The other day on an interview I was asked what my philosophy of health and fitness was. Of course, I mentioned a few things there, but it made me realize I had never taken the time to clearly write out what my philosophy was.
Before this the only way to know it was from bits and pieces here and there. Well on this page, I aim to clear up where I stand, to give you the full Legendary Strength Philosophy, and what I believe will get you the greatest results if you live by it.
The easiest way for me to approach this is by chunking it into different sections. And I’ll bring it all together in the end. The name of this website and my company is:
I originally picked this name not because I thought my own strength was the stuff of legends. It certainly wasn’t when I started out, though I’m working towards that aim, which is important. This name is more about sharing the methods of gaining that strength for yourself if you desire it. And if not, you can still become quite strong, fit and healthy, through the same methods, just to a lesser degree.
More specifically, I thought about some of the oldtime strongmen and the legends surrounding their strength. That’s why on this website you’ll find more about the famous strongmen of a century ago, including many you’ve probably never heard of before, than in most other places online.
These strongmen set records, many of which still stand to this day, before there were scientific lifting methods, scientific nutrition, and definitely drugs.
My belief is that anyone can become as strong as these guys if they’re willing to work smart enough, hard enough and consistently enough.
What is strength? It’s the ability to exert your body against resistance.
Its important to note that strength by itself is only one quality of movement, a few of the others being endurance, speed, coordination, etc. But Legendary Movement doesn’t have the same ring to it. 🙂
Perhaps I’ll change the tag line to “Master Your Body and Mind Through Movement” as that fits this idea a bit more.
Even so, I find that strength, which comes in many forms, is a great label for the many things that I do. And its fun to pursue to higher and higher levels. Having more strength is never a bad thing.
Physical Culture Renaissance
Let’s talk about movement, another term which could be used for the old term of physical culture, which often included health as part of it too. As far as health and well-being are concerned, the more movement you can do, the better off you’ll be. Of course, like anything else, this can be taken too far.
Becoming a “collector of movements” is going to help you have all the qualities of movement in sufficient form. The human body is meant to move, and if you want it to move well and be pain free, you have to do exactly that. It’s being athletic.
An athlete is defined as “a person who is proficient in sports and other forms of physical exercise.”
Yet here’s the part most people miss. You don’t have to compete in order to be an athlete. Everyone ought to be an athlete. I say this because you live in the human body. To not know how to proficiently use what you’re living in is stupid. Its your vehicle through life. Taking care of it means using it. To not do so is like not learning how to use your mind properly.
The ultimate athlete, in my eyes, has all those attributes of movement to a fair degree. They’re able to go into any physical field or competition and perform decently.
This is why I’m such a big fan of bodyweight training. There is so much possibility of movement within this using your own body as the tool of resistance, it is the best place to really start. On the flip side, those who only do bodyweight training, are missing out on the bigger picture too. The body is meant to move other objects as well, as there’s benefit there that bodyweight training can’t get.
Contrast this idea of collecting movements to what many people view as strength. Its all specialized. Look at a power lifter who does three movements, bench, squat and deadlift, basically to the exclusion of all others. Sure they do some assistance exercises but that might be it.
In our society today we’re encouraged to be specialists. But I place a higher value of generalization, because you can still specialize to some degree within it. Plus I think it can better set you up for mastery in some ways, and overall its better for the body. Over specialization of the human body almost assuredly leads to problems.
“The specialist knows more and more about less and less and finally knows everything about nothing.”
– Konrad Lorenz
“The specialist in strength gets stronger and stronger in less and less until they can’t do anything else.”
– Logan Christopher
This is the idea of the Renaissance Man, defined as “a person with many talents or areas of knowledge.”
The prototypical Renaissance Man was Leonardo da Vinci, skilled as a painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer. What many people don’t know is that he could also bend horseshoes with his hands!
I aim to be this in movement, as well as life as a whole too. Yes my “strength philosophy” is in many ways similar to my “life philosophy”.
Adaptation and Progression
With any form of strength training or movement, the name of the game is progression. When you understand the principles of progression then you can master any movement.
Here’s the thing. The body adapts all the time. Lift weights, the body adapts. Do mobility, the body adapts. Stand on your hands, the body adapts. Sit for 10 hours a day, the body adapts.
There is no such thing as homeostasis. The body does not stay still. A much better term is homodynamis as there‘s movement in one direction or another all the time.
You either get better, or you get worse, there‘s no standing still. What’s more is that this choice is yours.
By what you do you are making the choice to get better or worse. Sure, you can become better at sitting down, but is that the direction you want to go?
Your Body is Your Ally
Here is another area in stark contrast to what most people in fitness believe.
They make their body the enemy. First of all they may hate it for being ugly, not big enough, not strong enough, etc. Then they endeavor to force it to change.
The dichotomy of “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak,” speaks to this. This biblical injuction can set you up for loathing of the physical body? You’ll see this also in various spiritual circles including many yogic beliefs. The body neglected, so that someone can access the higher realms.
Or its all about mental toughness, you got to push hard. Remember that “No pain, no gain.”
Unfortunately, what training in this way actually does is training the body to shut down its signals to you. You’re not listening. You’re not paying attention. You’re working to shut down the message so you can go 110%.
Don’t demonize your body. According to physiology your body adapts to what it does. Whether something is hard or not is a side issue!
Sure, you can FORCE the body to adapt, which takes a certain kind of training, which also comes at a certain cost (most notably higher injuries).
Or you can work with your body, as an ally, actually making things much easier, and still get to where you want to go. It’s more like coaxing or enticing. Learning how to listen to your body is mission critical for long term success.
The Peak Performance Trinity – Strength
Since I was born genetically weak, and didn’t have a foundation in any of the stuff I’m talking about here as I was growing up, once I finally got into strength training, I needed all the help I could get (and I’m not talking about drugs).
This led me into studying other related and useful fields (there‘s that generalist principle again).
The strength and movement aspect has already been discussed at length so let’s move onto the next parts.
The Peak Performance Trinity – Health
Fairly early on I realized the importance of health and nutrition. Yes, you can become very strong without paying attention to these areas. The body will adapt to training and training alone, at least for a time.
However, in the long run, this will take you down. If you don’t seek health first, you’ll pay the price.
When it comes to health, natural is better 99.99% times than anything else. Human beings, as a whole, are quite arrogant. We think we’re so smart, not realizing that this is different from being wise.
Through civilization we’ve become so far removed from nature, and at the same time, for the most part we haven‘t realized that this is the cause of basically all the health problems that are common today.
Our science is so narrow minded at times. One study points out the benefits of an isolated nutrient. Ten years later this is realized to be wrong. Then there is the tremendous biases involved. Just look at the whole research history around cholesterol or saturated fat for great examples.
After losing my mother to cancer, I’m very adamant about proactivelydoing as many things possible for my health.
It’s a game of doing more good and less bad. And there’s lots to you can do.
In the end, this will also best support your training. You won’t get sick (its been several years since the last time I was) which means you have more productive training days. You’ll have greater energy to train at all times. You’re body will have everything it needs to properly recover. Your sleep improves. Your hormones do too. And so on it goes.
The Peak Performance Trinity – Mind Power
This is the most important area…and no one realizes it.
“Never inhibit or limit yourself by the seemingly impossible. Place no limits upon yourself and you will have none. Think that you’re strong…and you are.”
– Joseph Greenstein, The Mighty Atom
Unlocking the full potential, or even just a little bit more, of your mental powers will allow you to become amazingly strong. Yet, if you don’t have this you won’t get anywhere.
Most importantly, what you can actually accomplish with mental training, is far more than what most people would even believe is possible.
I talk about it and no one seems to believe me. Yet, when you see people double or triple their reps, when you see them go from impossible to possible, when it goes from hard to easy, over and over again, you can no longer stay contained within a small box of possibilities.
And its those higher frames of mind, like your beliefs, that ultimately will dictate the results you get, for the positive or the negative.
Unfortunately, its not easy. Just reading the quote by The Mighty Atom doesn’t automatically give you that belief. But there are methods, there are specific processes, to get there.
This is a largely unexplored realm, which I am exploring with the full ferocity I can bring.
Make no mistake about it, mind power is responsible for the results I’ve gotten. It governs training and it governs health. That’s the reason its the top circle in the picture above.
Implied throughout this article is that you, and you alone, are responsible for your strength, health and fitness. But I figured it was important to make this abundantly clear in case you missed it.
Stop making excuses and leaving the blame or responsibility up to others.
Your trainer or coach can’t do the exercises for you.
Your doctor or nutritionist won’t eat the right things for you.
You and you alone are responsible. And this is good news because armed with this power you can go as far as you wish.
This isn’t to say coaches, teachers and mentors aren’t useful. They definitely are. And that’s why I do what I do to help you along in your own journey.
But ultimately it comes down to what you do. That is what counts.
Legendary Strength Philosophy Summed Up
So if I had to some up everything in a few short sentences it would be this:
The more strength, quantity and quality of movement you have the better. The body adapts to everything you do and is best to be used as an ally instead of an enemy. Put your health first, through natural means. And utilize your mind power to support all of the above. Its all up to you!
In the comments below I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Do you agree whole-heartedly with my philosophy?
Do you disagree with any part, or is there something you’d like to add?