Saturday, July 30, 2011

Training - Back and Biceps

Bodyweight - 252

Shrugs - 135 x 50, 225 x 20, 315 x 10, 405 x 10, 500 x 5, 585 x 5, 500 x 20, 405 x 20

Rear Delt Tit Machine - 150 x 10,10,12, 135x12

1-Arm Strive Curl (bottom resistance) - 50 x 12,9

Notes - Didn't feel great.  Did some drinking and partying last night.  I'm not in the mode for anything right now, which will probably change soon.

Benni on hypertrophy preceding strength cycles

I just happened to come across this interview this morning......

This caught my eye....

BOI: What about the BBing stuff?
Benedikt: Well I try to work biceps and chest by feeling to maintain ideal posture for whatever I’m going for at the time and also just to keep things fresh and recovered. I generally do high volume on these body parts and “go for the pump”. As for upper back, I am a fan of pull-ups and I attribute my calves to elevated deadlifts. I have occasionally in the past done hypertrophy specific phases, where I do bodybuilding stuff just to gain some muscle and look better, and refresh the body. This is usually a phase preceding one where I train heavy and hard in order to get stronger.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hypertrophy Preceding Strength Cycles

So I was chatting with a friend other day who was supposed to do that USPF Nationals with me but he had sustained an injury (see?  I'm not the only one!) in preparation for it.

"How'd that happen?" I asked.

"I neglected my hypertrophy work before I started my meet prep." he said.

A light bulb in my head went off.  Everyone who pops in here and reads my training log knows I spent several months doing nothing but "bodybuilding" style work again, before I started doing my weeks of singles.  It was the healthiest I had been, not to mention the biggest and leanest I had been, going into a meet.

When you look at the old timers periodizations cycles they almost always do something like the following...

week 1 - sets of 10
week 2 - sets of 10
week 3 - sets of 8
week 4 - sets of 5
week 5 - sets of 5
week 6 - sets of 5
week 7 - sets of 3
week 8 - sets of 2
week 9 - up to a % single
week off

The first three or four weeks of these kinds of cycles are almost always known as "hypertrophy weeks".  Yet a lot of guys these days spend every workout doing singles, doubles, and triples.  They say "oh I use my assistance as the hypertrophy work".  And yes, this can be a solid plan, however not week in and week out, month in and out.  The body will revolt eventually, you will get injured and you will have to start over.

When I ran the big-15 program it felt so refreshing to lower the weights for those months and concentrate on getting reps in and building a new size ceiling.  I had not concentrated on that in years.  For the last many years I had done nothing but the singles, doubles, and triples with the occasional set of 8-12 thrown in.  But not enough to really increase my overall size, even when I was eating more.

It really does come back to the reps, something I have said all along, if you want to increase your size.  I sit typing this, still weighing 252 pounds and I feel very good at this weight.  By the time I get back to 240 or so, I will be the "bigger 242" that I had been wanting to be.  But it took me going back to what I had done for years to gain size, in order to make it happen.  I was still trying to serve the "strength master" to gain size.  It just doesn't work that way.

Sometimes the hardest advice to take is your own.  A lesson I seem to have to teach myself over and over again.

So what to get from this?

Hypertrophy training, bodybuilding style work, will probably make up the majority of my training style 90% of the year from now on.  Easier on the joints, sets you up for good peaking cycles, and keeps you injury free for the most part.

Obviously this is exactly how I laid things out in the 2 programs I provide, but in hindsight I realize just how valuable they are stacked together.  From here on when I compete, I will set aside at least 6 weeks for hypertrophy training, then the scheduled 10 weeks for meet prep.  I believe like peanut butter and chocolate or heroin and cocaine, it's two great tastes that go great together.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Training - Squats and Deads

Bodyweight - 252

Warm up - hip and ass machine, calf press, good girl, bad girl machines - 2 sets of each

Pause Squats - 135 x 10, 225 x 5, 315 x 3, 365 x 3, 405 x 3, 455 x 1

Of course squats are taking a back seat right now.  On to dead stuff...

Block Pulls below the knee - 225 x 3, 315 x 3, 405 x 3, 500 x 2, 585 x 1, 635 x 3

Speed Pulls - 335 x 3,3

Low Back Machine - stack x 10

Decline Sit Ups - 2 x 25
Good Girl Machine - 1 x 12
Leg Curls - 3x10

Notes - Didn't have a ton of energy but I never seemed to hit a wall either.  If that makes any sense.  Just an 80%er.  Got the work in.  Although I will say the 635 x 3 on the block deads was fucking tough.  I am not sure how I'm going to beat that next week, but I will try.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Thoughts about life, training, crap and stuff


Finally a weekend to get some in.  I managed to check in two at the house and then took the girls to see Captain America.

Here is a rundown -

Insidious - I heard from quite a few people that this was the scariest movie they had ever seen.  My guess is that these people sit around watching Elmo and Dora most of the time.  It's basically a cross between Poltergeist and The Exorcist, but without the scariness.  It became even less scary when Darth Maul finally made an appearance and the overly tanned woman from There's Something About Mary showed up to whip his ass.  This movie sucked, and I laughed.

13 Assassins -  This movie was the opposite of Insidious.  Meaning, it kicked ass and was awesome.  I heard so much good stuff about this flick I bought it without having seen it yet.  And I was not disappointed.  If you are too shallow for sub titled movies, don't watch it.  Otherwise, it's a smart action guys movie.

Captain America - I took the family to see Cap.  I enjoyed the movie and it was well done in all aspects.  However there was something left slightly wanting in it.  Can't put my finger on it.  Without giving too much away, I felt like the character development wasn't done as well as it could have been.  It started strong but then I felt like I never got to really know the Cap.  Chris Evan's became a little more rigid and sterile after he left the 90 pound weaklings body.  I'd put it a few notches below Thor, which I really liked a lot.

Training wise I am finally feeling normal again.  The week after the meet you feel like you've been brutalized by Seabass in that rest stop bathroom.  Glad to get some of the kinks worked out and feeling good again.  I am also doing conditioning and cardio like a madman right now, and that feels awesome.  I am going to take my weight back down to around 240 pounds.  I feel good at that weight.  That's a good "fighting weight" for me.  And yes I will be starting the shake diet soon to accomplish this.  It's only about 15 pounds from here so 6 weeks is about perfect.

Don't you love it when you're going to leave work in like 5 minutes and someone pops up to talk to you about work shit, and you know it's going to evolve into a long conversation that you can't get out of?  Fuck me running backwards, I hate that.

Well I've been waiting on the shoe to drop with high blood pressure and here it is.  No it's not what you think it's from, my mother and grandfather both had it.  My grandfather died of a stroke and my mother has had hypertension since her 30's.  I have managed to get around it but the last few months it's been creeping up and now I'm sometimes getting readings of shit like 165/110.  Before I get on Rx meds I'm going to drop more weight, clean up as much sodium from my diet as possible, and add in some herbs that have been shown to help and some CoQ10.

So the last many months have been incredibly difficult at times personally.  Anyone who has read here for a while knows I have dealt with some "friends" who turned out to be back handed and two faced.  I'm an incredibly honest person and the truth is that sets you up to be deceived.  Because you expect honesty from other people they same way you are giving it.  As I have cut those people out I have concentrate my time more on other things and other people, and what a change.  My fight instructor who blew out both knees, I've been helping him out a lot and he's incredibly appreciate of it.  Sometimes it's just about redirecting your energy and focus to wash away the negative bullshit in your life and find positive things.  One thing I have found is that surrounding yourself with other confident people is a big plus because generally they don't come with the insecurities and hang ups that dipshits and insecure/jealous people do.  Insecure and jealous people do nothing but bring negativity and drama because they always need someone to make them "feel" better in some way.  I can do that for my kids, but I don't feel like raising an adult.  Stuffs getting better.  Stuffs gettin better everyday.

Short and sweet this week.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Training - Chest and Shoulders

Bodyweight - 253

Incline Press -
bar x 45
135 x 20
185 x 10
225 x 20, 10

PBN - 135 x 10, 155 x 5, 185 x 5,5

Upright Rows - 115 x 10, 135 x 8, 155 x 8

Notes - Totally dog shit session.  I know why too.  Up too late last night and had a couple of dranks.  Not overly concerned.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Training - Back and Biceps

Bodyweight - 252

Shrugs -
135 x 40
225 x 10
315 x 10
405 x 10
500 x 5
585 x 5
635 x 5
500 x 15

Chins - body for 5x5

Machine Curls - 1 arm at a time - 50 x 8,7

Ab Machine (mid resistance) - 190 x 15

Cardio - 15 mins

Notes - Solid session.  Felt good.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lessons Learned and Quick Hitters

  • Squat and deadlift right out of the gate, and do these more than you bench and curl.  I didn't start squatting until I had been lifting for about 5 years.  The first few years of squatting and pulling you are trying to figure a lot of shit out, unless you have a good coach.  So even if you don't like them, do them.
  • Get a good coach to teach you how to squat and deadlift properly out of the gate.  This will cut off years in the time it takes to achieve upper potential.  If your coach is a long ways away, make the drive out every other week.  Ask yourself how serious you are.
  • Stop comparing yourself to other people.  You aren't other people.  Not only that, stop using other people as examples of what can be done training a certain kind of way.  Champions are born, not made. 
  • This also doesn't mean training philosophy doesn't matter.  However you need to find out what works well for you through some trial and error.  Doc Brown and all....
  • Don't do movements that cause immediate or delayed "bad" pain.  Who said you have to squat?  If you aren't a competitive powerlifter, and have physiological issues that keep you from squatting pain free, do things that don't cause pain.  
  • Drink water.  It's amazing to me how many people still drink cokes, gatorade, and shit like that all day, then train and say they aren't 100%.  No shit kool-aid.  
  • Have goals, and focus on them.  Seems simple enough but if you are in the gym or at the track or doing a boot camp and you don't have a clear reason why ("to get in shape" is not really CLEAR) you won't put forth your best effort.  Define your goals very clearly.  Getting in shape, is not defined.  Getting into 32 pants or running a half marathon or deadlifting 600 pounds, these are defined goals and will help you define training.  
  • Enjoy life.  Worrying about training when you are not in the gym is stupid.  Make your training program and stick with it.  
  • Get your blood work done regularly.  People miss this boat too much and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Getting detailed blood work done quarterly could easily save your life down the road.  
  • Don't grind on the big lifts too much.  This is a sure way to put yourself into the ground quickly and then trying to dig out becomes a pain in the ass.  Leave this to the volume junkies who rarely seem to have any real strength.  
  • Build bottom position strength as a priority.  Getting strong on the top portion of movements isn't anywhere near as valuable as building strength off the chest, out of the hole, and off the floor.  Who cares how strong your three board press is if you can't get it off your chest?  Above the knee deadlift work is about as useful as tits on a boar.  
  • Keep training interesting and fun.  You can vary things in the same routine with something as simple as varying your warm up poundages.  Don't think it matters?  Try it.  
  • Add BCAA's to your workouts.  It WILL make a difference.  I love the Extend.  No, not the pinnis pills either.
  • A quick and easy way to drop some flab over the course of a few weeks is simply to drop carbs in the evening.  This works well and your energy levels won't drop very much, if at all.
  • Learn how to focus internally for a big set.  This is will make a world of difference in energy for that set.  Jumping around and yelling and acting like a retarded monkey wastes energy.  Just because Benni has a routine doesn't mean you need one.  Watch him in training; cool as a cucumber, even for the big sets.
  • Get in shape.  Who cares if you can pull 800 and bench 450 if you can't fight for 10 seconds without being gassed.  That strength becomes useless once oxygen depth sets in.  Then you're weak as shit.  Eliminating weak points doesn't just mean for lifting, it means for life god dammit.  
  • Try a thumbless grip on all of your pressing for a while.  Some of you may find an immediate increase in your pressing ability.  Just make sure if you are benching you have safety rails up.  Everyone I know who switched over has a "bar came out" story.  For overheads, it's not as big a deal.
  • Using machines as your main assistance stuff has merit.  Machines don't tax you as badly and you can really target weak muscle areas.  This is great for injury prevention.    
  • Take an ice bath every other week.  This helps recovery very well and cuts down on inflammation.  
  • Do glute and calf work.  
  • When it's time to relax, relax.  Learn how to do this.  Not just for lifting, but for life and happiness.  You'll find plenty of shit to be stressed about later.  
  • Do bent laterals and front raises.  Great for shoulder pre-hab.
  • Lift, run, bang.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Training - Squats and Deads

Bodyweight - 252

Warm up - hip and ass, good girl, bad girl, calf press - 2 sets of each

Pause Squats -
135 x 10
225 x 5
315 x 3
365 x 3
405 x 3

Block Deads (a few inches below the knees) -
315 x 3
405 x 3
500 x 3
585 x 3

Deadlifts - 315 x 3,3,3

Low Back Machine - stack x 6
Decline Sit ups - 2x20

Notes - Nice opening session.  Felt like shit when I got to the gym but great after warm ups.  The 585 triple on block pulls was nice and smooth.  No effort.  Just like I want it.

New focus and new routine

So my focus for the next few months is going to be improving my deadlift.  I will be using some techniques that Andy Bolton talked about in that tnat article.  The only difference is I will be doing 12 weeks instead of 16.

I am going to peel back squat and bench training.  When I talked to Ernie Lilliebridge at the Nationals, he told me he was stuck at a 500 bench forever until he dropped squats and pulls and concentrated on bench only.  It wasn't until then that he hit his all time best, 550.  I will not drop pressing and squatting all together, but I will make some changes.

Here they are, and why -

Mondays - Chest/Shoulders
Incline Press - 1-2 sets of 12-15 reps
Press Behind the Neck - 2 sets of 10-12 reps
Upright Rows - 1-2 sets of 10-15

Nothing fancy here.  Keeping the reps high and the weight will be mediumish (that's not a word I know).  No benching for a while to let the pec minors get back in good shape and just mentally to rest.  I love PBN so, Imma do em.  The upright rows are just for some extra trap and shoulder work.

Wednesdays - Squats and Pulls
Pause Squats - to a nice triple
Deadlifts - cycle work
Low Back Machine - 1x10-12

I will lay out what I am doing later in this.

Saturdays - Back/Biceps
Shrugs - 1-2 x 15-20
Pulldowns/Chins - 2x6-10
Tittay Machine - 1x10-12
Ez Curls - 1x10-12

Simple stuff here.  Some more trap work, lat work, and rhomoboid work.  Instead of doing rows I am going to attack the tit machine, and try to push the weight on that thing for rear delts and rhomboids.  Seems good to me.  Why not?

First 4 weeks of Deadlifting -

Doing pause squats instead of regular squats.  This is to keep poundage down while still building "hole" strength (yes, lots of jokes I know).

Week 1 - work up to a heavy triple right below the knee, pull 3x3 @ 50% from the floor
Week 2 - beat last weeks triple, pull 2x3 @ 55% from the floor
Week 3 - go for a max triple, pull 4x3 @ 60% from the floor
Week 4 - deadlifts

I will outline the next 8 weeks based on what I pull on the third week.  I should have an idea of what it might be.  So we'll see.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Weekly Q & A

Leave and name and a question!  Doesn't have to be training stuff either.  Bullshit is welcome.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Prehab work made easy

So my theme for the next few weeks will continue to revolve around staying healthy, which is the foundation for consistency.  If you are injured, and can't train a movement, that movement falls to the wayside.  Practice of a moment is still the best way to get better at that movement, and by better I mean, getting stronger.

Weird Movement Gurus = Fucktards

My main issue the last few years actually just boils down to my legs.  I've torn my adductors and strained my vastus medialis fairly often squatting.  Other than that I really stay healthy.  My elbows get achy sometimes, as does my pec minors, but that's from having a permanent AC separation in my left shoulder.  So I am not physiologically correct in alignment.  There isn't anything that can be done for this, so I don't worry about it.  I just manage my movements to avoid the least amount of pain.  I have found that when I can't close grip bench (more on that later) that I can incline.  And for whatever reason, if my incline goes up, usually my close grip does as well.  I will not try to understand this at all.  I will just appreciate it.

So basically after dealing with straining my adductors over and over I decided to get serious about strengthening them.  I was told I needed to do all sorts of shit like lunges on a box and add a band for this and I said fuck no.  I got on the leg adductor machine (you know, because it works your fucking adductors?) and went to town.  Turns out, my groin and adductors were weak.  Who knew?  I could barely do 10-12 reps with 80 pounds.  Over the course of the next few months I worked up to close to the whole stack (150) for sets of 10.  No more straining adductors during warm ups or even with near max attempts.

It turns out that what gave next was my vastus medialis.  Now of course, after the adductor strain I didn't even bother to read.  I knew everyone who say that leg extensions were worthless.  I read this same shit about the adductor machine.  And BTW, you know who used the shit out of the adductor machine in his Godly prime?  Ed Coan.  Anyway, some retarded training guru will say that leg extensions are worthless for strengthening the VMO.  This honestly flies in the face of all common sense.  The last 20-30 degrees of ROM in the leg extension, the vastus works its nuts off (if the vastus had nuts, I mean).  The last 20 degrees is a staple in the PT's office for people post knee surgery.

So I will be keeping in the good girl machine, and adding in leg extensions to keep my legs healthy.  I don't need some unorthodox movement to do this.

I've heard the same shit for leg curls.  That the hip extension isn't involved so the leg curl isn't worth a shit for hamstring strengthening.

I also want to be clear here that in the past in dealing with injuries, some of the help I have sought out turned out to be such bunk because what would always end up being the "fix" was something simple that I already knew.  Eventually I caught on that the only thing these weird movements fix, is making you good at weird movements.

Anyone ever pulled a hamstring running?  It's basically the same damn motion.  The foot hits the ground, and the hamstring contracts to propel you forward.  The same motion is used in a leg curl.  Guess what movement you can't do when you strain your hammy?  Yeah, a fucking leg curl.  I was still able to do good mornings and stiff legs with a strained hamstring, but I could barely do anything on the leg curl.  Seems like a decent way to strengthen the hamstring.

Back to my close grip benching, this has saved my shoulders.  I do almost no pre-hab work for my shoulders and I really do think it's all due to moving my grip in a couple of years ago.  Me shoulders have never had a problem because of benching.  It's better in my opinion, to shave off a few pounds on your bench and not be injured or nursing an injury, than to bench more but not be able to bench consistently.  This should be obvious.

So with that said, we can do a run down of some common issues and some real "common sense" exercises to keep in the mix to prevent it.

Leg PreHab

  • Quads - Leg Extensions, Lunges
  • Adductors - Adductor Machine
  • IT Band and Glute Medius and Piriformis - Abductor Machine and 1 legged squats
Shoulder and Pec PreHab

  • Lying External Rotation or Seated External Rotation (I prefer these because it locks in the elbow)
  • Front Raises (suspraspinatus)
  • Shoulder Dislocates
  • Flat and Incline Db Flyes

Low back pain and/or Strains (including piriformis which is usually the cause of most "low back pain")

  • Hypers
  • Piriformis stretch 


You can easily incorporate all of these into your routine without much hassle.  Just do the big, main movement.  Then follow that up with some of the prehab work.

Just to add a few suggestions and some things to remember.....

On machine you can push the loading harder than on something like dumbbell flyes.  But you still don't want to be smashing the god damn weights up and down all over the place.  Slow negative, explosive positive.  That's how it should be.  On a movement like db flyes, remember what you are using them for.  To prevent pec strains and tears.  Don't end up overloading so much so that the db flye actually causes the problem it is trying to prevent.  That's going full retard.  I use sets of 20 on them and go light with a controlled movement.  Same thing for the external rotation stuff.

If you've had problem or want to avoid problems with injuries in the future, be mindful of where you have had little knick knacks and get shit corrected before it puts you down.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Training - Chest

Weight - 256

Incline - 135 x 20, 185 x 10, 225 x 20, 10

Db Bench - 80's x 20

Flyes - 20's x 25,25, 30's x 25

Cardio - Steady state for 15 minutes.

A few hours later - 10, 40 yard sprints.

Man it feels good to get cardio in again.  I had dropped it for the last 5 weeks or so to let my bodyweight wise.  Now that I have cut the junk and am getting cardio back in the weight is peeling off fast.  It feels good too, and I already look far sexier.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do routine wise over the next few weeks.  Today felt terrible lifting wise, but everyone feels like shit the week after a meet.  I have some plans but I need to fine tune them over the next week or so.

Thoughts about life, crap, training, and stuff

I have fallen behind on my "thoughts..." posts because the week was shortened with me taking a few days off after the meet.

I had planned on taking the whole week off from lifting to completely rest but I feeling more like I need to do a little something this week to get moving again.  I won't be going heavy for a few weeks more than likely, if I go "heavy" at all for a while.

An Epiphany I had at the meet was that my vastus strained under the load, but my adductors held up just fine.  Previously it was always my adductors that always went.  I think I may have an underlying issue there but what is going to change in my training is that I am going to limit my big work a bit, and pay more attention to the little muscles for a while.  For my adductors I lived on that good girl machine for the last 3+ months and got my adductors strong as shit.  Now I think more than ever, doing prehab work like that may be one of the biggest keys to progress, because without consistency no progress can be made.  The worst part about this is that you don't always know what you need to strengthen because you haven't pulled something yet.

Some people will chalk this up to "weak point training" but it's not.  "How can you say that Paul?"  Because this isn't about strengthening a particular point in the range of motion of a movement.  You use the movement to get stronger in the movement, you train the little muscles to keep them from being strained while the big guys do the work.  So if you wanted to call it "weak point training" you could, but the usual definition of that term (where you do board presses because you think your lockout is weak) is not being applied here.  This is more like prehab work.

I've been talking about the shake diet however in the meantime I am just going to concentrate on eating "good".  No junk, no sweets, lots of while grains, lean proteins, fruit, veggies, etc.  Simple shit.  Just eating this way will take care of most of your adipose, granted that you are doing some cardio.  I started cardio back this week as well, and I am already dropping weight.  Down from the high 260's into the high 250's in the first week.  Honestly, it's mostly water because I was pretty bloated for the meet, but it still feels good to tighten up a bit.

You know you live in a boring ass town, when there is a line at 6 a.m. from the front of a store to the street to await the grand opening, and they don't open until 9.  It was a Trader Joe's too.  Honestly I can't think of any store worth waiting in line to get into unless they were giving away cloned Jessica Biel's.

I don't know what it's been like in the rest of the country, but in Kansas/Missouri the summer thus far has already been brutal.  I mean 105 type days with 90% humidity.  Then mix in some microbursts that cause limbs flying all around with 60MPH wins and there you go.  We were without electricity for 18 hours because of one of those badboys this past week.

And let me touch on that for a minute.....

How the fuck am I without electricity for 18 hours because of a 45 minutes storm?  Before someone gives an answer, I need to point out that we lose power every year for an extended period for some reason.  I mean weather wise as the reason.  It shouldn't happen that often.  We are originally from Louisiana and we would only go without power for a couple of days after Hurricanes!  We were without power once here for 7 fucking days because of an ice storm.  Another time, right after Christmas day, we were without power for 3 days for what appeared like no reason at all.  No one could ever give us a reason.

And let me touch on that for a minute....

The electric companies have too much power.  End of story.  How the hell is it I don't have electric company options?  This seems like anti-trust in some way, shape, or form to me.  There is always supposed to be competition.  But is there a choice for who you get to pick for your electric company?  Nope.  And they can cut your shit off at a moments notice, and I'll be damned if you can get some bitch on the line to explain to you why that is.  Or have someone tell you why you were without power for 4 days when it's beautiful outside.  The electric companies have as much power as oil, but just in smaller segments.  Everything you do inside your home or in an office building, for the most part, requires electricity.  But there is no one for the electric companies to answer to.  They certainly don't answer to their customers.

Sinkholes are scary.  A girl got killed this week up in Utah when a sinkhole opened up out of nowhere.  Think about how f'n scary that is.  You're driving down the road, then BAM! the whole Earth opens up and you're falling into it.  Call me Captain Obvious, but that's scary shit.

I'm in a total movie slump and I apologize.  Every week leading up to the meet I felt like I had less and less time because of work and getting shit done to prepare to leave.  I will start catching up this week.

Hot babe of the week..........Marzia Prince

I have no idea why women are in such a rush to get married when all around them lay the ruins and remains of slain marriages.  Fact is this society has made it too easy to get married and get divorced, so why respect it?  Getting married was the best thing I ever did.  But that doesn't mean it's for everyone.  I think they should stop letting you get married after three divorces.  Why the fuck not?  Three felonies and you go to prison for a million years, three divorces and no more marriage for you.  Seems ok to me.  It would make some people think a little harder about that third one.

But back to my original point there...

I know a girl who got engaged to a guy less than 6 weeks after meeting him.  Seriously.  What the fuck?  The odds of this shit working long term, are jack and shit, and jack left town.  Yeah of course, they have a small chance but it's small.  Any guy that pops the question that fast has control issues, and any woman that says yes that fast has insecurity issues.  I know that women are wired to find a man/keep a man, but at any expense is going full retard.  If you're a chic, find a man WORTH marrying, and if you're a dude find a chic WORTH asking.  Someone told me a few weeks ago that a particular friend asked a girl to marry him more than 4 times over the course of 7 years and she said no every time.  This is full retard as well.  If I asked once, and she said no I would ask what I would have to do to make it happen if I really cared about her.  If she had some legit complaints I'd do my best to fix em.  On the second one if she said no, and I had made real efforts to meet her needs I would say "see ya".  I understand being with someone and committing to them (obviously) however it has to be reciprocated.  If it's not, find someone better for you.

I got to part of last weekend with Eric Lilliebridge and one of his friends who told me what a player he is (he's 21).  I told him "if you've ever checked your cell phone waiting on some chic to text you, you're no player."  He got silent and Eric busted out laughing.  It's true.  Women own 95% of guys, but 95% of guys think they are players.

Speaking of pre-hab training (I did earlier), I hate it when some "guru" lists some unorthodox exercise to fix something.  A pretty well known guy in the industry told me using the good girl machine to fix my adductor strains was a waste of time.  Well I went from being able to use like 80 pounds for 10 to using the whole stack for 10 (140) and I didn't have an adductor strain for over 3 months.  Wow, you mean some simple shit worked?  People get such hard ons for railing against machines and preaching some fucking unorthodox training method or movements that they lose sight of how simple this shit is.  I already had someone tell me the leg extension machine would be worthless for strengthening my VMO.  What-the-fuck-ever.  Myths get spread like this and it's never corrected.  First off, the leg extension will in fact strengthen the VMO.  What the fuck do you think is happening when you do them?  Yeah, the VMO works the hardest, esp on the last 20 degrees of the ROM.  I don't need to do some kind of step up with my big toe pointing towards the north star on Wednesday with a band wrapped around my ass.  The normal shit we've been doing for 50 years will build all the little muscle groups for pre-hab.  I don't need bands or blocks or the need to sacrifice a chicken to the VMO gods in order to make shit happen.

I hope everyone has a good weekend and kicks ass.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Getting leaner made simple - The new and improved shake diet

Ok so I've had a few requests to talk about the shake diet I use from time to time to lose bodyfat.

I've talked about it before but we can cover it again.  I had plans on implementing it following the meet, however I am going to hold off for a bit and just eat "healthy" and "normally" until I feel the need to make a change.

The shake diet is pretty simple.  You use 3-4 meal replacements a day, and eat 2 meals.

I advise meal replacements because there are still some carbs in them, and I like the make up of MRP's better for a shake heavy diet than just pure protein shakes.

When I ran the shake diet in the past, I would eat breakfast and dinner usually.  So my day of eating usually looked like this...

Non-Training Day

Breakfast - 3 whole eggs with turkey and cheese

Lunch - MRP

Snack - MRP

Pre-Training - Creatine loading formula (this has carbs in it in the form of simple sugars)

Post-workout - Dinner - Usually lean meat with fruits and veggies.

2 hours after dinner - MRP

This worked well for me, and I have used it several times.  However I believe there are some ways to improve the shake diet quite a bit.

I don't do carb cycling because it's too damn complex IMO.  I am not a bodybuilder, however I do have periods where I desire to lean up quite a bit and get into the 8-10% bodyfat range and look/feel better.

However I do believe that carb cycling has a lot of merit.  I believe this because low carb sucks donkey nuts and you lose a lot of strength and feel like total shit when you cut carbs too low for too long.

You can use a carb cycling approach with the shake diet very easily.

On workout days make the following adjustments -

Breakfast - 5-6 egg whites with turkey and lowfat cheese (so drop the yolks)
Add 1 cup of oatmeal with cinnamon

Pre-workout - Have 2 slices of rye bread with organic jelly and 1 cup of cottage cheese with pineapple or strawberries

Post-Workout - Have MRP in 2 cups of skim milk

Eat a light dinner two hours later.  4-6 ounces of chicken and a salad for example.  

This bumps up carbs and drops some fat, which should give you some energy for lifting days.  The rye bread with cottage cheese is going to be a permanent staple in my diet from now on.  I rarely had bad workouts due to energy when doing this.  

On non lifting days, you won't have any pre-workout meal and you'll add the whole eggs back in at breakfast, and drop the oatmeal.  So non lifting days would look just like the earlier version but without pre-workout creatine drink.

As far as picking MRP's, I usually go with Met-Rx.  I like the taste and I can usually find it cheap somewhere.  I would go with Labrada but generally it's more expensive.  I do like the taste and make up of the Labrada because it has more fiber, but if you're getting enough veggies in at dinner along with the oatmeal and rye bread on lifting days, you'll be fine.

This is NOT complicated.  Don't make it complicated by wondering "can I do this" "can I do that".  Just follow the plan and enjoy the rewards.

Length (and I'm not talking about your manhood) -

I generally run this for 6 weeks.  I do not cheat during this time.  There are no cheat days.  It's only 6 weeks so don't be a bitch about it.  It's 168 shakes.  One thing you can do is just buy 4, 40 pack boxes plus an 18 box one and lay 168 out in a big box.  When you go through the last one, you're done.  You won't eat anything that isn't on the menu for the entire 6 weeks.  So if it's not listed above, you can't eat it for the 6 weeks.

Benefits and Drawbacks -

This really all depends on you.  I can eat the same thing for months on end and feel fine.  So 6 weeks for me is nothing.  Some people get tired of a diet with the same foods after a week.  If you are the latter, this might be hard for you to do.

Also, 168 MRP's will cost a couple of dollars, but you probably spend that much on sex toys and porn and darth vader outfits over the course of the year so just cut one of those out, and get the MRP's.

The benefits are easy.  The plan is simple, and simple to follow.  There is variety with the lean meat at the dinner meal, and of course, you don't have to have breakfast and dinner as the food meals, you can swap those out for whatever you like (like breakfast and lunch, or lunch and dinner).  Again, don't make this overly complicated.  It's not.

Also counting calories is incredibly easy with it because you only have to worry about the two meals a day.  Takes the guess workout out of everything.

If you decide to run it, take some pics and let me know.  It works very well for shedding bodyfat and is simple and productive.

That's all folks.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Training - Legs

Bodyweight - 262

Didn't post it up last night because we were out of power, but did some traps, biceps, and abs and cardio.

Warm up - hip and ass machine, good and bad girl machines, calf press - 2 sets of each

Squats -
135 x 10
225 x 5
315 x 5
405 x 5

Leg Extensions - 3 x 10
Good Girl Machine - 2 x 10

Notes - man I forgot how weak and shitty you feel after a meet.  The vastus burned quite a bit on the 405x5 but mainly I was just stiff all over.  Will be talking more about routine changes in tomorrow's installment of thoughts about....

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


So I sit here battered and mildly bruised from the meet three days ago, and my time spent there gave me a lot of perspective about things.

First off, a lot of people will have something to say about me getting injured.  That's fine.  I'm 36, been at this for 22 years and am still constantly pushing the envelope of what I am capable of.  Sometimes this is smart, sometimes it's not.  Talk to both Ed Coan and Ernie Lilliebridge at the meet, they echoed the same sentiments about their own training.  That staying healthy is always the biggest obstacle for guys our age or older.

I told Ernie I know I'd be good for an 1850 beltless total if I could get two injury-free training cycles in.  He laughed and said "I just want to get one injury free training cycle in!"

It has nothing to do with my methods or philosophy, but everything to do with my time put in under the bar.  At 36 I'm not as pliable as I was at 26, or even 30.

I liken it to the guys in the NFL.  At 36 he isn't as fast as he was at 26, so in order to be more effective he has to go from playing 50 snaps a game, to 25 snaps a game.  Then he doesn't wear down as much over the course of the season and can still contribute at a high level.

For me, that means more recovery and strengthening some areas in a prehabilitation way.  It used to be that my adductors would strain under the heavier loads of squatting.  I fixed that this past training cycle, but my VMO went.  So obviously, that will be on the list of things to shore up.

My squat is really the only lift that has caused me injury in all actuality.  I tore my bicep deadlifting last year however that was most definitely an anomaly.  My elbow issues are more just wear and tear, and even with my permanently separated shoulder I never beat myself up too bad benching.

So keeping things in perspective, what I really need to do is just take care of my legs and continue doing what I have been doing and a big total is there.

In closing I wanted to give a big thanks to Chuck Miller and Jim Wendler.  Both who gave me a lot of great advice going into the meet that proved to be invaluable.

Another meet will happen sometime in my near future, and the elusive big beltless total will fall.

But in the meantime, it's time to get in shape, do some cardio, lighten up on the lifting and then plan some strategies out from there.  I will probably go to my shake diet for the next 6 weeks and see where I end up weight wise.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Meet Report

Without some big crazy introduction here is how the day went -

Felt like shit when I got that up yesterday morning, and here I sit writing this with a full blown cold. Drainage, sore throat, and all sorts of shit. Lovely.  More on this later. 

Anyway, I passed it off as meet jitters, ate breakfast and went off. 

Started warming up in the back and my left VMO felt tight. Like it wouldn't release.  

Stretched it for a long time but no dice. 

There were 5 flights in this meet and 10 guys per flight.  The first two flights were raw and the next three were geared.  Due to nerves I started warming up a bit early for squats, then had to kind of re-warm up later as the first flight (I was in the second flight) started on their third attempts.

I opened on squats at 550. Shook a bit from nerves but the weight itself was super easy. 

Went to 600 for my second. The plan was to stay conservative on the opener and second attempt, then look for something good on the third.  So 600 was the planned 2nd attempt.

I unracked it, and it felt light so I already knew 640 was in the bags. Took it to the basement and felt my left VMO pop at the bottom.  I finished the squat so easily that when I told my wife I tore my quad she was shocked.   

I passed on my third. 

Took my a while to get my head around the injury.  It took a lot out of me physically and mentally because I had put a lot into doing well at this meet.  But my wife told me, "quit being a fucking pussy and go bench mother fucker.  Do what you came here to do." 

That pretty much settled that.

I close gripped 369 easily for my opener. 

Went to 418, and when I unracked it my right ass cheek tightened up into a fucking knot and I was in all sorts of pain. Still made the lift but it was harder than I had thought. 

So instead of 440-450 I played it safe and went to 430. 430 ended up being easier than 418 and now I was pissed that I left some on the platform.  The 440 was easily there.

I wasn't sure how pulls would go because by this point the meet had been going on for about 9 hours and my left vastus was stiff and painful.  I knew that transition point was going to be painful and my hope was to pull fast enough off the floor to let the speed move the bar past it without too much muscling it up.  Because that was not going to happen on this day.  I had ground out a 650 a few weeks ago, but I figured that would probably be out since the injury.

Opened at 570 and smoked it.  No pain on this lift, so I was feeling ok about things.  Maybe that 650+ would have a chance.

Smoked 622. 

But when I walked away after the 622 the pain in the leg was excruciating. I knew I had 650+ in me but not if that VMO wasn't going to fire properly. So again I stayed conservative and went 633 again hoping the momentum would carry it over that sticking point. It popped off the floor like no weight on the bar but at the transition point there was just nobody home and I shut down. 

1650-something. Whatever. I'm supremely disappointed. Many good months of being smart and staying injury free. I am happy I gutted it out and won best lifter award (don't ask me how, I don't think it's purely based on total). 

Got to hang out with Ed Coan quite a bit, and Ernie and Eric Lilliebridge.  Ernie told me it's the same shit with him now. That he hit a 2K raw total in 07 but since then he can barely get through a training cycle w/o an injury. Coan said the same. That it was injury after injury in his later years. Now he has a hip replacement. 

Anyway, I will compete again and I know without the injury I was easily good for 640-440-670 yesterday. Two more good training cycles and I think I can push the dead up above 7 and the bench closer to 500. Ernie told me if I learn how to use a belt and wraps properly and push my dead over 700 and bench right up next to 500 I could be right on top of 2K (around 1950) but I don't know if that's my thang, with the belt and wraps.  

either way, it was a good journey and I already know some things I did wrong as far as planning and training and am going to remedy that for the next meet.

I also wanted to say that this meet was ran about as well as a meet can be ran.  It was incredibly professional and everyone did an awesome job.  They even had several massage therapists in the back for anyone who needed it (I guess I shoulda taken advantage of that with my VMO?).  The judging was INCREDIBLY strict.  I mean no one got gifts, everything was to the letter.  I didn't see a single high squat passed, no hitched deadlifts, and pauses on bench were long enough that you could call it a fucking pause for the love of God.  Ted Isabella did a phenomenal job as did everyone involved.  I can't say enough how great the event was.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Greatest

Me and some guy named Ed Coan.........

Meet Update #1

Well I'm in Chicago, barely.

We arrived at AmTrak yesterday morning early, for a train that was supposed to depart at 7:20 or so.  We waited in a very long line to get our tickets claimed and as soon as it was our turn to do so, their computers froze up.

Shortly after this we were told that the train we were waiting to board, was being delayed by a Freight Train that was holding up the tracks.  That the earliest it would be there, would be 9:30.

So we tried to make the best of it, went and had breakfast, and sat until 10:30.  At that point I told my wife "if we're still sitting here at 11:30, I'm getting a refund and we're walking out.  More than 4 hours of waiting is enough."

Then my 4 year old, who says things daily that amaze me, said something that changed the whole day.

"Mom, how will we get to Chicago if dad quits?"

My wife just looked at her and rubbed her head, and said nary a word.

And then of course I felt terrible inside, and angry all at once.  I didn't care if I had to sit there for another 700 hours, I was getting on that train.  I'm no fucking quitter and never have been.

We finally boarded the train at 11:30 (hah), and then of course had several delays and didn't get to Chicago until 9:00 P.M.  So what was supposed to be a 7.5hour train ride turned into 9.5 hours, with 1 meal served.

Fuck you AmTrak.

At least in Chicago there was an awesome stretch limo there to pick us up and the kids thought that was the greatest thing since sliced bread.  I won't lie, after the morning and day of traveling I had, it felt pretty darn good.  I drank a beer (yuck) to try and get a buzz but it was minor, and just made me feel like shit because I hate beer.

At the hotel, they decided that since AmTrak had fucked with us all day, they should as well.  And put us in non-adjoining rooms, even though we specifically stated we needed those, since we had the kids with us.  We were starving, so we ordered room service because it was late, and my wife told them to just room us after we ate.  But they didn't get this right either and had the food delivered to the adjoining rooms we would be moving to.  So we had to pack up and haul our shit down 8 floors to new rooms.  My wife let the guy at the front desk have it at this point, and really, I don't blame her.  I can understand maybe missing her telling him we needed adjoining rooms a few weeks ago, but I heard her tell him NOT to send the food to the new room because we were tired and wanted to eat before we moved again.  She got us a free breakfast out of it.

So here I sit, pretty rested actually.  I talked to Eric Lilliebridge and Wendler on the way in yesterday and Eric will make it out to watch the meet and Jim is going to be in Illinois (not in Chicago) so he said he'd be sending some good vibes my way.

It's been more than two years since the stars have aligned enough for me to get to a meet relatively healthy.  I won't lie, I'm fairly nervous about my thirds.  They are all lifts I have not hit before, and now I'll be attempting to hit them all on 1 day.  That's why my seconds will not be PR's, but will be conservative.  I'm going to try and pour everything I have into my 3rds and hope it's enough.

I have to go weigh in, get some breakfast, and then I'll probably watch the lighter weight class guys lift for a while.  I will be updating anything unusual or worth noting throughout my stay.

Talk laters.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Off to the Windy City

Well guys, it's time.

All the work is done and it's time to depart and "show up".

Train leaves for Chicago this A.M.

Pec minors are still a bit tender and right IT band is as well, but none of that matters now.  It's time to crush, kill, destroy.

My goal for this meet is 1750.  640, 440, 670.  I talked to both Jim Wendler and Chuck Miller about it all and this is what I have settled on.  This would be a nice total for me.  It's nothing elite or special to write home about.  But neither have my last two years of training.

Chuck gave me an awesome quote about getting this done that I will share..........

"Purge your mind of anything else and make those lifts.  Don't look past anything or take anything for granted.  Own every one of them."

Time to own..........

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Random Music Post of the Week

I'm not really a Disturbed fan or a fan of "rock radio" but this video is fucking awesome and full of testosterone (even the chic at the end seems to have more test than most of the fucking nerds I work with)

Disturbed - Indestructible

Thoughts about life, training, crap and stuff

Denial.  It's a very powerful tool as long as you can keep making yourself believe what you are saying.  

I was hanging out with some friends Friday night and a mutual friend of ours says that she could never be in a committed relationship again.  Then later reveals that she gave an ultimatum to the guy she talks to, that he couldn't sleep with her as long as he kept sleeping with his ex-gf.  Then she also said that told him she wouldn't sleep with anyone else.


Basically she had a terrible long term marriage and she refuses to believe that anything she does constitutes a commitment because she fears commitment.  She is so afraid of commitment she doesn't even recognize commitment in her life when she is doing it because she fears it so badly.

I think we all do that at junctures and instances of our life.  We want something badly however we don't want to attach a label to it for fear of that thing becoming something else that we abhor, or have bitterness about.  Our past certain shapes who we are today, but you get to decide if you let it shape you into something bitter or jaded, or if you let it shape you into something better because you learned from it.  We all like to believe we are the latter, but more often than not we carry a lot of the former with us no matter how hard we try.

I would have put up the workout from last night but does it matter that I did 315 x 5 on squats?  I didn't think so.

To break down the last week for you however........

Last Tuesday - squats up to 605
Thursday - Bench up to 315 x 5, Deadlift - 315 x 5 singles as fast as possible
Yesterday - Squats 315 x 5

That's the whole last heavy workout and deload mix.  

My right IT band is a little irritated and I've been on the foam roller and hitting the anti inflammatories.  MY pec minors are getting a little better.  I'm hopeful that meet day this will be minor.  If not, plenty of ibuprofen.  

After the meet I will probably take a week off.  My goal after this will be to shed some of this extra adipose through conditioning and my MRP diet.  That thing is awesome.  Easy and works to perfection.  It's not going to get you bodybuilding stage ripped, but I never have to worry about what I'm going to do eating wise to get lean again.  I but enough MRP's for however long I am going to diet and that's it.  It's the most simple shit ever, and it works.  My guess is, I will end up around 238ish to 242 or so pretty darn lean.  I'm not going to be worried about strength during this phase, because well, that would be stupid.  My goal will be to get into shape (using a conditioning block), then after I am in shape I will go from there.  If I qualify for the USPF worlds I will plan on competing in the 242 class and not the 275's.  So it behooves me to stay at 240 or so.  Even if that is not my completely optimal weight for powerlifting.  I just feel better there.

Movies -

I did get around to watching an old movie this weekend called "Hardcore" with George C. Scott in it.  It was just meh.  I had seen parts of it when I was young and I think back during that time, the movie was pretty shocking.  But we were quite bored and I have found that those older movies like that do a terrible job, for the most part, at setting a good pace, even for character development.  This seems to be pretty common in older movies I watch.  I wonder if now we are so accustomed to something faster paced that we can't enjoy a slower developing story, or if those movies just do suck?  

I had a plan for the meet to end up with a decent total on my second attempts but I talked with Wendler for a while about this and have changed my game plan around a bit.  I'm going to trust Jim with this and be smart.  I could very easily end up with a rather pedestrian total or a halfway decent one.  Either way, at this point, just showing up healthy is going to be nice.  

I should have the first Lift-Run-Bang shirt on for this meet.  Obviously I will get pics and if you guys really have enough interest I will put them up.  It reads "Lift-Run-Bang" ("really?  no fucking way?") and has a screaming Spartan skull with helmet on.  

Short and sweet this week.  I am still fairly tired but will probably have another "thoughts" post later this week as I'm resting up.  

I hope everyone had a "Happy Birfday Merica" day.  

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July everyone

I hope everyone blows shit up and eats more hotdogs than Takeru Kobayashi.

Will do a light squat session today to continue the deload for the meet.  Maybe some light pressing.