Tag Archives: mental toughness

What I’ve Learned from Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow is arguably the most polarizing figure in sports today.

You either love the guy or hate the guy; you won’t meet many people that feel in between.

I’ll admit that back in his college days, I was on the side that hated him.  All of the publicity, all of the rah-rah…gag me!

But, I realized I was looking at it all wrong.

Since the guy turned pro, he has been nothing but a lightning rod of criticism.  After this latest round of controversy, where his “anonymous” teammates (cowards) called him “terrible”, I felt compelled to write this post and give the man his due.

He can’t throw, he is too heavy to play QB, he doesn’t know how to run an offense, he is not proto-typical.  We have heard it all.

I won’t argue with any of those.  Perhaps they are all true.  I’m no football coach, so who am I to make any judgments?


What I can tell you is that the dude is the epitome of someone I look for in attitude and work ethic.

I preach positive attitude and mindset constantly; to me it is the most important thing a person can have.  If you have that, you can accomplish anything you want to.

Tebow has taken all the criticism in stride and keeps on smiling.  As far as I know, he’s never lashed out at the media, never thrown his teammates under the bus, admits his shortcomings and simply says he is going to keep working harder to get better.

I don’t know about you, but after taking heat like that (beyond anything I can ever imagine), I would have lost my sh*t and told everyone to f**k off!  Hell, I mean, that has to wear on you. Maybe 99% of the population would have already quit by now.

But the dude is still there.  He is defying all of the haters.  He will be in that locker room tomorrow practicing amongst men that despise him.  Standing up in the face of adversity, working his ass off to get better, and having a damn good time doing it.

Now that is a dude you can look up to.  That is a guy that you can model yourself after.  Who gives a sh*t whether or not he can throw a football.

The dude is a freakin’ stud and it all starts with his attitude.  Love him or hate him, you better learn from him.

Keep on smiling my friends. 


— Tank

What Are You Training For?

Guys, I’m fired up today!  I was talking to a buddy of mine last night from New Jersey, and we talked about what training really meant in life.  He said I should write a post on it, and I thought it was a hell of an idea.  Thank you to Tim Webster for the inspiration!

This post couldn’t wait, and I want everyone to really think about this one.  


I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked by people at the gym, “What are you training for?

My answer?

I’m training for life!!

That might seem a little dramatic to some; certainly not your standard answer like “getting bigger” or “getting shredded” or “summer is coming up and I want to impress hot chicks”.

But I’m damn serious when I use that as my answer.

Now I didn’t always think this way.  I started out like most people and started working out because I wanted to look good.

I wanted muscles, I wanted low body fat, and I wanted to be strong.

What I never saw coming were the intangible benefits of the strength game and how they would become the real focus of why I train.

strength training

As I get a little older and a little wiser, I’ve realized that the muscles come and go.

What will always remain are the lessons I’ve learned, the mental toughness I’ve developed, and the confidence I’ve gained through the ass kicking work I’ve put in the gym through the years.

Developing brute strength takes discipline, sacrifice, planning, patience, and resolve.  You’d be crazy not to see how these are “life values” and reach much farther and deeper than any hour long gym session.

The pain I’ve felt pushing my body past its limits shows me how hard I can work outside of the gym and the stress I can withstand.  As the great Rocky Balboa said “Ain’t nothin’ gonna hit harder than life.”

My gym strength has led to unwavering confidence in myself; in my interactions with people and in business; in problem solving; and an unbreakable desire to succeed and excel.  If you train hard in the gym, I’ll be the first to tell you that you are far more likely to carry over that effort and discipline into your everyday life.

I’ve learned that true strength is being strong for my family, and setting an example for others; to show people that a little hard work can change your life in countless positive ways.

Strength, in the gym and in life, is a lifelong pursuit.  I’ve worked for months on end just to improve my bench press by a few pounds, enduring failure after failure until I hit a new personal record.  I know that life is no different.  I must endure.  I will persevere.

I learn from the failures, ride the highs, but I don’t ever give up.  I train to get stronger so I’m prepared to handle whatever life throws at me.

Getting stronger isn’t about the gym when you go beneath the surface; its about kicking ass in life and helping others do the same.

That’s what Primal Strength Camp is all about my friends.  It’s not about the weights

Now let me ask you…what are you training for??


— Tank

Strongman Training Can Boost Your Gains in the Gym

Anyone that knows my training philosophy knows that I always preach about sticking to the basics.  Plain, vanilla, old school strength training.

Bench Press.  Deadlift.  Military Press.  Squat.  Build your training around those 4 lifts and stay away from the gimmicks and trendy sh*t.

But the beauty of running your own training business is that you are the boss; you can break your own rules!  Using strongman training strongman trainingis a great way to do that.

Strength Camp Saturday is how Primal Strength Camp was born.  These are the days when strongman training and odd objects come into play; a true test to see how our gym training is transitioning to an uncontrolled, outside environment.

At Primal Strength Camp, we use kegs, sleds, ropes, chains, and other unique tools to challenge our abilities to the extreme.  Odd objects don’t have handles, or uniform shapes and sizes.

It is one thing to grab a bar and lift it over your head with weight firmly attached.  It is entirely different to lift a keg filled with water, where the resistance is dynamic and fluid, forcing your body to not only lift the weight, but use an enormous amount of strength just to stabilize it.


It is one thing to carry 45lb plates around your gym, but it is not the same as loading up a pair of farmers carry handles with 125lbs in each hand and struggling with each step.

Pulling in a sled hand over hand with rugged rope across uneven ground is a far cry from your seated row on an amazingly smooth cable machine.

Strongman training is brutal.  It truly tests your ability to harness brute strength and pick up heavy sh*t.  You use your entire body throughout the course of a workout and muscles and movements that you don’t normally utilize in a controlled gym routine.

Its simplicity is eye opening.  Carry something heavy.  Flip something heavy.  Pick up something heavy off the ground, and move it somewhere else.  The movements are not earth shattering, yet the benefits can be staggering!

Perhaps the most important benefit of strongman training is its ability to forge unbreakable mental toughness.  It forces you out of your comfort zone and presents new challenges that you will not get by training in a “box”.  Odd objects will humble you.  Mentally, after one of these sessions, I’m totally wiped out.

I’m reminded of the training montage from Rocky IV.  The big bad Russian with all of his fancy equipment got whooped by mentally invincible Rocky, after he trained in the cold and snow, with heavy logs and a buggy.

After a day of training outside in the elements, shouldering sandbags and battling with heavy chains, I feel like a monster.  Strongman training, and the anguish and mental stress it brings, only makes me more prepared to dominate my next gym workout.

You think your strong?  Think your tough?  Want a challenge?

If you are ready to be humbled, incorporate some strongman training into your regimen.  Once a week is fine.  Any more on top of your normal gym routine is a recipe for central nervous system fatigue and injury.

But using it responsibly and strategically will help you in the long run, both physically and mentally.  Besides, aren’t you tired of doing the same ol’ sh*t all the time anyway?


— Tank

There is No “I” in Success

Rarely do people succeed alone.

Most people have at least one person they can rely on.  The lucky ones have many.

I am one of the lucky ones.

Primal Strength Camp is in its infancy stages, but even before it began I had believers behind me.  It was because of them that I had the courage to make this business legit.

The culmination of that support came this past Friday night.  I came home to a surprise party that had been in the works for weeks right under my nose.  T-shirts, cake, balloons, the whole nine yards.  I’m not one for surprises and being the center of attention, but I have to say it felt good.  I was blown away by the effort that went into making it a special night and it will go down as one of those days I will always remember.Primal Strength

Find your supporting cast.  And once you do, treat em right.

Going at it alone will always be an uphill battle and the celebrations of victory won’t be nearly as sweet.  Assemble that supporting cast and be one of the lucky ones.  They will take you further than you can ever get alone.

A special thanks goes to Curtis Walke, my main man, training partner and master planner; my beautiful wife Christine, who always goes above and beyond what I ever expect and deserve; and all my friends who have shown their support for this venture (especially the ACAC crew that rolled in strong this past Friday)!

Another special thanks goes out to all those following on Facebook, and those who visit this website.  I truly believe in the things I write, and I am constantly thinking of new ways to get people stronger and motivate them for life!  Thanks to all of you; let’s keep the momentum up!  Sign up for the newsletter, and let me hear about things that you want to hear about.  I’ll do my best to make it happen!

23 Ways to Kick Ass in Life and in the Gym

Guys, this post fires me up.  It’s a quick hitting list that will help you make immediate positive changes in your life, and will lead to unreal gains in the gym.  These are not hard to follow, so you have no excuses not to.  Besides, who doesn’t want to kick ass?

Take these and use at least half of them.  If you want to be a real ass kicker, live by them all.

#1 Wake Up Early — The earlier you wake up, the more you get done in the day.  The more you get done, the more successful you are.  Plain and simple.  From my experience, not many good things happen at night anyway.

strength training

#2 Lift Heavy — Whether you just want to look good naked, or you want to compete in strongman competitions, you gotta lift heavy.  Building foundational strength is the key to gaining mass, burning fat, and shattering your previous limitations in the gym.

#3 Be Confident — Look around you and pick out the most successful people in your life.  I bet you 100% of them are confident.  Confidence will make you not only feel good about yourself, but it will shine to anyone who is watching you.  When you go out to a social setting, who attracts the most attention?  The confident “successful” people do, not the wallflowers.  Confidence breeds success.

#4 Embrace Failure — Failure is not a bad thing.  It is an opportunity.  Everyone fails.  If you haven’t failed at something, you aren’t challenging yourself enough.  Push your limits.  If you fail, learn from it.  You will come back stronger and ready to kick ass, and eventually you will succeed.

strength training
#5 Take Risks
— Success doesn’t come to the timid.  Ask some of the most successful people in the world how they got there, I guarantee they took a few risks along the way.

#6 Turn Weaknesses Into Strengths — Weaknesses are limitations and you never want to limit yourself.  Identify where you are weak and attack it; don’t be afraid of it.  If you want to get better at something, you must improve your deficiencies.  I know where I’m weak and you better believe that is where I’m concentrating a lot of my time.

#7 Read Daily — Ever heard the phrase “train smarter, not harder”?  Hardcore meatheads might scoff at this remark, but there is merit in it.  If you train or live like an idiot, chances are you won’t be going very far.  Read.  Educate yourself.  The smarter you are, the better prepared you will be for future challenges you may face.

#8 Lay Off the Junkfood — It’s called junkfood for a reason; it’s junk.  Don’t eat it.  Period.

strength training

#9 Do Deadlifts — Deadlifts are the undisputed #1 strength training exercise you can do.  It works your entire body and will build mass on your posterior chain faster than anything else.  If you want to get big and strong, you must do these.  Get in there, grip it and rip it.

#10 Drop the Baggage — Negative people suck.  I don’t care who it is, friends, family, colleagues; you can’t be exposed to negative influences.  You can do your due diligence and try to make it work, but don’t be afraid to cut the cord.  I’ve done it with people really close to me so I know it can be done.

#11 Set Goals — You must have daily goals and long term goals.  By planning what you do each and every day, you can ensure that you are taking the right steps towards that long term goal.  Success doesn’t happen by luck; have a clear vision and attack it.  This goes for your gym time too; have a plan before you even set foot in the door and get it done!  No more walking around aimlessly.

#12 Be Consistent — Consistency is key.  Nobody ever got good at anything by half-assing it every once in a while.  Habits are formed by being consistent, and the more good habits you adopt, the more likely you are to succeed.  You must grind it out EVERY SINGLE DAY.

#13 Train Like A Kid — Remember back in the day when we were kids?  Running, jumping, throwing stuff.  We were all athletes in some capacity.  It is easy to lose that over time, but that’s exactly how we should train.  Move around in space, sprint, throw heavy balls.  “Kid like” workouts can be fun; it breaks up the monotony and gets us back to our Primal roots.

#14 Get Outside Daily — Goes hand in hand with training like a kid.  Being outside is good for the soul.  So many of us are stuck inside for insane amounts of time these days.  Our bodies were not made for that.  Spend some time outdoors, train outside if you can, and soak up some of that vitamin D.

strength training#15 Try New Things — Doing the same thing over and over again won’t get you anywhere in life or the gym.  If you want to grow as a person, you gotta expose yourself to new experiences.  Live a little!  In the gym, your body adapts to the stimulus you apply to it.  Once it adapts, no new growth or strength will be achieved, so you have to switch up your routines.

#16 Help Others — Doing good deeds for other people makes the world a better place.  I started Primal Strength Camp to help people get stronger.  It helps them and I get a kick out of it too.  Helping each other out is a win/win situation.

#17 Daydream — Take a few minutes a day and just dream.  Think about what you want, strategize how to get there, and visualize your final achievement.  Some of my best revelations and “ah-ha” moments came from daydreaming.

#18 Stretch — “Long muscles are strong muscles”.  One day when you are old and can’t bend over to tie your shoes, you will regret not maintaining adequate levels of flexibility.

#19 Get At Least 8 Hours of Sleep a Day — You grow while you sleep.  8-10 hours is the ideal, but most Americans these days only get about 6.  Its unhealthy!  Turn off the t.v., get off the computer, and get in bed.  Sleep deprivation leads to under-performance, depression and stress.  8 hours, no excuses.

#20 Find a Training Partner — Training partners bring a sense of accountability, motivation, competition, and a visual eye to your gym sessions.  Finding a good one can be hard, but if you can find one, it can make a huge difference.

#21 Crank Up the Intensity — Being intense is crucial.  Focus and channel all of your energy into your workouts.  I have failed at  personal record setting lifts, only to crush them a few minutes later just by cranking up the intensity.  Gym time = Beast mode.

strength training

#22 Do What You Want to Do — Life is too short to be stuck doing a bunch of sh*t you don’t want to do.  Sound selfish?  So what!  Being unhappy all the time isn’t fair to you, and chances are you will be one miserable person to be around, so it really isn’t fair to those around you either.  Do at least one thing per day that makes you happy.

#23 Never, Ever Give Up — Fail, fail, and fail again.  Eventually you will succeed.  Quitting sucks; don’t do it!  You will regret it, guaranteed.  No matter what you are doing, no matter how beat down you feel, no matter how far down the road success seems, never, ever give up.

strength training


— Tank

How Bad Do You Want It?

Ask any given person this question about something that they view important in their life and they will all probably tell you the same thing.  “I want it really bad!”

Truth is they are lying to themselves.  

They might really believe they want it.  Maybe it truly is their dream.  But what are they doing to make it happen?

motivation primal strength camp

When it comes to proving how bad you want something, actions speak louder than words.

Be the person that takes action.  We all have it in us.  You have it in you to be 100% successful in anything you do.  Just use the key ingredients and get started.

My journey started a long time ago.  I started out wanting to be an elite distance runner.  I remember being in college out running in 100+ degree Texas heat every day, while my friends were at the pool partying, looking at all the hot women in bikinis.  After I fell in love with the iron game, I remember being at Gold’s Gym on Friday nights at 10pm while most people were out on the town having a good time.  I was a loner with one thing on my mind, to get bigger and stronger.  As I speak, I’ve been on “vacation” for the past two days, yet I still worked in 500 pushups yesterday and I’m writing this post for you now.

Sacrifice.  Dedication.  Passion.

You want it bad?  Prove it!  Put in the work.  Make the sacrifices.

Everyone is capable.  You owe it to yourself to be successful, to fulfill your dreams.  Don’t make excuses.  Don’t half ass it.  Don’t cheat yourself!

If you don’t live up to your potential, you will regret it, I can promise you that.  Regret can be a painful thing to live with, especially when you could be living a life with success instead.  Now think about that and ask yourself…



Each Day Is A Gift

Guys, this post is an important one.  This one means a lot to me on a very personal level and I hope it resonates with you as well.

I had a rough day today and spent some time reflecting on my situation; maybe even feeling a little sorry for myself.  Then I snapped myself out of it and realized I have a damn good life.  I needed to live by my own rules and stay positive.

Each day is a gift.  Sounds cliché doesn’t it?  But really take a moment to think about it.

How many of us go about our days unhappy, blaming someone else for our problems, sitting around wasting time, coming up with excuses of why we aren’t where we want to be?  Or maybe we are just coasting, telling ourselves that thing we’ve been putting off can wait until tomorrow, missing opportunities to make ourselves better.  Maybe we take people too seriously and hold grudges.  Maybe we had a “bad” day.

That way of life sucks.  You gotta stop living like that.  You can make the conscious decision to live a more fulfilling life just by changing your outlook and setting a few goals for yourself.  Think about everything you have and give thanks.  There are no “bad” days.  You may enjoy some more than others, but every day you are alive and breathing is a good one.

Do not hesitate to do this!  You never know when you will run out of opportunities.  There may be no tomorrow.  Back in the summer of 2008, I was outside of Fallujah, Iraq when my vehicle narrowly missed being blown to bits by an IED.  Up until that point, I had a lot of grand plans for myself that I had yet to accomplish, and that incident scared the sh*t out of me.  It got my butt in gear.  I keep this photo framed in my room; it was taken about 30 minutes before that IED scare, and it would have been the last picture of me alive.  It’s a friendly reminder that I cannot and will not allow myself to coast through life.  No more excuses, no more feeling sorry for myself, no more “bad” days.

Start treating each day as a gift right now!  Set goals for yourself each and every day, accomplish them, and keep working towards that thing you’ve always said you wanted to do.  Take charge of your life; do not let others bring you down.  Do not wait for tomorrow because tomorrow may never come.


— Tank

Primal Strength Meets Strongmen

What’s up Primal Camp???

I’ve been pumped up all day and had to write this post tonight.  I spent the day at the River City Strongman Competition in Richmond, Virginia.  Let me tell you, I saw some strong ass dudes in there today, and a few girls that would give a lot of guys a run for their money too.

The events were the axle press, farmers carry, deadlift, yoke/tire flip medley, and atlas stones.  These guys were impressive.  I saw a couple dudes farmers carry 260lbs in each hand for over 100 feet including a hair pin turn in the course, dudes were clean and pressing 250lbs for reps.  One guy who weighed 175lbs deadlifted 600.  A girl was flipping a 450lb tire like it was a paper plate.  Crazy right?!?

Their mental toughness was off the charts too.  The agony in their faces throughout these events was indescribable, yet they pushed through the pain and got sh*t done.

Watching these guys reminded of my I wanted to start Primal Strength Camp so bad.  Hell, I cranked out a workout as soon as I got home because I was so inspired.  No fads, no gimmicks, no tricks, no bullsh*t.  Just pure brute strength picking up, pressing, and carrying heavy sh*t.  Nothing more Primal than that.

Primal man was made to carry heavy stuff.  He woke up early, hunted, gathered, and carried whatever he took in back to his family.  I can only imagine he hunted some pretty big sh*t and had to carry it all the way back home.  And considering our DNA has only barely changed since those times, it’s up to us to unlock those Primal instincts.

Pick up something heavy today.  It’s what you were made to do.  Don’t waste good genetics.



Oh, by the way, I did an interview with a cool dude at the strongman competition about Primal Strength Camp and our training style, nutrition, cardio, and a variety of other topics.  I’ll post it here as well as on our YouTube channel whenever it becomes available.

Anyhow, he has some great handcrafted strength tools that you should check out.  Homemade yokes, axle bars, farmers carry handles, and a couple of very innovative tools I’ve never seen before that would be great for anyone’s arsenal to get stronger.  He’s passionate about what he does and cares about helping people out.

Check out Jack Niles and his tools at www.JackNilesStrongman.com.  Great guy, good products.