Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Training with BPAK in Tampa

Sorry I've been so absent.  Between the book being written and travel it's been hard to get a real blog post in.

Here are a couple of awesome vids that were made while I was training at MI40 with Ben Pakulski in Tampa.

Leg workout

Chest workout

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Mountain Dog / LRB Seminar EDVD Available

The Building The Beast training and nutrition eDVD is now available to purchase!

Featuring the Mountain Dog Diet aka IFBB Pro John Meadows and Lift-Run-Bang founder Paul Carter this action packed eDVD from the Clean Health Fitness Institute features over 3 hours of quality content for personal trainers, nutritionists or strength training enthusiasts alike!

For a special release price of only $47USD you will not find better value than this on the market today.

To purchase go to: www.buildingthebeast.com or email: info@buildingthebeast.com

Friday, August 7, 2015

If your supplements cost more than groceries, you've already failed

This was left on my Facebook page -


This doesn't surprise me.  However I don't think there will be as much social sympathy for men as there is for women when it comes to eating disorders.  Society often tells us that it's unfair for us to project what we think beauty is onto women, yet as young boys we grow up watching cartoons and reading comics filled with characters so jacked that they look like they have been living off of a trenbolone IV bag since infancy.  

Little girls get Barbie.  She has a small waist and big boobs.  

Little boys get The Hulk and He-Man.  Two guys that can literally lift up mountains.  

 So many of the dudes I know that lift and train and aspire to be jacked, have a youth that is embedded in comic book culture.  And there aren't many comic book superheroes that don't make any former or current Mr. Olympia look like a Crossfit noob.  

Those little boys, who spent all that time reading comics and playing with action figures that boast the same type of insane muscular development, often find their way into the gym just a few years later.

And as they say, "welcome to the gym.  Where you will forever be small."  

Males often establish a pecking order amongst each other.  And make no mistake, in our youth the male with more strength and more muscular development is indeed more respected by his peers.  He gets more attention by the young ladies, the coaches, and even other parents.  As young men, we're all aware of this.  

But unlike women, we don't complain about said pecking order.  We've always known it was the natural order of things, and instead of turning into social warrior crybabies we use it as the impetus to get better, bigger, stronger, faster, jacked, yoked, and awesome.  

In other words, we accept this is a social norm.  We aren't running around trying to change society's standards for the "ultimate male physique".  We embrace that this is how things are, and work our asses off in order to garner the same amount of respect, notoriety, and affirmation from our peers that we have seen other jacked dudes get.  

We want that.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you.  Otherwise, no one would give a shit about arm measurements or bench press numbers.  These things would be deemed insignificant and arbitrary.  But we all know they aren't.  We've made them significant because looking a certain way, or lifting a certain amount isn't JUST about impressing yourself.  Deep down, you absolutely desire the admiration of others for your hard work.

And the supplement industry knows this.  And preys on those desires and insecurities.  And anyone that tells you that men don't have the same, or similar insecurities about how they look is a fool.

The supplement industry is a tens of billions of dollars a year industry.  Anyone that has ever been to an expo knows it will be filled with booths trying to sell you their supplements.  And of course, those booths will be filled with dudes and women who possess exceptionally low bodyfat with an inordinate amount of muscle mass.  Well, sometimes.  This whole "aesthetics" movement have somehow made 185 pounds lean "hardcore bodybuilding".  Which is puzzling to me to say the least.

Nevertheless, that's what a lot of guys want.  And supplement companies are very aware of the market.  That's why certain physiques get pushed to the forefront, and get sponsored.  Because as young men, we looked to those physiques or the strength behind them, and had a supreme desire to attain that ourselves.  And the secret to getting said physique is of course, those god damn protein bars and powders and pre-workout vein exploders.

This has been going on for decades. This is not new.

When I was coming up through the 80's and 90's everything from Weider Mega Packs to dessicated liver to HMB was touted as that bridge that finally existed between your pre-pubescent boy tits to Arnold man pecs.  

The chasm could now be narrowed.  

Page after page of before and after pics, showing some incredible transformation gave us hope that finally, someone somewhere in a lab took pity on our meager male existence and decided enough was enough.  

They made a supplement that would cause all of our comic book hero physiques to finally manifest itself in just a few weeks on this shit.

Shit was even called "steroid replacements" back in the day.  Yes, your mix of water soluble vitamins that turned my next piss into something that looked like Luke Skywalker's light saber was indeed just as good as anadrol.

Dudes be like, "stocked up for the week!"

But we bought it.  Oh we did.  Paycheck time was awesome.  We had a list of shit we knew we were going to buy and in the next few weeks?  

Jacked as fuck.  

But then of course it never happened.  

Maybe our list of shit was wrong.  Maybe it's this name brand.  Because this other name brand says their shit is 127% stronger than the average brand, and I need that 127% in my life.  I was only getting like 17% potency with the shit I bought.  So fuck this shit, I'm going on my next payday to get the 127% strong shit, and THAT is what I need to get jacked and scrong.

Then of course, it never happened.  And we were dejected.  But then the next issue of MuscleRag came out and, LOW AND BEHOLD there's a new supplement.  And this before and after pic shows this dude making all kinds of gains.  All kinds (shameless HodgeTwins ripoff).

And according to this article, there is a pattern that sets in.  Over time, we become somewhat dependant on having our cabinets filled with all of these "things".  All of these powders and pills and concoctions that, at the end of the day, don't make a whole lot of difference if the most important parts of the comic book physique paradigm aren't lined up.

And that is diet and training at the forefront of all you do.  Even if you are an "enhanced" lifter, these things are the ultimate dictator of progress and performance.

And lots of guys will say they know this.  However my Facebook feed and message boards are still clogged with questions and pictures about....supplements.  

Yeah training is talked about.  Diet is talked about.  But OTC supplements is still is a big deal to so many of these guys.  

And I'm laying this bit of knowledge and truth on you if you're spending big money at the supplement store each month.  

If your OTC supplement bill is EVER higher than your grocery bill, you've already failed.  You've already failed at placing things in their order of most important to least important.

1.  Training and diet - Both are equally as important in my opinion.
2.  Rest, recovery, stress management - If you don't control these then improving body composition and increasing performance in the gym will be nullified to a large degree
3.  Everything else - This could be supplements of any and all kind.

Supplements are just that.  Something to supplement a sound and efficient training and diet program.  Nothing more.  They are the sprinkles on top of the cupcake.  They aren't even the fucking icing.  

You know why?  Because everything you can achieve can be done without ever buying a single OTC supplement.  

Do some help?  


Creatine has been proven to improve performance.  But only if you are already muscularly developed enough to take advantage of loading your cells with creatine.  Or if your diet is incredibly deficient in it.  Nevertheless, it's one of the few proven supplements.

Protein powders are just that.  A source of protein.  No protein powder in the world is going to give you something that food can't.  Not a single thing.  

"But aren't you sponsored by a supplement company?"

I am.  True Nutrition.  And you know what I ask for every month?

Muscle Intrusion, which is essential amino acids and highly branched cyclic dextrin, and a couple of tubs of protein powder.  That's pretty much it.  Even though I could ask for lots more "things" this is generally my staple.  And Dante Trudel, the owner, is going to tell you that food is more important than supplements as well.

So even if I had to pay for these things, at no point would they ever exceed my grocery bill.  Not even once.

People say this topic has been beaten to death.  But if everyone had truly heard it, and truly grok'd these principles of truth, then the supplement industry wouldn't be making billions a year.  

I don't have a problem with supplement companies making billions either.  It's a free market.  If they want to create bullshit supplements with bullshit ads and some dope really believes he can lose 30 pounds of fat while adding 30 pounds of muscle, then that's the day two fools met.  

But for the guys that haven't heard this message and see these ads and think that some supplement is the missing piece between being average and being so jacked that you're having orgies with hot bikini models every weekend at a Sandals resort, I'm here to tell you it's never going to make that kind of a difference.

I will tell you that once you do get jacked, men are going to bug you about how you did, more than women are going to bug you about getting into your pants.  So you can also put away your dreams of having American Psycho type bicep flexing sex once you do reach that level of desired yokedness.

Spend your money on your gym membership or shit to fill your garage gym with.  Spend your money on food.  If you ask me what supplements can make a difference once you get past noob and intermediate levels of development (noobs and intermediates don't need a single thing off the GNC shelves), it's a good BCAA or Intrusion, a quality protein powder, and possibly some creatine.

That's it.  

Be cognizant enough to take a step back and figure out if you've become "supplement dependant".

Don't waste your money on supplements that end up going towards the total volume sitting in your toilet, and not towards the total volume of mass you want to be sporting.


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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Injuries - Training through them, rehab, and prevention

Injuries suck.

Captain obvious quote of the week.

They derail progress and often take a mental toll on you as well.

But there are some things you can do while you are injured to continue to get better, and set the stage so that you come back from said injury in a better position than when you sustained it.

1.  Training around it -

I get questions all the time about injuries, and I think people think I'm being a dick when I tell them, in regards to what movements they can do, that they will have to test it to find out.

No one online can tell you what will hurt, or won't hurt.  So to be honest, I'm not sure why you ask.  I learned at a young age, before the net, that I literally had to go into the gym and test movements to see what hurt and what didn't.

Once I settled in on a number of movements that didn't hurt, I reloaded my training and went with those.  This leads us into point number 2.....

2.  Set new goals - Dwell on what you can do, not what you can't

One of the best things you can do when you cannot continue to go after the goals you were striving for before the injury, is focus on new ones.

After you've made a list of the movements you can do in your injured state, sit down and figure out what goals you'd like to accomplish over the course of your rehabilitation time.

This could be anything from body recomp (maybe it's time to diet?), or to bring up weak bodyparts.  Either way, there's almost no injury so severe that as long as you can physically get inside the gym, that you can't train in some fashion.

Injured a leg?  Grow some big pipes over the next few months.  Focus on increasing your bench.

Now when you can do leg work again, you have bigger arms, or a bigger press to go along with it.

Injured your upperbody?

Do the same for legs.  Grow some big wheels over the next few months.


Get in shape.  Clean up your diet.  Do more conditioning.

There's a million things you can pour your energy into that are still on the table, even in an injured state.  Use that time to improve on another area while you are rehabbing.

3.  Rehab properly -

Speaking of rehabilitation time, this is another area that people consistently screw up on.

One of the things I have learned through years of destroying myself, is that once the pain is gone from the injured area, doesn't mean the rehab is over.

This particular time is when a lot of people injure the same area all over again, because "the pain is gone."  Yes, the pain is gone, however that just means the healing process is only partially complete.  The area itself is still probably not structurally as sound as it was before the injury.

I often think of rehab in two phases.

1.  The healing phase - This is where you do all the things you need to do in order to be pain free again.

2.  The strengthening phase - This is where you slowly strengthen the area back to where it was before, or beyond that.

Where a lot of people go wrong is that they are careful in phase 1 while the area is still painful, and throw caution to the wind in phase 2, once it's not.

Now that the pain is gone, they get in a real hurry to throw weight back on the bar.  Then they typically overload that area far too fast and it "gives way" again.

Back to square one.

Once you are able to train and injured area again, you should have a methodical and well thought out plan for strengthening it back to 100%.  If it took you 12 weeks to get completely pain free from the time it happened, then another 12 week plan may be in order to get back to 100% pre-injury strength ability.

It's better to drag rehab out slowly, and over a long period of time, than to rush it, and find yourself injured all over again.

4.  If it's serious, seek a professional -

If there is one thing that drives me nuts about the net, it's that people will often sustain serious injuries, that may even require surgery, and they sit around on the net asking other people what they should do.

Maybe it's because of the time period I grew up training in that makes this absurd to me.  Or maybe it's because I think common sense should dictate to you, that you don't ask people on the net, who aren't medical professionals, to diagnose your injury.

There are so many things wrong with this I am not sure how people arrive at the conclusion that this is a good idea.

For starters, someone online can't look at your movements in person.  They can't determine if you are having pain because of tightness in a particular area, or because you are weak in some area, etc.

Not only that, as I stated earlier, they can't tell you what is going to hurt.  You will have to test certain movements to see what hurts, and what does not.

If the painful is area is something like "my elbows hurt" then sure, ask around.  However if you sustained a knee, shoulder, hip injury, etc and it's serious, then seek out the help of a professional.

I will give you an example of this -

A lot of guys have strength imbalances in their legs.  One leg can often become more dominant than the other.  When that balance becomes too disproportionate, the lifter will often shift the load in his or her squatting to the dominant side.  They may not even notice it at first.  But over time, they end up developing IT band pain from it.

So what is the first thing they do?

Foam roll the shit out of it.


Because that's what everyone on the net tells them to do.


Because that's what they read somewhere.  That foam rolling your tight IT band was the answer.

How they arrived at this conclusion doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

Not only that, it would take someone seeing you in person to spot this shift in your squatting, or do an assessment that your real problem is an imbalance in your lower body.  In other words, you'd be need to stretch the painful IT band, and then run a program where you restore strength balance between the two legs.

Someone online cannot read an e-mail or message and know that this is what you need.

Muscular rehab injuries aren't a big deal.  But if you have pain while performing a certain movement, someone online probably cannot tell you what the problem is.  Even with a video.  Is it possible they can help?


Is it better to find someone in person who is a professional at this to observe you?  Undoubtedly.

There's nothing wrong with simply asking someone a question online, to get some insight, but if the injury is serious, or chronic, it is best to seek out professional help.

5.  Be introspective - Ask yourself why it happened

If there is another silver lining you can find in getting injured, it's that it may force you to reevaluate your training, technique, and recovery.

One of the reasons I believe that sub-maximal training for the big lifts is superior, is because it allows you to constantly refine your technique.  And proper technique is the number one injury prevention tool.

When you get out of position on a big lift, it means that the joints are now situated so that the transfer of the load is not going to be distributed as equally across the muscle groups involved, as your particular structure allows.

So something has to end up taking up the slack.  And if that "something" is overloaded beyond its capacity to move that load, it's going to go.

Another major one is simply not warming up properly.  I've seen guys get injured on many occasions because they simply didn't take the time out to get warmed up properly.

I don't understand what is so hard about this.

Here's a simple rule.  Start with the bar.  Just the empty bar.  Perform 50-75 reps with it before you ever add a single weight.  Believe it or not, this can often tell you right away if anything feels slightly "off".

When you add weight for your first set, if things still feel "off" understand this may be your body telling you that things aren't 100% for the day.  And that you may need to play it a bit safe.

But even if you are feeling good, take your time on warming up.  If you plan on working up to 315 for a set of 8 reps in the squat for the day, take your time in working up to that.

Bar x 2 sets of 25
135 x 10
155 x 5
185 x 5
225 x 4
245 x 3
275 x 2
295 x 1
315 x 8

This is a far more efficient, safer, and productive way than the following, which is what I often see...

135 x 10
225 x 8
275 x 5
315 x 8

Not only that, but in the first scenario, you get to prime everything for that heaviest set.  I've often noticed that my body doesn't "get into the groove" with a movement until the 4th, 5th, sometimes 6th set.  Then things start firing wonderfully.

So don't rush the warm ups.  Take your time and be methodical with them.  Use those warm ups to judge how your body is feeling on that day, and to refine your technique.

6.  Be mindful of order of exercise and supplementation/medication -

Believe it or not the order in which you perform movements can set you up for injury as well.

Starting the session off with stretching, for example, is not a good idea.  There's never been any proven data that shows stretching before training has a measurable productive effect.  So why are you doing it?  You should be using a functional warm up to get blood into the muscle as you gain range of motion.  Not using passive tension to prepare for training.

The order of movements will also play a big role potentially keeping you healthy.

It's not a good idea to start off training with movements that put the working muscles in an exaggerated lengthened position.

In other words, movements that put a significant amount of stretch on those muscles.

Incline dumbbell curls, stiff legged deadlifts, triceps french press, flyes, pullovers, etc.

If you aren't starting off your training with a big compound movement, and are doing so with single joint style movements then it's better to pick ones that place an emphasis with the resistance curve being at the top, or finish portion of the movement.

Leg extensions, leg curls, pushdowns, concentration curls, dumbbell side laterals, etc.  These all force a tremendous amount of blood into the area being worked, and don't have a large amount of resistance placed in the range of motion where the muscle is maximally stretch.

Sudafed is something else someone may not think of.  You got a runny nose, you take it, you go train.  Well there can be a bit of dehydration that occurs from taking this, and if you so happen to already be a little dehydrated, you could be setting yourself up for a potential injury if you go into the gym.

I have no idea what all ingredients go into these pre-workout powders either, and the fact is, neither do you.  This is another reason I don't use them.  Because I want to be as smart as possible about everything I'm putting into my body.  Especially before, during, and after training.

6.  Implement injury prevention -

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

So from a high level overstand point, here is some things to consider when trying to make sure you are giving yourself the best chance possible to steer clear of sustaining an injury.

1.  Warm up properly - 

This means both by using a functional warm up, then warming up properly in your set and rep schemes.  It also means not loading the area to be trained by starting with movements that have an exaggerated stretch position.

2.  Make sure you are properly hydrated - 

If you are taking any kind of medication that has the potential to dehydrate you, be aware of that.  Hydrate more than usual, and don't make this a week where you chase weight or rep PR's.

3.  Shore up weak musculature - 

Most lifters are proportionally weak in the rear delts, hamstrings, and upperback.  What do all of these things have in common?  Yeah, they are on the backside of your body.  Make sure you put in an equal amount of work, or even slightly more, to the "can't see" muscles as you do to the "mirror muscles."  For every rep you press, program so that you do at least the same amount of reps for the antagonist in that movement.  For every quad dominant movement, match it with a hamstring dominant movement.

4.  Perfect your technique - 

Perhaps the most important of them all.  If your technique is improper for your leverages, then not only will you limit the degree of progressive resistance you can attain in that movement, but eventually something that gets overloaded due to poor mechanics will incur a significant strain (tear).

One thing that baffles me is that some guys will KNOW that their big movements "don't feel right", yet will still continue to add weight to the bar.  Think about this for a minute.

The lifter KNOWS his technique is improper.  And rather than fix it first, his ego gets in the way of that and he continues to pile on the weight.  This is the definition of "ego training."

If you KNOW that your technique needs to be corrected, you have no business adding weight to the bar until that is fixed.  How do you even reconcile adding weight to the bar in your mind, when you know you aren't technically proficient?

Mind you, I'm not talking about beginners.  I'm talking about guys that have been at this a while and know "shit doesn't feel right" yet still keep pushing and pushing for more maximal PR's.  Does this make sense?

I thought not.

Conclusion - 

Unfortunately, injuries happen.  If you lift long enough it's not about if, but when.  However you can do your best to minimize these issues and of course shorten the length of time you are down and out, if you just have some simple rules in place to do so.

Be smart - stay healthy.  Or, as healthy as possible.

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True Nutrition - www.truenutrition.com - discount code = pcarter

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Lessons: Things I would tell my younger self about getting bigger and stronger

One of the worst things about training for a very long time, I'm talking decades now, is that you end up with this collection of knowledge that more than anything, you wished you had when you started.

Now the amazing thing is, that knowledge was usually right in front of me more times than not.  However, it sometimes gets ignored because of what you want to believe, rather than what you need to believe.

I see a lot of young guys now making the same mistakes I made in my youth.  Unfortunately unless their desire was the same as mine, they will run into frustration from a lack of progress in a few years and quit.  More people quit training than hang in there for certain.  And I believe there are a myriad of factors for that.  But I believe a big factor is that guys stop learning how to improve, how to be patient, and what they really should be focusing on.

So here are some things I would tell my younger self if I could have a talk with him after he had been training for a few years, and was frustrated with his progress.

1.  "You really still do not eat enough"

"Paul, you still aren't eating enough.  There's no other way around this.  The reason you're 135 pounds is because you just don't know how to eat, and have no idea what you need to be eating.

You don't need to follow Lee Haney's pre-contest diet.  I have no idea why you even read that article.  He's Mr. Olympia.  You're 15 years old.  Do you really think Mr. Olympia's pre-contest diet is what you need right now?  Yeah, neither do I.

You need to eat a lot of high quality foods.  And I mean a lot.  You'll learn this in a few years when you finally decide that you're tired of being an anorexic looking bitch.  But even then you will make some mistakes.

Eat five high quality, high calorie meals a day.  And stop buying this Mega Mass protein powder bullshit.  It's mostly sugar and cheap ingredients.  Eat lots of whole eggs, lots of rice, potatoes, lots of red meat, and lots of fruits and vegetables.  Then next week, eat more each day than you ate each day last week.  I don't know of any other way to get you from 135 pounds to 145 pounds, to 155 and onward if you aren't going to eat more.  Throw in a little bit of junk every now and then on top of it to boost calories, but overall just eat more.  I know, I know...it's so basic.  But there's no other way."

2.  "You need to stop looking at training splits of the pros"

"Do you need to train twice a day?  No.  Do you need 5 exercises for hamstrings?  No.  You don't even need strip sets or giant sets or any of that fancy shit.  You need to worry about breaking rep PR's and adding more weight to the bar, and refining your technique.  I have no idea why you are doing 1 arm machine curls when your pipes are eleven inches.  What's that?  To get big biceps?  Dude, you will get big biceps when you're 240 pounds.  That's more than 100 pounds from now.  Do you think you're going to curl your way to 100+ pounds of new muscle mass?

You need to squat, chin, row, incline, bench, and worry about moving more weight on those movements.  And you need to train 5 or even 6 days a week.  You know why?  Because you aren't strong enough to cause any significant inroads to your recovery ability right now.  You're weak as piss.  And will be weak as piss for a long time.  You know why?  Fucking around with dumb shit like cable crossovers and 1 arm dumbbell triceps extensions.  You need that why?  To carve out the striations in your sternum?  No.  Just stop.  You can't bench press 185 pounds yet.  There's nothing to carve."

3.  "You need to stop comparing yourself to other people"

"Yeah I know, you wanna look like that guy.  I get it.  But believe it or not, the only body that you can build is your own.  And when you sit around wondering why you can't or don't look like a pro bodybuilder who has been training for 15 years that is taking drugs you don't have access to or should be taking right now, serves you no good.  You just get depressed and it makes you question why you should even go train.

Open your training log.  Are you better today than you were last week?  Yes?  Then that's one new brick you just laid on the foundation.  And you need to focus on the foundation you are building, and not the skyscraper overlooking the city.  Build your own monument.  What's that?  Yes, it's going to take a long time but over that time span, you're going to learn a lot of shit.  And one major lesson you are going to learn is that there will be guys that improve faster than you, and slower than you.  And neither has any impact on your own training at all.

You're going to learn a big part of getting better is the mental part.  And the things that make you feel like shit about yourself need to be let go of.  I promise if you hang in there long enough, you'll look back and be pretty impressed with how far you came."

4.  "Stop thinking there is some secret supplement or training routine that is going to take you to the next level."

"Do not order that Bulgarian Power Burst Training bullshit by Leo Costa and Tom Platz.  Put that thing away right now.  And no, you will not ask your mom to buy you that fucking Cybergenics kit.  You know why?  Both are more worthless than rocky mountain panther piss.

I mean come on, dude.  Do you really think that training three times a day is what you need right now?  It's summer.  You have a girlfriend.  Spend time with her, and throw in an hour of hard training each day.  You should be focused on things like progressive overload.  What's that?  No, it has nothing to do with blue balls, shut the fuck up.  It has to do with adding a little more weight on the bar.  Yeah I know I already said that.  And I will probably say it again because you need to hear it a lot.

Why aren't you squatting at least twice a week?  Why aren't you pressing heavy at least twice a week?  There's no secret.  In a couple of decades you will see this shit on something you will call the internet where they claim "that one trick" and by then, you'll know "that one trick" is to get you to send money for a pile of bullshit.

Bust your fucking ass under that bar 5-6 times a week and do more today than you did yesterday.  Do more tomorrow than you will do today.  What?  Yes, it's that simple!  Don't make me slap the shit out of you."

5.  "If you want to find out what really may apply to you, look at what the common factors were in training and eating the big guys did when they first started."

"Look man, here is a better way to learn.  Dig through all of these beginner routines and see what they all have in common.  Especially when you read the ones by what the pros did when they were just starting.  A lot of them look pretty similar.  Lots of basic shit.

If I give you 12 things that are all similar, and then a 13th thing is added, and it's not like the other 12 in any way, toss it out.  Use rules to base your training around, not exceptions.  I don't care that doing triple drop set giant sets worked to build this dude's arms.  You doing that shit is not required.  Just fucking....look man, I'm about to beat this shit out of you if you don't stop arguing."

6.  "Stop buying all those extra supplements"

"What is this shit?  Yohimbe?  You need this for what?  Yeah, you got that look of  a deer in headlights.  Remember the first time you got laid?  Yeah I do too, because I was there.  You know about as much about this shit as you knew about banging at that time.

You need this why?  What???  You don't need anything that is supposed to give you a massive erection.  You're 15.  You're a walking erection.  You jacked off 7 times yesterday.  You don't have erectile dysfunction problems.

And what is this shit?  And this?  And this?  Throw all this shit away.  And stop spending money on it.  We covered the food thing.  That's where it's at.  Why do I keep repeating myself?  Because you already read all of this shit before, and you still keep fucking up.  Then you whine like a bitch about your lack of progress.  Does that make any sense to you?

Oh wait, DO buy Hot Stuff when it comes out.  That shit is legit.  But after they take it off the shelves and reformulate it, it's not the same.  Stop buying it at that point.  But yeah, go stand in line for that shit when you get the chance."

7.  "Enjoy your youth."

"Look man, I know more than anything in the world that right now, you just want big pipes and to be admired by your peers for your strength and muscle, but dude, you will never ever get this time back in your life.

Love your friends, respect your parents, read a few books, and remember that this is a hobby.  It's a fun hobby, and one that does give you a lot of self confidence.  But obsessing over this shit 24/7 is not healthy.  One day you're going to be worried about paying bills, how to raise three beautiful little girls the best you can, and learn what real mistakes really look like.  You won't always have the free time just to sit down and jam some Iron Maiden on the drums for two hours.  So do that, then meet your buddies out to play baseball.  And stop fucking reading where cardio kills your gains.  Go run, ride your bike, and go camp out.  The gym isn't going anywhere.  Trust me, lots of guys will tell you later they remember lifting too, and what they used to be.  You're not going to ever be a "used to be".  But this time in your life?  It's awesome.  And it's not awesome because of the weights and all this shit.

It's awesome because right now, you are as free in the world as you're ever going to be in your life.  Make the best of this free time by creating lasting life memories.  You will never get a chance to do these things again.  I know why you're doing this.  I know it's because you need to build a wall up to protect how weak and inferior you feel.  Look man, lots and lots of guys hide behind this bullshit tough guy macho persona.  But we all feel this way.  That's why we lift.  Because we are trying to become something we currently are not.  Learn how to love yourself better.  Be confident, but not cocky.  And don't keep people in your life that treat you like shit, and don't appreciate you.  And likewise, make sure the people you do keep around, always feel appreciated.

Most importantly, be mindful of the choices you make and how it will impact the lives of those you love the most.  Learn how to be a great man first, and a good lifter second.

Oh and one day your best friend will write this deal where he says he hates list.  Tell him this..."you're a dumb asshole and fuck you."

Don't worry, he'll get it."

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Why all carbs are not equal

The IIFYM and flexible eating bunch have been at this for a while.

"Your body sees all carbs as just carbs."

"There's no difference in how your body uses carbs from pop-tarts to jasmine rice to sweet potatoes.  So long as your macros are the same each day it's all the same."


Ok, let's just try to end this once and for all.

If a carb just a carb is just a carb, then that would mean a few things.

1.  All carbs would elicit the same response from the body in regards to insulin.
2.  All carbs would be stored exactly the same way in the body.
3.  All carbs would have the same inflammatory response in the body.

So let's start with number one.

Carbs, insulin, and leptin - 

Ok, if you don't know what the glycemic index is, it's a number scale based on the body's glycemic response.  That means, how fast it converts said carbohydrates into glucose in the body.

The lower the number, the lower the rise in blood sugar in the body.  This also means the lower the response for insulin.

The higher the number, the faster blood sugar and insulin rises in the body.

Generally carbs that have a number of 55 or below are considered carbs that have less impact on raising blood sugar and insulin.  And as we know, part of getting leaner and building muscle is controlling and timing insulin release.

"But people often mix in proteins and carbs thus it changes the glycemic index of the food."

You're right.  But we're talking about the difference in carbohydrates alone today.  So give it a rest.

Based on the fact that the GI scale exists at all, tells us that all carbs are not treated the same way by the body in regards to insulin and blood sugar.  In fact, fructose does not even stimulate insulin production nor does it have an effect on leptin levels.

In case you don't know what leptin is, it's the hormone that regulates your appetite.  When your leptin levels rise, it signals to your body that you are full.  When leptin levels are low, then it signals your body to eat.

Simple, right?

But what if the foods you ate, made you leptin resistant?  So you would eat, but your leptin levels either didn't rise, or didn't rise enough to signal to your body that you are full.  This is the other factor in obesity.  It's not just that obese people become insulin resistant, i.e. their insulin levels don't respond the way they are supposed to in regards to carbohydrate intake, but they rarely get full, or it takes a LOT of food for them to stimulate leptin release.

But wait.  Wait.

I am totally going to copy and paste this part, because well, I love it so much.  I mean I really do.

research also reveals that fructose has effects independent of this mechanism to induce this metabolic syndrome. Whereas fructose increases weight through the standard mechanism of stimulating more food intake and blocking the burning of fat, even when you control caloric intake, fructose can affect body composition.

This is because when you eat fructose, you actually generate more fat in your liver for the same amount of energy intake, compared to other types of sugar... For example, if you calorically restrict an animal but give it a high-fructose diet or a high-sugar diet, it will still produce fatty liver and will still become insulin resistant. According to Dr. Johnson, fructose has two effects:

1.  It stimulates weight gain through its effects on your appetite and by blocking the burning of fat
2.  It also changes your body composition to increase body fat even when you are on a caloric restriction.

So let's look at that last part again.

It also changes your body composition to increase body fat even when you are on a caloric restriction.

Wait....wait....one more time.

It also changes your body composition to increase body fat even when you are on a caloric restriction.

Remember all those guys that told you, that it doesn't matter what you eat because so long as there's a calorie deficit, that you'd lose weight?  And there is some truth to this.  However, depending on your choice of carb intake, it may not be that simple.  

If your diet is high in refined sugars, fructose, etc. then you could be in a calorie deficit....AND STILL GET FATTER.  

Boy that fucking sucks doesn't it?

Fructose doesn't even cause a secretion in insulin.  Which means if you eat fructose, and you aren't depleted if liver glycogen (more on that in a minute) then theoretically, that particular sugar can behave like fat intake.  If insulin isn't transporting the nutrients into muscle cells, then where is it going?  

It's making you fatter.

The guy that penned that piece? Dr. Richard Johnson. The head of nephrology at the University of Colorado. 25+ years of research in the field of nutrition with over 500 peer reviewed articles about said topic. So before you point me to Joe Bodybuilder who also has a PhD, he really can't carry this guys sammich.

The body does indeed respond differently in regards to blood sugar, insulin, and leptin for different types of carbohydrates.

So there's strike number one.

How different carbs are stored - 

Are all carbs stored the same way in the body?


Carbs that come from most (not all, but most) fruits are high in fructose, for example.

Fructose gets stored primarily as liver glycogen.  Now before you say "you're now saying fruit is bad?!?!"

No.  Fruits also contain fiber and water, and it's gonna be pretty hard to eat enough fruit in one sitting to totally fuck yourself up in regards to fructose intake.  But if we're talking about using fruit as say, a post workout choice, it's not a very good option because fructose doesn't go towards replenishing muscle glycogen.  The sugar in fruit is also called "natural sugar".  It is obviously not an added sugar.

Carbs that are higher in dextrose (aka glucose) get stored primarily as muscle glycogen.

The reason it's important to note the difference is because in order to stay as anabolic as possible, there needs to be enough muscle glycogen to fuel your workouts and keep cortisol low.  Once you deplete muscle glycogen, then liver glycogen, cortisol levels rise in order to create glucose.

Cortisol eats through lean muscle tissue.

Does this sound like a good idea to someone who is trying to either hold on to lean muscle or to build it?

Yah, doesn't sound good to me either.

Now some will tell you that so long as you eat carbs later in the day, that replenishing glycogen will occur.  However the research back and forth on that isn't clear.  I've read and read and read.  Some studies show a higher uptake of glucose in a short window post workout, and some show that it doesn't matter so long as you get your carbs in over the course of the day to replenish both muscle and liver glycogen.

So I'm going with empirical evidence and some "well this just seems right" in this instance.

If you just depleted a significant portion of your muscle and liver glycogen, then it stands to reason that post workout, the body would be more primed to uptake glucose into the muscle cells, so long as the proper type of carbohydrate was being ingested.  In this context, post workout is 30-60 minutes after you're done training.

However let's get away from this for a second.  It's actually more important to pay attention to the pre-workout meal in regards to this.  Depending on how far out you eat from the workout is going to to play a part in choosing a viable carbohydrate.  If you're 45 minutes out?  You want to spike insulin in push glycogen into the cells quickly.  If you're a few hours out?  A lower glycemic carb will probably work best.  Yes, I heard you.  Adding in fats and proteins will lower the glycemic index however if you're eating pixi sticks two hours out from your training session instead of sweet potatoes then you're probably doing it wrong.

So to get on with this, not all carbs are stored the same way in the body.  And if you're all about gaining muscle and losing fat, then choosing what kind of carb you are going to eat and when you're going to eat it, does in fact matter.

Strike two.

Inflammation - 

Now here's where we really get into why it's important to understand that a carb is not just a carb and where the IIFYM crew goes wrong.

Their mantra about this is "all carbohydrates get converted to sugar in the body".

Yes, we know that.  However we've already covered two points that show what happens after that, depending on carb source, can be dramatically different.

The controlling of inflammation in the body is vitally important if you want to avoid shit like heart disease, the beetus, cancer, and pretty much all diseases including death.

Death seems serious.  It's hard to come back from catching a bout of that.

So what the hell does carbs have to do with inflammation?

Well, there are certain carbs (and fats, like Omega-6 fatty acids) that can cause or trigger an increase in inflammation in the body.  Remember that the body needs a normal amount of inflammation to operate in a healthy or productive state, i.e. brain function.  But if inflammation levels rise above that, then you're looking at a myriad of health issues that come with it.

Arachidonic acid is a type of non-essential fatty acid that your body produces that while needed to function properly, if it becomes elevated in the body can cause elevated inflammation in the body.

Food wise, what can cause this?


I'll save you some time on this one.......

In conclusion, whole grain consumption may be related to lower circulating plasma concentrations of PAI-1 and CRP, which in turn could lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. These findings suggest that the protectiveness of whole grains in relation to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease may be due to an effect on plasma inflammatory protein concentrations and reinforces the public health recommendations that whole grains be consumed daily as part of a healthy diet. Refined grain intakes were positively associated with PAI-1 concentrations, indicating that refined grain intake could have proinflammatory effects. The novelty of this finding warrants further investigation into the potential effects of refined grain consumption on metabolic and inflammatory measures.

This article is getting long, so I'm going to stop there.  The point is, the type of carbohydrate you consume can either increase or decrease inflammation in the body as well.  Now of course, the fatter you become, the more factors that come into play in regards to increasing inflammation but at the end of the day, you get fatter by making poor food choices.

Strike three.

Where the IIFYM and flexible dieting people miss the boat - 

IIFYM is not a horrible diet.  If you're a male, and 15-18% bodyfat, and you just want to get down into the 10-12% range, it will work.

For a few select outliers, they can use it to get into men's physique type stage shape.  And I do say they are outliers because the fact is, 99% of the bodybuilders in the world cannot use it, and go win shows.

There isn't a single guy that will stand up on the Olympia stage this year and have a shot at winning using IIFYM.  Not one.  Zero.

Now let's examine that statement for a second....

If pro bodybuilders have all of these pharmaceutical advantages, and they are also genetic anomalies, then why can't they use IIFYM and get in championship bodybuilding winning shape?

Because the simple fact is, at that level, you have to account for more than "20 grams of carbs is 20 grams of carbs."  The carb source, and how the body reacts to it can be the difference in winning and placing out of the top five.  Let me put it to you like this; a few too many packs of splenda over a week might mean the difference in winning and placing third.  True story.

So when you say "Matt Ogus uses flexible dieting and he has won shows." no one gives a fuck.  You're not him.  Not to mention that, a handful of men's bikini competitors that are naturally lean and don't need to get peeled to win at their shows aren't exactly the best examples of why IIFYM "works" when works means, in context, bodybuilding stage shape.

But since we're not talking extremes here, what about the male well over 20% bodyfat?  You know, flat out obese people.

Well IIFYM typically fails there too, in my opinion.

With very obese people who are pushing up against the type 2 diabeetus wall, they need to get their insulin levels and inflammation under control ASAP.  Not only that, but it's been proven through research that people who consistently stuff their face with overly processed foods and added sugars, develop a dopamine based reward system for those kinds of foods.

Go read......


In other words, they need to literally approach their diet like a 12-step program and abstain from those kinds of foods long enough to "go through detox" essentially.  Obese people literally crave shit food like drug addicts crave their drug of choice.

So telling a really obese individual that they can still have their pizza and ice cream and doughnuts on this diet is like telling someone trying to get off crack that they can still hit the crackpipe "2 or 3 times a week, so long as you're clean the rest of the time, you'll eventually overcome addiction."

Now does that make any sense to you at all?

Yeah, me neither.

Lean people can generally get away with things like IIFYM and flexible dieting.  However their body is probably in an optimal state of nutrient partitioning, i.e. it does a better job of moving glycogen in, and storing fat less.  But obese people are poor at nutrient partitioning.  And honestly, don't need things like "cheat meals".  They need a very long period of eating very healthy foods to undo the damage they have done.

So with all of this said.......

Still think "a carb is just a carb?"

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Fitness Industry - Extremes and addictions - Part 2

In part 1 of this, I covered the fitness industry from a high level overview in regards to what you're getting into when you decide to compete.

This is part, I'm going to go into a bit more detail about what some of those things look like.

I've been meaning to finish this part but it got put on the backburner for a while due to other work.  However last night I made a post on Facebook about women and androgen use, and for women to take some time out to understand androgens, and what they ultimately could end up doing to their body.

Shortly after I posted it, a received a message from someone, who will remain anonymous, that sent me this....

Hey, so I read your post bout women and androgens...and I can tell you first hand, it's a trade off I sometimes wish I had never made.

In an effort to preserve my anonymity, I'm gonna keep this kind of vague in regards to my sports and such...

All I knew in my twenties was that I wanted to be a champion athlete. My coaches started shooting me twice a week with deca when I was still young in the sport. Seemed harmless enough right. I was a competitive athlete...I needed to recover, my body was literally getting pushed to places it didn't always wanna go...by the time I was 28 I had become quite successful in my chosen sport...it was the best time of my life. At that time, everything I used were mostly cutting agents and things to lube my joints. I retired in the shortly after my 28th bday due to injury, it was at that time my focus changed to heavy lifting.

So I found my way into the strength sports...long story short, I started hitting the weights and the heavier androgens...again I seemed to do quite well. However now I deal with things that other women do not and I'm terribly insecure about it.

My hair is all paid for, my natural hair is no longer pretty. My hips are the width of my waist like a mans. I have hair in places that are not desirable for a woman...these are all things I deal with on a regular basis and I'm so insecure about it. My cycle stopped over a decade ago. Fortunately my female regions are still pretty...got a lil beasted up down there, but no one ever complained.

I'm glad to see you notice that there does seem to be a very unhealthy upswing in women's use of anabolics. I knew that there was a trade off...I just never fully understood the magnitude of my decisions...now every man that I'm physical with, I always wonder If when he sees me naked, does he see a beautiful woman or a woman who is masculine...

But hey, I was champion right...

Whatever it takes - Coaches, drugs, diets, sex, and porn

The above woman's story is not unusual for women who set out with the mindset of "whatever it takes."  

Women that are driven to become champions are no different than men in that regard.  They are willing to take the drugs, do the extreme diets, abuse their bodies, and accept the consequences that come with all of that.

The problem in doing so, is that very few have the foresight to see what those consequences ultimately are.  

This concept applies to both genders, as men often adapt the attitude of "well, it can't happen to me" when there are bodybuilders in their 30's and 40's dropping dead every year due to decades of steroid abuse, and pushing the limits of what the body can handle.  

For women, it often means they physically transform, and lose who they were before.  It's like chemical plastic surgery for your entire body, but not in a way that is going to enhance your beauty.  That is unless of course you consider having to wake up to shave your face every morning like men do, and think that a male modelesque jawline enhances your beauty. 

The industry is full of these stories, and it's not just the highest level of competitors that have them.  From powerlifting to women's bodybuilding even to bikini (yes, bikini) drug abuse and the lasting side effects of them are everywhere.  

I know a guy who was dating an IFBB bikini competitor.  He told me the first time he called and got her voicemail he thought he had dialed the wrong number.  The voice he was listening to, didn't sound anything like the girl he had met.  The voice in person, while not overly masculine, was certainly deeper and laden with more bass than the almost childlike voice on her voicemail. 

There was only a little more than a year between the time she had created the voicemail, and the time he met her.  Let me reiterate, she was a bikini competitor.  If you don't know anything about bikini competition, well, basically they still have to stay somewhat soft for competition (comparatively speaking to the rest of the women's divisions), and basically do a bunch of weird hand gestures onstage.  

So why did a competitor need drugs so harsh that within a little over a year, her voice had already changed that dramatically?  

The same reason everyone else abuses androgens and anabolics.  The desire to gain an edge, and win.

For a lot of these women unfortunately, they end up with the wrong people in their life, guiding them in all the wrong directions.  Coaches are a huge part of the problem.  Let me restate that, bad coaches are a huge part of the problem.  

A lot of these women end up getting pushed or influenced to move in these directions because the men they are guided by either don't care about the lasting side effects that the "whatever it takes" attitude to win entails, or just aren't smart enough to know any better.

For example, anavar is a safe and mild drug for women to use but winstrol is not.  Because those two drugs often have similar looking results when men take them, it is often assumed it's the same for women.  Not to mention that because of that factor, winstrol is often passed off as anavar and some female competitor that thinks she's taking var, is often taking winny.  And for her, there is a massive difference in these two drugs.

First off, let's get this part out of the way.  Women that think they know what they are doing, or even men, will often say "I use winstrol as a cutting drug."

Ok, read what I am about to write and understand it, digest it, grok it, get it tattooed on your forehead backwards so that every morning you wake up, you see it, and don't forget.


You know what the best "agent" for your fat loss is?  It's this thing called diet and cardio.  

Winstrol does not burn fat.  It does not make you leaner.  It does make you look leaner via the fact that it will make you drier, but it does not burn bodyfat.  It is a favorite in "cutting" cycles because near contest time, it can and will make a competitor look harder.  But this is not due to fat loss.

Virilization, which is developing of male characteristics due to a surplus of androgens in the body, is much much higher with winstrol than anavar.  And yet coaches will sometimes even knowingly recommend winstrol to their female clients, assuring them it's perfectly fine by saying "I have tons of women using this.  Do they look like men?"  

And while it is true that you can run winstrol in a lower dose for a short length of time without any permanent side effects, what often happens is that those low doses increase over time.  And that "short length of time" becomes months.  And then without realizing it, said competitor has fallen into the realm of abuse, and may not notice the massive changes that has happened to her until it's too late.

But drugs aren't the only problem with so many "coaches" now.

Regardless of how "swell" you think your coach is, it's in their best interest for you to win because that's how they make money.  So depending on the coach, they may or may not give a flying fuck about your well being or health.  I've seen over and over and over again where coaches have competitors on severe starvation diets, all the while having them do hours and hours of cardio a day along with their weight training.  

800 calories a day with two hours of cardio and then two hours of lifting a day is NOT conducive to a great look on stage, physical, mental, and emotional health.   Add in them throwing a bunch of diuretics at you come competition time and this really looks like a recipe for disaster.  Any coach prescribing you such a protocol doesn't know his head from his ass and doesn't give a flying shit about you, regardless of what a great guy you think he is.  

Does he want you to win?  

Of course he does!  But he's perfectly fine with putting you on the brink of death to do so.  It's not his life he's playing with; it's yours.  So who cares?  

It used to be that diet and training and cardio were the cornerstones of creating a great physique, with drugs sort of being the icing on the cake.  Now it's this chemical cocktail of clen, T3, T4, excessive androgens, saran wrapping with Auschwitz style contest dieting that make up the bulk of "success" with intelligent training and diet being more of an afterthought.  

Oh and what about post contest?  

That chick that's been starving for 12 to 14 weeks now often goes on a binge that would make any professional competitive eater proud.  And then there is the post show weight gain, oh yes.  I've seen women that did photoshoots that looked amazing get so bloated and fat that only a few weeks later won't even get in a pool without their shirt on.  

Is that what this "lifestyle" is to you?  Because these same women often post memes and write quotes about how they "live this" and how it's "just for me" and every other ridiculous notion that is wrapped up in faux self bravado.  It's nothing more than a facade for them to hide behind because they absolutely must force themselves to believe this nonsense.  

What's that saying about if you have to constantly tell someone how great you are at something?  Something, something, you're really not that great.  If you are constantly having to tell someone how you're all about something, you're probably not all about it.

Are there some great coaches out there?  Yes, undoubtedly so.  But the industry is so saturated with people who have some weekend certification and a few before and after pics of a few clients that come cheap, so women and men will often go with them as their "coach". 

Let me be clear on this; if you're going to compete and be serious, seek out a great coach with a stellar reputation, and pay them what they are worth.  This isn't fucking bargain shopping down at the flea market.  You're talking about your endocrine system, mental and emotional well being here.  If you can't afford a great coach, and you feel like you need one, don't compete.  It's that simple.  There are coaches out there who have literally put multiple competitors in the hospital.  

You get what you pay for.  And being cheap with your body could cost you more than money.

The other dark side that is often joked about is the gay for pay stuff that many competitors do in order to pay for their drugs, food, and the lifestyle they "need" to live in order to be highly competitive.  

However what isn't talked about so much, is that women often do sleep with judges in order to get higher placings.  

This isn't conjecture on my part, it's reality.  I've heard first hand.

It's not exactly hidden in the industry, as plenty of competitors know what judges have a reputation for this, but it's not exactly talked about as openly as other topics.  So you take a woman who has dieted for months on end, taken drugs that have fucked her hormonal system up, who has invested a tremendous amount of time and money into doing well, and she's now in a vulnerable position to cave to such propositions. 

Before you stand up on your soapbox about how "that's her choice" or "it's no ones fault but her own", I hope in every emotionally charged situation in your life, you made all the right decisions.  

Thank you, Jesus of the fitness industry, for showing up to bestow your devout wisdom and displaying how infallible you are.  Surely it must be hard to stay so humble when you're perfect in every way.

I'm not excusing this behavior.  I'm saying anytime you put someone in an incredibly vulnerable state, they will often make decisions and choices that are out of character for them.  I also blame the judges who partake in this, as it is preying on these insecurities and vulnerabilities in order to essentially extort sex out of them.  You're an asshole.

And all of these things can indeed lead down slippery slopes.

Photo shoots turn into nude photo shoots turns into stripping which turns into softcore porn, which turns into hardcore porn.  And this has happened to MANY women whose path began with, "I want to get in shape and do a show."

It's funny how each little and seemingly insignificant decision in our lives lays each brick for the temple of personal self destruction.  I bet you never thought that doing some glute thrusts in the gym would lead to some glute thrusts out of the gym for money did you?  

I apologize for making light of choices that may have left you with poor memories, but that was a joke I just couldn't pass up on.

Obviously all of these things do not happen to everyone.  But they do happen.  And it's not even terribly uncommon for women who compete long enough to experience each one of them in some form or fashion.

These things are also not limited to fitness, figure, physique women either.  I've watched plenty of women in powerlifting absolutely destroy their femininity chasing a $20 plastic trophy.  And all I can ask myself is, "why?"

If it's that important to you to boast of a big squat, that you're willing to accept all of the consequences that come with abusing androgens, then it is your life.  Have at it.  But there are too many women who have stories like the one at the beginning of this article that regret it later.

Very few people think about the future when they are caught up in the obsession of attaining goals related around a hobby.  You may say you're willing to accept those consequences now, but after competing is gone, all of those consequences are still going to be there with you every single day of your life.

So you better be certain that you're really ok with them, when you decide that "being the best" is really what you're after.  

Conclusion - 

I don't write any of this to dissuade people from competing, or even from using drugs.  I write it to at least educate them that these are some of the things that can happen if you are not aware of all the dark shadows that loom in the corners of the fitness industry.  

Please educate yourself, and surround yourself with people who have your health and personal best interests in mind.  Remember that a lot of people in the industry don't care about you, and will use you for their own personal gain.  There are lots and lots of awesome people in the industry, that live their life with integrity and honor.  And there are lots and lots that don't.  

If you plan on competing, and don't want to ruin your health and your life, ask yourself what you are losing and gain in every difficult and critical decision you are faced with.  At the end of the day no one will have to carry the ramifications of your choices but you.  And even the broadest of shoulders will eventually slump if those ramifications become too much to bear.

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