T Nation

Words That Bear Repeating: Community Wisdom

On these boards I’ve read several things that I’ve found worth bookmarking, and archiving, to refer back to later. Phrases that, even out of context, ring true. Statements worth quoting. Knowledge worth sharing, and revisiting.

Some are on the topic of training and diet. Others are on the topic of discipline and motivation, sometimes in the context of training. Some pertain to life outside of training.

I welcome you to add your own.

Hard Work (Or Hardly Working)

I for one am guilty of occasionally getting caught up in the minutiae of finding “the optimal program” when I should focus on just putting in hard work. Hard work works!

This sentiment is echoed time and time again on these boards. Beginners are the most likely to be influenced by “authority”, so if you won’t take @Lonnie123 s words to heart, here is the same sentiment expressed by CT,

On the topic of getting caught up in the fine details,

sometimes it’s best to take a step out back and just focus on the big-picture stuff.

Injuries

Sometimes, we must change programs because they are a poor fit for our nagging injuries. I think that is okay to do. As long as you don’t have to change the entire thing around, there’s still value to be had out of it.

Miscellaneous

If you are sick, you should stay home and recover. If you are sleep-deprived, and don’t intuitively know that you’ll exceed your capacity to recover, go and train

You can learn how to set a running pace,

There are longer, tutorial style, posts on these boards as well.

Need to water cut? @flipcollar has you covered,

There’s also at least one awesome set of prehab exercises worth incorporating into one’s life,

And, true for all aspirations in life,

17 Likes

Awesome post.

Hilarious to hear that coming from Mr Neurotype.

2 Likes

Excellent thread idea, @Allberg! I don’t have any quotes or info to add right now, but I’m hoping this thread, like our muscles and PRs, grows and grows.

1 Like

I had some old quotes in a file I’ll post when I get home later, I like reading them from time to time to not get too far off track from what works

1 Like

Success leave clues - themightystu.

I dont know if / think this is what stu meant by this. But all the successful periods in my lifting “career” have certain elements in common / left clues. And to be successful I know I have to replicate these parts.

Great advice.

1 Like

I think I remember him saying that in one of the freqency threads, in reference to basically saying “people who look like a bodybuilder generally all train in similar ways (volume bro split), so if you want to look like that you should probably not train in a way that looks very different than that, at least until youve tried it for along time”

heres some quotes I saved from Dante over at Intense Muscle:

  1. Somewhere during that rep you (preferably) want to put that lagging bodypart into a deep stretch (a deep weighted stretch)

  2. Progression…it is so highly important to have an exercise you can progress on continually…to where you can gain a huge amount of weight on it if possible over months and months of time. Dont just read thru this #2, I want you to think about this…some of you narrow minded individuals will think in terms of “Hmmm sounds like I could use a pulley pushdown for triceps there or dumbell concentration curls with arm braced against knee”…NO not really there are much much better choices and you need to think these things out of what exercise will give you the most bang for the buck on time x load ever increased if possible

  3. A power groove, again not a principle to just stumble over when reading…think this stuff out! Does a one armed dumbell extension overhead give you a power groove or does a reverse grip bench press give you a power groove? RGBP! Does a barbell lunge put you into a power groove or does a leg press put you into a power groove? what do i mean by power groove? I mean the ability to grind…grind it out…over lengths of time…grind grind grind out reps with more weight over time. You can always grind out a leg press, you can always grind out a pulley row…if you had to get up a tremendously steep hill whats going to get you there, a pogo stick or a bike where you can grind it out up the hill? Sounds very simple doesnt it and I am having bigtime trouble relaying it thru words but its a thought out process of “will work/wont work”

  4. The ability to not worry about things like balance/stability of the load in some cases. Ill give you an example for any bodybuilder over 250 pounds…What is one of the best widowmaker exercises you could do for triceps? One of the best exercises to widowmaker up lagging weak triceps would be deep dips. Now as it relates to #4 what do you think is going to help you grind out progressive weights for months in a powergroove while getting down in that deep stretch during the rep? Free dips on dip bars? Or a hammer strength dip machine with the seat all the way down the bottom so you get in the deepest stretch during the rep? The answer is the hammer strength because you dont have to worry so much about balance, you just grind. Now a lighter bodybuilder 215lbs of less could probably use the free dips for a widowmaker but Id much rather see an advanced big elite bodybuilder not have to worry bout balance but more of the ability to push those handles down to the point he is getting 4 plus plates a side for deep worthy reps.

Some CT quotes:

-Here’s the real secret: if you want to achieve anything worthwhile physique-wise you must focus not on the end/goal, but on the journey. You just fall in love with the process, not with the end result.

Those who focus only on the end results NEVER achieve it. Only those who fall in love with the process… fall in love with the hardship of training, the discipline of dieting and accepting the pain of sacrificing some things you enjoy just so that you can improve your body… only these people will achieve the physique they want (unless they are genetic freaks, which you aren’t otherwise you wouldn’t come here).

-Training is never bad. Excessive training is.

5 Likes

Brickhead told me that a Bodybuilding workout should be 3-4 sets of 3 or 4 lifts for 2 or 3 body-parts. That’s pretty solid.

2 Likes

Pinkie has said a lot of interesting stuff about how your muscles take up glycogen and then water and get all swollen.

And how if you use up the glycogen in the muscle the water gets expelled.

And how to use these concepts to make weight for weigh ins.

Thibs has talked a lot about how it’s bad to be all glycogen depleted with empty muscles if you’re trying to build muscles and limit stress from training.

Stu has mentioned that when you’re depleted and sucked out from dieting your muscles will be flat and deflated. You may even look real skinny and feel bad about yourself when you look in the mirror. But it’s normal, so don’t be discouraged. You’ll swell back up with some carbs.

1 Like

Where strength goes, size is sure to follow.

4 Likes

There are too many to find and quote, but

The calisthenics kid who said he couldn’t get bigger or stronger despite not following the workout

The guy who did candito’s program but dropped assistance and complained it wasn’t working

The kid who has chronic fatigue syndrome but eats like shit and gives up all the time

And every beginner/failing lifter who complains that they just can’t get bigger no matter how hard they try while they eat like shit and don’t follow the program and ask for suggestions but follow none of them and fill up entire threads with excuses and whining.

That shit is important advice too - the mindset to avoid if you want to get bigger, stronger, or leaner. It’s strange, but a lot of people think nothing of bringing a weak mindset into a place or program designed to get them stronger and wonder why they don’t progress. Don’t be like that.

Also

Wise words.

4 Likes

A+

Honestly this is extremely small and silly, but in Brian Alsruhe’s videos, you see this shitty chunk of plywood with a badly spray painted phrase on it:

“Nothing is really that hard” (paraphrasing)

And it just burned in my brain. If I’m in the hole, and I have that very brief meeting with God or… maybe that’s just the start of a stroke… this is the first phrase that comes to mind, and I just repeat it over and over in my head until the set is done.

*edited for ADD. We all start this for a reason, and I think a lot of us lose that initial fire, and at some point it just becomes our identity. I honestly couldnt tell you why I lift, i just feel like i have to. I’ve put so much time and effort, and neglected so many things because of it, and I cant stand the thought of not being the strong dude. I take that phrase as just a way to simplify a really rough day. What’s one hard day on top of years of hard labor, mentally taxing times, and dozens/hundreds of less than stellar workouts.

This is slightly off track, but he was/is a part of these forums so I guess it’s still slightly relevant.

1 Like

Couldn’t help myself…

1 Like

It’s an interesting read. Of course ultra-marathons and weightlifting are different; I suspect the motivation to continue despite the pain and discomfort spring from the same source.

“Jurek and his kind are masters of walking themselves to the brink, but how they get there is only dimly understood. North , in fact, makes the case that a lack of curiosity on that score has been a secret of Jurek’s success. While he eagerly experiments with unconventional ways to improve his performance—veganism, Abraham Maslow’s theory of self-actualization, the samurai code—he has spent most of his career willfully ignoring the basic question of what possesses him to compete in such a punishing sport in the first place. “You rarely ask why when you win,” Jurek writes. For athletes at his level, endurance justifies itself: “We all kept going.””

“The psychology and physiology of endurance are inextricably linked,” Hutchinson writes. “Any task lasting longer than a dozen or so seconds requires decisions, whether conscious or unconscious, on how hard to push and when.” As things get tough, the mind constantly takes stock of physical reserves and negotiates with the body over just how long it can hold out.
—that how your brain interprets your body’s signals sets the limit on the effort you can put in at any given moment. Tweak your mentality, and your sense of that limit can change.

2 Likes

Wendler has dropped a ton of knowledge bombs in the 5/3/1 forum over the years that apply whether or not you’re into 5/3/1. Like Lonnie, I have a running Word doc with great quotes I find where ever. These are a few Wendlerisms I’ve grabbed:

“The search for the ‘perfect’ program/template will sideline you; just keep it simple and think about it as a long term plan (104 weeks to a better body) that will help you develop great habits that you will retain over the rest of your life.”


My wife trains pretty hard, so here are the things she does, that are totally unique to those with labia:

Squats hard.

Deadlifts for PR’s.

Presses a lot.

Bench Presses.

She also does a lot of Prowler work, chins, push-ups, ab work, reverse hyperextensions and glute bridges. … In other words, we do the same stuff with her as we do with people who are Con Meat.


"Just train and then take the vacation. When you get back, start training again.

IN GENERAL:

If one trains hard in the weight room, uses AirDyne every day, jumps 3-4 days/week, runs hills/Prowler 3 days week - these “life” vacations are deloads that won’t matter. You come back home and you can immediately jump back on the horse.

The problem is that people rarely take advantage of the time they have at home. Anything less than 100% compliance with ATTENDANCE and EFFORT is not conducive to reaching your goals.

It takes NO TALENT and your GENETICS don’t matter in regard to attendance and effort. Just like it takes NO TALENT/GENETICS to be in-shape and to make yourself stronger than you were before.

So the problem is never about the deload or the vacation.

When I’m on vacation, I’M ON VACATION. I’ve made the ‘gotta find a place to train’ mistake way to many times."


"Remember these two important things:

1 - Training is about the principles, not the template. However, some templates are great, some are complete shit.

2 - Training should be more than just lifting weights."

3 Likes

Very similarly I trained to be a fire fighter with a guy from the army, he had this mantra which I’ve adopted for when things get hard “this day will end”. Simple but effective no matter what your going through, this day will eventually come to an end, just push through.

1 Like

“This too shall pass” is a Persian adage that got me through my lowest points.

1 Like

Quality over quantity…

1 Like

I don’t have some particular wisdom to share, but I just wanna say this is a great topic. Thank you guys!

1 Like

I don’t know if I heard it or made it up, but my things was always “just do the next thing.”

Similar to “eat the elephant one bite at a time” I guess - nothing is a big deal if it’s just the next minute movement.

I also always liked “just keep your shit together.”

One of my favorites that remains true whatever type of workouts I’m doing:

“Beat the damn logbook” - Dante “Doggcrapp” Trudel