This touching guest post was written by Rick Walker, one of my long-time friends, and the guy who first got me into Grip. I hope you enjoy it.
As adults, we learn through our experiences that life is not a straight road, but a series of ups and downs, twists and turns, wrong ways and short cuts. We learn this through our own struggles and failures, our own bad choices, our own falls and climbs. A child should not have to learn about his own road at such an early age.
My step-son could just give up. At age 10 he has learned life has a way of getting messy. Life has a way of turning you up-side-down and shaking you. At age 4 he experienced the death of his father. Though he was only 4, the experience had, and continues to have, a profound effect on him. It is hard enough as an adult to lose your elderly parents, but to be 4 years old and have your dad there one day and gone the next, to see him lying in a hospital bed, to see him at his viewing and funeral, and to process exactly what is going on does something to the soul that can never be reversed. Yet he persevered.
By age 8, after much pleading by his mother and me, the school finally tested him and discovered he had a learning disability. He was struggling to learn to read and spell no matter how hard he worked at it and how much we helped him. The school had written him off as lazy, but we knew better. His test showed his IQ is high but his reading ability lags behind. He now has to leave his regular class room on a daily basis to get extra help in reading. He could have shut down. He could have fought against it and fell further behind, but he didn’t. He persevered. He works hard at his studies and is a straight A student. Perseverance.
The summer of 2013, his mom and I noticed he seemed to really be leaning up, was going to the bathroom often, and complained of being tired. He had just finished a great baseball season so we at first chalked it up to that. We put him on the scale and he had lost 10 pounds. 24 hours later he was rushed to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA and diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Life, once again, had dropped a major bomb on a 9 year old kid.
Most of this would break us. Most of this would leave us depressed, broken, and beaten. But this 9 year old kid took it in stride. He never shed a tear; he just looked at his doctor and said, “What do we have to do?” and, “Can I still play football?”
It is not often that a father learns an important life lesson from his son. It is usually the other way around. He continued to train hard and prepare for his 2014 football season. Never once breaking to the sugar lows and highs, never once complaining about the 7 shots a day, about the constant checking of his blood, about the many blood tests he endures once every 3 months. He just persevered. At a time when I was fighting my own demons with my heart issues, this 10 year old boy was teaching me how to live. Week after week, workout after workout, he was showing me that success is not defined by never falling, but by falling over and over again and always getting back up. Always pushing forward. Always fighting back at whatever life decides to throw your way. He taught me to live for the moment, to live for today. He taught me that whatever the future may hold, we have this second right now to be a champion. He has made me a better father, a better husband, and a better man.
At the end of the 2014 season, his team finished with a 5-3 record and took the #1 team in the league, a team with a 7-0 record, to a dog fight in the second round of the play-offs losing by a score of 14-6. That same team went on to win the championship the very next weekend 31-0. They scored twice on us.
Casey scored 12 touchdowns, had over 800 yards rushing, and 60+ solo tackles. He currently squats 120 for 5s, bench presses 90 for 5s, and deadlifts 160 for 5s at a bodyweight of 92 pounds. At this time we are prepping for a December powerlifting meet where he fully intends on crushing the 10-11 year old 97-pound records that have stood since 2001.
At the end of the season, Casey also received the following awards: Academic Achievement Award, Perfect Attendance Award, Offensive Back MVP, and Overall Team MVP.
My son has become a man in a short period of time. Because he HAD to. He had no other choice. Give up and give in, or persevere. He chose, and chooses, to PERSEVERE. Day after day, workout after workout. He has a dream and a goal to one day play in the NFL. As a father I will do everything I can to make sure this amazing young man does just that.
Next time you are down and out over something, your training is stagnant, your life is stagnant, you hate your job, whatever it may be, think of this 10 year old boy and all he has overcome in his short life. Realize that it really isn’t as bad as it seems. And persevere.
#34 Casey J. Lettie Walker, 2014 Football Highlights
“Get busy living, or get busy dying.” – Andy Dufresne, The Shawshank Redemption
Thanks to Rick Walker for putting this piece together. -Jedd-
Hope things are going well.
Monday, May 5th, was a big day for me.
It marked my most important anniversary.
Hard to believe 6 years ago yesterday, my wife and I went to Chapel Hill, NC to get a tubal reversal so we could start trying to have a child.
JayCee is now 4.
So if you do the math, you’ll notice the pregnancy didn’t happen right away, despite my best efforts ;).
In fact, it was a long time between when we were allowed to start trying and when we finally got pregnant.
You know, I chuckle sometimes when I hear new trainees talking about how long it is taking for them to reach their goals.
“Oh, I have been training for so long, and I’m still not as big as I want to be…”
“When will I finally be able to lift this or be able to do that…it’s taking so long to see results.”
Then I think back to the nights laying in bed wondering if I was ever going to be lucky enough to be a father.
Man, I lost a lot of sleep during that time.
(Little did I know I was going lose even more once JayCee got here – ha ha ha.)
So anyway, yesterday was a special day for us, and I sent my wife a dozen roses, with a card that said:
- “Happy Anniversary. Thank you for giving me the best gift I could ever receive.”
The waiting was long, but looking back, I think it was a good thing, because I wasn’t ready to be a dad during that time anyway.
The waiting gave me time to grow up.
It gave me time to get stronger.
It gave me time to make sure the situation JayCee would be coming into was better prepared for her.
And that is pretty much what I tell people who get impatient about a lack of results.
Just like how I was still too much of an immature kid, who was in no shape or form ready to be a Dad, I tell them, maybe they just aren’t where they need to be in their training.
Maybe they aren’t disciplined enough.
Maybe they aren’t willing to pay the price they need to reach the levels they want.
Maybe, they just plain aren’t strong enough.
I’ll tell ya what, any time your training isn’t going the way you want it to, there’s nothing wrong with just focusing on GETTING STRONGER.
Putting more weight on the bar.
Doing the same weight for more reps.
Getting better this workout, than you were in the last one.
If you approach your training like that, then your goals will come sooner.
And when they do, you will enjoy them that much more.
And believe me, you will enjoy each goal you hit, .
Here’s to always getting stronger!
All the best in your training,
P.S. In my efforts to help you get stronger, I have added a store to the website, and will be selling my own strength training gear.
The first item we are putting up is the Pinch Block Curl. <= Check it out, they are in stock starting this week.
Have you ever seen someone with a TON of Talent who looks like everything comes so freakin’ easy for them?
Have you ever been tempted to say, “Man, I have to work so hard to _______ but it comes so EASY for them.”
I have been hearing a lot of this lately, because of the “kid” I have been training with, Luke Raymond.
I put quotes around kid, because when I first met him, he was a new-hire right out of high school at the place I used to work and he was learning to operate forklifts.
That was 10 years ago. Now he is a Physical Therapist with a Master’s Degree.
After a couple of months, he’s already become a valued partner who has pushed me and helped me to improve while he has been tackling big goals himself.
For instance, he bent a Red Nail in his second bending session.
Luke Raymond Red Nail Bend 2nd Time Bending
To give you an idea of how awesome this is, I considered myself a damn good bender in my day, and it took me over a year of training to be able to bend a Red Nail.
This week, he bent one with just Iron Mind Pads and no rubber bands, matching certification conditions.
Luke Raymond Red Nail Bend IMPs and No Rubber Bands
He closed a #3 a few weeks back with a 20-mm Grip Contest set.
Luke Raymond #3 Gripper 20-mm Block Close
But to say all these things are coming “EASY” to Luke…
…well that kind of bugs the hell out of me, to be honest.
But of course, the jealous punks on Youtube and Facebook always have something to say…
“Sure, it comes EASY to him. He’s training with you.”
“Some people are just born with better genetics”
And other bullcrap stuff that I delete right away.
For people to discredit the work he has put in to do the things he has done is crazy.
It’s like someone saying a short person doesn’t even have to work hard to get jacked because they will just naturally build muscle easier.
Like if they just show up to the gym, the muscle will build itself.
Are you kidding me?
This week, he lifted the 50-lb Blob, another feat that normally takes people months if not years to accomplish.
Luke Raymond Blob Lift
But just because he’s accomplished these things in a fairly short time, does that mean that it all came easy to him?
No way brother!
People are only seeing a small percentage of what goes on in my gym…
…less than 1%, I’d say.
And they certainly aren’t seeing workout after workout where Luke grabs onto the Blob and it does nothing but chuckles in his face.
They don’t see when Luke has a frustrating workout and is clenching his teeth, taking deep breaths, and shouts in anger because of his frustration.
They don’t see that Luke has driven 30+ minutes 2 to 3 times a week just to be able to get another chance to work on the Blob.
They don’t see the nearly 3 hour workouts on the weekends when most of our friends are sleeping off a hangover.
They don’t see the assisted lifts, the eccentrics, the triples with other block weights, the holds for time with hex blocks…
All of that goes into why these gains are coming so quickly.
He is willing to put the effort in and MAKE THINGS HAPPEN.
I am a firm believe that good things don’t just happen.
PR’s don’t just happen.
Gainz don’t just happen.
People Make Them Happen.
YOU make them happen!
Hope you have an awesome workout today.
Need help with bending? Nail Bending eBook
Need help with Blobs & Block Weights? Lift the Blob
Want detailed instruction on Grip? The Grip Authority
Very quick post today for those who compete. Doesn’t matter what at.
I saw this video earlier and could not help but think about how this Jaguar hunting this Caiman is just like training.
Are You Up in Your Opponent’s Brain Case?
Are you training so hard that word of your intensity is getting out to everyone you could potentially face?
Are you taking your training to levels that would SCARE the people you would be facing?
When you attack, or when you go up against them, will you be so fast and strong that they are left trembling in fear?
Do You Have Laser-Like Precision Focus on Your Goals
Are you able to see exactly where you will be in 1 month, 2 months, or 6 months time, like a predator stalking its prey?
Are you able to get your work in, no matter what the conditions are?
Are you able to take that next step forward, even if the situation is not optimal?
If you answered NO to any of these questions, then you have work to do.
Take things to the next level. Don’t let anything stop you.
No excuses. No worries.
When things don’t go your way, so what – take it in stride and sink your teeth in.
And when you get to the platform, or the field, or the mat, you will be ready to snap your jaws tight on the brain case or vertebral column of your adversary and carry them away to eat at your convenience.
Make It Happen.
A few weeks back, I invited my personal training client, Mark, to come train with me on a Saturday. He travels a great deal in his business, so that particular week he was unable to train with me at all, so i thought this would be a good way for him to get some work in.
That day, it was a great workout. We really got a lot of good quality work in, so I told him if he wanted to do that session with me each week, I would not charge him for the session, and he agreed.
This past Thursday morning, we were supposed to train together again, but his flight schedule got changed, so he wasn’t going to make it in. And so he called me on my cell while I was warming up and let me know he wouldn’t make it.
I normally train in the afternoon, so I almost said screw it and went back upstairs to work, but instead I hit the workout solo, and I am glad I did because it was awesome.
See why in the video below.
A little tribute to two of my best friends, Rick Walker and Mike Rinderle. Thanks for always having my back guys! I dedicate this workout to you.
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