Saturday, September 5, 2015

Thoughts about life, crap, training, and stuff - The Dominican Pakulski version

The last few weeks I was out of pocket traveling back to the Dominican Republic to do another seminar (this time on some basic nutrition concepts and hypertrophy work), and then to spend about a week training with Ben Pakulski in Tampa, Florida.

I love going to the Dominican Republic.  I love the food, the people, and teaching there with my close friend Juan Carlos.  I also love the traffic believe it or not, because those people drive with a god damn purpose.  It never fails that after spending a week there that when I come home I am incredibly annoyed with the drivers where I live (that's right outside of Kansas City, Missouri).

I've been all over the states and traveled to other parts of the world, and I can tell you that of all places I've been the drivers in Columbus, Ohio and Kansas City areas are the fucking worst.  They drive slow as fuck, well under the speed limit, pull out in front of you to drive slower than you are going (when there is fifteen miles behind you of freedom and they should wait), and make turns without signals and slow down to Driving Ms. Daisy speeds to do so.

Anyway, I arrived and we went over the stuff for the three days with a huge turnout in regards to people.  The stuff we went over was simply how to set up your macros for fat loss or weight gain, nutrient timing, muscle protein balance, the resistance curve in determining movements, stimulus and recovery, etc.  Fun stuff.  Then there was an actual training session at the end of each day.

The leg day was interesting.  After calves, and hamstring work, we went into the Crossfit gym, which has a large open area, and the women were challenged to do lunges until someone quit or their form broke down.  Women are incredibly competitive (not that men aren't, but women are on some other batshit level about it most of the time) and I knew it would be interesting to watch.

I think the lunging went on for over 20 minutes.  Eventually one was left standing, and she was so sore the next few days she had trouble getting around.

This isn't the kind of thing you do on an every workout basis of course.  But sometimes getting nuts is fun.

To the real life stuff, I ended up getting very sick the day after I was done teaching.  I'm not sure from exactly what or how.  So you can spare me all of your theories.  I ate sushi the night before yes, however we all ate it together and shared it all.  Could that have been it?  Sure.  But it could have been any number of things.  Either way I spent the next few days shitting my guts out.

Luckily, I got well enough (temporarily) to go stay at an all inclusive resort in Bayahibe for a few days.

I liked it so much I actually extended my stay by a full day.  I was scheduled to arrive in Florida on Thursday and train with Ben Pakulski on Friday, however Ben forgot he was out of town until Friday evening so the reschedule worked just fine.

I spent the day relaxing at the beach and training a bit at the beachside gym.  Which was fun.  The place was pretty amazing as there were swans and pink flamingoes walking around, and a massive pool near the beach as well.  I haven't had a real vacation in a very long time so it was much needed.  Especially after that much time on the porcelain throne.

I wrote about what happened to me at the DR airport on my facebook timeline.  In case you don't check there, here it is.......

While I was in the airport at the Dominican Republic there was a very old man in a wheelchair waiting in line to get to the ticket counter. People kept walking by him to get to the check in desk, and paid no mind to him. He kept motioning that he was next but no one gave a shit.

This pissed me the fuck off something awful.

I stopped the people behind me and told them "this man is next." I asked him if he needed assistance to get to the counter and he said "that would be really nice, thank you." But he wanted to walk.

So I helped him out of his wheelchair to the desk. He told me "I've been like this since I was three years old, but at this age every now and again I need a little help."

Despite the fact that my morning was hectic, and I was running late, I felt like it was the right thing to do.

I had an issue getting on the plane (long story) and by the time I got in line for customs I was for sure I wasn't going to make it. The line for customs wraps around without a barrier, and an older gentleman got my attention and said "you're the young man that helped that elderly man to the counter."

I said "yessir I am. Looks like I'm going to miss my flight. I'm late and they are boarding now I think."

He motioned for me to get in line in front of him and his wife, and I was through customs within a few minutes.

Call it karma, call it paying it forward, whatever you want to call it. I have always felt like you get back what you give.

This isn't a "look at how great Paul is" post at all. Just remember you're not the center of the universe and that taking a moment out of your day to help someone less fortunate often means good things will come your way as well.

The worst thing about that day of flight was that I barely got to hydrate all day.  I literally ran through the Dominican aiport to make my flight on time, and had nothing to drink.  Then barely got anything on the airplane despite asking for more.  Then I had a 1 hour layover in Atlanta.  Getting through customs and security took a while, and I was for sure I would miss that flight.  I literally ran through the Atlanta airport holding my belt and shoes in my hands and barely made it.  So once again, didn't get to hydrate much.  

When I got to Tampa I finally ate and drank but was fucking exhausted and turned in shortly afterwards.

I knew we were training legs on Saturday because Ben let me know earlier in the week we would be.  I also knew what this meant.  That we would be going balls out trying to kill each other in doing so.  

We started with some calf raises, which were more or less done at our own leisure.  Then we started doing alternating sets of lying leg curls and leg extensions.  I am not sure how many total sets we did, but we did about 7 sets that were to failure with forced reps after, then partials as well.  

Afterwards, bending our knees was quite the chore.  But it was a good pain.  For now.

Afterwards was hack squats with band tension added to increase resistance throughout the entire range of motion.  We worked up to 4 plates per side and on the second rep of that set, my felt my right VMO tear a bit.  Nothing serious, but painful enough to cut my hacks at that point.  

After that we did the strive leg press, which actually made my legs feel a bit better.  Ben and Joe (Ben's training partner) finished off with walking lunges.  All in all, it wasn't a total puke fest but it was very solid work.  

Outside of the pec tear I've actually been very healthy for a long time now, so I attributed the quad issue to my lack of hydration from the day before.  I could tell even in warm ups I didn't feel "just right".  I think the entire week of being sick, then a whole day of flying and not hydrating was the culprit here, and not much else.

Let me add that training legs alongside Ben, can be summed up like what I told Joe.

"It's like being on the set of a porno and having to do a scene with John Holmes next to you.  You're just not going to feel very good about yourself."

Day 2 we did chest work.  Which started off with incline barbell press for several sets.  Then a low incline db bench press.  Afterwards we did some standing cable flyes where you step forwards after so many reps to increase the resistance curve more at the beginning/stretch portion of the movement.  We supersetted that with some incline hammer strength bench, and finished with Hammer Strength seated bench presses.  

Let me say about how Ben approaches training, it's very exact.  I mean more than anyone I have ever worked with.  Ben really applies the "with a purpose" to everything he does, to everything he does.  And he drives this home.  Initiate the movement with the desired working muscles, lock everything down to make sure the greatest amount of tension is being applied to the right area, what are the joint angles of hips, ankles, knees, elbows, etc during every movement.  Actually, to say he's exact in how he applies his training modalities would be an understatement.  It was very impressive to watch and be a part of.

We took the following day off as Ben was swamped with work, and honestly I was glad because all the travel and training had left me pretty fatigued.  That evening Ben picked me up for Sushi.  And this is where the fun starts.

Once again, I posted about this on Facebook, so I will just copy-pasta for you right here......

Last night Ben comes and picks me up for sushi. I had bought a couple of dark chocolate dove bars the day before. Because you know, they are delicious.

I took the first block of squares off and ate them before he arrived. I get in the truck and offer Ben the rest of it. He says no, that he doesn't want it.

So we go eat sushi and leave. I pick up the dove bar and ask again, if he wants some. He says no yet again.
He drops me off at the hotel and I take the dove bar with me. A few minutes later, this text happened....

The last day I was there, we just did some arms then I was off to the airport to return home.

All in all, it was a great trip and I had an awesome time working with Juan, training the people in DR, and training alongside Ben and learning from him. In the near future I plan on making it back down to Tampa to train and learn even more from him.

I can't say enough about either of those guys. Juan and Ben are both very giving and considerate people that I consider lucky to know and have friendships with. Juan always takes awesome care of me when I in the Dominican and we have an amazing time teaching and hanging out. The same can be said for Ben, who is constantly making fun of me, or any troubles I may be dealing with, but in a way that makes me laugh.

When I got sick he swore it was the sushi and texted me "dude, you can't eat sushi there. It's a third world country! They don't throw anything away!" I was literally on the pot laughing (my ass off?) when he texted me that.

Ben took great care of me while I was there, and made me feel like a part of his friends and family while staying there, and regardless of what I needed helped me out. Sometimes people may have a persona online, and I know Ben has taken his share of flack over whatever, but he's a great dude, down to Earth, very funny, very very smart, and very selfless. Both of these guys are "shirt off my back" type people that make you want to go the extra mile for them.  And that's a rarity in this day and age.

If you are ever in the Dominican go find Workout Gym.  And if you're in Tampa or near the Tampa area, go find MI40 gym or plan to attend a camp there.  It will be well worth the investment.

Huge thanks to Ben and Juan for making this trip memorable, but most importantly for being genuinely great people.

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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: or email:

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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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'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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