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The first time I ever heard the name Tupac Shakur was on MTV news sometime in high school.  Which is to say 1992 or ’93.  It was a negative story, of course.

He was referred to as ‘rapper and star of. . . ‘, whatever movie had come out at that time. I was truly on the slow train regarding ‘Pac.  It wasn’t until a year before his death that I gave his music a chance.

I believed all the hype.  Not the Dan Quayle hoo-hah, but what the news media said about Tupac Shakur aided my desicion to not support his music.

This was tough.  All the boys had the CD 2Pacalypse Now and everyone had seen the films Juice  and Above The Rim.

I was stuck on the fact that he had been convicted for sexual assault and thought his “Keep ya head up” mantra was phony.

It took about 15 years to conclude what I think happened regarding the night in question that lead to his trial and conviction for sexual assault.  My feelings on this matter are private and are not for this page, however, it is important that you understand the relationship I had with the media’s projection of Pac, and how his music hit me.

At first, the songs were not on the radio and then they were.  The songs were on in the locker room and then they were in the cars my friend’s purchased as we went from age 15 to 16 in our 11th grade year.  The name was Tupac but it was also 2Pac.  He was Thug Life and strictly for his nephews, but also available to any camera or interview as a thoughtful young man who took everything as a lesson and could not be shaken by his detractors.

I just had to get on board.  Any artist who goes from “The Humpty Dance” and intolerable cinema like Nothing But Trouble, to Poetic Justice and “Thug Life: Volume 1” needs to be evaluated.

I will not discuss who I think set him up to be killed in NYC (he took 5 bullets and lived), or who hired them men that killed him in Las Vegas in 1996, but if you want to start a dialog on that, leave a comment.

It’s time to discuss the music and what I think is the most underrated release of 1996: Makavelli’s The Don Killuminati; The 7 Day Theory

From the first track until the the final notes, this album is the signature on his career.  Aged 18 years at this point, said album brings a level of ferocity and independence to rap music that has no comparison.  In contrast to the spirit of the record, there were other releases in the 90’s that allowed rappers to imprint themselves upon other rappers.  Nas’ Illmatic  and Enter: The 36 Chambers were undoubtedly influential records.  There were other NY records that were produced (overproduced?) which gave rap a nudge in a new direction; however, nothing echoed in my life or in music quite like . . .the 7 day theory.

The echo was so powerful it kept other motherfucker’s mouths shut for the time being.  The silence was deafening.  The loudest last breath ever heard in the history of my life as a music fan.

Yes, I said that shit son!  I was swallowing mescaline on 4-16-94 when my only blood brother kicked in our bedroom door to tell me Kurt Cobain had been found, dead.  At 6am one morning before middle school my dad told me Sam Kinison had died outside Vegas.

Nothing rocked me like when Dr. Dre convinced Suge Knight to kill Tupac.  That night, a Saturday I think, that the news broke that 2Pac had been pumped full of lead in Las Vegas, was fucking wild.

I drank almost a case of Bud Ice and went upside some Clifton girl with all my ferocity.  She said ‘Pac deserved it.  I tripped hard  on a bitch that night.  Hard as two monkey fighters, Yo.

“To Live & Die in LA” is still one of my favorite songs of all time.  If not for that tune, I would never have been able to articulate to an exiled Beast coast sista, in response to her question:

“I love it here in Durango CO, but I miss Newark.  I don’t know why, but there is something that the east coast has that these people out here either don’t have or won’t display.  What is it?”

“I love Philly like I love women, and every body on the east coast got a little bit of hood in ’em”, to paraphrase Makavelli.

“Gettin’ high watchin’ time fly, to live and die in LA”

The album unfolds in an almost evolutionary fashion.  It begins with the rawest, roughest statement from 2Pac, rather, Makavelli, firing verbal slugs at the cranium of several other rap artists with no regard to camraderie or a harmonious approach to racial unification regarding musical output.

‘Pac was aggro, and righteous, and in the fuckin’ right all day long (and shit).

He was sent to jail for a crime he did not have a hand in.

He was shot 5 times in his hometown, and fucking lived.

He was murdered when in the car with his road dog, the last nephew who he believed had his back.  Like, the last one.

Murdered.  Just like daddy (or so he thought).

I’m going to wrap it up now for a few reasons:

I opened a bottle of wine about an hour ago and it is just too good.  Layer Cake MALBEC, 2012.

I do not have enough ACCURATE information to further argue that this album was the finest of 1996, the year I graduated high school.

I am listening to the album as i type, and I’d rather listen to it than type for you cracker ass monkey fighters.

The Warriors are at home against the Clippers, and I have 51″ of hi-def for yo mama.

Notable tracks:

1-2-3-4-6-7-8*-9**-10-11****

* = tear jerkers, no lie

In conclusion: All Eyes on Me is the more entertaining record, but Makavelli hit music in a way no one else ever could.

Imagine if the almighty Slayer had stayed intact from 1986-present and called every other metal artist a “fucking pussy” on every track.  Yup.

“This be the realest shit I ever wrote”

What’s good?

Food.

What ya eatin’?

Good food.

How ya know it’s good?

It makes me feel good.

And that, audience, is how easy it can be.

Welcome to another edition of Don’t Freak Out About It!

Brought to you by lifelong  freak-show Eric Williams.

Today we will discuss the following: what you eat and how you feel about it.

Craig

Craig Keaton and I have not met.  Yet his influence on me is evident-I read his posts when they are available and they always make clear some previously unrecognized association to food that I have created over the years.  ‘Is it what you eat, solely? Or can how you feel about what you eat affect change in your body?’ wrote Craig.  Or something to that effect. . .

Dad & Mom

How do you measure success?  In my days as a child in Upper Darby, PA we measure success in liters and half-pounds.

-If there was a 2 liter bottle of Pepsi in the house, it was pay day weekend.

-If there were half-pounds of salami and cheese, it was pay day weekend.

-If there was Kool-Aid and baloney and cheese, monkey fighters* was broke that weekend.

Uncle Sam

How does a 19 year old rifleman in the beloved United States Marine Corps measure success?

-If he is stationed with 1st Marines and he goes to any of the following restaurants on the weekend, he just got paid

Claim Jumper’s

Colima’s

El Camino Taco “The King of Carnitas”

If he is eating at the chow hall on a Saturday night, you know that Jarhead just spent all his money in Tijuana or it is NOT a pay day weekend

Dick Wood

If I go to any of Mr. Wood’s 224 stores in PA, I needn’t be freshly paid or in the red.  WaWa offers food around the clock, for any budget.  And at times, I can get a meal that meets my desirable criteria for under $8.00.

Yet, there have been times when I have associated ole Dick’s foot long (hoagies) or his ‘straight to the cardiologist’ breakfast offering (the Sizzli)  with hangover food, stoner delights, or I would just put them in the ‘bad-for-you’ bin.

None of this has anything to do with how the food is put together or served.

It is my association to the food which affects me in a much greater capacity.

Toni

If calories-in versus calories-out is the primary factor in creating a caloric deficit, then what you eat is not a factor, correct?

Incorrect

If creating a caloric deficit is all that matters, regarding reduction in body-mass, then what you eat is not a factor, correct?

Incorrect

Incorrect as all Hell, monkey fighter*!

Adam

“Do only that which is sustainable and does not harm the individual”

That, when I heard it, sounded like a fitness guide’s version of the Hippocratic Oath.  Adam was clear that how we (they who are paid to transform physiques and increase performance) determine what ‘sustainable’ practices are is very important.

-Interacting with the client regarding their food and food log is crucial

-Attention paid to the client’s recovery and PRs/absence of progress is just as important

What qualifies as sustainable practices, according to my teacher, multiple World Record holder Adam Glass, are methods which do not promote

-accountability

-timely resolution of stress

-noteworthy progress in the form of numerical values assigned to training sessions, body parts, or food stuffs

That may be the ‘Beast Notes’ version, but I adhere to these principles regarding what can be considered sustainable:

Do you write down the minimal effective amount for:

What you trained?

What you eat?

No?  Keep reading, monkey fighter.

Will Williams

BW rearview

What a jackass.

This is a guy you may have seen about town, flashing tattoos and smoking pot on the roof of Merion Art Repro center in Ardmore, or spending $17 at WaWa at 1AM the same night.  Nothing practiced under the name Will Williams was sustained by Eric Williams.  Only shame and missed opportunities carried over. . .

Will’s lack of understanding with regard to biofeedback is evidenced by severe weight gain, prolonged feelings of physical pain related to injury, lost training time due to unsatisfactory recovery, and collapsed relationships both personal and professional.

Timely resolution of stress input can be exemplified by recovering from a workout, or: physical stress that I put into my life to which my body adapted.

Progress: better than before

Stress: all stimuli are stressor

Adaptation: learning

Eric

What a class-act, that guy!

Creating associations to food is something that I could not help but further without knowing it.  Everything I feel about food affects the outcome of my desired physique transformation.  If I create a situation where I am eating in a shameful manner or capacity, i will associate the what with what happened after.  I would benefit in the future from:

A) Considering what happened before as a precursor to the what

B) Not freaking out!

C) Not putting myself in a position where said shameful practices are conducted

Or: Why did I eat two hoagies, and six small bags of chips?

I got stoned before the Flyers game and afterward.

But in order to exemplify how I built a negative association to the what with what happened after, I would say to myself

“I ate all that food and felt like ass the next day, trained too hard, and got hurt, so junk food is bad”

Yes, that is how I used to rationalize it.

These days, when my body tells me it is time to eat foods that are outside the range of quality typical to what my recent practices have seen, I just EAT THAT FOOD.

And, just as important, I do not freak out.

Here are the elements of what I consider ‘low quality chow’

-A package that reads as a list of ingredients I can not pronounce

-Disproportionate macro-nutrient ratio

-levels of sodium and saturated fat that are higher than the ranges I have set

Here is what I typically eat over the course of a week:

12-18 egg whites + 2-4 eggs a day

Salmon, Barramundi, Tilapia, Ahi, canned Albacore

Boneless, skinless chicken breast

quinoa, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, chick peas

Grapeseed oil, pumpkin seed oil, safflower oil, and extra virgin olive oil ALL RAW, no heat!

Kerrygold unsalted butter for cooking

spinach, field greens, spring mix, kale

avocado, blue cheese, feta, chevre (no Bovine cheese)

zuchinni, butternut squash, leek, asparagus, peppers

Old vine Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Malbec, Tempranillo, Carmenere

Pinot Girigio, Pinot Gris, Gruner Veltliner, really exceptional Chardonnay

As much steak as I can afford

When I go off the rails, I enjoy pizza, hoagies, potato chips, and baked treats

Food I consider essential to my psychological health that does not translate directly into a 36″ waist: ice cream & wine.

Now that you know a little bit about what I select, here are the hows respective to getting leaner all the time and recovering from my days in a timely manner.

-Cook with as little butter as possible

-Make an effort to find new variations on staples (omelette, stir fry, salad)

-Follow cooking instructions for meat regarding time & tempreatre

-Quit freaking out when I eat stuff that’s outside the recent canon of good practices for leanness and recovery

Mike T. Nelson PhD

Metabolic flexibility: training your body to handle fluctuating levels of nutrients regarding frequency, intensity, and duration.  Or, finding what your body deals with easily and maximizing it, while finding what foodstuffs your body struggles with and teaching it how to make progress from it.

That is a dramatic oversimplification of what Mike has taught me, and what he offers as part of his Extreme Human Performance coaching services.  Yet, that is what I took away from those lessons and it helps me a great deal.

Thursday

All of that leads up to this: If you want to eat something that you might feel ‘bad’ about, try eating it and not feeling bad about it.

Or try not eating it.  Or make a homemade version of it and see how it feels.

I’m not schooled up on Craig Keaton’s BioPsych component of The Movement’s education, but I have relied on subtle quotes and numerous posts from Craig to keep my bearing towards better.

And with a constant cycle of Infiltration, De-manufacture, and Reconstitution of associations to food, I am able to eat, feel, assess, adapt, and achieve.

I ate over 9,000 calories these last two days, and the mirror tells me I am more muscular and solid looking than ever before at 256lbs.

Yes, I lost 41 pounds since November 26th 2013.

And I have myself to thank for it!

 

Snakes On  A Plane citations brought to you by IMDB

* = “Monkey Fighter”

*Substitute for “m@ther  f^cker”, taken from the edited-for-network TV version of multiple award-nominated** American film Snakes on a Plane

**Fangoria magazine “Chainsaw Awards”

-Highest Body Count
-Most Thrilling KillingFor “Trouser snake”
-Dude You Don’t Wanna Mess With (Best Hero)
Samuel L. Jackson
-Line That Killed (Best One-Liner)
Samuel L. Jackson
For the line “I’ve had it with these motherf**king snakes on this motherf**king plane!”
-Sickest FX (Best Special FX)

Domination

I’d like to begin this post with a fragment of an anecdote in tribute to the great towns of Malvern and Great Valley, PA.

At World Gym, Malvern 2005, I asked a PT and group-ex client, DP, if he would like to attend my Sunday AM body-weight boot camp. He told me he would “hate to dominate and disrupt the atmosphere of my instructional”.

I still get a laugh out of it. Fact of the matter-he saw my class training single-leg squats and was paralyzed by fear.

The Shire

These two towns are one. Malvern is the village atop the hill, with the Amtrak/regional rail station, two solid restaurants, and a fantastic men’s shop. Great Valley is the sprawl, from the bottom of the hill, north up to the PA turnpike and onto another hill that takes you to Charlestown. The high school, lots of nice houses, multiple state roads and freeways.

I could never nail down why I fell in love with Malvern, but here are a few reasons:

Nice people, nicer than many other Philly exurbs

Relaxed atmosphere ‘in-town’, or, along the section of King Rd and the single stop light that we call ‘town’

Target/Wegman’s/World Gym/Englund’s Apparel

Paoli battlefield and memorial

Trails in the woods between the battlefield memorial and Malvern Preparatory School are great for switchback runs

It is one of so darn many PA towns that shares its name with a town in Great Britain

Great scenery at sunset

Will I ever live there again?

It is certainly possible that I will live and work in Malvern again. I have positive associations with the name of the town, the geography, and the social climate. I lived there from 2004-2008, forty months, all spent training full-time as Main Line Kettlebells and some bizarre export of my own ego. I loved it there, and they love me there, but what did truly build while I was there?

-A client base about 100 people deep

-Lasting relationships with incredible people, Magic, Science, Spirits, and ‘spirits’

-Associations that trump feelings like shame and distress, which I used to feel regarding how I left Malvern, on a nasty January day in 2008

-A towering, resilient love of instructing that stands as a monument to the people I taught and the commitment they displayed

So why did I leave?

If you know me, or if you have heard anything about me, you may be aware that I have a reputation as a mercurial, unreliable trainer and boyfriend. I soiled the home I lived in, and exposed my bad-judgment to the people who paid me to be an example of what they could be. I ended up telling myself that the Whammy was going to follow me everywhere in that town, and no one would want to train with a party-hardy heavy metal douche bag who cheated on the woman who helped build his business, with a girl she went to high-school with (also a group-ex client).

The Whammy”

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Where did I go?

I went to LA to live and work with my fellow 0311. That is where I walked into Trader Joe’s and was hired practically overnight. That was a tough situation for me but it helped me realize that scrambling out of PA into warmer climates, though surrounded by true friends and brothers, was no guarantee of progress, within or without.

 

Within

Under the hood. Top floor. Brain housing group. Managing my own biology and psychology.

Without

My reception to people’s behavior, or, not getting hung-up on someone else’s issue.

Pond-hopping

When in LA, I traveled east to Copenhagen to RKC 2008. Tripping over to Europe was easily the most exciting moment of my career as a trainer, up to that point. When I booked the flight, four months prior to the event, I routed myself through Frankfurt to PHL. After four months in Cali, pumpin’ iron by the pool, getting’ rolled up every night by 7PM (Jeopardy! time), and dropping 35 pounds, I returned to my true love. She was waiting for me like a patient mother/lover/guide and will welcome me back anytime I visit with other friends or other countries. She shows me the colors of the flags of the world, she knows no boundaries but water, and will be there for millions of other sons and travelers, accomplished and weary. It became clear to me during 5 days in Philly that this will always be my home and I am forever indebted to the culture and people of our city for the lessons imparted on me. Philadelphia, a uniquely American city, is home to many, many associations.

The Legendary ROOTS Crew

John Coltrane

Noam Chomsky

Mumia Abu-Jamal & PPD

Ramona Africa and MOVE

Mayor Wilson Goode

Frank Rizzo

The ghost of William Penn

The Liberty Bell

The 1st & 2nd continental congress

SEPTA

The Broad Street Bullies

Hoagies and cheesesteaks

The Manayunk bike race

The Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Franklin fucking Institute for the love of Peet’s! We are a great American city. It is my great American city.

I can disguise my regional accent and sharpen my diction, but there is not enough cotton on this planet to wrap me up so tight that people won’t be able to figure out not only where I’m from, but the side of the city I grew up on.

You can’t go home again (?)

What if both times you left home, and returned, you were triumphant in a manner which kept your demons at bay for another few years? Does that validate the urge to scramble away and ‘work on oneself’ in exile?

Well, writing and teaching and working a job-type job can satiate the urges to be ME as well as part of a team (with regular weekly hours and pay), but cooking my own meals as often as I canis a form of meditation. It helps me overcome the itch to eat low intensity foods and sleep away my problems.

Ditch the itch?

In fact, defeating that urge is a massive component to the ‘work’ I intend to ‘perform’ on myself. I had an episode this morning, in fact, where I thought “Sausage, egg, and cheese on a bagel x 5 and a half gallon of chocolate milk, that’s my day”.

Well, those calories would still be way under my ideal daily total, but what about

-How I feel about the food

-What would precede and succeed the feast

-How would I feel physically and emotionally the next day

In order to prevent fallout from shitty mornings, I laughed off what happened and chalked it up to MBMO (my bust, move on). WaWa Sizzli bagels and chocolate moo are still the shit. . .

What was this post about?

Whatever I wanted it to be. I began writing it on Sunday, after a phone interview with a national retail chain, who offered me a job in Malvern.

I wrapped it up today after the hourly rate was given to me and a gnarly morning with 33 degrees and 40 MPH winds to deal with while walking to the pre-employment screen. I’m now quite tired, and not craving self destruction.

But about that chocolate milk. . . .