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Understanding Culture
By Donny Shankle

This is something I’ve learned from my travels. The world is full of so many different types of cultures. Some are better than others and some are difficult to understand. Some cultures are strict while other cultures are tolerant. I’ve been to places where things are very black and white and there is no grey area. Laws and customs are the way they are and no matter how silly they may seem to you it’s wise to show respect.

One of the great things about sport is no matter the culture you come from the goal is the same. Win. The sad thing is some cultures do not believe in winning honorably. Sport has rules. It is a contest among men and women to find the best within our species. If there are not rules in sport to be followed or if those rules cannot be enforced then sport ceases to be an honorable contest. It’s no longer sport and it turns into mere entertainment. I do not like the idea of competing for purely entertainment purposes. I am a sportsman and this means I follow the rules of competition to find the best. It is up to the athletes to enforce these rules. The athletes must police their own because bureaucracy can be bought off and bribed. The good man cannot be bought or bribed and the athlete must uphold this idea.

I have had teammates and friends of mine who are weightlifters tell me how it’s not their fault they cheat and use drugs to win. It’s just in their culture. It’s how they were brought up or it’s how it was explained to them. Nonsense. The rules are in black and white and spelled out in many different languages.

I’ll hear some people say how Weightlifting is a dirty sport and it pisses me off. Weightlifting is not a dirty sport. It is a beautiful sport which unfortunately is full of a lot of cheats. The sport itself is wonderful and highly challenging and no matter what culture you come from the idea of what a good man is remains the same. You are not just a showman on the platform. You are one example of the best of humankind.



Sex and Sleep
By Donny Shankle

Have sex. The benefits of a positive and loving sexual relationship improve your performance in the gym. Sex does bring an increase in strength. It keeps the testosterone high. One of the main benefits it also brings is it will help put you in deep REM sleep and weightlifters need their sleep to lift at their best. The nervous system will not adapt and strengthen if you have difficulty sleeping.

A good sexual relationship also brings a list of other benefits. It will help keep you from getting sick as well as relieve your pain and stress. Charisma and confidence are also given a boost which are essential to lift big weights. Lastly sex will help to get your mind off training. Directing your mind to something else will actually help with your consistency in the gym.


Take Action And

Show A Little Swag
By Donny Shankle

When you walk up to the bar,  roll your shoulders back and pick your head up. A snatch or clean and jerk does not begin at the pull. It begins with your approach to the bar. If your eyes are looking down and you're thinking the lift is going to be heavy then the weight has already defeated you. It’s OK to be nervous because being nervous shows you care but never let your nerves turn into fear. The bar is a dead thing in space. It has no control over you. You control yourself. Your mind commands your muscles to take action against the bar. Confidence lies in your heart which is the link between mind and body.

Look at some videos of champions lifting and you may sometimes notice their teammates, coaches, or friends whispering encouragement just prior to going out on the platform. As the weightlifter lies in wait for the loaders to get the weights on the bar, you have a guy behind him massaging his shoulders, a guy to the left saying in his ear how strong he looked in the warm-up room, and then there is another guy in front of him wiping the chalk off his singlet, or perhaps even combing his hair. This entire routine is to awaken the confidence in that weightlifter. With confidence you can do anything. If you compound this confidence with a support structure who love you then on that day you will not only clean and jerk what it necessary to win, but you will have done what is necessary to live happy. I don’t mind a blowhard so long as that person backs it up. The greatest boxers who ever lived enjoyed hype, strutting, and talking shit but they also out boxed their opponent to either victory in decision or KO’ed the man outright. Their confidence was the strength their opponents lacked.

If training has taught me anything, it’s hard work brings success. Like life, the days will keep rolling on. The gym doors will always be open and the sun will always rise again for you to return and improve upon yesterday. You have complete carte blanche when you are in the gym. Either the pages in your biography will be filled in with a negative vocabulary consisting of the words failure, timid, and yellow, or it will use positive words like intrepid, magnanimous, and proud. When you compete, take a second to look at yourself in the mirror wearing your singlet and congratulate yourself on making it this far. You are not here because of luck or from a series of serendipitous events. Look at your muscles and breathe in all of the confidence and beauty in this world. You are about to compete because you have posted the total to be where you are and your hard work made that possible. Show a little swag as you walk up to the bar with a sense of purpose and then attack.