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RENFRO
12-11-08, 9:14 pm
...my journey begins. The past 6 weeks have been great. Extremely hard workouts with my roommate have gone well. (considering how little equipment we have to spare at the university). He's getting strong and packing it on and i'm impressed. He's kinda turned into my own science experiment. from 185 to 195 in 6 weeks isnt too shabby...Myself? When I talk to the guy in the mirror he knows change is coming...a transformation. no more games. no more playing around being a "regular lifter"...Animal is coming. no excuses. no bullshit.

Been eating like a madman for the past couple of weeks and i'm noticing the difference. Every two hours i'm starving...time to look at a cooler or something...

I'm sore everywhere. I guess one good thing with these shitty ass finals coming up for the next few days is i can take a couple days to recover and rest, this week has been hell trying to take a crap after a day of heavy squats and deads...good stuff though...looking forward to climbing under 405 soon for the first time...

Oh and excellent news...the activities center at my university is putting a weighlifting competition together...most of the guys i see just half-ass and sandbag when they're lifting...this could turn out in my favor after all...end of februrary i guess we'll see who really takes this shit serious...

RENFRO
12-12-08, 10:31 pm
So I'm sitting here, with books and pages of shit in front of me, and I can't focus whatsoever. Keep thinking about getting to train tomorrow after I take two finals that will essentially determine my future. That's some bull isn't it? I just want to clear my mind. Whatever.

Women are frustrating creatures but hell that's a given I suppose...I'm pretty sick and tired of trying to find one worth my time. What does it take to just be good enough for someone for once? Same thing all the time "You're an amazing guy, BUT..." I find myself so much more motivated after this last deal falling apart. I really liked the girl, and still do but I guess "guys aren't in the picture right now" for her as she explains it. Whatever.

Great thing about it is how driven I feel to really transform myself to a whole new level. I'm picking up some MStak from work on sunday and I'll start that on monday, I'm hoping to see some good results from it...

I'm starting to get what Wrath was talking about in "the journey"...The people that see me in the gym constantly, "there's that guy working out again, freak" YEAH WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU KNOW ABOUT DEDICATION TO SOMETHING YOU'RE PASSIONATE ABOUT?? I'd love to just scream that out sometimes...maybe that's what's screaming in my head while I train. I love hearing the weights talk to me, they've got a personality you know, haha..."can't argue with 400 pounds buddy, there's no negotiating with me, I'll fucking bury you" my response? "BRING IT MOTHERFUCKER"

Seems like this place is my only escape nowadays. I'm so glad it's here to get my thoughts out about livin' an animal life.

Now what to train tomorrow...

RENFRO
12-14-08, 11:57 am
Had a great lift last night after taking those two finals...

DB press

60x15
75x12
100x9

DB incline

60x10
75x10
85x8

cable flys

superset tri-extentions (rope and single w/reverse grip)

Hammer strength incline machine

180x12
230x8
270x6

SKULLCRUSHERS!! (superset w/butterfly press)

65x15 65x20
75x12 75x15
75x20!! 75x12

Finished up with some abdominal work.

Don't really know what got into to me on that last set of 'crushers, even my roommate asked "how in the hell did you do that" (we were burnin bad!). We were both in a pretty big rush and managed to get outta there in about 90 minutes.

Heading to a family christmas party...talk about some tempting food. will power, will power, will power....

RENFRO
12-15-08, 2:04 pm
Didn't plan on lifting today since I have one more final tomorrow morning. Blake and myself decided to wake up early and just get a good one in anyway...

Straight bar curls

45x15
75x10
95x8

Standing reverse grip curl bar curls

50x12
65x10
75x10

Seated db curls

50x10
55x10
60x8

Standing hammers

55x10
60x8
70x6

Preachers

65x15
75x10
105x7

Finished up with some ab work.

Legs tomorrow.

RENFRO
12-16-08, 6:05 pm
had a great leg day this afternoon.

Squats

135x15
225x10
315x6
385x6 (NEW WEIGHT)

Curls & Extensions superset

45x15 curls
180x12 extension

90x12 curls
180x12 extension

90x12 curls
270x10 extensions

Calf Raises (seated calf machine)

90x20
115x20
115x20

Deadlifts

135x20
225x8
315x10 (NEW WEIGHT!)

Gonna be sore as piss for the next two days...cheat meal tonight though ;) pizza and watchin The Dark Knight...doesn't get much better fellas...till next time...

RENFRO
12-18-08, 10:48 am
Had a good shoulder workout yesterday, nothing too crazy and finished up with some abs. Been doing abs 3 times a week and its finally starting to show, which is awesome! I'm finally home for the Christmas break, which means I'll be at my home gym now...which is way better than my university's gym. So much that my roommate is driving from there to lift with me here today. We'll finally be able to get a good back routine in considering there isn't jack crap to do for back at school.

RENFRO
12-20-08, 6:01 pm
So, back yesterday...shoulders today with dad...no new details about it really. been on M-Stak for about a week now...and the good news; I hit 199 on the scale today, thats about 5 pounds in a week. I'm stoked...thank you, animal.

RENFRO
12-21-08, 6:23 pm
Been at work for the last 3 hours about to close up soon...I'm half way through G Diesel's Diary of a Madman...It's been a slow day today at this local GNC store. I wonder how many people walk through that door looking for an easy way out, the "quick fix" the "perfect physique in a bottle." I find myself telling the guys that come in the basics; I don't push product. You want what works? Shake, vitamin, liver tabs, maybe a few odds and ends along with it (animal paks, etc...) stuff your face with good stuff, and bust your ass. Most tend to be pretty impressed with my physique at just barely 21 years old, I know the guy in the mirror has alot of work to do, but I'm still surprised when other people are surprised when they find out I don't buy into all this marketing crap for supplements. I do what works...as G Diesel explains: "Lesson #1: Keep It Simple Sucka. Class dismissed."

RENFRO
12-23-08, 4:13 pm
Today was leg day. and i'm pissed because it blew. i wasn't focused, no energy, nothing. Did a few pathetic sets of squats and deads and left. For starters, my lifting partner didn't show (go fucking figure; on leg day), so i couldnt go into the sub 5 rep area. I haven't had much of an appetite either, but i'm about to just go stuff my face anyway. I'm either gonna go back in to do legs tomorrow with a vengeance or just take a couple days off for christmas and go back friday. I hate my off days, I'm pissed. suggestions anyone?

RENFRO
01-02-09, 6:44 pm
Been slacking on my posts...Finally got through diary of a madman and it's so motivating, I keep reading them over and over...anyways, had some great workouts over the break...i love lifting in my animal t's with my under armour boggin on, i've gained nearly 7 pounds on one cycle of M-Stak and i'm stoked...i'm right at 202 on the scales and moving more weight than I ever have. I'm keeping my head straight and i'm focused, but I can't help but notice the looks I'm starting to get. Things are going great, I want to meet up for an ABC event soon...

RENFRO
01-06-09, 2:12 am
I figured I would write this here...I have nowhere else to go...what gives me fire? what makes me push harder now than I ever have. I have finally come full circle with myself. I am heartbroken; fucking crushed. I can never seem to catch a break for anything. Most recent girl, liked her so much, beautiful, funny, smart...returned my calls, which honestly doesnt seem to happen to me that often so I really appreciated hearing from her. Well, she doesn't talk to me anymore...decided to hang around her ex all the time now, who happens to be one of my best friends. What a clusterfuck. They dated over 2 years ago and he's been dating someone else for the past year and a half and they just split...but go figure, I'm a walking Murphy's Law when it comes to girls.

So yeah, deep down, most people don't see it through the body and thick skin I've built; but I'm honestly shattered on the inside...and yet, I find this to be my strength.

Will I ever find it? What I'm looking for? I don't know...but there will always be the iron. It will never lie to me, never tell me I'm not good enough, it will always shoot me straight and never lead me astray. I feel like an unguided nuclear cruise missile headed for an unprepared target. I will strive for greatness, for peace of mind, for power, for wisom, for humility...I ask God to guide me and do his will in my life, when I train...when I CRUSH the iron before me...I feel his strength in me. I know I am so blessed with so many things; loving parents and a beautiful sister, the ablility to train like I do, and be able to go and come as I please in this country...but why can't I ever catch a break? I do my best to treat everyone I encounter the way I would want to be treated. I know I just want to love someone with the same fire that I use to attack the weights I move everyday. I want them to feel safer and more loved than they ever have been and ever will be...but for now; there is the iron. It is calling me, and I will answer its call.

Until next time my brothers...

RENFRO
01-07-09, 5:21 pm
Pulled a new weight today on deads, and busted my shin open in the process haha...

345x8

pretty happy about that...looking to see what I can do with 405 soon.

RENFRO
01-17-09, 4:39 pm
Animal Pump is freakin' amazing. I really am bigger when I'm in the gym, it's unreal...I can actually SEE it. School is busy so it's a little harder to keep up with my journey on here. Still hit it crazy hard this first week back. I'm loving the results, and tackling life as it comes my way.

RENFRO
02-02-09, 9:24 am
Been slacking with my journey once again, but definitely not slacking in the gym. Just took my first pak of cuts this morning and have picked up the cardio...gentlemen, for the first time in my life i want to have a solid ripped six pack. My bulk cycle went exactly according to plan but now I have to pick it up another notch to reach this goal...

RENFRO
03-01-09, 2:21 pm
Haven't posted in a while and that's not acceptable. I've just finished up cuts a few days ago, it worked great but I've realized cutting isn't nearly as fun as bulking...sure I've toned up a little, but the shrinking in size and strength I'm not a big fan of. I could barely do 405 in the squat rack last week; not cool. I plan on getting back to bulking asap.

RENFRO
04-26-10, 10:25 am
Is feeling like I am nothing to someone who feels like they are everything to me. No more. For too long I have allowed things to cloud my focus.

Today I will re-declare my war. My sky is black and it will be raining blood from this point forward. I pledge devotion and outright obliteration in this iron game.

Time and time again I have tried to ignore this thought in my mind: People will fail you. People will fail you. People will fail you. People will fail you. People will fail you.

Never again will I experience this feeling. The only things that will ever have the opportunity to fail me again are the iron and myself...so it looks like I've only got one thing to worry about.

RENFRO
08-11-11, 11:38 am
Heart on my sleeve...sometimes I consider that my biggest flaw. Quick to put myself out on the line for the sake of something great coming of it. Of course they always say, better to have loved and lost than never loved at all. Yet again, I took this risk and lost. For weeks it took an emotional toll...restless nights, no appetite, unproductive work days...why is it this happens to me? For so long I was able to guard myself, but as soon as I let my guard down and take a risk, a cold dull blade is stuck in and twisted. For the last several days I've tried asking myself "why?" but I find myself reading Entry #80 in Diary of a Madman, and it brings me focus...and comfort.

I wish I could fully understand the situation I just put myself through these last 4 weeks...To take a hefty risk on someone, and hand them my heart to hold...only for it to be tossed away like a worthless piece of garbage. I was able to end this situation for the sake of my own sanity...but I wonder if I will ever be able to forget it. I want to embrace it, because I know it will only make me stronger, but it cuts me down to my very core.

When in the gym, my thoughts boil with rage and my heart hurts like fire...I'm able to channel it, able to let it flow. Sadly, my iron battleground only provides me comfort for a brief period of time within my day...then it's back to being alone with my thoughts, away from my friends and family. "Stay busy" they say, "you're better off" they say...yeah, no shit? I can say those things to myself, TELL myself it's better, but no matter what my mind and mouth attempt to argue, my heart doesn't seem to listen. I despise feeling this way, when I'm surrounded by so much to be thankful for, in awe of my own existence...how do I overcome?

I had a thought yesterday...for me, my outward physical appearance is a direct result of the battles I've faced in my heart and soul over my years on this earth. Thank God for such an outlet, such a positive investment in result of such negative experiences...trying to find balance. My workouts have always been, well lets say, acceptable...but, when battling a recovering wound of the heart, they have passion, and drive.

I press on. One day at a time, some days I'm running...others I'm crawling, beaten and battered...but still I must press on.

RENFRO
10-27-15, 10:45 am
Four years and two months. Life has been one crazy journey lately. I've moved all over the country. I've met and married a girl I never thought I'd find. I couldn't be happier and more thankful for her...one of the "unicorns." The "impossible to find" types. Beautiful...smart...driven...hilarious. We've been married a little over a year now. Things are great in my life, but for some reason I have some serious mental battles going on. I don't know if it's a mix of stress, homesickness, the feeling of unbearable responsibility...but it's a crushing weight at times. I deployed twice over the last couple of years. Nothing crazy and no real life or death situations...but what I've been exposed to is knowledge and a stark, unfiltered view of the world. Ecclesiastes states that "For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow." I feel that down into my core and believe it almost more than the existence of the items sitting around me. I have good days, sometimes great days filled with joy and loved ones...but in a fleeting moment I remember the rest of the world. The oppression others face...the sheer terror that they must face waking up every day. It weighs on my soul.

I've wanted to channel and use it to my advantage, but I find myself struggling to enjoy lifting and training as I used to. I haven't had a solid lifting partner since 2012...possibly even as far back as 2009-2010. I took a chance and checked out crossfit for a chunk of time through late 2012 until 2014-ish. For about a year following that I got into some strongman training. Lately I've been focusing on some powerlifting training, but I'm still having "identity issues" when it comes to my physical pursuits. I don't know how to deal with my changing physical nature and my mental states some days. I am very hard on myself and the way I look. I'm still strong, honestly at my strongest, but I still find myself not caring about training anymore. I hope to latch onto a local ABC event ASAP and to hang out with the guys/gals at the Animal booth at the Arnold next spring. I haven't been to the event since 2011, so I really am looking forward to going.

How do you guys get yourselves through the valleys of your own mind? It really can be your worst enemy. I miss the fire...

Until next time...

RENFRO

RENFRO
10-28-15, 9:44 am
Had a really good training session yesterday. Been a while since I've gotten a good pump just from some old school lifting. Felt really good. Only thing I didn't like was how crowded the gym was. It'd be awesome if I could find a smaller hole-in-the-wall place that's got a dungeon type feel to it.

Winter is coming...yes that's a GoT reference. Honestly though, I love the cold nasty weather...especially when it comes to training. It's where you'll start to find the dedicated ones...not everyone cares to brave the adverse weather...they can just go home and curl up with a pumpkin spice latte and re-runs of sex and the city or keeping up with the kardashians...I'd rather be in my own world and cranking steel with only the few dedicated.

I had a great conversation with a friend last night about the direction of our country, family, value systems...it really puts things into perspective. Sometimes I don't know how to sort out all of my thoughts and get clarity and peace...such a daunting task at times. It can be the undoing of a man if you let it. Sometimes I feel the weight of those things completely out of my control. It's nice to just let it go sometimes and really enjoy and live in the moment. I really try hard to do that every day...my lady keeps me grounded in that regard and helps me keep perspective.

Time for some of that work grind.

Cheers.

RENFRO

P Diesel
10-28-15, 11:45 am
good to ave you here man. this is the place for everythign uve been talking about. and as far as your own journey, make it what u want, share all or none of it. we will always be here. and as far as life and bullshit that wants to take u from that path...go hard enough, long enough and cause urself enough pain that evernything else just goes away. the gym is the only place where u are truly in control of everything. if that is solid in ur life the rest will follow.

never let em see u with ur head down brother

P

RENFRO
11-02-15, 11:14 am
good to ave you here man. this is the place for everythign uve been talking about. and as far as your own journey, make it what u want, share all or none of it. we will always be here. and as far as life and bullshit that wants to take u from that path...go hard enough, long enough and cause urself enough pain that evernything else just goes away. the gym is the only place where u are truly in control of everything. if that is solid in ur life the rest will follow.

never let em see u with ur head down brother

P

Thanks for the words, P.

I've come to realize exactly what you stated that the gym is my arena of control. The more and more I've come to understand of the world and how much is out of my control, I've come to cherish the moments I do control...the gym being the main one.

Just today I've cancelled my membership to a gym that has pre-programmed workouts. The guys know what they're doing, but the distance to the place was bothering me...and I also strive for a certain level of intensity that I just can't get in a "social" environment without the proper music and like-minded individuals. The responsibility is back on my own shoulders and I'm happy that it's back there. I'm looking forward to getting back to my old school roots and doing what I love.

Cheers, and thanks again.

RENFRO

RENFRO
11-02-15, 11:56 am
Time to take a current assessment of where I'm at:

Weight: 220lbs
Bench: 335lbs
Squat: 455lbs
Dead: 525lbs

My strength is probably the best it's ever been, but aesthetically I am not where I want to be. I can tell my definition is not where it used to be. It's easiest to notice in my arms, shoulders, and abdomen.

My hopes are to dial in my separations and get my eating back in check. I also want to get back to training 5-6 days a week vs. the 3-4 I have been doing. I've also been incorporating sprint intervals to keep my explosive strength and work capacity high.

I'd like to drop back down to around 205 and get my aesthetics back on point while maintaining my current level of strength or improving it.

Cheers to Monday.

RENFRO

RENFRO
11-06-15, 8:57 am
It's Friday, people. Been a pretty good week. Got my first jug of Animal Whey in the mail and am really liking the taste and content. I also started up my 3 week cycle of Cuts yesterday, and I completely forgot how hard that stuff hits you...makes me appreciate Animal knowing that they don't BS their ingredients. Lastly, I got the "grape of wrath" flavored Rage to give me the edge when I need it.

I trained with my girl yesterday at a local globo-style gym, and it was a very nice change of pace. She's been training with me consistently for about two years, but never really got into the isolated type training that we've decided to go back to. She really likes it, and I really like that my girl likes lifting. The results tend to be very beneficial and easy on the eyes, to say the least.

I'm still kicking around the idea of switching back to an early morning training routine. There's something about it being dark and cold with hardly anyone around...sort of a primal thing. I think of G Diesel's entries in Diary of a Madman about the cold mornings in Jersey heading to train, jams going in the truck, sipping on a potent elixir to get the coals lit...love that shit.

Anyway, happy Friday Animals. Looking forward to keeping this truck moving.

Out.

RENFRO

RENFRO
11-10-15, 9:15 am
Respect...growing up, my family was required to have lots of it. Obviously between each other, but also to our fellow man (woman). Yes sir, no sir...yes ma'am, and no ma'am were required at all times when I was a kid. At some point I started to wonder why I was always told to do that...but eventually it all sunk in. My father demanded, and earned, his respect. There were fights and disagreements between all of us, but we were all careful to never blatantly disrespect one another no matter the issue at hand. It was difficult, but so very necessary in order to love each other. As now a grown man, I respect my mother and father more than anyone and appreciate the things they taught me and the values they engrained in my very soul.

Without getting into any details, I've been brutally disrespected lately. I'm at a point that I don't really know what to do about it. It's a life altering thing that I'm continually prayerful about. The gym and iron is my outlet...my workouts are typically rage induced blackouts of pure anarchy inside my own mind. It provides some relief for the moment, but give it some time and it is guaranteed to rear it's ugly head again. I believe to respect someone at times of discord, one must submit and rise above their own selfish pursuits and anger. That can be a daunting task, but it must be done. It's a volatile situation when one submits to respect the other and come to a resolution, but the other does not...it can spiral down to an even deeper level of anger and resentment that drives once two close individuals farther and farther apart.

There has to be respect, and love. You cannot have love without respect.

Out.

RENFRO

RENFRO
01-13-16, 10:07 am
A New Year...What an awesome past couple of months. Things in life are getting better and easier...which in turn allows me to focus even harder on my training. I'm getting the itch to compete on stage in physique. It's not as glorified as true bodybuilding, but I think I have a great foundation and that class allows me to maintain my military standards much easier. I've gotten myself up to around 225lbs, so hopefully with a solid 12-16 week prep cycle I can be a ripped and peeled 200-205.

I finally get to make it to the Arnold Classic again this year. I haven't been since 2011, but it was a great experience being inside the cage. I hope to run into G Diesel again and see how that dude is doing. I got to train with him back in 2011, and maybe I'll get another round at it again this year.

Things are looking up.

Grind.

-RENFRO

RENFRO
02-17-16, 10:01 am
I've taken the plunge. I'm in contact with my coach for a fully custom designed meal plan and training plan. I'm so ready to do this it's gotten me completely reinvigorated. I'm ready to really see what my full potential is and what type of physique I can carve out of the muscle I've built over the last decade. I know I have weak points, but I feel like I'm bringing a solid foundation to my coach to mold into a stage ready package.

I want to win. I want to outwork the ones who think they're going to be on stage and snag an easy top 3 placing.

I've already been getting up at 4:15 for that fasted cardio grind, with the weight training happening later in the afternoon. My lady has been consistently lifting in the afternoons as well and is completely on board to support me through this journey.

Been listening to the Trivium song "Through Blood, and Dirt, and Bone" and the lyrics are on point.

To my opponents:

"I'm alone when the ending comes
Take control of the nightmare
This fate has become my own
There is no quiet ending
Ill be taking you with me
Through blood and through dirt and bone."

-RENFRO

RENFRO
02-23-16, 10:17 am
Day two of dieting and early morning cardio...

On day one I felt like I did nothing but eat all day...can you actually cut and be stuffing your face every two hours? Yeah, I know you can...it's just odd to actually be doing it. The morning cardio today after leg day yesterday afternoon was rough. My legs were just wrecked! I cranked through it, even though I didn't really want to.

I know these first couple weeks are going to be rough, but I just want to see a drastic change so I know it will take drastic measures. There's no doubt my coach has me on the right track...I'm just ready for the results to start showing up.

-RENFRO

RENFRO
02-25-16, 10:48 am
Grind.

I've got some close friends and family that are accomplishing big things in their respective fields. Some military, some not. As I sit back and watch them grind I find time to look at myself in the mirror. At times, I wonder if I'm really reaching my full potential in my professional career. One paper, I've done some great things. I have really actually done some great things as well, but I still have this looming thought and wonder if I'm really reaching my full potential and giving back to this world through my greatest skillset. Hell, I don't even really know what my greatest skillset even is. I tend to think I'm good with people and can handle speaking in front of crowds well. I'm an analytical thinker, but come from a blue collar family and appreciate hard work. Sometimes I miss the early mornings of my old construction job. At the end of the day, we could see and touch our accomplishments. In the world I'm in now, although the work is important, I don't get the same satisfaction.

So how do I do right by my family and friends who are out there grinding? If they're pushing and fighting their way through their battles, I should be doing the same. I've been blessed with a great job and great pay. Life is good...but I am not one to just settle. I want to be challenged and feel as if I'm giving back to something greater than myself. I like to do things because they are hard, not because they are easy. Unfortunately, I've been told "no" on numerous occasions when it comes to my professional pursuits. Many of those paths seemed so great, but I ponder what lies in store for me instead.

I've decided to approach this prep and training as my current challenge...a way to see and touch the direct result of my labor. I may not be satisfied professionally all the time, but the pursuit of this grind...the meals every two hours, the timed nutrition, the early morning cardio, the afternoon lifting rage session...I have to do this...I have to.

Haha I laugh as I write this, but some of the lyrics Rob Bailey puts in his music are just truth in the rawest form...

The doubts I have if I'm on the right path, the negative thoughts..."I said f&%k all that bullshit I'm doing this right now because I have to. PLAN MY ATTACK."

- RENFRO

RENFRO
11-13-16, 2:41 pm
Life can be cold-hearted.

Over the last month, my entire life has been flipped on its head. I was set to deploy downrange, bags packed, orders received, but things weren't right at home. My wife, the one thing more important to me than anything, was in complete turmoil. She was in therapy for her childhood and seemed to be falling apart right before my eyes.

I spoke with my commander about my concerns and about what she was going through, and long story short, he pulled my deployment at the last moment. I had mixed feelings of guilt and shame; I didn't eat much that first weekend or even sleep well. I went back to try and go. I tried to convince him I could do this and would be fine. He decided to still keep me here.

I was devastated, or so I thought...

The next night without getting into much detail, I found out my wife cheated on me. She cheated on me multiple times with someone she works with while I was out of town at pre-deployment training. I've now reached total devastation. I know this marriage can't go on. Fortunately, we don't have kids or large amount of property to split, but damn if it doesn't still hurt worse than anything I've ever been through.

I've questioned myself a thousand times since that night; how, why, what did I do? I devoted myself as much as I could to her and how to take care of her. Times weren't great with us and we were working through things, and then tack on a six month deployment and things are just a horrible mix. All I wanted to do was stay focused on her and our marriage. I had put in for separation from the military so we could build our family, but now I'm left to rebuild my entire life from the ashes. Instead of turning to me during the hard times to fight, she turned to an outsider.

I haven't had an ounce of violent thought enter my mind since this whole thing came out. I remember even warning her about this individual and the group of people he rolled with on a prior occasion. It just was bad news and not something a married woman should be doing. She agreed. I forgave her. We moved forward. Even after all of that, she premediated and planned to see this guy once I was out of town. She wound up at his apartment after a night at the bar and had sex with him. She did it again a few nights later. He then picked her up from my house and took her out for a day on the town. She thought she caught feelings.

I have to get on the road to recover and redefine myself. I know it will start in the gym. I felt such a strong pull to get in the gym all the time and fight my demons there.

I have to get through this.

I have to.

-RENFRO

RENFRO
01-04-17, 9:53 am
Well, the holidays felt weird. I haven't felt this lonely in a long time. There are highs and lows, but I definitely feel like I'm in a low spot. I constantly wonder if I've fully grasped what has taken place.

Loneliness is a cold hearted bitch. I hate how this has happened and wish I could have saved this crap from ever happening. This morning I was thinking back to when times were good, and I miss those times. We just were living life and focused on each other. What the hell even happened?

It's astounding how someone can just forget it all and run into someone else's arms and claim it was a "coping mechanism."

I hate that I still miss her, regardless of what she did. It just goes to show that I had authentic love, but I've lost it.

Appleton.Cory
01-04-17, 10:16 am
Well, the holidays felt weird. I haven't felt this lonely in a long time. There are highs and lows, but I definitely feel like I'm in a low spot. I constantly wonder if I've fully grasped what has taken place.

Loneliness is a cold hearted bitch. I hate how this has happened and wish I could have saved this crap from ever happening. This morning I was thinking back to when times were good, and I miss those times. We just were living life and focused on each other. What the hell even happened?

It's astounding how someone can just forget it all and run into someone else's arms and claim it was a "coping mechanism."

I hate that I still miss her, regardless of what she did. It just goes to show that I had authentic love, but I've lost it.

As someone who's been through divorce... all I can say is.. I know it feels like your world is over and falling down all around you. But this will pass. Things DO get better. You will rebuild. And you will be better than you ever have. Use this in your training. Anger. Fear. Brokenness. Use it all on the iron.

RENFRO
01-05-17, 10:50 am
As someone who's been through divorce... all I can say is.. I know it feels like your world is over and falling down all around you. But this will pass. Things DO get better. You will rebuild. And you will be better than you ever have. Use this in your training. Anger. Fear. Brokenness. Use it all on the iron.

Thanks for reading and replying, man. It's really odd how much the emotions ebb and flow from high to low. I've been really grinding hard and using all of those emotions just like you said. They really can fuel progress and growth.

If you don't mind me asking, about how long did it take for you to return to what I guess I'll call "a sense of normalcy?" I've had another buddy go through a similar situation, and he said it took him about a year.

Thanks again.

Appleton.Cory
01-05-17, 11:30 am
Thanks for reading and replying, man. It's really odd how much the emotions ebb and flow from high to low. I've been really grinding hard and using all of those emotions just like you said. They really can fuel progress and growth.

If you don't mind me asking, about how long did it take for you to return to what I guess I'll call "a sense of normalcy?" I've had another buddy go through a similar situation, and he said it took him about a year.

Thanks again.

Hardest part for me was the fact that I have 3 kids with my ex. So it was tough not having them around all the time. But I'd say roughly one year before I was back in "the game".. I still used all of that to power through my workouts, though. Throughout that year I experienced my best growth both physically and mentally. You learn a lot about yourself when there's no one else around.

Now I'm remarried, been with my amazing wife for almost 6 years. We have a blended family now for a total of 6 kids. You know.. I went through hell, but I wouldn't change it for the world. I've got an amazing life now.

Just do you for a while. If the gym is what keeps you going, then hit it hard and don't hold back. You'll be back to your normal asskicking self before you know it. A year may sound like a long time, but in all reality, you should look at this as a window of opportunity.. and it will be over quickly. This is your chance to grow.. to change.. it's when you're broken that you get to piece everything together perfectly.

RENFRO
01-06-17, 10:07 am
Hardest part for me was the fact that I have 3 kids with my ex. So it was tough not having them around all the time. But I'd say roughly one year before I was back in "the game".. I still used all of that to power through my workouts, though. Throughout that year I experienced my best growth both physically and mentally. You learn a lot about yourself when there's no one else around.

Now I'm remarried, been with my amazing wife for almost 6 years. We have a blended family now for a total of 6 kids. You know.. I went through hell, but I wouldn't change it for the world. I've got an amazing life now.

Just do you for a while. If the gym is what keeps you going, then hit it hard and don't hold back. You'll be back to your normal asskicking self before you know it. A year may sound like a long time, but in all reality, you should look at this as a window of opportunity.. and it will be over quickly. This is your chance to grow.. to change.. it's when you're broken that you get to piece everything together perfectly.

That's really awesome you came out the other side and have built a great life! I know I'll get there eventually, but it's just hard to get my head wrapped around it in the middle of the muck. I'm fortunate, all things considered, that we haven't had kids together and were only married a little over two years. Still a crazy feeling to have let someone in completely and given them all of your trust for them to turn around and betray it.

I've already been in the middle of defining a new path for myself. I plan to go back to school and complete my Master's degree this year as well.

Thanks so much for the words my friend.

Cheers.

Appleton.Cory
01-06-17, 10:16 am
Any time, brother.

RENFRO
01-06-17, 10:41 am
Four Steps.

Accept the brutal facts of your reality
Refuse to be paralyzed by fear
Know that you will prevail in the end
Stack the odds in your favor

I actually picked up these steps out of a business book called "Good to Great." Pretty solid read if you're looking into breaking into the business world from some other career field. The idea comes from what they call The Stockdale Paradox. It's named after James Stockdale. He was a Navy Aviator that was captured and held for nearly 8 years during the Vietnam War. In short, the Stockdale Paradox is only two steps: Accept the brutal facts of your reality, and know that you will prevail in the end. The other two steps I added myself.

He described the different kinds of prisoners that were held with him during his time of capture. There were those that were the "optimists" that were always saying "we'll be out of here by Christmas"...Christmas came, and then it went. "Well, we'll be out of here by Spring"...Spring came, and then went. It was one crushing letdown after another, and that's what broke them. Stockdale put it much more simply, "We aren't getting out of here anytime soon, but we ARE getting out of here." This allowed him to maintain hope, but also be honest with himself about his circumstances.

Considering my circumstances, I think Stockdale and my own personal added steps are exactly what I need right now, both in my life path and my pursuits in the gym.

Sometimes my own advice is like a cold, boiled chicken breast I've got to force myself to eat.

Thanks, self.

Out.

RENFRO
01-09-17, 9:43 am
Weight.

Something we're all familiar with here. Pushing. Pulling. Lifting. Moving. Whatever the case, we place ourselves under immense pressure to stimulate growth. The weight never changes; 400lbs is always 400lbs. It builds power, physique...dare I say character and discipline. Lately, I've felt the full brunt and weight of life. The devastation of loss that can be so intense it yields actual physical pain. I've been allowing myself to feel the weight of it so I can find the growth and lesson learned. Many days are hard, but others are easier. It's terrifying to think that I can be on a warpath in a gym, an animal, and the next moment just be sitting amidst the burial ground of my once joy filled home...and just crying. It's the rawest I've ever seen myself, but I am desperately trying to not suppress it. No running, no hiding.

Just bearing the weight.

Out.

RENFRO
01-11-17, 9:33 am
Dark Places and Black Flags.

The darkest corners of a person's mind can be a scary place. Most only visit these places during times of turmoil. The loss of a child, an assault of someone close to you that's left you powerless, the loss of a marriage, a betrayal of trust...the list goes on. Most go to these places only wanting to escape as quickly as possible without feeling the weight of their loss...without some sort of growth. It becomes a form of terror to their daily lives...living in fear of returning to that place. For others, they allow themselves to stay consumed by this dark place forever without any hope of recovery...a permanent scar that affects everything they touch.

The middle ground is where we must live. Those in the middle ground allow themselves to feel the brightest of places but also those darkest ones. Those in the middle, they eventually leave the dark places but they purposefully carry a key back to it and a folded black flag to be hoisted during times of war. Times when hardness is required and others count on them, these tools can be used.

Tapping into these tools in the gym is a very unique skillset. It's a priceless ability to enter a gym, turn your key and hoist your black flag. It enables focused aggression that can't be understood by most, and envied by others. Violence of action placed directly on a stationary mass. At the end, the key is removed and the flag is lowered, unseen by most and misunderstood by others.

The only remaining evidence of such ability is the outward appearance. Densely packed layers of muscle, peeled thin skin, or perhaps a relentless level of endurance. The outward appearance is just one direct correlation to one's own journey in this iron game.

If you're in a dark place right now...be sure to leave with a black flag.

Out.

RENFRO
01-23-17, 12:53 pm
Variety.

Boredom can kill when it comes to training. Switching things up has been my jam for as long as I can remember. Switching up exercises, sets, reps...all normal things. I prefer drastic changes. Bodybuilding, powerlifting, crossfit, strongman, circuit training...I use them all. Each has their place, and each provide a benefit depending upon your goals. Anyone that argues otherwise or thinks their way is the superior way, is just lying to themselves.

More than anything, I enjoy the mental benefit it provides to switch things up. A new gym, a new group of faces, a new training regimen altogether. There's life to be found amidst switching things up. It can bring a new energy and a new focus.

I've learned lots of things about myself along this journey. Today I'm stepping back into a crossfit gym. I've been out of that game for a solid two years, but I'm excited to introduce it back into my routine. After my divorce, it will be a great thing to meet new faces and have a new sense of community, and those can definitely be found in the walls of a crossfit gym. My plan is to split my week down the middle. 3 days of heavy metabolic conditioning crossfit focused workouts, and then 3 more of my traditional favorite lifting days...Arms/Shoulders, Back, and Chest. The benefits that come with developing a 300+lb power clean are beyond explosive and transcend into all other areas of physical development. Total body strength and work capacity skyrockets.

I've discovered how to diet for my body to respond in the best way. I know what training works for me. I know how to craft myself into what I want to become.

Today is the first step in that new direction.

Out.

RENFRO
01-26-17, 11:04 am
People Will Fail You

It's a hard thing to grasp at times how people can turn away from the things that are or could be what's best for them. We all fail at this from time to time, but I've found with experience comes clarity. Life is too short to screw around and not say what needs to be said or hold back what needs to be done. I've always been an advocate of seizing the moment and having zero regrets. Turning away from someone that loves you is such a curious thing to me. My previous marriage is one of those times...hard to understand, but I've come to accept it. There's no animosity, because life's just too short to harbor hate. We're cordial to one another, and it's honestly a beautiful thing. I can see the good in almost anything, regardless of the pain it caused me. However, it doesn't hold me back from self reflection.

I like to use metaphors with things to help me get my mind wrapped around complex scenarios that encompass many facets of the human psyche. I've always been one to trust my gut. I analyze and gather inputs from others, but I see myself as an iceberg or massive vessel in the middle of a storm. I can be moved and influenced, but it's typically minimal. Not to say I am stubborn, but usually if my mind and my gut are telling me to take a path, I will usually take that path. There are others like this in my life...other icebergs and colossal vessels. Those folks can help me drastically change direction when needed, and I am so grateful for those titans. What's strange to me is when I come across rowboats within the same storm...getting tossed about fighting for survival. Thrown in any which way depending on the shifting wind and water conditions. How do you help a rowboat that doesn't want to be rescued? I've had two cases almost back to back of this same predicament. They come disguised as a massive powerful vessel, but it's just a ruse. Enough metaphors, I think you get the point...

The simple lesson I've come to learn is that people will fail you. Almost always. There will be the few in your life that will never fail you, even if it means they go their graves, and that authentic loyalty is priceless. Others that can't take the pressure and the heat will just fall away. They will turn into distant memories that collect dust on the shelves of our lives. Their previous luster will fade with time, all the while we trudge onward forging our own journey into the unknown.

Don't be a rowboat.

Out.

RENFRO
02-07-17, 10:21 am
Creators & Destroyers.

Which one are you? It takes a unique balance of both in our lives, in my opinion. Determining where we apply effort to create and destroy is the critical part. I destroy myself in the gym, destroy negativity, destroy destructive thoughts. I choose to create loyalty, relationships, and closeness with those that matter.

I'm amazed at how people use these two descriptors interchangeably. Destroying relationships and loyalty to those that matter. Creating chaos and disorder instead of loyal foundations. It's almost fascinating to watch these people do what they do and then act surprised when they implode.

Create your fortress by destroying the things that slow you down.

Know when to create. Know when to destroy.

Out.

RENFRO
02-27-17, 11:00 am
Silence and Solitude.

I've spent a lot of time alone lately. I know every wise-guy/gal article out there about coping with divorce says not to do that, but I don't really care. Every time I make an attempt to immerse myself into some form of social interaction, I get annoyed. It's like I can see right through everyone...right through this fake exterior of "closeness." I can't see romance on TV or hyped up wedding ceremonies on facebook without feeling some sort of anger or sadness.

I just feel lost. Still confused and shell-shocked as to how any of this even happened to me. At home, it takes everything I have in order to just drown out the silence. My stress is through the roof and I feel like the only decent sleep I get is with meds.

It's like I've lost my entire purpose in life and I'm having trouble finding it again.

What's the point?

Out.

Appleton.Cory
02-27-17, 11:19 am
We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance produces character; and character produces hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Romans 5:3-5

Much like lifting.. life's struggles produce a stronger spirit. Hang in there, brother.

spartan300
03-02-17, 5:49 pm
Silence and Solitude.

I've spent a lot of time alone lately. I know every wise-guy/gal article out there about coping with divorce says not to do that, but I don't really care. Every time I make an attempt to immerse myself into some form of social interaction, I get annoyed. It's like I can see right through everyone...right through this fake exterior of "closeness." I can't see romance on TV or hyped up wedding ceremonies on facebook without feeling some sort of anger or sadness.

I just feel lost. Still confused and shell-shocked as to how any of this even happened to me. At home, it takes everything I have in order to just drown out the silence. My stress is through the roof and I feel like the only decent sleep I get is with meds.

It's like I've lost my entire purpose in life and I'm having trouble finding it again.

What's the point?

Out.consider yourself lucky. I know it doesn't seem that way now but you will see as time passes there's a new and exciting chapter of your life that awaits you. Except it embrace it. You will survive this. There is a light at the end of that tunnel just keep walking toward it and what ever you do don't stop until you get there. You got this!

spartan300
03-04-17, 3:06 pm
One tick at a time buddy. Take a breath. Remember survival is the best revenge.

RENFRO
03-07-17, 2:13 pm
One tick at a time buddy. Take a breath. Remember survival is the best revenge.

Thanks for checking in, buddy. Holding up well as of now. Got some big plans on the horizon for new things. Planning to move, go back for a master's, start a new career, etc.

Some days are just harder than others. The transition phase of an old path going up in flames and trying to find the new one is a heavy burden at times.

This forum has been a great outlet for me to get my thoughts down and provide a record for me to look back at.

I appreciate you guys.

spartan300
03-07-17, 3:24 pm
"If you're going through hell, keep going". Churchill

RENFRO
03-14-17, 12:11 pm
Ebb and Flow.

It's pretty crazy how my emotions go up and down from day to day following the split with my ex. Some days I'm excited for the future and the plans I've made. Other days I find myself in a hole online researching what I should have done differently...if I should have forgiven her. I know in my mind I idealize what that path would look like. The mind is a pretty incredible machine when it comes to forgetting traumatic events. When I think back, I don't think about the pain, but instead, all of the good. I almost wish I could remember everything more vividly, to include the bad times and betrayal so I can remember why I made the decisions I did.

I'm doing my best to accept the current reality of my situation and move forward. Some days are just harder, darker, and more bleak. I've attempted to put myself in a vision of being with someone again in the future, but it just doesn't happen. I know I have a road of recovery ahead before I could ever get there, and I'm not one to rebound. I go for the lonely road of maniacal self improvement. Figuring out how to trust again and love again is going to be probably one of the hardest things I've ever done.

Out.

RENFRO
05-05-17, 10:12 am
Perspective & Air Molecules

Been a decent little while since I've written. I had an interesting conversation with my father recently that really put things into perspective. Much of society today is, what I'll say, "overly polite."

I think we can all agree we see overly confident individuals aggressively voicing their opinions (or yelling) at others on TV, during riots, or political demonstrations. They all do this without a single thought of real consequence. Seems like too few individuals have had to answer for their words or actions.

I like my father's quote in regards to those that choose to disrespect and/or just run their mouth without thinking: "There's nothing but air molecules between us, and I can move through them really damn fast."

Out.

RENFRO
05-24-17, 10:17 am
Balance.

Finding it in my life lately has been an interesting challenge. Many times over the last few years I would damn near bring myself to a full blown anxiety attack when looking at myself in the mirror. I was stressed, unsatisfied at work, marriage on the rocks, and I didn't like the way I looked. Those times weren't good times.

I pulled myself out of that rut, but I think it was at a great cost. I can't be sure how much of it played into the demise of my marriage, but it still haunts me at times. I try to not beat myself up about it, but at the same time I'm trying to learn to let go of some things and not be so stressed. I've recently become an ambassador for a startup fitness company, and one of their posts online recently was just "Remember to Live."

I think that's what ended up getting after me so badly...I wasn't living back then. I was struggling. I was depressed and unhappy and a good bit of it was my own doing. It's like I was constantly living in the future which seemed to make me unhappy with the present.

So, my goal lately has been to just let go a little. I try not to sweat what I look like so much. I do still care, mind you. I train 6-8 times a week to include running, lifting, circuit training, etc., but my stress about my appearance has subsided a decent bit. I think the unhappiness at the surface stemmed from some underlying issues deeply rooted in my marriage and what was going on at home.

I could pick that stuff apart for days. I try to really reflect on the parts I played on my marital issues. None of it will justify the actions of my ex and her affair, because at the end of the day I loved her with everything I had. I just know that I have to find ways to grow from the experience.

Out.

RENFRO
06-08-17, 4:31 pm
What a whirlwind the past couple of weeks have been. I've finally gotten myself to a point where life feels normal again. I enjoy my days, I sleep well, I'm efficient at work, and I'm enjoying my workouts and just loving life again. Out of nowhere this amazing little lady just dropped into my life at what seems like the perfect time. I've been able to keep myself on an even keel, just enjoy the little things about dating, and get to know her day by day...but damn, does it feel great. I don't think I've really ever had someone that's been as into me as she is. I get the whole "honeymoon phase" and how those things fade with time, how I need to guard my heart, how I need to not rush things, etc., but it's just been most refreshing couple of weeks I've had it what feels like years. Even if nothing became serious or ever went anywhere, it's been great to see and feel that there are still good women out there and are down to earth and just want to make their partner happy.

Can this interaction between the two of us be nurtured into something serious? Who knows, maybe time will tell...but it's encouraging to feel like I want to try again. Never did I think I'd say that after things fell apart with my ex-wife eight months ago. Damn, eight months. Still hard to believe it's been that long.

It's nice to feel again. It's nice to be appreciated and feel like a priority. Certainly not going to overthink this one and definitely will take my time.

Feels great to be living again.

Cheers.

Out.

RENFRO
07-18-17, 9:06 am
I hate that I haven't posted much in the last month. Things have been busy to say the least, but also exciting. I completed my GMAT and have been accepted into my MBA program of choice. I only have about 3 months left of active duty service, and then will finally be moving back to Tennessee. It's been 7 years since I've been gone, but feels like much longer.

Things with my girl are good. She continues to go above and beyond and really impresses me day to day. Lately, though, I've noticed myself realizing the level of innocence she brings to the relationship. It's not upsetting or frustrating...but I almost envy her. I remember what that feels like. To be fully immersed and full of hope and excitement. I still have those feelings as well, but with the ever present cloud of "I've done this before" lingering overhead.

That hurt from the past doesn't fade. There are highs and lows, which are to be expected, but surprisingly the anxiety it creates is more than I expected. I constantly ask myself if I'm wasting her time...if I'll ever be ready to take things as seriously as I did before and it be infused with that "innocence" she bears so delicately. Can I ever really be that open again, or have I been scarred to the point where I'll never be the same?

I continue to try and not overthink things, but the worry (or fear) of it all happening again lingers. Can I see myself going through all of the same things? Falling "in love," engagement, marriage someday...sometimes it feels so impossible. Other days, it makes me happy.

One day at a time I suppose.

Out.

RENFRO
11-08-17, 10:50 am
Kinda hate myself when I get away from posting on here. Four months gone by already? Jesus. Time is a crazy thing.

Things ended with the girlfriend recently, and probably for the best. The relationship just wasn't on a good foundation and I need some more time to myself.

I'm within just a few short days of moving back home to Tennessee. School starting in January and Guard duty lined up to keep my service time going...it's a beautiful thing.

Reflecting back on this last year has just been crazy, but realizing how maniacal I got with my own self improvement I can't help but imagine I was a freight train barreling towards this exact moment. It took so much planning and focus. Going through the heartbreak and divorce, applying for school, studying and taking the GMAT, planning and interviewing with the Guard, and then starting and ending a wobbly relationship.

Now I finally get to be with the people that matter and do the things I love. I think taking a nice long rest will be much needed. I've saved enough and won't have to even work a part time job any time soon, and the GI Bill has my school covered 100%.

What a beautifully tragic year...but I made it.

Out.

MRmichael.hooker
11-08-17, 11:02 am
What do you do in the guard man?

npcdusty
11-08-17, 11:31 am
What part of TN you in brotha?

RENFRO
01-24-18, 7:29 pm
What part of TN you in brotha?

Hey man, I'm in the Nashville area for school. Grew up in Lebanon just east of there.


What do you do in the guard man?

I did intel active duty, so I'm continuing the same type work. Still have some training to accomplish this summer before I'm officially "doing the job" if that makes sense.