Tag Archives: Bodybuilding

Shifting the Brainwashing


o shifting the brainwashing
I am absolutely elated!  I’m joyful and in high spirits training speaking (and yes I’m talking about Ballet Beautiful).  I never thought anything other than weightlifting could bring me to a place where I’m both happy and full of plenty endorphins.  For thirteen years I’ve devoted lots of time, effort, tears, injuries, strains, tears and more into the lifestyle of weightlifting.  This has been a part of me like my genetic makeup.  The iron has forever been my best friend when I didn’t have any best friends.

The truth is over the last year or two – I associate a lot of negativity with weightlifting.  There were endless moments where my weightlifting sessions were more about doing my best to fill in my countless voids rather than for the purpose of how I looked or other health related reasons.  I was destroying my body to the ground with force and brainwashing myself with negative words and connotations.

Day in and day out I would break my body.  I used to work hard for hours in the gym doing 60-90 minute cardio sessions and a separate 60-90 minute weightlifting session a day up to 5-6 times a day for many hours.  I bet I could light up Times Square with all the energy I gave to the gym daily.  Sometimes I would split the sessions up and other times I would do it back to back with a protein bar or a shake in the center of the sessions.

The twenty-four hour gym was my haven – it was my alcohol and bar.  I gym hopped from one gym to another especially when the manic nights wouldn’t let me sleep.


This leads me into another subject where I built more brainwashing for my training life mind.  I tell you now that everything is a lesson in disguise if you have the ability to recognize it and flex your self awareness often.  The fitness industry can be a motivating place for some and a disheartening place for others.  The one thing I know however is the fitness industry has a powerful impact on everyone in the world.  I wish I could say I’m immune to it, but I’m not.  Sometimes I get caught up in the strange world.

I like to pride myself on rarely looking up to anyone in the fitness and bodybuilding industry because no one is like me and I’m not like anyone else.  I don’t look up to the pros in the fitness industry because I don’t agree with most of the things they say.  Everything is airbrushed, enhanced and they’re in competition mode selling us lies that come in imagery, supplements and pill bottles.

The thing that gets me the most about these fitness pros is their brainwashing – it is pretty much the same talk and mentality.  They’re like clones of one another with their mantras:  “No pain, no gain” and “Train insane or remain the same.”  Should you train with pain?  It depends on the kind of pain.  Should you train through your pain?  No.  Will these pros tell you that?  No.  But they’ll tell you whatever you want to hear to make you buy the products they themselves are forced to sell.

To my knowledge (and I don’t know of every person in the fitness industry), almost every single coach, IFBB/National Pro and even fitness gurus talk about extreme dieting and extreme training.  One day I viewed a video someone on Twitter linked and was shocked when I saw a powerlifter expressing his extreme viewpoint on why you should work through elbow pain, and if you don’t, then you really don’t want your personal records and so forth.

This is hogwash!

Just because you refuse to bury your body into the ground and you want to live and die for your weightlifting/Powerlifting numbers – doesn’t mean YOU should.  Just because you have a tear in your shoulder/knee and need to beat out your competition as a way to prove to yourself and the whole world YOU can do it – doesn’t mean YOU should DO it.  You should take a step back and really analyze the world and what they’re telling you and what dream they’re selling YOU.

The thing is you need to look at facts aside from asking:  Why are you putting your body through hell?  What are your reasons?  Are they good reasons?  Or are you doing it for your business, for your team or for your country?  Is there something in your life that you’re running away from?  Or is there a void you’re trying to cover?  Or do you simply live for the passion and want to break your body in return for this passion you’re feeling?

To be continued..

-Pennington

Accommodating Self (Part 2)


BB fitness
The best decision I made was breaking up with the gym.

I did a ton of reflecting.  In general I have no problem working out at home, but I just never knew I’d feel more comfortable working out at home around the clock as much as I do.  Training at home has allowed me to take the pressure off mentally as I can’t compare myself against who I used to be.. way back when.  Aside from less self-demands I can’t ego lift at home like I can ego-lift at the gym.  It does suck I can’t feed off people’s energy in the gym, but the focus is deep having to feed off my own energy.  It’s been about 4 months since I’ve been strength-training at home and I must say it’s been beneficial for me mentally, emotionally, physically, financially and spiritually.

Here are a few reasons why I enjoy training at home nowadays aside from the little I just mentioned:  I can be myself.   I don’t have to smile, be polite, and pretend I’m in a good mood or have small conversation when I don’t want to.  I can workout whenever I want without time restraints or gym holidays getting in the way.  I can focus 110% on my form, on my breathing and zero in on the way I feel mentally or emotionally.   I have to push myself differently and get extra creative making home workout programs so they are super effective and exhausting because that’s what I enjoy.

Also I don’t have to feel uncomfortable or awkward trying to hide my extra fat in huge hoodies and sweat pants.  I can rock a spaghetti-strap tank top and spandex and I wouldn’t secretly judge myself in front of others and make the awkwardness awkward and obvious to those who may or may not judge me at the gym.  (Judgement-free zone only happens at home and not at Planet Fitness.)  I don’t have an aversion at home, but I do have one outside – where I secretly believe people can tell if I previously hurt my ankle or not.  (Yes, it’s mental.)  Also I don’t have to spend over $112.00 on Metro Card money to travel to the gym and back home.

Then there’s the other obvious like I don’t have to wait for machines during peak time.   I compete with myself, build my confidence and track record rather than pressure myself to compete with the person I used to be in the gym while being at the gym.   On a really good note, with at-home workouts, I can do laundry at the same time I train.  And as an introvert – I do enjoy my time alone.

New inspiration?  Now over the past month and a half I’ve been newly inspired by Ballet Beautiful.  I owe it to BB for re-motivating me again.  I can do any of their workouts at home and spread it out among the day (on top of my weight training) for minutes at a time multiple times a day and night.  The exercises, technique and workouts themselves are extremely challenging and work very well!  Ballet Beautiful approach comes off more about quality than quantity and the workouts itself are about strength, power, flexibility, balance, technique and grace in a totally different way.

BBStrengthI absolutely swear by Ballet Beautiful and I haven’t been doing it very long at all.  In the past I’ve written about how I enjoy the extremes of both bodybuilding and ballet as I find them both to be very similar in terms of disciplinary action, strength, beauty, aestheticism, athleticism and art.  I love them both.  And I feel like I want to embrace them both and see where they lead me to.  For the good month of August I fell in love with Ballet Beautiful for countless reasons aside from what I perceive ballet to be – graceful.  One reason why I love Ballet Beautiful is because of the minimalist style.  Two is because the exercises and stretches involved are complex, detailed and difficult.  Third reason is BB has increased my motivation by 100%!

All this time, I was searching for something.  Strangely – and out the blue – I fell in some kind of dear love for Ballet that started around 2009.  But, I didn’t know something totally different from weightlifting would give me the “wow” factor and innovative inspiration I needed.  In ballet, there’s a quiet and classical tone set, as well as an elegant breathtaking history, same as Bodybuilding for me.  There’s art, power, focus and balance in every single ballet movement which I find irresistible.

Of course, a few times a week I will continue to devote time and effort to strength-training, but it was Ballet Beautiful that took me to another place mentally, emotionally and physically.  It’s because I can start fresh and it’s because I’m not bound to the past decade and associations of weightlifting.  Recently I started to realize how my training has been changing in ways I’m not fully understanding yet.  It seems weightlifting doesn’t have the same flavor for me – maybe because I associate the past decade with weightlifting?

I’m a new person now.
And I want my training to reflect this as well.

BBQuickTip-ReEnvision-final-revHere’s what I know now:  I have a new vision for my body.  I don’t want my old body back because I don’t go backwards.  I want a more symmetrical and streamlined look.  I want to be more refined.  I want to be less soft.  I want to be less bulky.  I want less of the comfort I’ve had with my body in the past.  I want new strengths.  I want new exercises.  I want new challenges.  I want new posture.  I want new everything!

I will continue to focus on smaller muscles because all the bigger muscles on my body are well-developed.  I will continue to work on the tiny details in every single muscle.  I will continue to use my first love – dumbbells and barbells no more than twice a week and no less than one.  Weightlifting will always have a home in my heart, but what I want now and what motivates me now is vastly different.  I’m going to enjoy shifting.

And who knows what it might bring?

P.S.

One of my current goals is to go to the gym twice a week for extra cardio purposes.  I have an initial 30lbs to lose.  I’ve already dropped 7lbs in 2 weeks.  It’s game on.

-Pennington

Training Maturity


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I’m not speaking about how older muscles have hardened over the years with recurring lifting or mean this by the density which occurs with steady reliability and perseverance that comes from the power of character and passion to train.  But I mean this in terms of the mental and belief development and how wonderful it is to be receptive to change.

I love change, more specifically when there isn’t a conscious decision made to transform.  I love when the tiny things in life flow under the disguise of remarkable intuition and unquestionable faith.  The splendor within the apparent connection of mind and of body has been excellent to me when it comes to Training.

Across the decade, I’ve made several mistakes, I’ve taken on the delightful delights and terrible burdens of injury, I’ve underwent many setbacks and on the flip of the coin sprung with vigor forwardness, I’ve followed like a scared newbie on what others did inside the gym and learned to lead my own path and training philosophies and now I can reflect on some changes that are coming out on top: Training maturity.

The first thing I noticed over time is I slowly strayed away from isolation movements and went into exercise programs that only allowed room for compounds.  This proved well as I have less muscle imbalances and various smaller muscles have caught up to the much bigger ones giving me fewer injuries and smaller amounts of overcompensation overall.  And although switching out isolation exercises for compounds may seem logical, the combination of misinformation on top of the endless harassment of the ego is a complex mission to prevail.

Second thing I noticed more this coming year is how I’ve found myself taking pleasure in working my body in multiples planes and engaging every muscle to work in synergy.  This has introduced lots of gains at a quicker pace in terms of visual definition.  For years I relied on Bodybuilding style.  Except I realized the gains are time-consuming if you don’t couple this approach with extreme dieting as close to one-hundred percent of the time.  I’ve realized it’s better for me to push to train (almost) like an athlete with total body workouts with a wide range of labor.  I can do this now because I’ve developed vastly and because of this quality I’ve been able to grasp one plain fact:  There isn’t one road to being fit or appearing the part.

Nowadays, my motivation comes differently and as one fitness enthusiast or gym rat can say, motivation is hard to sustain and throughout the years motivation comes in different behaviors, different apparel, through different gym clubs, through different people and different frames of intelligence and strategy.

Lately, I don’t find it challenging or motivating to lift and stick with one or two body parts per training session.  I don’t find it challenging or motivating to stick with basic tried and true exercises with a rep and set scheme.  I don’t find it motivating to be in a box or keep myself trapped in there.  A perfect example was how for many years I’d remain limited on a rep scheme.  I would write it down on paper long before heading into the gym and because that number was the one in my head it was all I ever did for a long friggin time.  I never went pass that particular number, almost as if it were a crime.

This led to a chain reaction because the questions were obvious:  How many times could I have gone pass the rep and created new and improved muscle growth?  How many times could I have increased the poundage if I weren’t afraid to pass beyond the rep in my head?  Why did I choose to limit myself in this way?  Was this a part of self-sabotage?  Or what I constructed around the entire belief system of the rep scheme?

Another thing where I’ve matured is actually utilizing the training partner at hand.  Tonight I trained my ass off and stood probably 2 hours in the gym just zoning out and lifting to my hearts content. However back then I wouldn’t have used my training partner the way I did this evening because pride and selfishness.  During the Hammer Strength Incline Chest Press I had him assist me by pulling on the lift itself first (at extension) so I didn’t have to waste not an ounce of pointless exertion pushing entirely on the first rep.

I didn’t have all the bright energy I’m used to having on a regular basis.  But this helped me enormously and I didn’t allow myself to feel crucified by my ego or having to be prideful to do every little thing myself rather than saying, “Yeah we can use a little help today to cut a slight corner or two and what’s wrong with that?”  Nothing, if you don’t limit yourself (or abuse help).

The permanence of the mind and what things we hold close to our chest in the act of searching for meaning can be a tricky thing.  How do you learn to let go of concrete beliefs when they become too old to even be useful anymore?  Surely, every person has their own response.  Yet if you ask me, I’m more than willing to say maturity is my answer back, along with being aware with what is the precise type of intuition within your significance of mind, expansion and substance.

-Pennington Hall

I Want To Be A Bodybuilder!



Because no matter how many times I watch this.. this shit makes me laugh.  Half the time I sound like this.  And half the time I procrastinate.

And if this doesn’t make you laugh or bring out the slight chuckle in you, then I’m guessing A) You can’t relate. Or B) You have a screw stuck up your ass… AND I’ll be more than happy to get that out for you. 😉

Pennington