The Contrast

The Contrast
Lift Big, Sing Big, Look Great Doing It.

Monday, August 25, 2014


I've become kind of a power lifting junkie over the past few months. I'm nowhere near having something resembling respectable power lifting numbers (I hope to one day change that) but I believe the movements themselves are key for overall body development and are the gateway to having an incredible physique.

One of my favorite power lifting personalities is Mark Bell of Supertraining.TV and the Mark Bell Powercast. I'll link his website here.

One of my favorite things he says is

"Strength is never a weakness."

You would think "well NO SHIT, that's like the definition of strength."

But then you have to think why he would say that? Any guesses?

"It's because he's a stupid power lifter."


People are intimidated by strength, and they try to brand it as weakness. They try to write off the accomplishments of others or diminish it's importance. People say stuff like "lifting weights will make me too big and bulky." "Lifting weights is stupid, only dumb jocks do it." "You don't need to be that strong, there's no reason for it." The fact is that most people simply do not understand or respect strength and people pursuing it.

"Bull shit, Ol' Yeargain...I watch the Olympics. I love sports, I love athletes."


The majority of you would be pissed if Mark Bell came into your YMCA and deadlifted 700lbs. You'd whine and moan and say "why is that guy making so much noise?" If a world class Olympic athlete came into your gym and clean and snatched over 400lbs (not 2 10lb candy pink plates), you'd look at him like he was growing a fuckin third butt cheek on his ass. If Adrian Peterson was wearing  a disguise, came in and clanged a bit too much when reppin out 225lbs for days on the bench, You'd throw a fuckin fit to the front desk because of how "inconsiderate he's being."

"That's not true. I just don't like power lifting." 

Oh, you don't like power lifting, but you love the athletes, the physiques, and the incredible entertainers the movements produce? (BTW, Jackman is on the deadlift grind again.) And you read your damn magazines with their pictures plastered all over the front, and pray and hope that some day you could have a body like that, but when it comes time to put up or shut up you decide to just do some light bicep curls or tricep kick backs and stop whenever you feel a tinge of burn from lactic acid.

No, you like watching and judging these people from a distance, from the comfort of your own home, the safety of your couch or perhaps in a bleacher with a nice cold frothy brew in one hand and a plate of nachos in the other, throwing out a "Mason is moving real slow today, his game is off. He should have hit the off season training a bit harder." (I obviously don't watch a lot of sports.) BUT GOD FUCKIN FORBID you have to hear someone clang 330lbs on the floor and make a little noise while you're zoning out and watching the mutha fuckin brady bunch on your recumbent bike.

One of the things that bugs me most is that people rarely get complaints for the amount of stupid they do on cardio machines. The amount of clambering, clomping, and general yammering from the cardio machine area that I hear is beyond infuriating, but rarely do you see a man interrupt his set of low bar squats to make a complaint to the front desk. The price of a new treadmill far outweighs the cost of a new 45lb plate or dumbbell. Not in a year and a half of constant gym attendance have I seen a plate crack, but not a week goes without one of the treadmills or machines throwing a fuckin rod (or whatever) and has to be worked on by a paid technician or replaced (upwards of 1000.00.)

Truth Time

I have to admit, this is probably coming from a butt hurt place. I had a lady threaten to kick me out of my temp gym if I "dropped" the weights anymore. I was doing deadlifts. I will not be returning to that gym. If they hire people who do not understand the super human health benefits that come with doing regular dead lifting, they do not deserve my business. End of story. However, that bit of butt hurtness got me thinking down this path that people as a whole are very intimidated by strength or at least their perception of it.


People are afraid of lifting heavy weights. Why? Because it's scary. Because it's uncomfortable. Because hitting failure makes you feel weak. Because lactic acid burns like fuckin hell. Because life is hard enough, why should you work harder outside of your job, or your school work, or your rehearsal? Weakness is easy, it comes naturally to us nowadays. We don't have to do shit for shit. We hire individuals who can barely walk and keep from panting as fitness instructors. We place authority into the hands of those who not only don't look the part, but don't even speak or think the part. We live in a world of weakness and comfort.

Even the concept of a gym is a complete and total mockery. I have no issues with cardio machines, I really don't. I crawl my ass onto one every day and will probably do so in some form or fashion for the rest of my life. I've even come around to some machines as a means to save my joints and maintain my frequency. But to put them above the iron that forges your muscle, tendon, and joints into a giant working power house of walking success is just asinine.

Even when we make the step to get into better shape, we place our trust into people who have been bred to fear real results. People who will give you a pink dumbbell set and place you on a nice balance ball and tell you to move real slow and make sure you're checking your pulse every two secs to make sure you're in the right "training zone." (YOUR BODY KNOWS WHEN YOU'RE WORKING HARD!!!!) These people fear real results, just like you do. They are afraid of law suits, of being fired, of hurting you, frankly, they are afraid of making you uncomfortable. That's why they have to say dumbbass shit like "No pain, no gain!" They have to convince you to get out of your comfort zone, because you're not strong enough to do it yourself. Because you want quick results when they never last, and they don't want to feel like failures when you haven't lost any weight since they've been with them. So they make you sweat those calories out, get your quick results, or feed you the lie that "muscle weighs more than fat." They have no idea how to construct anything remotely resembling a diet that's not just plain stupid. Yet we give these people money to "train" us. We give these facilities money so we can "workout." No, what we're doing is paying a fee so we can feel better about ourselves without actually doing the work, without making real changes. That's why the people who have real money just go ahead and have their surgeries done. If the every day American could afford it, so would they. 

"makin gainz"

Conquering the Fear.

My good friend Jon whom I've been helping out for a while has been making incredible progress on his lifts and while form checking his squat in his video I was immensely impressed with the speed, depth and precision of his squat. His squat form blows mine out of the water, and his speed and depth with that particular weight got my loins a' stirrin. But, in all seriousness, that shit was clean. However, he expressed that the weight was starting to feel heavy and intimidating.

Side Note: Had Jon told me this and I reviewed the footage and saw that the speed, technique, depth and overall safety was suffering, I would have adjusted accordingly. 

But, the real thing was that Jon's perception of the weight and the potential danger of doing what is more or less just a controlled version of crushing yourself was being recognized by his body. He has never done anything like this before, and survival instincts as they are like to alert a person when they sense even remote danger. This is also why people change so much in their personality when the discover strength training. The word fearless and powerful come to mind.

The subject known as Jon has been seen regular attending gyms whilst also having a successful career in the category of vocal production. Although the demands of their lives are extreme, he and his mate have found that the territory of gym are of a particular interest. The subject can be seen regularly adding more weight to the bar, hitting super human depth in the barbell squat, and then singing titan characters of the tenor nature in the evening. We have classified it as BADDASS. 

Rant Over

Until next time, don't be a coward. Judge not those of us who are brave enough to force their vessels into change and pretend that you support it from the safety of your domain yet tar and feather it's disciples when it's your cardio/CNN time. Buy a home recumbent bike, it will save you the gas money. And, as always...

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It.

The Opera Bro.


  1. Nice to hear this perspective. I'll say this, it is hard to lift heavy weights but it is even harder to get started, especially when you can only afford planet fuckin fitness and there's a million dudes with terrible form lined up to destroy themselves on the barbells. Sometimes when I walk in and look at the sea of tense necks I do say to myself "fuck it it's cardio day." But believe me if I could afford it I'd be in a much cleaner less intimidating gym.

  2. AHHH!!! I got a shout-out!!! I'm honored!! And thanks for the kind words, but most of all, thank you for the support, advice, and encouragement. I owe you a great debt, my friend.