The Art of Strength & Conditioning

Art of Strength & Conditioning

       by Dustin Hawkins

The art of Strength and Conditioning lies within linear progression. You will only come to understand this truth of the art if you come to find yourself working in a linear way, meaning tracking strength progress so that you can add weight to your loads each training session. In WAR we put all of our efforts into developing the squat, namely the low bar back squat. So if we are squatting on Monday and Thursday we will have needed to make progress in our loading on Thursday compared to Monday. Then from Thursday to Monday we will have needed to make progress in our loading on Monday compared to the previous Thursday; and so on and so fourth we will go working the sets across model, meaning sticking to the same weight for three to five sets across on a five rep scheme (3-5 x 5). So maybe the first Monday you do three sets of five reps with using sixty-five pounds. Then on Thursday you do three sets of five reps with using seventy-five pounds. And you will continue this upward progression each and every week, adding small increments of weight to insure that linear progression remains steady.

I have found that this linear progressive model can continue on for upwards of ten weeks (and even more), that is if the programming on the other gym experience days are programmed properly. The nutrition will also come to play an important role, and maybe the most important role since it is true that what fuel we put in to our human engine is what determines how our human engine runs, performs, and recovers. Also, if you get in the habit of cutting your squat short as your weight gets heavier due to you trying to jump too fast, then your progress will most definitely stall out and can’t remain.

Depth and range of motion has to be consistent in all lifts, especially the squat. At first, your consistency and flexibility will be lacking, however, as you keep working at it you will come to find this consistency and flexibility, though just as in all facets of life, you must work to gain it and not get lazy in your approach to doing so.

Once you’ve developed the necessary coordination to perform the low bar back squat on a consistent basis, and with having perfect technique, it is then that the programming can become more artistic and fun. Now at the end of a sets across squat session you can take eighty percent of that set across load and perform a max reps set, or even and eight rep scheme, where you rest sixty seconds, and then perform another eight rep scheme. So now at this level you’re presented with little rest, or a max effort for reps set that will not only increase your heart rate, but will also promote mental toughness and muscular endurance.

When an individual finally gets to the point in their strength and conditioning journey where they now can perform multiple sets of the low bar with now having the ability to handle more physical and mental stress than ever before – then that is when the art of strength and conditioning can become seen by them. This art, with what started off with the low bar, can then advance into the vast world of strength and conditioning because they will now have the coordination to do all things. Their posterior chain will be strong and mature enough that they will now realize how this powerful chain can be of use to them in all areas of their life. From them learning the low bar, and the beautiful art of the hip drive, they will have become familiar on how to use their hamstrings and lower back in a way that promotes longevity, wellness, and athleticism.

For the person that struggles often with the dark addicted mind then this art of strength and conditioning can be the light that can pull them out of the shadows. Since the low bar recruits so much muscle when done properly, then it only makes sense that muscle growth will happen due to the broad range of motion that this movement gives way to. The body of the participator will most definitely change, and the feeling of toughness and accomplishment they will feel running through their system as they linear progress in this lift is matched by no other lift due to the Low Bars innate ability to stimulate the central nervous system – which then causes a testosterone release to occur that promotes confidence and a feeling of well being.

It’s the learning of how to handle a barbell that also makes up the art of strength and conditioning. Knowing the grips, understanding the loading and how to use percentages, when to back off, and when to go for it. If this art, along with much more, isn’t pursued to be learned then you will never come to understand or experience strength and conditioning and how it might pertain to saving you from your own addictive self. When you are in a garage gym setting, and you find yourself going hard with using a barbell properly – then you can actually escape your own self for a time especially if your intensity is so high that it causes you to be uncomfortable. It is during this time that your addiction can’t even come close to touching you.

A lot of times the addict cannot escape the torments of their own mind, which is why relapse is common. However, the Art of Strength and Conditioning carries so much power in its ability to create a sport that can be tracked – that it will give you the opportunity to set goals for yourself, which is something that all human beings need to have (goals) in their life anyway in order to keep making personal progress.

It’s seems that the barbell is the piece that completes the addiction puzzle. It’s used with chalk; it’s used in the clean & jerk; it’s used in the snatch; and of course it’s in the squats, playing the cornerstone roll in all of these big lifts. Lifts that if done properly, and linearly, they create a confidence in all of life, making it so that your old way of life is but a glimpse in your mind due to it now being focused on the barbell way of life.

The posterior chain is what feeds athleticism. And by feeling athletic we can feel confident, since feeling and being athletic is fun. This concept holds especially true for all age groups. The young kid can benefit greatly from developing athleticism because now they are more prone to being good at sports, which them remaining good at sports will keep them active in playing something healthy as apposed to them hanging out in all the wrong places after school – and with all the wrong people.

For the individual who is in their mid twenties, thirties, forties, or even fifties, feeling athletic can be quite beneficial to them as well since they will feel young and athletic, now giving them the opportunity to enjoy all of life’s physical labors without having fear.

It is starting to be my understanding that as we travel forward in age that we are supposed to try our best at staying as a child. As children we were not only innocent in our thinking, but we were also innocent in our physical selves. We jumped, we ran, we played, we threw rocks and baseballs, we road bikes, and because of us doing these things we remained healthy and happy. So it is now, as we get older that we stop doing all of these things because we claim that we are too busy, or too old for that matter. And what’s happened? Many have dark minds or addiction problems. So what I’m promoting is that in order for us to truly be healed of our addiction disease then we must get back into running, jumping, lifting weights, and playing so that we can get back in touch with our child self.

Fear seams sideline us all at times, especially as we travel past our addiction and upwards in age. The clear life can be scary at first, but it is through the Art of Strength & Conditioning that we can learn to fear no more. The barbell can act as a magical wand, and if used properly can help us to transform mentally, physically, and spiritually. The mental comes in the form of diligence and discipline, and also in the learning of how to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. The physical comes in the form of developing a deep underlying strength, which then leads to an actual physical transformation that then breeds confidence. The spiritual comes in the form of the perfect platform that Strength and Conditioning creates for the ushering in of charitable concepts, and how it can feed light into the darkest of all minds.

Search to familiarize yourself with how to use a barbell. The way of the barbell lifestyle is a life full of strength in mind, body, and spirit. Don’t spend too much time on trying to build up your small muscles by doing curls, or focusing on you calves; but rely on the big lifts since they are the ones that have the capability of changing the way that you think, even making you mentally tougher.

I have found, that if I can take someone who struggles intensely with addiction and teach them this truth concerning strength and conditioning then I can help them to change and become their best self. If I can get them to work hard not only while they are with me but also when then are not with me, then I can help them to further advance their understanding of how it is that they too can come to live the full, abundant life.



The Art of Nutrition

The Art of Nutrition

by Dustin Hawkins

In WAR, we eat healthy so that we can feel better in our minds. If I told you that I could make you feel happier by eating healthy would you do it? So many of us struggle with the dark mind -and proper nutrition can in fact feed a portion of light into that dark mind.

I’m not going to go into scientific detail of how to eat in this book because there are plenty other books out there that can explain it in that way. What I’m going to do in this book is try to explain it as simply as possible so that I don’t geek you out. I know what I know about nutrition because I have participated in it, and then have deeply examined how I have felt while I’m locked in nutritionally compared to when I’m not locked in nutritionally. So here we go.

First and foremost, you need to know what a protein is; what a fat is; and what a carb is. Protein is anything that has a face: cow, chicken, eggs, meat, as I’m sure you know get the point. Cheese is also considered a protein as is whole Milk.

Carbohydrates are your fruits and vegetables, sugars, potatoes, wheat (bread), and your pastas. There are considered to be good carbs and bad carbs. Your good carbs are obviously fruits and vegetables. Your bad carbs are you breads, pastas, candy, pop, potato chips, pizza; or basically anything with too much bread or sugar in it. Carbohydrates are what spike our insulin levels which then causes our hormones to be all out of whack. Have you ever noticed after you binge on candy, or eat a bunch of bread that you feel lethargic thirty minutes after? That’s because all of that sugar  spiked your insulin levels to unnatural levels; and what goes up, must come down and then so does your mood and energy levels.

Fats are your oils, avocados, nuts and seeds (almonds), and guacamole. Fats are good for you, and promote a healthy heart.

So now that you have that understanding of what proteins fats and carbs are, we need now move in the direction of how to eat them.

In WAR we promote eating on a schedule, and with every meal balancing it out with having a protein, fat, and a carb. So at my breakfast at 8am I am having four eggs (protein), a Banana (carb), and an Avocado (fat). So in that meal I got a proper balance of protein, fats and carbs. Then at 10:30 (since I’m on a schedule) it’s time for my snack. I brought a zip lock back with me full of Almonds, Deli turkey, and an Apple. I eat the turkey (couple slices), eat the apple, and eat a handful of almonds, plus hit the drinking fountain for some water. Now 12:30 rolls around and it’s time to eat lunch. Many go out to lunch, as do I, but I stick to the same protein, fat, and carb model through having a chicken salad fully loaded with: chicken (protein), diced tomatoes and peppers (carb), and two scoops of guacamole with a dab of ranch dressing (fats). So now I’m feeling good with having three solid meals under my belt and drinking water all day as well. It’s now 3 and time for me to eat my second snack of the day. So I go back to my zip lock bag, eat a handful of almonds, chew up another apple, and eat three string cheese sticks, and hit the drinking fountain.  Now I’ve got four beautiful meals under my belt and am feeling great.

Now it’s dinner time at 6:30, which is where I try to get all of my vegetables. I stick to the same model of having a piece of Salmon (protein), some almonds and a half of an Avocado (fats), and the rest of my plate filled with vegetables and some fruit, and then a big glass of whole milk or water. Five meals under my belt.

Now it’s 9:30, and I need a little something to help slow me down and get ready for bed. I put a little bit of whole milk in a blender with some crushed up ice, add a scoop of almond butter and vanilla protein, and then a banana, and now blend it up and create a most soothing shake that will help me to relax as I prepare to go to sleep.

Now this little scenario was only to give you an idea of to what a day might look like living the WAR Art of Nutrition. It’s the protein, fat, and good carb at every meal, with sticking to a schedule that are the key ingredients to living this beautiful art. Preparation is key, and without preparation you never come to see the energy high that can unfold from eating such a way.

Gym Experience

I Had a magical day at the track on saturday. This fall weather is really something beautiful. After a long hard week in the WAR gym experience – a track experience was exactly what I needed, and provided me with the perfect escape. I listened to good music, got my mind lifted through the exercise, and then just got lost in gratitude and prayer for an hour or so. After the workout I even laid in some leaves and just kind of relaxed as I let myself cool down. That entire experience, along with the crisp comfortable air, coupled with the scenery from the leaves – led me to having a great night with my kids.

These experiences make me a better father and husband. I got as high as I needed to be on this Saturday afternoon. The high that I came to experience wasn’t a high that I was going to need to chase or come down from; it was a lasting high that was real – and for that I’m thankful.  

I couldn’t be successful in life if it wasn’t for this WAR program. I use this program more than anyone will ever know. The Opiate and Amphetamine whispers are still a constant in my head each and every day, but through this WAR Lifestyle I am able to make my way around their whispers because of how I can replace their message with the WAR message. I can read and study about Christ, which gets me high. I can go and create unique experiences for myself, which gets me high. I can dial in my nutrition, which gets me high. I can get stronger in strength and conditioning, which gets me high. I can live in the moment with my wife and kids, which gets me high. I can work on being patient, humble, and meek, which gets me high.

And most importantly – I can help someone to learn the WAR lifestyle-and then watch it change them, which provides me with the greatest high of all. 


A. 7-10 Minute Warm-up. Get physically and mentally (practice focused meditative thought) ready for the WAR gym experience. 

B. 3 sets (not for time) of:

60 Second Hand Stand Holds + 10 High Wall Balls + Work on Butterfly/kipp pull-up for 10 reps or so


A. Quickly build to a tough single in the squat clean

B. Every 90 Seconds for 9 minutes perform: 3 Squat Clean (85% – 1RM) 

C. Low Bar: 5 (75%), 3 (85%), 1 (90%). + 4 Reps @ 85-90% x 3. 

NOTE: Log loads and how this goes…Last week we did 5 reps so go up in your percentage for this week since we are only doing 4 reps (heavier than last week). Log how this goes an compare notes to last week. 


Complete 3 rounds for time of:

25 Toes2bar + Sprint 100 meters + 10 Turkish Get Ups (55/35) + Sprint 100 Meters

NOTE: So take a Kettle-bell a 100 yards away from where you are doing the toes2bar, preferably on some grass. After you are done doing the TGU”s then you sprint back to the toes2bar station which will make-up one complete round. 


Weekend Experience

Experience The Mountains in the Fall


A. Run 1 Mile at a slow pace – work on meditative thought & prayer/gratitude.

B. Run 400 meters (80%); rest 2 minutes; Run 400 meters (90%); rest 2 minutes; run 400 meters (100%)

NOTE: Post times 

C. 5-100 yard (on some grass) barefoot sprints; rest is walk back (work on breathing/gratitude during walk back)

D. Run 1 mile at a medium pace – think about all of the things that you are thankful for.



A Read 20 minutes X 6

B. Send a text to someone that you haven’t heard from in a while. Someone who has played a positive role in your life. Ask them how they are doing. 

C. Go for a 1hour walk/hike. Get into prayer. Email me pictures. The weather is supposed to be magical.

D. Write about how the weekend experience went and then email me what you wrote. [email protected]


Gym Experience

Dustin Hawkins Presenting in the WAR Classroom: Low Bar Back Squat + Linear Progression


3 Rounds For TIme:

30 Double Unders + 15 Toes2Bar

       rest exactly 2 minutes and then go into the STRONG


3 Rounds For Time:

15 Push Press (135/75) + 15 CTB Pull Ups

       rest exactly 2 minutes and then go into the BALANCE


3 Rounds For Time:

15 HSPU + 15 Burpee Push Ups

NOTE: Log total time completed after finishing the entire workout – rests included…Burpee push-ups are when you over emphasize doing the push-up in the burpee, which means that you just can’t fall to your chest – but you must get in the push up plank, then do a push up into a burpee. 

Gym Experience

The Movement

PROGRAM NOTE: Class starts at: 5:15 & 6:15. If you get there early then warm-up and start with the class at 15 after. Please don’t show up late as this disrupts the entire class. WAR Life Coach Dan is running a class at 3:30 on most days, however, due to school this will not always be the case. Those who are working with Dan at 3:30 will have to work based on his schedule. We have a morning crew that are going in the morning around 8am that is being ran by WAR Life Coaches Boston & Spence. They are in the process of building a class/program so if you are interested in being a part of their morning crew then you need to get ahold of them. Thanks..


A. 7-10 Minute Warm-up. Get physically and mentally ready for the WAR gym experience (practice focused meditative thought)

B. 3 rounds @ 80%: 10 Goblet Squats (70/55) + Run 400 Meters


A. 2 Front Squat; rest 2 minutes X 3

NOTE: To be done @ 90% of your 1RM. Make sure get loose – building accordingly. 

B. EMOM for 6 minutes perform: 6 Low Bar @ 70-75% (1RM)

NOTE: Advanced do 75% – not advanced -do 70% or lower. Log how this goes..


A. Complete 21, 15, 9 reps for time of:

Squat Clean (135/75) + Burpee Pull-Up

NOTE: Log time completed…

B. Cool Down: stretch/mobility/jog/walk + practice focused meditative thought. Look to analyze how your mood is after completing a workout such as this. Write about the entire gym experience. Log all of your loads and times. How did you feel on this day? What do you need to work on? Be detailed in your journaling..

Remote Experience

Bub Taking His Remote Experience Up High 

Send us pictures of you Remote Experience so that we can highlight them on the blog..

A. Go out and create a jogging experience for yourself in a unique location. Switch up your terrain, going from road, to grass, to trail, to steep hill, or whatever. Just be creative and challenge yourself. Do this experience plugged in, listening to good motivational music. Make it about a 45 minute to an hour experience. 

Take pictures and write about the experience and then email or text them to me: [email protected]

B. Read for 45 minutes (be creative of where you choose to read)

Gym Experience

White Board Concept


A. 1 Minute Plank Holds; rest 30 Seconds; 1 Minute Max Sit-Ups; rest 30 seconds X 3

NOTE: Log total sit-ups.


A. Build to a tough single in the Push Jerk

NOTE: Log how this goes..

B. Take 70% of A and perform 30 Push Jerks for time (take it from the floor not the rack)

NOTE: Log time completed


12 minute AMRAP of:

10 HSPU or Hand Release Push Ups + 15 Wall Balls + 20 KBS (70/55)

       rest exactly 1 minute after 12 minutes is up and then perform

60 Pull-Ups for time

NOTE: Log total rounds completed plus time it took you to complete

Gym Experience

WAR Classroom: Me (Dustin Hawkins) Presenting “New Memories” concept…


A. 7-10 Minute Warm-up. Get physically and mentally (practice focused meditative thought) ready for the WAR gym experience. 

B. 3 sets (not for time) of:

60 Second Hand Stand Holds + 15 High Wall Balls + Work on Butterfly/kipp pull-up for 10 reps or so


A. EMOM for 7 Minutes: 2 Power Clean (80% of 1RM) + 6 Burpees

B. Low Bar: 5 (75%), 3 (85%), 1 (90%). + 5 Reps @ 85% x 3. 

NOTE: Log loads and how this goes…


A. 3 sets for times of:

8 Thrusters (95/65) + 30 Box Jumps (24/20) + 8 Thrusters (95/65); rest 3 minutes

NOTE: Log 3 times…

B. Cool Down: stretch/mobility/jog/walk + practice focused meditative thought. Look to analyze how your mood is after completing a workout such as this. Write about the entire gym experience. Log all of your loads and times. How did you feel on this day? What do you need to work on? Be detailed in your journaling..

Weekend Experience

We must be seekers of unique experiences. We must find ways to allow our physical selves to feed our spiritual selves. 

Track Experience

A. 10 Minute Warm Up Run – Get lost in prayer & Meditative thought (gratitude).

B. For Time: Run 400 Meters + 25 Burpees + Run 400 Meters. What time did you get?

       actively walk (meditate/gratitude) and recover for 5 minutes and then go into C. 

C. For Time: Run 800 meters (2 – laps). What time did you get?

       walk and get lost in gratitude for 5 minutes. (family, friends, Job, being clear, etc.)

D. Go for a 20 minute jog @ 65% – out of the track arena and into the neighborhood (be creative; change terrain often if you can). How far did you get?

NOTE: Write about how this experience went and then email me what you wrote or post it on the BLOG. [email protected]



A. Read for 20 minutes X 4-6 (all unique locations)

B. Focus on spending time in your family this weekend. Go hang out with you mom and dad on a saturday night; go to a movie with your sister or brother. Make this happen – and try to live in the moment; appreciate the moment. 

C. Write for 20 minutes on what you have learned from doing the weekend, remote, and gym experiences in the past week. Who are you becoming? What changes have happened in your life? Where in the WAR lifestyle do you need to improve? 

Answer all of these questions and then email me what you wrote: [email protected]