Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Training - Bench with a PR and a camera man gaff

Bodyweight - 274 - cleaned up the diet A LOT and down quite a bit.  Feel better.

Bench - close grip

465x1 PR
365 x 4 sets of 8.  Volume PR

Hammer Row - 4 sets of 12 @ 3 plates
MEadows Shrugs - 100's x 4 x 12

Notes - Well the pec is just about back to 100%.  I say about because I still had "some" tightness it in tonight.  Despite that, everything was flying so I figured what the hell, hit a small PR and do my volume work.

So I hit the 465 very easily with a pause and the camera man walks over and tells me "I think I messed up."

Cue the cold chills.

He fucked up and only ended up taping the lockout essentially.


Oh well.  Back to my volume rep work, which I hit a PR on tonight with 365 for 4 sets of 8 VERY easily.  That was nice.  All fast and crisp.  And long pauses on the 8th rep of each set.

Overall a great night, but still irritated about that camera work.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Kansas City seminar

Well I'm coming home.

Errrr, well I guess I didn't leave this time.

Along with Mike Israetel of RP and Alex Viada aka Freak of Freaks and owner of Complete Human Performance, we will be doing a two day seminar at I35 Crossfit in Overland Park, Kansas.

The link to register is here.  

DO NOT MISS THIS!  We are going to cover everything from strength training to bodybuilding to nutrition to conditioning!

It's going to be awesome.

Training Mentality - Part 1 - The difference between goals, and ideas

Every seminar I've ever done I've stood in front of a room of people and asked all of them what their goals were.

And every single time I've heard virtually the same answers.

"To get stronger."

This is pretty much what I expect people to say.  I mean, I don't think anyone attends my seminars or reads my writing to improve their ability to double dutch or become awesome at paint by numbers.

The problem is, getting stronger is not really a goal.

It's an idea.

Goals are specific.  They entail planning and are exact in nature.

"I want to squat 500 6 months from now."

That's a goal.

Now that a goal is realized, plans can be made.  All the details can be ironed out as how to make that happen.

Ideas are the wellspring from which goals come from.  The originating point.  After all, someone has to have an epiphany or moment of clarity to start the entire process of figuring out what it is they want.  But if the idea doesn't transcend into something more specific then we end up becoming a vessel that is simple floating aimlessly in the water.

People generally wander through life with all sorts of ideas.  And because those ideas never manifest themselves into anything more than casual thoughts or mental glances, nothing ever becomes of them.  Or at least, their idea is never fully realized.

People perform this same ritual with careers, relationships, and all sorts of endeavors and undertakings.

"I want a job."
"I want a relationship."
"I want a house."
"I want a car."
"I want a dog."
"I want to be thinner."
"I want to be muscular."
"I want to be strong."

These things are not goals.  They are just casual ideas about the things you'd like to have in your life.  They are only as meaningful as the follow through that envelopes them after the thought.  They can only become something more than an idea if the person with the idea applies something tangible to them.

"I want to be stronger - I want to squat 500 pounds."

But by when?

"I want to be stronger- I want to squat 500 pounds in 6 months."

How will this get accomplished?

"I want to be stronger - I want to squat 500 pounds in 6 months - I will train 4 days a week in order to accomplish this."

Now said person has to actually get their ass in the gym and implement this plan.  Otherwise, all of this planning in regards to the goal, just becomes an idea again.  Without the tangible part, i.e. "the work", then it's just a thought.

Ideas are what we cling to when we're not ready to let something evolve into something greater.  That's why you meet those people who say shit like "I'd love to be in shape...." and the rest of their words are mumbled and usually you pick up something to the effect of "too busy..." or "I love doughnuts...".

I do love a good doughnut, though.

Mmmmmmm, doughnuts......

Where was I?

Oh yeah, ideas and goals.

Your training brain will always be tossing around various ideas.  It's imperative that you explore those ideas and ruminate on them to decipher what is truly meaningful to you, and toss the rest.  And when you do that, you can easily narrow down all the factors that have to happen in order to make that idea a possibility.

And that is how we arrive at goals.  That is how we end up seeing not only the big picture, but all of the minute details that must be adhered to in order for the big picture to arrive.

However making the big picture arrive cannot happen without "the work".  Without that, you just become the aimless vessel again.

If you want something to be "motivated" about, then tap into your ideas, and then let them develop into the things you NEED.

Which leads us to part 2..............which right now, is just an idea.  But I will write it later!  :)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The slave and the master

I've written more and more about "the journey" lately.

That is, the undertaking of being on this path of trying to achieve goals and wish fulfillment in regards to lifting.

Mainly because, I feel like so many significant goals that I've had are finally within reach.  I won't write about them because I've really found that not doing so tends to keep me far more focused.  But another strange thing has happened as I've gotten closer to them.

I've become more patient in the attainment of them.  Almost apathetic to it.

I no longer obsess over them.  I let shit training sessions go far more easily, and I don't ruminate on every nuance of training trying to decipher what I need to change in order to make things happen faster.

I've developed a greater sense of of learning how to let something come to me, rather than trying force something that's not there.

I'm no longer a slave to feeling like shit because things aren't where I want them to be at this moment.

I know my task is to put the work in.  Put HARD work in, and that I will eventually see these things come to fruition.

I think the single hardest thing about training is learning that concept.  Finding that balance between wanting more, but not letting it enslave you.  Once you become a slave to something, whether you like it or not, your will is taken away.  Your options are limited.  As badly as you may want "freedom", it won't arrive until you take the shackles off.

The worst part is, this slavery is self inflicted.  When we want something so badly that it envelopes us wholly and then we often discard logic and sound reasoning.

All those months spent "training" to get stronger now turn into session after session of "testing" to see if "it's there".

All those months or years you were on the job just kicking ass turns into kissing ass because you feel that promotion is within reach, and that puckering up might move things along faster.

One of the hardest feelings to fight off in life and in training, is when something seems so close to happening, and you just need to "stay the course".  To just keeping doing the work that brought you there.  To stay within that masters domain.  Now that we find ourselves right on top of it, we stop paying attention to the little details that brought us to this place.  We begin to disregard the method and the vehicle that got us here.

Then we begin to toil around for lengthy periods, or even lose ground, because we stopped doing all the things that got us so close to the crest.  And we begin to feel frustrated.  That's when we start to lose ground, and we begin to doubt ourselves.  Confidence wanes and we start to second guess and question what we thought we knew.  What we thought worked, and what we thought was efficient.

Consciously we may not have even seen the change in ideology happen.  The evolution of it may have been so gradual that we may believe nothing we were doing really changed at all.  We can't understand how it is that things had been going so well, that suddenly it has all come crashing down.

Once our eagerness gets the best of us, we often make hasty and foolish choices in order to obtain what it is we long for.  And when that happens, we enslave ourselves to that thing.  We lose patience.  We get tired of waiting.

And the shackles get thrown on.

Liberation can only arrive when you decide that you don't give a fuck about the number, and that putting the work in is, was, and will always be what it's about.

"The work" is always going to be what it's about.  Because without it, there can't be an end goal.  There can't be an arrival.

There's a difference in a "chase" and a "journey".

There's a difference in being a "slave" and a "master".

The slave is constantly chasing his freedom.  The master is free because he's just walking the path.

It's funny that when you stop caring about forcing things to happen, and just care about putting the work in, that it all eventually comes about.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Moving weights and making muscles work

Most people don't seem to understand the difference between moving weights through space, and make the muscle do the work.

These are two very different concepts, but applied correctly will really pay dividends.

Movements like squats and deadlifts are about moving weight through space. Same for most pressing movements. Especially barbell pressing.

However for movements like pulldowns, rows, db chest presses, flyes, laterals, leg curls, etc those are "making the muscle do the work" movements.

There's no point in trying to do extremely heavy laterals. The whole point of the movement is to build the side delts. If you start cheating the weight because you're going too heavy, the traps and other areas of the upperback end up getting too heavily involved.

Remember why you are using a certain movement, and what you are using it for.

In all reality, the same applies for rows as well. Why would you do doubles and triples in a row? You're trying to build your back.

Understanding these concepts will help you to not only get stronger, but grow larger. When you watch very experienced bodybuilders they have a distinct connection with making the muscle do work. That's a significant part of why they grow massive. Because they understand the ol "mind muscle" connection, and actually concentrate on the eccentric and concentric portions of the movement.

Be powerful and explosive when moving weight through space. But be controlled in your movements when trying to make a particular muscle do the work.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Traveling to Tucson - Day 1

Friday - April 11th, 2014

I hate flying.

Not because of a fear of crashing or some shit like that.  Just because of the monotony that is air travel, and the reminder of the incompetence of most people.  I'm working hard on being a kinder, gentler Paul but air travel really tests the limits of that for me more times than not.

For example, why the fuck when the plane stops does it take everyone so long to get their carry-on bag, and walk off?  I don't understand this at all.

You reach above you, grab a bag, walk off the plane.  But without fail I'm always sitting there for 10-20 minutes.  It reminds me of when traffic on the interstate has come to a crawl, and you're stuck for half an hour and when you finally get to what's holding up traffic it's like a Volvo on the side of the road with the emergency flashers on.

What would be a great thing for the airlines would be for them to let people that don't have a carry-on, to get off first.  That'd be great.  I really wish they'd work that in there.

I also rarely if ever sit next to someone interesting on a flight.  By interesting I mean someone that can or will even hold a conversation.  Not that we have to bond or hold hands, but if I'm sitting by you for over 2 hours then having a chat to pass the time doesn't seem like it would be an insurmountable chore.  Then I get reminded of how socially awkward some people can be, and I put my headphones back in and close my eyes.

You also don't know in this day and age who will be sneaking photos of you at the airport.  Funny, and maybe slightly creepy, someone took a pic of me at the airport and then sent it to a friend.  Well, that friend knows me, and sent me said photo.

Apparently she liked my airport attire.

I arrived in Tucson and met Danny Sawaya, the owner of Tucson Evolution with a couple of his sidekicks; Chris and "Panda".

I was starving and borderline hangry so we went straight from the airport to an all you can eat sushi joint that did in fact have some tremendously good sushi.  I think I ate 7 rolls, but skipped on the 8th one because the look and the smell of the scallops did not sit well with my "don't eat that shit" meter, and I passed.

I was supposed to do a podcast with Chris and Panda after, however I was pretty exhausted after they were kind enough to reschedule it.

Looking forward to this seminar and working with people this weekend.  Now if I could just shake this recent bout of insomnia I'd feel even better.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

No Belt Deficit Deadlift - 705x1

Bodyweight - 280

High Bar Pause Squats -

Deficit Deadlifts -

Notes - Guess that's that.

Even more importantly, I had the shits the night before, and felt terrible.  I could have waited another few weeks when my training cycle allows me to pull heavier, but honestly...and this isn't my style, I wanted to get this shit out of the way.  I've had enough of it.