This is an excerpt from my book, IRON JOURNEYS.
He was a quiet man.
He got away from the busy streets and found himself some land and built a cabin with a few old friends. He told me he paid them with the game he hunted but it was not work for he and his friends. He said they loved the time together and it was a "friends helping friends" gig.
Friends that help each other yet don't ask for anything in return. I thought to myself how perfect it sounded.
He didn't pay much mind to the news or what "other people" thought of him. He felt the news was filled with only negativity and he opted to keep his mind "clean". Hence, there was no TV in his house.
Instead of being a slave to the news, he simply loved what he loved, lived according to his own rules and left it at that. Freedom.
To each his own, is how he always thought.
He reminded me of the poem by Tecumseh.
His (cabin) home was off the beaten path and he liked it that way.
It was simple. A cabin with a fireplace. No TV or internet either. He had an old cell phone and it was a pay as you go type gig. Internet access only came when he took a trip every few days to the local general store.
He also had a beautiful dog that followed him everywhere he went.
His fishing poles were scattered in a corner of his cabin and he also had a few guns for hunting.
Outside of his cabin he had a squat rack he had built from wood and steel pipe. It looked indestructible and it was. I had seen him squat 585 and when he racked the bar, the damn thing didn't budge an inch.
The squat bar stayed loaded with an old pair of 100 lb York Barbell plates. He warmed up with basic calisthenics and some odd dumbbells that were scattered around the perimeter of his cabin. He also had various sizes of stones laying around. Some of the small stones he grabbed and did various shoulder raises, presses and curls with for warming up.
On the grass was an axle bar that he picked up from a scrap yard. He would deadlift, row and press the axle.
When he trained, he crushed the volume training quite often.
He shared his training and it inspired me to follow suit in my garage when all I had was a squat rack, a flat utility bench, a few Kettlebells and bands.
I didn't even have dumbbells so I used the Kettlebells for my rep work. I had just finished 6 months of training for a Navy SEAL challenge and I wanted to get back to size and strength work. I implemented a block of training that I would use in the deep off season with my athletes when there was no competition around the corner.
My friend had nowhere to go and no one to see. He would only see people when he wanted to. Again, he lived according to his own rules. Have you heard the Skynyrd song Simple Man? Well, that was my friend....
He saved his money from his work where he was a builder. He was also a local guide for hunters and fisherman. He took people fishing and then taught them how to eat what they caught. Same thing for hunting game.
People only found out about him through word of mouth.
His fishing and hunting trips never disappointed anyone.
His free time was for reading, training and of course solo trips for fishing and hunting.
He told me that sometimes he would go out in the woods with nothing but a pack of matches to see
how long he could survive with nothing but the clothing on his back. He would do this in the Winter, not just when the weather was comfortable.
I think those "trips" were a sort of Warrior's journey for him.
Sometimes we would exchange e mails here and there when he went to the local general store and I assume he borrowed someone's computer because I never saw a computer in his cabin. He would then disappear for a week or so and e mail me again, apologizing for his abrupt absence. He would remind me how he needed to get away to clear his spirit.
I never questioned him. Why would I? Let a man be as he is.
I also think the hard training served as his iron therapy. It certainly always does for me and I believe that's why we connected. We BOTH trained for the mental aspect, NOT just the muscle building benefits.
His long training sessions were fueled by big eating along with raw milk and cheese that he picked up from a local farmer.
He didn't care if the weather was cold. He still trained outside, regardless of the weather. Yes, even in the snow. He bundled up with boots and sweat pants and a few layers.
I remember once we spoke about some of the lifters / bodybuilders of the Golden Era and early 80s. We spoke about The Barbarian Brothers and Benny Podda.
He told me that he didn't just lift heavy or just lift for high reps.
He trained according to the journey he wanted to go on.
He wanted to learn about himself. The heavy lifting took a different mentality than the ultra high reps such as squatting or benching for 20-30 reps.
He told me about how he would adjust the tempo of the reps along with adding pause reps.
He felt the slow tempo and the pauses REALLY built up his strength and density.
Fighting those eccentrics made him tough, he told me.
It was brutal and when he went through these phases of training he increased his quality calories.
He would eat the game that he hunted and his carbs were basic: Fresh fruits, sweet potatoes, carrots, and other veggies.
If it was winter he would keep a large pot on the stove with beef and vegetable stew. He ate when he was hungry. The winter called for heavier foods and the Summer called for more fish, fruits and veggies.
When he finished his volume training he transitioned to a minimalist plan, training only 2 x week for 4-6 weeks.
My friend was strong yet silent.
He loved life. He was also a giver.
He would go to town and give some of his veggies from his garden to random people.
He would bring extra meat he couldn't keep in his large freezer and give it to the butcher.
He asked the butcher to gift it to people after they bought something from his store.
He never asked for anything in return.
He didn't keep score.
He was just a good human.
Live The Code 365