Tag Archives: life

Will Alcohol Ruin Your Gains? Common Sense Approach to Alcohol and Lifting

To live a fulfilling life, you need to be able to have a good time and relax.

Sometimes that means putting business and training aside, and letting loose out on the town. For a lot of us, letting loose means having a few drinks, sharing some laughs, and maybe even causing a little trouble.

I know when I go out, my “good time” usually involves my friends Mr. Makers Mark and Mr. Tequila Shot.

As someone who takes the fitness game seriously, what you shouldn’t do is swear off alcohol because you are afraid it ruins your gains or makes you fat. That’s a myth, a fear tactic, plain ol’ nonsense. However you want to put it. There is no reason to think alcohol and lifting can’t co-exist.

If you want to have a few drinks , especially after working your ass off for extended periods of time, by all means do it. Reward yourself. If you stay in the grind too long, you will burn out, which in my opinion leads to far more problems than nursing a hangover every now and then.

This doesn’t mean I’m advocating being a heavy drinker, nor am I saying that you need to drink to have a good time. My intention is to just shed some light that a little bit of debauchery a few nights a month will not wreck your progress if you are associating alcohol with negative effects on your strength gains and physique.

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With this in mind, there are two things to consider when drinking that will allow you to have a few guilt-free adult beverages.

#1: Do Not Cave to Drunken Munchies

Alcohol does not make you fat, but a night of drinking does push the boundaries of self-discipline in your diet.

How many of you have hit up a night at the bar, and then crushed the fast food drive-thru or pizza place on the way home for a night cap of binge eating? I know I have.

Nailing down your diet during the day, but then finishing the night off with a 1000 calorie munchie-impulse meal will surely put add some thickness to your midsection. That’s the kind of shit that makes you fat, not a few drinks at the bar.

If you know you’re going to be hungry at the end of the night, have some stuff on hand at home to either make yourself a healthy meal or have something prepped and ready to go that will cure the munchies and feed your physique in a responsible way.

#2: Lay Off the Girly Drinks

Much like I’m a minimalist in my training, being a minimalist as a drinker is important as well.

Complex drinks that are loaded with sugary mixers have a ton of excess calories, plus they will give you one hell of a hangover…

Stick to the basics. Alcohol + Zero/Low Calorie Mixer. Vodka Soda is a good example.

Fancy cocktails should set off warning signs in your mind that say “Don’t Drink Me”.

A rule I give to a lot of people is to “Never drink your calories” and this applies perfectly to this scenario. 800 calorie margaritas on top of your daily allotment of food calories will put you way over surplus amounts, an even bigger problem if you are trying to shed weight and need to be in a deficit.

#3: What About Beer?bud light chick

There have been a lot of studies highlighting the estrogenic effects, carb amounts, and inherent weight gain from drinking beer. While there is some truth to those studies, beer is one of those vices where “everything in moderation” applies.

Having a few beers here and there won’t hurt you. What will hurt you is when you are drinking 5+ a night trying to maintain a buzz (which is why I like taking shots, but that’s beside the point). Do that several times a month and boom, you’ve added a couple of unwanted pounds to your frame.

Moral of the Story

Don’t obsess over whether or not you have a drink or two.

Like going out and having a good time? Then do it. I can guarantee you that the memories you make causing trouble with your buddies will far outweigh the pound or two you see on the scale or that you add to the bar.

Don’t make it an unhealthy habit, but don’t restrict yourself to the point that it has unwanted side effects on your personal life and relationships. I was that guy once in college when training consumed my life, and looking back on it now, I regret not going out with my buddies as much and creating even more memories than I have now. Sometimes you just need to take a step back and let yourself live a little…

— Tank

You Are Where You Train

Over my 16 years or so of lifting, I’ve trained in every sort of environment you can imagine.

No frills high-school weight rooms, flashy expensive health clubs, corporate commercial gyms like Golds, a rock-climbing gym, and even a makeshift gym built out of one of Saddam Hussein’s old palaces when I was deployed to Iraq.

Each of these places held their own merits, and all of them had their fair share of problems as well. A lot of what you find attractive in a gym may come down to personal taste, but one thing nobody can deny is that your gym environment has a direct impact on how much you increase your performance.

I put a lot of thought into this topic recently as I opened the Primal Strength Gym. Thinking back to where I have trained in the past and what is important to develop a results-oriented training center, I’ve been able to key in on three vital issues that you should look for when seeking out a place to train.

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#1: Culture

This is by far the primary problem I see with a vast majority of the gyms I’ve come across. Most gyms, like any other business, are so focused on their bottom line (profit) that they bring in whoever is willing to pay their price, despite what baggage the prospective client brings to the gym environment.

Commercial gyms, like Golds, make a fortune off people that pay for a membership but don’t ever show up. But, on the flip side, what happens when people with poor attitudes show up and kill the gym energy with their negativity? It contaminates the environment and it will have an effect on you whether or not you even realize it.

In the gym, and your personal life, you are a product of who you surround yourself with. Surround yourself with slackers, whiners, complainers, and fearful people and you start to become one of those people. Surround yourself with hard-chargers, ass kickers, and strong, bad ass mother f’ers and you become a bad ass mother f’er. That’s just the way it goes.

At the Primal Strength Gym, I only maintain 50 membership slots, most of whom are referrals. I make sure I bring the right people in because maintaining the right kind of people and preserving the culture of the gym is paramount.

#2: Equipment

I’m going to take the opposite approach you may think on this one. Bottom line, most gyms these days have too much shit in them. Typically, when I walk into a gym, the more equipment I see, the worse the gym is.

You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to get big and strong, and too much equipment just turns into a distraction and throws people off from the basics of hardcore fundamental lifting.

The Primal Strength Gym has 3 power racks, a number of specialty bars, bands, sleds, multiple pull-up stations, heavy dumbbells, and some strongman implements like a yoke, log press, kegs, and ropes. My training revolves around the basics. Most people, with the right programming, can make tons of gains without specialized equipment and training protocols. The basics work…

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#3: Environment

In large part, culture and environment are interchangeable. The environment you create will dictate the culture you bring in and you need the right culture to maximize your gains.

Swanky health clubs and corporate box gyms simply don’t breed the intensity and grittiness that you need to train like an animal. So when you’re looking for a place to train, you need to pick a place that breeds aggressiveness and intensity, not complacency and restraint.

Primal Strength Gym has no heat or air conditioning. The radio blares death metal and gangster rap. A normal person might be intimidated walking through the door for the first time, but a little bit of fear can take you a long way. In order to be at your best you need to rise to the occasion, not shrink to normalcy.

So think about where you’ve been training. Does it fit my 3 vital characteristics? Does it fit the mold of a place that will bring out the best in you? Or are you coasting and wasting your potential?

— Tank

Rewards Are Worth The Risk

Some of the most rewarding times of my life and times when I made the most personal growth are times when I took the biggest risks.

I’ve always been an adrenaline junkie so things like bungee jumping, sky diving, white water rafting, and rock climbing come natural to me. Other times, like my deployments to Iraq with the U.S. Government and volunteering to go outside the wire to some of the most dangerous places in the world were a bit more unnerving. Founding Primal Strength Camp was a minor risk financially, but a big risk to my ego if I failed. Opening the Primal Strength Gym was all of the above, a big financial risk and also opening up a big opportunity for embarrassment in the public eye if I had to close my doors.

But despite the inherent risk all of these situations carried, they all have one major thing in common.

They made me feel alive.

Isn’t that the key to life? To LIVE.

risk

Don’t misconstrue that with just “existing”.

On a daily basis, I’m surrounded by people who are just existing and trust me you don’t want to be one of those people. Going through the motions, treading water in their careers, staying comfortable instead of doing things with their life that they dream of. People who are not living up to their potential or are waiting for something better to come along. Doing the same shit at the gym every day because they are afraid of trying something difficult.

Existing is not living.

You will never achieve greatness or reach your full potential by just existing. The people that just exist are the ones you never hear of. It’s the guy in your office who will be sitting in the same desk 15 years from now with no legacy to show for it. It will be the dude in the gym who still looks the same 2 years from now and is lifting the same amount of weight. It will be your Uncle Rico talking about how back in the day he could’ve done this or that had it not been for <insert excuse here>.

To live requires action. It takes hard work. But more than anything, it requires you to go out on a limb, to put yourself at great risk for failure, and give yourself at least an opportunity to achieve something remarkable.

I’ve felt more alive in the last month prepping the Primal Strength Gym for its grand opening than I have in quite some time. It’s a risk, but one that 20 years from now I’ll be far happier I took, rather than just maintaining the status quo in my life.

riskI was reading this article on Forbes recently, and one of the top 5 things risk adverse people said was “What if it doesn’t work out?”

But people are looking at it all wrong. The far more important question you should be asking yourself is “What if it does?”

Think about that for a second. Think about your dreams, where you want to be in the future, and what you want out of your life. Then think about where you are now and if you’re truly happy with where you are.

I’d venture to guess that there is at least some degree of disparity there.

Now ask yourself…is it worth the risk to find out what it’s like if it does work out?

You’re fucking right…

Live. Don’t just exist.

You owe it to the world, but more importantly you owe it to yourself.

— Tank

Establish Your Training Philosophy

One of the most important journeys you will make in your lifetime is on the path of self discovery.

Finding out who you are as a person, what fuels you, what discourages you, and how to use your strengths and weaknesses to your advantage is crucial if you want to reach your full potential.

Who is (fill in your name here)? Your entire outlook and path in life comes down to this question.

Living in the iron game is no different.

You need a training philosophy. It should fully encompass who you are and what your big picture goals are. No matter what, your philosophy is your guiding light in the gym. It dictates how you train, what you are training for, and how you help your peers.

Primal’s philosophy is simple. We train for real-world strength, performance, and mental toughness. We do not stray from this EVER.

Connor Farmers

Everything we do revolves around this philosophy. Not one movement in the course of a training session is wasted.  Every cycle over the course of years of training is devoted to getting stronger, both mentally and physically. Because we know who we are and what our training values are, we have a clear vision of how to train.

When you don’t have a training philosophy, I can see it from a mile away.

You will start program hopping.  You will start changing your goals every couple of weeks.  You will be painfully susceptible to the “next big thing”.  What happens is you become a jack of all trades but a master of none.  This is not a good place to be and will surely halt any measurable long-term progress.

“Therein lies the strength of water: it cannot be touched by a hammer or ripped to shreds by a knife. The strongest sword in the world cannot scar its surface. The river adapts itself to whatever route proves possible, but the river never forgets its one objective: the sea.  So fragile at its source, it gradually gathers the strength of other rivers it encounters. And after a certain point, its power is absolute.”

You are the river. Your training philosophy is the sea. You may borrow knowledge from all the other “rivers” out there, but you must learn how to align that knowledge with your philosophy.

Throughout my many years of training I’ve encountered a million different ways to do things. I’ve crossed and swam many “rivers” and picked up a lot of knowledge along the way. You will see many different styles of training in my programs and advice I give to you: bodybuilding, strongman, powerlifting, bodyweight, plyometrics, animal walks, sport specific drills, sprinting, the list goes on and on. But I know exactly how to take from all of those different styles and align them into the Primal philosophy of getting bigger, stronger, faster, and more efficient.

This is why it is so important that you develop your own philosophy. It allows you to see the big picture in your training life. It helps you understand how all of the different styles can play a part in furthering your cause, but it also helps you see how they don’t fit and what not to do.

training philosophy

When you have a philosophy, you have a spiritual connection with your training. Your training will take on a whole new meaning and it will reach much deeper into your psych. It gives you a sense of purpose and allows your goals to define your training, and not your training to define your goals. You will have a much clearer vision of how to do things and why you do them.

So Primal Nation, take a look in the mirror today. Ask yourself, “Who am I? What am I training for?

Think hard and deep. Be honest with yourself and figure out what you stand for. Maybe you don’t have all of the answers now. After all, it took me years to develop my philosophy. But at least start down the path of self discovery.

— Tank

Standing Your Ground

I was at an art gallery a few weeks back.

Pretty cultured of me huh?

Anyhow, there were a lot of impressive photographs, paintings, and digital art prints in the exhibit.

But this one really caught my eye.

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I admired it at first glance and then strolled along to check out the rest of the gallery, but found myself coming back to this one in particular multiple times. It really spoke to me and I’ve thought about it almost daily ever since.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder one could say, but taking a deeper look at this picture I think it tells a really compelling story.

This city is teetering on a cliff in the middle of a harsh sea. Waves are crashing all around it, tearing at its base, threatening its very existence. But yet, showing a touch of aging and wear, it still stands tall in the face of precarious circumstances. It’s showing strength in a sea of adversity with no signs of backing down, despite its very foundation crumbling around it. It’s defiant in the face of overwhelming danger. It’s enduring.

Is this not a metaphor for life? Perhaps it’s a metaphor for YOUR life, right this very second?

As the old saying goes, “shit happens”.  We all live in harsh seas.  One minute you are riding high, the next minute your foundation is shaky and you are struggling to stay above the surface.

The question then becomes, will you stand up and fight defiantly like this city in the sea? Or will you drown?

I ask this question many times in my own life, and in relation to this very business.

You see, the strength and conditioning world is a competitive place. Primal Strength Camp is 2 years old now and I’m proud of how far it has come. But it’s easy to find myself in a sea of doubt when comparing myself to some of the bigger names in the business who have been at it much longer than I have. It’s easy to want to compromise and try to be like other huge fitness pages that don’t really post anything of value, just googled recycled memes. It’s tempting to try and come up with diet or training gimmicks with fancy marketing that insinuate an easy way out, rather than be honest with people and tell them that it takes brutally hard work. It would be easy to compromise my values and training philosophies to be “more appealing” to the masses and get more clients.

But I prefer to be on my cliff, defiant and uncompromising in the face of all odds.

I’m confident in my strength and I believe in what I do. That’s what allows me to stand my ground and press forward in what I believe is a positive direction.

So what about you? Is there something in your life that you need to stand up for, despite negative circumstances?

Do you have the fortitude to stand on your cliff and fight against wave after wave of adversity?

I know you do. I believe in you without even having to know you because I believe in the power of the mind.

But it doesn’t matter what I believe because ultimately it comes down to what you believe about yourself.

Find your strength. Use it to defy the odds, to overcome negative circumstances, to stand tall on that cliff when the rain and waves are crashing over you.  No matter how bleak the horizon looks, your willingness to fight through the storms will make the difference between your ultimate success and getting swept out to sea.

Sometimes it gets lonely being that city in the sea. But rising above it all, I bet it has a hell of a view.

You must endure Primal Nation. You must endure.

— Tank

Redemption

redemption

  1.  an act of redeeming or atoning for a fault or mistake, or the state of being redeemed.
  2. deliverance; rescue.
  3. Theology. deliverance from sin; salvation.
  4. atonement for guilt.

As nice as it sounds to “live life without regrets”, I think you would be hard pressed to find someone completely free of regret for past choices and actions (if they are being honest).

It seems that for many people, admitting regret is some sign of weakness that we shouldn’t confront. However, I’d contend just the opposite. It takes a lot to admit where you went wrong and in doing so, you are actually demonstrating an enormous amount of strength and self awareness.

Everyone makes mistakes. It is perfectly acceptable to have regrets, but where many of us go wrong is not learning from them.

Own your choices, own your mistakes, but don’t let them own your future. Embrace regret. But always find redemption.

Redemption

Over the 31 years of my life, I can point to many times of regret.

  • I regret not taking strength training and baseball more seriously in high school.
  • I regret partying too much and not applying myself more in college.
  • I regret not becoming a strength coach sooner.
  • I regret being away from Primal Strength Camp for a year.
  • I regret letting friendships fade and not staying in touch with people that mean a lot to me.
  • I regret not being a better husband to a wife that always puts me first, even in the smallest and most inconsequential choices.
  • I regret being “too tired” to put my daughter to bed some nights, when in reality some of our most amazing times together come while reading stories and cuddling as she drifts off to sleep.

I could go on and on.

I own my regrets. But the more important thing to focus on is how do I redeem myself? How do I become a better coach, a better teacher, a better friend, a better husband, and a better father, despite the mistakes I’ve made along the way?

It is never too late for redemption.

The many messages from Primal Nation over the last week help prove that. I’m glad to be back and I’m extremely lucky to have all of you. Hopefully, I will redeem myself from my year long hiatus.

Embrace your regrets. Find redemption. Get better every day.

— Tank

Habits Are Hard to Break

I’ve been biting my fingernails since I was a little kid.  For probably about 25 years that I can recall, I haven’t been able to break the habit.

It has become so second nature that I don’t even realize I’m doing it.  For the most part, I have to be told that I am, and then I can stop myself.  But if I’m on my own, forget about it…

My hands look like hell and I’m sure I look like a weirdo when I’m doing it.

But habits are hard to break.

Most of the time, our attention is drawn to bad habits.

How many of you have hit the gym hard for a week, then missed a day, and boom!  It takes weeks for you to make it back.

Or, on the flip side, how many of you meatheads out there hit the gym religiously, but it becomes so second nature that you overlook simple mistakes you are making in technique or fall into some drab routine where you just keep doing the same ol’ sh*t over and over again.

We can all relate to this on some level, whether it even involves the gym or not.  Maybe you have habits that you’ve picked up and they are now entrenched in your lifestyle.

Habits can take over your life.  But just like developing the bad ones, we all have the opportunity to create good ones as well.

There is no reason you can’t reverse current trends or start a new habit that betters your life starting today.

aristotle habits

I’m 30 years old now and there is no damn reason why I shouldn’t be able to stop biting my finger nails.

Just like there is no reason why you can’t develop the habit of going to the gym.  Or develop the habit of paying close attention to all aspects of your gym routine and nailing your technique each and every rep.

Some of the most successful people I know are huge creatures of habit.  I was reading an article by author/trainer Craig Ballantyne where he talked about his morning routine.  Wakes up at the same time every day, writes his goals down for the day, has the same tasks every morning, and doesn’t stray much from it.  In return, his entire mindset is wired now to where he can’t help but be productive.  That dude gets more done by 11am than most of us do the entire day!

Being in the habit of working your ass off breeds success and productivity.  And there isn’t a single person I know that doesn’t want to be successful.

So make it your goal today to start forming good habits.  Studies have shown that if you stick with something for at least 2 weeks, you have far more of a chance to maintain that habit permanently.

This doesn’t mean that you have to be boring.  Maybe only 4 hours of your day are ritualized.  But I can guarantee you that you will get more done in those 4 hours of habit than you would just winging it.  Spend the rest of the day being a free spirit and enjoying life.  But for those 4 hours, be on lockdown.

I’ll make it my mission from this point forward to stop biting my fingernails.  You just get your ass to the gym or form whatever habits you need to in order to improve your quality of life.

Now is the time to take action.

Evolve!!

— Tank
NASM Certified Personal Trainer
Underground Strength Coach

5 Ways to Change Your Life Immediately

Changing your life for the better is typically a process.  It usually starts with a goal, then a plan, and then after some period of execution, boom!  You may end up where you want to be.

But it’s never an overnight process, nor is there an end destination.

You should always be striving to get better.  Every.  Single.  Day.  If you aren’t better than you were yesterday, you are wasting your potential.  Each and every one of us is capable of great things.  I truly believe that.  It’s just up to you to believe that about yourself.

Wall Builder

Now while there is no such thing as overnight success, there are things you can do right now that will change your life for the better.

#1: Drop Negative Influences Out of Your Life

This one is huge!

The key to being successful is being confident and having a positive attitude.  Negative people are your enemy.

I don’t care who they are either.  If they aren’t firmly entrenched in your corner, supporting you through thick and thin, or having a positive influence on you, get rid of them.  Unfortunately, I had to do this with my own mother.  She was/is battling substance abuse and just general bat sh*t craziness since I was a little boy, and after years and years of trying to help her, I realized I had to cut the cord.

Some of you may think that sounds harsh, but some people you just can’t change.  But you sure as hell better believe that you can change yourself and who you associate with.

#2: Simplify Your Lifestyle

This kind of goes with #1 up there.

The more sh*t you have in your life, the more complicated it is.  Bottom line.

I was reading a muscle building book a while ago and it had this awesome discussion on “free will”.  It talked about how so many convicts are jacked but yet a lot of people with fancy gym memberships and all of this freedom still were weak and average looking.

The author chalked it up to “free will” and how each decision we make takes a little bit of energy out of our tank.

Convicts really have no choices in their daily lives.  Life, as funny as it sounds, is simple for them because they don’t have to make many decisions.  The decisions they do make are how they pass time in their cell and how they spend their rec yard time.

But for “normal people” like us, all of our free will is eaten up by the thousands of decisions we have to make every day.  When do I go to bed?  What tv show should I watch now?  Should I buy this?  What am I going to wear?  Where should I go out to eat for lunch?  Do I fold laundry or wash the dishes?

Somewhere buried in all of those decisions is the one to exercise.  To spend that extra 15 minutes to stretch.  To do that extra set of good mornings.

Inmates are working with a much fuller tank than we are.  So you may need to even the playing field.

The more simple your life is, the more freedom you have.  And you could use that “free will” towards making yourself better.

It's Simple

#3: Stop Watching TV

This one is a biggie.

I’m just as guilty as anyone on this.  I do watch a lot of sports and some occasional trash tv when I’m trying to get my newborn to sleep, but turning off the tube can be one of the best things you could ever do to fuel your productivity.

I did a little experiment a while back where I stopped watching tv, and in one week, I had cleared out my reading queue of 3 eBooks and finished a book on Dan John that I had been trying to finish for several months.

Some of the most successful people I know don’t watch any tv at all.  They don’t have time for it because they are too busy hustling, kicking ass, and doing better for themselves.

#4: Clean Up Your Diet

There is a direct correlation between what you eat and how you feel.

So if you want to feel good, you need to eat clean.

Lay off the fats and heavy carbs.  Eat quality proteins, a diverse array of veggies, and never drink your calories.

For a good breakdown of macronutrients, click here and here.

The reality of it is, you could have the best muscle building program in the world, but if your diet is crap, you will see no results.  You will never be able to out-train a bad diet.

#5: Find a Passion

Passion

It doesn’t really matter what it is.  Just find something that you really care about and immerse yourself in it.

Passion breeds success and allows you to focus on something that you think is much bigger than yourself.  It just so happens that my passion is strength training and getting stronger.  And in training myself, it carries over to when I train others.  I do my best to motivate and help others reach their goals.

Showing your passion to the world is an inspiring thing.  It’s infectious!  And when you are doing things that you want to do, you feel better about yourself.  You have a sense of purpose.

So even if it’s only for an hour or less a day, live your passion.  You need it for yourself, and the world needs it from you.

Alright Primal nation, time to take action!  You have an opportunity to make a difference right now, this very second!

Don’t waste it…

Evolve!!

— Tank
NASM Certified Personal Trainer
Underground Strength Coach

I Used to Weigh 400 Pounds

Primal Nation,

Not everyday are you privileged to be a part of a story like this.  But a few weeks ago, my new friend Robert reached out to me on Primal’s Facebook page and brought my attention to his weight loss journey.  After seeing some of his before and after pictures, I asked him to put his story in writing because I thought his accomplishments were remarkable and needed to be shared with the world.

And boy, was I blown away.  These kind of stories are what I live for.  Seeing people fight against the odds, push through mental barriers, become stronger day by day, and persevere through great physical and emotional challenges.  Achieving the extraordinary…

Robert’s achievements are not related to Primal Strength Camp at all.  He is just a follower of the page and every now and then I hope I give him some useful information via Facebook posts and the Primal blog.  He achieved his transformation all on his own, but after meeting the man, you better believe I’m in his corner as his journey to reach 200 pounds continues.  He has a ton to offer the world with his weight loss story and we could all learn something from him.  So it is my pleasure to help him share his story here…

Start following his page here: https://www.facebook.com/OneGuysWeightLossJourney

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One Guy’s Weight Loss Story by Robert “Bear” Asche

I don’t even know where to begin or how to start this off. My weight loss journey has been one hell of a roller coaster ride filled with small victories and major fails – I could start this off with an opening cliché such as “Once upon a Time” or “It was a dark and stormy night” or one that seems more fitting for what I’ve been through, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” – But I won’t, I’ll merely start off with – I used to weigh 400 lbs.

On the left me in my mid 30’s – On the right me in my mid 40’s.
On the left me in my mid 30’s – On the right me in my mid 40’s.

Now that I’ve got your attention and curiosity let me attempt to consolidate my weight loss experience and journey from the beginning so you understand where I was, and how I got there. I was always skinny growing up and never had a weight issue. In my 20’s I was a construction worker, and never had to worry about being in shape. The job was physically demanding, I was ripped, and so strong I could carry 3 bundles on roofing shingles on my shoulder which is about 240lbs up a ladder on a 2 story house – I was an animal! Ahhh, to be young again – 🙂

In my 30’s I left construction and dove head first into the web design / development field. My environment changed but my diet didn’t, consuming everything in sight, smoking, and drinking beer like it was free. My waistline started getting bigger (a lot bigger), and the muscle was disappearing. But hey who cares!! – I’m a part of the internet boom making tons of money, right?! I knew I was getting big; and within a few years I blew up to a 48 waist, and a 3x shirt. The day came when I needed a new pair of jeans so I went to the big and tall clothing store (it was the only place I could shop for clothes) tried on a pair of 48 waist jeans and they didn’t fit – They were too tight. I walked out of the store refusing to buy 50 waist jeans. That’s when reality smacked me right in the face, and I knew it was time to make some major changes in my life. I was a disaster, tired, unmotivated, sick all the time, and I fucking hated looking at myself in the mirror – I was completely disgusted with how I looked.

On the left me and my baby girl – On the right me becoming a fucking warrior!
On the left me and my baby girl – On the right me becoming a fucking warrior!

I was dedicated to lose the weight, but I did it all wrong the first time. I went from 420lbs down to 245lbs in a year and a half. My eating habits and gym habits where horrible. Diet Pepsi and fat free pretzels where my main source of food, along with chronic cardio. I had NO clue about proper nutrition; all I knew is that the weight was coming off. At 245lbs I found myself back in the construction field (while still running my own web design business part time), working hard and eating anything I could get my hands on. I remember walking in the front door of my house after work one day, looking in the mirror and seeing my belly sticking out. I weighed myself and saw that I was up to 270lbs. I decided to get back on my “diet” plan. I managed to get myself down to 209lbs. But once again I did it all wrong. I was so hell bent on reaching 200lbs I would go days without eating, consuming ex-lax like it was candy, and popping stacker2’s all day. I plateaued at 209 lbs; I eventually (and completely) gave up trying, started eating and drinking again, and ended up shooting back up to 310lbs.

On the left, me at 310 lbs. A failed “diet plan” – On the right, finally doing it right!
On the left, me at 310 lbs. A failed “diet plan” – On the right, finally doing it right!

On January 1st of this year (2013) I decided once again to lose the weight, eat healthy, and do it the right way. This time I was eating chicken, fish, veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds. I joined a gym and by my third visit I was ready to quit. Walking on the treadmill was painful, my shins hurt so bad I was practically in tears. For weeks I pushed myself on the treadmill in agonizing pain 5 to 6 days a week, but I absolutely refused to fucking quit! I had to put my war face on when walking into the gym because I knew the next hour of my life was going to suck. I was hoping the pain would eventually subside, and lucky enough for me it went away. No more shin pain, foot pain, or leg pains. I went from barley walking a mile in 40 minutes to running a mile in under 7 minutes in just a few short months! Sitting here thinking back, this was probably one of the hardest things I had to overcome, and it made me a stronger person all around. This part of my story is an emotional experience for me, it’s a good thing you’re not reading a paper version of this because it would probably have tear drop stains on it. Hey, even warriors cry, and it doesn’t make me any less of a man because of it. Real men aren’t afraid to show their emotions.

From barely being able walking a mile in 40 minutes to running 5k charity races!
From barely being able walking a mile in 40 minutes to running 5k charity races!

I never thought of it this way but if you go back and do my weight numbers of losing and gaining, then losing, it’s mind boggling. My actual total weight loss would be 334 lbs. Most people complain about trying to lose just 20 lbs. I can’t help but laugh at myself sometimes about how naïve I was about proper eating and rest. I recommend the book “The Primal Blue Print” by Mark Sisson – I’ve followed it religiously for the last 6 months – It works, and it makes sense. I also want to thank my new friend Tank from Primal Strength Camp for answering my questions about weight lifting, and giving me a venue to share my story. Tank is a good dude, and is VERY willing to share his knowledge of strength training. As Tank would put it… EVOLVE!!

A lot of people ask me how I eat and how much time do I spend in the gym. I spend approx: 60 to 90 minutes in the gym, 5 to 6 days a week. 90% weights, 10% high intensity cardio. My food intake is: Breakfast = 2 or 3 hard boiled eggs or Greek Yogurt, and a few handfuls of berries. Lunch = 2 cans of tuna straight out of the can along with a piece of fruit, an apple, pear or plum. Dinner = A HUGE plate of veggies (you’d laugh at the how big of a dinner I eat, it’s almost comical sometimes – LOL!) along with a big piece of grilled chicken or salmon. I graze on nuts and seeds all day – Mostly almonds and pumpkin seeds, and I drink water like it’s my full time job. I’m almost NEVER hungry!

On the left me at my heaviest – On the right are those abs I’m getting?
On the left me at my heaviest – On the right are those abs I’m getting?

Now comes the part where I’m supposed to end this somehow – But the more I think about it, it’s really a never ending story. I’m 46 years old, and as of today, I am 211 lbs, I’ve lost 99 pounds in the last 6 months, and I’m only 11 lbs. away from my goal weight of 200 lbs. – Pretty exciting for me don’t ya think? I’m doing it the right way this time, eating a lot of healthy foods, sleeping/resting, and exercise. The day I get on that scale and see 200 lbs. is going to be very emotional for me. I’ve come along way, I finally like myself again, and I like what I see in the mirror. If I can do it, so can you. Stay focused, and you will see changes, it’ll happen! Become the warrior you’ve always wanted to be. I hit the weights as hard as I can, and run sprints like I’m being chased by a pack of lions knowing that I can say – I used to weigh 400 lbs.

Join me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/OneGuysWeightLossJourney

— Robert “Bear” Asche

Dream Big and Believe in Yourself

Ok Primal Camp.

It’s time to get REAL for a moment.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m one of the contributors to the Male Health Motivation facebook page.  It’s a pretty cool page if you’ve never seen it before.  With about 50,000 followers and growing by the hundreds per day, it offers a lot of different perspectives on the strength game.  One of the best things I’ve found is that it gets a ton of interaction with comments and dialogue from the followers.

Most of the time it’s good, but something happened a few weeks ago that totally blew my mind.

During the middle of the night my time, I scheduled a post showing a photo of Tom Hardy in his role as Bane in the latest Batman movie.  For his character, he gained 30 pounds in about 3 months.  What I thought was inspirational and motivating turned out to be a total sh*t show of perspectives.

When I woke up, the post had over 150 comments, mostly negative of how “he couldn’t have done it naturally”, or “if I had a full time chef and that was my job, I could…”, or “I have kids and don’t have time”.  Some guy told me that I was setting a horrible example because “it was unrealistic” and I “was giving people false hope”.

I was baffled initially, but the more I thought about it, the more it pissed me off.

What the hell has happened to our mentalities that we immediately seek excuses and cop outs for why someone was able to do something remarkable?

Think You Can

Were their comments wrong?  Maybe not.  I don’t know if he was on roids.  I’m sure he did have a lot of help with his diet and cooking, and yes, he was paid a lot of money to get jacked.  That was his job.

But so f**king what?

He had some fortunate circumstances, but he still had to work hard to achieve that physique.  And just because he had a lot of extra help doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve something extraordinary like that for yourself!

How do I know?

Because I did it back in 2007.  I gained 40 pounds in under 5 months, simply by training my ass off and eating like a complete freak.  I did this all while holding down a full time job, being broke as hell, and I did it naturally.  For a little glimpse into my life at that time, check —-> this <—- out.

My current dream is building Primal Strength Camp into a “strength training movement”.  But guess what?  I’m still working a full time job, running Primal at night essentially, contributing to Male Health Motivation, trying to be a good husband, raising my 3 month old daughter, and spending time with my baby boy Bruce (American bulldog puppy).  I’m tired as hell at night, but I have a dream.

Listen.  We all have circumstances.  We aren’t all privileged.  Some of us may have to work 10 times harder than others to achieve the same results.

Cry me a river.  Life isn’t fair.

You have to dream big for yourself.  Will you succeed 100% of the time?  Of course not.  But if you don’t believe that you can achieve something amazing, you are doomed from the very beginning.

Don’t hold yourself back with a negative attitude.  Know in your heart that it is possible to accomplish big things, even if they do seem extraordinary.  This world thrives on people doing epic sh*t and there is no reason that you can’t be one of the shining examples of “the impossible”.

Dream Big,

— Tank
Primal Strength Camp LLC
NASM Certified Personal Trainer
Underground Strength Coach