To be honest, I pride myself on being half nuts in the gym. My mindset constantly revolves around testing my limits, whether it’s getting ready to lift on the powerlifting platform or just getting as ripped as possible onstage. I’m not here to just hang out or adhere to the norm. There’s nothing that causes me to lose interest quicker than sticking with the status quo and going through the motions.
Last year, I came out of a five-year retirement to jump onstage and I had three weeks to continue my diet after the shoot. I was poised to make the 165-pound class, which is light as hell for me, by the way. But I was determined to do it because I wanted my family to come see me in action – it gave my children a chance to see me onstage for the first time and the show was literally five minutes from my house. I was already lean, so I decided just to push for three more grueling weeks.
I did have one issue, though, when stepping onstage. I had been battling some knee tendinitis from trying to dunk a basketball again earlier this year. With that in mind, I decided to get a little crazy, and this is where my half-nuts, outside-the-box mindset came into play. I had to figure out the craziest thing I could do to bring my legs in quick for the show to give me a chance to win.
So I settled on one of the most uncomfortable exercises that nobody really likes to do— walking lunges. Lunges are a great way to bring up your entire leg development for a show when you consider the glutes, hamstring tie-ins and quads.
But that was just step one of my crazy idea. I came up with the grand plan of lunging a half mile to one mile per day as a way of combining cardio and leg training to get ready for the show. And guess what? I found out it was hard as hell, but that it also worked wonders.
Not many people want to lunge 800 meters to one mile a day, but it’s now something I’ve adopted into a five- to six-day practice each week. I really don’t like cardio, but now I’m killing two birds with one stone while also sending my metabolism through the roof.
Now that I’m back to lifting heavier weights, the difference is incredible. All of that leg conditioning has carried over into all of my lifts in a major way, and I feel sturdy and strong under big weights, even at a lighter bodyweight. Plus, it’s really made a difference in my conditioning, which leads me back to the bodybuilding show.
I ended up winning the 165-pound weight class, losing the overall by one point to a big-ass heavyweight. All in all, it was a major success and I gained a huge weapon in my workout arsenal by pushing myself to the limit with the lunge routine I developed. It has completely jumpstarted a new aspect of growth in my weight training and it has completely changed my metabolism.
None of it would have happened had I not taken a chance on doing something a little wild and a little different. So that’s what I urge you to do when it comes to your own training. Take some risks, be a little crazy and think outside the box, and open yourself up to an entire new opportunity to progress.