Over the past few months I’ve been working with someone who purchased my book CorpsStrength and is using my PT system. After six weeks of good progress, he stalled and couldn’t get his max pull-ups past 13, or his mile run time below 7 minutes. People hit walls with their PT goals all the time, so this was nothing new. However with him I knew immediately what the issue was. He was just too big, (a very solid 240 lbs). A former competitive power lifter who racked up some very impressive lifts over the years, but now due to injuries decided it was time to move away from the heavy lifting and get in better overall condition. His problem brought me back to something I’ve spoken to many people about when helping them get into shape; it’s the mental dilemma of Leopards vs. Lions.
As we all know people come in all shapes and sizes, however stuck in the minds of many people (especially young men) is this misconception that to be in true kick-ass physical condition you need to be big, physically large. To illustrate this concept in a simple way, they want to be lions. You know the big cat, King of the Beasts and all that that. I get the appeal, however the problem is that most people are just not born lions, (I’m talking physically here, attitude wise is another thing) they’re something else. Some people are badger size, some are more like a buffalo. In my own case for example, I was designed pretty much to be leopard size, with my best fighting weight right around 160lbs. However when I was younger, that wasn’t enough. 160lbs? No way, too little. I wanted to be a lion, and that meant 200lbs of muscle, so I went heavy on the weights, chow and supplements for many years. At my biggest I got up to a very solid 195lbs. Was I now a Lion? The simple answer was no, In reality I was just a overweight, slow ass Leopard. I was very strong in all the standard weight room lifts, and I could still run ok, but I just wasn’t at my best. I didn’t feel all that hot either, my joints were sore all the time and my uniforms didn’t fit right. I was just too big and frankly in denial about it. After many years (Marines are hard-headed), I figured this all out and got my weight to where it needed to be (160-165lbs), and like magic I immediately felt better, looked better in uniform and could do almost everything (physically) better, much better in fact (with the exception of a max bench or squat). That ideal ratio of muscle to frame size made everything work more efficiently. There is no getting around genetics, nor should you try. It won’t work in the end. If you’ve ever seen a bodybuilder is huffing and puffing after then just do a posing routine you’ll get my drift. Looks are just looks, and size is just weight unless you can use it. Real conditioning is a combination of many factors, and carrying a bodyweight that matches your natural frame size is one of them.
I related this simple concept to my reader about two months ago. He tightened up on his diet, the PT program didn’t change, didn’t need to. I received an email from him last week where he stated that his weight was now around 210lbs, he can easily do 20+ pull-ups, and his last timed mile run was 6:04. But more importantly he said he has never felt better. He feels stronger, healthier with much more energy. Magic huh? No, not really, its just long practical experience that has lead me many times to this conclusion. That’s if you really want to get and stay in great condition for the long term. You need to wear the uniform you’re issued and work on making that the best you can, not trying to up-size just for its own sake. Be a kick ass leopard, wolverine, or whatever you are and forget about the Lions, they always seemed kind of lazy to me.
Be safe and good luck
Tags: Corps Strength