Friday, April 6, 2012

Thoughts about life, crap, training and stuff and going after the WCS standards......

So as I noted in the training entry the other night, I had a very rude wake up call.

"You haven't been training very hard, Paul."

I think it some ways that was a tough pill to swallow.  Not because of pride, just because I got to where I am through brutally hard training, and have fallen a little bit on my laurels.  I have written about this several times, and how it slowly slithers into your training and mindset.  People will laugh, but things like 5x5 and volume on the big lifts and all sorts of other shit end up becoming excuses not to train balls out.

We trained with the first Big session on Wednesday night, and all day yesterday I was tired as hell, hungry as shit.  I ate a giant plate of roast and potatoes last night, then had a whole container of strawberries (more on this later).  I woke up in the middle of the night starving and had a shake and half a jar of peanut butter.

Point of all this is, I remember all these feelings all too well.  They were ignited by hard, heavy, intense, brutally hard training.  And I've been moseying around the weights for far too long now.

No more.

Until at least late in the year, I will be pushing the new big-15 program focusing on meeting the WCS standards.  Since I can't squat, and won't be able to for a while, that's out.  But I will be tackling everything else.

How do I feel about my chances?

Not sure.

Let's start where I am closest and go from there with likely % of making it.

Standing Press - 315x1 90%
If I could clean 300, I could overhead press it right now.  225x10 Wednesday was a bit of a joke and I could have easily done 13 or so reps I believe.  I could take it out of the rack, but watching someone clean the weight then press it, is far more boss to me than taking it out of the rack.  So my limiting factor here my just be the clean.  Which I vow to get better at.  My other issue here is elbow health.  Overhead pressing tends to beat my elbows up the most.  So we'll see.

Bench Press - 315x20 90%
13 reps Wednesday night, not feeling too great.  On a good night 15 or so I think.  17 is my best.  The difference in 17 and 20 is pretty significant though.  I feel like I have a solid shot here.

Deadlifts - 500x20 85%
My deadlift is higher than it's ever been right now.  Just missing a 650 double off the 4" blocks I know puts me at at least 675, but more than likely 690-700.  However after that the quad starting getting worse and playing a factor when I pulled.  Nothing worse than trying to pull and "feeling" to see if something is going to hurt.  I do know that my "speed" sets with 500-550 were the easiest and fastest they had ever been.  This is a big one for me.  I have no doubt that 500x20 would cement me well over 700.  Since I am worlds shittiest deadlifter and I can't squat right now, I am going to pour all of my energy into making this happen.  I think if I repped right now, 12 or 13 would be doable.  But I must get better.  Phil Stevens and I are going to go head to head on 500 for reps soon and he's a 750+ puller.  And I fucking hate losing.

Chins - 100x10 85%
My chins usually run up pretty fast.  I haven't chinned in a while and Wednesday night I did 75 for a stupid easy single, then 15 with bodyweight only.  Best is 100x3.

Dips - 200x10 70%
No clue.  I haven't dipped in forever.  Will dip next week and see how it feels.  Dips often aggravate my pec tendon, so if I do them it will be sparingly.  This limits my chance for success.

Curls - 185x10 40%
Not a lot of hope here because I hate curling and my template calls for lighter curls.  I will however, give some heavy curls for a set of 10 a shot on the little days of 6x10.

Squats - 500x20 0%
It's be hard to squat 500xanything right now with my hip/quad in the shape it's in.  However this may be a good thing as I will have a chance to really push the deadlift without also beating myself up on the squat.  It's very possible that my dead climbed like it did this past cycle because my squats were so light the whole time.

As far as eating goes, I'm not going to eat to "lose fat" or to "gain mass".  I'm going to eat for performance and to fuel my workouts and recovery.  I will still be doing conditioning several days a week.  Mainly a mixture of steady state several times then some interval work too.

I will only be doing two big sessions a week as I feel like that suits my recovery best.  So my split looks like, or will look something like this.........

Week 1 - 
Big Session 1 - Upperbody 1
Close Grips - 50% set
Chins - 50% set
Clean and Press - 1xmax reps w 225 or 245

Big Session 2 - Lowerbody 1
Calf Raises - 4x10
Leg Press - 6x20
Leg Curl - 4x20
1-Legged Squats - 4x20

Week 2 - 
Big Session 1 - Upperbody 2
Incline Press - 50% set
Rows - 4-6x8-20
Weighted Dips - 1x8-12

Big Session 2 - Lowerbody 2
Calf Raises - 4x10
Deadlifts - 50% set
Leg Ext - 4x20
Lunges - 4-6x20

If I could squat, I would honestly squat one week, and pull the next.  This kind of training on a per session basis gets to be a chore, and recovery, especially for someone with the amount of miles on them that I have, is very important.

Eating - 

So my fight coach has been on my ass about changing some things in my diet that he thinks will make even more of a difference.  Dropping all complex carbs, and getting all my carbs from fruits and vegetables with some potatoes thrown in now and again.  Hmmmmm, that sounds like fucking Paleo.  Fear not fellow readers, I am not doing Paleo.  However, I will try this for a while because the one thing I do like is that I can basically eat fruit until I die and not worry about weight gain like I have to with other carb sources.  So I'm always open to ideas and I'll give this one a try.

50% sets - 

I can't believe how many people are asking what these means.  I wrote about it in the PoTP's and have talked about them many times before.  But what the hey, let's do it again!

A 50% set means you go to failure, or close to it on your working set, then you rest for 60 seconds, and try to get half as many reps as you got on the first set.


300x10 on first 60 seconds
Shoot for at least 5 on the second set

That's it.

What are my goals?

To get as close to the standards as I possibly can.  To improve my conditioning.  Simply, to get better.

The book - 

It's coming!  I know lots of you are freaking out and thinking it's going to be like a year from now.  Maybe 6 weeks or so.  I am pouring as much into this thing as I can, as far as I what I feel is important from a cradle to grave aspect.

Know how to squat, bench, and pull properly.
The new strong-15 and big-15 templates and cycles.
The new block pull cycle
A pause squat cycle
Pre-hab and rehab at a blue collar level.
Training for old mother fuckers
Training for noobies and intermediates
A shit ton of training splits
A conditioning plan
Thoughts about being a better man
Bodypart specialization.  You guys saw what I did in short periods with trap and back specialization.  I am covering the whole body in this regard.

A lot of this is already written but I'm still writing, and fleshing it all out.  Be patient.  It will be well worth it.  Anytime someone has a question about training, I'd like for them to be able to open it up and find an answer, or some idea of an answer.  That has been my goal.

It's Friday, and I'm happy.  I got a solid nights sleep last night for the first time in a while, even if it was only 6 hours, I only woke up once.

I won't lie, dropping the meet has taken some stress off.  With mom's surgery and other things I've had going on, it was weighing on me.  Not because of the competition, but because of my leg and all the other shit around me.  It was just another stress, and eventually I decided it was a stress I could remove for now that would benefit me in the long run.  It was a very tough decision but I feel like now, it was the right now.  I have no doubt at all once my leg is good, 1800 no belt is in the fucking bag.

I hope all you bitches have a great weekend and do something worth talking about.  You get one go around.  Make it count for something.


  1. The book sounds awesome, blue collar prehab especially. I love how you write, even when you are talking about relatively simple or mundane things you have a really frank method that's so refreshing. Its sort of like the conversations I have in my head about my work and training I guess.

    I've been trying to lose weight lately and although you hear different things about fruit (liver fats or some shit wtf?) I'm thinking I should just eat as much fruit as I want between meals if it stops me wanting to eat shit. Thing is it is hard to get a good variety here in Ireland so usually my choices are bananas apples, sometimes pears (although they're usually not ripe) and tinned fruit.
    Any thoughts on tinned fruit in juice, is it too close to being a sugary snack?

    Do you have sleep apnea?


    1. Yeah I think you want to stick to fresh fruit. Too many simple sugars in the canned stuff.

  2. Since I'm 2/3 of the way through the original WCS program, I will be watching this with great interest to see what you do that's similar and what you do that's new/different/seemingly contrary to the original program.

    1. This program isn't based JUST around the WCS standards. I'm just massaging it that way. The new big-15 doesn't even have to use the big 3. I'm just going to do it this way since I am after these goals.

    2. Oh, totally. And I'm not doing WCS forever or anything. I like trying variations on the same old theme of building big lifts and improving conditioning. That's the stuff that's made all the difference for me.

  3. Hi Paul, I'm new to your blog, but I was wondering, why are you so against Paleo? From what I've found you: 1) Dislike the stance on carbs (especially for weight gain)and 2) Found it wasn't effective for you. Wouldn't you say that while someone is not trying to gain weight, it would be a healthy way to eat, since they will avoid or at least limit things that interfere with digestion and the absorption of nutrients? How about the idea that your metabolic typing or something else simply isn't inclined towards any low carb nutrition system, while others may be?
    Aaron Thawe

    1. My main beef with Paleo has always been that it's not a good diet to gain buutloads of muscle mass on. building mass does in fact require carbs, and there's no real way around that.

      If you are eating to get lean, or stay lean, I think it's a pretty spectacular diet, and if you're eating for health it could be argued that it's one of the best.

      So as you can see, I'm not "against" Paleo, I am against it being the be all end all of dieting or eating methods. Carbs play a huge role in building mass and without them your results will be less than optimal.

  4. What martial arts are you currently training in Paul? Are you still doing kenpo?

    1. None currently. When I do now it's in Krav Maga or I fight with our competitive fighters.

  5. Important life question - PS3 or Xbox ?

  6. Paul,

    You mentioned you trained DC for a while. What are your thoughts on it?

    1. Great program but you need to be ready to put in that kind of work. Not for beginners.

  7. Paul,

    Thoughts on supplementing with Leucine? I get FLEX (dont laugh, it was a gift!) and this month talks about Leucine and it's benefits to adding lean muscle on a very low carb diet. The article basically says to use 3-5 grams with every meal. Pretty interesting stuff. I know you are fairly up to date with your supplement knowledge, so I was wondering your opinions on it.



    1. Haven't really used it. I'd say try it and see what happens.

  8. No homo, but you are pretty awesome and humble. Which I find quite rare for those who are into lifting iron. Keep upthe good work man!


  9. Great no nonense blog Paul. Looking forward to your book. Best regards Karl Larsson, Sweden

  10. Paul,
    great article as always. I'll just cut to the chase since i havent had my coffee you think it's possible to put 50lbs on the 3 main lifts in just under 6 months? i know a lot of factors apply here, but is this a realistic goal for anyone?


    1. Hard to say Jim. For a new guy it's probably very reasonable. Outside of that there are too many variables.