The world isn’t a place for wimps. By the time a young man reaches 22 years of age, he will have been in a street fight, attended a funeral, gotten stitches, had a hangover, and will have likely been turned down by a beautiful woman—on multiple occasions. By the time he reaches 30, he may experience bankruptcy, fatherhood, and divorce. And when a man hits 50, he could find himself being challenged with some serious health issues.
But here’s the good news. With the help of strong role models, mentors, and tribes, a young man can learn a wide-range of skills that will serve him well on his journey to manhood. Some of these skills are basic but essential. Others are vital to a man’s success. And while this list could have easily gone into the 100’s, I’ve decided to narrow it down to 15.
You might be well versed in some (or most) of these skills. Unfortunately, I’m not. I only write about topics that I can learn from. I hope you continue reading regardless because some of these skills need to be sharpened throughout life. And who knows, my insight could bring a new perspective.
Let’s get started. Every man should master …
1. The Art of a Confident Handshake
I thought I would begin with a simple (but highly-underrated) skill. A man’s handshake says a lot about the kind of man he is.
A handshake is intimate. Not in the romantic sense of course, but it’s memorable. Truth be told, a man can command the attention of an entire room with well-placed handshakes. It’s no doubt, an art. The way you move toward the waiting hand, the considered grip strength, motion of the shake, eye contact, and even the release all matter. Grip too loosely, and you’ll come across as timid and unconfident. Too tightly and you’ll be perceived as alpha and, well, lacking confidence.
You will need to master the art of the handshake if you ever want to be a man that people follow. It could be the deciding factor of whether or not you get that first date with your future wife or a job with the prestigious entrepreneur you’ve been inspiring to partner with.
2. The Art of Drinking
Real men maintain control at all times. Period.
I can’t count how many times I’ve witnessed high-ranking, respected men embarrassing themselves at a work function or corporate event as the result of having one, (or three) too many. I’ve seen dads throwing punches at NFL games, and I’ve observed grandpas trying to kiss random strangers at the local dive bar. I, myself have gotten into my fair share of trouble with booze in the past. It get’s the best of many men sooner or later. The goal is to learn from the mistakes.
Don’t get me wrong. There is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying a delicious glass of Crown & Coke with your buddies. Heck, even two or three if that’s within your safe zone. But here’s the thing; if you want to be the kind of man that inspires others, you’ll need to maintain composure at all times. Yes, even Guys Night Out requires some discipline.
The wise move would be to surround yourself with other responsible and disciplined men
3. The Art of Weightlifting
When I was young, I pumped iron for the sole purpose of getting attention from the ladies. Every young buck recognized that building up his biceps would earn him some baller status. But as a man matures, he realizes that there is a lot more to bodybuilding than bench pressing and beautiful ladies.
It comes down to discipline, endurance, and confidence.
Strength training makes us feel good. It challenges our bodies and promotes longevity, health, and wellness. But most of all, (for me), strength training challenges the mind. Lifting 4-5 days a week for the past 25+ years has infused a level of discipline that has served me well.
Strength training is also one of the most meditative activities a man can do. Throw in your earbuds, crank your favorite Spotify playlist, and proceed to achieve something. No matter how your day has gone, you can end on a high note.
4. The Art of Listening
I bet this one threw you off a little. LISTEN? How did this make the list, you may be asking yourself. I’ll tell you how; it’s probably one of the most neglected and underappreciated qualities a man can possess.
When a man can master his ability to listen, people will be drawn to him. Moreover, being a great listener will dissolve almost any dispute. Legendary author, Dale Carnegie said it best; “Listen first. Give your opponents a chance to talk. Let them finish. Do not resist, defend or debate. This only raises barriers. Try to build bridges of understanding.”
The art of listening can be challenging for men. We want to fix things. We want to sound smart and be right. We tend to interrupt people because our thoughts run rampant. But I can say this with sincerity; every time I’ve listened more than spoke, something good came out of it as a result.
5. The Art of Dating
It doesn’t matter if your sixteen or sixty, asking a beautiful, intelligent, and sophisticated woman out on a date can be intimidating. Even if you’re fortunate enough to possess an enormous amount of self-confidence, that confidence won’t mean anything if your approach is insincere and clumsy.
The truth is, women are approached every day by bold (and creative) men. Guys that are relentless in their endeavor to “hook up.” Now, don’t get me wrong. Not all guys are douche buckets. Nevertheless, you have to find a way to earn a little trust, and the best way to do this is by showing some genuine interest in her. So how do you do this? Simple. You ask the right questions.
The truth is, most women are waiting for the guy that’s different and unpredictable, and you just might be that guy if you play your cards right. The basic rules of thumb are;
Don’t start a conversation off with how beautiful she is. It’s typical and objectifies her.
Don’t touch her. Other than a firm handshake, there is no reason to touch her on the first pass. It’s just creepy.
Don’t ask close-ended questions—unless you have backup questions prepared. It’s the quickest way to cause a conversation to go stale and lose her interest.
6. The Art of Negotiating
For many of us, negotiation is either a part of everyday life or an uncomfortable practice that’s avoided whenever possible. What people don’t know, is that on some level, nearly every transaction can be negotiated. The art of negotiating is an indispensable skill that can be passed down to sons and daughters. But negotiating goes beyond monetary transactions. It’s also a method by which people settle differences. It’s a process in which compromise or agreement is reached while avoiding quarrel and conflict.
The primary goal of any negotiation is to reach a win-win outcome. A good attitude, friendly demeanor, and confident approach will fair well in any negotiation.
7. The Art of Fighting
In John Eldredges’ book: Wild At Heart, he says a boy needs to feel dangerous. Men of all ages need to know how to fight. There are two ways to approach this. You can go at it the roughian way. Like most of the guys my age, street fighting was a rite of passage as a boy, but it’s not always the best answer. Jiu-Jitsu, Taekwondo, and even traditional boxing are excellent disciplines for any man to learn.
It comes down to confidence and believing in yourself. If you know you’re a bad mofo, then you won’t even waste your time with the drunken idiot that’s hitting on your wife. And in the rare case that you are forced to throw down, having some strong Jiu-Jitsu skills will come in handy.
8. The Art of Making Money
This will age me a bit, but it wasn’t long ago that Blu-ray, Walkman, and Nintendo were all the rage. Now we have Netflix, Beats, and VR (virtual reality). The explosion of technological advancements has not only created countless new job opportunities, but the shift has also, unfortunately, caused many jobs to become obsolete.
We are living in an age where EVERYONE needs to be cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset. It’s becoming more commonplace to now see school teachers, doctors, and even stay at home moms and dads pursuing side hustles and creative endeavors. No one’s job is safe anymore. Even if it is, the internet has opened up a myriad of new economic opportunities.
If you don’t continuously learn and adapt, you might find yourself lost. Or worse; you’ll continue with mediocrity, while others thrive.
In Robert T. Kiyosaki’s book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, he says: “Money, without financial intelligence, is money soon gone.”
Read. Listen. Learn. Apply.
9. The Art of Cooking
Most of the guys I know come from an era that excused a man’s unwillingness to cook. Watch any 80s TV sitcom, and you’ll almost always see the husband and kids being served a hot meal by Mom.
The psychology behind a man’s fear of cooking is pretty clear to me. Men typically don’t like to fail. We have little tolerance for “not knowing” something, so we find ourselves avoiding anything that draws out our incompetence. And while most of the world’s top chefs are male, cooking is still associated with the likes of Paula Deen and Martha Stewart in the minds of many gents.
Cooking is an art, but it’s one that every man needs to learn. It’s not only a life skill, but it’s also one of the most important skills a man can possess to take his family’s health (and his own) to the next level. Whipping up some pastured eggs, sausage, and fruit for dinner is a much better option than reheated KFC.
10. The Art of Handling a Firearm
From 2005-2010, nearly 3,800 people in the U.S. died from unintentional shootings, and most of these shootings involved men under the age of 25.
There are numerous reasons a man should learn his way around a gun, but the most important reason is to keep himself, and the people around him safe from accidental discharges. You might be thinking to yourself that you’ll never own a gun, but it doesn’t mean you’ll never hold one. A gun in the hands of an inexperienced user can be deadly.
Here are a few basic rules when handling a gun:
Treat every gun as if it’s loaded.
Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to fire the weapon.
Never point the gun at anything that you’re not willing to destroy.
ALways confirm your target; as well as what’s behind and to all sides of it.
11. The Art of Changing a Diaper
You might sneer at this one, but it’s a life skill. Not only is there a good chance that you’ll be changing diapers in your future, but there really is a right and wrong way to do it. You might be one of those men that takes pride in never have changed a diaper, but the reality is that it’s only making you appear to be selfish and macho. Time to grow up!
Don’t be a wimp. Changing a diaper is a bonding experience for a father and his child. And your wife will also appreciate the help. Win, win.
12. The Art of Making Friends
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” —Dale Carnegie
Research shows that Americans are getting lonelier. People in their 20s and 30s are struggling to make new friends, and this may be a repercussion of too much social media usage. We seem to be losing our ability to engage (and hold) a decent conversation with a real human being—one that’s not on the other side of a computer screen.
Get off the mobile phone and go be a human! Engage people. Dare to move beyond the small talk. Listen, learn, and share.
Making friends isn’t as much art as it is an effort. A few rules to follow when making new (or maintaining old) friendships are:
Be a good listener.
13. The Art of Loving a Woman
We briefly talked about how to approach a woman. Now, let’s discuss how to love a woman. “The most powerful support a man can give a woman to stimulate oxytocin, lower her testosterone, and increase her estrogen is good communication, which primarily involves him listening more and saying less.” — John Gray / Beyond Mars and Venus
At the time of writing this bit, I’ve been married for nine years, and if there were a single piece of advice I’d give a man; it would be to talk less and listen more. Mr. Eldredge, author of Wild at Heart, confirms that a man’s greatest fear is to be discovered as an imposter. Not really a “man.” From a young age, we’ve been trained to think that we have to have all the answers. In reality, women aren’t always looking for answers or feedback. They just want support. They want you to be present; in the moment and engaged.
Here are some basic (but unconditional) needs that most women want. These can be difficult for men to provide, but regardless, you MUST provide these …
She needs freedom. Don’t smother or control her.
She needs to think for herself. Don’t force your perspectives.
She needs a good *listener, not a coach. She’ll ask for help (if she needs it).
She needs you to understand her. Learn her ways.
She needs a man that can show vulnerability. Don’t put up walls.
She needs a man with emotional intelligence. Show stability.
She needs unconditional love. Love her charisma, love her chaos, love her brilliance.
14. The Art of Fathering
“It takes a man to raise a man.” – Meg Meeker / Boys Should Be Boys
Fathers are suppressing many of their masculine responsibilities—unintentionally leading sons and daughters down a path of obscurity and toxic reasoning. Men have more duties than ever before, and sometimes these obligations get in the way of their fathering commitments. Kids want to play, wrestle, run, and create, but most of all, they want daddy’s attention. Children are egocentric, and they need affirmation that they are worthy.
Our sons and daughters are watching closely, and we need to be an exemplary model for them to imitate. While it’s true that both the mother and father play equally-vital roles in raising children, research shows that it’s the father that ultimately has the biggest influence.
Like children, we need to continuously learn and grow in order to be the best fathers that we can be.
15. The Art of Reading
“He that loves reading has everything within his reach.” —William Godwin
If there was one thing I regret, it’s that I didn’t take up reading much earlier in life. I didn’t read my first book until the age of 35. I remember it vividly. It was called The Kite Runner. Every night, I would read until I fell asleep. Today, I’m more drawn to non-fiction, and I’ve read well over 100 books in just the past five years.
If we aren’t being inspired on a consistent basis, we’ll wither away without even realizing it. Our brains NEED nourishment just like our bodies. The mind needs to be challenged with new perspectives and empowered with wisdom. The most successful men who ever lived, read—A LOT.
I have fallen in love with audiobooks. If you don’t have time to read, create an Audible account and begin devouring books during your daily commutes to work and other activities throughout the day.
There are so many more skills that could serve a man well throughout his life. Learning an instrument, investing, tying a knot, public speaking; the list is long. I think the trick is to maintain an open mind. Never become complacent or satisfied with what you know. You can strip a man of everything, but you can never take away his intellect. Learning new skills keeps the mind young, and we’re only as old as we feel, right!? :-) PLEASE SHARE THIS POST:
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We’re surrounded by self-proclaimed successful men. Take a look at just about any Instagram page, and you’ll see men from all walks selling us on their greatness. They have the cars; they have the big homes, they have the enthusiasm, but are they truly happy? According to the Centers for Disease Control, 113 men committed suicide every day in 2015. There’s no hiding from the fact that men are being overwhelmed by feelings of hopelessness and defeat. Steve Miller is a man that’s trying to make a difference. He’s on a mission to build a legacy while inspiring his brethren to do the same. Steve is a thought leader; seasoned in his ability to unite men and form tribes. He’s a nonsense kind of person that seems to understand the primordial needs of a man and is masterful at expressing it.
Take a seat, grab a beer, and get inspired by this short discussion with one of the coolest fellows I’ve met in a while.
When and where were you born?
I was born in Brooklyn, New York on August 10, 1966.
How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
Determined to live a life of character while creating a wonderful life for my family.
How would you best describe your parents, and in what ways did they influence you?
Workaholics. They both had great hearts and pure intentions, but their priorities were out of alignment with what I would consider to be an important and meaningful life. They still managed to give me a good life but paid the ultimate price. I would have been happy with less material possessions in exchange for more quality time with them. I hate to say it, but they taught me how NOT to do it. I could have never learned this lesson any other way so I would not change a thing about them. It has provided me with a tremendous amount of awareness when it comes to how I am raising my two sons.
“Everyone should live in New York for at least one year in their life.”
What are some of your best childhood memories?
Growing up in New York. That alone is a cherished memory of mine. The seasons, the people, the energy … all gave me a perspective that has stayed with me all these years. Everyone should live in New York for at least one year in their life. Life is different there and should be experienced by all.
You created the well-received Facebook group; The Manly Club in March of 2017. What inspired this endeavor?
Most men get to a point in their lives where they feel a sense of accomplishment, not a final sense but a sense of having arrived at a good place. At that point, we start looking around for ways to further impact the world around us. The Manly Club is a manifestation of that.
The word: “masculinity” has become somewhat of a demonized term in recent times. Why do you think this is, and how can we change this declining cultural ethos of manhood in America and the rest of the world?
The world has deteriorated under our watch. We need to own that reality before anything else. Religion, politics and the male ego are a toxic recipe for disaster. We need to change the formula by bringing more women into power, letting go of our relentless pursuit of being right, strip religion and political correctness from our decision-making process and get back to basics.
“There was no plan, no course, and no meaning in my life … I simply drifted through the days.”
You’re a published author. Tell us a little about your journey as a writer.
My writing is a direct product of my desire to help other men find their way to becoming the man they know they are capable of being. I only write about self-betterment. I stick to that genre because it holds the most meaning for me. I can recall in vivid detail the years I spent on what I call “the drift.” Those years were spent in survival mode. There was no plan, no course, and no meaning in my life … I simply drifted through the days. That was wasted time—time I should have been spending building something of value and meaning. I don’t want others to suffer that same fate, so I write about ways to avoid it.
In what areas do you see young men struggling with the most, and what advice do you have that might help them to overcome these challenges?
Young men don’t spend enough time developing their self-awareness. They need to learn at an early age not only who they are and how their mind works but also their mission in life. Clarity of vision is power … a lot of young men simply lack vision. If they would spend more time and effort discovering themselves instead of chasing the next good time, they would craft a much better life for themselves.
“Too many men give up before they even reach mid-life.”
Moreover, in what areas do you see middle-aged men struggling with the most, and what advice do you have for them?
Too many men give up before they even reach mid-life. They stop reaching for more and settle for their limited existence. Fear is a dream killer. Most men that are stuck fear the uncertainty of risk, so they settle for safe. Many can reverse this by raising their risk tolerance through education and improving their tribe around them. Nothing will influence one’s ability more than understanding the meaning behind taking calculated risks along with a peer support group to encourage them as they take their journey.
How important is nutrition, and if we were to look at your eating habits, what would a typical day look like?
I have only recently learned the impact of nutrition on not only my body but my mental well being. It’s a major player but I never truly understood that. My focus, inspiration, energy, and vitality are determined in great part by the fuel I put in my body every day, so I make sure to load up on eggs, white meat, greens and plenty of water. I try to stay away from anything else other than almonds, cranberries, blueberries and dark chocolate. The final element of a clear and energetic mind is water … lot’s of water. I force-hydrate throughout the day. It makes all the difference in the world!
What are some daily habits or rituals you have that help you to stay motivated?
The three that serve me best are meditation, flow hacking, and goal anchoring. I start with a morning meditation so that I can start each day with a clean emotional slate.
During my morning meditation session, I focus on clearing out any and all residual thoughts and emotions from the previous day. This gives me a fresh and bright perspective and helps me move through my day with a calm sense of ease and confidence.
I use flow hacking to get myself into a flow in order to make my brief working sessions outrageously productive. I never work in long stretches. I break my day down into 20-minute bursts of work followed by 5 minutes breaks. I use a very simple timer. During the five minute breaks, I focus intently on goal anchoring. Goal anchoring is a process of visualizing and mentally engaging with specific goals in order to remain constantly anchored to them. When specific goals are kept in front of the mind’s eye, they provide all the inspiration and motivation I need to power through my day. Staying anchored to them all day has been critical to my long-term success.
“They were honest, sincere and incredibly fun and lighthearted … they possess all the qualities I strive for every day.”
Did you have any role models growing up? If so, what were some of their most memorable qualities?
My mentors were my role models. They were men of character, hard work, and complete devotion to their families. They took their legacy very seriously and lived their life accordingly. They scrutinized every moment and every action they took no matter how small in order to make sure they were living in accordance with their master plan. They were honest, sincere and incredibly fun and lighthearted … they possess all the qualities I strive for every day.
What do we need more (or less of) in the world?
More fathers and fewer dads. Specifically, more self-aware fathers that know how to keep their thoughts, emotions, and actions in alignment and can, therefore, teach this most important skill to their children.
“Embrace the suck.”
What are three maxims that will serve a man well throughout his life?
Embrace the suck.
You don’t have to like it; you just have to do it.
“The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.” -Confucius
What’s one of the best books you ever read, and what made it special?
The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer
It was a life-changing book for me. It taught me that life not only has meaning and purpose but I am in control of far more of it than I ever imagined.
Another important book is A Guide To The Good Life – The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine
This book provided me with a much-needed foundation that led me to craft a life philosophy around Stoicism. It’s a tremendous resource for anyone lacking direction in their life.
Business wise I would say that Rework by Jason Fried is the most important book any budding entrepreneur could read.
Lastly, what does a successful man look like to you?
A man that crafts his own definition of masculinity and success and then proceeds to live his life accordingly. Simple and without fanfare.
Bestselling author; Lewis Howes says that men aren’t broken—they’re trapped.
Many of us are following a script; one that prevents us from seeing what we’re really made of. Too many men are uninspired and jaded. We are losing the great battle of discovering our true masculine potential because we’ve bought into the modern ideologies of what real men are supposed to look like.
Men like Steve are choosing to live a life of substance and impact. He’s not trying to change anyone; he’s living by example. Steve is often the voice of reason and enthusiasm. He’s a “glass half full” kind of guy that is at his best when he’s serving others. I think this is a place where men shine the most. We were meant to be of service, and when we don’t fulfill this primal need, we wither.
I hope you enjoyed this Q&A with Steve Miller as much as I did. If you’re interested in joining The Manly Club, click here.
Be the man you were meant to be. Join the PUSHTHROUGH community. PLEASE SHARE THIS POST:
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Masculinity has received a bad rap in recent years. Google the term and phrases such as “toxic masculinity” and “false masculinity” will surface—along with other defamatory and emasculating statements.
Being a man has always had its challenges, but the modern man is up against a whole new set of obstacles. Often, we’re being judged merely because of our gender. This might seem like an exaggeration to some, but that’s only because they haven’t experienced the prejudice first-hand.
Do men deserve some of what is happening? We sure do. Most of us have made sexist remarks and behaved like adolescent-minded idiots in the past. There are countless (grown) men STILL behaving this way. Moreover, because of the onslaught of mass shootings and violent acts committed predominantly by men; we’re now being seen as unpredictable animals by a lot of women. But here’s what I think …
Not all men are broken. For the most part, we’re just confused.
“We’ve been reminded to “be a man” or “stop being a p*ssy” every time we’ve shown emotion throughout our lives.”
We are embarrassed to admit that we aren’t always sure about our masculine roles and responsibilities. We’ve been brainwashed by egocentric action stars since we were just boys. We’ve also been reminded to “be a man” or “stop being a p*ssy” every time we’ve shown emotion throughout our lives, so we’ve gotten good at bottling things up. While it’s not an excuse, I know this is a huge factor in much of the violence that men are committing.
Some of the most influential men in the world are male-chauvinistic slime balls—often gaining popularity by being sexist and aggressive.
The truth is, real masculinity is earned. It’s an area in which few men are successful at mastering. And believe me; I’m not trying to say I’ve mastered my masculinity. Maybe that’s the key, though. Awareness.
We have something to prove, but not in the traditional sense. Not in the ways that you might be thinking.
Instead of trying to prove to the world how strong, financially-successful, or creative we are, we [as men] need to prove that we aren’t the neanderthals we’re being made out to be. We need to demonstrate grace, compassion, and fortitude.
We need to be pragmatic in our endeavor to unmask our true masculinity. We need to let go of that machismo persona that we’ve learned from stereotypical manly TV characters such as “The Fonz” from Happy Days or “Archie Bunker” from All in the Family.
So far, I’ve discovered this much. A man begins to unlock his full potential when he:
Stops seeking approval or validation from others.
Accepts accountability for his mistakes and errors.
Lives a life of grace; maintaining a strong sense of emotional awareness.
Spends a great deal of time learning empathy, (a quality that most men suck at).
There’s a lot more to being a real man than this, but it’s a good place to start. If you’re thinking to yourself; “I’m good,” well then, you’re either delusional, or you’re a rare exception to the rule.
I believe that if we can make a conscious effort to discipline ourselves in these areas every day, we’ll enjoy a much more fulfilled and peaceful life—one that inspires change, builds community, and promotes love.
Men, we need to take a step back. Stop trying to change the world for a moment, and focus on the things that are holding us back right now; the seemingly “small” things that are causing us BIG problems. They ARE NOT going to go away on their own initiative!
You got this. WE got this. PLEASE SHARE THIS POST:
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The year was 1990. I was a 16-year-old high school sophomore that had been weightlifting for about six months. Like most of the boys I hung out with in those days, I was attracted to the bench press. It was the ultimate test of strength—a benchmark of power and toughness.
I was an overweight, awkward kid in high school; not really fitting in with any particular group. There were jocks, nerds, stoners, skaters, rappers, and thugs. Oddly, I was drawn to the thugs—a group of really rough kids that were not particularly interested in me. This harsh reality caused me to form my own small group of outcasts.
My father was a former bodybuilding champion and professional powerlifter. I had already been dabbling with weightlifting since the 6th grade, but it never really took—until the bullying began. Being a six-foot, 215-pound clunky sophomore definitely had its drawbacks. I was getting bullied every day by other boys, so I turned to weightlifting. I saw what it did for my pops. Lifting weights had transformed the 180-pound, 5”6’ guy into a star. Maybe it could do the same for me?
The bench press was an escape for me. At that time, it was the only thing in my life I had control over—the one thing that seemed to bring results with effort.
Halfway through my junior year, I had reached 225 pounds on the bench press. We referred to it as “two plates” because of the two, 45-pound plates on each side of the bar. The bench press was an escape for me. At that time, it was the only thing in my life I had control over—the one thing that seemed to bring results with effort. I still remember the incredible feeling of being able to press my own bodyweight. It was without a doubt a milestone for me as a young man.
While I never became a “star” like pops, I have cultivated immense respect for the art of weightlifting, more specifically; the bench press. It was an invaluable confidence-building tool I used to get me through some really tough times in my life. It also happens to be one of THE BEST compound movements for overall upper body strength.
Let’s talk a little about the history of the bench press. It’s without a doubt a cornerstone of bodybuilding and deserves a deeper look into its extensive impact it’s had on young men, athletes, and middle-aged fitness nuts for decades.
The bench press may have found it’s roots as early as the ancient Greek period. The Greeks didn’t have access to machines or weights and likely practiced a lot of body weight exercises such as pushups, pull-ups, and body squats. Some historians say they even employed weight-resistance methods using animals, tree logs, and each other’s body weight.
The strength legend, George (The Russian Lion) Hackenschmidt is said to be the father of the bench press. He invented the “floor press,” which later evolved into the bench press. He played a big part in popularizing the bench press in the 1930s.
Veteran bench press specialists utilize the floor press to help strengthen the midpoint of their bench press. It’s also a press that defines a person’s true upper body power. It’s nearly impossible to use any lower body strength or momentum to press the weight up while implementing the floor press form.
Many of the powerlifters discovered ways to “manipulate” presses in their favor, so in 1939, the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) put into play a new set of rules for official lifts. They banned many of the tactics that powerlifters were using as an advantage to press more weight, including lifting the butt, bending the legs, uncontrolled movements, and displacement of the heels and feet. These acts would be cause for disqualification.
Over the course of the next 50 years, the bench press would find itself at the center of not just the bodybuilding movement, but pretty much all power sports. Bodybuilders, powerlifters, strongmen, and athletes from all over the world made the bench press a staple of their training regimen. Legends such as Steve Reeves, Bill Pearl, Reg Park, and Larry Scott utilized the bench press throughout their professional bodybuilding careers.
Bench Press Legends
Jon Cole (Max bench: 580 pounds – raw)
Jon Cole is considered by many to be one of the greatest powerlifters of all time. He set world records in the squat (905 pounds), deadlift (885 pounds), and total (2,370 pounds) throughout his career. He was also an Olympic competitor—setting records in both the discus throw and shot-put.
Jon was often referred to as “the strongest man in the world,” because he was the first man to have a total (squat/deadlift/bench) of 2,200 pounds. He was also the first man to squat over 900 pounds (raw).
In 1972, Jon Cole bench-pressed 580 pounds at a body weight of 283 pounds (raw, meaning no bench press shirt).
Jon died on January 10, 2013. He left a memorable mark on the powerlifting world and was loved by many.
Don Reinhoudt (Max bench: 607.4 pounds – raw)
As the only man to ever win four IPF World Powerlifting Championships in a row, Don Reinhoudt is definitely a worthy mention. He was also the first one to officially break Jon Cole’s total record with a 2391.5-pound total in 1975. To give Jon Cole some credit, he was a much lighter man than Reinhoudt—weighing 100 pounds less.
To give an example of Don’s tremendous strength, he once squatted 950 pounds (with only knee wraps and a thin belt), but was disqualified because of being 1-inch too high. Personally, I’d count that as a win.
Don Reinhoudt was 6’ 3” and weighed in at 380 pounds.
Paul Anderson (Max bench: 628 pounds – raw)
Paul Anderson was an absolute powerhouse! He was an American weightlifter, powerlifter, and Olympic gold medalist. He’s considered to be one of the strongest men in history. Paul’s 628-pound bench press was incredible, but his 1,200-pound raw squat was what earned him the most praise.
Paul Anderson was well-respected in the weightlifting community and admired by countless powerlifters and strongmen worldwide.
At 5’ 9.5” and 360 pounds, Paul was an extraordinarily large man.
He passed on August 15th, 1994.
“My love and respect for Paul runs deep. His ability to lift enormous weights in limited movements surpasses all.” – Jon Cole
Kevin Levrone (Max bench: 530 pounds – raw)
There are bodybuilders that have pressed some extremely impressive weight as well, and Kevin Levrone is one of them. At 5’ 11” and roughly 250 pounds, Levrone pressed 530 pounds.
Levrone has competed in more than 13 Mr. Olympian competitions and has been nicknamed “The Uncrowned King of Mr. Olympia” for always placing, but never leaving with a win.
At the age of 51, Kevin returned to the 2016 Mr. Olympia. It was the first time he hadn’t placed in the top ten, but it didn’t matter to his fans. The impressive feat earned him immense praise in the bodybuilding community.
You can watch Levrone (easily) bench-press 500 pounds at age 51 here.
Bill Kazmaier (Max bench: 661.4 pounds – raw)
When I was a kid, I remember seeing Bill Kazmaier on the cover of countless powerlifting magazines. Bill’s golden years were the 70s and 80s. He claimed to be the strongest man that ever lived, albeit Samson might disagree with Bill. :)
Kazmaier was an American athlete, powerlifter, strongman, and pro wrestler. At the peak of his athletic career, he was 6’ 2” and weighed in at 353 pounds. He even trained with the Green Bay Packers in 1981.
Bill’s powerlifting records include a 925.9-pound squat, 886.7-pound deadlift, and a 661.4-pound raw bench press—earning him a total of 2425.8 pounds.
Watch Bill press 633 pounds in this video.
Pat Neve (Max bench: 468.5 pounds – raw)
It would be an injustice to my father to not mention him in this lineup. At 5’ 6” and 181 pounds, Pat might have been one of the strongest men (pound for pound) in the history of bodybuilding. Pat Neve is well-established as both a pro bodybuilder and powerlifter. He is a former A.A.U. Mr. America, Mr. World, and Mr. USA, 1st runner-up pro Mr. Universe, and a world-record setting bench-presser.
In 1972, Pat Neve officially bench-pressed 468.5 pounds—making him one of the first men in history to press 290 pounds above and beyond a bodyweight of 181.
Pat’s personal (unofficial) weightlifting records include a 500-pound bench press, 620-pound squat, 330-pound standing press, and a 600-pound deadlift.
“I just did everything heavy, because when you powerlift, you’ve got to do everything heavy. It keeps you used to the feel of heavy weights.” – Pat Neve
Franco Columbu (Max bench: 500+ pounds – raw)
Franco Columbu is another bodybuilder from the golden era that was not only a strongman competitor but a very strong bench-presser.
Columbu was an amateur boxer, actor, and powerlifter, but he was best known for his bodybuilding accomplishments, as well as his friendship with training partner; Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Franco is a 4-time former Mr. Olympia, including an overall win in 1976.
It was difficult to find accurate and consistent bench press stats on Columbu online. Claims range from 451 pounds to 525, but it’s safe to say that he likely hit 500 at some point.
His personal best (unofficial) lifts include a 500+ pound bench press, 655-pound squat, and 750-pound deadlift. He was so strong in the deadlift that it wasn’t uncommon to see Columbu lifting the back of cars now and again.
In his prime, Franco competed at 5’5” and 185 pounds. There are so many more iconic bench press masters I could talk about, but it could go on forever.
Walk into any gym, and you’ll likely see all of the bench presses being occupied by teenage boys competing against one another, powerlifters preparing for a meet, or enthusiasts trying to hit their PR.
For some, the bench press is an invigorating sport, for others, it’s a rite of passage—a gateway to masculinity. Nevertheless, the bench press reigns supreme as the ultimate strength marker for a man. PLEASE SHARE THIS POST:
Aaron Lahman isn’t your average guy. His maxims are beautiful and intentional. He’s a powerful example of a man that’s allowing love, laughter, and grace to lead the way.
I hope that you maintain an open mind while reading through Aaron’s answers. Like all of us, he’s had his fair share of struggles, but Aaron’s approach to adversity and life is uniquely different than most people’s. He isn’t shy about his immense love for human beings and nature, and he’s relentless in his efforts to show the world that love conquers all.
My dad is incredibly social, friendly, always ready to lend a hand to others, loves to recycle, and cares so much about the needs of the world. He gave me hundreds of foot massages when I was growing up!
“My parents taught me the art of listening.”
My mom is super warm, loving, a quiet, yet powerful leader, enjoys her alone time more than dad, she’s an incredibly successful entrepreneur and is all about family time!
My parents taught me the art of listening.
Both my parents were school counselors for 20 years. They offered all three of us kids lots of listening—to the point where we felt very safe to share all that was going on in our lives with them. We actually used to help my parents teach parenting classes in the Peoria School District, and would each take a section of the content–haha–so at ten years old, I was teaching parents (of all ages) tips that worked well in our home. It kind of gave me a noisy ego that I’ve had to quiet over the years. A skill that we taught that I believe was one of the most impactful was; SHARING TIME. As a family, we would set a timer for 2 minutes and take turns listening to one another share about our days. Everyone was silent, present, and listening.
Lastly, the piece that still inspires me about my parents is that they are both 64 years old and continue to read books to improve themselves, as well as to learn to love themselves (and others) better! They are also very open to learning from their children and their daughters-in-love.
I’m excited to see what they will create over the next 30 years!
Did you enjoy school? What kind of student were you?
I did really like school! I mean, I had anxiety on Sunday evenings and before most tests, and I was made fun of a bit in high school, but 98% of school was great for me! I think since my parents were both in the public education system, they inspired all of us to get involved in our schools. We were active non-stop. We played sports, instruments, sang in the choir, joined Student Council, NHS, etc. I was also a gifted memorizer, and so I was able to have success in my classes. I took mostly honors classes and would work hard for my A’s. I’m not 100% sure what motivated me to have so much success as a leader on campus and in sports. I’m sure my church upbringing and friends had a lot to do with it.
I was working hard to get college scholarships. The “share times” with my family gave me a lot of self-confidence. I wanted to do as well or better than my two older siblings; Angela and Andy. My parents modeled kindness super well, and I did not enjoy disappointing them. I guess I would add that sports, Student Council, and my friendships inspired me a lot as well!
Did you have any role models growing up? What were some of their most memorable characteristics?
I was blessed with so many role models growing up! My parents definitely did an incredible job hanging out with inspiring human beings! And of course, my extended family is super loaded with loving people!
“I love my mom’s passion for learning, as well as her commitment to family.”
The first person that pops in my mind from my early days is Jean Zimmerman. She was my mom’s best friend the first six years of my life. Jean, and my mom used to take turns sharing about their lives for an hour or two. They would pass me back and forth between them as they shared their hearts, cried tears, laughed, and listened to one another. I remember when Jean died of cancer. I was 10 or so. I cried like a baby. She was so warm & loving!
My brother Andy, sister Ang(ela), and parents John & Deb, were who I spent most of my hours with. I learned to be playful and joyful from my Dad. I loved, (and still love) my mom’s passion for learning, as well as her commitment to family. Ang was strong, super fun, and an incredible leader! Andy [my brother] was my best friend, no doubt. I have always been inspired by his dedication to creating a successful life and was very grateful to have such a kind, loving older brother! For me, I have always found myself super drawn to humans who listen well, share honestly, who love others a lot, who like to learn, who Live Big, and who like to have lots of fun!
How important is health to you, and what are some things you do on a daily/weekly basis to maintain good well-being?
“At 36 years old, I find myself working out six days a week”
I find health to be super important to me! My parents laid a lot of positive groundwork for all of us—teaching us a lot of techniques for our mental, emotional, and physical health. So, I remain very intentional about taking care of myself through means of listening to positive music, inspirational books and authors, asking for a listener for when I’m feeling a bit shaky, and enjoying nature. I believe that playing lots of different sports benefitted us greatly as well.
At 36 years old, I find myself working out six days a week, usually. I’ll either ride my bike along the coast, climb at our indoor rock gym, go on walks and jogs, do circuit workouts, and occasionally rock out some yoga.
I have chosen to be a vegetarian for the last 11 or so years, and it has worked out super well for my physical and mental health. I married another vegetarian; Sara. She is very passionate about body-mind-spirit health activities, so I feel like she and I both have gotten healthier during this last eight years! We eat lots of healthy, organic food, dreamy salads, avocados, smoothies, health veggie burgers, beans, nuts, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, etc. We love using essential oils since we are seeking to be as chemical-free as we can in our homes and lives. We even make our own bathroom sprays. I use lavender essential oil for my deodorant, other oils for my cologne, and immune system supporting oils daily.
I also love to get between 7-9 hours of sleep these days!
If we were to look at Aaron’s eating habits, what would a typical day look like?
Organic oatmeal with bananas, mangos, nuts, hempseed, ground flax, chia seeds, and some peanut butter. (OR) Organic smoothies with three bananas, probably a 1/3 lb of greens, hempseed, chia seeds, mangos, strawberries, unsweetened coconut milk, Ningxia Red, MultiGreens capsules emptied into it, and occasionally a spoonful of peanut butter or sunflower seed butter. LUNCH
A big plate of greens, an avocado, sauerkraut, cashew cheese, kidney or garbanzo beans, fresh dill, some organic bbq tempeh (or a veggie burger), and occasional leftovers from the night before on top. DINNER
A big plate of greens, and then a rotation (or combination) of the following: rice pasta, homemade marinara, roasted veggies, coconut curry veggies on the stove top, rice and veggies, a veggie burger, sweet potatoes, broccoli, etc. My dessert is usually almond, peanut, or sunflower seed butter with a piece of organic bread, or a banana … and if I’m lucky, we will have some 85% organic dark chocolate.
What qualities do you think would serve a man well throughout his life?
TOP 5 QUALITIES
Developing the ability to deeply listen to someone.
Self-reflecting on one’s own and/or having deep conversations with other men and women about what’s really going on inside.
Get out in nature as much as possible. To breathe, appreciate the beauty around, and remember our connection to everything and everyone on this Earth.
Having a willingness to LEARN HUMBLY each day—from reading or listening to audiobooks, listening to other’s life experiences, reflecting upon our experiences, watching documentaries, and traveling and learning about other cultures.
Developing a deep LOVE for ourselves. Appreciating our gifts, our learning, our mistakes, our peacefulness, our willingness to improve and heal ourselves, and in loving ourselves better. I believe that we will LOVE others and the Earth Better as well.
Do you have any regrets?
“Most of my mistakes have been related to allowing my ego to reign supreme.”
On my healing journey, I’ve learned about the harmful effects of living a life with regrets, so while I have made mistakes on my journey thus far, I must live now, and seek to walk stronger and healthier each day that I have on this Earth. However, I will say that most of my mistakes have been related to allowing my EGO to reign supreme; causing me to forget my Loving and Magical nature. I have drunk too much on occasion. I have thought about sex too much. I have been self-critical too much. I have worked too much and forgotten to breathe. I have not listened well to others. I have forgotten to wish a happy birthday to people I care about. I have judged others harshly too much. I have gotten lost in perfectionism, often.
So, no regrets over here because I know that will only hurt my body-mind-spirit wellness—just below-excellent choices that I have learned from and I continue to learn from.
What inspires you?
Humans inspire me. People who make choices to evolve, to improve, to love, to help others, to heal themselves, to heal others, to breathe, and to be present.
Nature inspires me. Flowers, the ocean, hummingbirds, trees, stars, the moon, clouds, mountains, rain, gardens, plants, healthy food, essential oils.
What do we need more of in the world?
I believe we need more humility, more compassion, more life, happiness, and communication, more self-healing, diversity, and education.
HUMILITY: My relationships are most effective when I humbly admit that I may have one perspective and not the answer for everyone. Listening to others, learning from others, and refraining from being angry at others when they have different opinions than I do. Understanding that people are where they are because that’s what they have learned thus far.
COMPASSION: My life is full of joy when I’m living with compassion as my guide! I believe that the more we grow and share love with others, the better off the whole world will be. In order to love others well, we need to LOVE ourselves well! I think if compassion guided companies’ decision-making processes, guided our personal choices, and guided our government’s choices, it would create systems that would completely shift the way our world presently looks. People would have healthy food, people would feel safe, people would have access to top-notch wellness support, people would have access to a place to sleep, they would have access to education and learning, and people would see more advertisements and more media inspiring them to be Loving & Compassionate.
EDUCATION: (Life/Happiness/Communication/Self-Healing/Diversity): I believe that our schools worldwide ought to be focused on inspiring all students to love themselves, love others, to communicate effectively, to dream big, to heal themselves, to meditate, to take care of themselves, to respect people with different belief systems, to make healthy decisions for themselves, to appreciate the present moment, to learn methods to be more relaxed and happy, and to make wise financial decisions.
This education would be less about telling students how they must live, but more about providing wisdom from the ages that the students can take from and apply to their lives
If you had the chance to talk to the 18-year old version of yourself, would you say to him?
You are always loved! You do not need to rush! You are worthy of relaxation! Your worth doesn’t depend upon what you produce! You are here to love! You will find peace in the present moment by choosing gratitude for every small gift you enjoy! You are magical! You are 1 of billions who are helping to make the world a better place!
If you could choose a superpower, what would it be, and why?
My dream superpower: I wish that I could touch a person’s shoulder; causing them to love everyone on this planet.
“A real man takes care of himself and heals the areas of his life that need healing.”
What’s one of the best books you ever read, and what made it so memorable?
The Art of Power by Thich Nhat Hanh. It’s a powerful read. What I recall:
At the end of the day, True Power has nothing to do with Money, Success, Fame, Sex. True Power is about being LOVE day in and day out.
Lastly, what is your definition of a real man?
A real man does 4 things:
He takes care of himself and heals the areas of his life that need healing.
He desires to help others improve their lives.
He learns to breathe, relax, listen, dream, and share love with others.
He takes time to experience joy, shows gratitude, and soaks in precious moments.
There are many different types of men, and we can learn something from each and every one of them. George Washington said; “Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation.”
We don’t have to be one-dimensional men. We can exemplify strength, confidence, courage, perseverance, and yes, even LOVE. Being a man carries great responsibility. Our young boys and men are watching closely. They need to understand that even a warrior needs to have compassion for others. They need to know that there’s more to life than just domination and defeat.
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https://push-through.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Aaron-Lahman-QA.jpg6001000Patrick Nevehttps://push-through.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/PUSHTHROUGH-2018-sized.pngPatrick Neve2017-10-07 09:12:362017-11-03 13:40:01A Man On a Mission with Aaron Lahman
Google the word, “testosterone,” and 37,800,000 results will show up. It’s without a doubt one of (if not the) most popular topics among men of all ages, and it’s also one of the most misunderstood. Testosterone (T) plays a huge role in determining the quality of a man’s life. When a man’s T levels are excellent, he feels invincible—ready and willing to take on any challenge, but when they’re low, all kinds of things begin to go wrong.
The amount of science surrounding this topic is enough to give a person brain damage, so I’m not going to delve too far into that end of it. Rather, I’m going to touch on some of the general components of testosterone, as well as sharing some actionable strategies that will begin boosting your testosterone levels so that you can perform at the highest possible level—physically, sexually, cognitively, and emotionally.
Healthy levels of testosterone will:
Decreases body fat
Increase muscle mass
Increase bone density
Increase cognitive function
*It’s important to know that this article is intended for men over the age of 20. The information will not fully align with kids, adolescents, teenagers, or women.
Testosterone is produced primarily in the testes of men, and to a lesser extent, in the ovaries of women. Testosterone has received a bad rap for decades. It has been associated with haughty, aggressive, and even violent behavior, but the truth is that optimal T levels are conducive to a man’s success—helping him to thrive in all areas of life. Often, low testosterone is the cause of depression and anger, resulting in a life that’s anything but fulfilling.
Testosterone has received a bad rap for decades.
We can experience a surge of testosterone when our favorite NFL team scores a touchdown, or when we break a personal record on the bench press. Our T levels can even rise when we experience some quality sleep. Testosterone is also affected by our sense of self, our mindset, and our lifestyle habits. When we overcome a challenge, our testosterone increases, but when we fail, it drops. When T levels plummet, the stress hormone: *cortisol rises simultaneously—wreaking havoc on our mental and physical state of well-being.
There are (3) primary male testosterone biomarkers:
1. FREE TESTOSTERONE
Free testosterone (Free T), is the measurement of both free testosterone and albumin-bound testosterone in your body. These are the bioavailable T’s for which the body can actually use. Free T is sometimes difficult to measure accurately because it makes up such a small percentage of your total T’s. This is why many physicians will focus on total testosterone—because it’s easier to interpret. But total T only shows us part of the picture.
It’s crucial for a man that’s climbing into his late 30s to know where his total (and free) testosterone levels lie. When these numbers are off, life is off. But there are many lifestyle adjustments that we can apply to balance these numbers—naturally. Read on and learn. 2. SHBG TESTOSTERONE
SHBG (sex-hormone-binding globulin) is a protein produced primarily in the liver, as well as the testes and brain. It transports androgens (testosterone) and estrogen to sex hormone receptors throughout your body—acting as a master regulator. Simply put, SHBG regulates a healthy balance between a man’s testosterone and estrogen levels. 
As we age, SHBG levels begin to rise and bind to our sex hormones—reducing their bioavailability to cells in our body. Elevated levels of SHBG in the blood can cause testosterone to be less available to healthy tissue—resulting in poor sexual performance, diminished libido, cognitive decline, chronic fatigue, and cardiovascular disease (CVD). 
On the flip side, having SHBG levels that are too low can result in conditions that include obesity, insulin resistance, chronic high blood pressure, and metabolic syndrome (pregnant man belly)! 3. ALBUMIN TESTOSTERONE
Albumin is another protein that’s produced by the liver, testes, and brain. It plays numerous roles in the body, but its key role is to prevent plasma from leaking out of blood vessels and into surrounding tissues. It also acts as a carrier for steroids, including testosterone.
The important thing to know is that low albumin levels can be a sign of kidney or liver disease, (or) an indication that the body is deficient in vital micronutrients (e.g., vitamin C, B12, B6, D3, etc.)
What is Total Testosterone?
Total testosterone is a standard biomarker that physicians often look at to determine a man’s hormonal health, but as I mentioned earlier, it’s only part of the story. Total T is basically the combination of free testosterone; (SHBG and albumin) combined.
Let’s dig a litter deeper as to why this test (in itself) is not always an ideal marker for your hormonal health.
Total testosterone alone doesn’t always provide us with the data we need to identify optimal hormonal health.
Let’s say that your SHBG levels are high (which isn’t a good thing), and your albumin levels are really low (which is also not a good thing). This could theoretically equate to a “normal” total testosterone reading—although there’s some bad stuff happening behind the scenes.
Total testosterone alone doesn’t always provide us with the data we need to identify optimal hormonal health.
What Are “Normal” Testosterone Levels?
Google “normal testosterone levels” and you’ll find yourself overwhelmed with contradictory opinions, numbers, and statements on this topic. From my own research, I’ve seen 348 – 1197 ng/dL as a commonly total T range, but there’s a 2017 study that provides a new guideline for testosterone levels:
On April 1, 2017, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism performed a cohort study of 9,000 healthy (non-obese) men, ranging from ages 19 – 39. They concluded that a normal range of total testosterone was 264 to 916 ng/dL (nanograms per deciliter). 
I’ll give you some perspective so that these numbers make more sense to you. At the time of writing this article, I’m 43 years old and my total testosterone is 560 ng/dL. My energy levels are high, I feel strong, I have little to no joint pain, and my libido is on point. But this number could mean something very different to another man. Remember, if your SHBG or Albumin levels (which make up total testosterone) are imbalanced, it can mess with your “free” testosterone—resulting in a “normal” total T number, even though your physical performance is declining.
I still need to test my free, SHBG, and albumin testosterone levels to get the full picture. I’ll share my results with you when I get them.
What You Should Test For
It’s important to have (all four) T levels tested; SHBG, albumin, total, and free testosterone. If not specified, your doctor will probably give you some push-back. Typically, they only want to perform a standard “total T” test.
It’s crucial to test your T levels every three to six months while on a new diet and exercise program.
It’s crucial to test your T levels every three to six months while on a new diet and exercise program. As you begin to see your T levels progress for the better, your confidence will grow—motivating you to keep going!
Let’s talk about T-testing methods.
Whether you’re a high-performing businessman, a stay at home dad, or an athlete, you should have a clear picture of your overall hormonal health. A man’s quality of life is determined by his testosterone. If you’re over 35, you should consider having all four T biomarkers tested: 1. Total Testosterone
2. SHBG levels
3. Albumin levels
4. Free Testosterone
Total Testosterone Testing
There are (2) methods to test your total testosterone: 1. LC/MS Method 2. ECLIA Method LC/MS Method
Short for (liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry). This test has become the gold standard for total T testing. It’s a little more expensive than ECLIA method testing and takes a bit longer to get back test results. ECLIA Method
Short for (Electrochemiluminescent Immunoassay). This is an affordable lab test that measures total testosterone. However, it’s said that the ECLIA test is somewhat inaccurate in comparison to the LC/MS test.
SHBG is a little trickier to test. Many physicians will try and discourage you from testing SHBG. Traditionally, they are only interested in the “total” testosterone results, but this is outdated thinking. As I mentioned earlier, your total T can be in a normal range, but (low, or high) SHBG levels can be causing you problems behind the scenes, so it may be wise to order this test in addition to a total testosterone test.
Once you’ve gotten over the hurdle of convincing your doctor to test your SHBG levels, testing your albumin levels is simple; as it’s often included alongside the SHBG test.
Free Testosterone Testing
You can test your “free” testosterone by itself, or alongside your total SHBG, and albumin. This test is a good example. They also use the LC/MS method of testing, which is supposed to be more accurate.
Testosterone Boosting Hacks
Now, let’s get to the juicy part; testosterone hacks! Once you’ve been tested and you know where you stand regarding testosterone health, you can begin to manipulate your T levels (in your favor) by applying some (if not all) of these natural hacks.
Hack #1: Eat More Fat
By now, you’ve heard about the numerous health benefits of a high-fat diet. If you haven’t, that’s OK, but the research is out there, and it’s undeniable. A high (quality) fat diet can benefit brain, heart, and cellular health. But did you know that consuming the “right kind” of fats on a daily basis can also increase testosterone levels in men? 
You might remember the low-fat diet craze that overwhelmed the 80s and 90s. Chicken breasts, egg whites, brown rice, and skim milk were the staple of just about every bodybuilding regimen in existence—and unfortunately, these dated concepts are still being practiced by many fitness enthusiasts and pros today. MCT oil, coconut oil, avocados, grass-fed butter, extra virgin olive oil, wild-caught salmon, and sardines are just a few examples of testosterone-boosting fatty foods.
Hack #2: Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting increases mental performance, reduces inflammation, improves digestion, and promotes longevity. The list goes on and on. But it’s also near the top of the list of natural testosterone boosting hacks. , , 
The important thing to know is that it has nothing to do with “starving” yourself.
If you don’t know much about intermittent fasting, it’s OK. The important thing to know is that it has nothing to do with “starving” yourself.
Fasting for 12 to 18 hours a day (or every other day) is an amazing tool to balance out a man’s hormones (as well as his overall health).
If you’re a beginner, a simple approach to intermittent fasting is to consume your last meal of the day at around 7pm. Don’t eat anything else (or drink sugary liquids) until 10am. That’s a 15-hour fast! When you wake at let’s say 6am, make yourself a quality fat, creamy coffee by adding some grass-fed butter and coconut oil — but with little to no creamer. The quality fat (sugar-free) coffee will easily curb your hunger for the remaining 4-5 hours, and by sidestepping the sugar, you won’t break your fast.
The ketones that are produced from intermittent fasting will increase your testosterone health for the better.
You’ll also notice a new level of mental performance and clarity!
Hack #3: HIIT Training
High Intense Interval Training has a powerful impact on testosterone.  Unlike prolonged exercise, which has little to no positive effects on testosterone, intense, short workouts of 20 to 30 minutes with very little rest in between sets will give you an incredible surge of testosterone!
It’s important to know that HIIT training can be used beyond the weight room. Sprinting, swimming, hiking, and even pushups can be used as HIIT tools. Just find what you enjoy doing and slowly work your way up to multiple sets of short bursts and intense effort with little rest in between.
Hack #4: Sleep Like A Gangsta
How many times have you found yourself skimming Facebook, or finishing up an episode of Game of Thrones before bed? A lack of sleep (especially quality sleep) has been shown to decrease testosterone in men.
In a 2011 Journal of American Medical Association study, they concluded that there was a 10% to 15% decrease in testosterone among male participants that slept 5 hours per night for (1) week. 
Also, after reading renown health and wellness expert, Shawn Stevenson’s best-selling book; Sleep Smarter, there’s no doubt that the quality of sleep we get impacts our health and testosterone in powerful ways. Try This: Try taking magnesium and sip on some chamomile tea before bed to help you reach some of that amazing REM sleep.
Hack #5: Vitamin Therapy
Vitamins and minerals are not just vital for longevity, but they play a role in testosterone health as well. VITAMIN D
Vitamin D deficiency is a big problem in the United States, as well as many other regions around the world, mainly because people just aren’t spending enough time in the sun.
Vitamin D deficiency is a big problem in the United States, as well as many other regions around the world.
Vitamin D is a steroid hormone that can increase testosterone levels in men.  Sun exposure is by far the best way to optimize your vitamin D levels, but as a last resort, Vitamin D3 supplementation is necessary. ZINC
Zinc is a mineral that plays an important role in hormone production, including testosterone health. The effects that zinc has on testosterone levels are not fully understood.
Foods rich in zinc include grass-fed beef, cashews, pumpkin seeds, mushrooms, spinach, chicken, chickpeas, cocoa powder, and lamb.
If your diet isn’t on point, supplementation is a necessary option. MAGNESIUM
Magnesium is another mineral that’s associated with testosterone. It’s supposed to increase the bioavailability of testosterone—allowing the body to utilize it more efficiently. 
Foods rich in magnesium include spinach, avocados, chard, almonds, pumpkins, yogurt, dark chocolate, black beans, and bananas.
If your diet isn’t on point, supplementation is a necessary option.
Hack #6: Supplements
The testosterone boosting supplement industry is huge, and the choices are endless, but here are a few options that you could try before you turn to hardcore T-boosters or TRT (testosterone replacement therapy). CREATINE
There are numerous scientific studies that support creatine monohydrate’s legit muscle-building benefits, but there’s also evidence that suggests that it also has positive effects on testosterone levels! , , 
Add a serving of creatine monohydrate to your pre (or post) workout concoction for endurance, muscle growth, recovery, and testosterone-boosting benefits.
Buy on Amazon ASHWAGANDHA
Ashwagandha is an herb that has been shown to have an adaptogenic impact on testosterone health in men. Although some of the claims can be over-the-top, ashwagandha can reduce stress, anxiety, inflammation and cortisol levels—which in an of itself can increase T levels. 
Ashwagandha can reduce stress, anxiety, inflammation and cortisol levels.
Ashwagandha may also improve thyroid and adrenal health.
Dosage and servings: Some experts recommend 500mg 1-2x daily.
Buy on Amazon MACA
Maca root is an adaptogen and a member of the cruciferous family, like broccoli and Brussels Sprouts. This superfood is usually found in powder form and is loaded with nutrients. It’s not typically seen as a testosterone booster, but studies show that Maca may increase libido, so I thought it was worth mentioning. 
More Maca benefits include hormone balance in both men and women, fertility, energy, mood, memory, and immunity.
Dosage and servings: According to experts, there is no particular recommended serving size of maca. However, most people seem to feel best when starting with about one tablespoon daily (in powder form) and possibly working their way up to 2-3 tablespoons.
Buy on Amazon BCAAs
According to research, Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) may increase testosterone levels, especially when taken with strength training. 
If your diet is already rich in grass-fed beef, wild caught salmon, and hormone-free chicken, BCAA supplementation might not be necessary.
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Hack #7: Lose Weight
The research is pretty clear. There is a relationship between weight loss and increased testosterone. 
Poor sleep, stress, refined sugars, processed grains, conventional (hormone-packed) meat and a lack of exercise can all hurt your efforts to lose body fat—ultimately resulting in decreased testosterone.
The median BMI (body mass index) for a 40-year-old man is said to be roughly 26, but I would aim for 15 to 18 — being that 30+ is considered to be obese. You don’t even want to be in the 20s if you can help it.
Hack #8: Ditch the Sweets
This is one that people just don’t like to hear. I get it. Sugar is SWEET! (pun intended). The average American is said to consume up to 12 teaspoons of refined sugar a day; about two tons a year!
The average American is said to consume up to 12 teaspoons of refined sugar a day!
The truth is, if you can’t get your sugar intake under total control, YOU WILL NEVER reach your health and fitness goals. I know that’s a pretty frank statement, but I’m not investing hours of my time writing this post to waste yours.
I also don’t need to go into the science of sugar and the effects it has on the body. You’ve heard most of it.
Remove as much sugar (as well as artificial sweeteners; e.g., Splenda) from your diet as possible. Artificial sweeteners will only intensify your cravings for the real thing.
Hack #9: Relax
Stress and testosterone don’t play well together. Period.
We have to allow our bodies to rest. We need to find ways to disconnect from the stressors of life.
On a physiological level, chronic stress causes cortisol levels to spike, which in turn impairs DHEA production—causing testosterone to plummet.
Healthy habits that help me to deal with stress include running, hiking, weight training, reading, writing, watching football, family time, laughter, prayer, meditation, playing my acoustic guitar, and traveling.
Vitamin B6 has been shown to help with stress (as well as; brain function, joint pain, sleep, heart health, and anxiety).
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Masculinity isn’t a concept; it’s a rite of passage. Being a man can be challenging. Our families depend on us to provide and protect. Our employers expect us to perform and produce. And at any given moment, our dormant primal instincts can be awakened by unexpected calamity.
Testosterone is key to a man’s mental fortitude and physical ability. It reinforces his unremitting drive to overcome obstacles and persevere in the presence of almost any challenge.
Unhealthy lifestyle habits will undoubtedly affect our body’s production of testosterone; resulting in unpleasant, and even dangerous consequences that may include depression, feelings of hopelessness, and even suicidal thoughts.
Testosterone is no laughing matter and should be at the top of our list of priorities.
Don’t wait for negative symptoms before you begin monitoring your T levels.
Guard it and honor it, gentlemen.
PUSHTHROUGH shares information on health, nutrition, supplementation, fitness, and biochemistry topics for the general public. The information is made available with the understanding that the author is not providing medical, psychological, or nutritional counseling services on this site. The information should not be used in place of a consultation with a health care professional (preferably a functional medicine or naturopathic specialist).
The information on this website does not cover all possible uses, actions, precautions, side effects, and interactions. It is not intended as nutritional or medical advice for individual problems. Liability for individual actions or omissions based upon the contents of this site is expressly disclaimed.
https://push-through.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Testosterone-Best-Friend.jpg6001000Patrick Nevehttps://push-through.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/PUSHTHROUGH-2018-sized.pngPatrick Neve2017-09-19 17:33:342017-10-31 06:40:10Testosterone: A Man's Best Friend
Anyone can lead, but not everyone can lead well. Extraordinary leaders emanate character and convey passion. Their ethics are uncompromising, and they serve wholeheartedly. They are balanced in both confidence and compassion while maintaining composure at all times.
It requires a special kind of mental fortitude and resiliency to lead a nation, organization, or even a family, successfully. A great leader knows how to get the most out of very little. His presence and charisma are memorable, (but never sleazy). And above all else, he leads by example; earning the trust of colleagues and subservients.
Unfortunately, not all leaders are created equal.
Gallant leaders such as Theodore Roosevelt and Nelson Mandela have become but a distant memory.
Is extraordinary leadership dead?
“A leader must be strong but likewise have endurance, not only physically but mentally.” – Jocko Willink
Below, are 14 leadership qualities, that when combined, model an extraordinary leader.
If we align ourselves with these characteristics, we will undoubtedly impact lives. It will require a tremendous amount of discipline (and self-awareness), but at the end of each day, we’ll be playing our part in making the world a much better place.
Best-selling author, Michael Hyatt explains how authentic leaders influence and impact. They show initiative and have insight. Most importantly, they maintain integrity — supported by high values.
Authenticity goes beyond being genuine or real. Authentic leaders admit when they don’t know something. A wise leader is intelligent enough to surround himself with capable people that have the answers when he doesn’t.
Authentic leaders also don’t mind if others disagree with them. In fact, they pay close attention to these situations. It’s called “balanced processing.” Most of us struggle with this trait, but leaders are wired differently. They never dismiss others and their opposing points of view on a given topic.
Confidence is undoubtedly the foundation of strong leadership, but it’s a quality that is often abused.
“With realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world.” – Dalai Lama
Retired US Navy Seal Commander, Jocko Willink says: “A leader must be confident, but never cocky.” Jocko goes onto explain how overconfidence causes complacency, which ultimately sets the team up for failure.
There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance, which brings us to #3: humility.
Humility is often associated with weakness. A characteristic of a person that’s lacking in strength. A “pushover.”
The dictionary defines humility as “having a modest opinion of one’s own importance.” The best leaders know when to stand out (and step back).
American author, Ken Blanchard says: “People with humility do not think less of themselves; they just think about themselves less.”
There’s a quote by the Chinese Philosopher, Lao Tzu that says; “The great leader speaks little. He never speaks carelessly. He works without self-interest and leaves no trace. When all is finished, the people say ‘We did it ourselves.’”
Exceptional leaders push their ego aside and allow others to shine once in a while.
Empathy is considered to be the “building block for morality.” A leader who lacks empathy will struggle to build strong relationships with his team, organization, or spouse. It’s the key to healthy communication.
Simon Sinek, the best-selling author of Leaders Eat Last, says: “Exceptional leaders and organizations prioritize the well-being of their people, and in return, their people give everything they’ve got to protect and advance the well-being of one another and the organization.”
He goes on to say:
“In the military, we give medals to people who sacrifice so others may gain … In business, we give bonuses to people who gained when others sacrificed.”
It’s been said that empathy begins by giving others the benefit of the doubt. Leaders who take the time to understand the needs of their team can provide them with the support they require to push ahead, to deal with the challenges that could be holding them back from achieving their goals.
True leaders are mindful and compassionate, which brings us to #5 …
A compassionate leader cares about the hardships of others. He has a strong desire to lift people up when they’ve fallen down.
A compassionate leader is attentive and sympathetic; responding to sensitive situations with kindness and respect.
The Dalai Lama expresses a distinction between compassion and empathy by saying:
“Empathy is a desire to know the other person. Compassion is to act on that knowledge with positive intent.”
In a world where self-serving, narcissistic, and power-driven leaders are becoming more popular than ever, we can choose to stand out by being the polar opposite.
Compassionate leaders may not be the most popular, but they’re the most effective.
An extraordinary leader is highly versatile. He’s not only mentally strong but physically. That doesn’t mean he has to be able to bench press 315 pounds, but a respectable leader needs to be able to display discipline in all areas of his life.
67-year-old, Richard Branson is a great example of a fit leader. The self-made billionaire begins his morning at 5:00 a.m. with some form of exercise — followed by a healthy breakfast and family time.
“If you win the morning, you win the day.” – Tim Ferriss
Barack Obama is another great example of a leader that puts his health first. He exercises daily by playing basketball, strength training, and doing pushups.
A capable leader understands that by starting the day with exercise and optimal nutrition, he’ll be mentally (and physically) available for his team for the rest of the day.
We spend a majority of our lives at work, so it should be fun. This is another area in which Richard Branson shines. He says: “leaders take things far too seriously.”
There is something refreshing about a leader who’s confident enough to show his sense of humor. It humanizes him; creating an environment for greater productivity.
American anthropologist, Edward Hall said:
“If you can learn the humor of a people and really control it, you know that you are also in control of nearly everything else.”
A leader’s witty personality matters. It keeps egos in check, spirits high, and feet on the ground.
The best leaders exemplify loyalty. It’s the glue that hold’s relationships together. Whether it’s the world of sports, politics, or business, a strong leader values and supports every one of his teammates. He cultivates an honest and positive working environment — judiciously responding to conflicts between others.
An extraordinary leader fosters loyalty amongst his team by displaying a loyal attitude himself, and he never (ever) defames or gossips.
He always remains classy. (Think, The Most Interesting Man in the World).
A great example of focus in leadership is Steve Jobs. When he returned to Apple in 1997, he was welcomed by a chaotic sea of products. After deep, cogitative consideration, Jobs decided to narrow down the company’s products to just four: a desktop computer and laptop for two markets.
Jobs was masterful in filtering out what he considered to be irrelevancies.
“A leader must be attentive with details but not obsessed with them.” – Jocko Willink
Effective leaders are also strategists. They’re able to focus on tasks and navigate their team to complete objectives smoothly and efficiently. But Willink warns: “they [leaders] cannot get sucked into the details and lose track of the bigger picture.”
An effective leader must continue to be focused — providing an accurate (and realistic) vision of the future they’re leading people towards.
“Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism is power.” – William James
A good leader cultivates positive relationships. He strategically helps people find purpose in what they do, and sparks hope.
A positive leader doesn’t play on people’s fear or influence anger. Instead, he expands his people’s capacity for excellence by maintaining optimism.
Positivity might be one of the most undervalued qualities of a leader, and could, therefore, be one of the characteristics that set you apart from other leaders.
Accepting responsibility is an essential component of leadership. Strong leaders are accountable for both their own actions and the actions of their team. They never point the finger or make excuses.
“The leader must own everything in his or her world.” – Jocko Willink, Author of Extreme Ownership
Acclaimed mentor and author, Michael Hyatt says: “Until you take responsibility, you are a victim. And being a victim is the exact opposite of being a leader.”
The bottom line is that an organization cannot thrive and grow until its leaders are willing to take responsibility. This kind of ecosystem opens up a world of possibilities.
When a leader speaks, it’s vital for their message to be clear. If the narrative surrounding his or her speech is confusing, it leads to doubt, hesitation, and fear.
Much of today’s leadership seems to be lacking in clarity.
There’s no clarity without vision. These two go hand-in-hand. And the best way to get clear on your vision is by asking the right questions.
A 2017 Harvard Business Review article delves into the topic of “strategic thinking,” and how it’s “less about complexity and more about practical focus.”
An extraordinary leader asks the questions; what, why, and how? He examines, contemplates, and takes action. He provides a realistic solution, supported by a clear plan.
14th-century English author, William Langland is said to have coined the term: “patience is a virtue.”
The greatest leaders in history were highly-skilled in this nearly obsolete characteristic.
Patience shows respect, inspires positivity, and increases productivity. It’s considered to be a superpower among true leaders, including the 18th-century English politician, George Savile who wrote: “a man who is master of patience is master of everything else.”
In today’s business and political landscapes, it’s common for a leader to react to a situation swiftly and without presence of mind, but these are the moments when poise is required most.
“The strong manly ones in life are those who understand the meaning of the word patience.” – Tokugawa Ieyasu
We’ve now arrived at the final (and possibly the most pivotal) trait of an extraordinary leader; self-awareness.
An extraordinary leader is emotionally intelligent. He is fully conscious of his weaknesses and listens to his inner voice.
When a leader is aware of the fact that he doesn’t “know everything,” and that he’s as much of a student as a teacher, he’s much more effective as a leader.
A self-aware leader listens to others because he has a keen understanding of the importance of communication. He’s attentive to the attitude he’s projecting, while also smart (and humble) enough to adjust it when necessary.
“Nothing else can happen if we are blind to ourselves and blind to others.” – Manley Hopkinson
The purpose for writing this article was to gain a clear perspective as to what it takes to be a great leader. I want to lead better, myself. And I’m hoping you take something away from this topic as well. All-too-often we allow ego (or fear) to get the best of us; causing us to hinder our intellectual growth.
I’m still not entirely convinced that strong leadership traits are inherited or developed (or a bit of both), but regardless, a man will need to lead in some phase of his life. It’s merely a question of; how well will he lead?
As a leader, will you divide, or will you unite? Will you inspire or discourage? Will you display courage, or will you coward at the sign of trouble?
With some grit, wit, and perseverance, you can be the man that people turn to for empowerment and guidance.
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Tom Terwilliger is known as a former Mr. America, author, renown speaker, and entrepreneur, but as with most high-performers, he’s got a story. And his story wasn’t always pretty.
Tom is a testament to what hard work and dedication can achieve. At 58, he’s as passionate (and fit) as anyone I’ve ever met — projecting the kind of energy you’d expect to experience at a Tony Robbins event!
I couldn’t think of a more qualified and exciting individual to kickstart my interviewing journey. Tom is raw, real, and very active in the fitness industry. Although this is a Q&A, it almost feels like a mini autobiography, and there’s no doubt in my mind that by the end of this interview you’ll have been inspired on some level.
I grew up the youngest of 6 kids, 3 sisters, and 2 brothers — one of them, my twin. My mom was well into her late 40s when she had my brother, Mike and I (the twins). So, you can imagine she and my dad were already pretty worn out. Nonetheless, they were loving, generous, and caring parents who taught me right from wrong.
For most of my childhood, we lived in a small, 3-bedroom, one-bathroom house in a quiet suburb of Long Island. Being kids, we never thought about it as small or tight… it just was what it was. Unlike some unfortunate kids who come into the world plagued with challenges, my challenges didn’t start until a few years later.
“By the 4th grade, I was diagnosed dyslexic, hyperactive “learning challenged,” and placed into a special ed class.”
I struggled in school early on. By the 4th grade I was diagnosed dyslexic, hyperactive “learning challenged” and placed into the special ed class. Yes, I was one of the kids in the “little yellow bus.”
By the time I reached junior High I had been fighting daily and had earned the nickname “Bully Killer.” High school was an alcohol, weed, and acid-induced blur with a few brief moments of normality and even some greatness shining through. My senior year I decided it was enough. Actually, (they) decided it was enough after I beat the crap out of a gym teacher! In my defense…he was a relentless bully and had it coming.
That same year I made an unprecedented business deal that would change my life for the next several years. I traded a case of beer (Schlitz) and $50 for a beat up old 1958 Harley Davidson. Over the next 3 months, I converted that old Harley into one bad ass little chopper.
For the next five years, I rode that misguided symbol of my rebellion with some of the most notorious, violent, and dangerous outlaw bikers in the country.
You were a fairly successful teen bodybuilder but decided to drop out of high school and follow another path. Can you tell us a little about what happened?
The brief moments of greatness I mentioned earlier were the direct result of my teen bodybuilding endeavors.
I was a skinny 14-year-old kid the first time I found enough courage to walk into a real bodybuilding gym. I must have stood outside in the freezing cold for 20 minutes, trying to look through the steam on the windows before I could muster up the guts to open the door and step inside.
I had heard about Future Man — a gym that friends warned me not to go near. They said the guys inside were animals and would eat me alive, … but I wanted to be a bodybuilder.
“… I wanted to be strong and respected,and this was how I was going to do it.”
As I was contemplating entering, I remembered the first time I saw Arnold on the cover of Muscle Builder Magazine. I put two and two together … I wanted to be strong and respected, and this was how I was going to do it.
What immediately caught my attention as I opened the door and walked inside was the overwhelming pungent aroma. It almost burned my nostrils! I would later discover that it was a putrid combination of sweat, vomit, and Ben Gay.
The place was filled with futuristic looking machines, racks of heavy dumbbells, and barbells that outweighed me by hundreds of pounds. I didn’t have a clue what half the stuff was or did. My only experience with weights up to that point was an old Joe Weider barbell and dumbbell set I had inherited from my older brother.
I had never seen so many mirrors. Most of them were cracked and covered with spit and steam from the sweating bodies. But it was the huge muscular dudes and crazy fit women, huffing and puffing and rushing from one machine to another as if they were in some sort of hurry that mostly intimidated this cocky punk ass kid.
That and the screaming and yelling that seemed to be coming from every corner of the gym.
One monstrous-looking guy was standing behind another and screaming into his ear as loud as he could: “come on you pussy ass motherfucker! You better go to fucking failure on this set or don’t come back!!!” Then started chanting: “Go big or go home!” It was the very first time I had heard that phrase. I later found out that it was Mr. America, Steve Michalik being berated by his training partner.
Everyone in the place looked like they knew what the hell they were doing except me, and I proved it. My first workout at Future Man Gym was also my most humiliating. After reading about how Arnold used to down half a dozen or so hot dogs following his workout, I decided to reverse the process (because I knew better of course). In other words, I had half a dozen hot dogs before the workout. The resulting mess led to the owner handing me a bucket and mop and instructing me to clean it up.
Needless to say I wasn’t his favorite new member, but I would soon become his most committed.
After entering several Teen bodybuilding events and winning many of them, I was becoming a teen sensation in the sport. Magazine coverage, interviews, and even local TV spots all came with it. Then, like some dark unconscious force descending upon me, the thought of being a champion became too overwhelming and incongruent for my self-image to handle.
That’s when I invited the “Bully Killer” back in. For the next five years, he had me by the balls.
You eventually decided to return to your passion of bodybuilding at the age of 23 and progressed to pro status. How much time did you take off, and how difficult was it to get back into a competitive mindset?
During those five years, I lived with complete reckless abandon and gave little time or thought to train. If I trained at all it was simply so I could stay big and strong enough to take on some bad ass mother fucker who might want my woman or my bike.
For at least three of those years I was acutely aware that I was living a life that was not in alignment with my moral self. I knew it was wrong and that it had to change. I knew deep down inside that I was better than who I was being, but I just couldn’t find the courage to change it.
“I was done … I walked away from my bro’s, the life, and what could have been a tragic ending.”
Until I had no choices left. Sometimes we have to be backed into a corner before we’re forced into making a choice. When that happened God stepped in and helped me find the strength to make the right choice.
I was done … I walked away from my bro’s, the life, and what could have been a tragic ending.
The first place I had to go to get back on my feet was the gym. The gym has always been my strength of will proving ground. Not only can it test your will but strengthen it at the same time. That’s what it did.
The feel of the cold hard steel in my hands and the heavy weight on my back (threatening to crush me), renewed my spirit and gave me the chemical hormone injection needed to start dreaming bigger … much bigger.
I almost immediately set my sights on the Mr. America title which I was told would take ten years to achieve. It would take me less than five.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned over the years is that if you want to immerse yourself in something and be great at it – fast, you must put yourself in the right environment.
Future Man gym with its rancid stench, unforgiving mirrors, and relentless steel bending bullies was just such an environment.
In that demanding atmosphere, it was easy to get back into the competitive mindset. That’s where the real competition took place. Prove yourself there and putting on a pair of speedo’s and stepping on stage in front of hundreds of people would be a cake walk.
Unfortunately for today’s bodybuilders, the Future Man Gyms of the world are a dying breed, if not already extinct.
It took me three attempts to win the Nationals (Mr. America). I was third my first shot at it. Second on my second attempt. Then captured the light heavyweight division on my third. It was a powerful lesson in perseverance and humility.
What’s one of the biggest misconceptions that people have about professional bodybuilders?
We’re brainless narcissists. Unfortunately, there are a few that help to validate that misconception. The vast majority, however, are nothing of the sort.
I believe it takes a high level of intelligence, along with a single-minded sense of focus, determination, and willingness to sacrifice almost all else to succeed as a bodybuilder. I mean, just think about the physical transformation that has to take place over a relatively short period of time.
This requires a superior level of practical knowledge in the areas of exercise physiology, anatomy, nutrition, sports psychology, injury prevention, and biochemistry. Not to mention a complete command over one’s own body.
“… Without discipline, all the roids in the world wouldn’t make a shred of difference.”
A “muscle-headed moron” simply could not excel on the competitive level.
The other stereotype or misconception is that all the muscles are simply the result of massive steroid abuse.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
With a knowledge of everything I listed above, along with an almost inhuman tolerance for pain, massive discipline, laser-like focus, and a willingness to sacrifice all else – all the roids in the world wouldn’t make a shred of difference.
You created your own bodybuilding TV show called: Muscle Sport USA, which ran for over 16 years on Fox Sports. How did a young man, still in his 20s, manage to pull this off?
During the time I was training to win the Nationals I had been working with a video production company. They were shooting clips here and there at different events for the NPC. Quite often, I would either host or do some behind the scenes interviews.
After winning the Nationals we sat down and talked about doing something together on a much bigger scale. That’s when the idea of Muscle Sport USA was born.
We were working with a guy named Steve Carol who had been a network TV producer. Steve packaged the idea and pitched it to MSG (Madison Square Gordan Network). After several months of negotiations, we got a shot at doing a pilot and 6 episodes.
Because there was an already existing audience with little to satisfy their thirst, the show quickly became a hit.
I, on the other hand, sucked as host and almost blew it for the show. I soon recognized my shortcomings and got to work — mastering my job as host. Another lesson in humility.
A few years later, the show was picked up by Fox Sports Net. Then, we had to take on a color commentator; Steve Stone. A new team was born. Steve knew his shit and made my job easy. He was a dedicated husband, coach, and champion bodybuilder. He passed away a few years ago, but he’ll never be forgotten by me or his fans.
You’ve opened and sold numerous athletic clubs in New York and Denver. How did you get into the startup business, and do you have any advice for entrepreneurs that want to open a gym or any business for that matter?
I initially wanted to open my own gym after Future Man closed. There wasn’t a lot of other places to train back in those days.
After winning the Nationals and doing the TV show I had a few bucks. I was still in hot pursuit of a pro bodybuilding career so opening my own gym seemed like a great place to invest some money.
But I had no business savvy whatsoever.
“… but I soon discovered that just because people sign up doesn’t mean you’re making money.”
I remember opening my first gym back in NY. Before we opened I spent all my time painstakingly selecting equipment and (believe it or not) physically building the front desk personally by hand.
I wanted the place to look amazing and it started with a bad ass front desk. It did look amazing once we opened and people signed up, … and signed up, … and signed up, but I soon discovered that just because people sign up doesn’t mean you’re making money or holding onto the money you are making. We lost our shirts and almost lost the business in the first 6 months. Why? Because I was too busy up front working on the product and not the business. By the time I discovered that there was more to operating a gym “business” then the product itself, it was almost too late. The ship had begun to sink.
Fortunately, I am a fast learner and someone who recognizes when it’s time to reach out for a life preserver.
The point is, it’s never too early to get busy on the business of “building a business” and not just having a great product.
In today’s fast moving technology-driven business world I don’t believe every startup needs to have a full-blown, 300-page business plan. But I also believe that it is critically important to at least have a flexible road map. This will help you navigate the terrain as well as identify and gather the resource you’ll need in the near future.
Don’t just build a front desk, figure out up front how you will get your market to step up to it.
You’ve trained in martial arts for most of your life, and are currently immersed in the studies of Jeet Kune Do (JKD). What’s even more impressive is the fact you’re studying with Dan Inosanto, who’s among only one of three men to be directly authorized by the late BRUCE LEE to carry on the teachings of his JKD System. How did this relationship come to be?
Before I started bodybuilding I had been studying Chinese Kung Fun Wu Su under Grand Master, Allen Lee and one of his instructor pupils who happen to be my older brother; Raymond. My twin brother, Mike and I were disciplined students from the time we were 8 years old until about 15. One of my “Bully Killer” assets to say the least.
I vowed that I would return to the martial arts after retiring from bodybuilding. After moving from NY to Denver, a bad mountain bike accident that broke several bones took me out of commission for almost a year and painfully forced me into retirement.
A few years later I developed a friendship with Sifu (teacher), Ray Khan who was a direct student of Guru Dan Inosanto. Having been a HUGE fan of the late Bruce Lee and curious about his JKD system I began studying under Sifu Khan. The art was very familiar and yet a radical departure from my traditional Kung Fu experience.
One year later Guru Inosanto was coming to Denver for a small JKD clinic. I had to attend. I was lost, humbled and frustrated, but I was motivated to learn. I was also inspired by Inosanto’s own humility as well as what he was capable of well into his 70s.
That was over ten years ago, and I still feel like a humble and clumsy student.
How does Jeet Kune Do differ from other martial art styles?
JKD the “Art of the Intercepting Fist” is as much a philosophy as it is a martial art.
Bruce believed that no one art is better or worse than another but rather the ability to adapt and flow like water from one to another is the key. Some have called it the first form of Mixed Martial Arts.
JKD encompasses several different and extremely effective systems.
Jun Fan – which is Bruce’s Gung Fu style boxing.
Filipino Kala – a stick and blade art
Indonesian Silat – a powerful form of stand up and ground grappling
Muay Thai kickboxing
In addition to other diverse martial arts influences.
“You just cannot predict what life will throw at you.”
It is extremely challenging because to master JKD you must master at least 4 different arts simultaneously. But this is what I love about it. It keeps you on your toes.
Moving fluidly from one art to the other based on the strengths of the opponent you’re facing mimics the same need for flexibility in life itself. You just cannot predict what life will throw at you. It could be a left hook, a kick to the groin, or it could try to grab you by the leg and drag you to the ground. You have to be prepared for anything and flexible enough to roll with the punches.
More than anything else, training JKD with Sifu Khan and Guru Insonato has taught me how to be patient and flexible in life.
High performers can experience burnout like anyone else. How do you keep yourself motivated and inspired when you start to feel physically and/or mentally fatigued?
I’ve been there more times than I can count. When it comes to not burning out there are three things I’ve learned as an athlete.
Know your target.
Know it’s end date and honor it.
Take a physical, mental, and spiritual break after its accomplishment or a major milestone.
This is the danger of being an entrepreneur. You just don’t know when to take your nose off the grindstone until you have no nose left. Give yourself deadlines. Honor those deadlines by taking time (hours, days, or weeks) to recharge your batteries. The other thing that is critical is always to have a purpose-driven objective. It has to be more than just work for the sake of work or even work for the sake of money.
In your book, you provide 7 Rules that you believe are at the core of achieving any goal. If you had to pick one that is the most powerful, which one would it be, and why?
That’s actually a tougher question than one might think. I believe all seven are important. But if I had to choose one above the rest it would have to be the rule that goes to the heart of clarity. If you’re not absolutely 100% certain about what you want, there is little chance of achieving it. As one of my mentors, Jim Rohn has repeatedly said: “Most people never get what they want because they don’t know what they want.” If you don’t have clarity on that one piece, all the other rules won’t mean much.
Who are some of your biggest influencers, and what do you admire most about them?
Certainly, one of my early influences was my older brother, Raymond. He was NYC cop, Kung Fu instructor, and weightlifter. I idolized him and still do … he’s always been his own man. Today, I am influenced and inspired by several people including my dear friends Dave Lakhani, Chris Brogan, and Dr. James Rouse. Each of them has incredible work ethic, integrity, and vision.
“She’s a hell of a woman and a constant inspiration to me. I am extraordinarily fortunate.”
But in all honesty, I have to say it’s my wife, Dawn that influences me on a day to day basis more than anyone else. Not because she’s my wife and forces me to take out the trash every night, but rather her willingness to take on any challenges and overcome obstacles while dealing with my petty insecurities. She’s a hell of a woman and a constant inspiration for me. I am extraordinarily fortunate.
How significant of a role would you say nutrition plays (and continues to play) in your personal and professional life?
I don’t know how anyone could possibly take on the challenge of a startup, building a business, or even raising children on a crappy ass fast-food diet. I would be down and out within a week. Performance nutrition is one of the foundational legs of performance living. If you’re not performing at your best, then you’re just surviving. It’s too competitive out there to think you can perform at the top of your game without factoring in the fuel needed to sustain the effort. Most people are on an emotional and performance roller-coaster as a result of fluctuating blood glucose levels, poor oxygen circulation, and lack of energy. The times I have allowed my nutrition to take a distant back seat to “more important stuff” or didn’t have time to eat were also the times my ambition, focus, and drive sucked ass. Listen, most of us whine that there’s just not enough time in the day to accomplish everything we want. The truth is that there’s plenty of time, just not enough energy.
Performance nutrition is the key to adding hours to our day.
What does your eating routine look like? In other words, can you give us an example of the types of meals you would eat on any given day?
Although it varies here and there, on weekends, for example, I eat almost the same way every day. I train nearly every morning, so I start the day with what I know will help fuel my workout and get my metabolism up and going. I like a combination of healthy fats, simple carbs, and protein. And to add a few more calories with something to hold it all together…gluten free bread.
6:00 am: My morning meal of choice is an Almond butter and jelly sandwich. It works.
8:00 am: Post workout (two hours later), I have a very specialized recovery drink I blend up myself. It contains whey protein powder, glutamine, and a whole bunch of other stuff to maximize recovery and tissue repair. It’s my fountain of youth. You can find the full recipe in the (link) Max Mind Lean Body Nutrition Guide.
11:00 am-12:00 noon: Two-three hours later I have between 4-6 organic whole eggs, scrambled with a bunch of veggies. With that, I usually have a large sweet potato and some fruit.
3:00 pm: Mid-afternoon, I have a cup of mixed nuts (dry roasted or raw) along with a piece of fruit (pears, if in season or apple).
6:00 pm: I’ll have either a grilled chicken breast, lean beef or fatty fish with either a large salad or a sizable portion of grilled or steamed veggies. And for desert, some dark chocolate.
9:00 pm: Another anti-aging protein drink cocktail. It’s not as good as tequila, but there’s no hangover in the morning either.
The fitness industry is saturated with countless programs and fads, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. With so many options to choose from, it’s easy for a person to become intimidated, or even indecisive altogether. How will your program: “Max Mind Lean Body Over 40 Solution” differ from many of the other fitness programs out there?
I agree it seems like everyone and anyone who has ever lifted a weight, taken a class or did a downward dog pose while coming out with some kind of fitness or weight loss program. It can be pretty confusing.
I’ve been in the fitness and coaching space for well over 30 years, and I have only recently decided to share some of my anti-aging, weight loss, and muscle building strategies in a digital product. Once I turned 50, I began to see just how many maturing individuals are desperately trying to hold onto some semblance of youth and sexual energy and vigor. They don’t want to go down the same path as their parents, but it’s a real challenge for them.
“… diets fail all the time, but if you have the right strategy in place, even a mediocre diet can produce amazing results.”
Dawn and I are committed to helping people meet that challenge head on. I’m also a big believer in reaching and serving as many people as possible. My book, 7 Rules of Achievement and Max Mindset coaching has allowed me to do that in the business, entrepreneur, and leadership space, but my first love and passion have always been fitness.
Three key elements separate the Max Mind Lean Body Over 40 Solution from the rest:
Its foundation is based on the 45 years of combined experience of my wife Dawn and I.
It was developed for men and women over 40 by a man and woman well over 40, who successfully practice what they teach every single day.
It combines the very best results-producing practices of western style bodybuilding with the age-defying philosophies and techniques of the ancient far east. It’s the overarching multi-point strategy of the Max Mind Lean Body System that makes it so powerful.
Listen, you and I both know that diets fail all the time, but if you have the right strategy in place, even a mediocre diet can produce amazing results. Back up a great nutrition plan, like the one laid out in the MMlb Method with a winning strategy and the results can be absolutely transnational.
Being extremely busy, ambitious, and over 40 ourselves, we recognize that stress is a big part of what is prematurely aging us and threatens to take us down after age 40. That’s why in the program we share how one simple, but extremely effective piece of the exercise matrix (that no one does) can immediately turn a 30-minute high-intensity workout into the exact needed balance of Chi energy to produce extraordinary body-rejuvenating results. Our solution is the closest thing you will ever find for balancing both sides of your Yin Yang energy systems while building new lean muscle tissue and losing the unwanted body fat.
Of all the online fitness (or nutrition) influencers, who would you say is the most legit when it comes to the kind of content and advice they share?
I’ll be honest; there are quite a few I admire. I love Jon Benson’s over 40 program. The guy is legit. Craig Ballantyne’s Turbulence training is spot on. I love the stuff John Rowley delivers as well … Old School New Body is great. There’s also Tom Venuto, Shawn Phillips, John Spencer Ellis, and Rob Poulos to name a few. Also, I just finished a really cool joint venture with Kristi Frank (from the apprentice). She’s awesome. I would not have agreed to do a project together if I didn’t believe in what she is doing for women as well as men in the fitness and weight loss space. The product is called Metabolic Belly Makeover, and I’m pretty proud of what came out of the collaboration.
You always seem to be in amazing shape. In fact, I’ve never seen a single pic where you looked “soft.” What advice would you give a man or woman over the age of 40 that’s interested in building (and maintaining) the best physique of their lives?
Thanks, brother! Coming from you, that is quite a compliment. I was a huge fan of your dad. Man, talk about a guy who knew how to get (and stay) lean and in shape! He was a fantastic and inspiring bodybuilder.
“The key is to start NOW. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be …”
First, if you can avoid it don’t let yourself get too far out of shape. It’s just that much harder to get back to looking and feeling your best. Shy of that, don’t take on a fitness program just to create some sort of short term “transformation.” Commit to a program that creates a new and much more rewarding lifestyle. Being your best requires being fit. In fact, it demands it. Start on a program as a way of creating new habits and behaviors that will last the rest of your life … which will be significantly longer as a result. I stay in shape not just because I like the way it makes me look, but because of how it makes me feel and what, (at age 58) it allows me to do. I have no more limitations today then I did when I was 28. In fact, I have less.
The key is to start NOW. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be, and before you know it, that pre-programmed mindset will kick in, and you’ll start saying to yourself “Oh fuck it … I’m too old for this shit” and guess what, you will be. You need to end that (feeling old) bullshit now. It begins with your mindset, and your mindset is directly linked to your physiology.
Are there mentors that have helped you along the way? People that you would attribute much of your success to?
Oh hell yes. There are several people without whom I would be either broke, morally bankrupt, in jail, or all three. My dad was certainly at the top of the list. Although never a “success” in the traditional sense, it was his moral fiber and unparalleled work ethic that gave me a powerful model for finding the path to my own success.
My older brother Raymond who I mentioned earlier not only influenced my love for Martial Arts but turned me on to Body Building in my teens.
“Sometimes we’re motivated more by what not to do then what to do.”
There was also my first coach and mentor in the bodybuilding world; Tony Pandolfo. Tony walked the walk and had a tremendous influence on my life and career. He was a great champion himself, but I also respected him because he was one tough SOB. He owned Future Man Gym in Amityville which housed some of the top guys from around NY. At something like 5’5″, not even the biggest monsters in the gym could intimidate Tony.
Of course, later on, there were several people who I admired, respected, and learned from. Tony Robbins, Napoleon Hill, and Maxwell Maltz to name a few.
And of course, I owe as much to the real assholes and sociopaths I knew back in the biker days. Without them, I might not have figured it out in time. Sometimes we’re motivated more by what not to do then what to do.
What is still one of your biggest challenges, and what steps are you taking to overcome this challenge?
As I mentioned, my dad was a hard worker. He held down a job with the telephone company and supported 6 kids on what never amounted to more than $46,000 a year salary. I got my work ethic from him, but I also got my blueprint for money.
He never cared for money. I would often hear him say at the dinner table; “Money is the root of all evil” and “Money leads to corruption and sin.” My grandparents were wealthy, and we never saw a dime of it. I think my parents had some underlying resentment around all that, and it most certainly rubbed off on the kids, including me.
To this day I have to be very conscious about what my little inner voice is saying and the emotions that come up when negotiating a money deal. I want to give the farm away because I don’t feel worthy. After all, my dad never made more than $46K, and he was a lot better man than I could ever hope to be.
I have worked to change that blueprint and so far so good … but it still comes back to haunt me now and then.
What does success look like to you?
Man, that’s a freaking good question … not just for me, but for everyone. If you’re reading this, ask yourself that same question.
For me, it looks like freedom. The ability to do what I want, when I want, with whom I want (my wife of course), anytime I want. Much of that time would be spent helping others in some way. I receive a great deal of personal satisfaction helping other people. This why I love what I do.
Success is the ability to do what I already do on a much, much, much grander scale.
I guess if I’m 100% honest, freedom would also include a good deal of time seeing the world from the saddle of a finely-tuned custom Harley.
Was there ever a critical turning point in your life? A point in which you realized your purpose or mission?
Yes, as a matter of fact, there was. It didn’t so much help me realize my purpose, but rather that I must have one and that my current path would only lead me away from that purpose.
It was a Sunday night in mid-June, and New York City was as hot and muggy as it gets. I was beaten up, depressed, and badly hung-over from three days of binge-partying.
I even remember what I was wearing. My favorite pair of filthy oil-stained jeans, an unwashed t-shirt with a big bold “FTW” printed on the front, my cutoff leather vest, and a pair of badly beaten and weathered old engineer boot
I remember pulling up in front of the clubhouse and leaning my old Panhead chopper onto its kickstand alongside the 20 or 30 other choppers parked outside.
“I was disgusted at what I was allowing myself to become. I was at one of the lowest points in my life. It was at that moment that something deep inside me began to rise up.”
Inside, it was dark, dingy, filled with smoke, and smelled like cigarettes and stale beer. Although it barely supported itself, the rickety old plywood bar was literally holding me up as I found myself staring trance-like down at my boots. They were ragged, old, and worn out.
I could see my distorted reflection in the steel toes protruding through the once strong, intact, and shiny leather.
I was disgusted at what I was allowing myself to become. I was at one of the lowest points in my life. It was at that moment that something deep inside me began to rise up. That part of us that knows when we’ve had enough.
A voice in my head said loud and clear “You’re Done … Walk Away.” I heard it twice, and I didn’t hesitate. I turned for the door and was walking out forever … I was DONE! But just for a second I turned and looked back.
In that instant, something powerful and life-affirming happened that forever erased any doubt that I had made the right decision and would never look back again.
Behind the bar, resting on a very flimsy wooden shelf was a loaded, sawed-off, double barrel shotgun … cocked and ready to go. Someone (a BIG ass biker no doubt) must have shoved against the rickety old bar with enough force to knock the weapon of personal doom from its perch.
When it hit the ground, both barrels went off…blowing a massive exit hole through the thin green plywood in the exact spot I had been standing just moments before.
When the smoke cleared, and I finally found the courage to walked out the door, I made a vow to myself: Never again will I allow fear, doubt, or uncertainty about who I am and what I may or may not be capable of to influence the decisions and actions that shape my future.
Five years later I won the Nationals. I’ve allowed my heart to lead me to where I am and who I serve today.
You’ve been happily married for over 24 years. How important do you think it is for a spouse to have similar health goals as his/her partner?
It hasn’t hurt our relationship that we both have a passion for exercise and clean eating. Plus I’m 14 years Dawns senior, so the only way I am going to continue to keep up is by staying as fit as possible. She’s always pushing me to eat this or that or take this nutrient or that. I guess I’m very fortunate that she want’s me to stick around for a while. Either that or she’s trying to kill me slowly with Curcumin.
Is there a question that you wish more people would ask you?
“How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?”
I happen to know the answer, but no one asks that question anymore.
Here comes the cliché question, but it’s a question that everyone wants to ask a person of interest: How do you want to be remembered?
Truthfully, I would rather people forget me. I am human and therefore flawed, imperfect and weak. I would rather be remembered for my books, training’s, and talks. There are some nuggets of wisdom in all of it. I’m just some guy who did the best he could with the resources he had. I’m no better and no worse then anyone else. On the other hand, I would be honored if I were remembered as Ray and Dottie Terwilliger’s youngest son and the amazing Dawn Terwilliger’s husband.
What’s next for Tom Terwilliger?
Dawn and I have been working side by side for over 20 years, and I have always been the front man. I’m thrilled to be sharing that role with her on our next project. Max Mind Lean Body is our first digital weight loss/fitness product.
Our goal is to inspire one million (over 40) men and women moving into in their 2nd half to rediscover their power. We know that the mind and body must work together if we are going to stay strong, ambitious and passionately energized after age 40. My mission, as always, is to rattle a few cages and throw Kerosene on an otherwise dimming fire. We’re going to do that with Max Mind Lean Body.
Before we conclude, is there anything that you’d like to share with us that very few people know about you?
I guess what you wouldn’t know about me after reading this is how grateful I am that you took the time. I may be unique in my own way, but like you, I’m no better or worse than any anyone else. I’m no more accomplished than the guy next door who holds down a 9-5 to support his family or the mom who spends most of her day driving her kids from one practice to another. I know you have a fascinating story … we all do. If you don’t like your story, change it. It’s not too late to make it unique — filled with inspiring moments of triumph. Like a great football team that may have taken a beating during the first half, you have an opportunity do it differently, better, and more impactful when you enter the field for the 2nd half. Decide like I did …
ENOUGH … I’M DONE WITH MEDIOCRITY.
Then get busy being who you uniquely are. That’s the part of you that will shine and inspire others to do the same.
Throughout life, we meet countless people. Some of them leave an impression, and some really impact us. Although I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Tom in person, I feel like I know him. He has shared so much content over the years and has never held back. Most of his insight and logic is irrefutable. And he’s a man that has endured many obstacles and isn’t afraid to talk about it.
I’ve grown up around supercharged individuals like Tom, and they all seem to share one unifying quality. High-performers have a relentless desire to challenge themselves. To push beyond what many would define as their limit. We need people like Tom in our life to remind us that age is nothing but a number and that the only one holding us back, … is ourselves.
What I love most about Tom is his unquestionable respect for his wife, Dawn. We don’t see many successful men openly express such appreciation for their partners. That in itself is refreshing.
I look forward to seeing what Tom does next. One thing is for certain; he won’t stop moving forward.
Learn more about Tom Terwilliger at www.tomterwilliger.com
Learn more about Tom and Dawn’s Max Mind Lean Body (over 40 solution) here. Buy Tom’s book: “7 Rules of Achievement” here. Tweet Tom Follow Tom PLEASE SHARE THIS POST:
https://push-through.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Tom-Terwilliger-QA.jpg6001000Patrick Nevehttps://push-through.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/PUSHTHROUGH-2018-sized.pngPatrick Neve2017-02-07 16:54:322017-11-03 13:41:45Overcoming Adversity, Setting Goals, & Speaking Truth with Tom Terwilliger