Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The embracement of softcore

If you were to judge the title of this alone, you'd probably be expecting some Skinemax Red Shoe diary type shit, where you get to see some boobs through the steamy shower scene, but ultimately leaves you feeling very unfulfilled.

No, what I am talking about in regards to embracing the softcore here is a trend I consistently see throughout the strength and physique industry.

I'm going to do my best not to paint with broad strokes here, or make overall generalizations, but it may happen.  If it does, then it does.

The past few days there has been a bit of a debate going on about a post a bikini competitor (yes, we're already talking about bikini competitors so you know this is going places) saying, literally, "it doesn't matter if you fill your calories with 10 oreos or 5 gallons of broccoli" (so long as it "fits your macros"), and that basically you can get into contest condition doing this shit.

I'm not naming said competitor because I personally don't want to give her any more ridiculous pub she's gotten from writing such nonsense.  What I want to address are two things I see, that have become a big trend in the "fitness industry".

1.  Dumb shit like "it doesn't matter if your calories come from oreos or long as it fits your macros."

I'm not sure where to start with how stupid this is.  And I don't care what some PhD loudmouth or supposed nutrition "expert" has to say about that.  The last time I checked, no one needed a fucking PhD to know that oreos and broccoli aren't the same even if you somehow lined the god damn macros line up.

Before the IIFYM crowd starts flexing their massive 13" biceps in anger, let's get this out of the way.  Flexible dieting or IIFYM can work for some people.  But let's also get another thing straight.  It works for people who know their body really well, knows how to properly manipulate their macros, and has a very good handle on how their body responds to certain foods.

In other words, if you aren't in possession of this skillset, it's fucking not for you.  Sort of like how if you're a noob, you don't need cable crossovers for your bird chest.  You might want to simply learn the basics first, and get some weight on the bar.

If you're a casual Sunday driver, you don't get into a formula 1 car because "IF IT FITS YOUR DRIVING" nerds tell you "all driving is the same because there's a steering wheel and a gas pedal."

Just stop.

Second, it may not be for you anyway.  Not everyone can be flexible in their dieting and lose bodyfat, get lean, or get into contest condition.  This isn't conjecture.  It's fact.  I'm aware of lots of people who have to be strict pretty much year around just to stay in the range of "athletic bodyfat percentage".  They have very small margins for error.  And I know some people who have much larger margins for error to maintain such shape.

If you're naturally lean, and have some raging metabolism, and you're a bikini competitor that needs to lose a whopping 9 pounds to get in stage shape?  Yeah, this shit may be right up your alley come competition time.   But it isn't a good idea tossing out such ridiculous misinformation that oreos and broccoli are some kind of fucking equal food source.  Let's just completely ignore things like the hormonal and inflammation response of foods all together because you know, all foods are equal simple based on "macros".

It's just all about macros, bro.

I know every time I've ever opened up an IFBB pros food "case" it's just a mix of Pringles and tilapia and bloomin onions from Outback Steakhouse.  Because it doesn't matter if you get your carbs from Pringles or sweet potatoes.  It's all the fucking same once it enters your body.

"You're an idiot because you don't understand flexible dieting."

No, I understand it just fine.  It all comes back to the basic principle of thermodynamics and portion control.  If you want to lose fat, you need an energy deficit.  So we're all on board with that very simple concept. It's also about not limiting your food sources and allowing yourself to have things like ice cream and cake in certain quantities IF "they fit your macros".  However there are still issues with this concept whether you like it or not.

Pretending your food sources don't matter or that all macro food sources are equal as a valid concept is mind blowing to me.

Fructose.  A carb.  Doesn't cause the pancreas to secrete insulin.  Gets stored as liver glycogen.

Glucose.  A carb.  Causes the pancreas to secrete insulin.  Gets stored as muscle glycogen.

Seeing how insulin is the most powerful hormone in the body, I think it's safe to say not all food sources, even of equal macro value, don't have the same effect on the body.

And despite the fact that I've addressed this before, fuck it, let's science this bitch out for one second.

But oreos and broccoli are the fucking same!

Fuck it, we'll follow that up with a meme........

You can save all of your links and studies and everything else that points to (cue uber white guy voice) "similar body composition changes despite different food sources with the same energy deficit."

I don't care about the 12 fat people who don't lift weights that were involved in a study where one group ate brussel sprouts for 12 weeks and the other group ate gummy bears but lost the same amount of weight because the calories were the same.

We have already addressed that.

If you're in an energy deficit, you'll lose weight.  If you're in a surplus, you'll gain weight.  The problem is, there are so many other factors in regards to what those gains and losses look like based on other factors that it doesn't become that god damn simple anymore.

Did they lose muscle mass or gain muscle mass?

Were they doing cardio, or lifting weights?

How were the macros spread out?

If it was a study done on "well trained" individuals, how advanced were they?

How hard were they training during this time?

So I don't give a shit about those studies.  At all.  The same way I really don't care about the studies that involved noobs doing 3 sets of leg extensions twice a week while results were gathered and thus, it was determined that some effect that was derived from that is now "scientific fact."

That shit has ZERO bearing on guys who are spending 2 hours a day in the gym, 5-7 days a week, and have been training for 12 years with a massive hard on about clanging and banging the steel.  None.  Nada.  Nothing.

I've read studies where they "showed factually" that fasted cardio did not improve fat loss any better than cardio that was done after eating.  But I can get you a dozen competitors that will tell you when they did fasted cardio, they showed up leaner for their shows.  Not everything done in a lab in the name of nutrition or training REALLY is science.  It's just not.  The law of individuality is too great and wide, and due to genetic potential or genetic shortcomings, there is no way to accurately predict with 100% certainty what a diet or training program will produce for every single person.

That last point is literally not debatable.

And lastly, for people who are obese, the reason why they end up gaining most of their weight back on "traditional diets" isn't because of the bullshit I've read from IIFYM proponents.  It's because they have spent time modifying the reward receptors with shitty food choices that indeed rewire the circuitry of the brain that's associated with dopamine.  Ok, we will science this shit out one more time since these people are big on linking studies.

Link -

Recent evidence now suggests that as with drug addiction, obesity with compulsive eating behaviors involves reward circuitry of the brain, particularly the circuitry involving dopaminergic neural substrates. Increasing amounts of data from human imaging studies, together with genetic analysis, have demonstrated that obese people and drug addicts tend to show altered expression of DA D2 receptors in specific brain areas, and that similar brain areas are activated by food-related and drug-related cues.

Do you think it's a good idea then, to take someone who is obese, or needs to get lean, and has an eating disorder, and still allow them to eat foods that caused the obesity in the first place?  Look, for those people it's not the same as the person who hasn't had a "cheat meal" in 3 months.  They can't eat a "slice of pizza".  They eat whole pizzas.  They literally need to spend a significant amount of time "getting clean" no different than a crack addict or an alcoholic.  Which means abstaining from those foods for a significant period of time in order to establish and cement healthy eating habits.  For those people, they don't know what portion control is.  Three oreos signals to the brain that they need to eat three bags of oreos.  Until those pathways are rewired, their ability to show restraint is going to be negligible.

My beef isn't with flexible dieting per say.  It's with people who spread such horrible information that there's no difference in oreos and broccoli.  If you could get contest shredded eating oreos do you not think that 100% of the people would do that, rather than suffer and feel like zombies for months on end all the while eating tuna and lettuce?

"Hey, I can name you these 5 guys that use IIFYM that get shredded."

Awesome.  I love the 5 guys that are 175-180 pounds in contest shape that are naturally lean with hell-fire metabolisms as examples.  This is awesome.  Tell me more, my friend.

What about that guy that can't even have a few packets of equal during the last month lest he totally screw up his conditioning?  Or the guy that can't eat carbs the week of the show for the same reason.  Or the guy that has to slam carbs just to fill out enough not to appear flat?  Or the guy that can't tolerate sweet potatoes or brown rice because they bloat him so bad?

It's just not as simple as macros.  Not at the competitive level of physique competition.  And just because one asshole ate ice cream all week and accounted for it, and won some show that consisted of 7 competitors that was held in a high school gymnasium, doesn't mean shit.

Bikini competitors weighing in on this are even worse.

I've known bikini competitors that were so genetically gifted that they were practically gym noobs and won nationally qualifying shows.  Two weeks later they are writing diet plans for people and spouting off about how they ate Taco Bell twice a week going into the show "so it does work".  Oh you also left out how your coach put you on T3, T4, clen, anavar, and arimidex for that show too.  But nevermind that.  It was the fucking Taco Bell.  That was the ticket.

Hey I have an idea.  Enter a division that requires you to have a significant level of muscle mass, and a very significant degree of extreme conditioning and get back with me on that Taco Bell and tell me how much more time you had to spend in the gym to reach THAT level.

Before someone says I'm flat out shitting on bikini competitors, I'm not.  Ok, I sort of am, but I do know of some bikini competitors that train hard, eat properly, don't espouse dumb shit, and work hard at being competitive in that division. The problem is, people don't want to hear from them.  They want to hear from the people who say "you can totally transform your body and not really change your current life style."

And that's bullshit.

Which leads me to my second major gripe/rant.

2.  The idea that dream physiques, elite level strength, or elite level performance can be attained easily.

This idea has come about due to the popularity of surge of competitors in new divisions that don't require the same amount of discipline, hard work, and suffering that other divisions do.  Even worse, those divisions have become so popular because it caters to mediocrity.

If you are getting judged on your physique, then how in the hell can that be possible when no one sees your leg development?

We have come to a point in the physique world where we put mediocrity on a pedestal, and reward what I see as averageness as something to be admired.

Someone showed me some guy on Instagram this past week with over a million followers, and I could barely tell the guy had ever picked up a weight.  The best way I could describe his physique is if you took an ironing board, and drew abs on it, then that's what we had.

And that's what young males now, apparently, "strive" for.

It's not eliteness.  It's not the unattainable.  It's the absolute average in regards to physical development.  I can find 20 guys in every gym in the world that look like that.  To me, it's like knowing there is the NFL out there, filled with elite players, playing inside a mostly empty stadium, while 70 thousand people are lining up to watch a bunch of overweight dads play flag football on the weekend.  Because hey, "I too can be a backyard flag football all star."

You know why so many young men identify with this?  Because they feel it is something they can strive for.  And because women apparently prefer that look over "grossness".

Well fuck your grossness.  Pushing the limits to me in regards to physical development was something that was always to be admired and revered.  Because it took extreme degrees of hard work, discipline, dieting, training, and desire.  The grossness was nothing more than the manifestation of those things.  In other words, the form that was created from going the extra mile that others were not willing to go.

And that's what really creates the chasm between these underwear boys and guys who are still cranking year after year in order to become more "gross".  It's an evolution of identity.  No different than Walter White went from a guy just needing a few hundred thousand dollars, to a guy that was obsessed by the feeling of power and control.

Can you imagine people celebrating a dude climbing the tallest hill in some wooded area of the backwoods of Georgia while totally ignoring the people climbing Everest and Makalu?

No one is on ESPN due to running the 100 meter dash in 22 seconds.  No.  It's Usain Bolt smashing records and killing his competition.  And his competition is fucking elite.

But the physique culture has done exactly that.  Push the easily attainable to the forefront so as to appeal to the masses.  Because while people love elite level athletes or competitors in other sports, the physique culture has grown into the opposite.  People loving the easily attainable.

Now, you can have a line out of the Arnold or Olympia expo of people waiting in line to get a pic of them with some dude that's 180 pounds with abs.  If that's not average I'm not sure what is.  And this is why "bodybuilding" has gone backwards in regards to popularity.

Even with all of that said, I personally don't care if that's what the masses want.  Let me repeat that lest someone miss that sentence.

If being 175 with abs, and a "beach body" physique is what you're after, then go for it.  Work hard for it, and be proud of it.  It's your life.  Do what makes you happy and gives you joy in regard to your training, eating, and lifestyle.  I honestly don't have an issue with this.  Different strokes for different folks, and people have to decide what really creams their Twinkie.

My main issue is, if someone is going to find themselves in that degree of notoriety, with possibly millions of followers, then they should at least be held responsible for the information they dole out in regards to training and nutrition.  No different than I am going to slam women who go get ass implants, then pretend they didn't, all the while telling other women they know how to build glutes.  Lying and being disingenuous, the last time I checked, is sort of the opposite of integrity.  But I guess that's not really that relevant anymore either.  Likes and followers are.

And here is where it all comes together.

People do want to look a certain way.  They want their dream body.  And they go out on social media and find people that have their "dream body" and hashtag shit like #physiquegoals related to these people.  Then because they have a desire to look like them, get lost in the delusion that this person somehow has the keys to the kingdom for them in regards to achieving that body.  They don't tell people they got ass implants, or that they take thyroid drugs or clenbuterol.  They say shit like "I eat pizza multiple times a week and you can too.  Stop believing you have to eat clean and be strict in order to achieve the body you want.  There's no difference in oreos and broccoli."

And people eat this shit up.  Pun intended.  Because it appeals to their belief that attaining something incredibly difficult can be done quite easily.  It appeals to the "softcore" masses.

And maybe it can be easily attainable, if you fall into that small percentage of people who had great parents that make it easy.  But for the other 99% it's going to take a lot of hard work, a great degree of suffering, and a lot more broccoli than fucking oreos.

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Monday, November 16, 2015

Why I hate John Meadows

If I so desired, I could probably write a novel that would rival the likes of Moby Dick to describe all the reasons I despise and hate John Meadows.  However, I don't have that kind of time nor the inclination to do so because it would just mean more publicity for someone who has caused a great deal of grief and misery in my life.  What I will do instead, is continue to pray to whatever God will listen, and that John gets blown up by rockets one day.

With that said, I can give you a high level overview of why I hate John, and why you should as well.

1.  John is a former banker - Do I really need to write any more than that at this point?  I could probably end this right here but I will continue anyway.

2.  John is really short - Short people always have attitude problems.  John is no exception to this, as you will come to learn.

3.  John grows shitty lamb chops out from time to time - I have no idea why he does this, other than the fact that I bet he thinks he looks like Wolverine when he does it.  My guess is he enters a contest for ugliest human alive on a periodic basis.

4.  John was in Forbes - This is true.  He was.  They lavished over his success as a banker (puke) and then his successful transition from banker to snake oil salesman and professional rip off artist via his Mountain Dog website, training, etc.

5.  John got his IFBB pro card - True, it only took him 189 shows to finally find one where the competition was so weak they were forced to give him one, but it did happen.

This is just a small list, and not even the top 5.  I could go on about his diva personality to the degree that he has a personal driver that chauffeurs him everywhere.  How he fans his farts in people's faces randomly, and has a slave labor camp in Cambodia filled with old women and small children who work for pennies a day to make pancakes for him.  But those are somewhat sophomoric in nature compared to so many other things that makes him scum of the Earth.

To give you a better glimpse into the dark heart that is John Meadows, let me tell you what it was like being around him for the better part of everyday for over a week in Australia.

Each morning I would meet him down for breakfast.  John would go on and on about the quality of eggs there, and lament how shitty eggs were back in the states compared to there.  He bought me breakfast a total of zero times, and then spent the morning talking in third person and insulting me for no reason.

For example...

Me - "Good morning, John."

John - "Don't say "good morning to John Meadows.  You say "greetings, sire!"

Me - "I'm not saying that."

John - "Fuck you, Paul.  I'm John Meadows.  The Mountain Dog.  Sit at that table over there until you can learn some respect."

Me - ".............................."

John - "These eggs are delicious.  Pay for my breakfast, bitch."

These were my general morning conversations with John...on a good day.  On a bad day, he'd try to hold me down with his short little snausage fingers and try to force me to smell his farts.  Luckily, I am stronger than John so I would break free and ask him what his fucking problem was.

I might be smiling here but on the inside I was dying

"My problem?  You're asking John Meadows what his problem is?  You don't ever ask the Mountain Dog what his problem is.  Pay for my breakfast, bitch."

Eventually, John left to go back to the states, thank God.  And the reign of terror finally came to an end.

After more than a year of serious therapy and counseling, I was able to move past that week of trauma and abuse and resumed a somewhat normal life.

Until lately, however.

John hit me up a few weeks ago, and I immediately took my lithium so as to make it through the conversation without a panic attack.

"Send John Meadows your address." he told me.

"John, my therapist said that probably isn't a good idea."

"The Mountain Dog has something to send you.  Now pay for my breakfast, bitch."

"John, I'm in Kansas City.  You're in Columbus.  I can't pay for your breakfast."

"Are you talking shit to The Mountain Dog right now?"

"No John, here, let me send you my address.  What are you sending me?"

"Some food bars."

I had no idea what a food bar was.  To me, that sounds like a place where fat people go to socialize.

A few days after this, I saw a post from Shelby Starnes where he said he had received said food bars and was highly addicted to them.  That he couldn't stop eating them.

At first I thought this was Shelby being dramatic.  However he's not one for dramatics so I easily came to the conclusion that John was sending me some form of a highly addictive substance.  Something that could easily ruin my life and have me doing unspeakable acts in piss filled alleys in order to get more these "food bars".

A few days later, a got a package that contained two boxes.  On the top of each one was a picture of John that looked like something out of a comic book.  Seeing John's image immediately caused both an anxiety attack and sudden nausea and I almost threw up all over the place.  But I practiced my deep breathing techniques until it passed, and then peeled the pictures off of the boxes so I could actually look at them long enough to open one.

Inside was what looked like a normal candy bar.

"Interesting" I thought.

I looked on the back and checked out the macros, and ingredients.  I looked up and down the contents of this "food bar" but did not see "crack cocaine" or "methamphetamines" listed anywhere.

I cracked this thing open, and took a bite.

I was not prepared for that.

Unlike most protein bars on the market, this thing really was delicious.  The texture was amazing.  And it was really moist.  Because as the name implies, it is made with real food.  So it has to be stored in the fridge.  A place as cold as John's black heart.

And also unlike the bars you normally get, that feel like you're eating a slab of pasty goo, these were soft.  Just like John's glutes in all those contests he took second place at.

What really hit me when I looked on the back, were the macros.  The first place my mind went was that was a perfect food about an hour before training.  Enough protein to initiate muscle protein synthesis,  just enough carbs as not to cause a blood sugar drop, and a solid amount of fats to slow down the digestion of them.


Combined with Muscle Intrusion from True Nutrition, this would be ideal in every way for my pre and peri workout stack.  I mean perfect.

I took a valium to relax my nerves and called John to let him know what a great product this was.

"John Meadows knows what a great product it is, bitch.  You think the Mountain Dog would make anything other than great product?" he told me.

I reiterated my thoughts about it being ideal for about an hour before training.

"You don't think I don't know that?  John Meadows knows all.  Buy my breakfast, bitch."

I went to respond to this however he abruptly hung up on me.  Which was fine as I could feel another anxiety attack coming on.

I instituted the food bar into my nutrition plan and along with the Muscle Intrusion I felt fantastic during training.  A really solid source of energy and I didn't feel overly full from eating it an hour out.  No stomach issues at all like a lot of protein bars gave me.

My main issue with them was that they were overly delicious.  And I wanted to eat many of them at a time.  Much like Shelby had talked about.  They really are that good.

If you follow up your training with some Rice Chex, almond milk, and 40 grams of whey protein you've literally got the perfect pre-peri-post workout food sources in place.

You can chalk up my addiction to these as another reason that I hate John Meadows.  Anyone who makes a protein bar taste this good must be an asshole.  After all, the market was already saturated with shitty tasting protein bars, so what was the purpose in making one that actually tasted great and was made with real food ingredients?

Seems pointless to me, but I will keep eating them until my prayers are answered and John gets blown up by military rockets.

If you're interested in adding these to your pre and peri workout habits, you can have a go at them in the linkage below.....

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Friday, November 13, 2015

Beginner lessons - Early mistakes to avoid

Chasing poundage rather than technique -

As a novice, it can be hard not to get caught up in the early wild ride that is adding poundage very easy every week, or every few weeks.  However this often comes at the expense of maintaining or promoting proper movement execution.

Over time, these motor patterns of said lifter becomes established and these bad habits become hard to break later when attempts at maximal poundages are performed.

And while progressive overload should be the cornerstone of the novice and intermediate lifter, it shouldn't be adhered to "at any cost".

Believing a certain routine will make you look a certain way -

I remember when I was young, a few years into training, and I really thought that following a certain pros routine would make me "look like them".

I see this subtly still in the minds of young lifters or guys with little experience.  You know how?  With these phrases...

"well it works for him."

This is said by fanboys of guys they follow/idolize/want to be like...and they need to believe that because something works for their idol, that it will work for them as well.

"I'm using so n so's routine.  And he's jacked."

So n so didn't use THAT routine to get jacked, if he's an advanced guy.  He arrived at that destination via other means.  And those other means would probably serve you better than following his 6 day a week split routine that he worked up to doing over the course of the last decade.

Another example of this is any time some Hollywood actor gets in decent enough shape for a role to "stand out" on film.  Without fail, magazines and websites will report on his "routine", which no one can know for certain whether it was or not.  But this doesn't stop guys from believing that if they follow said routine they will look like that within a few months.

Dwayne didn't always look like this.  For the longest time he looked like....(see below)

From guys I've spoken with that are in the know about this, most of these guys run a cycle, train multiple times a day, have two or three guys helping them with their training and nutrition.  And they have millions of dollars in the bank to live comfortably off of in order to do nothing but train, eat, and "supplement" everyday in order to get ready for a role.  Do you have that kind of time and money?  Because if not, the shitty routine you are reading in that magazine where he trained "four days a week, doing 50 push ups and some swiss ball ab work" isn't going to do a god damn thing for you.

I mean how many times have we seen The Rock's workout and diet in a magazine at this point?  I wonder how many guys have done both of those in order to "look like the Rock?"

Nevermind that he's been training for over 20 years now.  Totally lost on them because apparently he just got jacked like, this year.

Newflash.  If you want to be jacked like Dwayne Johnson, be prepared to put in a couple of decades of hard work, take some anabolics, and go through phases where you were chubby, then lean, then chubby, then lean again.  None of this happens in a few months, or even a few years.  And no routine is going to make you "look like someone".  Last time I checked, your dad banged your mom and created you.  And what someone else does or did won't always help you.

...well, he looked like this.  Lots of years in between.

Part of the process of fulfilling your genetic potential is going through the process of becoming advanced.  It's actually not until you get closer to your genetic ceiling that you've made enough mistakes and tried enough shit to know what the hell really works for you.

So be prepared to do a lot of the wrong shit.  Just know that following a guys routine that has been training for two decades isn't going to make you look like him any time soon.

Chronic routine changing -

This is sort of an extension to the last point.

But even more so, I can't figure out what is going through the mind of people when I read shit like this.

"I just used X routine and had great results.  So now I'm going to try Y routine."


So you're using a program that is working well, and making some sweet ass gains, and you're going to change it because.....I literally have no snappy comeback to this.


I don't know, I'm at a loss.  But I read this over and over again.  And it makes zero sense to me at all.

Listen, if you are making progress you ride that shit out until it's deader than hell.  And you know what?  You won't even know that for months and months and months.  And you know what else?  Even then, you don't have to overhaul everything in order to keep moving forward.  In fact, that's often the worst thing you can do.  You make a change here, then see what happens.  If you progress again, that's all you do.  Until progress is no longer forthcoming.

Then you repeat that.  Make a small change.  Better?  Worse?  Nothing?

If something works, don't make a change until it no longer does for quite some time.  And then, make minor changes.  It could literally be something as slight as taking your reps from 5 to 12.  Or switching one movement out for another.

Neglecting back work -

This is another area I see with most novice guys.  And a lot of the novice routines that get used by so many of them.

Your back is basically the foundation for everything you do along with your trunk and hips.  So addressing it with a few sets of shitty rows once a week is just not going to be enough.

I will say this, in my early years I did not make this particular mistake.  I have no idea if I had genetics for a big back, but I honestly believe all the years I spent early on doing chins for hours on end, and doing a metric fuck ton of various rows played a part in it.

Yet, do you know how many guys I know can't do a strict set of 10 with bodyweight only even after several years of supposed, "serious training?"

How serious are you training if you can't do 10 chin ups/pull ups after YEARS of being in the gym?

Pulling your bodyweight up is one of the most basic strength building movements you can do.  And you're too weak or too fat to do a strict set of ten....after YEARS of training?

Either you neglected your back work, and ignored hard work, or you got into one of those stupid ass "perma bulk" modes and also neglected hard back work.  Now you're too heavy to pull your fat ass up for a set of 10 on one of the most simplistic and basic movements you should be doing.

Someone will probably get mad about that, but generally when someone makes you mad with something they say, it should cause a bit of self reflection.  I mean, in this particular case it should.  If someone tells you  you're a piece of shit....well, it's possible that should cause some self reflection too, depending on the source.

Either way, so many people spend too much time neglecting SERIOUS back work early in their training, because it's hard, and it's not fancy.  Make it fancy.  It will literally carry over to everything else you do.

Spot reduction -

This really is still talked about!  I swear to God it is.  I still see it all the time.

You cannot do an exercise to "get more definition in my arms."

"Get my legs more toned."

"Get my pecs leaner."

All of these things require two things -

1.  A reduction in bodyfat.
2.  An increase in muscle mass in those areas.

I will say this, the more developed an area gets, the less fat it does tend to carry around it.  This is not "spot reduction" however.  When I read the term "spot reduction" it generally means the person thinks doing a movement for that area strips fat off of it.

So if you hate that a particular bodypart tends to carry more fat in it, you can end up carrying less fat around that area IF that area becomes VERY developed (I've seen this not only in myself but lots of others).  But that takes time, and it still takes a reduction in overall bodyfat, and an increase in muscle mass.  Doing movements for that area don't make it leaner because you're working it.

But basically what your focus should be, right from the beginning is decreasing bodyfat, and simply increasing muscle mass overall.  You're going to have an area on your body that ultimately holds on to fat the hardest, and will always be the last place you lose it.  Even if that area becomes more developed it's still probably going to be your "problem area".  Doing a zillion sets of ab work isn't going to get you a six pack if you're rocking 20% bodyfat.

Not building balance/creating muscular gaps -

Talk to any therapist or psychiatrist in the world and they will all tell you that as adults, most of who we are gets shapen, or misshapen, in our most impressionable years when we are young.  The foundation for how we think, believe, behave, and act all starts getting built from the time we are very young.  And since it is the foundation, it stays with us for the rest of our lives unless one or two things happen...

1.  Experience teaches us otherwise, i.e. we have a paradigm shift due to something happening that changes us.

2.  Extensive therapy that allows us to process the fragmented parts of trauma that happen to us in our youth.

Now apply both of those things to what you are building as a novice, and ask yourself if you are building a solid foundation with a very balanced training and eating program.

One of my biggest issues with most beginner programs is that they lack total body development, and balance.  It's usually the same template.

Three days a week - Squatting, deadlifting, bench pressing, and rowing.  There might be one or two things in there outside of that but that's about it.

Does this look like balance to you?  Because it doesn't to me.

"Well a beginner doesn't need all those other things."

What other things?  Things that help to create stability at every area of the kinetic chain?  Things that make sure hamstring and quadriceps strength are in balance?  Things that make sure one side of the body doesn't become dominant because unilateral work was excluded?

I firmly believe that a lot of the injuries you end up with down the road are related to some of the things that get imprinted on you in your early stages of training.  You'll gravitate towards movements you love, neglecting the ones you hate, and this becomes a cornerstone of future training habits.

A beginner has the same muscles when he or she starts training, as they will have twenty years later.  So why do so many beginner templates neglect these areas when doing so means the beginner becomes intermediate or advanced, is then left in "catch up" mode in regards to developing them?  Why can't a beginner use a leg curl, or do work for their brachialis?

"Because they don't need all that extra fluff.  All the major muscle groups get hit with the big movements...blah blah blah"

Beginners need to work on complete development so that less energy needs to be devoted to specialization later.  This doesn't mean the beginner or intermediate specializes, it just means they don't neglect things because a few big movements "hit the total body".

Down the line, he or she will most likely end up with an injury due to improper mechanics, or because something has been left weak, or underdeveloped.

This is what creating a muscular gap is.  When a secondary or tertiary mover in a lift doesn't get adequate attention and is neglected for years on end.  By addressing them early in training, there's less of a chance of dealing with "trauma" later.

Think of it as good muscle parenting.  Neglecting certain muscles is like leaving your toddler alone all day to figure out how to cook because they are hungry.  It just doesn't make a lot of sense.

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Saturday, October 31, 2015

For maximum rage, take creatine

I honestly can't believe I am sitting here writing this.

I really can't.

However because of the fact that the media coverage of some cop slinging a young girl around in a classroom has become a major news story, I am annoyed enough to do so.

In case you don't know what I'm talking about, apparently a policeman was called into a classroom to remove an unruly student with a cell phone.  He lost his shit on her, and ended up slinging her all over the place in order to remove her.

I'm not getting into the debate about his behavior.  The issue now, that the media is running with, is that his rage was caused, or possibly caused, by creatine.

And here we fucking go again.

This reminds me of the witch hunt done with ephedrine years ago.

In case you don't remember why or when it was banned, there was a similar kick off (pun intended here) due to the death of an NFL player named Korey Stringer.  Who died of heatstroke after practice.


Ephedrine was found in his locker, but actually wasn't in his system when the autopsy was done.  These facts of course, did not keep the media from their ensuing witch hunt to make it appear as if taking ephedrine was right on par with free basing cocaine in regards to your health.

Completely ignoring the fact that at that time, millions of people took ephedrine for weight loss without any serious health issues.  Me being one of them.

Stringer died in 2003.  Ephedrine was banned in 2004 after the media ramrodded us with story after story of teens basically taking ephedrine and making it appear as if they all suddenly dropped dead faster than a Cambodian villager captured by the Khmer Rouge.

Never fucking mind that ephedrine was used for thousands of years by the Chinese.  However this didn't stop the New England Journal of Medicine to essentially declare ephedrine unsafe based on a total of...brace yourselves...10 deaths related to it over a two years span.

Ten.  Over two years.

Do you know how many die each year from a vending machine falling on top of them?

Around 10-13.

About 11 people die each year from firework accidents.

Can someone tell me why people are still allowed to get Skittles from the vending machine at work, but can't run down to the GNC and grab some old school Ripped Fuel?  Because this confuses me.

For anyone who says the media doesn't have power in regards to our freedom, you are either willfully ignorant or flat out stupid.  They are the driving force in most cases behind how and why OTC supplements end up being off the counter supplements.

But fuck that, let's really shed some light on things.

"It has been estimated conservatively that 16,500 NSAID-related deaths occur among patients with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis every year in the United States. This figure is similar to the number of deaths from the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and considerably greater than the number of deaths from multiple myeloma, asthma, cervical cancer, or Hodgkin’s disease. If deaths from gastrointestinal toxic effects from NSAIDs were tabulated separately in the National Vital Statistics reports, these effects would constitute the 15th most common cause of death in the United States. Yet these toxic effects remain mainly a “silent epidemic,” with many physicians and most patients unaware of the magnitude of the problem. Furthermore the mortality statistics do not include deaths ascribed to the use of over-the-counter NSAIDS." (Wolfe M. MD, Lichtenstein D. MD, and Singh Gurkirpal, MD, “Gastrointestinal Toxicity of Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs”, The New England Journal of Medicine,a June 17, 1999, Vol. 340, No. 24, pp. 1888-1889.)
16,500 deaths.  Related to NSAID drugs.

No witch hunt.

10 deaths over 2 years from ephedrine...a drug used for thousands of years in a safe and effective manner.  Completely unsafe and kills teens faster than Jason does at Camp Crystal Lake.

Seems legit.

Now, and don't take this lightly, there will be another long hard look at creatine.  Because this is how our politicians should be using out time and money.  To look at supplements that have been proven through countless studies to be safe and effective, and determine if they should remove them off the shelves.

And they would be doing so because why?

Creatine rage.

Sit down, take a deep breath, exhale, and let that sink in for a minute.


I don't want to get too sciency here but let's look at what creatine is, or does in your body when you take it.

Creatine, once ingested (I assume he hadn't gone full creatine injection route and was shooting it up...that's sarcasm) arrives at the muscle cells and gets converted into creatine phosphate.  Creatine phosphate then gets broken down into ATP which is used during short, explosive muscular contractions.

Once ATP is depleted, your body will then convert glycogen stored in the muscle to make more ATP.
The conversion of glycogen to ATP is much longer than that of creatine phosphate to ATP.  This is why using creatine, which creates a larger pool of creatine phosphate to be created to ATP, works so well in regards to increasing strength.

Creatine is nothing more than a supplement that gets converted into a fuel used by the body for contractile power.

That's it.

The chance of someone having "rage" from taking creatine is the same as someone having rage from carb loading from eating too many doughnuts.  There is literally no physiological link between creatine and it having the ability to make people angry.

Gotta get that creatine fix by any means necessary 

We're talking creatine here, people.  Not halotestin.  Not PCP.

This of course won't stop people from using "I did a creatine load the night before I killed my family" excuse to justify or rationalize their actions and behaviors.  And of course, if this ever reaches congress due to the media having nothing better to do than cover the Kardashians, then it is possible that just like in the death of Stringer, it could get pulled off the shelves due to it possibly having the potential to cause good cops to beat up high school students, and people to go on homicidal rampages.  Nevermind the fact that millions of people use creatine every year without beating the shit out of their family or roommates.   That won't matter.  What will matter is people will need an excuse for their shitty behavior and a scapegoat will be found for it.

In the meantime, people won't actually take the time out to look at the fact that creatine is the most studied OTC supplement of all time, and that it's never once been found to be anything but safe and effective at what it's supposed to do.  No, what they will do is see this cop yanking around a kid in school and go "Johnnie, you can't take creatine.  It causes rage and homicidal behavior."

I wish that was a scenario made up in my head, but that conversation is going to happen at sometime, somewhere in a GNC store in the near future.


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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Online vs real life coaching - the real scoop

Online coaching has become a big service in this modern age.

There it is - my captain obvious statement for the whole blog post right off the bat.

But for serious, there's a million "online coaches" now and virtually everyone offers a service for meal plans, training, supplementation, how to get laid, whatever.

Of course, the market is saturated because all it takes to know how to train someone or do a diet for someone is enter a single competition after a few months of training and you're good to go.  If you somehow find time on a weekend to get a certification you're even more legit than the next guy/gal who did the same fucking thing.

Not only that, but as an online coach myself, who rarely advertises his services (because I'm a shitty salesman), watching from the outside (I guess I'd actually be on the inside?) I see a lot of chest beating about how superior one guy's services are, compared to the rest.

"Why are you going to these online coaches that offer up cookie cutter programs?  I do custom programming that is tailored to your body, bra size, hair length, BLAH BLAH BLAH."  

This is literally the catch phrase I see over and over again from guys offering online coaching.  Personally, what it says to me is you're really trying to shit on other people to make your services look more appealing.

I suppose that's a part of marketing.  I also think it's horseshit.

First off, not everyone needs "custom" training programs.

There I said it.  Going against the grain, and also calling out some of this bullshit I keep reading.

The qualifications of the liter/athlete will determine what he or she really needs.

A rank beginner or intermediate level lifter needs a "specially customized program" about as much as Whitney Houston needed that last line of coke before bathtime.

In fact, most guys aren't elite enough that they need very customized programming.  Starting guys out on a base template then massaging that template from there, works quite well actually.

Then what do you end up with?  Something custom based on the feedback you are getting from them each week.

Generally speaking, if you know your template, and have made it work for tons of people, then you also know how to massage it to make it work for different people.  I love how certain online coaches say "we're not all special snowflakes" then proceed to say "I do CUSTOM programs.  Not cookie cutter bullshit that other guys are doing."

Well which is it?

So somehow you end up with the special snowflakes?  It is close to Christmas I suppose.  Some neighbors even have lights up already and it's not even Halloween.  Can you believe that shit?  I mean you might as well just put them up after Labor Day at this point.  Or just leave them up all year.  I left my Christmas tree up once until Summer.  The kids told me I should decorate it for every holiday that came along to make the house more "festive".  I thought about it, then realized they were mocking me and took it down the next weekend.

I know how to raise a smart ass.

On the flip side, if the athlete is very elite, then yes, they probably need something more in depth than a base template.  However, this requires a lot of feedback from the athlete to even create such a program.  A beginner or intermediate, or even guys who "think" they are advanced don't often know enough about their body or how to execute movements properly, to give that much feedback.  So you fix those issues first, and start them out with a base.  Not sitting down and writing out a program for 10 hours for someone that can't squat 315.

I've made countless of people better using templates.  So has John Meadows.  So has tons of very good, qualified online coaches.  Again, if you want a guy to end up with a custom program that is REALLY fit for him or her, and they are not exceptionally gifted or elite, then you always massage it as you go along.  Then they HAVE a custom program.  But it starts with a "base".  And even if the program is customized to start, it generally needs massaging as you go.  So what is the difference?  The program is going to change as you go regardless.  How much depends on how the trainee is progressing.

Same goes for diets.  Most of the top coaches start from base templates.  They aren't sitting down and writing out how much tilapia you'll have at 2 P.M. then how many ounces of broccoli to go along with it.  No.  They have a "base" they work from, and massage it from there, based on your progression.  You think a guy with 200 online clients doesn't have templates?  Seriously.

At the heart of it all, doing someone's diet is the easiest part.  Generally when the client fails, more often than not, it's because of their lack of discipline to adhere to said diet.  Is this always the case?  Of course not.  But if a coach has a string of success behind him there will be some stragglers that come along that simply do not adhere to what their coach has told them, then say their services were sub-par.

On the flip side, I see a lot of guys that do in person training bashing online coaching.  I will agree with them that to an extent, in person coaching has a ton more advantages over online coaching.  You can really fix a lot more problems with someone in person than online, even if you have video.  You get to know the person on a more personal level.  Although that can have drawbacks too.  Like dealing with all of their personal problems that they inevitably bring into the training session.  And if you're with someone long enough, that will most likely happen.  Now you're not only a trainer, you're a therapist.  Something you're probably not qualified to be one since you know, you're teaching them how to lift weights and scold them for sneaking a Snicker's bar when they aren't supposed to have one.

But in-person coaches shit on online coaches for the same reason online coaches shit on other online coaches.  To make one seem more credible than the other.  And that's horseshit too.

Truthfully, there's great in person coaches, and shitty in person coaches.  And there's great online coaches, and shitty ones.  I mean this is how everything in life works.  It's not limited to teaching people how to build a better body or move more weight.  You can insert this into every career on the face of the planet.

"There's great doctors, who save lives.  And shitty doctors who leave the scissors in your stomach as they sew you back up."

"There's great porn stars, and shitty ones who make your libido crash and die faster than walking in on your grandma and grandpa getting it on."

Or maybe you're into that.  I'm not judging.  Maybe I am in this case.  Because if that IS your thing, then seek immediate psychological attention.  You should never ever get turned on by seeing that.  So if you happen to be the person that does, and you're reading this, look for 5 star therapists in your area and book an appointment immediately.

Now where was I....

Oh yeah, in person vs online coaching and shit vs non-shit.

As for in person guys shitting on online coaching, you can walk into 100% of the gyms in the nation and find shitty in person coaches in there.  Or you can find someone who really knows their shit.  So in that regard, this is no different than online coaches either.

I am going to leave at this -

What all of it boils down to, is results.

Whether you spend 19 hours writing out a guys program (Freddie's programs generally take my half a day to write out because well, he's an IFBB champion) or whether or not you use a base template and massage it from there, what matters with coaching is one thing.


Does your online or in person coach get results from the majority of his or her clients on a consistent basis?

If the answer is yes, then the methods he uses aren't worth debating over.  Are they?

If the coach doesn't get results from the majority of his or her clients on a consistent basis, then they could spend 19 days writing something out, and it's of little relevance.  Who cares about how long it took someone to write out a diet or program if it doesn't produce results?

Your coach should have a lot of these to show you

I've seen tons of articles about what makes someone qualified and there's always some list of shit that honestly, doesn't matter if the coach isn't getting results with clients.

How strong you are, or how much weight you can lift has zero relevance on how great of a coach you are.

What someone totalled on the platform doesn't make them a good or bad coach.  What matters is, do they make the lifters they are training better?  Yes or no?   That's it.  Nothing else need be asked.

Does the in-person or online coach get their bodybuilder/figure/fitness/bikini/tuxedo get results, and put their clients in the best possible position to win?  Yes or no?

There is no list of "this is what your coach needs in order to be qualified."

It's easy.  Ask to see their success stories.  Either they have them, or they don't.  All the pre-sales hype bullshit means nothing without tangible results.  And all of the certifications and degrees in the world mean nothing without results.

To quote my friend and "coach", Trevor Kashey..."produce or shut the fuck up."  

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Monday, October 26, 2015

Supercompensation: More muscle, less fat...all of the fatigue

Over a year ago I made the decision to shift my training and my entire training mentality in a new direction.  

I wanted to get leaner again, and put strength as a primary factor to the side for a while.  However the idea of doing a bunch of cardio was not very appealing to me as my wheels were spinning about how I would lay this new plan out.

Let me be clear, I think conditioning is important.  And if you really desire to get down to single digit bodyfat levels I think it's very difficult to do that without conditioning of some sort, unless you're very genetically gifted. 

Luckily, as I was beginning the process of all of this I was in Australia with John Meadows, and John said something one day in passing about cardio and getting lean that made a light bulb go off.

He talked about the fact that so many guys do so much cardio before a show that by the time the show comes around, they are stringy and flat.  His exact quote at the time was "do you want to look like a guy that does a lot of cardio, or a guy that lifts weights a lot?"  

I already knew the answer to that question, and thus the answer to how I would go about my body recomposition revealed itself.  

I would simply increase my training volume and frequency.  

If you've paid attention to my other articles, one of the principles I adhere to about growing and meeting the demands for recovery is that your frequency, volume, and intensity can't all be maximal at the same time.  You pick two of the three, then downregulate the third.  

Seeing as how I knew I would be training more often, with a high degree of volume, I knew I would be scaling back the amount of weight I would be slapping on the bar.  

This did not mean that I would be training "easy" or "light".  You don't have to train "heavy" (which is a relative term for everyone) in order to train hard.  You don't even need to train heavy in order to grow.  You need the maximum amount of tension generated in every rep, set, and session that you can create, with the appropriate amount of weight.  

So make no mistake, you cannot train "light" and grow.  If you can curl 100 pounds for 10 easy reps, no matter how hard you contract your biceps on those 10 reps, if you never add weight to impose new demands that stimulate the fibers to grow via exertion, then your biceps aren't going to grow.  So at the end of the day, tension and resistance work hand in hand to compliment each other for maximum muscle growth.  

But there comes a point where weight on the bar isn't always as important as a lot of people make it out to be, when it comes to growing muscle.  

The breakover point - 

Which brings me to talking about something I ended up calling "the breakover point".  This is a term I use to describe where you go from using the absolute maximal amount of weight you can, while keeping the highest degree of tension on a specific area, to using more than that, and lose maximal tension for the muscle you are trying to target.  What happens in this instance is that other muscle groups must now kick in and become more involved/active in order to perform the movement, thus actually taking away tension from the targeted area.

I will give you an example of this -

Let's say you are doing side laterals with the 30 pound dumbbells, and you feel all of the tension in the medial deltoids.  Your form is perfect, and every rep feels spot on.  For the next set, you jump to the 40's.  Now suddenly, you have to flex your traps to start the rep, and bend forward at the waist to use some momentum to get the movement started.  Now your concentration has gone from feeling the medial delts working, to moving the weight from point A to point B.  Despite the fact that you are using more weight, there is actually less tension in the area you are trying to target.  

This means once you picked up the 40's, you crossed the breakover point.

The breakover point is what you want to avoid when you want to use maximal weights for maximal tension.  If we want tension to be maximized in a particular area, then it means we want to minimize the amount of activation by the other muscles involved in the movement.  

It is true that you cannot totally isolate off a muscle.  Other muscles will always be involved, but the degree to which that happens depends on how you execute the movement, and the amount of weight you use for your working sets.

This is why training for maximum muscle growth, and maximal strength aren't as related as people think they are.  

Training to move maximal poundages means whole body synergy.  You want as much whole body tension as possible, so that as much muscle as possible is engaged in moving the weight.  This way, the tension is dispersed across a greater amount of muscle, thus allowing you to lift more.

If you are trying to grow maximum muscle mass, and are trying to target specific areas with certain movements, then you need the greatest amount of tension from that movement going into that particular area.  And this will actually mean less weight on the bar than if you are trying to involve the whole body in the movement.  

So this downregulates "intensity" (weight on the bar) in a natural fashion.  

However this does not mean that your perceived intensity has to go down.  You still need to train hard, but with a combination of the greatest amount of weight you can use to create maximal tension, without crossing the breakover point.  

Since weight on the bar would be lowered, that left me with upping the frequency, and volume.

This was the first key component in regards to me setting up my new training. 

Build volume and frequency slowly - 

If there is one major mistake I see novice or inexperienced lifters make when they decide to make changes to their routines, it's that they overhaul everything at one time.  Always starting on a Monday of course, because that's when we start new diets, routines, and dating new people.  

On Monday.

Even if today is Monday, it will start next Monday.  That's just how this works.

But I knew I couldn't go from training on average 3 days a week, to 7 days a week (which was the goal) starting on "Monday".  

So I made it very simple.  For the first two weeks I trained four days a week.  Then the next two weeks I trained 5 days a week.  The next two weeks I added in a sixth day, then finally by the last two weeks of the second month, I was training seven days a week.

So starting at week 1 for the first two months, my frequency looked like so - 

Weeks 1 and 2 -  4 days a week
Weeks 3 and 4 - 5 days a week
Weeks 5 and 6 - 6 days a week
Weeks 7 and 8 - 7 days a week

My volume on a session by session basis did not change much during this time.  The first two weeks I did one bodypart a day.  I would do four to six movements per session, for between 4-6 sets for approximately 8-12 reps after warm ups.  My movements varied quite often because I didn't want to go stale doing the same exercises every week.  I also knew this would be an important factor once the other parts of my plan started getting put into place.

Generally my split was like so - 

Day 1 - Legs
Day 2 - Chest
Day 3 - Off
Day 4 - Back
Day 5 - Off
Day 6 - Shoulders
Day 7 - Off

The only difference I made, starting in week 3, was that I added an arm day.  That was it.  The sets and reps protocol remained the same.  4-6 movements for 4-6 sets of 8-12 reps.  

Day 1 - Legs
Day 2 - Chest
Day 3 - Off
Day 4 - Back
Day 5 - Off
Day 6 - Shoulders
Day 7 - Arms

Starting in week five, I made a change with an additional training day.  I started doing legs twice a week, arms twice a week, with chest, back, and shoulders each getting a day.  One of the reasons I did it this way is because arm workouts, even the most brutal ones, have less of a systematic taxation than other bodyparts.  I wanted as little workout "hangover" as possible.  Meaning, after big training days, I tend to feel very tired and worn out.  Since I was going to be training six days a week, I wanted to minimize that feeling as much as possible....for now.  

And the two areas I also felt I needed to bring up the most at this point, were my arms and legs.  

So by that point my split usually looked like this - 

Day 1 - Legs
Day 2 - Arms
Day 3 - Back
Day 4 - Chest
Day 5 - Arms
Day 6 - Shoulders
Day 7 - Off

Starting in week 7, I went to seven days a week.  At this point, I was pretty acclimated to this type of frequency, so I went into a rotation of giving each bodypart a day, and just kept it that way.

Day 1 - Legs
Day 2 - Arms
Day 3 - Chest
Day 4 - Back
Day 5 - Shoulders
Day 6 - repeat starting from day 1

Bring on the insanity - 

At this point, I was seeing pretty steady changes in my body composition.  My diet was very tight, as in, I ate "clean" (I know, some people hate that term, but deal with it) probably 95% of the time.  I carb loaded when I felt flat, but the rest of the time I usually kept the majority of my carbs to the two meals following my training session.  If it was a big day, like back or legs, I would eat around 0.8 grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight covering those two meals.  

Seeing how at about this point I was down to around 235 pounds, that meant give or take between 185-200 grams of carbs covering those two meals.  No, that's not a lot for most people but I actually eat less than most guys my size.  So for me, that worked out pretty well.  On days where I only did arms, I might only have carbs at the post workout meal (which is almost always cereal and milk), and that was about it.  Again, instead of being super rigid about my macros, I let how I looked and felt tell me what I needed to do.  If I was tired and flat, I would carb load for up to six hours post training, usually over three meals (every 2 hours).  Why six hours?  Because that's the window post training when glycogen resynthesis is the most accelerated.  So I wanted to take advantage of that window to stuff the majority of my carbs into it.

Body composition changes during this period

All of this was going along fairly well, and I was losing fat and retaining muscle (my strength was pretty steady throughout) at a slow but steady pace.  

The idea of training more however, started creeping into my head.  And I wondered, if I started training even more, what would happen?  I was handling the frequency and volume pretty well at this point.  In fact, on some days it was higher than what I listed earlier.  I had plenty of leg days where I started with between 400-600 lunges.  Yes, to start.  Then I would go do leg curls, leg extensions, and front squats.  The crazy part was, training with this much volume and frequency, my work capacity had gone through the roof.  That's amazing right?  By letting my body acclimate to the work, it actually dealt with a tremendous amount of it just fine.  

For now, anyway.  

But what would happen if I started training twice a day?  

Well, there was only one way to find out. 

Metabolic stress sessions - 

When I decided to start training twice a day, I went ahead and added it to my whole schedule.  This sort of defies my initial rule of adding shit in slowly, but the way I did it meant rearranging so that all of my "big" work came in the first training session, then I would do "small" workouts in the evening that were more metabolic stress type sessions.  

I went back to my original split of doing legs, chest, back, and shoulders and constantly repeating that schedule.  In the evenings, I would do extra sessions of ultra high rep sets for arms, shoulders, calves, etc.  

Weeks 9 - 10 - 7 days a week / twice a day 

Day 1 - Legs a.m. / arms, shoulders, calves p.m.
Day 2 - Chest / arms, shoulders, calves p.m.
Day 3 - Back / arms shoulders calves p.m.
Day 4 - Shoulders / arms shoulders calves pm.
Day 5 - repeat starting from day 1

I did this for about two weeks, until I decided to start adding in more "big sessions" in the evenings as well.

Let me be clear here, I did not always train arms, shoulders, and calves every evening.  I let my mood dictate a bit of that.  Sometimes I would do 300 reps (total) of a curl variation, and then 300 reps of a triceps variation.  Or do 500 total reps of side laterals then calves.  

For those that can't get to the gym that are interested in doing this, I will make this very simple for you.

I brought the 15 and 20 pound dumbbells up from my basement, and just left them in the living room.  Sometimes these workouts would take half an hour.  Other times, it was another hour long training session.  I did not up carbs during this time other than once again, based on how flat I looked, or how lethargic I felt.  I wanted to let my body let me know rather than being dogmatic about macros.  

In week 11, I decided I would go ahead and add in a third training session to some days.  Not only that, I would do two big workouts some days as well.  So legs sometimes got trained twice in a day, with the same metabolic stress training session throw in at the end.  Same for chest, shoulders, back, etc.  

So a chest day might mean I did my usual chest work at the gym, consisting of incline press, db bench press, hammer strength presses, and cable crossovers.  Then I would eat two meals, train at home doing various flyes.  Eat two meals, and a short metabolic stress session.

Starting at about week 12, I began noticing systems of what I would actually call overtraining.  I personally think it's very hard for a lifter to "overtrain".  This is something that is usually seen more in endurance athletes.  But I would say at this point, I had to be pretty close.

Both of my eyes twitched nonstop all day long.  I was beyond irritable all the time, and my sleep was horrendous.  And this is coming from a lifetime insomniac.  I could barely get to sleep, couldn't stay asleep for very long once I did, and I felt like a zombie pretty much 24/7.  My training sessions really went into the shitter about this time, and I had to literally talk myself into every single one of them.  I mean like in the mirror "you lazy piece of shit, ride this out!" kind of talks.  My previous warm ups, started turning into near work set weight.  

I dealt with about two weeks of this before I knew I had pushed things about as far as I could go.  Mentally and physically, I was gassed.  

I was definitely "overreached" at this point.  I didn't see any more benefit in regards to body composition changes happening at this point, and in fact I felt smaller, weaker, and flat pretty much all the time regardless of increasing carbs.

It was time to take advantage of this.

The return to my roots and high intensity training - 

The common thought in regards to overreaching to accomplish supercompensation is that one needs to "deload" then take advantage of the temporary rebound you get from that.  However, the context this is usually used in, is for strength peaking.

I didn't care about strength at this point.  My goal was maximizing fat loss with muscle retention.  Or, possibly...just possibly, even reducing bodyfat while gaining even a little bit of mass.  Because the last many months of researching net protein balance, nutrient timing, and some other factors left me believing that even advanced guys could lose bodyfat and gain muscle, even though the ratio would be small.  Still, losing fat and gaining muscle even in small ratios is the most supreme of options for advanced lifters.  So I'd take whatever I could get.  

So I did not deload, per say.  I scaled training back to four days a week, lowered my volume, but stayed with my ideas of not crossing the breakover point in regards to weight on the bar.

My new split ended up looking like this - 

Day 1 - Legs
Day 2 - Off
Day 3 - Shoulders
Day 4 - Back
Day 5 - Off
Day 6 - Chest and arms
Day 7 - Off

My sets were brought down to 1-2 "top" working sets.  However I did add in lots of set extending techniques like rest/pause, drop sets, strips sets, etc to every movement.  I used extended set techniques the preceding months as well, but not always on every movement and almost never taking sets to failure.  This time, I was taking that 1 or 2 sets to complete failure, then with forced reps, then with extended set techniques as far out as possible.  So sometimes, there would be rest/pause sets to failure, with forced reps, followed by a few strip sets as well.  I wanted to milk as much effort and tension out of those 1-2 big sets as possible.  

The biggest change here was that after a few weeks my lifts jumped back up dramatically.  My sleep improved, my eyes stopped twitching, and my irritability went away.  I did actually add in two days of intervals because I had gotten so used to training everyday that having a complete "off" day felt kind of...weird.  And it also felt good to do some shit to just get back into "conditioning" shape.  Suddenly I didn't hate cardio anymore.

In retrospect - 

Did it suck? 

By the end, very much so.  Looking back, I probably had things dialed in about right when I was training 6-7 days a week, with the small workouts thrown in, in the evenings.  I feel like this is something that could be done for an extended period before transitioning into a potential deload, or downregulating volume and frequency.  

From here, I will run the HIT stuff for a while, then slowly transition back into volume and frequency again.  

The rebound, or the supercompensation from overreaching paid off very nicely.

How nice?

My bodyweight went from around 235 on my flat days, and 242 post carb load days, to around 245 on my flat days, and 251 post carb load days.

And while I can't be certain if I lost fat, I absolutely did not gain any.  So at worst, I gained muscle while not gain any fat at all.  This all happened when I felt like I had everything dialed in perfectly.  

What was the imperfect parts?

From my experience with this, I would not use the last few weeks of training three times a day.  I didn't see any improvement in body composition from this, and if anything it may have declined slightly during that time.  When I was at my heaviest and leanest, it was during the last few weeks before I transitioned into that phase of training.

Some disclaimers here - There were times when I would take a random day off.  Either due to flat out being exhausted or because of life in general that made training take a backseat.  I also rearranged my program at times based on other factors, but this is pretty spot on in regards to what I did.

Other factors - Nutrition wise, I did something else I wanted to prove.  I lowered my protein a bit.  Yes, I lowered it.  I've read study after study that showed even in hard training athletes, that as little as 0.8 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight was still enough to elevate muscle protein synthesis.

Just to be on the safe side, I stayed at 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight, rather than the 1.25 grams per pound I was usually at.  Funny enough, lowering my protein seemed to actually make me feel better.  I have no idea if that makes sense, but only eating 4 ounces of chicken rather than 8 was far easier on my stomach and digestion (naturally), and I had a lot less bloating.  This made for a far more comfortable "life".

All in all, this was a very successful phase of training in my life, and one I will repeat again.  It played a huge role in helping to further along my body composition improvement, and now that I understand where the pitfalls are, can plan for a more efficient run with it again in the future.


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