).
There are two very resourceful perspectives that I’ve grown attached to on my journey of growing Energetic Strength. First, comes out of my studies and practice of various internal martial arts, yoga, and bioenergetics.
Simply put, we have the ability to control our mind and character by coming into closer contact with how we move and breath at a very subtle level. I call this level “energetic” because we are no longer moving from just a muscular standpoint, we are moving at a deep nervous system level (so like energy in electrical power lines).
Our most subtle, yet overt movement of energy is found in breathing and respiration. So, we work towards deeper respiration through a variety of means, including sitting meditation… as well as dynamic meditation, yelling, jumping or dancing.
I call this approach “Bioenergetics”. (much of my research comes out of the work of Alexander Lowen MD, Peter Levine PhD, Robert Scaer MD, Gabor Mate MD, and Osho.
The other resourceful perspective is far less tangible than bioenergetics, it has even been called “mystical”.
This is where I discovered the idea of the “King, Warrior, Magician, and Lover” being spiritual or archetypal entities which might guide our lives in some mystical way.
This is the realm of religion, symbols, mythology, and what some people call God (and what many others rightfully call Science).
Our thoughts become our words, our words become our actions, our actions become our habits, our habits become our character, and our character… well, just look at your body and life.
“You become what you think about most of the time.” – Earl Nightingale
I don’t have an official name for this approach, but when I speak about Sprit, God, Archetypes, The Universe, or The Collective Unconscious I am speaking about this aspect of Energetic Strength.
Many of my ideas come from both Abrahamic and Eastern Religion, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Napoleon Hill, Alan Watts, Osho, Carl Jung, Robert Moore, Mercia Eliade, and Socratic Philosophy. The Tao Te Ching, Rumi and Hafiz.
And I give tremendous gratitude and acknowledgement to the work Max Plank, Albert Einstein, and Niels Bohr for giving science a new language to begin exploring these mystical realms in the 21st Century.
Energetic strength MUST be discussed if we are to become a stronger version of ourselves.
It’s a vary dark and confusing part of human existence, but we are better off discussing it in the light of day rather than casting it into the shadow (where this deep and powerful layer of strength rests for most people).
#4. Life Mastery Strength
It’s taken me many years to decide on a name for this layer of strength, mainly because I was not ripe enough to understand exactly what I was doing (not that I’m 100% sure now either lol).
The best way to wrap your mind around the concept of Life Mastery Strength, is to think ahead to your funeral.
While you’re laying there in the casket, who is there to celebrate your life? What will they say about you? How many people have incredible stories about their experiences with you? How will you be remembered?
This does not mean that you need to become the next Martin Luther King, Jesus or Steve Jobs; it means that you lived a meaningful life which has had at least some positive contribution to this world.
Ralph Waldo Emerson put it this way,
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and affection of children; to learn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a little bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
WHO are you? (a stronger version of your existence, or regret and sadness)
These are The Four Layers Of Strength which we are always keeping mind of.
Our vision is for a stronger YOU, a stronger me and a stronger human existence.
We have the frame work of The Four Layers Of Strength to become a stronger version of ourselves.
If we’re ready to take action, then we might need some support, mentorship or coaching.
According to Robert Moore in The Archetype Of Initiation, when “the call to adventure” arises in us and we are beset to jump in, there are three things one must come to obtain.
The first is a “space”, or community of others who have been on, or are still on their journeys of growing stronger. These are your brothers, sisters and mentors.
The second is a “process” to follow which will give us new perspectives and be a map for our journey. We need tools, maps, education, and a system to follow.
And third, we need a mentor.
I have spent my life searching for mentors to give me the tools and perspectives I need while on my journey.
My life is what it is today, because I have mentors, coaches and teachers.
Some of these mentors, I have only read their books.
Many of them have died over 100 years ago.
And a very small percentage of them, I have visited weekly for several years; but all of my mentors have helped me on my journey.
My vision for you, is that you find all of the right mentors, coaches and teachers at just the right times in your life… when you need them the most.
This has been my prayer for myself, and I extend the same prayer towards you.
Keep Growing Stronger,
Lately there have been a lot of blog posts and videos being shared around the Internet claiming that goal setting is ineffective.
When most average people, who have never really achieved anything great in their lives, hear something like this they rejoice. Without ever giving goal setting a fair chance, these people accept this trendy Internet meme and choose to skip the discipline all together.
For over a decade I have practiced the art and discipline of goal setting. The act of considering and writing down everything I want in life has brought me tremendous financial, fitness and family success. My life today is the byproduct of goal setting, visualization and the exercise of will and determination.
But along the way I discovered that while achieving goals makes life far more exciting and abundant, the achievement of goals was not the real prize. In other words, if you achieve the goal of earning $1,000,000 – the money is not the real prize.
The real prize is WHO you became in order to win the prize.
If you were clear about your core values, and acted with integrity on the path towards your prize, you will discover that in order to earn the $1,000,000 you had no choice to become a stronger version of yourself.
When you know exactly what you want and, you are very clear about what integrity means to you, your journey may prove to be difficult but you will always seem to have a smile on your face. When the stress of life feels euphoric, it means that you are growing stronger.
For those of you who are smart enough not to be swayed from the responsibility of goal setting, I have a question….
WHO do you have to become in order to reach your goals?
If you’ve been a fan of my YouTube videos you probably know how much I value education, coaching and mentorship. The reason I personally hire and work with various teachers, coaches and mentors is because I know that I need help in reaching my goals; and ultimately in becoming a stronger version of myself.
I have invested over $1,000,000 in post-college education, coaching and mentorship… but my very first, and most important mentor came to me at the early age of four.
Uncle Elroy was my first fitness coach and mentor. He taught me how to use exercise to become strong and powerful even as a small child. By kindergarten I was able to perform push-ups, sit-ups and chin-ups with ease, while most of the other kids could barely hold a plank.
Many years later, with the help of my uncle, I earned awards and scholarships in football. I also cultivated a love for strength training, weightlifting and athletics.
My very early mentorship by Uncle Elroy helped me grow stronger for sports, but it also taught me many things about becoming a stronger version of myself; and most importantly it introduced me into my love for coaching.
I felt most alive while coaching my football teammates and friends how to lift weights, and teaching them how to keep a training journal. “Keep getting stronger, and share what you learn” became my mantra for life.
Early in my fitness-coaching career I learned that helping my clients build “functional muscle” was far more effective for performance than simply building stronger muscles.
This meant that my clients would get better long-term results if I taught them how to squat, lunge, bend, push, pull and twist (with structural integrity and inner equanimity), rather than isolating muscles on machines.
Building functional strength is tantamount to building more intelligent, intuitive, and expressive muscles.
As a coach I was successful at helping my clients develop functional strength, but I sensed that my fitness programs were still incomplete.
If WHO we become is more important that what goals we achieve, then my training programs should be designed to not only help someone’s muscles grow stronger, but to help them grow into a stronger version of themselves (a stronger WHO).
I was not satisfied with only helping my clients build stronger, more balanced, bodies; I wanted to coach my clients into becoming a stronger version of themselves… in everything they love to do.
If we can build more intelligent, intuitive and expressive muscles, then there must also be a way to build intelligence, intuition and creative expression into other areas of our lives.
I wanted my clients to grow stronger in the gym, and grow stronger in school, and grow stronger in relationships, and grow stronger in their careers, and for them to help other people grow stronger also.
My mantra for my clients was the same as my personal mantra, “Keep getting stronger, and keep sharing what you learn.”
Given the broad light I wanted to shed for my clients, the definition of the term “strength” had to be expanded.
We’ve concluded that functional muscles are far more intelligent and intuitive than merely bigger muscles.
Next, we need to consider all lifestyle habits that contribute to how well each of our biological systems work in order to support our journey of growing into a stronger version of ourselves.
We have to consider the all systems of the body, including the digestive system, the endocrine system, the nervous system and of course… the muscular system.
We will need to grow more conscious of the foods we eat, the sleep we get, the water we drink, our relationships, our hopes, our dreams and our fears. Our goal is to strengthen WHO we are, by being more conscious of our thoughts, words, actions, habits and character.
When we are stronger in body, physiology, mind and soul… we bring new strength to everything else we do in life.
When we strengthen our overall health and integrity, WHO we become is strengthened exponentially.
We’re not just building neuromuscular strength, we’re also building physiological and energetic (or psychological) strength. But it doesn’t stop there… As we grow stronger individually, we naturally tend to empower other people to grow stronger too.
By YOU becoming a stronger version of yourself, you also help the world become a stronger and more pleasurable place for us ALL to live.
I deeply believe that that if you chose to make your mission in life, “To become a stronger version of myself and empower others” you will be doing the best work necessary for humankind to advance into our next level of universal evolution.
I won’t make any claims or predictions about where humankind is headed, but I hold strongly to the idea that if we each take responsibility for growing stronger and empowering others that humanity will have a bright future.
In part two of this series I will talk to you about the Four Layers Of Strength process that I have personally used for over 10 years, and which has given me the strength I’ve needed for my journey of becoming a stronger version of myself.
You will also be introduced into my vision of a coaching process which not only gives students the tools for their journey of growing stronger; it also give them an opportunity to support younger journeyers on their path; these people see Coaching as a promising vocation.
It is the system that will fulfill the mission of “Becoming A Stronger Version Of Ourselves, And Empower Others.”
I’m very excited to share this with you ☺
December 18 2014
Founder Campaign For NonJobs TM
Dear NonJob Family,
In the fall of 2012 my Elliott Hulse (elliottsaid) YouTube Channel had seen a massive spike in popularity. The channel may have grown because of my candid responses to questions about life challenges, asked mainly by young men.
In one episode of the show I was asked the question “What should I do when I feel drawn to a vocation, but the world (parents, teachers, society, etc.) is forcing me to do otherwise?”
In response to this question, I proposed that the asker should consider developing a curriculum of self-education and begin allowing himself to explore his calling, with or without the consent of the world.
Further I proposed that with enough mastery in his craft, and an understanding of basic marketing, he might be able to create what I called a “NonJob” for himself.
I described a NonJob as the process of following your vocational call (love), developing a marketing system (share the love), and learn how to graciously receive abundance (receive the love).
Besides my emphatic delivery of the idea, I also showed competence by allowing my life and business to be an example that “it can be done!”
It was in that moment that The Campaign For NonJobs was created.
Being as heroic and ambitious as I was at that point in my life, I decided that I could fix the vocational/economic challenges of my students. I would teach everyone how to create their very own “NonJobs” by simply showing them the mechanics of what I had done to achieve success.
I created a video course (that’s still only half completed), and opened the
NonJobs Facebook Group where anyone with an interest in becoming a NonJobber could collaborate and support one another.
By the spring of 2013 both my Strength Camp and Elliott Hulse YouTube channels had been growing faster than ever before. I had been uploading two to three videos a day. Sometimes my video crew and I had several video projects on the burner. Our only objective was to make more, and better videos every week.
“Yo! Elliott”, “Elliott Said”, “Open Gym”, motivational epics, “Elliott Hulse Q and A”, “TRAIN” and other educational videos were uploaded weekly.
My schedule was packed! With the responsibility of a gym to run, caring for my family and, making YouTube videos I had no time to work on important parts of my business… much less teach anyone else how to build theirs.
For the years leading up to my “YouTube explosion” I had been a publisher of digital products and I wrote a daily email newsletter. But with the growth of my YouTube channel, my digital publishing and email newsletter took a back seat.
I stopped making products, and I stopped writing my newsletter. I had even stopped training clients at my gym. I was a YouTube video creator, no longer an online publisher or marketer.
Knowing that it was only a matter of time before I’d become tired of the YouTube exposure, I decided to get help with the publishing and marketing side of my business.
During the early stages of the building of my publishing and marketing business I had attended several seminars, conferences, workshops and masterminds. It as during one such mastermind meeting that I became friends with Dave Ruel and Matt Gallant.
These two men seemed to know what it took to create a successful business partnership. Dave, being the more people-oriented of the two, was incredible at bringing people together and focusing workers on how to be the most creative and productive as possible. Matt, being the more analytical of the two, was great as devising business plans and tracking results.
They had paired up in order to help experts (fitness, personal development, etc) develop their information publishing businesses. They assumed that with their combined skills that they could take any presentable expert and help them develop a publishing business and marketing system.
About one year later, Colleen and I had been invited to Dave’s wedding. At the wedding that Dave and Matt shared the good news that their publishing business has been going well.
On separate occasions both Dave and Matt showed great interest in how my business had been growing, particularly with my YouTube success. They even shared ideas with me about how I might keep growing my business, and they also shared several interesting strategies with me.
A few months had passed since the wedding and I sent an email to Dave for an update how things were going with his and Matt’s publishing business. He shared the discouraging news that their biggest expert partner had broken their deal and was leaving for another company.
It was in that moment that I spontaneously blurted out “Well, my business could use a little help. Maybe I can be your next ‘big’ partner?”
The Start of a Powerful Partnership
Since the fall of 2013 Dave and Matt have helped me build my business in ways that I couldn’t even imagine. In fact, the plans that we have for Strength Camp in 2015 are so inspiring that I have to do Yoga everyday to keep me grounded.
While searching Facebook a few months ago, Matt discovered The Campaign For NonJobs Group. He joined it and realized that there were thousands of hungry students looking for ways to create a so-called NonJob; a term that he shortly discovered was created by me!
Matt and Dave convinced me that it would be irresponsible to continue to allow the NonJobs Group to go without any sense of direction. Matt even shared his disappointment that I had not been actively helping the very people who I had inspired.
I knew they were right, so we decided to do something about it.
The first thing we decided was to put on an event where we could teach people various lessons that will contribute to growing their NonJobs. Not only was The NonJobs Seminar a wonderful teaching opportunity, many new business opportunities also arose for several attendees. The event was a smashing hit, and we even recorded it for people to who couldn’t attend the live event to watch.
The success of the NonJobs event, as well as the growing sense of vision that I have for Strength Camp, was only possible with the care and support of Dave and Matt. They brought order to my business, and they are also very excited to see The Campaign For NonJobs grow stronger too.
In order for the Campaign For NonJobs mission to help thousands of online-entrepreneurs gain success, we need the same kind of order that has been brought to Strength Camp. So, I am in full approval of the new policies that have been established in the NonJobs Facebook group.
That being said please know that this new order has been born out of our commitment to taking your NonJob education to the next level.
In 2015 we are coaching several NonJobbers in our NonJob Mastermind; we are also planning on doing a 2015 NonJobs Conference, and several online courses, books, and other educational materials.
The future for expert entrepreneurs has grown brighter because of the Internet and social media. I have not only been fortunate enough to reap the benefits of social media popularity, I have also grossed millions by building my own NonJob in the health and fitness niche.
I’m excited to continue growing with you, and I’m glad that we are all committed to a common goal.
Screw The System. Get Paid To Play!
Keep Growing Stronger,
PS – You can experience all 15 hours of the event by clicking here.
Many of you know that I have been absent for the past few months. Some people have began to wonder if I totally left the building, never to return.
While it’s true that I have been using most of my new free time to study, read and travel; I have also been extremely active in developing some new systems, methods and strategies to integrate and teach my fitness and life mastery mission.
Amongst many of the new ideas I am learning to integrate, is how to confront the inevitable and necessary challenges of what Joseph Campbell calls “The Hero’s Journey”.
As we navigate life, we eventually begin to recognize various patterns and recurring themes on our own travels.
By honoring and respecting these abiding themes we provide for ourselves a brand new perspective, and a new means for approaching life to grow stronger.
As our mission is “To Become A Stronger Version of Ourselves and Empower Others”, we are not only responsible for our own personal growth…
We are also obliged to empower our brothers and sisters through the ideas, experiences and resources we’ve discovered, and made good use of on our own personal journeys.
It is not good enough to have a stronger vision for ourselves, we must take into account the environment we live in. We are not separate from our environment; and in most cases our
environment is comprised of people and our relationships to them.
The Greek philosopher Aristotle once said that no virtue is developed in isolation; we grow through people and relationships.
By empowering others we support the development of stronger friendships, a stronger family, a stronger community and perhaps a stronger world for our children and grand-children to inherit.
On The Hero’s Journey, the responsibility of empowering others most often makes itself evident towards the end of a journey’s cycle.
Campbell refers to this as the phase of…
“Returning Home with The Gift.”
Our Gifts are the messages of hope, methods, strategies, preparations and resources we have personally used to navigate our journey. It is our hope that by returning home to share our gifts, that we empower others to take the “Call To Adventure” and travel their own unique journey with strength and grace.
For the last year I have been moving through a new journey, and I eventually found myself facing both external and internal obstacles to overcome. Amongst these obstacles is the challenge of how to “Return Home With My Gift”.
I have learned many things and have slain many of dragons along the way; but translating my strategies and methods for successful passage has been one of my most arduous tasks… until now.
Make no mistake about it… you WILL face the dragons of money, vocation, career, business, economics and wealth on your journey.
No matter what your hang-ups are, you will need to deal with money, and most likely you’ll want to learn how to earn money in a responsible way that allows you to express your full creativity and love.
That is why I held a private seminar last month featuring myself, my business partners, associates and friends.
We chose to call it “The NonJobs Seminar”… and it was a hit!
We taught our methods for business building, marketing, sales and growing stronger to an audience of over 100 men and women, both young and old, at this enlightening event in Tampa.
Lucky for you the entire event was captured on video.
You might still be in school or be happily employed, in which case you might not be interested in creating a “NonJob” like my partners and I, but I still invite you to check this out.
Most of what I talk about in my four part presentation applies to ANYONE who is on the journey of Growing Stronger.
See what I am talking about when you click here.
Keep Growing Stronger,
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,