Train with people who are where you want to be or train with people who are going to the same place that you are going. When you train with someone who is where you want to be, you might have a long way to go in order to catch up. But chasing them only adds to the motivation. You might not have the exact same goals but you want to be in the same place mentally.
After already finishing my transformation and getting into shape, I decided to step it up some more. So I went to Xtreme Speed in Plainfield, IL about 4 hours from my house in St. Louis, MO. I trained there for 3 days a week for 10 out of 12 weeks. I have been back about 10 times since. It’s amazing how far that I have come since I completed my transformation. These guys took me to a whole new level. The first time that I walked in the door and trained with these guys, I got my ass kicked. I failed at everything. I couldn’t keep up. I thought about how hard it was and how I knew that I could handle it. I did not have the muscle endurance to last during this kind of training. I was going to have to build it up. It’s ok to FAIL, but it’s not ok to QUIT!
I have seen a number of guys come through the doors, who wanted to try it out. After their first day, I never saw them again. It’s almost like a murder mystery. Come in and get tortured and disappear never to be heard from again.
I know exactly what these guys are going through. I went through it myself and still remember it very clearly. Toughest workouts ever. I also know that it is mostly psychological. I know that I am going to go through some pain and that my lungs are going to feel like they will bust through my chest on cardio day. I can still picture running on a treadmill at 12 MPH for 30 seconds for 10 sets, with 1 minute rest in between sets. Rest consists of doing 10 burpee bench hops. I’m on my 7th rep and still have 15 seconds on the treadmill. 3 more sets after this one, I feel like I’m drowning because I’m so out of breath that I can get enough air. I already pulled my shirt off just so I wouldn’t have my shirt restricting me. I’m getting yelled at for taking my shirt off because I’m dripping sweat all over the treadmill. I need to fight through it. I’ve got 15 seconds left out of my entire life and then I have another 90 seconds left split up in 3 sets, tied in with a total of 30 burpees for my rest. That’s not that long of a period of time, I know that I can do this but it’s a bitch. Now, I hear someone yelling, “Eisenberg, come on man, keep going”. So now I know if I stop I’m going to disappoint someone. I’m going to fail in front of them. Fuck that, I’m going to suck it up and finish.
Up until this point in my life, I have only had training partners who motivated me, while I was in high school, college and for a few years after college. Being able to train with the guys at Xtreme was/is amazing. The atmosphere and the people are what makes me stronger. They motivate me to do what I know is the hardest training program that I have ever done. The program works. It increases my level of conditioning, strength, endurance, with an additional focus on stabilizer muscles and hammers the CORE.
So I come home and train alone, because it’s almost impossible to find someone to train with me at the level at which I am training. I still hit it hard at home, but I’m still not at the intensity that I would be at Xtreme. However, whenever I go back, I know that I can handle it but it will be far from easy.
In the beginning of June, I found a new gym with a great atmosphere called Excel Training, in St. Peters, MO. It’s closer to my house than my old gym and it’s a Sports Performance Center. It’s all about training and they do sell memberships. The owners are part of the atmosphere. These guys are all in great shape and they know how to train people. About a week after joining Excel, I was at a party and met Chase Reynolds, a Running Back with the St. Louis Rams. We talked about nutrition for a while and I told him about Excel. I actually thought that it would be really cool to get Chase to train with me. Training with a professional athlete all the time would be great. He should be able to handle it. But he probably won’t want to train with some guy almost twice his age.
A couple weeks later the Rams ended their Off-Season Conditioning program and Chase came over to Excel to check the gym out. I asked him if he wanted to try out my program. He said that he didn’t have anyone to train with, so he was up for it. This program consists of non-stop circuits and super-sets. We beat the crap out of one or two muscle groups during our circuits. Each circuit could last between 3 to 6 rounds. So with most of this stuff we are not using a lot of weight but we were doing high reps. (15 to 30. Sometimes more). I never really filled Chase in on this, I figured that he was better learning about it based on trail. We had a four station circuit set up for 5 rounds. It included DB Bench. Each time we hit bench we would do something a little different. For instance, hold one weight up while benching with the opposite are for 5 reps. Switch arms, and then bench 5 more reps with both arms together. The other sets would include things like raising legs off of the ground to activate the Core. Rotate weight as we come down so that we have an underhand grip. Do 1/3 of a rep, followed by 2/3 of a rep, followed by a full rep and that is 1 total rep. We would do 10 of those. The second exercise was Dynamic Push-Ups. We started off with both hands on separate 18 inch platforms and would drop to the ground. Push-Up hard enough to land on the boxes and finish the push-up. Only 10 reps of that. Next was one type of raise for 15 reps and single arm bent over rows for 30 reps.
Training this way with someone new to it could almost be funny. After doing the first set, Chase told me that he was going to move up on the next round. He was using about 5 lbs. more than me. I guess I knew something that he didn’t. I almost laughed but said ok. If he did what he said when we got back I would have been impressed. Well the Dynamic Push-Ups put to rest any ideas, that he had of moving up. Instead he was forced to drop weight. I could tell that Chase was strong but I also could tell that he didn’t have the muscle endurance to handle this type of training.
I started to wonder how much Will Power this guy had? I’m thinking he has a lot because he made it to the NFL because of hard work. Well either way, I’m about to find out because, I am going to see if he quits. Not that I wanted him to quit but if I can make it a little bit out of his reach he is going to have to work that much harder to make it. Now for the motivation. And this works both ways. I am going to work my ass off and make this look easy. I’ll be out of breath and I’ll be tearing up my muscles, but I am not stopping. I have a pro-athlete training with me and I’m not going to let him keep up. I have an advantage. I’ve been training this way for about 8 months and he has never trained this way. If you can make it psychologically, than you can not only survive but progress pretty quickly. What’s going through his head? My guess, “How the hell is the guy going through this same workout and not even having a problem with it? He is kicking my ass? This guy is old, he’s in his mid or late 40’s. He’s not a pro-athlete. I’m getting beat by an old man. I’m not quitting. This stuff sucks.” I’m watching this guy hitting it hard, but starting to struggle, so I start getting fired up. I don’t want him to quit, but I want him to come close. I start yelling at him while we are training. “Get up!!! Come on man!!! 2 Minute offense. No huddle, Get up!!! I know exactly what he is going through, I’ve been there. He gets up. He finishes his set an is off to the next thing. I’m getting down and getting in his face in between my sets. Even during my sets, I’m going off on him. Every time that I yell he responds. My motivation is through the roof. I can tell that his is also, but he is still dealing with the shock of a style of training that he has never done before. I don’t want to bring anything negative into it. I even decided not to remind him of my age. I had some great jokes about having to get back to the retirement center. I didn’t know him that well yet. (I had to wait until our 2nd workout together before I reminded him) I’m going to just keep pushing him with the positives of what he will accomplish this year. How much better condition and how much stronger can he be going into camp? Shit this is his first day I don’t even know if he will be back. We got done with his beat down after about 4 circuits including one with Ball Walks and Spider Man Walks which both can not only fatigue you and burn your muscle out within the first half of the first of 6 sets. It’s rare to find someone who has the Core strength to get through it very easily the first time. This exercise is one that can actually make you sick.
I think that first workout really put things into perspective for him. I wasn’t 100% sure that we were going to be working out on a regular basis. I found out real quickly, when he told me that he was coming the next day for Leg/Cardio day, which was another day of torture for him. By the beginning of week 3 he had already had some huge gains. For instance his Core gets better every day. Like I said the Ball Walks are a great indicator. He almost caught me on them the other day. That actually made me get fired up to go harder. He is getting more and more competitive and refuses to quit. I tell him to give me one more rep or one more set when we would have been done. Except that he was coming close to failure. It’s this point where you go for that extra 10%. For those that don’t believe in 110%, they have never gotten to this point. This is what separates someone who can control the psychological side of things. This is where I am going to tell him that I know his mind better than he does. His mind may be telling him to quit, but his body can keep going. One more set of pushing a Weighted Down Prowler Sled in the rain (sleds don’t slide well in the rain. 20 times harder). After he finished, I asked him if he knew why I added a 6th set up. He said, “No”. And I said because you almost quit at 5.
We talk about our workouts and both of us love them. It’s different. It’s challenging. It’s competitive and getting more competitive. I’m not going to let him beat me and he’s not going to let me stay ahead of him. He has proven that he has the Will Power to dominate these workouts.
I don’t respect him because he plays in the NFL, I respect him because he worked his ass off to get there and he is working his ass off even harder to improve. He has been successful at everything that he has been involved in, by focusing on it and working hard to not only be good at it but be great at it, whether it was football, track, basketball, motocross or wrestling. He has a lot of other qualities, including participating in charitable programs. He is a good person who works for what he has earned. I’m honored to have him as a training partner and I’m proud to call him a friend. I have never had a better training partner. The funny thing is that I couldn’t be happier to lose him as a training partner, so that he could go into camp with the St. Louis Rams. Hopefully, we wouldn’t be training together until the end of the NFL Season. Getting the call from him at the end of training camp, telling me that he made the 53 man roster was one of the best calls that I ever had. He has his own team, but when we train together we are a team. We both work together towards his goal. He removed his limitations, he reconditioned his body and he made a Promise not to Quit. Mentally we are in the same place.
Have you ever talked with someone about what each of you thought when you first met? We did talk about our first day of training together and told each other what we thought. I guess I was somewhat close but his initial response to me was, “I thought that you were making stuff up as you went along. I thought you were only trying to get me to quit. I wasn’t going too.”