12 Tips From My 2012

Come on, I gotta do some kind of New Year post to keep up with every other trainer blogger. 😀

But seriously, here’s 12 tips ranging from potentially life-changing to trivial, depending on how brilliant you feel I am. Feel free to let me know if I’ve totally saved your sanity somehow and/or improved your quality of life through my insightfulness. Or you can buy me whey.

1. Read Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers. People only like book recommendations when they need them, but I feel that the topic of stress (not necessarily just BAD stress) and understanding how the body and mind react to it and its effects on us (in EVERYTHING) and our physiology and the crazy stuff about psychological stress affecting us in modern life is so useful to know. In every walk of life. Sciency, but easy to read and very humorous (not to mention chock full of crazy facts) this to me, is a must read. The chapter on stress in pregnancy and early childhood….well let’s just say every parent NEEDS to read that.






2. Check out postural restoration and how your posture and breathing patterns might be affecting your movements and muscles. This is getting more attention, and I’m not going to get too into it, cause well, I’m not the expert on it yet. But let’s just say that I never realized how much my breathing was affecting the whole position of my core, and thereby reducing the ability of my muscles to really work the way they were meant to.








3. Turn your ass on. Highly correlated to #2. Spend part of your warmup getting a booty burn and quantify your power, lifts, and bootyliciousness. Go youtube; clam shells, single leg hip thrusts, glute bridges, and monster walks. Make a couple of them a part of your warmup (even if you do weighted versions in your workouts). Don’t start a workout till the ass is working. Even an upper body one.








4. Stop lifting weights in tennis shoes. GET RID OF THEM. If you can’t go barefoot, get some chucks or shiny new weightlifting shoes. Anything is better than bouncy crap.









5. If you are going to buy an Inzer singlet for a powerlifting competition, get the next size up.










6. Train the shit our of your back, ass and hamstrings. Thought I was starting to get the hang of this…..but its still a whole new world of strength to discover!!! Pull and thrust. Thrust and pull.









7. Stop listening to your pounding hardcore “psych out” music on the heavy working sets. Instead of getting super “psyched” out, try going zen like. Don’t rely on some “high” to perform well, work your performances so that you don’t need to be psyched out emotionally or otherwise. Those moments will come, and you will use them, and they will feel good… but don’t get attached to them in order to work. Get attached to consistency. Perform well consistently.  A performance that you repeat again….and again…..and again. Like a samurai. Internalize your strength and keep your training sacred. Practice shutting out the noise and pay attention to how your body is lifting. A strong, healthy body is a holy thing.






8. Think of death more often. We’re all gonna die. That’s really the biggest common denominator. “Nothing concentrates the human mind more than the prospect of death.” Remember your own death thats coming and get busy doing whatever the fuck it is you want.









9. Muscular legs make wearing jeans the hugest pain. But good quality leggings are invaluable. Thick cotton black ones that hug the butt, and some good boots. Sorry boys, not sure what to tell you. But if your legs are so muscular that jeans are hard to find…..know that I am thinking of you.









10. I got over thinking I NEED to huge amounts of vegetables, and in the winter they are not as fresh anyway. Enter “live” pickles and sauerkraut! Probiotics for the stomach and chock full of vitamins. Get the ones without vinegar and preservatives and that HAVE to be refrigerated. Fermented goodness, and your gut likes it too. Boiled potatoes with butter, huge chunks of beef, sauerkraut and sriracha. Boom.








11. Sleep more. Yeah, thats one of those you hear ALL  the time. Take it seriously. Everything will improve. I’m not even just talking about strength or muscle growth or weight loss or fat loss goals etc etc. You’ll just look hotter at the very least cause everyone looks more beautiful when rested (the world looks more beautiful too).








12. Listen to your gut. Not sure about you, but my “intuition” or the “universe” or whatever you want to call it, will give you clues, warnings, premonitions, insights etc. Like when you think about getting that AA membership after your emergency roadside assistance expired…but you wait, and then lock yourself out of your car one day, and have to get towed the next…..300 dollars later (the membership was 100). Hmmmmmm. Or when maybe you should double check that the message your best friend was waiting on is sent, cause you know how waiting on a response from you is a pet peeve of theirs and whaddaya know it didn’t send…that kind of stuff. If we pay attention to what we know, listen harder, and talk less, we miss out on less, skip less and stack the odds in our favor in all sorts of ways. This is something I need to work on all the time.





And for a final quote to just hammer that thrill for living right into you:

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

The Alchemist

P.S Ok I have one more: Welcome people into your life both professionally and personally, and appreciate the friends you have on all levels. For any path to success, you require other people to make it possible. Give credit to those who are helping you reach your goals either through allowing you to learn through them, or being someone you learn from. The friends who are important to you; get on that. If they are important…act like it.








Happy 2013!


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  1. Colt Boyd says:

    Great stuff, nice insight.

  2. thanks joy

  3. Joy,
    Giving credit to you! You have inspired me from the start and continue to do so. Love this post, keep up the great work! Happy New Year!

  4. Joy!
    This was wonderful! Thank YOU!!!

  5. Alexandra says:

    That was great!
    Thank you! Have to reread it sometimes this year)

  6. This is exactly what I’ve been learning this year too! (minus singlet). Thank you for sharing

  7. Joy,

    Great post – learned a lot that I can put to use right away.

    This is my first visit to your blog (it’s been bookmarked already) but a lot of 2012 for me was spent learning many of the lessons you wrote about.

    Being a badass in the gym or on the track is great – and there is a time and place and need for that. But there is also a place for stretching, relaxing, meditating, eating for health not just for performance, sleeping and simply letting go.

    I know – terribly unsexy stuff when you’re in your teens and 20’s! But as I get deeper into my 30’s, I’m realising more and more the need for balance in my training. And I find myself compartmentalising my ‘training’ and ‘the rest of my life’ less and less. Which has lead to a more balance, fulfilling and happier me.

    Wishing you a happy and successful 2013 🙂



  8. Long time reader of your blog, first time commentor. #7 – “Don’t rely on some “high” to perform well, work your performances so that you don’t need to be psyched out emotionally or otherwise.” – nobody ever talks about it. if anything everyone shares their playlists they PR to:) It was an ‘aha moment’ for me. Thanks for the awesomeness you bring forth! (FITO: Nat_Worthington)

  9. Found a link to your blog from your T-Nation article and thought that I’d check it out. Glad that I did! Great stuff on here and solid advice……Thanks!

  10. Found you through your great article on Tnation, i wish i had read that years ago, many girlfriends would have been spared…
    Really enjoy your blog, and got stuck on your #7.
    A while ago i started reading a book called “the power of now” by Eckhart Tolle, it has become a big influence on my gym sessions, and my Deads and Squats have improved a lot because of it. Just finding that quite spot inside, listening to my body, then being in the lift throughout the movement. Fun that you had a similar approach, and can recommend the book.

  11. Hi Joy,
    I found your site through a link on the IF section of reddit. Your site is pretty awesome. These twelve tips inspire me to ask, do you have a meditation practice?

    Thank you,

  12. Hey Joy,
    This is a great piece and really echoes a lot of my own sentiments. The contemplation of death and dying really resonates with me. I believe that fear is one of the strongest motivators in human life. Sometimes fear can propel us in a positive direction, but nine times out of ten, fear is an emotion that guides our decisions in a very negative way. We run from fear, instead of embracing it and learning about it. We live our lives for comfort (or fear of discomfort, emotional and physical)and in the process never confront fear head on. We fear fear, this is a flawed approach.
    Fear, like hunger, pain or loss, is a part of life. It should be learned from, embraced, respected and to a certain degree, conquered.
    At the base of much of our fears, is the ultimate fear: dying. The more we can accept death as a part of life, the fuller our existence will become. I’m not afraid of death, but I’m scared shitless of not living passionately.

    On a much lighter note, if you are ever in RI and looking for a place to train or another professional to bounce some ideas off of, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m always starved for other true professionals to talk with and tend to piss my wife off always talking about training and nutrition! Check out TheForgeRI.com or The Forge RI on facebook for contact info.

    Thanks again and keep up the great work. Nice piece for tnation, too.

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