Monday, August 20, 2012

Thoughts about life, crap, training, and stuff - Columbus, Ohio edition

Thursday - 16Apr2012

I left for Kansas City International Airport at around 11:30 a.m.  My flight departed around 12:50, with layover in Atlanta.  I arrived Columbus around 7:30 that nigh, so that made for a fairly long day of traveling.

Pegg picked me up from the airport, and we were both starving.  We ended up going to the Cheesecake Factory (his choice), and proceeded to get shitty service because, as Pegg put it, "you know that god damn waiter is thinking "look at those two know they aren't going to tip worth shit.""

How prophetic the Peggers is.  I am a GREAT tipper if you give me solid service.  Notice I said "solid", not even spectacular.  I appreciate that waiters and waitresses make their money off their tips, so if they are doing a solid job I always tip well over 20%.  Well, Ol' Boy even fucked up our appetizer right out of the gate, and nary could a refill on water be found.

"Does that look like guacamole to you?" Pegg said, staring at our appetizer.  "I swore we ordered the southwest chicken tacos."

Many profanities followed.  Service still did not improve.

Dinner with this beauty will impede the waiters ability to do a good job....

Eventually our shitty waiter came around to ask us if we'd like to order and much to his surprise, we told him we were there in fact, to eat food.  I can't imagine the shock waves that must have went through his body as we dropped this knowledge bomb upon him.  Of course, he fucked up my order and forgot my sweet tater fries, but I expected nothing less at this point.

After we ate and left little in the way of a tip, then we headed on over to this bar across the street, grabbed a couple of drinks then headed home.

Friday - 17Apr2012

I slept in a bit, if you wanna call it "sleep", then woke and we worked out a time to meet Wendler.  Jim knew I was coming into town and we had planned on meeting for lunch and also talked about maybe doing some training as well.

Before lunch however, Pegg and I headed off to Costco and picked up all the meat that Pegg was going to cook for our BBQ Saturday night.  We ended up grabbing 6 slabs of ribs and over 4 pounds of chicken, along with an cart full of other accessories for said Bar-B-Q.

We unpacked the car and then headed back out to meet Jim for lunch.  Of course we met at a place called BJ's.  What other place would three grown men that still make high school jokes all day meet?

Of course..........

Jim joined us and we basically had a 3.5 hour lunch.  For a few reasons.

Pegg's powers of destroying a waitress' ability to do their job once again was in full Sith like force, and it took about 90 minutes before we even got to order our appetizer.  Another hour went by before Jim finally goes "Are we going to be able to order some fucking food?"

During our time of not having food, we just bullshitted a lot, caught up with how things had been going, and just laughed about a bunch of random shit for a while.  I suppose what women call "male bonding".  Just not as gay.

After we actually ate, Jim and I talked about training the next day and told me to let him know what was up so that we could get together.

Saturday - 18Apr2012

With Pegg sleeping in, me and my buddy Alva headed out to get breakfast at IHOP, sans Pegg.  Without Pegg in tow, service was excellent and timely.  Not once did Alva or myself want for a refill, nor did it take 7.3 hours to get our food.  Once it arrived, it was exactly as we had ordered it.

After we were done eating our timely meal, we returned to the Pegger's lair and talked about going to train.  Pegg said he wasn't going to because he needed to get all the stuff for the bar-b-q ready, so Alva and myself headed off to train with Jim.

I want to be very clear about this.  It's a big privilege to train with Jim at his home.  Actually, let me say that it's a big privilege to get an invitation from anyone to come train in their home.  However I know how guarded Jim is with his time.  He doesn't just invite anyone to come train with him.  It's not an "open to come train" kind of fucking thing.  It's very much via a "invitation only" kind of thing.  I can identify with Jim on this because I get a lot of guys going "hey let's do some training together" but I've trained alone for the better part of 20+ years.  I don't prefer training with people, nor would I ever invite someone I don't know to come train at my home.

Think about that for a minute.

I imagine Jim gets hit up about that a lot, and honestly, I can't imagine how people come to such conclusions.  It's not a lot different than inviting yourself over to someone's house for dinner, and they don't even know you.  You're asking them to open up their home and time to a total stranger.  Why?  Oh because "I lift weights too".  People are amazing sometimes.  And by amazing, I mean, totally fucking stupid.

Training at 5-point gym and a Biotest sarcasm

Before I write about the training day, I want to actually say something that will in fact send some shock waves through the fucking universe.  Ok so that won't happen, but it will shock the hell out of my readers.

I am going to take back some of the shit I said about t-nation and their supplements.

While at Pegg's I saw how much Biotest shit he had from when he was using their products.

"So is this shit really any good?" I asked.

"Yeah, it really is." Pegg told me.

"Come on, man"

"No, I'm serious.  That Anaconda, you can train for fucking ever on that shit."

"For real?"

"I got no reason to lie about it." Pegg said.

I wanted to give it a shot, so before Alva and I left I mixed up some and downed it.

I also want to say that their chocolate Metabolic Drive tastes awesome.  No shit.  I'd totally buy it just based on taste.  I'll come back to all this shit later.

So Alva and myself arrive to train.  Jim and Alva had to bench, and I needed to squat, do some upper back and 1-legged work.

For my squatting I did two things I've actually never done before.  I used a buffalo bar, and squatted in a monolift.  The monolift thing is really no big deal, I still walked my shit out, however the buffalo bar was awesome.  I use a really wide grip to squat with, and on the 7 foot power bar, my hands still feel a bit jammed up.  With the buffalo bar however, there is no such problem, plus the curl of the bar makes it feel really comfortable on your bar.  Totally going to be a purchase I will make soon.  It makes squatting feel so much better.  I also want to add that Electric Wizard as background training music is incredibly fucking solid.

I think my squatting went something like this.........

Pause Squats -
bar (55 pounds) x 3 sets of 10

T-Bar Rows -
warm ups then...
5 plates x 15
6 plates x 6

Speed Skater Squats - 3 x 10 per leg

Jim hit a very easy 365 bench, and Alva did a shit ton of overhead presses.

All in all, a pretty normal session.  Until I start talking to Jim about all of the super high rep work I had been doing.  The Poundstone curls and face pulls and shit like that.  So while resting between sets of t-bars, Jim starts into a set of curls.  I realize at about 25 or so that he's going to try it.

"Trying for 100?" I say.


So I grabbed the video camera for proof that Jim curls in his own power rack.  What a disgrace.......

As you can see, Jim was pretty torn up from the curls.  For anyone that hasn't done these, everyone who gives them a shot pays for it.  It's pretty amazing what an empty bar done for ultra high reps can do to you.  Jim sat after this set and held his right forearm for quite a while and laughed about how bad it was cramping. Eric Lilliebridge had the same complaints after I talked him into doing them a little more than a week ago.

After the curls, Jim and I started brain storming about training for a while.  From there shit just took off and we ended up doing a whole bunch of things that I'm not going to write about here, because Jim is going to do am article about that soon.  Trust me, it's going to be fucking awesome.

This was the best part for me.  Reconnecting with Jim on the training brainstorming like we used to do.  This is exactly the kind of shit we did via e-mail for years, and Jim and I always seem to be the exact same page in regards to our ideas.  Not only that, it's uncanny how we both end up doing much of the same shit all the time without ever running it across each other.  This session was no different.

When we came to an area that we were both unsure of, we would go back and forth on the pros and cons of doing it, and eventually settle on dropping something or adding it in.  Jim wrote on the white board as we hashed a few hours worth of shit out, and then actually fucking tried some of it right there.

We also talked at length about strength peaking and all sorts of other shit, but the one thing we talked about, that I wish people could have been there to hear and grasp somehow, was how Jim and I both said that in spite of the fact that we both program using percentages, we know what a weight "feels" like that we need to be using.  We can't quantify what that percentage is.  It might be 83% or 87% but that after all of this time, we know how certain weights need to move and feel, in order to be proper working weight.

In between sets, we kept brain storming and talking about training ideas, so training basically went on for about 3.5 hours.  No shit.

But we weren't dicking around it was time to do our sets.

At one point I asked Jim if he were ready to do the next thing on the list and he goes "fuck no, give me 18 to 20 minutes".  Then we would sit around and brain storm some more.

I went in expecting just to get some training in and came out with a metric fuck ton of ideas about new training ideas and evolving some things both Jim and I had already been toying with.

And back to the Biotest plug, I never got tired.  I felt good the whole time, with a solid level of energy.  I honestly do credit the Anaconda for that because both Pegg and Alva told me that's exactly what it did for them.  That you could train, train, train, on it and let me tell ya, that was exactly what we did that day.  If there was ever a day I needed something to sustain me through a long session, this was that day.

After training, we went to Jim's basement where he keeps his music equipment and he let me bang on his drums for a while.  I was a little rusty but it's always fun to get a few fills in when I can.

So basically we trained, talked training and music, and hung out for about 5.5 hours.  Pegg was throwing a fit because we were supposed to have butter and honey for his bar-b-q prep and were "taking for fucking ever!"

We finally managed to make it out of Jim's house, and returned to the Stabbin' Cabin where Pegg was still getting shit ready to go.

That evening, Pegg cooked us up some fantastic bar-b-q.  Ribs and chicken, and other friends brought some awesome dessert (thanks for the chocolate chip cookie dough brownies, Brandy!), and we all ate until we were stuffed.......and then some.

Sunday  19Aug2012 - Departure

Sunday morning Pegg and I met Mike Ruggiera, his wife Lori and his two beautiful kids out at IHOP.  I've known Mike for maybe 10 years now, but like most people I know through powerlifting or the net, never had a chance to meet him.  Mike is brutally huge.  I mean, thick like you can't imagine, but most importantly you get right away that Mike is every bit as genuine and nice as he comes across on line or on the phone.  As is his wife.

Of course, IHOP fucked up my order.  I ordered whole wheat blueberry pancakes.  They brought me regular banana pancakes.  You know why?  Sith Pegg.  That's why.

After breakfast Pegg dropped me off at the Airport to a teary goodbye (no not really), and I proceeded to upgrade my seats thanks via a suggestion by Jim.

In closing, I had an unbelievable trip and spent time with some amazing friends.  This is what life should be all about.  Doing things that enrich your existence, and build depth with friends that are almost like family.

I can't say thanks enough to Pegg for having me out, and for the time Jim took out of his schedule to hang and train and bullshit.  To Alva for being awesome in general.  I hope to make more trips out in the future and create many more stories to talk about.

Death is winning the war, but this weekend I got to win a battle.  That's pretty damn sweet.  


  1. "In closing, I had an unbelievable trip and spent time with some amazing friends. This is what life should be all about. Doing things that enrich your existence, and build depth with friends that are almost like family. "

    This, at least to me, is the most important part of the entire post. (Although watching Jim do those Poundstone curls and hearing you laugh maniacally is also awesome.)

    Yeah, training and kicking ass in the gym is an important part of our lives, but this other part, about connecting with our friends and family, that's the most important part.

    I also recently got to spend some time with friends that I'm so close with I consider family, and it was really amazing and totally recharged me. Glad you were able to do the same, Paul!

  2. Anaconda may be amazing but I still can't justify $5 fir a pre-workout shake. Any suggestions for us po' folks? I'm just using BCAA's right now and it works early but fades, probably because of the lack of carbs.


    1. I will still use the BCAA for training. Mainly, make sure you have some carbs in you before you train. By carbs I mean low GI carbs so your blood sugar doesn't bottom out.

  3. Sounds like an awesome trip Paul! Pegg's barbecue skills all make sense now, sounds like he never had a choice but to learn how to cook his own food with that luck... Would be awesome to get Jim on a podcast some time!

  4. You used Biotest crap. You're tainted Paul.

    Now you will become on of them. Next thing you know you'll be getting artifical tans every fucking day as if you're ready for a bbing show, you'll start speaking with a thick french-canadian accent and will start claiming you're natural despiste the bulging varicose veins on your shoulders ( and will refuse to compete in a a tested show ) You'll start telling people to stop squatting and stop curling and benching and will start telling people that Olympic lifters are the real muscle-freaks, and tell everyone to do olympic lifts day round "because that's what build real muscle". Then you'll bartadize the concept of pre-exhaustion and call it "pre-pump". Then you'll claim you hate bodybuilding but you will ultimately try to give bodybuilders advice and call yourself a bodybuilding authority. You'll start advocating gluten-free diets and $500 fasting protocols, naming it "pulses", you'll start telling people to spen $1000 on magical blueberry powder that works like steroids, and lastly, you'll stop training like a man and start doing "neural charge workouts" day long and your blog will start being about ridiculous impratical workouts that are based on supplements. Then, as the last symptom, you'll change your name to "Thibadeau" and claim to be Vin Diesel.

    Ultimately, Jamie will have to kill you with a bullet to the chest and burn your body to prevent the infection.

    I'll miss you Paul.

    1. I think you've overreacted JUUUUST a bit.....

    2. You may be right, but don't dare say I didn't warned you if your skin starts turning orange and you start speaking funny.

      Remember, the only cure for Thibaudism is a bullet to the chest or getting yourself the beetus.

    3. Hey I didn't forgive Thibadouche. I just said that the Anaconda worked.

    4. Well if you liked it so much I'll leave this here:

      It's the exact same formula ( Hydrolized Casein + a bunch of minerals and carbs) for $20/lb as opposed to Biotest's $70/lb. When I say it's the exact same formula I mean it's the exact same supp to a T.

    5. Well if you liked it so much I'll leave this here:

      It's the exact same formula ( Hydrolized Casein + a bunch of minerals and carbs) for $20/lb as opposed to Biotest's $70/lb. When I say it's the exact same formula I mean it's the exact same supp to a T.

  5. Awesome write-up. But regarding Anaconda, somehow I get the impression you guys just haven't tried a lot of pre-workouts, since you're more into hard work than searching for magic pills. Am I right? I've got recommendations if you're at all curious.

    1. I've tried plenty of pre-workout stims and I don't like em. I like something that keeps a level of energy, not makes me all jacked up. I personally think that shit is retarded. I have tried pre workout stims and I just don't like that feeling. that's Jamie's deal.

    2. Oh yeah, Jamie's probably tried plenty more than me... Still waiting to place my orders for Cannibal Fuel.

    3. A monster is plenty enough for me. I don't need to "get up" for training using stims.

    4. I think they basically just allow me to dramatically shorten my warmups and get right into things. So not necessary by any means, but I like the rush and extra focus some give (I think Craze could be used in place of ADD/ADHD drugs).

      Also, Pegg leads a hard life. That was hilarious to read about.

  6. Good article, seems to me you had an awesome week.
    Jim seems pretty tired of doing 100 reps curls haha

  7. Paul, about the Electric Wizard album playing in the background while training:

    I like black metal (the early 1990s stuff). Probably my fave sub-genres of music. I prefer to listen to it while running though.

    For lifting: something slow, heavy, and punishing, like DOOM metal works fabulous. Fast shit doesn't really fly with me most of the time while i lift.

    Electric Wizard is a fine band to do it with as is CELTIC FROST'S MONOTHEIST album: this cd is just fucking DARK. And HEAVY/SLOW/SINISTER. Ask Jim about it. Or go on youtube to check it out yourself.


    1. slow down there (pun intended!) I gotta start slow when I move into a new genre.

  8. Were the speed skater squats weighted? Aside from those, do you typically do your single leg work weighted or just lunges/single leg squats for higher reps with bodyweight?

  9. I tried the poundstone curls tonight after my press workout. Only got 18. I coulda gutted out like 23-25 I think, but my right wrist gets really irritated by the straight bar.

    Def going to keep these in every week or every other week (I deadlift every other week, not sure I want to really make my biceps super sore two days before deadlifting). Goal is 50 before xmas.

    Also added in some single leg work on a small session/mobility day, as well as some good girl/bad girl stuff. For the first time in a while, I can really tightly squeeze my left quad, ham, and glute like I can on my right. For a while it had been feeling unresponsive and dead.

  10. The awesome ingredient in anaconda is l-tyrosine
    I put a 5ml scoop of it into my water bottle before I go to train and it's amazing. Very cheap as well. It's a precursor to adrenaline and dopamine as well so it actually makes you recover better from workouts instead of "using up" your neurotransmitters like traditional stimulants

    Mixing it into coffee makes you pretty high as well

    1. Yeah if that's what it is, I like it. I don't like stims. I like something that gives you constant energy, not makes me feel all jittery.

    2. > The awesome ingredient in anaconda is l-tyrosine

      Citrulline Malate and Betaine are the only ingredients I saw in it worth anything. Unless they had an older formula, no tyrosine in anaconda.

      Some in Brain Candy, though.

      And as always, you can find the ingredients on Amazon/True Nutrition/Smartpowders for a lot cheaper.

    3. oh ok, I was mistaken
      Alpha-GPC contains L-alpha-Glycerophosphocholine, which Bio-Test is billing as an acetylcholine precursor. Not sure if you took the Anaconda supplement or the Anaconda protocol here. Regardless, I HIGHLY suggest you give tyrosine a go Paul.

  11. Jason Pegg would be a great podcast guess, any chance of this happening Paul?

    Assuming he is willing to talk about it, stuff about his elbow getting blown up, rehab, training around a serious injury, how his training has evolved - I saw on his blog he is squatting raw and deeper now, etc

  12. Great article and those curls look vicious.