Just a bit of a diversion, here.  Meesus TTP dug these up these old pictures of yours truly a few days ago.  They were taken in ’82 or ’83?  Wow, how time flies; seems like (warning, bad cliche imminent) it was only yesterday.

The future TTP, at the ripe ol’ can’t tell me a Goddamn thing age of 17.  If I’m not mistaken, this was taken at the old Powerhouse Gym, in San Antonio, Texas.

That was the right idea, kid...
That was the right idea, kid...except for the cheesy gloves.

I distinctly remember trying to emulate Arnold’s technique, as exemplified in the photo below.   And if I’m not mistaken, that shot is from the book Education of a Bodybuilder. I’d met him about six years earlier, at a grand opening for a sporting goods store (Oshman’s?) in San Antonio, Texas.  This was right about the time of Pumping Iron’s premiere.  Franco Columbu was there that day as well.  They both took the time to talk with me — heavily accented, and tough to understand, especially when all I’d ever heard up until that time was a heavy Texas drawl — and showed genuine interest in my my interest in weightlifting.  This was all pretty heady stuff for a young and impressionable kid with an athletic temperament and a garage full of Sears, plastic-coated concrete weights.  It was game-on from that day forward.

Arnold; 'nuff said.


But my true love was football.  To excel at the game in early-80’s Texas, was an experience that I don’t expect will ever be duplicated.  There’s very little exaggeration involved in the movie, Friday Night Lights.

Yours truly, swooping in from the 3 O’clock position for a kamikaze, seek and destroy mission.

Thought I was just warming up for the pros...
Thought I was just warming up for the pros...

The pros didn’t exactly pan-out like I expected, however.  A butchered ACL, back in the day when that injury spelled CAREER ENDER, saw to that.  I still love the game, though, and for a long time after I had to let it go , while at Texas State, I missed it terribly.  An interesting side note here: the kid I’m puttin’ the crunch on is John Hagee (not the pastor John Hagee) of San Antonio, John Marshall High School.  We were quite the personal rivals at the time.  He went on to have stellar careers as a free safety for the University of Texas and the New England Patriots.  It took a good while for me to learn that you don’t always get to choose your own life course.  You gotta play with the hand your dealt.

In Health,


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Keith Norris is a former standout athlete, a military vet, and an elite strength and conditioning expert with over 35 years of in-the-trenches experience. As a serial entrepreneur in the health and wellness space, he is an owner, co-founder and Chief Development Officer of the largest Paleo conference in the world, Paleo f(x) . As well, Keith is a partner in one of the most innovative lines of boutique training studios in the nation, Efficient Exercise. He’s also a partner in ARXFit training equipment, and a founding member of ID Life. In his spare time, he authors one of the top fitness blogs in the health and wellness sphere, Theory To Practice.


  1. Interesting. Thanks for sharing these pics! And I think I’m starting to understand that as well. Make the right decisions with what’s in front of you and you’ll get to where you want to go.

  2. Thanks for sharing – that’s great stuff. Being from Ohio, I also love football. Being a girl, I never got to play.

    My brother was hoping to make the pros in baseball and got sidetracked by an injury. I’m not sure he has fully dealt with it. It can be quite a blow to someone whose life is spent working toward one goal. I’m sorry to hear about your career ender (and I know about ACL injuries…), but you seem to be doing great despite the curveball (is that a pun?).

    Awesome stuff, as always.

  3. So thaaaat’s why you love weighted dips so much. well that and the fact that dips are awesome. Do you do any ring work? Taking dips to the next level with muscle-ups and weighted ring dips was really quite a new and interesting challenge for me.

  4. Bryce,
    Yeah, weighted dips are definitely (along with the overhead press variants) my go-to “push” exercises. I’m one of those who’s not a big fan of the flat bench in an athletic application. I have dabbled with rings, and I think muscle-ups are an excellent exercise — my current gym set-up though, won’t allow for them. They are part of my ultimate gym “wish list”.

    Arnold and Franco were quite a pair to see in person. And both were really nice guys as well.

    It’s strange how one misstep can redirect your life in a totally unforeseen way. In many ways, though, I think I’m a much stronger person for having gone through it.

    Without waxing too spiritual here, I’d say that I think there is only a certain amount of free-will involved within the confines of our “destined route”.

  5. Keith,

    You and I shared the same stomping grounds. I worked out at the original Powerhouse gym on Fredricksburg Rd. many times (although I was mainly a regular at Bob Dickson’s Olympic Gym on Rittamin Rd.) Powerhouse and Olympic were San Antonio rivals for the best hard-core gym. I was a Roosevelt H.S. guy. I didn’t play football (I was a professional BMX racer). I think Hagee may have been at Roosevelt for a semester before moving to the other side of town. That “C” on your helmet…was that Cole H.S.? I was also at THE SAME Arnold seminar. It was at the Oshman’s store at Windsor Park Mall. Weird to think we were in the same room together all these years ago. Now I live in Seneca, S.C. not far from where you live. I eat EF style, do high intensity training and still do sprint intervals on my bike. Parallel lives? There really are a limited number of phenotypes.


  6. Whoa! What a small world (I think I hear the Twilight Zone theme)! The “C” on the helmet is for Clark H.S. I’m trying to remember some folks from Roosevelt. If I remember correctly, the head football coaches daughter was in my graduating class — Fairrar rings a bell…I’ll have to ask Meesus TTP. Keep in touch, Doug. Hit me up on Facebook, if you’re so inclined.

  7. Keeping the hair is definitely an accomplishment! It looks sort of “feathered” and not a mullet, so that’s a fashion plus.

    Making the costillas reciped again this weekend! Hopefully I won’t set the ribs on fire…


  8. Yeah, the hair was more “Eric Estrada” than “Billy Ray Cyrus”. To be honest, though, I probably only avoided the mullet trap by being in the military during that poor taste craze.

    Costillas do sound good; I may have to alter my meal plans to accommodate that as well!


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