Now that I’m a father in my mid-forties I really enjoy blogs and songs entitled, “Letter to my Younger Self”. A few things come to mind right away for me; spend more time with Grandpa Howard, he was an amazing man that worked hard and loved us kids. He will be gone way too fast and you’ll miss him more than I can explain. Spend more time with Grandma Larsen, she was feisty as Hell, but loaded with wisdom and one liners that you’ll reflect back on and use almost every day. Remember that hot blonde with the short skirt that worked in Oval Room? Ask her out sooner! She’s the best thing that ever happened to you, Corey! And when you graduate from college, don’t waste your time with stupid little jobs you don’t enjoy. Get to work in the fitness industry as soon as possible!
I look around the industry now and see these younger guys starting out, trying to plant their own flag and build their own persona. I see them making the same mistakes I did. Please for the love of all that is good, stop shouting from the roof top that your method of training is the best and everything else will make you fat and weak. I know you’re trying to “build your brand” or online personality, or whatever, but I’ve done the closed mindedness. I’ve surrounded myself with closed minded people and believe me, it doesn’t work. The kettlebell is a wonderful tool and yes it will get people into phenomenal shape but it doesn’t work for everyone. The same can be said for simply picking up heavy stuff. Contrary to what some think, “strong” doesn’t fix everything. Every client’s goals and personal issues are unique, so please train each of them differently. If the only thing you see are nails, the only solution you’ll ever have is a hammer. Advice to my younger self; open up your mind and listen, there are many different roads that can lead to the same place.
I should’ve never crapped all over cardio! Honestly there’s nothing better than being outside on a beautiful day jogging, biking, or walking, especially if you take your doggy. Nothing builds mental toughness like endurance training. In fact, the definition I’ve applied to endurance is, “the struggle to continue against a mounting desire to stop.” Truth be told, I used to think I was strong. I would deadlift and squat big numbers and hang out with the big guys in the gym. Oh, I thought I was something, but ask me to run a quarter mile and I was dead. I couldn’t move well either… stiff as a board and I’d get winded playing Frisbee. Advice to my younger self; you want toughness? Learn to keep going when every fiber of your being is screaming for you to stop. That’s a bonus tip because it applies to many other aspects of your life too.
Take care of your spine. It seems everyone has back issues now a days, and everyone’s back pain is different. Corey, you’re not an expert on back pain just because you have a crooked spine, but you have learned a lot of things along the way that will definitely help others with their back issues. Hip and shoulder mobility are HUGE! I’ll say it again; hip and shoulder mobility are HUGE! So, guess what, STRETCH! Nobody cares how much you can squat when you can’t sit on the floor with your legs crossed because your back hurts or your legs simply don’t bend that way. With a crooked spine or back pain, there’s really no need to EVER vertically load the spine. In other words, overhead pressing, back squats, front squats, barbell snatches and anything that may compress any part of the spine just isn’t necessary if you’re already experiencing back issues. There’s a ton of callisthenic movements that will accomplish the same goal without causing back pain. And don’t knock bodyweight training, it’s way more effective than anyone would think. Advice to my younger self; pushing heavy weights is cool, but being strong and healthy is way cooler.
Corey, really life is just a long road of finding out who you are and being comfortable in your own skin. Be sure to make memories as well as have the ability to observe moments as they’re happening. Grandpa chewed his ice cream. Grandma grew raspberries and hated bonfires on the beach. That hot blonde with the short skirt, she gave you an unbelievable little boy that amazes you every day. Also, read the bible, it’s your handbook to life. As for training, it’s ok to train heavy but use your head and respect your limits. Learn to swim and run, you’ll love it. Never underestimate the power of push-ups and pull ups. It’s the simple time-tested stuff that yield the best results.