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The Double-Edged Sword of Learning

I’m definitely of the opinion that you should always continue learning – that you should always be seeking out new knowledge and growing.

However, constantly learning can be a double-edged sword if you don’t apply a filter.

The problem with constantly learning is that you are going to encounter lots of opinions that differ and even contradict what you are currently doing.

And while it is good to adjust your program as you learn and grow, there are also going to be times when you need to IGNORE the new information.

There are lots of different things that work and you can’t do them all…especially not all at once.

So while you want to try to incorporate the new things you learn, you must do it in a way that actually allows you to BENEFIT from all of your new knowledge.

That means not always chasing shiny new things and constantly doing the latest and greatest.

It means experimenting (aka actually giving something time to see if it works) with something new and seeing if it works and then deciding to keep it or not.

The more you learn, the more you will understand that you have to FILTER what you learn and pick and choose what to believe and apply.

While there are lots of things that work, you have to find what works for you.

All the learning in the world won’t help you get results if you don’t apply it appropriately.

While you want to continue to seek out and read new information, you need to process it for yourself.


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How To Stay Young – Learn to do a new activity!

I firmly believe that age is just a number and that at any age you can feel great and be in shape – You can be a BEAST at any age.

I don’t think getting older has to mean feeling crappier, being less coordinated and suffering from illness and injury.

I think the key to staying young is to always keep learning. And that doesn’t necessarily mean reading text books or taking educational classes.

I think some of the most beneficial LEARNING we can do is the learning of new physical skills. And I don’t think learning new physical skills is just important because of all of the health benefits of exercise (which by the way…are quite numerous).

Learning how to do a new activity not only makes our body stronger….not only helps keep our mind young and agile….not only improves our coordination….not only improves our mind-body connection…


Shoot learning a new activity KEEPS US YOUNG!

Kevin took a chance and gave battling ropes his all...And soon he was up on the wall for completing 10 minutes straight!

Kevin took a chance and gave battling ropes his all…And soon he was up on the wall for completing 10 minutes straight!

It gives us control not only over our body but also over our mind.

I think about every time I’ve learned a new skill – Olympic lifting, Powerlifting, Kettlebell Sport…Heck even boxing…actually, especially boxing….

Every time I’ve learned a new skill, I’ve learned to control my body in a new way.

Part of that physical control and strength that I feel, part of that feeling of being better in tune with my body, has to do with a better mind-body connection. And for that matter, more confidence!

That mind-body connection, that confidence in my ability, keeps me active. But not only does it keep me active, it keeps me MOVING WELL.

MOVING WELL, FEELING GOOD, is truly how we define youth.

Doing some work and learning some new skills!

Doing some work and learning some new skills!

And the craziest thing is that we tend to STOP LEARNING new skills as we age.

We become more set in our ways and tend to stick to our routines and our comfort zones.

When we really should almost be putting ourselves out there to learn MORE as we age because it keeps us young.

So you know how you really wanted to try Zumba at the gym? You know how you really wanted to try powerlifting, kettlebells or boxing?

You know how you were afraid you would be clumsy or bad or uncoordinated and slow?

Well sure. Most of us are awkward when we first try to learn a new skill. BUT only through learning a new skill can we create a better mind-body connection so that we are MORE COORDINATED.

Age is just a number and you really can teach an old dog new tricks.

And the best part is, the more that “old dog” learns, the younger that “old dog” will really feel!

So stop thinking your age is holding you back.

Let yourself try a new activity and learn a new skill. It may just be what you need to feel younger and move better just like the Man Bicep Mom!

Showing off the man bicep!

Showing off the man bicep!

P.S. If you are looking for some extra glute activation exercises, check out this new Redefining Strength post!

A slight change in programming

I’m constantly looking to learn, grow and improve upon what I’m currently doing. And I encourage everyone else to do the same.

So for the moment my heavy barbell lifting will be put on hold as I learn how to master all of the other equipment at the new gym I work at.

Does this mean that I will no longer be lifting heavy weights?


The only thing that will change is what types of heavy weights I will be lifting.

But my training is always constantly changing.

Honestly, if you are still doing the same training that you were doing 6 months ago, you should be embarrassed.

Things change. Workout programs get stagnant and stale.

AND if you want to be truly fit….if you want to be that Renaissance fitness person, you constantly have to be learning, trying and perfecting new skills!

So over the next few months, you not be hearing much about the traditional deadlift (although I do love you barbell deadlift and will miss you greatly!).

Instead you will be hearing more about Olympic lifting, kettlebells, tire flipping, plyometrics, sled pushes, battling ropes, kickboxing (not the classes without gloves), and Brazilian Jui Jitsu. You will still continue to hear about all of the wonderful bodyweight exercises I love, 1 leg squats, push ups and pull ups, in all sorts of variations.

Are you excited?!?!


So get ready for the next phase in Man Bicep Training! Time to learn and grow and become stronger, fitter and happier!

Side note: There is no revision currently to my dieting beliefs. Simply put they are still “Eat whole natural foods and avoid processed crap and refined or empty carbs.” However, I will be discussing different foods and how I feel about them over the next couple of weeks since there have been some common questions arising.

Don’t Be Close-Minded

I’m willing to accept that other people may have different beliefs than I do, especially when it comes to diet and fitness. There is just so much information out there leading you to believe so many different things.

The thing I can’t accept is people who are close-minded.

Choosing the “right” diet is all one big gamble. No one truly KNOWS what is right. We can all just make educated guesses based on the research that is out there and self-experimentation.

And what we believe to be “right” should change over time as we LEARN more. As we EXPERIMENT more.

If you ever believe that you know exactly what is the best/healthiest diet and are unwilling to make adjustments, that is the day that you’ve officially become WRONG.

You are an IDIOT if you think you have all the answers and don’t need to continue LEARNING about diet and exercise…or well anything in life for that matter.

I keep capitalizing LEARNING here because it is key!!! Learning doesn’t stop when you graduate from school – it just becomes an independent study.

So don’t think that just because something is what you “used to do”  or “have always done” means it is correct.

I mean over the last few years eggs have gone from being good to eat to bad for your cholesterol back to being good for you to eat with no effect on cholesterol.

It seriously is one big crap shoot. You can find evidence for just about everything in the field of nutrition. (And exercise is only a bit better.)

So since it is all one big gamble and all we can do is continue learning and experimenting, what do we do?

Well this girl has become good at admitting she has more to learn and has no shame admitting when she’s wrong.

I did the low-fat thing. I grew up believing it was RIGHT. I believed it was right for 20 some years of life.

And then after I stopped listening to the media. After I stopped listening to “society” – I did my own research and found out I’d been wrong all those years.

Why was I eating processed crap to try to eat mainly “low-fat?” How did I believe that some processed butter thing like Smart Balance HeartRight Light Buttery Spread was better for me than regular butter, which is barely processed? I mean look at all that crap in Smart Balance butter spread! Heck it even admits it’s not butter in the title! It’s butter spread!

AND this supposed “heart healthy” butter spread has vegetable oils up the wazzu in it! And what research has been popping up everywhere?!? Research that shows vegetable oils may be causing some of our heart related problems and diseases!


When I started realizing that I was wrong, was it hard for me to admit it to myself and change?

Yes, at first I fought it. It isn’t easy admitting you are wrong. That is why most people instantly jump on you when you start talking about eating saturated fat or low carb or anything contrary to the low-fat mantra.

BUT, I gave the diet a shot anyway. Heck, I even thought at one point “I’ll do a self experiment and prove that this Primal/Paleo/Whole, natural food diet with high protein and low carbs ISN’T right.”

Of course, I was wrong again.

BUT because I gave it a shot, I found something that is, what I believe to be, RIGHT. I look better than I ever did on low-fat and, most importantly, I FEEL BETTER.

Because of my self experimentation, I do believe that eating whole natural foods is the right way. To me it also just logically makes sense. Of course, I’m still constantly doing research to make adjustments to my diet. You must always continue learning!

Of course, now that I’ve found a diet that I believe in, not because someone told me it works, but because I’ve EXPERIENCED it’s results, I’m a big supporter and encourage others to experiment. (AKA share my opinion with anyone and everyone that I can!)

Plus, I love a good debate. I’m just a tab bit argumentative and I will take on anyone, which I think amuses/annoys Ryan sometimes since he avoids the whole nutrition debate with most people.

He tells me “It’s not worth it.” And yea…sometimes it isn’t, but when someone just straight out shoots you down, it gets my blood boiling!

And I imagine that sometimes I look like a little Terrier yapping at a big dog when I debate people.

But what the hey…sometimes it isn’t worth it because the person is too close-minded to even truly entertain a good debate. BUT at the least I hope I encouraged them at some point to do a bit more research into what they believe to be right!

If you are going to be a staunch supporter of something in the nutrition field, you’ve got to do your research. You’ve also got to realize that you are gambling…with your life.

So to sum up my point:

  1. It’s really all one big gamble.
  2. Don’t be ashamed to admit you are wrong! In fact be proud that you are willing to learn and change and GROW!
  3. Never stop learning.
  4. Self-experimentation is really key since there are studies proving just about anything and everything when it comes to nutrition.

P.S. A phrase I hate hearing from trainers or nutritionists is “I wouldn’t recommend that” when they’ve never tried it! How can you recommend or not recommend something that you’ve never tried!?! This phrase was uttered in response to a discussion we had about Intermittent Fasting, which by the way..DOES FREAKING WORK! Sheesh..just look at all the freaking testimonials on Lean Gains‘ site!

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