Posted by on Jul 30, 2015

Eric Johnson is one of the Sons of Strength with his brother Ryan. As a coach, his goal is to serve as an example to some and to make examples out of others. Based in New York City, the Sons of Strength prepare their clientele of A-List celebrities and champion fighters for feature films, photoshoots, and title matches. Want to work with Eric? We can hook you up.

Good evening. For too long, we in the fitness industry have been lying to you. We say we’re here to serve you when in fact, we’re serving ourselves. And why? We are driven by our own desire to be heard and seen. Our need to stroke our own egos eclipses our duty to educate and change lives.

That ends tonight. Tonight, I give you the truth:

The dream of six pack abdominals and single digit body fat percentage has failed you. Exercise more, eat less. You aren’t guaranteed success. Your body will not be better off than yesterday.

We’ve been crippled by proclaimed gurus. False advertisement. Overkill of Social Media self bragging disguised as soft core porn. A corrupt supplement industry.

And entitlements. And that is the root of of the problem.


Let me be clear: You are entitled to nothing.

Great physiques were built on the spirit of sacrifice. You build your future. It isn’t handed to you.

Whether you join a gym, hire an online coach or trainer, or follow a specific nutritional guideline. None of these actions guarantee results. It’s what you do with the resources, knowledge, and guidance from these individuals.

Just because you take out your wallet, throw down your credit card, or make it rain with hundred dollar bills, doesn’t mean you are entitled to a six pack, a new PR, or the body of a Greek God or Goddess.

But there is hope. Now is the time for change. It begins at the root of the problem. This is a call to action.


That speech may sound awfully familiar to some of you. If you’re a Netflix aficionado like myself, you might have noticed the similarities between ours and the original delivered by President Francis J. Underwood in the original series, House of Cards. Although he fictitiously addresses his to the American people in regards of the 10 million unemployed individuals, the message can easily be applied to your own fitness journey and body recomposition of muscle gain or fat loss.

Yes, a corrupt politician and murderer can actually teach you a hell of a lot about reaching your goals – fitness related or not. He did work his way up from a Majority House Whip to the leader of the free world without even a single vote casted in his name.

Here are 4 strategies – let’s call them Four of a (Successful) Kind – from the House of Cards to move you into the Oval Office of the White House of Gains.

Lets set the record straight. In no means is Frank Underwood a great person to aspire to be. However, his actions and quotations provide valuable lessons to success in your bodys transformation.

1. A Heart to Heart

First things first, we need to have a little heart to heart.

Just you and I. Then you and the mirror.

Beyond your extrinsic or intrinsic motivations, there is one single reason why we all the work out, count macros, hire a coach, and clock in for metabolic conditioning.

That one reason is that you do it for YOU.

Yes, you do it completely for yourself. And we’re here to tell you that it’s OK.

It’s totally OK to be completely self-centered for your health, your longevity, your appearance, and your mental state. We actually want you to be selfish. At least a little.

This is YOUR life after all. Do it on your own terms without having to please anyone else.

In the words of Frank, “For those of us climbing to the top of the food chain, there can be no mercy. There is but one rule: hunt or be hunted.”


In the House of Cards, Frank aimed to take the top. He did anything and everything in his power to climb the ranks and ultimately claim his prize of becoming the President of the Free Land.





Play Dirty.

He did every single one of them and more than once.

Full Disclaimer: I am still NOT telling you that it is ok to kill someone if they stop you from going to the gym or steal someone else’s equipment because you need it for your superset. Like this…

What I am telling you is that if you truly want to achieve an extraordinary physique, fitness, or performance goal, you are going to have to piss some people off and put yourself first along the way.

We are not referring to mediocrity here. No, we are talking about big changes that take sacrifice.

  • You cannot be afraid to decline that lunch or your mothers plea to indulge in dessert. 
  • You have to choose your workouts over what someone else wants you to join them in on. 
  • You must get rid or at least distance yourself from the people that try to sabotage your quest. 
  • You can eat a separate dinner from your loved one or the rest of your family so that it fits your macros. 
  • You need to tell your waiter at dinner your requirements and restrictions. 

What is keeping you from the top?

Identify the people or circumstances that are holding you back from reaching the lowest body fat percentage of your existence, making you missing your macros, or skip a work out.

As long as you are not using them as an excuse, start putting yourself before these individuals. Have a heart to heart with them and explain what you want to accomplish.

If they truly care and unconditionally love you, they will understand and support you 110 percent.

2. Call a Spade a Spade.

You know the saying “guilty by association,” right?

Your first exposure of this was probably in school. Just hanging out with the wrong crowd or even being in the wrong place at the wrong time could jeopardize a lot for you.

Think of how many individuals have been completely innocent of a crime but just being linked to it has ruined their image, name, and entire future.

We know this. Yet how many of us still keep those people in our lives?

On the other end of the spectrum, those whom you surround yourself with can make you a better person and bring the best out in you.

It’s time to call a spade a spade.

In the House of Cards, Frank uses people like pawn in this game of political chess.

He surrounds himself with a wife that understands his thirst for power and completely supports it up until the third season finale. Claire understands the uphill battle they faced and was a vital reason why Frank goes by Mr. President now. Regardless of her own agenda, everyone needs a First Lady (or Man) in order to bring dreams into reality.

Then you have the reporter and mistress in Zoe Barnes. Frank used her solely for media connections to leak information to better his position. But after she became a threat instead of an asset to his pursuit, well if you’re a fan of the show you know what happened.

Either way, he was not afraid to cut his losses. Especially if they did not help him advance forward.

Ah then we have Doug, the Wild Card.

As the story unfolds, we are on the fence with Doug. Up until the season finale, he had no defined role and was viewed as a liability. His behaviors and the power of his knowledge could either immensely benefit or severely hurt Frank.

The Wild Cards are the ones you have to watch out for as they are unpredictable. They could be your best training partners or the ones that kill your progress in the gym.

Be aware of who you surround yourself with in all aspects of your life. Don’t be afraid to call a Spade a Spade.

3. Stack the Deck

You are NOT your genetics.

Stop blaming Mommy and Daddy for your wide hips, lack of calf development, or poor insulin sensitivity. It’s not their fault. Let it go.

If you dont like how the table is set, turn over the table.

Frank Underwood’s father was a peach farmer in South Carolina, who died of a heart attack at a young age. Frank despised his father’s cowardice, weak personality, and drunken behavior. Instead of succumbing to be just like him, he rose to become the complete opposite of him.

Sure, what you are born with may make things more difficult in certain situations. But they also may help in others.

What you need to do is find your strengths.

Social media powerhouse and entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuk breaks down his approach to determine your best job skills. Give it a quick read here.

To determine your fitness strengths, here is our approach:

  • Ask yourself, what exercises do you LOVE and look forward to? Which do you HATE and cannot wait to be done?
  • Get the opinion of 5 to 10 people (training partner, coach, family, co-workers, gym acquaintances) of what is your best and most lagging body parts?
  • Take a conditioning test. We always recommend a Modified Coopers Test. Basically, you will choose any implement or activity where you can record distance. Try to complete as much distance as possible in 6 minutes. If you wear a heart rate monitor, see how long it takes your heart rate to come back down to resting levels after you finish.
  • Look at the numbers (Personal Records). Determine where they lie in relation to your body weight. They wont lie when it comes to your strengths and weaknesses. 
  • Ask for strangers opinions by posting a progress picture. Ask for a strangers critique on a video of your exercises execution. Just have some think skin and dont take everything people write to heart. 

You may not even have a passion for your strengths but most of the time you will excel at a giving activity because it comes easier to you.

Once you take some personal inventory, you can begin to strategize to either enhance your strengths or place more emphasis on your weaknesses.

For instance, you may have a great set of boulder shoulders. But your pecs are lacking. How about considering going on a chest specialization program? Or including a new exercise or two into your workouts to bring them up?

Forget your past experiences, lack of success, and genetics. By addressing your weaknesses, your alter ego cannot take advantage of yourself. Look for the opportunities to get better each day and seize them.

Then you or your coach must arrange your training and nutrition to give yourself the most unfair advantage. This is how you stack the deck.

It is not cheating. It’s forging your own future with little regard to your past.

4. Ace In the Hole

By definition, a house of cards is a a poorly thought about plan, something that is badly put together and can be easily knocked over.

Do not let your training program and nutrition strategy become a house of cards.

Instead, you must do your homework. Have someone teach you or learn yourself:

  • How to perform exercises like the bench press, deadlift, and squat correctly.
  • How to count your macros, what the gram to calorie ratio of each food is, and how to eventually eyeball your portions
  • The importance of sleep and hydration. Plus tricks of how to optimize both. 
  • The difference between strength, power, and hypertrophy. Be able to differentiate repetition execution between lifting as much as weight as possible versus creating as much tension as possible. 

Information is power, unless it makes you paralyzed with inaction.

Frank Underwood ALWAYS did his homework. He knew everything – strengths, weaknesses, positions, and the dirt – about every single member of Congress. To the point where he had a file of research on each of them.

To build a plan that is resilient to anything that life throws at you, your knowledge will be wealth. That way when shit hits the fan, whether it’s a stressful time in your life or your willpower is zapped to zilch, you can pull out that ace in the hole.

When the time is right, you will be prepared with something that other people are not aware of. That something can be used to your advantaged so that you can successful reach your goals or stay on the path to attaining them.

That is the Royal Flush of reaching your fitness goals. Be selfish, identify your allies and enemies, turn over the table, and throw down that powerful ace. Jackpot. 


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