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my friend Bojč

e f f o r t - s t o l e n

The easiest way to steal someone's effort is to convince them hard work is not essential.

Here, have your reward, no need to actually earn it. Please don’t feel bad for all the effort you didn’t put in. What is important is that you showed up, pretend or better yet believe you tried - even if never giving your best. Not everyone is cut out to work really hard so there is nothing wrong if you remain comfortable doing things pain free. Such are lessons dressed in modern virtue, promoting false ideals, leading to fears of own shadow.

You can always set low enough expectations to avoid failing but this is not how you actually get better then you were yesterday. Achieving what is easy will always feel empty, it does not make you appreciate the reward as there can be no reward behind no true effort.

Don’t let anyone steal your effort,
it is yours to face, to defend,
and yours to overcome.

No true effort, no true reward.
Effort stolen = Reward stolen.

Orka left, Andy right, Grand in the background

l e s s o n - o f - f i v e

You shouldn’t pick a weight which gives you an advantage over your training partner. Fat axle muscle cleans at moderate weight will be perfect for this lesson. This one here is “just” 61kg but it will soon get heavy.

You should both start at the same time, each should complete your first 5 reps at matching pace so you always finish at about the same time. Rest will be short, one of you should slowly count, loud enough for the other to hear, five, four, three, two, one …and off you go into your second set of 5 reps. When done your training partner counts down, five, four, three, two, one …and your third set of 5 starts.

I think you are get the idea. You both need to match each others pace for those 5 reps per set. Then one of you always counts down from five. It works differently when you hear your partners voice counting, you listen, then you both go.

Sooner or later one of you will fail the set of 5 reps. If this happens to you before you reach your 10th set, the challenge ends for you, while your training partner needs to continue for another 25 reps at pace you — who failed — dictate to your partner. Your job is now to push your training partner through additional 25 reps because you failed your 5.

Let this sink for a moment then answer how many reps will both of you do in the end?

staš mencigar

saved by strength

I prefer strongmen equipment for a lot of my training. Nothing but pure strength will save you. Fat axle for example is a bar made from raw iron, without any bearings (bumpers don’t spin at all), knurling or markings, all this will prevent you to lift the weight like a weightlifter and demand you lift more like a strongman. Those who have never tried to lift with a fat axle might be shocked by how much harder it is, anything with a fat grip is simple yet much harder.

I don’t use fat axle to make lifting harder. I use it because you don’t need a skill of a weightlifter when you use a fat axle. What you need most is raw strength. There is really not much skill involved at all. It is hard to do it wrong even, you either can, can’t or can’t anymore.

This raw axle is 50mm thick, slick and 31kg empty. Staš is lifting “just” 71kg for reps but consider this was part of a strongman endurance circuit including heavy sled push, farmer carries, sandbags and airdyne sprints.

It easy to challenge your self to your limits when you can’t be saved by skill. Your form can’t break down because of poor technique, it is the lack of strength (sometimes coupled with general exhaustion) that will be your limiting factor.

High skill movements demand high skill, which usually turns into poor form when you are exhausted. Low skill movements demand almost no skill, you stop when your strength breaks down, there by minimising the risks of injury which comes with poor form. This is especially true if you are using weights which you can lift for reps instead of pushing for the max.

I am not stating the case against high skill movement exercises. I am stating the case for overlooked benefits of raw strength/low skill exercises. Going back to the old strength exercises would give majority the biggest bang for their buck.

aida muratović

it moves if you move

The object in front of you can move only if you move. It is willing to stand still forever unless you decide to do something about it. Its goal is to dare you to push it forward, to make you stop, to break your will just by being in front of you.

It is so simple yet incredible. Skill can’t save you, only your strength, your conditioning and the will to keep moving forward.

As I don’t underestimate women, especially their abilities to endure and accept a challenge I can’t really feel sorry for the hard work I see as normal. This is why I loaded double her bodyweight for her. She can either push it forward or she can’t. There is nothing else to it and if I know you can push then I expect you to do so even when you don’t believe so.

The weight of the dog sled weighs zero in my mind, so only what is on it counts as actual working weight. Double bodyweight on the plate is a simple standard I expect of women. You may think this is too much while I think it is a minimum a fit woman should strive for.

Aida accumulated 700m of this that day, that being just one of the her tasks. Training in general should feel as hard work as usual. Environment should be challenging no matter your level of fitness, if not, there is no fitness.

face it

t h e - d r a g o n - s l a y e r

Honestly I do not wish for it to be easier as then I would need to find something else that is harder. There is nothing to learn from easy, there is almost no value in easy except to recover from something that was hard. That is just how things work.

How did you ever learn to walk on your own? Surely not by always holding on to something? Sooner or later you had to let go and make — that first — step forward with the risk of falling, of failing …but the reward was learning.

When you were still just a baby you already knew this is the way to go. You knew barely anything but you already knew that if you fall down you need to get up and try again. There was no fear of failing, there was only the will to make that first step on your own, all by your self. It was before you learned how to talk and say I can’t do this.

We are born with ability to overcome failure, babies prove this fact. Then modern snowflake life happens to the whole generation and instead of growing into adult you grow into a baby that un-learned how to face failure or a daily dose of discomfort.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. It is an old say which I assume everyone knows, not to be taken literally but figuratively. There are plenty of non grown adults doing their best to achieve the opposite and pretending this makes them safe.

You can’t outrun you shadow, you have to face your dragon. No one can do it for you. It is only you who is able to defeat it, no one other then you, ever. Anything you fear or avoid soon becomes a dragon, it may look small and innocent in the beginning but the more you avoid facing it, the bigger it grows. Your fear is feeding that dragon who is forever waiting for you, to face it, to slay it, to overcome it.

Here is my friend Bojč, the Dragon Slayer.


represent your environment

Have you ever felt like this? Not, have you ever lifted as much? How much is not as important as how you felt, fought and overcame your fear of lifting more then ever.

Now here is the problem.

You just broke “your” chains and achieved the impossible. You proved your self wrong or worse you proved your self right. All of a sudden everything is up for grabs. Weakness holding you back was just an illusion, you smashed it and now new strength is here to live by.

Road to strength is paved with devastation of plenty. Fear of heavy either brakes your ego or forges an ironmind. You represent your environment, I represent mine!

PS. This is my friend Benji, re-living this incredible moment inspired me to write the words above and hopefully I did it justice.

Zlatko and Mare


Some would say they and alike are crazy for embracing max effort while I would argue they would be crazy to not challenge them selves, not daily but on a regular basis.

It really is just a matter of perspective. Haven't you noticed how as soon as you raise your standards majority perceives you as crazy …think about this for a second and let it sink.

Marck Goran Lorencin © all rights reserved