Sunday, 15 July 2012

Wild Physique Unleashed: Brooks Kubik Dino Mind

By Coach Cj Swaby

Two weeks out. July 29th at East Grinstead I step into the arena and compete at Bigger, Faster, Stronger Competition hosted by Andy "Iron Mac" McKenzie and The Training Lab.

A head of the competition I was privileged  to be part of a team running a secret training camp for Bath RUFC. ( Mark Benett of PDS Coach was responsible for organising). Preparation has gone well so far. For me preparation also includes both my recovery and regeneration,  plus my peak state mental  ( aka PMS - don't laugh!) performance strategy.

 There are certain techniques that I use which have served me well. I perform them each time I lift. Every time. Consistent perfect practice is essential. Watch the video of the camp below and you will see what I mean.

I decided to get the insight from a friend and a legend of the iron game, Brooks Kubik. He was happy to share his thoughts. Below is the first part of the interview (as it ended up being quite epic). Wise words and practical steps from a legend. Pay attention.

CS: Hi Brooks, it was great to have you over in London for the Dinosaur Training and Beyond Workshop. Not only did you cover a unique take on heavy dumbbell training, but you also explored the mental side of the Iron Game.  In your opinion what are the key attributes a Dino should be developing to optimize the mental side of their training and  performance?

BK: There are several, but the ability concentrate – to train or compete with total focus -- is critical. Most people have lost the ability to concentrate because the modern world has too many distractions. When you’re constantly multi-tasking, you are literally teaching yourself – or training yourself -- to be unfocused. So I always begin by teaching someone how to concentrate. How to focus. How to do one thing at a time. How to stop the noise.

CS: When I'm training or in competition I use a combination of breathing, visualization and NLP anchoring techniques. What specific techniques do you use?

BK: I use different types of breathing and breath control – concentration and focus – visualization – power talking and auto suggestion – anchoring techniques -- and energy channeling techniques. I’m always trying to link my mind and my body more and more closely. Anything that helps is another arrow in your quiver.

CS: In the western world, there seems to be a dichotomy between mind and body. As if they are separate. Where it could be argued that the mind is simply a manifestation of the brain, which is an integral part of the whole body. What is your view on this? And how important is the mind and body integration for Dino training, and high performing athletes?

BK: Western science (and Western philosophy) has been getting this wrong for several thousand years. When Descartes said, “I think, therefore I am,” he elevated the mind to a position of supremacy over the body – and separated (or unlinked) them. In fact, the body, mind and spirit are all one – they’re inseparable – and they work together.

Ideally, when you train your body you train your mind (and your brain and your nervous system) at the same time. When you train your mind (for example, when you practice meditation, concentration and visualization drills), you train your brain and your nervous system – and your body, as well.

Recent research studies have shown that daily meditation increases the number and size of your nerve fibers in certain areas of the brain. Think about it. That’s huge. The mere act of practicing focused and attentive thinking causes physical changes in the brain. Objectively measurable physical changes – caused by thinking!

Carry it one step further. Instead of meditation, practice focused concentration when you train. Imagine the physical changes that would result (and do result) from that!

There is NOTHING on earth – no drug, no steroid, no supplement – that can do what your mind can do. Training your mind is one of the most important keys to success in any endeavor.

CS: How did you personally become interested in the mental aspect of training? And who was your biggest influence?

BK: I grew up reading books and articles by a man named Bradley J. Steiner. He was a physical culture teacher and a martial arts instructor. He wrote for Peary Rader’s old IronMan magazine, for Strength and Health and for Muscular Development. There was a time when he was probably the most widely read and most popular physical culture author on the planet. He was certainly my favorite writer.

Anyhow, Steiner was adamant that the mental aspects of strength training and muscle building were far more important than the physical side of things. I assume that came from his martial arts background.

Anyhow, Steiner got me interested in the mental side of physical culture. Later, I went to college and studied philosophy, and read as much as I could about the mind-body connection.

CS: How has you approach to mental mastery in the Iron game carried over to other aspects of your life?

BK: It’s all the same. You can’t separate the mental self that goes to the gym from the mental self that lives in the every-day world. To succeed in the gym, you need to consciously cultivate a success-oriented mentality. You can’t do that three days a week for an hour a day at the gym. It needs to become part of your life. You need to do it 24/7.

When you do, you can accomplish amazing things – or rather, you can accomplish things that other people might think are amazing but which to you are simply the reflection of that super-charged success mentality.

It makes the physical training so much more important. You go the gym, you train, and you grow stronger. As you grow stronger, you grow more confident. You develop what I call the success habit. And that makes you stronger and more capable in all other aspects of your life: school, work, career, romantic relationships, marriage, raising children, helping other people, etc. The work you do in the gym becomes endlessly rewarding.  If people understood this, everyone would train!

CS: I know you've set a few national records among other great achievements in your life. What is the most memorable moment for you when you had to embody all the mental performance you had practiced, and go deep within yourself to pull it out of the bag to triumph over a daunting challenge?

BK: I won five National championships in the bench press, and set a dozen National, American and even World age-group records in drug-free powerlifting contests. These were all memorable moments for me. The most memorable of them were winning my first National bench press championship (which I recount in Dinosaur Training) – setting my first American record in the bench press – setting my first World record in the bench press – and winning my fifth National championship in the bench press. These were all peak performance moments for me.

My final National championship was a battle. The weights felt heavy in the warm-up room, so I lowered my opening attempt. That meant that half a dozen other guys opened with higher weights. So I was far behind after the first lift.

I knew that most guys go into competition over-trained, and then they start to high. Some of them don’t make their opener. At least 50% of them miss their second attempt, and almost everyone misses his third attempt. 

I had been training intelligently, and I was in good condition for heavy lifting. I wasn’t over-trained, and I wasn’t stale. And because I had started light, I was very confident of going three for three. So even though I started out behind the others..

[End Part 1]

Now I know what you are thinking, and you will just have to wait until later this week for part 2. Its well worth the wait. Brooks did a audio course on Super Human Radio about unleashing your inner mind and untapped potential. He called it the 7 Keys to concentration. If you want to find out more, you click on link below.

With two weeks to go, I know the preparation will pay off and I hope that we will be able make a difference to the kids at the African Village School and hit our target so that they can get get food for the children.  If you haven't donated yet and would like to click HERE now.

Yours in strength

Coach Cj Swaby


Rick P said...

I read this because of the link Brooks provided in his Dinosaur email. Thank you for this great post! Seeing you D/L 390 kg so many times and with so little rest was humbling, and inspiring. I am happy that I can D/L 295 pounds for doubles and aim to continue increasing.

Coach Cj Swaby said...

Hi Rick, Glad you enjoyed the piece. Then mental aspect of the iron game is often neglected but is important. Great stuff with your deadlifts. Keep on it, structured intelligent training and you will no doubt hit your goals.

I remember a few years ago when I first started strength training I struggled to deadliest 100kg and that was a big achievement for me. When I got there I set my target higher, and now higher still.

Keep me posted how you are getting on and if you have any questions drop me a message.

I know my training will pay off for my strong man competition in July!