Article By: Reese Hoffa
Reese Hoffa is the owner of the Hoffa Throws Academy, an elite training facility located in Watkinsville GA. He is a 3-time Olympian, 2-time World Champion, and spent an unprecedented 10 straight years ranked in the top 3 in the world.
I worked as a professional shot putter for 14 years. I won two world championships, went to three Olympic games and achieved just about every goal I ever set for myself. As you can imagine, a lot of young athletes asked me what they needed to do to have a career like mine. I told them the truth, and I’ll share that truth with you now, but a lot of people didn’t want to hear it then and won’t want to hear it now. They hoped there was some secret, some shortcut that would help them be a professional without the effort. Being a professional means a lot more than just collecting a paycheck or having a sponsorship, so in today’s article, I’m going to point out a few of the things that I did to put myself in a position to succeed.
First, during the season I abstained from alcohol. Alcohol negatively affected my ability to recover and was a poor choice as a source for calories. I might have one drink the night after a competition, but I made a point to stay away from alcohol during the season. Second, I stretched every night. No matter what else was going on or how tired I was, I made time for my stretching routine. It helped me recover from the day and maintain the mobility I needed to hit positions in the ring. If I had an injury I was rehabbing then I added foam rolling, acupuncture, and stim to my nightly routine. It helped that I had (and have) a beautiful and supportive wife that would keep me company most nights while I did what I needed to do to prepare my body. Third, I abstained from caffeine. Caffeine is one of the few performance enhancers that are available to professional track athletes so I used it on meet days. However, to avoid building up a tolerance to it, I never had caffeine outside of meet days. That means no coffee with my wife on Sunday mornings, no soda with my popcorn at the movies, and no caffeine shot before a big lift in training. These are just three small things I did. They were time consuming, took me away from time with friends or time relaxing and only amounted to tiny little increases in performance. I was a professional because I made these little sacrifices constantly to give myself a thousand tiny little edges over my competition. If you’re serious about your goals and it matters more to you than anything else then you’ll do the same. You’ll track every workout, you’ll hire coaches that can get you closer to your goals, you’ll read articles like this one and actually start following the advice. Or you’ll decide that none of these changes make a big enough difference and do none of them and stay exactly where you are. I made my choice, and its time for you to make yours.
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.