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Farewell, it’s been a lot of fun.

31 Jan

So the time has come for us to close up the site and say thank you for visiting. Lately, life seems to be getting in the way of growing this site to what we wanted so we have come to the decision to throw in the towel. We had a great time posting here, talking with one another, keeping each other motivated, and interacting with all the friends that visited.

We do plan on keeping one another motivated and would enjoy to continue interacting with all of you.

Kris Freedain @mindonly
Blake Wilson @blakethegeek
Emily Breder @ohiobuddhist
Emily (Liz) Helt @mindfulness108
Andy Lambert @uuzennie

And who knows, maybe Iron Lotus will eventually have a rebirth when the time is right.
Thank you

Kris Freedain

A father, husband, and Buddhist who enjoys strength training. Currently using the 5/3/1 training program.

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Getting back into it

15 Oct

I’ve been recovering from this hamstring injury for about a month now. The first few weeks were tougher than I could have imagined. Enormously painful at times, in the same league as childbirth (no shizzle), but I’ve come through it and only have minor muscle cramps at night now.

So on to the next thing – getting back into my workout. I’ve got to start basically from square one, but that actually makes it easier than trying to pick up where I left off. I’m not going to go as gradually as I did last time, just start at about half of what I was lifting before and do a lot of reps, focusing on re-igniting the habit and the love of the exercise.

So I’ll be posting more soon. Working out today, Wednesday and Friday is all goes well. I might have to push it back a day in the middle of the week, depending on how work goes.

Emily Breder

Emily is a writer, mother and eternal student on the path of liberation. She's determined to master this life and this body.

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Best snack ever.

21 Sep

I’ve been laid up for several days now. My leg was a little worse than I thought, especially after I walked around on it for a week, in heels half the time. So I don’t have any exercise to report at the moment, but I did find something that I thought some of you would appreciate: a tasty, vegetarian source of LOTS of protein.

I’m not a fan of industrial yogurts. They tend to be packed with sugar and dyes and all sorts of nasties. (Tip: if it’s still good two weeks after the expiration date, it’s got more preservatives in it than your body will know what to do with.) But I was recently introduced to Chobani, an all natural greek yogurt. Eight ounces (big serving size) of the vanilla yogurt has 22g of protein, 18g carbs, 17g sugar, 100mg sodium. Calories? 170. None from fat.

To make it even better, it’s freaking delicious. Put some honey or fruit on it and it’s like dessert. If you can find it at your grocery store, try it.

Emily Breder

Emily is a writer, mother and eternal student on the path of liberation. She's determined to master this life and this body.

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Scientists Discover ‘Hulk’ Protein | Medicine |

31 Aug

Scientists Discover ‘Hulk’ Protein | Medicine |

These results provide insight into how Grb10, nicknamed ‘Hulk’ protein, works, suggesting that it may be possible to alter muscle growth and facilitate healing, as the processes involved in muscle regeneration and repair are similar to those for the initial formation of muscle.

“Don’t turn in your gym membership just yet,” said Dr Gerald Weissmann, Editor-in-Chief of the FASEB Journal. “If you want big muscles, the classic prescription still applies: lift heavy things, eat and sleep right, and have your hormones checked. But this study shows that when we understand the basic science of how muscle fibers grow and multiply, we will be able to lift the burden – literally – of muscle disease for many of our patients.”

– When can I add this to my post-training meal!

(thanks John for the link)

Kris Freedain

A father, husband, and Buddhist who enjoys strength training. Currently using the 5/3/1 training program.

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Third World Squats

31 Aug

My meathead husband shared me this really interesting article on why people from third world countries tend to do better with squats and deadlifts:

The Third World Squat

“In most cases, the guy who only wears shoes when somebody makes him is going to be pulling deadlifts from the floor and squatting like a pro. While the college kid from San Diego is still working his way down on rack pulls and making a monumental effort to even hit parallel in the squat.

There are a variety of possible reasons for this, but there’s one dominant variable that’s a great predictor of a trainee’s immediate potential before they even step foot in the gym: The third-world squat.

You’ll notice that in third-world countries, there will be a lot of situations where people are hanging out or working, and rather than sitting or kneeling down, they squat. They can sit like this comfortably for hours. It seems like a simple thing and can be easily overlooked, but try it some time. The average North American adult can’t even get into this position, let alone stay there for any length of time.”

Emily Breder

Emily is a writer, mother and eternal student on the path of liberation. She's determined to master this life and this body.

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The War Within

27 Aug

I apologize in advance for the disjointed and tl;dr nature of this post. It took me more than a month to write it.

I am at odds with myself.

This seems to happen pretty often, actually. Every time I make a decision to make a change in my life, a part of me pushes back.  It’s kind of scary.

When I decided I was going to lose my first hundred pounds it wasn’t easy, but I think I was scared what with my recent brush with death. I think as that fear recedes that part of my subconscious that is attached to my current self definition becomes stronger.

After I left Methodist Weight Management in October of last year I tried counting calories and tried and tried and tried, ad nauseam. Sometimes I would go weeks and do okay and lose a pound or two. Then I would find myself huddled over a bowl of sugary crap and the floodgates would open and I would take two steps back. Counting calories wasn’t working and I have never had much success with that method.

Enter the Starch Solution. The Starch Solution/McDougall Plan is just a slight adjustment from my previous eating patterns. I’ve eliminated oil, that’s pretty much it. That means no vegan margarine or Vegenaise, which isn’t too bad. It also means as little processed food as possible, thus, saying goodbye to my beloved Boca original vegan burgers. Ce’st Le Vie, I suppose. If my weight doesn’t start dropping pretty quickly I’m going to move to the stricter Maximum Weight Loss version, which means eliminating avocado, nuts, dried fruit and most soy products (tofu and soymilk).

I’m less worried about the actual weight loss than the pyschological things that are going on with me of late.

One thing that I restarted & that I need to nip in the bud is smoking. Yes, as disgusting as it is, I’ve started smoking again. I haven’t done that with any regularity in years. So, I’m working on that…Actually done that as of last week.

Something changed within for me, today.

The copier guy was fixing our big copier/scanner. He was a big dude. I mean really high BMI kind of big. As I walked dwon the hall to the bathroom I noticed that he nodded to me in a very fraternal way and I noticed the food crumbs in his beard and I realized that he thinks I’m like him. That I am a poor steward of my body and, like most men of massive girth that I have met, perversely celebrate my my giant arse.

I almost screamed and ran down the nearby staircase.


Here’s my notice Fat Men of America: I’m not paying dues anymore. I’m ripping up my Kingsize Direct Credit Card and moving on.

I’ve started working out again and I’m committed to my plant-strong diet.

I can do this. Maybe two steps forward one step back but I’ll be damned if I’m just going to stop and be a fat dude anymore.




Back from vacation

25 Aug

It has been an interesting three weeks.

I went for an extended stay to my home state, Maryland, to see my family. It seemed like a big enough chunk of time that I could ditch the kids with an assortment of relatives, a few days at a time, and actually get the peace and quiet to get my writing finished.

Freakin’ brilliant, right? Of course I got nothing done. Or, next to nothing. Turns out the family likes to see me, too, and I really wanted to see them. So I’ve been working my arse off since I got back to Columbus. Making pretty good time, too, but still. It’s the principle.

While I was there, I went to my sister’s gym to work out. I discovered a few interesting things from the trainer that talked to me. For one thing, my body fat is 5% lower than I thought it was. Evidently those electronic scales aren’t accurate.

For another thing, I discovered that I love working out in my basement! Having other people watch was a little odd, but nothing compared to the hassle of dealing with the way other people work out.

Need certain weights? Be prepared to search all over the gym for them, because SOMEONE forgot to re-set the weights when they were done. Want to do quick circuits? Not if there’s more than two other people in the gym, or someone will be staring at you because they wanted to use the squat rack, but the only time they look over at you is when you have the dumbbells in your hand. That’s just proof that it’s as irritating to them as it was to me. It felt like having a rude roommate, if any of you has experienced that.

So hello, gym! I’m so glad to see you.

Emily Breder

Emily is a writer, mother and eternal student on the path of liberation. She's determined to master this life and this body.

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The Iron by Henry Rollins

16 Jul

The Iron

by Henry Rollins

I believe that the definition of definition is reinvention. To not be like your parents. To not be like your friends. To be yourself.


When I was young I had no sense of myself. All I was, was a product of all the fear and humiliation I suffered. Fear of my parents. The humiliation of teachers calling me “garbage can” and telling me I’d be mowing lawns for a living. And the very real terror of my fellow students. I was threatened and beaten up for the color of my skin and my size. I was skinny and clumsy, and when others would tease me I didn’t run home crying, wondering why.

I knew all too well. I was there to be antagonized. In sports I was laughed at. A spaz. I was pretty good at boxing but only because the rage that filled my every waking moment made me wild and unpredictable. I fought with some strange fury. The other boys thought I was crazy.

I hated myself all the time.

As stupid at it seems now, I wanted to talk like them, dress like them, carry myself with the ease of knowing that I wasn’t going to get pounded in the hallway between classes. Years passed and I learned to keep it all inside. I only talked to a few boys in my grade. Other losers. Some of them are to this day the greatest people I have ever known. Hang out with a guy who has had his head flushed down a toilet a few times, treat him with respect, and you’ll find a faithful friend forever. But even with friends, school sucked. Teachers gave me hard time. I didn’t think much of them either.

Then came Mr. Pepperman, my advisor. He was a powerfully built Vietnam veteran, and he was scary. No one ever talked out of turn in his class. Once one kid did and Mr. P. lifted him off the ground and pinned him to the blackboard. Mr. P. could see that I was in bad shape, and one Friday in October he asked me if I had ever worked out with weights. I told him no.

He told me that I was going to take some of the money that I had saved and buy a hundred-pound set of weights at Sears. As I left his office, I started to think of things I would say to him on Monday when he asked about the weights that I was not going to buy. Still, it made me feel special. My father never really got that close to caring. On Saturday I bought the weights, but I couldn’t even drag them to my mom’s car. An attendant laughed at me as he put them on a dolly.

Monday came and I was called into Mr. P.’s office after school. He said that he was going to show me how to work out. He was going to put me on a program and start hitting me in the solar plexus in the hallway when I wasn’t looking. When I could take the punch we would know that we were getting somewhere. At no time was I to look at myself in the mirror or tell anyone at school what I was doing. In the gym he showed me ten basic exercises. I paid more attention than I ever did in any of my classes. I didn’t want to blow it. I went home that night and started right in.

Weeks passed, and every once in a while Mr. P. would give me a shot and drop me in the hallway, sending my books flying. The other students didn’t know what to think. More weeks passed, and I was steadily adding new weights to the bar. I could sense the power inside my body growing. I could feel it.

Right before Christmas break I was walking to class, and from out of nowhere Mr. Pepperman appeared and gave me a shot in the chest. I laughed and kept going. He said I could look at myself now. I got home and ran to the bathroom and pulled off my shirt. I saw a body, not just the shell that housed my stomach and my heart. My biceps bulged. My chest had definition. I felt strong. It was the first time I can remember having a sense of myself. I had done something and no one could ever take it away. You couldn’t say s–t to me.

It took me years to fully appreciate the value of the lessons I have learned from the Iron. I used to think that it was my adversary, that I was trying to lift that which does not want to be lifted. I was wrong. When the Iron doesn’t want to come off the mat, it’s the kindest thing it can do for you. If it flew up and went through the ceiling, it wouldn’t teach you anything. That’s the way the Iron talks to you. It tells you that the material you work with is that which you will come to resemble. That which you work against will always work against you.

It wasn’t until my late twenties that I learned that by working out I had given myself a great gift. I learned that nothing good comes without work and a certain amount of pain. When I finish a set that leaves me shaking, I know more about myself. When something gets bad, I know it can’t be as bad as that workout.

I used to fight the pain, but recently this became clear to me: pain is not my enemy; it is my call to greatness. But when dealing with the Iron, one must be careful to interpret the pain correctly. Most injuries involving the Iron come from ego. I once spent a few weeks lifting weight that my body wasn’t ready for and spent a few months not picking up anything heavier than a fork. Try to lift what you’re not prepared to and the Iron will teach you a little lesson in restraint and self-control.

I have never met a truly strong person who didn’t have self-respect. I think a lot of inwardly and outwardly directed contempt passes itself off as self-respect: the idea of raising yourself by stepping on someone’s shoulders instead of doing it yourself. When I see guys working out for cosmetic reasons, I see vanity exposing them in the worst way, as cartoon characters, billboards for imbalance and insecurity. Strength reveals itself through character. It is the difference between bouncers who get off strong-arming people and Mr.Pepperman.

Muscle mass does not always equal strength. Strength is kindness and sensitivity. Strength is understanding that your power is both physical and emotional. That it comes from the body and the mind. And the heart.

Yukio Mishima said that he could not entertain the idea of romance if he was not strong. Romance is such a strong and overwhelming passion, a weakened body cannot sustain it for long. I have some of my most romantic thoughts when I am with the Iron. Once I was in love with a woman. I thought about her the most when the pain from a workout was racing through my body.

Everything in me wanted her. So much so that sex was only a fraction of my total desire. It was the single most intense love I have ever felt, but she lived far away and I didn’t see her very often. Working out was a healthy way of dealing with the loneliness. To this day, when I work out I usually listen to ballads.

I prefer to work out alone.

It enables me to concentrate on the lessons that the Iron has for me. Learning about what you’re made of is always time well spent, and I have found no better teacher. The Iron had taught me how to live. Life is capable of driving you out of your mind. The way it all comes down these days, it’s some kind of miracle if you’re not insane. People have become separated from their bodies. They are no longer whole.

I see them move from their offices to their cars and on to their suburban homes. They stress out constantly, they lose sleep, they eat badly. And they behave badly. Their egos run wild; they become motivated by that which will eventually give them a massive stroke. They need the Iron Mind.

Through the years, I have combined meditation, action, and the Iron into a single strength. I believe that when the body is strong, the mind thinks strong thoughts. Time spent away from the Iron makes my mind degenerate. I wallow in a thick depression. My body shuts down my mind.

The Iron is the best antidepressant I have ever found. There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength. Once the mind and body have been awakened to their true potential, it’s impossible to turn back.

The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you’re a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.

This article originally appeared in Details Magazine.

Personal Update

10 Jul

Hello everyone! First of all, I apologize again for not posting regularly. I have been lacking motivation to write and gaining frustration in my training each day so posting took a back seat. For anyone who hasn’t already heard me complain about it via twitter or Facebook (which would be hard to miss, haha) I have a hip injury that has been causing a lot of issues for me both in the gym and outside of it. About 7 months ago I had surgery to correct a labral tear in my left hip. In non-medical terms, the cartilage between my femur head and hip socket was torn because my bone was irregularly shaped which was causing friction whenever I did repetitive motions that would irritate it, for instance, running or lateral movements. The surgery was done arthroscopically which just means that the doc didn’t have to completely cut me open and instead went in through two, 1 inch incisions so that the recovery process would be faster. At first, recovery was quick and positive but that didn’t last very long. It was expected that by 3 months post-op I would be able to run regularly and that by this point, I would be 100% recovered. For just a bit more back story, I have been having hip issues for years, about  5-6 years to be exact. For a long time, a doctor was misdiagnosing me and treating based off of his idea that I had bursitis (inflammation of a fluid sac in the joint). I had 3 cortisone shots and an arthrogram MRI with lidocaine before I was fed up dealing with that doctor. I have seen a total of 4 doctors now, have had 4 cortisone shots, 3 lidocaine injections with MRIs, and more than a year of physical therapy. Surgery was supposed to be the last resort and final solution but now my doctor is talking about a second surgery…

It’s hard to describe how terribly irritated I get with this because my words only do so much in communicating my emotions and the vast amount of peripheral problems that arise in this situation. I know things could be worse and I am truly thankful for the activities that I am able to do but growing up an athlete my entire life, a debilitating injury like this really is one of the worst things I can imagine happening. I am scared everyday that it will never subside and that the discomfort and limitations will increase exponentially. I am not even 21 years old and yet I walk around with pain everyday from an injury that presented as easily treatable and has grown into something completely mysterious. I find that absurd.

So, the ridiculous nature of this gets to me and I go through the typical “why me??” questions but the biggest cause of stress throughout dealing with this is the physical pain. Along with that, the psychological twist that I hate feeling weak. I do a lot to appear strong, immovable, tough but this makes me feel helpless. There are nights I don’t sleep well because my hip hurts, walking is a frequent discomfort, and my training takes a huge plunge, especially if it is acting up; all of these things together strongly affect my mental/emotional outlook. I have discussed these problems with every doctor I have seen and a large part of the issue we are trying to solve now is the chronic pain. The level that it is at seriously disrupts my life and although it isn’t always immobilizing, the pain is enough to severely distract me and persuade me out of doing things I enjoy.

I still train because, why not?? The only time my doctor advised me to stop activity was after surgery and even then, it wasn’t for long. Now, especially, there is really no reason to discontinue exercising at whatever level I can tolerate because I am not doing any more damage- the bone that was rubbing together was shaved down and the tear was sutured.

My hip has been consuming my thoughts as of late and bringing me down more than it has in a long time. I hate having to constantly push through the pain and not knowing how to fix it or when it will stop. I feel tired a lot of the time and the prospect of another surgery is not helping my demeanor. This time around the purpose of surgery is not even clear, my doctor wants to cut me open partially as a diagnostic tool. Finding tears in an MRI is difficult so he thinks there might be another tear (although doubtful) or something he missed the first time. Besides that, he will clean out the scar tissue which he tells me could solve the problem, although I don’t really believe this.

I have written enough for now and hopefully I made sense but it isn’t the easiest subject for me to talk about. There is so much confusion and dissatisfaction involved for me that I either avoid the topic or wallow in my worries alone. If any of you have advice, suggestions, or any input I am open to it. Thanks for listening.

Training Log: Karma always knocks THREE times

5 Jul

I’m feeling a cold coming on, which is a perfect end to my run of difficult karma (last week: car accident and lopped off the end of my toe, separate occasions). I feel like it’s an accomplishment, really. But I do NOT want to break the habit of working out, doing very well lifting three or four times per week for a while now, so I skipped an afternoon nap and got ready to work out. I took some vitamins and dragged my sorry carcass down to the gym.

But I was seriously sssllooooowwww, so I drank some of that pink crap Eddie bought at GNC so I could get through my routine.

I was so moved by this experience, I decided to write a Haiku about it. I’m calling it “Pink Hulk”.

[clears throat]

Temple throbs, eye twitches
Heart leaps, terrified, through neck
Fire ants frolic inside

Suffice it to say, I got through the routine.


I think…?

Anyway, after almost five months of regular workouts and experimentation with routines, I know that I truly love just lifting. Squat, deadlift, press, basically anything that offers a full range of motion. I’m becoming a firm believer in the no-isolation-exercises school of thought, although I do calf raises because my ankles are pretty weak and they need a little extra attention.

Results to date: Lost 5% body fat, dropped two pant sizes. Not bad, not bad t’all. And I gotta say, it feels good each time I realize I need to stack a little more weight on. The barbell, I mean. More weight on the stack, less on me. It all balances out.

Emily Breder

Emily is a writer, mother and eternal student on the path of liberation. She's determined to master this life and this body.

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