Chase Karnes graduated from Murray State University with a Bachelors degree in Exercise Science. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and Certified Personal Trainer (NSCA-CPT) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. His philosophy is simple: He believes that whether you're an elite athlete, soccer mom, or family doctor you should have access to the most recent developments in exercise, health and nutrition science.

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  • Paying Dues

    Posted at 6:06 pm in Fitness by admin | 3 Comments »

    All of these men have paid their dues.

    “There are no shortcuts, the fact that a shortcut is important to you means that you are a p***y.” – Mark Rippetoe

     It seems these days everyone is looking for a shortcut. Whether it is fat loss, muscle gain or performance enhancement everyone wants a miracle pill. So if you aren’t in the mood for a rant then please stop reading now, if you are continue.

    I began weight training in 1998 in a dark unfinished basement. The walls were cement and there was no outside light shining in. It had a musty basement smell and concrete floors. There was a light hanging from the unfinished ceiling, a Olympic bench with 300 pounds of weight, a pull up bar and a machine that did a bunch of silly shit.  This is where I began my own personal journey into the iron game.

    Fast forward 14 years. Yes, FOURTEEN years. That is how long I have been consistently training with the only time off being a programmed week here and there. I started training weighing 135 pounds and I currently weigh 212. I don’t even recall what my squat, bench or deadlift numbers were but I can tell you this – they were weak! But I’ve paid my dues and built a decent numbers on all my lifts. Some personal best:

    Deadlift 650

    18 inch Deadlift 800

    Bench Press 425

    Squat 500

    Front Squat 425

    Incline Bench Press 315

    Push Press 330

    Log Clean & Press 330

    After over a year of hard consistent training and a good 10 lbs of muscle gain – I’m probably tipping the scales at 145 here.

    I don’t post these numbers to brag in any way. Hell, they aren’t good enough for me. I’m not strong yet and I’m definitely  not strong enough. I’m very pleased with my progress, but it’s not about these numbers. It’s the journey, over the last 14 years, that’s what it’s about. The countless hours I’ve spent in the gym. They have molded me into who I am today. Everything in life is easier when you’ve strained under a heavy bar. I don’t care who you are. It changes a person. It builds a person. These lifts have been done – meaning they are in the past. They don’t matter. Yesterday don’t mean shit. I’m striving for what I can do this week, this month, this year, next year and on and on. The reason I bring these up is someone who has only trained for 6 months or a year will ask what my secret is to size or strength. I’m not talking about any of my clients here either – I educate them about what’s realistic and they get results.  I’m talking about the random people we all run into on a weekly basis who want to talk training. I love talking training, but these people crack me up. They don’t realize you have to pay your dues. They think that some NO X-Plode, some leg presses will get them a 400 pound squat. Or you have the guy who does squat, but thinks he should be squatting 4 plates in the first year of training. These people usually end up qutting or injured because they don’t want to accept they fact that they too have to pay their dues. It doesn’t come fast or easy. But nothing worth having in life does either in my opinion.

    Forget about:

    “8 Weeks to 18 inch biceps”

    “12 Weeks to a 300 pound bench press”

    “16 Weeks to a 500 pound deadlift”

    None of this stuff happens in 8, 12 or 16 weeks. None of this even happens in 52 weeks.

    This stuff happens when you train hard, eat right, and stay consistent for years. Read that again. I said YEARS. You have to pay your dues and with time the reward will come. Go about training as a life long journey – be a lifer. Strive for personal improvement each day. Get Better Every day.

    I’ve Paid My Dues

    • As a freshman in high school the only time I could train was before school since I had practice after school. I was in the high school weight room every morning at 6:30 and trained until 8. I would eat, shower and head to class.


    • As a sophomore, I accepted a B in “Advanced PE & Conditioning” (our schools weight training and conditioning class) because I refused to run the cross country course every day. I knew it wouldn’t make me stronger or better at football. I stayed in the weight room and trained.


    • As a junior, we lost a summer scrimmage to Murray High. As a defensive back I had let a guy out run me. When we made it back to the high school that evening I asked coach to unlock the weight room. I trained for at least 3 hours. I squatted till I couldn’t stand. I leg pressed until I was white as a ghost. Then I did calf raises until they cramped so bad I had to lie in the floor. Looking back this wasn’t the smartest way to train – but it was all part of paying my dues.


    • As a senior, I was saving money for spring break so after school I would drive an hour and work 4-9. I would then drive an hour back to my hometown to a little powerlifting gym a friend of mine owned. I would get there at 10 and there wasn’t anyone around. There was no electricity, heat or air. I would roll up the large garage door, pull my car for music and turn the headlights on for light. Then I would train until 11 or later before heading home.


    • After high school, my summer job was 7-4 most days through the week. I would work until 4 and it never failed – my friends would call me up to go out on the lake and drink beer. I would politely decline and drive to the local health club and train.


    • Once I began training clients I would wake up at 5am and drive over 30 minutes to the city Argonauts is located. I would train clients from 6-8 am then, drive an hour to my other job where I worked 9-6. I would drive the hour back to Paducah and train clients from 7-8pm. Then I would train.


    • Once I began college I would train clients starting at 6am – 8am. I then would drive an hour to Murray State and set in class most of the day. I would drive the hour back to the gym and work 3-8pm and sometimes even 9pm. Then I would train.

    And this list is very small to be honest. These are just a few examples of how I’ve paid my dues over the years. You’ve got to make things happen.

    Remember: Anything worth having doesn’t come easy.

    If you’re looking for a great program to start paying your dues then check out Jason Ferruggia’s “Muscle Gaining Secrets 2.0“. I read the original back in 2005 or so and it changed the way I’d train forever. – Click Here –> Muscle Gaining Secrets 2.0

    Drop me a comment and let me know some ways you’ve paid your dues? I’d love to hear them! Also be sure to sign up for my newsletter in the top right corner of the page.



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    3 Responses to “Paying Dues”

    1. Ed says:

      Going running at 11.30pm after finishing work, or lifting at 10pm after a 12 hour split shift are 2 ways I have paid my dues in my 18 months of regular lifting.

      Though I often feel tired and run down before training once I get started it is always totally worth the small effort needed to take the first step.

    2. Chase Karnes says:

      Hey Ed,

      Awesome stuff, man!

      That’s what it takes. Keep it up. Thanks for the feedback.

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