The Contrast

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

Saturday, November 28, 2015

28 The Year of Freedom

Last year was very tough. My birthday is not what you would consider ideal. I was broke, busy, tired, and not in a great place mentally or physically. I wrote This on my birthday in 2014.

"Rarely do I feel like I've become older or that I've changed when my Birthday rolls around. However, I certainly do this time. My perception of the world has changed dramatically, one could argue for the worse, but I would disagree. I would say that honesty, hard work, and basic cold hard facts have become a part of the every day vitamin regiment. The idea of being an adult is starting to fade from being a concept to a full blown reality. The crutch of school has finally left my side, and now I'm slowly trying to ween myself off the financial dependence of my parents. For both of our sakes. This time next year I hope to make that a reality.

I'm looking more and more to the future, but keeping my nose to the grindstone. I'm trying to let the discomfort of the present make a way for the success of what's to come. 

My goal? 

There are no strings on me...I'll just leave it at that."

That's word for word. This year a LOT is different. I actually feel myself smiling, a sense of happiness and fulfillment. I had so many question marks next to all of my goals and dreams. This year I was able to erase those question marks and replace them with exclamation points.

Here are a few that stand out:

I Got Stronger

One of the things I knew coming back from being ripped from Don Giovanni and getting out of the rut I had created with my diet and training was that I had to get stronger. Much much stronger. So, I bit the bullet and allowed myself to gain some body fat, get out of the single digits and put on weight. Slowly, but surely I got stronger and stronger by the week. 

Nov 11th 2014:

Squat: 315 x 2 (an inch too high)

Bench: 225 x 1 (sometimes)

Deadlift: 385 x 2

Nov 11th 2015:

Squat: 335-350lbs x 1 (correct depth)

Bench: 230 x 3

Deadlift: 455lbs x 3   (500lbs on 11/24/15)

500lb Deadlift and a 315lb squat in the same training session. Casual lifting session done in between clients at the OCU gym.

My deadlift is the most obvious standout, but one merely needs to look at how much my technique has improved in Squat and Bench to see that those are the true standouts. I could only occasionally hit 225lbs on the bench for a shaky, grinding single where I can now easily control 230lbs for reps and do paused reps with 225lbs for the Wide grip and close grip pushes. I now regularly squat 315lbs in the high bar, full depth position where as in 2014 I was doing a pseudo low bar with my ass an inch above parallel. It took me a while with put-zing around bull shit programming before I finally found something that worked well for me. But, that was where all the joy came in, discovering and learning.

Let's also mention that previously I had been training in the gym 6 days a week, doing probably 20 minutes or more of cardio every day. My calories were much more restrictive and so were my eating patterns. Even though I practiced "flexible dieting" I would get anxiety if I didn't know the exact macro nutrient profile. On my Birthday in 2014 I decided that this was going to have to change if I was going to be successful in the future.

And my physique has only improved in my opinion. At first It was tough mentally adapting to new changes, but I've honestly felt great about the improvements even within the past few months. I have VERY high hopes for 2016 in regards to strength and muscular development.

I've proven I can do Musical Theatre:

It's one thing to land a gig doing a classic musical. I had done so by the time my 27th birthday had swung around. My first professional venture into musical theatre was approaching in the summer with Jud Fry in Oklahoma!

I had been told opposing opinions in this regard. There's a lot of people who thought Id be great at it, others called it a "waste of time" or said my voice was too this or that to be doing that rep. Sometimes their opinions would linger in my ear and self doubt would start to show.

I can say with full confidence that I can, and I shall do both. Hell, I got to do a Shakespeare show. I'll act, sing, dance, perform on stage, T.V., or a recording studio as long as someone will allow me to do so. I can and I will. 

My resume in my 27th year.
My schedule now has two projects lined up for 2016. An operetta/Musical and an Opera. I'm branching out and still keeping to my roots. 

I began

I knew since the inception of The Opera Bro that I wanted to become a personal trainer. I knew I wanted to help people reach their goals. So I got certified in 2014, tried my hand at the typical globo gym trainer life, hated it and failed. I wasn't ready. So I worked harder and helped out as many people who were willing to receive it. 

Before the website kicked I was one of the numerous shmucks out there that had a paypal account and an email where I conducted business. I had no system of operations, no real way of showing that I'm someone who can offer serious help and benefits.

Since starting the website I've not only improved the serious and sincerity of my product but I've also been able to help out dozens of people reach their goals all while making a living doing so. 

Because of the work online I have had the ability to return to in gym personal training and go to the roots of my physical success, Oklahoma City University where I have broken ground to begin what I call The Iron Chorus initiative. This is going to be the first of many classes to go through what I consider to be a Necessary part of a well rounded performing degree.

I Started my Podcast

This year has been one of immense learning. One of the things that has GREATLY attributed to my success is obtaining knowledge via audio books, YouTube videos and Podcasts. In the great circle of life you receive information, digest it and then give it back to the world. I've tried my hand at YouTube videos and have written articles, blogs, Ebooks and have made audio books. I'm proud of my ability to make media to promote The Opera Bro message and lifestyle, I truly am. But the thing I'm MOST proud of is the work I've done and continuously do with my podcast Opera Bro Radio: The Podcast. I've gotten to record some great guests and learn so much from them. And I've gotten great feedback! 

Free? Can you see me?

Last year I felt trapped. Trapped by the financial crutches I had obtained by poor investments (or lack their of) during my collegiate years and just an absolute lack of knowledge of the way of money. I was also trapped artistically. I didn't think I could much. I had put myself in a box, and I found out that I could do so much more. Which was exacerbated by my physical location. My location was pinned to a few things, but what it boiled down to was not enough money or Capitol to invest in a future of performing. 

Thanks to an education on money, an invest in a completely mobile business, and a LOT of savings, I'm now going to be free. My first adventure in freedom is going to be exercised as soon as January 4th of 2016 when I head to Texas for a short contract (More on that soon.) Just know that your Boy, Ol' Yeargain is doing swimmingly. Look forward to more cool things coming down the pipeline. 

Until next time,
Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It.
The Opera Bro

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