This article isn’t meant to attack anyone, or be inconsiderate of challenges others face. What it is meant to do is to challenge the thought process of those that assume they know the privileges bestowed on others. What sparked this brief piece is being asked to reflect on my white male privilege and my elite lifter privilege before posting on social media. Specifically the elite lifter privileges of being able to train in the best facilities with the best tools, that others don’t have the advantage to use. It is this latter portion that I will address.
For the record, I do indeed have these privileges. And they go beyond the training tools. Privileges I use to my competitive advantage whenever I can. I am able to interact with the best lifters in the world and owners of successful companies in the field. From them I glean knowledge and tips not available to others. Being able to learn from the best of the best in each minor discipline is invaluable. I am also able to secure the best care when I am injured with the network I have developed because of these privileges.
There is no argument to these privileges. But the better approach isn’t to ask me to consider these privileges before posting my accomplishments its to ask me WHERE these privileges came from.
It all began over 25 years ago in this house I posted on Instagram a couple months ago.
After a couple rough winters in central Oregon cooped up in a 16ft trailer in the mountains we got this ‘home’. It didn’t have electricity, running, water, or insulation. It was heated by wood and we read books by candle light at night. Once a week we would heat up water on the stove and step out the back door and poor it over your head while scrubbing down. At this time I started lifting. I bought a set of used ankle weights at goodwill and began running, doing air squats, and pushups till I couldn’t move anymore.
The next summer, I began mowing lawns and chopping wood and using the money to purchase weightlifting equipment. People new to weightlifting today have probably never seen the old plastic coated concrete weights and hollow tubular bars. But I was setup with those out back of our house.
Between that time and now there has only been a few brief breaks between either training in the gym or for sports. I was even training in the phase when I was working full-time, pursuing my degrees full-time, and had taken custody and was raising my three sisters. The latter half was due to the deteriorating environment at home that I couldn’t have continue.
Today I train in one of the best facilities available. This facility is something I started creating myself over a decade ago. To achieve what I wanted I knew I had to build it and did so from the ground up. In the first few years I designed and fabricated all the equipment myself and still do so today with when custom pieces are required. A friend and myself welded the first squat rack up in his dad’s garage, before moving it to his garage so we could train. I took on a huge financial burden to purchase or build all the equipment in our facility today. This risk was taken a step further about 5 years ago at the same time I was starting a family with my wife. A partner and myself took on a lease for a commercial building and opened Elite Performance Center to the public. All the while working my day job and raising my family.
Without a doubt there are privileges that I have from where I sit as a lifter today. But I have absolutely no reservations about using those privileges as they have been earned over the course of my life. I will use these privileges to advance myself further as a lifter and to pass that knowledge along the best I can as I do regularly. Moderation of this process, this natural way of things is detrimental to the way I chose to live…. to live, learn, and pass ala EliteFTS values.
The writing of this article was prompted by all the social media posts I’ve seen talking about men’s mental health. Apparently November is men’s mental health month. That is unless you’re struggling with your own mental health issues. Then, every month, week, and day may very well be an ongoing struggle. Although throughout this article I’ll be referencing comparative data between men and women and differing demographics, the point is not to prop up men's suffering above women or anyone else for that matter. It’s simply there to elucidate the current state of men’s mental health, which is the central focus of this article. “Einstein is quoted as having said that if he had one hour to save the world he would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem and only five minutes finding the solution” (1). This mentality exists in contrast to the current lack of awareness pertaining to the drivers of psychological ill-health. Social media and articles routinely discuss what to do if you’re depressed, anxious, suicidal, etc. But seldom does anyone discuss the complexity of the subject. Unfortunately, without truly understanding the issues that lead to ill-health it’s unlikely to come up with an effective solution and subsequent prevention strategies. Therefore the aim of this article is as follows:
Optimizing exercise range of motion to maximize muscle growth is a popular topic to discuss. As new research emerges, it often leaves you with more questions about the fundamental mechanisms and application of hypertrophy training. Mechanical tension is known as a primary driver of hypertrophy. Therefore it stands to reason that training a muscle through larger ranges of motion will create more tension, resulting in a greater hypertrophic stimulus. Although this makes sense at face value, it’s ultimately an unsatisfactory answer. At deeper levels of analysis, mechanical tension alone (or at least our current model) can not explain some of the observed outcomes we see both in the literature and anecdotally. The aim of this article is to provide a brief review of the topic, provide context to the ROM discussion, and offer practical recommendations to implement into your own training.