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Will you run through a brick wall?

September 12, 2011

Fear.  It can cost you any countless number of things, but you can’t let it.  Remember all the girls you didn’t talk to in high school or the lifts you missed last week?  How about the promotion you weren’t selected for or that ball you dropped in the endzone?

In order to accomplish anything worth being called an “accomplishment”, you don’t need to be a special person, blessed with physical or mental gifts; you simply have to believe.  You have to believe and you have to immediately forget the multitude of reasons why success is impossible and your dreams will never come true.

Don’t get me wrong – there are those born more talented than you – but all you need to conquer fear in your life and accomplish what others wont, is something that every single person including *you* already have the ability to do.  BELIEVE.  Unwavering and unrelenting belief in yourself and your goal.  If you truly believe in your goal, it’s easy to turn down that 5th beer or the offer to blow off training or work.

There is no overnight way to do this stuff.  In order to be in the kind of shape you want to be in, in order to be as big and strong as you want to be, it’s probably going to take longer than you think.  There will be bumps on the road and missed exits along the way.

You have to put the work in and you have to be willing to be the “weird” guy/girl who doesn’t drink as much as everyone else or who skips a mid-day video game session to go lift.  These kinds of life altering changes – they are not easy, but YOU ARE STRONG ENOUGH to do it.  Just understand that it takes discipline and unwavering faith that you will get there to accomplish anything worth being called an “accomplishment”.

I literally could not care less if you think it’s corny.  It’s fucking true.  No one worth a damn who has ever done anything worth a damn has had this belief.  If you don’t, get it.  If you do, remind yourself every single day WHY you believe and why you would die for that belief.

If you aren’t ready to run through a brick wall after watching these two videos, check your pulse.  You are either dead or utterly worthless.  Are you willing to fight and die for the things that you want to accomplish?  If not, why are you doing them?

Things I learned from my first Powerlifting Meet

August 22, 2011

Hey there Primalbodybuilders! Here’s a long overdue bunch of videos showing my meet results from SummerBash 8, .

First up, the Squat.  407lbs – this was my second attempt, I took too big a jump and failed my third attempt (435).  Liked the bar speed and stayed in good form throughout.  The depth was solid too, definitely at/below parallel – not a bro-squat!  On my failed attempt at 435, the biggest thing I have to tweak is my strength out of the hole (bottom of the squat).  I have since added in more heavy box squatting – taking out the stretch reflex at the bottom allows one to address that specific weak point.

Then the Bench Press.  308lbs.  Second attempt again, tried for 335 after and failed at the bottom.  See how stable I’m *not*?  That’s a serious problem, so using this video, I was able to adjust and adapt my bench technique.  I now have a much wider stance for my feet, which has really improved my technique.  Also, I need to develop my tricep strength.  Since the meet, some additions to my bench days have included: JM Press, Heavy Lockouts, and a real focus on letting the bar come to a stop on my chest each rep.  This last change alone has really added strength and bar speed after only a few workouts.

And finally, the Deadlift.  474lbs.  This was the funnest part of the meet for me.  In my training, I had completely burned out my deadlift and could barely get 405 two weeks prior to the meet.  I took the last week or so off from pulling and when I got to the meet, I used 405 as my opener.  Went up easy.  Next was 450.  Super easy.  474?  Well, you be the judge:

Obviously, my lower back rounds a bit which is not good, and it’s because I’m not pulling with enough Hammy.  Watching this video and feedback from the other lifters at the meet has convinced me to work more directly on my hamstring strength by doing Hip Thrusts, DB Single Leg Straight Leg Deadlift (rear leg on a bench) and Dimel Deadlift as some of my accessory work choices.

Nothing left to do but get in there and train for the next one!

Kirk out.

FOF… Bench Press Edition

May 20, 2011
Don’t be a clown – Arch your back for power!

Been talking a lot of bench press lately, and so I thought I’d address it here.  I’ve totally revamped my form, and have seen great improvements in my bench press numbers, but more importantly, my shoulder health and strength.  If you take the advice I lay out here, you too could be reaping these benefits!

The underlying premise of all the powerlifts (and lifting in general) is that you MUST have a strong, tight base (get your mind out of the gutter) in order to move big weight safely.  Simple things, like arching your back and flexing your traps can mean the difference between benching 250 and benching 300.

Say this with me class: an arched, tight back is a position of power, a flat back is a position of weakness.

When I was in college and High School, I took my terrible flat-backed bench press style as a badge of honor – I thought I was better than the powerlifters who used an arched back and proper form.  “They’re range of motion isn’t half of mine!”  Now, after hurting my shoulder repeatedly going for a “greater range of motion” and “not cheating”, I never really got any stronger at the bench – till now.

In addition to giving you a proper platform to push from, the arch + tight traps style of benching limits the amount of rotational force put on your shoulder.  Put succinctly, this style is the ONLY safe, long term way to bench.  Much like those who claim incorrectly that a “Squat is dangerous” are typically using the wrong form and improper loads, bench press can be one of the most injury-prone lifts for the aspiring Primal Bodybuilder.

SO… enough talk, how do we do it right?  Well, you can head over to’s “SoYou Think You can Bench” series and learn from the best, or you can skip to the best parts watching the videos here.

First, pay attention as Dave Tate outlines the 5 Biggest Mistakes you can make while bench pressing.  Pay special attention when he talks about letting the weight “settle”.  This helps you to get into the proper form, locking everything into place, similar to the time you spend as you walk out a squat.

Start this next video (from the SYTYCB series) below at 3:21 for Dave Tate outlining the Bench Press “Setup”, something that very few of you are doing.

In summary: Benching with an arch puts your body in the position it was always meant to be in.  You would never Squat or Deadlift with a flat back, so why would you Bench Press with one?

Allow me to repeat myself: an arched, tight back is a position of power, a flat back is a position of weakness.

Since we never want to be weak, we NEVER want a flat back, it’s that simple.

Party on dudes!

Let’s build a school this weekend

January 28, 2011

Believe it or not, there are things in life that are bigger than the relentless pursuit of looking good naked.  Not many, but they’re out there.

This>Shirt is a cause that is bigger.  I’m just going to completely repost what they’ve written, but they are pushing to build a school this weekend and need to sell only 500 shirts to do it.  If you have a little space in your heart, let these guys in.  It’s $29 with shipping for a SWEET t-shirt and you are helping those less fortunate souls who more than likely will not get the chance to happen upon this website.

Here it is, and you can find the website here.  Go get one (or three!) of these shirts.

So, what did your shirt do this weekend? This shirt helped build a school…

Written by dhani on January 26, 2011 · 0 Comments

What a great weekend! We hit FaceBook and Twitter hard on Friday and didn’t stop till Sunday night.

We had an advertising budget of exactly zero dollars and zero cents.  We keep costs low in order to donate more.  Limitation is an ideal breading ground for creativity and inspiration.  In a few short hours FaceBook was buzzing with This Shirt.  See the screen shot below says it all:

So, the latest tally is 171 shirts sold from the start of the project up to the time of this post.  Not reflected in this number is the enthusiasm and support of the countless people on FaceBook, Twitter and everywhere else.  I spoke to so many people over email and FaceBook who I’d never met but were instantly united by this simple and powerful goal.

I’ve also been speaking to many more potential partners who will be helping promote this project for african schools and for future projects.   FabFind has also been amazing and will continue to offer the shirt to it’s large client base.

So, what does this mean for our goal of 500 shirts and building one school in Africa?   It means continue to talk and share in person and online.  The least you can do is actually the most.   This project was created for many reasons.  There is the obvious one: building a school for kids who have no opportunity to attend one.   But the even larger goal is to prove little ideas can make big changes with the help of good friends.

I’d like to take the chance to thank many of those good friends.  Many I have met.  Many I have not.  They came from everywhere and did everything from blogging, to talking to buying.  And they did it relentlessly:

Shawn Mozen from Agatsu, Robb Wolf author of the Paleo Solution, Jennifer Branco and all the people at the Micheal Pinball Clemons FoundationFree The Children, Craig Smith Of FabFind, Coach Mike Burgener, Trinity-Spadina MPP Rosario Marchese, Ken Chong of The BaitShopSteve CotterSincere HoganNicki Voletti of NorCal S&C, Erwan Le corre of MovNat, Brian MacKenzie from CrossFit EnduranceTeam GorillaWhole9,Summer Wesson of CrossFit Team AcademyBoris Terzic, Sio, Leah, Tyler and Peter the awesome team at CrossFit Quantum, Greg Carver of Strength Box, Jonah Brotman ofOperation Groundswell, Nogah Kornberg of Young Social Entrepreneurs of Canada, Amy Kubal of Fuel as Rx, Martin Rubio of Vroom Media, Daniela Andrews of Rule Of Three,Mike MahlerCrossFit Harlem, Mark Gleason of CrossFit NiagaraAng Armstrong of Iron Angel KettleBells, Cindy Sexton of PaleoDish and Summer Innanen of Cosmopolitan Primal Girl. And Finally, the amazing crew at Academy Of Lions that made this happen:Sohail Bastani, Mashid Shahfar, Ashley Holland, Erin McCutcheon, Freya Ravensbergen, Sara-Clare Lajeunesse, Mikey Pamaputera, Myles McCutchon, John Viljeon, Mike Tamblyn, Caitlin Steenberg, Soha Bastani  and an ever growing cast.

There are many many more to thank and I will later. It’s a little too early in the morning and a little too little coffee to do it all.

I’ll be updating the numbers as we edge closer to 500.  I’ll also post videos of the process:  from shirt to school.

Endless thanks,


Where Ancestral Health and Bodybuilding Meet (or Meat?)

January 26, 2011

The primary reason I established this site is because I have a passion for both Ancestral Health AND Bodybuilding.

At it’s heart, bodybuilding is virtuous pursuit. Too many times bodybuilders get labeled as meatheads or mistakenly thought of as seeking vanity for vanity’s sake. While there will always be exceptions to any rule, this couldn’t be further from the truth for most gym rats and general amateur bodybuilders. Your average amateur bodybuilder and amateur nutritional anthropologist have WAY MORE in common than either side realize.

Your average paleo-head is typically someone wanting to get healthy, and while the focus is on health first, thoughts quickly turn to how aesthetics can be improved at the same time. We know that looking good means feeling good, that someone with 8% bodyfat is typically healthier and more fit than one with 18% bodyfat – so almost all paleo-ers seek body recomposition.

Whether we admit it or not, even the most die-hard paleo junkie wants to look good naked. Go to Mark’s Daily Apple or Robb Wolf’s site and read the testimonials.

The difference between the two groups can be summed up in that distinction: bodybuilders aren’t ashamed of the fact that they want to look good naked. They seek out those low bodyfat numbers and high strength numbers as a means to an end – a great looking physique and improved fitness. They eat “clean” – something that even on looks a lot like the paleo diet – lean protein, no processed food, etc. The paleo diet would be right up your average bodybuilding enthusiast’s alley. Sweet potatoes? Check. Chicken and turkey breast? Check. Fish oil? Check. Goat’s blood? Wait a minute!

The point is this: does it matter if the stated goals are different, when the intrinsic goals, the means to achieve them and the end are ALL the same?

Absolutely not. So don’t kid yourself if, like me, you are an amateur nutritional anthropologist and you think curls are from the devil – you want to be fit, lean and healthy.

Wait a second – brainbuster for you – what would you call a hobby that revolved around sound nutritional choices and involved getting stronger, leaner and in better shape? Let me think… you’d be building your body, what if we went with: BODYBUILDING! Dude, I’ve got to get a copyright on that!

All kidding aside – there is an old football saying that goes, “you’ve got to look good to play good”. Let’s keep trying to look and feel great and not worry about what it’s called, okay?

Keep on rockin

Skipping Breakfast is Fine*

December 28, 2010

*Unless you are a regular, dysfunctional American Eater.

This is definitely the most PAINFUL thing I hear when talking to people about diet and exercise and it goes something like this conversation I had over Christmas break:

ME: “You know, one thing I’ve had a TON of success with, and I don’t mean just me – but most people who try it – is skipping breakfast altogether.  I cut a few calories, and am no worse for the wear.”


ME: “Wow.  That got out of control quick… can you explain to me the mechanism by which you get fat from NOT FUCKING EATING?  And can you provide me with a study or two that shows muscle loss?” (before you ask – yes I do ask strangers and relatives alike to provide research when talking to me)

Them: “Oh, uh, well… I… This one time at band camp… Wait!  I don’t have  any studies but I know that on the news they are constantly saying that people are more likely to be over weight if they skip breakfast.  They cite studies – big ones even.  Haha sucker!  How’s that for science?”

ME: “Actually… it’s terrible on every level.”

Them: “Wow, that’s harsh, can you be a little more constructive in your criticism?”

ME: “Oh, yea sorry.  What if I told you that being a Basketball player made you grow taller?  Would you believe it?”

Them: “That’s ridiculous!  How can playing a sport cause you to grow?”

ME: “Well, you see, they’ve done studies.  Researchers at XYZ University looked at the heights of Basketball players at every level – from high school to the Pros – and found that at every level they are taller than the population at large.  They are even SIGNIFICANTLY taller.  The natural conclusion was that playing the sport of Basketball actually CAUSES one to be taller.”

Them: “Wait a minute… that’s not the natural conclusion…  Tall people tend to play basketball – it’s a sport that lends a definite advantage to taller players.  If this was the case those old guys at the Y would be like 7 feet tall… Is that real?”

ME: “Now, young Padawan, you have learned the first lesson of science: CORRELATION DOES NOT EQUAL CAUSATION.”

Just because two things are correlated, like skipping breakfast and being overweight, doesn’t mean that one is the cause of the other – just like playing basketball doesn’t make you grow.  These giant studies that are done to gather information about us are only meant to be used to generate hypotheses… Say after this study (interpreted by channel 5 news) that says something ominous and scary like ‘skipping breakfast make you 3 times more likely to get punched in the face by a bum,’ then the most important thing to do – for society at large – is to get in the lab with some suburbanites and some bums, have the non-bums skip breakfast and SEE WHAT HAPPENS.   Then, we will know for sure if people need to be at full alert in the event of a freak first-meal-of-the-day skipping.

In the end, skipping breakfast is completely inert.  IF you are unhealthy, it’s your unhealthiness that is causing the problem, not meal timing.  Breakfast is an evolutionarily novel event – let’s think back to 25,000 years ago: EATING was the exception, not the norm… now we’ve got the mainstream telling us to eat every 2 hours.

Here’s my advice: eat when you’re hungry and sleep when you’re tired.  Don’t take this stuff so seriously, if something doesn’t make sense, it’s probably bullshit.

Party on dudes

Friday Fun, Now With Office Space References

November 5, 2010

Do I have your attention?

First, the not-so-fun:

LDL Cholesterol Calculator – I had a “health screening” to decide how much of a premium I have to pay for health insurance next year.  This is a brilliant idea, and I should be pumped about it, right?  I mean, I am fucking healthy.  I put in the blood, sweat and tears.  I take my vitamins, hit the gym 4-5 times a week and generally stay active.  I eat well, I sleep well, I live (generally) stress-free and I work out.  I AM FUCKING HEALTHY DAMMIT.  Makes me feel like the guy from Office Space

“I deal with the goddamn customers so the engineers don’t have to.  I HAVE PEOPLE SKILLS.”

I get so worked up because (and if this is you as well, I feel you) it’s frustrating as hell to work out and eat right, become fairly muscular (5’10” – 190 – ~9-10% BF, just sayin’)  and learn that your BMI is 27 and now Obama thinks you’re fat.  Well I ain’t down with that.

Right after BMI is the DREADED cholesterol “risk” test.  I get the results and my non-fasted trigycerides were at 40.  40.   Right?  They were so low that that actually 40 is an estimate, the test couldn’t measure them that low.  HDL: 58, Total Cholesterol: 196 (AHHHHHHH…. “BORDERLINE” HIGH CHOLESTEROL! RUN FOR THE FUCKING HILLS).  This put my LDL at 130 or so (an apparently highly risky level)… I got interested and found that most doctors are using a formula to calculate LDL based off of trigylceride and HDL count called the Friedewald formula.  Turns out there is a much newer test developed by Iranian Scientists in 2008 to account for those people who do not have high cholesterol/tryglyceride numbers (the Friedewald formula was developed in 1972).  This formula puts my LDL at 95.  To them, this is a much less risky number, so I’m hoping they are using this calculation.  Put your latest results into the LDL Cholesterol Calculator to find your (maybe?) more realistic LDL number.  This tells nothing of particle size or oxidation levels however, so this test is basically useless either way, but what the fuck ever.

Anyhow – without further ado:

How bout some Paleo(ish) Chocolate Chip Cookies this weekend? I mean it’s worth a try… if anyone tries these, let me know how they are!  I’ll get the wife to make them and post it.

And a couple of videos and pictures to ice this post…

Just let your mind relax and soak this guy up…

A Picture is worth a thousand words:

This one is actually sad, I think.  But he got his six-pack abs!

Rock and Roll Hoochie Coo