How Malcolm Carter Found His Switch to Dominate the CFL

Clance: Malcolm Carter. Nice to be here with you, my man. Tell everyone who you are and what you do.

Malcolm: My name is Malcolm Carter. This is my third off-season at LPS. I’ve been training for my CFL seasons. Each time I’ve been playing for the Montreal Alouettes. It’s been I guess a dream come true to be able to play and be able to just train in this kind of atmosphere as well. But yeah.

Clance: Nice. So, Malcolm, it’s a pleasure. I love watching your growth over these years and watching your grind.

What makes you tick? Like what makes you come back year after year? It could be for football. It could be for something out of football, like who is Malcolm?

Malcolm: Well, for each come back each year, it’s well, just the love of the game. Really. And I know what I need to do after each season. Really. It’s just kinda, when I come back, even when I came back this year, I think I remember coming to you and saying, I need to be more explosive, I need to be able to get in and out of my breaks. And then two weeks later, my program had exactly done that. It’s knowing that I can be better each year and that next season though having that drive to come back and prove the naysayers wrong.

At the end of the year, we always have these exit meetings. People are always wary of them, but I’m like, no, I want to hear what your thoughts were. I want to know what I can do to get better than this next off-season. That’s what really brought me here. My one coach said I want you 20 pounds heavier. I was like done. I got fat.

Clance: Done. Like how much weight have you put on since you’ve been here?

Malcolm: Since I’ve been here? Proper way, I probably lost 10 pounds of fat, but I gained like 30 pounds of muscle.

Clance: My man, like you are huge compared to when I first met you. It’s crazy and I love seeing it. I like what you said about, naysayers or what are some of the things that the naysayers say that keep you motivated or get you going?

And I also like to hear, it’s beautiful like, don’t shut them out, take it in, listen, you know? Because those things are going to help you. But what are some of those things that they say, Malcolm?

Malcolm: One thing they say is like, You weren’t strong enough. You’re not explosive enough. And I always felt like, yes, that wasn’t like the high point of my game, but I never thought that it would be so detrimental. So I was just like, okay, let me just really work on that, and for sure I’m not going to stop working on the other things I need to work on because like, you need to be a well-rounded athlete. That’s one thing I always wanted to be. Wanna be like well-rounded like… What are those things called? A Swiss Army knife? I just want to be able to be on the field and help my team win if that’s any way possible. I’m just gonna try and do that.

Clance: A hundred percent. So, the two biggest things that they would say are that you’re not explosive enough, you’re not strong enough. How about the mental aspect?

Malcolm: They just said you always have to make sure you’re in it. I know I don’t have like, I know I get distracted sometimes, but I always try to make sure as soon as the game starts, like that’s the only thing on my mind. As soon as that first muscle goes, I’m ready to go. And that’s the only thing I wanna, I always make sure I have to work on like practices. I wanna Make sure I’m always in there. But as soon as that game, I’m a game kind of player. I’m ready to go.

Clance: I’ve noticed when you said that over watching the last couple of years, you’ve developed this switch. You kind of talk, I see you talking yourself, like you talk to yourself like you get, you get hype, and I was like Who’s he talking to?

And I noticed that. What is that? You’re not shy about getting and putting on your music or whatever and just get into that zone. Talk to me about that cause I have noticed that and that’s part of I’ve seen your growth in terms of your performance in the gym.

Malcolm: Well, I just feel like, Jeremy gave me this book where you have to key, it was saying that you need the alter ego.

Clance: Alter ego.

Malcolm: So I started reading and I was like, yeah, I can do both. But like, there are some things that I like to do that isn’t helpful to me on the field and I just need to be, I started creating that alter ego. Just to be able to create and be able to like push myself to that extra level.

That’s why I kind of started doing what, like when it’s a squat, I just feel like, you easily got this, let him come out, let him come out. And as soon as like, I just got the weight, I’m just in that zone and that’s all I’m really ready to.

Clance: I love that, man. Cause I’ve noticed I’ve been watching, there’s a switch that goes off and I said, look at this, look at this, look at, Malcolm! I love it, man.

Malcolm: I start phasing around.

Clance: Yeah. I love that, Malcolm. Good for you man. Cause I find it’s not easy. Right? And I know a lot of times people don’t like when I say that, but the truth is the truth. You just got to find a way, you gotta make it easy and I guess that alter ego helps you to take that.

I don’t know if that’s a right word to say easier path and so-and-so, but to help you get through whatever you need to get through to get on the other side. And I appreciate you tapping into that because it’s contagious and I can see it rubbing off on other athletes. Good on you man.

Malcolm: Cause I feel like a lot of it is, what do they say for? For professional athletes? It’s a lot of it is mental and I feel like that’s what gets a lot of people out of the game. It’s like, they’re not really, that mental aspect isn’t really there anymore like they lost the love of the game. So they don’t really have that drive, but you gotta be able to come back every day and be like, I know I wasn’t as good that yesterday, but I want to get better today.

Clance: And it’s even more tough right now going through what you like, you’re getting ready, you’ve been preparing for what? Last season you’re ready to go. That got shut down because of COVID, now you’re ready to go. How does that mentor or that alter ego or how do you deal with that? I guess inside the gym or outside the gym.

Malcolm: Well, I feel like I always needed to like take a little break just in between just for that mental aspect. When you’re in the gym, you’re always pushing yourself to get better and you’re just always pushing yourself and like, you’re gonna always hit a little wall.

Clance: Right.

Malcolm: And if you just can’t get past it on your first try, you know, just take that step back, just get your mind right, then just push right back through. That’s what I kind of did that this last off-season.

Clance: Cause it’s, you know, it’s tough cause most, I know as a coach, I don’t do well. If I don’t see a deadline, like I need to, I don’t like athletes just coming in to train and train. What are we preparing for? Are we preparing for that off-season? That’s my holy grail. And I find for those athletes who you know, not gym rats, they want performance. They want to play. That’s mentally tough for them.

So, you’re basically saying you’re at your best when you’re training for a goal?

Malcolm: Yeah. I can say that’s for me. That’s me for sure. Yeah.

Clance: A hundred percent. Yeah. I see that as that’s tough for everybody, man. Like some people just like to train, but I believe that you’re not really, it’s hard to push yourself to the ultimate, especially in this training system. If you don’t have a goal in mind, some type of endpoint, some type of reward, going through off-season, you know, going to a camp, kicking ass, making that roster, having a great season. I wanna go back to when you first came in and how did you hear about us anyway?

Malcolm: The year before or two years before I was teammates with Fabian, I was teammates with Wayne for a little bit. And like, I just saw there, not only their physique but the way they performed on the field. How explosive they were, how fast they were. And in my mind, I was like, wow, like those two are balling.

Clance: They stood out to you.

Malcolm: Yeah. And after that off-season, one of my coaches said, I want you to put on 20 pounds. So I was like, my mom didn’t really know where I was going to go with that, and then my agent, whose agent of Wayne and Fabian told me about this place. I was a little skeptical at first.

Clance: Why were you skeptical?

Malcolm: I just didn’t know cause like what’s lots of gyms. Every gym has their own atmosphere. I was unsure how it was gonna fit in with and gel with this.

Clance: Like this, like what? Like what was the fear like gel with what?

Malcolm: I just wasn’t sure about how I would deal with the intensity.

Clance: Well, you figured there was an intensity before you got in here?

Malcolm: Yeah.

Clance: How? How did you figure? I guess that’s what I’m getting. How did you like I’ve never met you before. You’ve never, is it just the outside look at in you can see that there’s intensity?

Malcolm: You can just see like the work that everyone was putting in and you always see just the little Instagram stories, like little snippets. You can still feel it, you can see the optimal. Everything covered so, I was just like, oh man, how am I going do?

And then two weeks to three weeks in, I’m just, it was like a Tuesday. I know it was a Tuesday cause I was pretty comfortable doing my workouts. And I was just walking down this our turf zone. I walked in front of Wayne and I was like, what are you doing? Come on. And I was just, I saw the intensity and I was just like, oh man, how am I gonna do?

Malcolm: And then after the workout, we go to the change room and then we just like, we chatted up for like half an hour, and I was just like, just seeing the different sides and like how he created that the animal, just to do the intense workout. I was just like, I like, I enjoyed, I was like, I need to stick around. I need to be able to do that. I need that new animal in me. So I just kept trying, kept coming in, and working towards that.

Clance: That switch, baby, that switch. And now you got it. Like you see how important that is. And a lot of times what I find through social media, Instagram, a lot of people think that like, we’re not nice people here. We’re, you know, we’re animals or whatever you want to, like these guys are just crazy, going heavy. No, we’re the nicest group you can find, but when it’s time to go to work, it’s time to go to work. And don’t you get in that, don’t get in my way.

I literally coach my athletes to be that way because pro sports ain’t nice. No. You know, you gotta have that switch. And Jeremy also got that book for me and I read it and I loved, and I actually bought it. Got that book for my daughter as well. And it’s phenomenal because that’s exactly what we want to do.

I’m so proud of you. I’m so proud of your work ethic. I’m so proud of your focus. Like you, it’s night and day your focus. And I just had to, you know, let you know that and then let you know how I feel about that. And it’s great to see that and that focus and that alter ego is going to take you when you’re all said and done dominating your career. It’ll take you to everyday life and right now is, I’m pretty sure you’re applying it and dominate whatever you got in the cards for you in your life. So good on you, man.

I want to switch gears. Like, what is your long-term plan? Like who’s Malcolm outside of sport? Who’s Malcolm outside of the gym?

Malcolm: Well, I feel like right now, I’m like, I’m trying to focus straight on my career, for football, but-

Clance: So you’re locked in like you don’t, you don’t allow any outside-

Malcolm: Cause like right now I’m not too sure like how I want to continue. I’m using all the experiences and that’s why I kind of also love the gym because I’ll just come in some days and before I even start, someone will come to sit down in the locker room and I’ll just start chatting up just to see like where their mindset is. Like what they’re thinking about cause like you never, you can always learn things from other people. And that’s that’s what I’m just gonna go with.

Clance: A Hundred percent.

Malcolm: And it’s just like, I’m not really sure yet, but that’s kind of-

Clance: But right now, this is your focus?

Malcolm: I focus on the next step.

Clance: You know, I have a mathematical equation that I live by every day that helps me get through whatever or really get things done. It’s like focus + times + intensity equals productivity. And then how you use that is the human. You know, everybody has the capacity to focus on a certain thing, one thing for a period of time and you have to, it could be 10 minutes, 20 minutes, or 30 minutes. And man, that formula, I read it in a book called Deep Work by Cal Newport.

Ever since I started using that formula, it really expedited my performance in anything I decide to lock it into whatever, it’s training, whether it’s studying, whether it’s reading or whatever, something of importance. So to me, when you said that, you know what, you’re focused on your career right now and that’s it a hundred percent.

You just, you can notch that up a little bit by just really intensifying that focus. And so I will do a certain amount of time, take a little break, come back to it. All right.

My man. So Malcolm Carter, is there anything else that you’d like to discuss or in terms of just Malcolm as a person or you see these young, these young kids?

I like to use our athletes as like, what’s that word? Like mentors or leaders and not just to see, not for them, just to see the, you know, the highlights in the plane, but you know, any word of advice for the young ones coming up in terms of working through adversity and achieving their goals or working towards their goals?

Malcolm: Well, I remember when I first came in to select first year, you always remind me, but when I actually like tweak my back and I was out for like two weeks, like I just didn’t come to the gym. Cause I was just like, I don’t know what you really want me to do and I see it all the time with these young guys, they come in and like, like they want to push themselves. So it kind of, so you don’t hurt themselves a little and it just always reminds them like, hey, just come back, come in tomorrow, there’s so many other things you can work on around it just to, just to like it loosens up and we can strengthen that back then.

And it’s just, it’s great to see because when I first came back after those two weeks and just talking to everyone in the gym, they’re like, yeah, I also tweak my back, but just make sure to come in so you can keep working on everything. That’s just like, oh, this is just the standard here.

Clance: Just prior to process, baby.

Malcolm: I can do that. As soon as I got my body back right, I was like, I’m glad I came back as soon as possible, as soon as I could, I was ready to come back, but-

Clance: I would call you and you know, we’d reach out to you cause that’s the biggest thing in our system is that we have a two-fold lot of times, young athletes come in and get caught up in the intensity so they want to be part of it, I want to be with these guys and these girls moving weight.

And I keep saying slow down or, you know, their tissues cause a lot of times your tissue is not ready yet. So little tweaks and things happen. And a lot of times they take those tweaks and think, oh, I should just stay home. Which is like the worst thing an athlete can do. You have to keep moving and right now you’re way more stronger, have much way solid foundation than you have ever had. Right?

And that’s the process. We have a thing here that no training gaps. Absolutely no training gaps. I don’t care if you only come in and train your pinkie, train your pinkie and I know it’s hard to wrap your head around because a lot of doctors say, oh, you know, stop, don’t work out or you know, you shouldn’t train and all. Don’t lift any weights or this and that. But anything, you just want to get that blood flow going and nine times out of 10, actually 10 times out of 10, the athlete always comes back better. Always comes back stronger. Always comes back faster.

Biggest thing is just laying that solid foundation and if you’re not having, look a football is a violent game! You’re gonna have tweaks all the time. That’s life.

Malcolm: You gotta play for it.

Clance: You gotta play! You know, we’re not here to pamper and baby and Oh, okay. Malcolm, you know, come back next week when you’re fine. No, no, no. Get your butt in the gym and if you just have to pull the sleds all day, you pull the sleds all day.

Malcolm: And you’re fine with that cause you will be frustrated. I know I was frustrated to come back in, not being able to do everything exactly, but as soon as like I started doing regular things and then the next day I’d be like, Oh, I can move better. Well, that just keeps me moving.

Clance: My man. My man. I think that’s important. It’s just, it’s perseverance, and we pay attention to detail and high communication. So it’s not just reps and sets and numbers, you know, what are Malcolm’s needs? What’s going on with Malcolm? Where are you touching yourself? What’s going on? That’s why you always see me staring. You always see me, Hey, you’re good?

And you know, I’m feeling you out. Like that’s just my job. That’s our job. That’s what we have to do as coaches here to make sure Malcolm is the best he can be every day he’s in the gym, you know?

Not every day you’re going to be doing the best. You just work with your best whatever you have that day. Right? But the main thing is no training gaps, just no training gaps, just keep coming, keep working, and you lay that foundation and you take off, right? Cause you here result.

Malcolm: You’re here the fix. I started working out what I wanted to do, put on some weight, and then next year, this year has been explosiveness. I feel like I’m starting to get where I want to be as an athlete.

Clance: Especially going up against Denzel every day. But isn’t that common? Like a lot of people shy away from coming. You see how I put you guys in competitive environments all the time makes you bet. Tell me that didn’t make you, makes you better?

Malcolm: Oh yeah. It makes me like next time I would come into the gym-

Clance: I see you getting all mad. Like you don’t want to lose, right? Yeah. Whe someone going at it for 10 meters and loaded, unloaded. But that first step, that explosive, that acceleration, that’s-

Malcolm: It’s very hard to find, I guess like a long, tall hook person like myself, and just seeing the different techniques you use and trying to apply that to myself because he’s so explosive and I’m just like, yo, I need to-

Clance: I need that. I need that.

Malcolm: And it’s always your first step.

Clance: Iron sharpens iron, man. That’s just iron sharpens iron.

Malcolm, it’s been a pleasure, man. Any parting words? Anything you’d like to say? A message to the young bucks coming up?

Malcolm: Man, I just gotta keep saying thank you for pushing me each time, and like always just remember, like there’s always a plan. I know, I see some of the young guys, they just want to do some extra stuff after like, hey, make sure you just get through your workout, just get through what’s on the list and then you can do whatever.

Clance: Hey, this makes me, so I love it. Thank you, Malcolm. Thank you.

Malcolm: If you still have the energy after then go ahead.

Clance: Thank you. That’s culture. See that culture we’re building. Like I can see you helping the young guys with their stars. I can see you helping them. And I really appreciate as a coach. Thank you.

Cause sometimes coming from an old guy like me, it doesn’t come to this you know get through the same as an athlete, you know, talking to the younger guy. So I really appreciate that, man. Thank you. You’ve really grown since you’ve been here, man. And stepping into that leadership role. Appreciate it, Malcolm. Thank you.

Malcolm: Thank you as well.

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