By Mike Gillette
You’ve experienced this before, whether you realized it at the time or not. It starts when a certain song comes on the radio. Then, the next thing you know, you’re in a better mood than you were just a moment earlier.
Or, it starts when a certain song comes on the radio. And then, the next thing you know, you’re in a much worse mood than you were just a moment earlier.
How can this be? Well, it goes much further than the idea that some songs are either inherently good or inescapably bad. It has to do with a psychological term known as an “anchor”.
An anchor is any stimulus that can trigger a particular psychological state. And a song on the radio is just one example of a psychological anchor. Anchors occur throughout all of our sensory channels (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, gustatory [taste] and olfactory [smell]) in an almost infinite number of ways.
If you ever took a psychology class, you probably remember reading about Ivan Pavlov’s famous experiment with dogs. Using food and a metronome, Pavlov trained a group of dogs to salivate whenever the metronome was triggered.
For those dogs, the anchor was the association between hearing the sound and the food that they’d been conditioned to expect after hearing the metronome. Psychologists describe their salivation as being the result of a conditioned response.
So, an anchor is a stimuli, which brings forth thoughts, emotions or a combination of both. We actually create anchors throughout our lives.
And many of them are created without any conscious thought or intention on our part. Think about the feelings you get when you smell a certain type of food or perfume.
Or the associations you have with a particular time of the year or location such as a house. These are the kinds of anchors that develop and are reinforced over time. And this is an important point because anchors ultimately exert a significant influence on our lives based upon the decisions that they lead us to make.
So, if the ‘Psychology of Strength’ is about the intentional control of the mind, how can we use the phenomenon of anchoring to our advantage? Very simply, by intentionally creating new anchors.
So here are some simple, effective steps for anchoring positive associations to your training regimen. These steps are so simple that most people will read through the list and that will be the end of it. But remember, mental exercises are just like physical exercises. It doesn’t matter if you know them, it only matters if you do them.
1. Create a mission statement for your training.
It could be related to improving performance in a given sport, improving your appearance or, if you’re like me, you just want to be stronger.
So I might write out something along the lines of, “Every day I train I’m getting stronger and stronger.”
The key here is to make your mission statement specific to your goal(s) and build it into a concise, positively-phrased statement that you can both write down and repeat to yourself. For example, before each set, repeat your mission statement in your head or even out loud.
2. Make a list of songs you love that also put you into a powerful mood.
Then create a master MP3 “power playlist”. Whenever you train, play that music and let the powerful, positive associations take you to new levels of accomplishment.
3. Spend five to ten minutes before you train by reliving a strong, positive memory.
A memory of an experience when you were performing at your best. Recall every detail of that memory. The time of year, the time of day, who else was present, how you felt before, during and afterwards.
Make it as real as you possibly can. Practice this with different positive memories, as many as you can recall. With practice, you will get better and better at putting yourself into your own peak-performance state. The results may surprise you.
Written By: Brian Klepacki, MS, CSCS, CISSN
We have all heard this word before; testosterone. Depends on the type of person you are but many different images might come to mind when that word is mentioned.
Maybe it’s a ridiculously massive man (or woman) who looks like the hulk, or maybe you picture a feeble middle age man with a thinning hairline who occasionally plays softball with his buddies as an attempt to hold on to his ‘youth’.
Or maybe you think of professional athletes trying to cheat their way up the ranks to make more money. Whatever your opinion of ‘testosterone’ is, everyone has it and usually every male wants more it.
Testosterone boosters have been around for decades and they will continue to saturate the market for decades more. My hopes in writing this article is to take a much closer look at a certain product that has been shown to do exactly what is claims to do.
TDrive by ASRESEARCH is a new dietary supplement that is unlike others in the test-booster family. This particular supplement is a naturally derived product that has a unique formula of concentrated synergistic testosterone-stimulating factors.
The ingredients that are compounded together have been suggested to not only increase testosterone levels but to increase muscle growth and speed up fat loss.
Now before you say “YES, I want that!” let’s put on our science caps take a deeper look at how TDrive actually does what it says it does. “A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers.” –Plato.
Going down the list of ten ingredients in TDrive, we start with eurycoma. Eurycoma is the primary ingredient in TDrive with 550mg per serving. This herb is widely used throughout the Pacific Rim and Indonesia and has a long and vibrant history. The traditional use of eurycoma has been as an aphrodisiac and medicinal tonic.
However the more important property that traditional users agree on is that it is an effective herb for boosting male potency. Animal studies have shown that eurycoma induces sexual arousal and activity, not unlike the effect of testosterone itself. Eurycoma does in fact have testosterone-like effects on male rats, and in in-vitro (test tube) studies.
Other animal studies have shown increases in serum testosterone levels that can ranged from 300% to almost 500%! And even better, the extract added in vitro to testicular tissue caused an increase of over 400% in testosterone production.
Not only is eurycoma apparent in increasing the activity of steroidogenic enzymes but an increase in cyclic AMP, which has a favorable effect on steroid synthesis has been shown. [1-4]
Mucuna Pruriens is a seed that is used as a popular medicine in China and India. TDrive contains 300mg of mucuna pruriens extract in each serving. It has been shown to increase testosterone levels , leading to evidence of added protein in the muscles and an increase in muscle mass and strength .
According to a more recent article that was published in 2011, m. pruriens seed extract induced a significant increase in the level of testicular testosterone in male rats . It’s clear that this ancient seed has many positive effects on the body.
Safed Musli is another widely used herb that has a long history of success. Safed Musli has unparalleled therapeutic and medicinal properties which have made it a key ingredient in the preparation of a number of different formulations. Safed musli is also gaining increased importance as a tonic, which boosts the general immune system of the body.
It has also been shown to improve hormonal stability by enhancing the working of the adrenal gland. It also used to improve the circulation of blood combating fatigue in order to enhance strength and energy. Just like Eurycoma and the next ingredient discussed, these herbs have been recognized as safe with very low change of side effects. [8,9]
The last ingredient main ingredient I feel that is necessary to discuss is DIM or diindolylmethane. DIM has been shown to have complex interactions with the hormone estrogen thus appearing to have an anti-testosterone effect.
In other words, DIM has been shown to work against estrogen which has a direction affect on testosterone balance . When the percentage of estrogen in the body is reduced, or limited, the percentage of testosterone is elevated.
There you have it, a very quick scientific breakdown to the four main ingredients in TDrive by ASRESEARCH. All of the ingredients in TDrive do have many other studies with results that parallel this supplement’s claims.
And the remaining ingredients that were not mentioned in this article (ginseng, L-tyrosine, white button mushroom, DMAE, maca root, and acacetin) also have data that shows to be in line with the intent of this product.
Not only are these ingredients proven to boost testosterone, they are naturally occurring and are safe to consume. As with all supplements and their outcomes, more scientific research needs to be done to make definite conclusions on claims made by companies but based on the research on this product, TDrive will bring results!
**These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Not intended for use by persons under 18. Do not use if pregnant or nursing. Discontinue use and consult a medical doctor if you experience unusual symptoms. Do not exceed recommended serving. Improper use of this product will not improve results and is not advised. Consult with your doctor prior to using this product if you have been treated for, or diagnosed with, or have a family history of any medical conditions**
 Hamzah, SH, Yusof, A. The Anabolic Effects of LJ100. Department of Exercise Physiology, Sports Centre, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. Kuo PC, et al. Cytotoxic and antimalarial beta-carboline alkaloids from the roots of Eurycoma longifolia. J Nat Prod. 2003 Oct;66(10):1324-7.
 Ang HH, Cheang HS. Effects of Eurycoma longifolia jack on laevator ani muscle in both uncastrated and testosterone-stimulated castrated intact male rats. Arch Pharm Res. 2001 Oct;24(5):437-40.
 Ang HH, Lee KL. Kiyoshi M. Eurycoma longifolia Jack enhances sexual motivation in middle-aged male mice. J Basic Clin Physiol Pharmacol. 2003;14(3):301-8.
 M.I.M Tambi, S. Othman, and J.M. Saad “Water-soluble extract of LJ100(TM) as a potential natural energizer for healthy aging men” Specialist Reproductive Research Center, National Population & Family Development Board,Ministry of Women and Family Development, Malaysia. Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Malaysia.
 K. Muthu, P. Krishnamoorthy, Evaluation of androgenic activity of Mucuna pruriens in male rats. Afr J of Biotech. 2011 Oct: 10(66), pp. 15017-15019.
 Amin KMY, Khan MN, Rehman ZS. Sexual function improving effect of Mucuna pruriens in sexually normal male rats. J. Study Med. Plant. Fitoterapia. 1996. 67: 53-58.
 Bhasin S, Storer TW, Berman N, Callegari C, Clevenger B, Phillips J, Bunnell TJ, Tricker R, Shirazi A, Casaburi R (1996). The Effects of Supraphysiologic Doses of Testosterone on Muscle Size and Strength in Normal Men. 1996. N. Engl. J. Med. 335: 1-7.
 Praneta Desale. Safed Musli: Herbal Viagra for Male Impotence. J Medicinal Plants Studies, 2013: 1(3):91-97.
 . Elizabeth K. G. Safed musli a promising medicinal plant. Indian Journal of Areca nut, Species and Medicinal Plants. 2001; 5 (2): 65- 69.
 Le HT, Schaldach CM, Firestone GL, Bjeldanes OF. Plant-derived 3,3′-diindolylmethane is a strong androgen antagonist in human prostate cancer cells. J Biol Chem . 2003;278:21136–45. Epub 2003 Mar 27.
Interview with Steve Cook.
Interviewed by Ben Tatar
Steve Cook has become one of the most popular world champion fitness models in the world.
Steve has appeared on numerous magazine covers (including Muscle and Fitness,) he also won the Muscle and Fitness model search competition. Steve also has a social media following of over a million fans total. Without any further ado here is Steve Cook!
CRITICAL BENCH: Steve, you have achieved some incredible accolades. I will list some huge achievements you have made and tell me what comes to mind.
a) You were the Bodybuilding.com Fitbody Contest Winner:
This really is what launched my start in the fitness industry. It was a fun event that was in front of my home town. Meant a lot to me because of what I had been going through in my personal life.
b) You became the 2015 Olympia Muscle & Fitness Male Model Search Winner! (Every studs dream!)-
Such a big event! Over 240 guys entered that comp and I was so nervous stepping on stage. But I remember being confident because of the amount of work that went into preparing for it.
At the time I was in my last semester at college. 16 hard credits, working 30 hours a week and prepping for that show! I learned so much about hard work in those months. I also signed with Optimum Nutrition (ON) shortly after this comp!
c) You became the Bodybuilding.com Spokes Model Search Winner-
Coming off my win of the Male Model search I couldn’t wait to enter into the most prestigious model search in the industry.
Winning the bodybuilding.com spokesmodel search was life changing!
d) You earned your IFBB Pro Status-
With the popularity of men’s board short categories the IFBB launched its Men’s Physique category. I felt like it was perfect timing and a category meant for me.
2) CRITICAL BENCH: Wow, those are some amazing achievements that will forever be with you! Steve, I know that you come from a big family of seven! How do your family members feel about all of your big fitness and modeling victories at the highest level?
They think it’s cool but it’s really no biggie to them. Most of them haven’t seen me compete.
They definitely keep me grounded and remind me that I’m still just the middle child who used to be afraid of the dark – lol.
In all seriousness they really aren’t big on social media or into fitness so they don’t really know what I do. They think it’s cool when they see me on a magazine and that I get to travel to such wonderful places.
3) CRITICAL BENCH: You were a college football player. After your days as a college football player, how did your training change?
The training didn’t change much. What did was my eating habits.
I no longer cared about just being big and strong, I now needed to be lean and toned. I added in more detail work into my training but it was mostly diet.
4) CRITICAL BENCH: Not only are you a top model, but many people don’t know that you can bench press over twice your body weight (420lbs.) Do you have any strength tips for our readers?
Start young lol. Just kidding — kinda. I started very young, lifting with my dad. I would advise people to work a bench press program specifically designed to get stronger. I benched twice a week for many years.
5) CRITICAL BENCH: There are a lot of people out there who are let’s say, “sort of ripped.” Maybe they are strong in the gym, or play sports and maybe they are considered fit to those who don’t work out much. However, they aren’t in condition to get on stage. What is your advice for this type of individual to really get his physique to the next level so he can compete or do shoots?
My advice to them would be to focus on the diet. But to also do it in a healthy way. Slow and steady will always be the best way to change body composition. Start tracking food intake and keep a training journal. Also get with a trainer or coach that knows what they are doing to help give feedback.
6) CRITICAL BENCH: Steve, you have become famous. How has being known changed your life? If you go to a public gym, I’m sure it must be hard to workout without others always approaching you.
Lol that “famous” word always makes me feel silly. I mean I haven’t done anything to warrant being famous. I owe it more to Optimum Nutrition and bodybuilding.com than anything.
It’s always fun to be somewhere and have someone tell you about how you helped them…. I wouldn’t be here without them and I understand that so I love to listen to them. Sometimes it hard to get in a workout but it’s also flattering.
7) CRITICAL BENCH: Steve, what are the five main reasons most people aren’t as ripped as they should be?
Here’s the 5 main reasons:
1. They don’t know how to diet correctly
2. Aren’t training hard enough
3. Aren’t supplementing like they should
4. Lack of self control on the diet side
5. Lack of motivation
8) CRITICAL BENCH: What types of changes do you think we will see in the fitness industry in the next ten years?
That a great question. I think you will see a shift back to more aesthetic physiques on stage. I also think you will see the more of a mainstream following as the younger generation is so into health and appearances.
9) CRITICAL BENCH: Do you have any fancy exercises or exercises that are different that you really enjoy doing? How is your training different from most people in the gym?
I would like to think I tend to concentrate on the details more than most. It can be something as small as curling the wrist out on a certain movement, or focusing on the negative part of the rep that makes all the difference. Training with the great Charles Glass really opened my eyes to how biomechanics plays a huge role in developing a world class physique.
10) CRITICAL BENCH: Well, Steve at Critical Bench we wish you all the best as we know you will continue to surprise the world. In closing is there any message you would like to leave the fitness world and is there anyone who you would like to thank?
I’d love to thank ON, BB.com and everyone out there that follows and supports us. I try to be transparent with the fact that I’m all about doing things for the right reasons. At the core of that is health. Without that core everything else is unstable.
I also believe health and fitness shouldn’t be a competition… everyone has the capacity to be decent shape. Not everyone has the genetics to be a Mr/Ms Olympia but should strive for health.
It’s also something that I firmly believe we should help support others in. Make people feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves.
By Chris Wilson
What is your “fuel” in life?
More specifically, what “thing” in your life do you think about 24/7 (besides chicks guys) and want to constantly find ways to get better at doing?
I’m not talking about a casual interest in a particular idea, sport, hobby or profession.
I’m talking about PASSION.
Most of us have something that occupies our thoughts during our waking moments and often times even when we’re in dreamland. This doesn’t have to be your career, although if you’re lucky, you’ve found a way to make it your career.
Being passionate about what you do in life can in many ways determine the quality of your life. It can bring about the meaning of your life.
I’m sure you, like me, have occasionally asked yourself the age old question, “Why am I here?”
“What purpose do I serve in the world?”
We can cite men and women in history that just seemed destined to become great at what they did:
Christopher Columbus, Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Susan B. Anthony, Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Henry Ford, Bruce Lee, Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan to name a few.
Did they have a “casual” interest in what they did and just get lucky or did they spend each day perfecting their skills and dedicating all of their time and energy towards that ONE thing that meant everything to them?
I shouldn’t have to answer that. I’m fairly certain that anyone on that level of superior talent worked their tail off to get there. Luck was never an expectation. Hard work was the process.
But besides hard work, these amazing men and women all had something else in common. They were tirelessly and insanely PASSIONATE about what they did in life. Anything that distracted them or kept them from their mission was immediately removed and discarded. Nothing would hold them back from accomplishing their desires.
They also strived to surround themselves with other influential people that they could learn from and help them further their greatness allowing them to maintain and exceed a level of excellence foreign to most ordinary folk.
You might be thinking, “Yeah, yeah…but I’m not an inventor, sports phenom, saint or explorer…”
News flash…Me neither!
But I will tell you what I am. I’m out of control ridiculously passionate about what I do for a living. I absolutely love what I do for work and wake up each day excited about how I can get better and improve at what gives me a true sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in life.
Aside from our family and friends that give us immense joy, there is something else we all need to satisfy our craving to feel valued.
We NEED to be connected to something bigger than ourselves.
Over the years I’ve come across school teachers, coaches, on-line entrepreneurs, small business owners and doctors who possessed the same traits as the legendary figures I mentioned previously.
However, if I listed their names here, you wouldn’t recognize a single one. Does that devalue them or make their passion any less extraordinary? No way.
Their contributions to this world have been as meaningful to their friends, family and community as any 20th century hero.
You see, we are all capable of pursuing and finding passion in our lives. We are all capable of finding something that breaths fire into our soul and makes us want to leap from our beds with excitement.
This is REAL. This isn’t fantasyland talk. I speak from experience.
Allowing yourself to be enveloped by passion for a hobby, skill, profession, trade or cause is one of the most human things in the world. No matter the day, I can always lean against my passion as a source of strength.
In many ways, uncovering your passion leads to the discovery of your meaning in life and your contribution to the world.
Now your passion may not change the world and your name may not be found in historical books, on the $100 bill or in lights at NBA arenas but the fulfillment and gratification you receive from that “one thing” will change your life and those people in your life.
Realizing what your passion is may be one of the most remarkable and rewarding experiences you could ever have. Don’t disregard the things that give you ultimate joy. Embrace them and develop them.
Examine your life today. Determine what just interests you and what ‘FUELS’ you. Casual interests are fine but not fulfilling. Decide today to let your passion consume you and watch your life transform.
I guarantee if you find your true passion and devote yourself to it, the meaning of your life will seem to find you when you least expect it.
Click Here for a practical, step-by-step blueprint to rapidly developing mental toughness, igniting your passion and suppress the fear and self-limiting beliefs
that sabotage your success.
Interview with Tobias Young
Interviewed by Ben Tatar
Tobias Young is a sponsored athlete by Optimum Nutrition. He has been on different magazine covers and he has earned his IFBB Pro Status. Tobias helps fans and friends of the fitness industry reach their goals internationally. Here we go, as Critical Bench Reporter Ben Tatar goes one on one with Fitness Superstar and Optimum Nutrition sponsored athlete, Tobias Young!
CRITICAL BENCH: Tobias, what has it been like being a sponsored athlete?
All I can really say is that it has been a dream come true! A lot of the things that I have dreamed of doing while growing up and working out have been accomplished while being with Optimum Nutrition. It has truly been an amazing experience! Somebody pinch me please 🙂
CRITICAL BENCH: I am going to list 5 accomplishments you have made. After I write each one, tell us what comes to mind:
a) You have been on the cover different big time fitness magazines-
This was one of my major goals from the beginning. I always wanted to be on a fitness magazine cover. Now I have done that 6 times and working on #7. I have my major ads in covers all framed in the “cardio room” in my house. It motivates me to keep going and strive for more.
b) Getting your pro card as you earned your IFBB pro Status-
I think this is something that every competitor dreams about. I have been competing since 2002 and to finally go pro was breathtaking! This was definitely one of my proud fitness moments. I felt like I finally made it!
c) Being featured in the sports illustrated swim suit edition-
The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition is the most looked at magazine in the world. To be featured in this was also really cool. I just hope it helps motivate others.
d) Attending big fitness conventions like an Arnold event with a big line of fans-
Seeing the huge line of fans is awesome. Some of them wait for 2-3 hours at a time for the chance to get autographs, samples, and meet their favorite ON athletes.
This brings me back to the time that I first went to an expo and stood in line to meet some IFBB Pros.
I think this really humbles me to know that I was in the exact shoes that they were in years ago. It’s still weird to know that so many people want my autograph. Fun, but weird.
This also gave me the courage to try and be the best in everything that I do.
CRITICAL BENCH: What was your time like at the 2015 Arnold? How would you compare the 2015 Arnold USA to the 2015 Arnold in Australia? What would you say are the pros and cons of each event?
The Arnold USA was much larger both in volume and population of attendees. It was nuts. 3 hour lines at times to get inside our booths. There was a bigger ON booth, more athletes, and more samples.
The Arnold Australia was awesome too. Even though it was much smaller in comparison, it was only the first year of existence. Over time I believe that the Arnold Australia will grow exponentially. I was pleasantly surprised by how many fit people there are in Australia. Everyone was very friendly too. I can’t wait to go back!
CRITICAL BENCH: Tobias, tell us about your website http://www.tobiasyoungfitness.com/
My website lets fans know what events I will be at next. It also has, some of my other photo shoots, and gives info for my contest prep that I offer. I have been a fitness coach for 13 years now. It’s also a great way to get a hold of me for contact info or to book me for a photo shoot or demo.
CRITICAL BENCH: There are an endless supply of training styles out there. What is your favorite way to train?
I don’t have one way in particular. My training changes week to week. Some weeks I focus on isometrics, other times drop sets and/or supersets. Other micro phases I train in are small strength/hypertrophy/endurance micro cycles.
Other times I change my rep speed and do explosive reps. Other days are much slower and controlled. I believe that variety is key and needs to be implemented to prevent muscle adaptation. Change is key.
CRITICAL BENCH: What are your future goals?
I would like to compete and place well in my first pro show. But overall, it’s health and happiness. I also want to make sure I spend plenty of time with my wife and two daughters ages 3 and 6.
CRITICAL BENCH: How do you want to be remembered?
I would like to be remembered as someone who was fun, fit, and motivational. I always want people to know that I am humble and enjoy every moment to the fullest.
I enjoy meeting every fan and appreciate everyone that helped me get where I am today. I could not have done this alone without my true fans, friends, and supporters.
CRITICAL BENCH: In closing is there any message that you would like to leave the world of iron warriors and is there anyone who you would like to thank?
There are a few people I would like to thank. First, I want to send a huge shout out to Bob Corbett (Optimum Nutrition athlete manager) for believing in me, taking a chance on me and for giving me the opportunity to be with such an amazing team. You’re the best man!!!
I would like to thank my wife for helping me physically and mentally. She has also been instrumental with all of the dieting, food prep, and helping raise our 2 lovely daughters.
Elliot Daum is my big brother from the Big Brother’s program that helped raise me from a boy to man when my father was not around to do so.
I have so many other close friends, workout partners, and supporters that are too many to mention. They know who they are and I thank them from the bottom of my heart.