The End Is Near: (Wo)Man Up!
Today’s guest post comes from Justin Kompf who’s a fellow Cortland State Red Dragon and the man responsible for organizing my little homecoming a few weeks ago. At 23 Justin is already doing big things. Not only is he making waves in the fitness industry, but he’s already teaching COLLEGE courses as an adjunct professor at Cortland. I think back to when I was 23 and all I remember doing is crushing Beverly Hills 90210 re-runs and bicep curls in the squat rack.
Suffice it to say, everyone, meet Justin. He’s gonna be someone you should remember. Good things are a head.
The world is coming to an end, or at least it must be. I have my bachelors of science in kinesiology – key word science. Not to say I’m in love with the whole cellular function of microbes or what Van Der Waals forces are, or even if I spelled that right, but I am keen enough to make observations and make fairly educated conclusions.
For example, if I pick up this weight and move it around I get bigger and I get stronger. Or how about this: people who don’t lift weights actually progressively get weaker until they have legs the size of toothpicks and need a machine to get from A to B.
Another mind blowing (yes sarcasm) discovery I’ve made is that if I eat crappy food my body feels and looks like crap. On the other side of the equation, if I eat lean proteins, fill my plate with vegetables, and sweet potatoes somehow I feel satisfied, don’t get sick, increase strength, and look pretty darn good too. As a scientist I have come to this radical conclusion that if I eat well and exercise well I feel and look good.
It doesn’t take a white coat, nerdy glasses and beakers to be a scientist. I just proved it. Science is the intellectual and practical activity of gaining knowledge through systematic observation. Pay attention, observe outcome. We learned the principle in elementary school Aà B. If Christina picks on me she totally digs me right?
One more time AàB
So wait this isn’t anything new? Eating healthy and exercising are healthy habits that everyone should be doing?!?!?!? I didn’t need to go to school for four years to make this discovery?
This is the reason why I have concluded that the world must be coming to an end.
Humans are logical, intelligent creatures. If the general population was forced to be honest, they would admit that they know what it takes to get healthy or at least healthier, but instead they continue to fuel the cyclic, destructive habits that have made them obese, sedentary and sick. Trips to the grocery store are always pleasant reminders of why the world is coming to an end. People who are obese continue to load their shopping carts up with processed foods, carbohydrates, lunch meats, microwaveable dinners, sodas, and candies.
They bring these foods home to their kids who then begin the pathway towards obesity. They don’t know any better, you’d have a better chance of convincing Charlie Sheen to keep his eyes closed in a strip club than you’d have convincing a kid who’s been shoveled processed, sugary foods on a daily basis to voluntarily put down the candy, ice cream or soda.
On another note…We live in a society that rewards people who don’t work hard. Sure, if you don’t want to work that’s fine. Just rest on your laurels! Nobody works hard these days anyways, right? Being successful and getting rich is all pure luck. Just put your feet up and wait for your pot of gold. Don’t want to work, that’s fine the government will pay you not to work.
Nate Green had a tremendous article on his scrawny to brawny website called the “SB2 Manifesto: Rules For Living a Bigger Life”. In the first rule he talked about how there are two versions of us, our ideal selves and our shadow selves. Our shadow self is the guy in our head saying, “it’s okay to sit on the couch for four hours a day watching TV, its okay for us to wear our pajamas the whole day and not learn anything new”. It’s the version of us that thinks that success can be put on the back burner. The shadow self – the procrastinating, lazy, undisciplined self is kicking millions of ideal selves’ asses all across America. Yes, it’s possible to kick your own ass.
We’re on the brink of the end of the world, maybe I’m being a little dramatic here but there is an unavoidable devolution of the mindfulness and work ethic occurring all across the country.
If you’re on this site and you’ve gotten this far in my article I’ll confidently assume two things about you.
First: You’re a meat head; you like to push your body to its limits to see what it’s capable of.
Secondly: You possess a mind that wants to expand.
Note from TG: I’ll also add a third: You obviously have great taste in which blogs you read. Well done.
If you’re nodding yes and yes to each of those, you’ve got a deadly combination of being a meathead with a brain. You not only want to be big, healthy, and strong but you want to be educated about it, too.
You’re not one of those guys questioning why you’re not getting bigger when your program consists of preacher curls, smith machine upright rows, and cable flys and a pre workout big gulp (not the bigger you wanted).
You squat and you deadlift and you read a lot.
Anyways, while we’re low in numbers I feel that guys like us hold some of the last hope the world has.
So let me personally welcome you to the remaining population of mindful, driven men left in the world. Tragically, our species is nearly extinct.
We are a club that defies boundaries, pushes limits in and out of the gym, and observes with the intention of asking why, learning something and applying it to our own lives, thoughts and habits for self-improvement and the betterment of the lives of those around us. Sure, for the most part we keep to ourselves and if you’re like me do a lot of observation on the current state of the world. I believe this is a good thing, we think before we talk and try not to spew out BS like most people out there.
So without further delay, I’ll share a few things I believe us men with active minds and active bodies can do to stave off, and maybe even prevent, the end of the world.
Train for at least one physical event a year.
I’m in the last week before my very first powerlifting meet. I look forward to learning from more experienced people but the last four months of serious training and following Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 program have been great.
I’ve hit rep records on just about every lift while making it to the 181 weight class. I usually weigh about 195 pounds. I’ve learned a lot about pushing my body in the gym in combination with smart dieting. My friend recently asked me if I would be interested in doing a tough mudder in October.
Sure why not, it’s certainly not what I am built for but let’s do it. Training for an event creates concrete goals. Also, if you’re not exploring your body’s capabilities then what the heck are you doing? Another benefit of training is that it helps to clear up a lot of other things in your life. I make sure my diet is spot on when training and I make sure I get the appropriate amount of sleep when training. It helps clear up stress and basically acts as your own personal therapist if you need it.
*here is the end result of the competition- 510 deadlift ohhh yeaa!
Read, read, read
Yes I said it three times and there’s a reason. Here’s my three reads:
Read 1: Personal pleasure. E.g. I’m reading Howl’s Moving Castle. Before you Google this I’ll give you the heads up that it’s a movie and it’s a cartoon. So what – don’t judge – I wanted to read the book. I’m also getting a little into The Red Badge of Courage.
Read 2: Business Development or Self Improvement. E.g. Right now I’m reading Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson.
Read 3: Career related book: Orthopedic Knowledge Update: Shoulder and Elbow second edition.
Try to read every single day. If we get in the habit of letting our shadow self win day in and day out he’s going to get stronger making it more and more difficult for our ideal self to win. I’ve been through periods of stagnation where my shadow self put a beating on my ideal self. Believe me it’s best to keep your shadow self’s victories to a minimum.
Create forward progress every single day
There’s a wise proverb that says “Without vision [man] perishes”.
Set goals, daily goals, weekly goals, monthly goals, career goals and get on a path towards success. I doubt anyone can say for certain what they want to do with their life. For example, my dad who has been an accountant for about 30 years has been talking about getting into training people who are older when he retires. You can be in your mid fifties and still not know what you want to do for sure.
I’ve gone from everything from wanting to be a personal trainer, to strength and conditioning coach, to a nutritionist and now onto a physical therapist. Mind’s change, luckily I didn’t have a dramatic career change of heart so just about everything I’ve done so far is applicable.
Even if you’re not positive where life is taking you that’s no excuse for stagnation. In fact you’re in a beautiful position to explore all of your interest to find what suits you. Hop on some kind of path, you don’t have to know where it’s heading, just know you’re moving forward.
Your weekly, monthly, and yearly goals should match up to career goals. My long term career goal is to become a physical therapist. On my path towards that some things have pleasantly popped up that gave me opportunities to do what I love doing while getting paid for it.
What am I doing to make this career goal happen?
Daily: Reading my current career book as well as peer reviewed articles
Weekly: Shadowing a physical therapist every Wednesday
Monthly: Working on prerequisites for school. I am currently taking chemistry
Yearly: continuing with prerequisites and everything else necessary to get into school
Pleasant surprises that have popped up along this path: I’ve had the opportunity to teach personal training and strength and conditioning classes at my college. I’ve gotten to work with athletes at Syracuse University which has given me the credentials to teach these strength and conditioning classes at my college. The coach I work with at Syracuse gave me a recommendation to teach another class at a community college as well.
Now all I need is a fedora and a whip and I’ll be a full on professor!
The sooner you realize getting drunk isn’t cool the better your life will be
I’m 23 years young, so I still live in that time period where a lot of people my age think staying up until 3 am and getting drunk is still awesome.
Sad thing is that I see people ten years my senior still trying to live the college dream. How productive are you the day after drinking? Not at all. Do you get good quality sleep? Nope. Is it possible to train like a man when you drink two or three times a week? No way. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy a beer or two. I do, but it’s not a keystone coming firing at me out of funnel anymore.
Now, small huddle of mindful, hard-working, meatheads – break! Go keep doing what you’re doing, do it better, and convince some other men out there to help push back on the end of the world while you’re at it.
Thanks for reading; I believe there is still some hope left in this world as long as we all set positive examples by respecting our minds, bodies, and of course others. Try to train for something at least once a year, read, read, read, set goals, and try to behave yourself at bars.
Justin is a certified personal trainer and certified strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He holds a bachelors degree in Kinesiology from the State University of New York at Cortland where he graduated magna cum laude. He has worked with a wide variety of clients and has spent time at two division one Universities, Syracuse University and the University of California Riverside. He currently assist at Syracuse under Veronica Dyer, the head strength coach in the Olympic sports room. Justin teaches a personal training class at the State University of New York at Cortland and will be teaching two strength and conditioning classes along with an intro to kinesiology course next fall. He likes deadlifting, the shoulder, almond butter, dragon ball z, and Zooey Deschanel. He dislikes bench pressing and people that say YOLO. His website is cortlandfit.com and he can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org