Ode and Origins by Paul Carter
(From Jim: This is an article Paul put on his blog a couple days ago. I just read it this morning and am beaming. I think of Paul as a good friend and to know that I helped inspire him to reach some of his goals; that is priceless. I hope in some way, whether it be lifting or otherwise, I can inspire you to be better in some aspect of your life. I hear a lot of things from different people who are just miserable in their lives and I want to shake them and let them know they have a choice; sometimes it takes awhile to make a change. But ultimately, YOU have a choice in your life. It is easy to be miserable and accept things as they are. It is hard to be happy. It takes sacrifice. It takes some pain. But it is up to you to make a change and morph yourself into the person with the life you want. You have one go-around on this planet – don’t waste it. You don’t have to make a million dollars or be the greatest – sometimes “success” is simply following the path your heart takes you.)
Yesterday my buddy Jim Wendler put up an article that I wrote a while back. He texted me some time ago to ask me if he could use it for his site. I said of course, no need to even ask. But Jim cursed me, and said he’d always ask first. I laughed.
I’ve had quite a few people ask me how I know Jim. Well, here’s the story.
People ignore simple training methods, because “there has to be a better way”. It’s too simple. I often think that most people that post on the internet that “train” (DYEL?) are more what I call, lifting intellectuals, than actual lifters. They like to talk about training, and they like training methods that are fucking complex because, well, that gives them a lot of shit to talk about.
So this kind of shit, the kind that Jim was writing about, was too simple for them.
- Work harder?
- Add more weight to the bar?
- Do more reps?
- What are these things you speak of?
There has to be a “better” way. That’s an inferior path.
Who the fuck said?
Why does there have to be a better way? Because you aren’t strong? Someone is hiding something secret program from you? Here’s the real secret, no one is hiding anything. And there isn’t anything special about bands or chains or foam or special bars. You can get as fucking strong and as developed as you’re ever going to get with a very limited amount of equipment, and an unlimited amount of yearning to get better.
I initially called my blog “functional-strength”. Because I hated that fucking phrase, and I wanted to redefine what that meant. But I was just never happy with it. So I eventually settled on lift-run-bang. With “bang” being the variable. It could mean anything. Lift, run, football. Lift, run, MMA. Or….lift, run, bang. Like banging some trim. You get it.
So I wrote some articles that no one would read, but that was ok. I liked having the outlet. Anyway, Jim read my shit and encouraged me to submit them to elitefts. That was weird to me, because I had no background in writing, nor did I think anyone would want to read my shit. But I did. And the feedback was positive, so I continued. And soon 5-12 people read my articles. My and Jim’s ideas were so similar, I read in more than one place that “they seem to just rip each other off.” in regards to the things we wrote about. I laughed, and took that as a compliment. Often times Jim would write something almost word for word on an article I would be working on. And I’d have to scrap it because of that. I always took it as a compliment anytime someone compared our work because I think Jim is a fantastic writer, and his article that he put up on t-nation sometime back, about overhead pressing is one of the best articles I’ve read about concerning lifting weights, in a long, long time.
You know why? Because there is someone stronger than everyone somewhere. I have no control over that. I only have control over my own shit, and what I can do about it. So that’s what I focus on. That’s what you should focus on.
The day you stop worrying about what other people are doing, and other people think about you in regards to training, is the day you take that a step towards getting better. Because then you start making decisions to get better for YOU. Not to please someone else, or find their approval. You learn to stop asking permission, and know you don’t need to ask for forgiveness. Why? Because it’s your own god damn training. Do what makes shit happen for you. Grok that fucking motto, and you’ll wake up one morning to the amazement that you’re pretty fucking awesome, and you didn’t need to give someone a rusty trombone in order to get that way. You did shit like it needed to be done for you.
Embrace that attitude. Embrace becoming a lifer. When you’re a lifer, you know the little victories add up. 5 pounds on the bar this week, and 5 in a month, and 5 more in 6 months just increased one of my big lifts by 15 pounds. I didn’t need to run some special Russian secret program in order to add that weight in a few weeks, only to realize you can’t sustain those gains. I did it slowly, methodically, and that way, they became cemented in the foundation of my strength.
My ode to Jim is that lift-run-bang never exists without the support and friendship he has given me over the years. I could have never helped the people I have, if Jim hadn’t given me a similar nut punch to write and get my ideas out, and take a few steps forward. For most people, those first few steps are the hardest. To have someone there to encourage you enough to take those steps, can be the single biggest factor in making something happen.
I think it’s always important to acknowledge the people who make a positive difference in your life, and I wanted to do that with this post, acknowledging Jim and how much he helped me in getting my feet off the ground, so to speak.
Got a question for Jim Wendler? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Legitimate questions will be answered via the website/blog. All older questions will be answered in time via www.JimWendler.com. If the answer is clearly answered in any of the 5/3/1 books, your question will not be answered.