Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Lead By Example

I know that everyone, deep down inside of them, has a wish to see some sort of change occur in the world. If you are reading this then you may be particularly interested in the strength/health/fitness portion of the world and what you can do to make a positive impact. Perhaps its winning another contest? Perhaps it's writing a book to educate people about strength? Offering free advice to people who have come to you for help? Or maybe you'll get a training certification and start training people.

Either way, you have to lead by example!

I think this quality lacks the most when we start talking about aspiration, will, drive, and all those other adjectives that describe what it takes to be successful. This is not to say that you have to be a master of everything-that's just not a possibility. But, what I am saying is that if your going to take on someone who has goals of getting strong then you should lead that example in getting strong.

Why is leading by example so important? It inspires us and inspires others. No words, video, audio, seminars etc can have the same effect as someone leading by example. And, in terms of business, if you play the part you'll probably also look the part and that, my friends, is money in the bank.

If you want to give diet advice you don't have to be ripped to shreds but you also shouldn't be eating Big Macs, Frosty's, and a kingdom of Soft Taco's every night.

Some will argue "I don't need to lead by an example, I'm fully capable of forming my own intelligent opinion". Sorry, people need something tangible and stimulating. Intelligence, while important, only gets you so far if you don't have a successful medium to filter it through.

I'm going to go out today, say what I have to say, but do what I have to do in leading by example to adequately relay the message.

Check out this guy here if you want to know about leading by example.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

People Who Touch Your Life

On July 25th, 2007, I was sitting at the front desk doing some paper work that was left from the night before from my boss. I was excited all week because I knew Jesse Marunde was coming to the town where my gym is to do an appearance down the street at a nutrition store and then stopping by our gym for a hands on seminar with the people who train strongman. I always found Jesse to be a little cocky, a little arrogant, and very bold in his statements over at his forum, www.marunde-muscle.com/forum The one time I met him after a strongman show during the Mohegan Sun Grand Prix in CT he seemed very pressed for time but still paused and took a picture with me…then shook my hand, put his hand on my stomach, and said “dude, you have to lose some body fat!” Then I left thinking he was an even bigger asshole then before.
However, Jesse said that in such an inspirational way that it made me truly want to lose body fat and prove him wrong. It was almost as if he was challenging me to do so. I found myself looking up his diet, whatever nutrition advice he had offered online, and whatever advice he offered about how to increase training volume in order to get rid of body fat. Chicken, yams, and brown rice became my best friends while my workload upped to insane amounts. At the same time I really began looking up to the guy. I said next time I go to the platform I’m going to do something to entertain the crowd. I said next time I do an over head press event I want to stand on one foot and smile at some cute girl in the crowd. I wanted to be able to rip my shirt off and throw it out to the audience. At my strongman contest in June of 2007 I gave my t-shirt to a kid who congratulated me and it made his day.
After I was done finishing the paper work I made my usually Marunde-Muscle forum rounds and found some devastating news that caused my heart to skip a beat. There were posts made implying the death of Jesse Marunde. However, everyone was very skeptical to believe it because it could have been a cruel joke that had spread across forums. Within an hour, Jesse’s mom came online and officially announced that Jesse Marunde had passed away. He had died training for Worlds Strongest Man 2007. His crew had given him CPR until the medics arrived but by then it was too late. Jesse Marunde was dead and people were mourning.
I disliked Jesse’s character so much that I never thought I would come to this, but I got upset-very upset. It was a warm, July morning. I walked towards the front door and let the hot sun beat on my face as I gingerly looked up to the sky. I began seeing different images, forum statements, and World Strongest Man performance re-runs streaming across the sun. Jesse Marunde was dead and I was sad.
It took a few more minutes for it to set in how bad I was missing him. Aside from a knowledgeable athlete he was a source of inspiration. He was a pioneer for all of us-a role model for strength athletes to follow. Good diet, tough training, many friends, many fans, beautiful wife, and two beautiful kids. Jesse was the American Dream for the strength athlete community. Jesse had the charisma, the character, the vibrant personality it takes in order to get the crowd excited, involved, and captivated. Jesse was a strongman beyond the term strongman. These were all the thoughts running through my head as the sun beat down upon my face. Jesse Marunde was gone.
We had a poster hanging up in our gym that had a picture of Jesse with a barrel over his head, advertising for his upcoming appearance that he would never get to make. I felt as though I was robbed of something really good that life had to offer. The poster got taken down and the owners were going to, most likely, throw it away. I went home and took a nap.
I came back to the gym later on that night with one purpose: to have the best training session ever in honor of Jesse’s passing. I wrote the date Jesse died on my strongman training belt in hopes he would maybe, once in a while, stop by over and fill my head up with whatever I was lacking. I had an amazing workout despite being very sad and deep in thought. I hoped it was a workout he was proud of.
Upon exiting the gym, one of my clients came up to me with a rolled up, glossy, large sheet of paper. She said “They were going to throw it away but I knew you liked Jesse and he meant a lot to you. So I thought I would save it for you.” She handed it to me, gave me a hug, and walked away. That poster of what was Jesse’s last scheduled appearance before his death stays on my wall to this day.
Jesse, I didn’t get to know you that well and from what I did get to know of you, you came across like an asshole. But I know that wasn’t you. Everyone has so many great stories about you that are amazing and inspirational. Unfortunately, I’ll never get the chance to know you now but, through the little contact we had over the internet and whatever knowledge you so liberally gave out, I know enough that you’re the kind of person I wish to be.

Jesse Marunde, please watch over me next time I flip tire, do a heavy squat, or load a heavy stone. I need your strength…we all need your strength.

Jesse Marunde, RIP

Strength Athletes United?

I firmly believe that we, as strength athletes, are all part of a community. Whether we practice the power lifts, the strongman events, the Olympic lifts, or Highland games, we all have some things in common. First and foremost, we definately all put our time in the gym and out of the gym as well. Whats needed to succeed in strength athletics follows us out of the gym and out of the event field and into the kitchen, bathroom, work etc. For most of us it's a full time job on top of the other full time responsibilities that we have.

Secondly, we all know the pains and joys that come along with the sport. The pains of dishing out a large amount of money to enter a contest simply in the name of a PR and the joys of lifting that weight, getting that extra rep, or going that extra foot when the time comes. But what about when that extra pound, foot, or inch doesn't matter and we still don't win? The loss is terrible but the resolve we all have is admirable? But what about when it is enough? The feeling of triumph is amazing but we keep it professional.

Last, we all train the same; for strength. Some of us endurance oriented, some of us maximally strength oriented, some of us speed oriented, some of us a jack of all trades. Either way we are essentially the same. As far as competing goes its all the same too. Regardless of what sport and what rules we follow we have one goal on that day; exhibit our strength for what is truly is. Something untamed, ferocious, and unmatched. Check out this video, it shows strength athletes united doing the strong thing.