Mike Rashid talks ‘mental jewels’ so you can turn yourself into a diamond

Mike Rashid Mental Jewels
Anyone who reads this blog knows I love motivational men and women. Mike Rashid fits the mold. (Or should I saw breaks the mold, given his physique?) I love the guy’s attitude, his approach to weightlifting and more so his approach to life. His philosophy on how to strengthen the mind, body and spirit is a sure-fire winner.

Here’s an excerpt from his latest YouTube video. The great thing about his message is that he is living proof that it works. His approach may not be for everyone, but it’s a safe bet the the vast majority of people who give it an honest shake will see results.

“You can do amazing things. … Don’t be afraid of that hard work. My workouts are tough. That’s what you want. You don’t want nothing easy. Easy ain’t going to get you nothing. You know, it may get you something. You may maintain and what not. Easy may work for some people, but I don’t want that. You know what I mean?

I feel like the harder it is, the more I’m getting out of it. If I conquer these hard tasks, you just get way more out of it. You know what I mean? If it’s just easy — if you get everything easy — when you’re faced with something difficult, you fold.

When you’re constantly taking down tough obstacle after obstacle after obstacle, nothing can bother you. Nothing can take your shine. Nothing can make you upset. You know what I mean? You will have a high standard for everything you do in life — for your friends, for your peers, for people you work with. You will have a standard of excellence, and who doesn’t want that? You know what I mean? Have high standards for yourself.

What I’m telling y’all is: strive for excellence. Don’t make excuses. When everything is stacked against you, get excited about that. Because when you bust through those obstacles, you grow. Your aptitude as a person enhances. Self esteem is your self estimation of what your are, who you are. No one can define that but you.

When you know you’re handling your business and you’re knocking down these obstacles, your self estimation grows and you carry yourself with more confidence. You’re more capable of handling things and people recognize that. We have ineffable qualities that you can’t see that just radiates from certain people. That’s what that is. You’re growing that. Keep growing that by being completely legit, completely thorough. When no one is around watching you, don’t [cut corners on] your sets. Do extra reps when no one is around. You don’t need credit for that. You’re going to get the credit for it by growing your will, growing your aptitude.”

Check out the whole video if you have a few minutes. It’s worth your time if you’re looking for a blueprint to success.

CT Fletcher is correct: Over-training is a myth

CT Fletcher Overtraining

By now most people who watch exercise videos on YouTube have seen CT Fletcher. His no nonsense, take-no-prisoners, tell-it-as-it-is approach has garnered him a large viewing audience. Now it turns out that he’s a veteran, which I should have seen before because all the signs were there… Regardless, his recent installments have created some controversy as it pertains to “over-training,” so I’d like to add my two cents.

CT Fletcher is correct: Over-training is a myth.

Okay, I’m a throwback. In my era there were gentlemen like Tom Platz — known for having the greatest legs of all time in bodybuilding. Also known for squatting for three or for hours in a session. By many standards, back in the day even, they would say that Tom Platz was over-training. But this results — friends, mother fuckers and mother fuckees — are undeniable. Greatest pair of legs in bodybuilding history doing what many of you refer to as over-training.

Over-training is individualized. What may be over-training for one man is nothing but a regular workout for another. Over-training can not be generalized. Over-training is individualized to you. What you may call over-training might be my warmup. Understand?

I’m a veteran, United States Army. Proud veteran of the United States Army. I go to veterans hospitals on a monthly basis. I talk to many veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and almost down to the last man each one will tell me that the best shape they were in for their entire life was during basic training. In basic training you are forced to push your body past previously expected limitations. What you thought you could not do your drill instructor or drill sergeant made you do. He gave you no choice, and therefore, your body adapted to the regimen — the strenuous regimen dictated to you by that drill instructor — because he gave you no fucking choice.  He dared you, he made you push, and some of you are scared to put that type of dictation upon yourself. You can’t do it. You’ll say that it’s over-training because you are afraid to push yourself that far. You will be amazed — amazed — at what the human body can do. …

I don’t advocate you do what I do. 100, 200, 300 rep sessions. … All I ask is that you give it a try before you say, “CT is full of shit and he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” All I have is six world titles. All I can tell you what I’ve done, what I’ve put into action in real-life situations. Not what I think about. Not what I theorize about. Not what I talk shit about. It’s what I have done.

What have these so-called experts in these fields done? … What have you put into application? In most case, not a God-damn thing. Flapping gums don’t mean shit. What have you done, mother fucker, besides talk shit? …

Flex your biceps. What have you done? … Over-training my ass.

What is over-training? That’s the problem. If you ask 10 different people that question you’re probably going to get ten different answers. That’s because, like Mr. Fletcher said, the vast majority of people will never reach the point where they “over-train.” There are so many different factors that determine how a person’s body will respond to an exercise program that terms like “over-training” become relative.

How much sleep do you get a night? Are you eating enough calories to feed your muscles? Are you psychologically strong or weak? There’s a reason why people turn to personal trainers: each person is unique. To prove it, I’ll use CT’s “basic training” example.

CT says almost all the veterans he spoke to mentioned that Basic Training was the physical fitness pinnacle of their lives. As someone who went through Infantryman Basic Training in Fort Benning, Georgia, I can say that I don’t know if that’s the case for me.

Going into Basic Training, I was a cross country runner. I was running over 50 miles per week before I went into the Army, so my mileage actually dropped significantly when I enlisted. I went from running roughly a 10:05 two-mile to probably a 11:30 two-mile. However, with push-ups and sit-ups and three square meals I day, I put on about 25 lbs. and my upper body strength increased dramatically. Was I in “better” shape or “worse” shape? I don’t know. I was in better “Army” shape, but I was in worse “cross country” shape.

I was 18 years old then and I’m 34 years old now. I might be able to run a 12:00 two-mile before puking all over the place, but I can dead lift much more weight than I could as a kid. My upper body strength puts my younger self to shame. Am I in good shape? Again, it all depends on my individual goals. Right now my only real goal is to be able to max the Army Physical Fitness test if someone told me I had to take it on a moment’s notice. It’s not to look like CT Fletcher. Given that, I’d say I’m where I need to be.

Here’s perhaps the most important lesson from CT’s speech:

What you thought you could not do your drill instructor or drill sergeant made you do. He gave you no choice, and therefore, your body adapted to the regimen — the strenuous regimen dictated to you by that drill instructor — because he gave you no fucking choice.

The mind plays much more of a role in achieving your physical fitness goals than, in many ways, the genetics you were born with. When you can put yourself in the psychological space where failure is not an option, you’re exactly where you need to be. When you’re honest with yourself you can then gauge whether or not the pain you feel is because you’re pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone or you’re pushing yourself in ways that will result in bodily harm. When you listen to your body you’ll know when you’re not getting enough rest and need to ease off, and when you can go full throttle. As CT says: What might be “over-training” to you might be another man’s warm-up.

Embrace pain. Make it your friend. Laugh at it more than you cry at it and it will reward you. In the mean time, take a moment to watch CT’s latest video. There are many words of wisdom in his little clips, even if they’re littered with expletives.

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CT Fletcher inspires: Your body can never be stronger than your mind

CT Fletcher Trainer

CT Fletcher is popular on YouTube among people who lift weights, but his motivational videos are sage advice outside the realm of power lifting. He’s amazing, and if I lived in his neck of the woods I’d buy a membership to his gym immediately.

His video ‘Advice for Powerlifters and Heavy Weightlifting’ is an instant classic.

Now, when I would step into the auditorium or venue or wherever the contest would be held, this is what I would be thinking to myself: The bad man is here. The motherfuckin show-stopper is here. All you motherf***ers look like sheep to me and I’m the motherf***ing butcher. And I’m here to chop your motherf***ing ass up. I’m the man! Bow down motherf***er because the king is f***ing here. Only one can stand on the top pedestal and that’s my motherf***ing ass. The other two are available for you because this top motherf***er is mine. I own this s**t. CT is in the building! …

“I’m trying to get you guys to realize that I’m not just this guy who gets on YouTube and rants and cusses all the time (although I do a lot of cussing). I’m trying to get a point across to you. I’ve been doing this shit a long time. The last power lifting contest I went to, I noticed one thing. Guys were power lifters … in my day, the psyche up was such an integral part of the lift, but these days guys are in a power lifting contest but I didn’t know if I was at choir practice or in line at the DMV or what!  Nobody knew how to use the psyche-up. They just strolled up to the bar like they were f***ing in line Denny’s. … Your body can never be stronger — your body can never be stronger than the mind. I want you to learn how to get your mind involved in your lift.

When you saw my bicep video and you saw me telling my bicep ‘I command you to grow’ that’s what I was thinking in my mind. I just said it out loud so you could hear it. That’s my mind telling me ‘I command my biceps to do what I want them to do.’

Now, for you power lifters, every attempt is a one shot deal. There’s no tomorrow. You have to give that motherf***ker everything you got right then and there. You can not count on what’s going to happen tomorrow. The only thing you could actually know and depend on is that you can give it everything you have every time you step to the bar. 100 percent effort. I’m not going to say it’s going to work for you, motherf***ker. It’s what I did. You’re going to have to adapt it to you. So don’t say “he said do this.” I’m telling you what I did. You do you motherf***** and I’ll be me,” (CT Fletcher).

Years ago I had a friend who wanted to break 200 lbs. on his bench press. He could rep 190 lbs. at least five times. Whenever I would put 200 lbs. on the bar, he would fail. Over and over and over again he failed despite all the evidence in the world — on paper — that he should be able to break that barrier.

One day I did an experiment. I told him that I would put 195 lbs. on the bar, but I secretly put on 200 lbs. He lifted it without any problem because the real weakness was in his head.

Just as many weightlifters shackle themselves with mind-forged manacles, so does the average citizen in his everyday life.

We are more often than not the architects of the biggest obstacles in our lives. We are the engineers of our own overall success or failure. While there will always be events that are beyond our control (e.g., sudden sickness, a loss of a job) those things pale in comparison to the poison pills that we elect to take or discard on a daily basis.

When CT Fletcher talks about the psyche-up, he’s right. When there is zero — zero — expectation of failure on a lift, more often than not you will surprise yourself with just how strong your body can be. And, while I would hope most people don’t turn into a young Hulk Hogan in their workplace cubicle, ripping their shirts off with a lion-like roar, there is something to be said about getting psyched up for work, for relationships and for life in general.

Every day you have a choice whether to be pumped for what’s to come or not. Every day you have a choice to say “I’m going to give it everything I have” or not. When CT Fletcher talks about “stepping up to the bar” he is also talking about your day-to-day existence. You do not know what tomorrow will bring. You do not know what will happen on your way home from work. Life is a precious thing and every second of every day counts, so there is no excuse why you shouldn’t live accordingly.

CT Fletcher’s philosophy worked for him. A similar philosophy has worked for me. And if you give it a shot, I believe it will work for you, too. There’s a first place pedestal with your name on. Now go grab it.

CT Fletcher inspires — ‘Let’s get it done’

CT Fletcher

From time to time this blog veers a bit off course from its normal politics and pop culture fare to cover health and fitness. I wrote on Schwarzenegger’s “Six Rules for Success. I discussed running and the importance of being humbled. And now, I get to bring to you a short video on CT Fletcher, who in a sane universe would be approached by Marvel to play an older version of Luke Cage; the guy looks like he could walk through a brick wall. CT’s story provides a humbling tale and a message of hard work that I love. To top it off, he’s over 50 years old — and regular readers know I like writing about older guys who continue to sling the weights around despite all of society’s sick incentives to become soft and weak.

Don’t look for an easy way out. Nobody wants to work hard these days. Everybody wants the easy way — the 20 minute abs, the 10 minute this, the 10 minute that. … F**k that! Come to the gym. Work your ass off. Earn it. …

They said: “You can’t do it. You’re going to die.” I said: “Well, I’d rather die doing what I love to do than sitting at home looking at TV.”

I’m CT Fletcher: Six-time world champion, three-time world champion (drug free) bench presser, three-time world strict curl champion. …

What happened (and it took until 2005 for my attitude to change and be humbled) was the fact that I had to have emergency open-heart surgery. I was rushed to the emergency room more times than I care remember. … I was 260 before the operation, so I lost 45-50 pounds just to try and not have the operation, but it didn’t work. I came out of that surgery weighing 190 pounds,  looking like I never lifted weights in my life. I was a human skeleton. … It took me almost 2 years to recover. …

I still want to go back and defend the unbroken 225 strict curl record. I’d like to do it at the age of 54 —be able to do what I did at the age of 30. I think that would be pretty cool to come back 24 years later and do the same thing at a much lighter body weight — and 24 years older. …

20 minute abs, 20 minute calves, 20 minute butt, 20 minute any-f***ing-thing is a pile of bulls**t. If you see somebody with great abs, a great butt, a great whatever, they didn’t do the s**t in 20 minutes, and if they tell you they did, they are a f***ing liar. Trust me on that. No matter what, cause I hate complainers and I hate criers … if I could come in here with a metal valve implanted in my chest, taking 10 different medicines just to stay alive every day and do my workout, you have no excuses. So no matter what — your nose bleeds, it’s that time of the month, the kids are crying, you don’t feel like it, your back hurts, you got aches and pains — it’s still your mother-f****ng set. Let’s get it done.”

Related: CT Fletcher inspires: Your body can never be stronger than your mind