Archive for October, 2014


I returned back home from West Des Moines this past weekend to help my dad with an annual kettle corn sales event for the boy scouts. It was a part of a bigger event called Heritage days where an old town 10 miles away is revived for a weekend and we all pretend we actually care about the history and sell overpriced novelties.

As I was getting burns on my hands and losing hair on my arms from the hot kettle, I realized how much I appreciate my time with the scouts. (You better believe it) Not only did I have some of the best trips and some great laughs with the group that I had it installed something into all of us that a lot of boys don’t have growing up anymore.

And that is any sense of rites of passage

In the scouts, you start out as a cub scout, mostly just enjoying some camping, swimming, hiking, climbing, selling popcorn door to door, tieing knots, the simple stuff. You learn some basic skills in the outdoors before moving onto the Boy Scouts.

In this process you have ceremonies for each advancement, even as a young child, the importance of ceremony and achievement are celebrated immensely. Small accomplishments and recognition along the way creates a feeling of worth and really teaches how a lot of projects operate. It’s the small incremental changes building up that creates tangible results without burnout.

Once a cub scout gets a taste of what it will be like to advance to a boy scout ranking he enters what they call an Arrow of Light ceremony. From what I remember at the age of 11 or 12 there was a large gathering for every scout in the district crossing over to the boy scout rank where they would have designated “bridge” to cross into manhood and would receive an golden arrow as proof.

Even before these boys become teenagers they understand rites of passage better than some grown men.

Once the crossing over has been made, the work required intensifies, but was usually more fun. Boy scout camp was the first place I got the chance to shoot an arrow, rifle, and shotgun. I traveled to the black hills and raise the flag at Mt. Rushmore during the presentation for tourists. I got to kayak lake superior, go caving/spelunking in the pitch black darkness. Even a yearly trip to see a hockey game was on the agenda.

I know I might get some shit for posting about my times with the scouts, but I cant discredit the the skills they try to teach young men before the cut off of turning 18. Things like first aid, citizenship, communication, cooking, personal fitness, emergency preparedness, sustainability, personal management, (personal finance), hiking, camping, and family life are hardly taught anymore by the schools or negative male role models who admire the likes of Peter Griffin.

With the scouts you did the work and it was recognized.

With the scouts their was hierarchy where everyone knew their place and accepted it until the time or advancement was at hand.

With the scouts everyone pitched in or we all suffered because of it. No one was a slacker or they were made the bitch for the rest of the trip.

I cannot thank the leaders I had enough for being mostly positive male role models for those who may not have had any.



Well maybe not all of them, but I’ve definitely made a lot. You would imagine like most other sports, weight lifting would come with admirable coaches that teach how to correctly and properly teach how to perform, right? Wrong.

In my experience weightlifting may have been the most over-saturated with bull shit get ripped quick schemes of all sports. Instead of working on your craft day in and day out, we have every last guru guaranteed quick fix. Who cares about legs when you can get arms like Arnold’s in less than 30 days.

And maybe you’re better informed than I was when I started lifting, but when I was first starting out these were some of the mistakes I’ve dealt with in the past.

No legs

The first and definitely the most embarrassing is the fact that I thought I didn’t have to work on legs if my upper body got big enough. From walking around all day with all the added weight from my upper body being so jacked my legs would just naturally get bigger to match my perfect physique.


Another, and is one that still happens to this day is that I will hyper-focus on one muscle that is smaller than the others and tear away at getting it bigger until it becomes bigger than a different muscle and the process tend to repeat itself. My biceps are quite large, as well as the right one being noticeably bigger than the left. Still don’t know how this happened, but ironically the left one is stronger. Beats me.


A lot of these came from not keeping my back straight in the heavier lifts. I felt a “crunch” sound while squatting with my back leaning forward. I’ve been bedridden from trying out deadlifts for the first time, also not keeping my back straight. I’ve torn my right shoulder from one time I put on a 10lb weight on one side of the bar and not the other while squatting and tried to push with my arms on the last couple of reps and yikes. Ouch.

“Accessory muscles”

One debatable mistake I made was when I took the advice of a fellow gym goer that told me to work on the smaller, accessory muscles first before going into the bigger lifts. Such as doing curls before rows and tricep pulls before bench. Really? I’m supposed to use precious muscle glycogen stores and creatine energy cycles on accessories muscles before I do the lifts that actually matter? They are accessory muscles and we treat them as such. Accessories.

“Carbs and dairy, man! Carbs and dairy!”

More bad advice from a friend who was much bigger than I was, was that he told me you wont be sexy or anything, but you’ll put on weight in no time if you eat a lot of carbs and dairy. So pasta, pizza, and gallons of milk are the best thing for me to build muscle? Right….

Not finding an informed mentor.

As you can see it took a series of bad information before I found some good information to go off of. My two favorites are Elliot Hulse and Paul Chek while can have a diamond in the rough every once in a while. This would be the most important out the list as it would help prevent some of the mistakes I’ve made above.

What are some of the mistakes you have made in your workout routines? Can’t be nearly as bad as the first one on my list. Ha.


I remember when I first found favor in lifting weights. I was 16 and had a set of 20s I found laying around the house. I would hold up in my room and do as many curls of those 20lb weights that I could. Eventually this would reach 100 reps and I would have the most freakishly disproportionate arms in the high school. One girl even told me my arms looked photo shopped. (Long before Emma Stone’s character said that to Ryan Gosling’s character in Crazy Stupid Love) I would do push ups, sit ups, chest flys on my bed, and whatever else my uneducated little mind could think of to gain muscle. I really had no idea what I was doing at the time.

However, soon enough I convinced my dad to buy a family gym membership for us all and began working out on the cable and pulley machines. Even with being poorly educated on the subject and using cable machines, I began to put on a very small amount of muscle and could notice a pump after going to the gym, but I still had a form of identification with the Scrawny Mindset!

Similar to another identity problem I had much later on.

For both of these problems I had to make a decision for what I wanted to be, not what stay at what I already was.

Stagnation was death and movement was life.

Each time, once staring at myself in the mirror pondering what others will think of me if I lost my “scrawny boy personality” and another on my dorm room futon laying there thinking I’ve become the biggest douche bag on the planet.

How to overcome what you are for what you want to be.

Total and absolute transformation. You don’t get voted most transformed by staying the same because some one wrote “Never change” on the back of a senior pic they gave to you in high school.


First things first and what we are here for. If you weren’t lifting to some degree already, start now and funnel every last ounce of food you can fit into your stomach. If you’re not gaining weight, you’re not eating enough.

Eat healthy. Vegetables seem to be the most ignored food group as well as probably the most important. Nobody likes eating the food our normal food eats, but to make it easier we can juice them for an nutrient dense drink.

Keep an eye on your wardrobe. As you start to put on muscle you’re old clothes will start to fit better, but you definitely want to upgrade beyond your old style. The old baggy pair of jeans will not cut it.

V-necks and well fitting jeans are my personal favorite.

Find a real barber in your area and build a relation with them. There are too many men going to women’s salons for hair cuts. These women know how to hair “dress” not how to create the perfect crew cut or “high and tight”.

Brain wash yourself with a type of music that motivates and is conducive to your new self. I gravitated towards Jay Z’s hustler mindset and Glitch Mob for it’s instrumentals when I don’t want lyrics interfering with my concentration.

Become a Renaissance Man to learn everything you can about anything you can. Develop personal interests that you haven’t had before and invest in them accordingly. You will be more versed for conversations more exciting than the scoreboard of last nights game.

With all that you add into your life, you may cut out some of your old hobbies. Good. More likely than not you will not miss theses hobbies as your life begins to change and you develop constructive hobbies you enjoy more.

What to do with your new found self?

Conquer the fucking world.