Henry Rollins
Attitude Adjustment

Iron & the Soul by Henry Rollins

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I believe that the definition of definition is reinvention. To not be like your parents. To not be like your friends. To be yourself.

Completely.

When I was young I had no sense of myself. All I was, was a product of all the fear and humiliation I suffered. Fear of my parents. The humiliation of teachers calling me “garbage can” and telling me I’d be mowing lawns for a living. And the very real terror of my fellow students. I was threatened and beaten up for the color of my skin and my size. I was skinny and clumsy, and when others would tease me I didn’t run home crying, wondering why.

I knew all too well. I was there to be antagonized. In sports I was laughed at. A spaz. I was pretty good at boxing but only because the rage that filled my every waking moment made me wild and unpredictable. I fought with some strange fury. The other boys thought I was crazy.

I hated myself all the time.

As stupid at it seems now, I wanted to talk like them, dress like them, carry myself with the ease of knowing that I wasn’t going to get pounded in the hallway between classes. Years passed and I learned to keep it all inside. I only talked to a few boys in my grade. Other losers. Some of them are to this day the greatest people I have ever known. Hang out with a guy who has had his head flushed down a toilet a few times, treat him with respect, and you’ll find a faithful friend forever. But even with friends, school sucked. Teachers gave me hard time.

I didn’t think much of them either.

Then came Mr. Pepperman, my advisor. He was a powerfully built Vietnam veteran, and he was scary. No one ever talked out of turn in his class. Once one kid did and Mr. P. lifted him off the ground and pinned him to the black board. Mr. P. could see that I was in bad shape, and one Friday in October he asked me if I had ever worked out with weights. I told him no.

He told me that I was going to take some
of the money that I had saved and buy a hundred pound set of weights at Sears. As I left his office, I started to think of things I would say to him on Monday when he asked about the weights that I was not going to buy. Still, it made me feel special. My father never really got that close to caring. On Saturday I bought the weights, but I couldn’t even drag them to my mom’s car. An attendant laughed at me as he put them on a dolly.

Monday came and I was called into Mr. P.’s office after school. He said that he was going to show me how to work out. He was going to put me on a program and start hitting me in the solar plexus in the hallway when I wasn’t looking. When I could take the punch we would know that we were getting somewhere. At no time
was I to look at myself in the mirror or tell anyone at school what I was doing. In the gym he showed me ten basic exercises. I paid more attention than I ever did in any of my classes. I didn’t want to blow it. I went home that night and started right in.

Weeks passed, and every once in a while Mr. P. would give me a shot and drop me in the hallway, sending my books flying. The other students didn’t know what to think. More weeks passed, and I was steadily adding new weights to the bar. I could sense the power inside my body growing. I could feel it.

Right before Christmas break I was walking to class, and from out of nowhere Mr. Pepperman appeared and gave me a shot in the chest. I laughed and kept going. He said I could look at myself now. I got home and ran to the bathroom and pulled off my shirt. I saw a body, not just the shell that housed my stomach and my heart. My biceps bulged. My chest had definition. I felt strong. It was the first time I can remember having a sense of myself. I had done something and no one could ever take it away.

You couldn’t say s–t to me.

It took me years to fully appreciate the value of the lessons I have learned from the Iron. I used to think that it was my adversary, that I was trying to lift that which does not want to be lifted. I was wrong. When the Iron doesn’t want to come off the mat, it’s the kindest thing it can do for you. If it flew up and went through the ceiling, it wouldn’t teach you anything. That’s the way the Iron talks to you. It tells you that the material you work with is that which you will come to resemble.

That which you work against will always work against you.

It wasn’t until my late twenties that I learned that by working out I had given myself a great gift. I learned that nothing good comes without work and a certain amount of pain. When I finish a set that leaves me shaking, I know more about myself. When something gets bad, I know it can’t be as bad as that workout.

I used to fight the pain, but recently this became clear to me: pain is not my enemy; it is my call to greatness. But when dealing with the Iron, one must be careful to interpret the pain correctly. Most injuries involving the Iron come from ego. I once spent a few weeks lifting weight that my body wasn’t ready for and spent a few months not picking up anything heavier than a fork. Try to lift what you’re not prepared to and the Iron will teach you a little lesson in restraint and self-control.

I have never met a truly strong person who didn’t have self-respect. I think a lot of inwardly and outwardly directed contempt passes itself off as self-respect: the idea of raising yourself by stepping on someone’s shoulders instead of doing it yourself. When I see guys working out for cosmetic reasons, I see vanity exposing them in the worst way, as cartoon characters, billboards for imbalance and insecurity. Strength reveals itself through character. It is the difference between bouncers who get off strong-arming people and Mr. Pepperman.

Muscle mass does not always equal strength. Strength is kindness and sensitivity. Strength is understanding that your power is both physical and emotional. That it comes from the body and the mind. And the heart.

Yukio Mishima said that he could not entertain the idea of romance if he was not strong. Romance is such a strong and overwhelming passion, a weakened body cannot sustain it for long. I have some of my most romantic thoughts when I am with the Iron. Once I was in love with a woman. I thought about her the most when the pain from a workout was racing through my body.

Everything in me wanted her. So much so that sex was only a fraction of my total desire. It was the single most intense love I have ever felt, but she lived far away and I didn’t see her very often. Working out was a healthy way of dealing with the loneliness. To this day, when I work out I usually listen to ballads.

I prefer to work out alone.

It enables me to concentrate on the lessons that the Iron has for me. Learning about what you’re made of is always time well spent, and I have found no better teacher. The Iron had taught me
how to live. Life is capable of driving you out of your mind. The way it all comes down these days, it’s some kind of miracle if you’re not insane. People have become separated from their bodies. They are no longer whole.

I see them move from their offices to their cars and on to their suburban homes. They stress out constantly, they lose sleep, they eat badly. And they behave badly. Their egos run wild; they become motivated by that which will eventually give them a massive stroke. They need the Iron Mind.

Through the years, I have combined meditation, action, and the Iron into a single strength. I believe that when the body is strong, the mind thinks strong thoughts. Time spent away from the Iron makes my mind degenerate. I wallow in a thick depression. My body shuts down my mind.

The Iron is the best antidepressant I have ever found. There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength. Once the mind and body have been awakened to their true potential, it’s impossible to turn back.

The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you’re a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.

This article originally appeared in Details Magazine

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What I Eat In The Morning And Why

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[one_third last=”no” spacing=”yes” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding=”” class=”” id=””][title size=”1″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]Watch the video to the right and let me know what you think in the comments. Thanks. [/title][/one_third][two_third last=”yes” spacing=”yes” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding=”” class=”” id=””][youtube id=”hlb2phEWmoo” width=”600″ height=”350″ autoplay=”no” api_params=”” class=””][/two_third]

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I Hate Running. But I Love the Feeling Afterwards.

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I don’t understand people that get that runner’s high. It’s never happened to me. On my best days with my best times, I still can’t wait until I’m done with the entire course. That is exactly how I felt when I made this quick video after running recently. I hate running. But I still encourage people to do it because there is no better test of health than how your body reacts right after a run. Check it out.

(Be sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel after watching. You don’t want to miss another chance to see me out of breath and sweaty)

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Personal Development, Staying Healthy

My Incredibly Simple Gym Workout That Is Kicking My Butt

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About nines months ago I posted a blog post about my obsession with lifting weights. Click here to read it. That addiction has not gone away, and I’m still at the gym every Monday, Wednesday and Friday doing my best to improve my body by lifting things up and putting them down.

If you were a hardcore professional competing bodybuilder, you would split up your workouts by body part. However I am not planning to compete so I do my best to get a full body workout in during a single gym visit . Since I get bored easily I am constantly trying new and different exercises to challenge my body. I am also working hard to get my arms, shoulders and back in shape so I can easily manage the upcoming Conquer The Gauntlet four mile obstacle course that I will be running on June 21st.

Here is the simple routine that I am doing every visit to the gym. It gives me a full body workout in less than sixty minutes. I run through this set of exercises four or five times with a very small rest period in between :

  • Back Squats x 10 – Put a bar on your shoulders and squat down – simple stuff. I use an Olympic bar (the big one – 45lbs + weights) but any bar will work. The goal is to get the upper part of your thighs to be be parallel with the floor. You may have to work down to that. If you lose your balance and want to fall forward, be sure that you are focusing on pushing down and up with the heel of your foot vs. the toes. What does it work? Upper Legs, Butt, Calves
  • Bench Press x 10 – Lay on the bench press… bench. Grab the bar with your hands slightly greater than shoulder width. Start with your arms straight out in front of you and bring the bar down to your nipples. Make sure you touch your chest with the bar. I see many people only do this 1/2 way. What does it work? Chest, back, arms.
  • Bent Over Back Row x 10 – Stand up and grab a bar at slightly greater than shoulder width. Bend over at the waist so your upper body is perpendicular to your lower body. With the bar hanging down by the floor, pull it up with your back muscles and touch your nipples. This is like a reverse bench press. What does it work? Upper Back, Arms
  • Overhead Press x 10 – You guessed it. Grab a bar at a width slightly greater than your shoulders. Lift it up and rest it right below your chin. Then press it overhead until your arms are fully extended. Bring the bar back down to your chin. What does it work? Shoulders, Arms, Upper Back.

The x10 means perform the repetition 10 times. Use weights that make the exercises challenging, but not impossible. If you are reading this blog you are probably not working out to compete for any records (but if you are let me know. That would make me feel like a badass if a competitive bodybuilder or weightlifter was reading this website)

That is it! It is simple, it works your major body parts, and if done right you will feel exhausted when you have completed five sets.

Note: This routine does not account for any  aerobic activity that you need. But if you limit the rest time between sets, the high repetition count will keep your heart rate high.

Disclaimer: I am not a fitness instructor in any way shape or form. If you are new to exercise please start slow and work your way into more advanced routines. If you have any questions or concern about exercise please consult a licensed physician or a personal trainer.

Even after the disclaimer – this routine is still giving me one hell of a workout. If you follow it you will burn some serious calories and gain strength.

If you want to read my other posts on workouts, click here.

Your friend in success – Patrick Allmond

 

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Staying Healthy

Friday Mindset: Go Get You Some

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It’s YabbaDabbaDoo time. Time to stand up and get the heck away from the desk. Do not do ‘one more thing’. It will be there tomm. and it will be there Monday. Run, don’t walk, to the nearest exit and go do something for yourself.

Me? I’m headed to the gym. For an hour I can immerse myself in doing what it takes to improve me health. I don’t have to care about marketing. Or LIKEs. Or the weather. Or CNN. Or the cost of gas. When I am in the gym and focused it is ME time.

Go find you some ME time. You don’t have to look hard. Just take a little bit of time away from other people that are not YOU and give it back to YOU. Your ME time should be a high priority for you. If you don’t take care of yourself first, everything else suffers.

Go get you some.

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Attitude Adjustment, Staying Healthy

SDN014: Why I Want You To Get To The Gym TODAY!

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Over my four decades I have come to believe that managing our physical health is one of the best things we can do. It is obviously great for the body. But today I am going to talk to you about why it is great for the mind and soul also. Listen to the podcast. Watch the video. And then share your thoughts with me in the comments.

CLICK HERE to subscribe, listen and rate on iTunes
CLICK HERE to subscribe and listen on SoundCloud
CLICK HERE to subscribe and listen on Stitcher

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I love to lift weights
Staying Healthy

My Name Is Patrick. And I Love To Lift Weights Part One.

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I touched my very first weight in 1987, and I’ve been addicted ever since.

The year was 1987. I was in the middle of my four year enlistment in the United States Air Force. The military does a great job when it comes to sports and physical fitness programs for it’s members. In 1987 I was stationed at Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue, Nebraska just outside of Omaha.

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