i have been lifting on and off since 97. half of it was messing around, doing what i read in the magazines. then i learned recently on a personal level that everyones body is different. what works for one might not work for another. i thought id share my personal experience here with you guys since you guys have helped me out a lot. 1)mind over muscle. ive learned to concentrate a whole lot more. rather than thinking about some girl or what im goign to eat tonite, right then and there when im doing my rep i focus solely on the muscle i am working out. i picture it in my mind and i imagine the blood flowing to it. by doing this i definitely feel more of a pump and i noticed i get a better work out. i concentrate on controlling the rep rather than banging out as many as i can. sometimes thats ok for me. quality over quantity first. i make sure i squeeze at the top always. 2)somtimes i like to go into the gym not knowing what exercises i am going to do. this keeps it fun and alive. 3)i am now repping 290lbs on the bench!!!!! i learned that a lot of the restrictions we have are mental. i was repping 275 before and thought hey i think i can do another 15lbs and i did. 4)when benching i step away from the bench in between sets. i picture the bench as a work zone with no bullshit. i stand in front of the fan and concentrate on my next set. when i sit back on the bench im business again. i grab the bar, stretch my back, plant my feet, grip the bar very hard and pound away at the reps. i try to apply this for all exercises. 5)when im tired at home and i want to sleep in and push my workout to the next day i think to myself that i have one life and each day you cant take back. carpe diem. as tired and groggy as i am i know that the blood flowing will wake my ass up. 6)i look at food as fuel. i try to enjoy eating on the weekends but weekdays i follow it strict. food is fuel. 7)i feel confident. i feel strong. i look at those around me and notice that most of the people in this country is out of shape or really fat or just really weak. i choose not to be in that group. i consider myself in an elite organization of people who dedicate themselves to better their minds and their bodies. most people dont understand the dedication and hardwork lifting takes. it is definitely not easy. it takes determintation, dedication and consistency and intensity. i dont ask for much if all i ask is 1.5 hrs per day to be as intense as i can. well guys, those are my two cents. i know i sound crazy.