"It's Necessary to Challenge Yourself" (Blog #80)

Humans thrive and prosper off of stimulus, change, adaptation and growth. Without these things we would dwindle away to nothingness. Between your brain and your body (which are totally connected), stimulus is necessary if we want to advance mentally and physically in life, but sadly many of us are afraid to challenge ourselves appropriately.

Fear is one of our greatest protectors and possibly one of our greatest enemies. Fear keeps us witty, it keeps us safe, it keeps us aware, and it keeps us alive. Fear can and will stop us dead in our tracks when its time to take action. Change is a scary thing but it is completely necessary if you're looking to make some serious advancements in life.

Mustering up the courage to challenge yourself is a tough thing to do, that's why I always encourage people to find a positive group of individuals and stay close to them. A group of motivated individuals can make attempting "scary things" a hell of a lot easier. I answer emails daily (dozens actually) from people who are "scared" to come to our charity hikes or they're "scared" to try a Spartan race or they're "scared" to come into No Bull because they might look stupid. These fears aren't real, your brain does a good job of highlighting all of the worst case scenarios and stops you from moving forward.

Even for an experienced lifter like myself, I still get nervous walking into a new gym or before a weight training session (in a good way). This is when you have to realize that you're trying to make positive changes for yourself and no ones opinions matter but your own. Embrace the fear of change and a challenge and enjoy it because our time here is limited.

Yesterday, I was "called out" by a friend to see if I could do 50 Hex Bar Dead Lifts with 225 pounds. Now that may not sound very difficult to some but I knew that for me that would be a true test of my strength and conditioning. Not too mention, my lungs, my grip and my sheer will to complete it. As any stubborn man would do, I accepted the challenge and attempted it....And here were the results:

As you can see I completed the challenge even though my form deteriorated towards the end. But I have to tell you guys that I loved it! I loved every second of it even though I was in hell after about 30 reps. We all have a lot more in the tank than we realize and sometimes you need someone to pull that out of us. What you didn't see on the video was the crew that was behind me yelling at me to keep going, and me collapsing on the ground out of sheer exhaustion after I was finished.

Today I feel like a truck ran over my upper back (no low back pain at all) and my legs feel like jello, but I feel great!

* Challenges like this are pretty stupid and I don't suggest everyone to do them / But sometime you have to "Man Up" and do what you have to do to see what you're made of.

* Now on a serious note: My form fell apart in the Dead Lifts after I was fatigued because mechanically speaking, the moment arm is shorter with lumbar kyphosis (flexion) / meaning I had to travel less distance with that bar off the floor in flexion. I tried my hardest not to lose spinal control but it was a huge challenge every rep to do so.

There is however a difference in how you look at spinal flexion during a lift: There is something called Flexion Movement: This is where a lifter starts with a neutral spine (lordosis) and begins the lift, moves into flexion (under load) and then back into extension throughout the lift. This is dangerous and can wreak havoc on your spine. There is also something called Flexion Moment: This is where you start the lift in isometric flexion and stay there during the entire lift. This is a lot less risky to the spine and a much safer way to lift during a PR (personal record) or challenge. It's not something I would do often but if you're experienced and it's a once in a while kind of thing, it's not deadly.

* For more of the best info on the Spine and Training, look up Dr. Stuart McGill *

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