Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The next time you feel sorry for yourself because your training sucks..... this e-mail, and thank Paul for his service.


Hey Dude I know that you and Wendler are Huge advocates of Disproving CNS burnout so I have a Quick story you are absolutely allowed to use at your disposal (if you so choose).

Last year I was deployed to a Mountainous region of Afghanistan. We had a self built Gym setup made completely out of 8x5 Plywood sheets, 2x4's and some of Hammer Strength's finest, Donated through Morale Welfare and Recreation. One evening I was training and It was Squat day. Did my 531 sets then decided to Knock out some Max singles and Triples. Did this for about the next 30 min and threw in some Jump-rope for time to maximize the Vomit effect. It worked.

Needless to say my legs were jello at this point. I go and shower and call it a night. Wrong answer. My squad and I get alerted that theres someone doing some naughty shit on the side of the mountain adjacent to where we're located. No problem. I jumped out of my rack- First indicator of bad news- and my legs literally buckle. Not cool. We get our shit on and move out. Quick sidenote- we have vehicles (MATV's) but due to the nature of the terrain walking is the only option. Walking..easy right?

The hill where Mohammed the terrorizer is located is about a nice 35 to 45 degree incline. So about 20 ft out the gate im smoked already. 45 lbs of body armor, 10 lbs of AMMO, a camelbak full of water. You do the Math. So we're trekking up this hill..remember the vomit effect? Ya it comes back in a bad way. My post workout Chicken Cordon Bleu is now allover the side of the hill.

We keep going.

We never find mohamed the Terrorizer so we call it a night. We head back. About two minuts after dropping our gear we get spun up again. Mohammed is back and he's brought friends. its now 0100 in the am and we've been up close to 18hrs. So we head BACK up the hill. My legs are numb at this point and Im panting like im ready to die. We get up the hill, finish our sweep nada- Mohammed is nowhere to be found. We head back. We've all been up over 22 hrs at this point. Smoked, tired fucking exhausted. We get back...

We get back drop our shit and half of us don't even shower we crash. myself included. Nappy time. I shut my eyes. One hour and 33 minutes later I get woken up..Dreary and feeling hungover. That feeling you have when you're woken prematurely and your body feels sick due to lack of sleep? Ya that feeling. We get woken up and told mohammed has moved and is now doing bad things on ANOTHER hill about 8 klicks away but to our reprieve we can take our Trucks. We get em fired up- grab our gear and go. Ive now been up for over 24 hours. Not including my "Sleep"

So we ( my NCO and my Gunner) I'm driving- I know safe right? So I slam 3 redbulls pipe in some Slayer through the Internal headphones and off we go. We proceed to drive in circles for the next three and a half hours looking for Mohammed and his friends. No Joy. Now someone is probably thinking "Oh driving thats easy" Let me remind you Ive already been up 24 hrs, My legs and Hip flexors are absolutely destroyed and useless and I orally evacuated everything in my stomach to the side of the previous mountain. We finish our patrol and we head back. I was sucking bad but we got it done.

This happened SEVERAL times throughout the year.

The point I would like to make is this. I am not a competitive level Powerlifter. My numbers are Tate and Wendler's warmup. This is not a "Look at me I'm a Badass" postings. Quite the opposite. But I can personally attest that most of you that complain, worry or are afraid of (gag) CNS Burnout, I promise you have never experienced It. The scary part is that neither I or my guys are even in the 'Special Ops' branch of the Army. What I described is everyday shit. I promise you someone ( a lifer) is probably going through what I described right now. He's training in a shed of a gym and then he's going out and doing his Job- taking it to the bad guys.

So please, instead of worrying about 'burning out' worry about whether you gave enough during your training. Look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself "Did I give 100%".

Again feel free to use it brother, I just get absolutely tired of hearing about it and if my little tale puts CNS burnout in perspective then Ive done my job for today. Thanks for all you do Paul.


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  2. First off, to whomever wrote in, thank you for everything you do. You make it possible for us to complain about bullshit, non-existent "problems" (like CNS burnout) while we sip our soy milk decaf lattes (I think that's a real thing?) and watch Al Roker make unfunny jokes. Your service is appreciated more than a few words on a fitness blog can ever convey, and from the bottom of my heart, I thank you.
    Secondly, this is spot-on. I am not a pro by any far stretch of the imagination, and don't ever plan to compete. I am married with 2 kids (1 month and 2 yrs old). I work full time and am currently enrolled in college almost full time (12 credits). I don't even think it would be possible to push myself to something as extreme as CNS burnout, given the time I have left to work out after all those other things. I have to think that is probably the case with the majority of other people.
    Simply put - CNS burnout is another shitty byproduct of an industry filled with useless products being sold to people who simply don't know any better. 99.9% of people who are training should be thinking of ways to train more, not less.
    Again, thanks for everything you do, and for the great account that will hopefully add some perspective for others.

  3. I got CNS burnout just reading that.

    Seriously, thanks for all you do, man.

  4. I'm still pissed about the Cordon bleu.....

  5. Paul, you're a typical example of someone telling CNS burnout to fuck right off. Keep doing what you're doing.

  6. Paul could you write something up regarding the difference between CNS burnout and a poor routine that doesnt maximize recovery? (i hope that makes sense). For example, if you trained the squat,press,pulls with twice a week frequency as opposed to once a week like you have doing, would you get "CNS burned out" or poor recovery, and discuss the differences. I think twice a week training is trickier (obviously) than once a week training in regards to setting up appropriate volume and worksets;however, more of the recent scientific literature suggests naturals tend to benefit more from the increased frequency (increase in number of times protein synthesis levels are raised). I know 5/3/1 can be set as upper/lower for 2x/week frequency (and 5/3/1 is a solid routine), but i would really appreciate to hear your input on all of this and like I said, this could be a nice topic to cover in a post on the blog.(I have been reading your blog consistently for a while and i dont think I have seen a post regarding what I have been discussing).

    Anyways, I apologize for the verbiage above. I love reading just about everything you write here and being a humble, respectable man.

    Best Regards, Christian

    1. no, because CNS burnout isn't real. You want me to write about something that isn't real?

    2. I might have not worded myself correctly. I am also of the opinion (we'll say its just a fact) that CNS burnout isn't real, but poor recovery due to too many working sets/volume/frequency is certainly a real topic. Anything to guide those of us training 2x/week frequency would be helpful, and if you could your experience with higher frequency training if you have ever tried it out. Again, thanks.

    3. That would be what we call "overtraining".

      Basically overtraining is something that happens when the stimulus curve gets too deep for the recovery curve, and supercompensation doesn't happen.

      See how easy that was? LOL I wrote about it in LRB/365.

    4. Wow now i feel stupid haha buying LRB/365. thanks Paul!

  7. I think a lot of this CNS burnout crap is just people being unrealistic about their capacity for training, then obviously being unable to recover from it.

    Even if I adjusted the weights to suit my strength level and jumped right into the training Paul's doing right now it would affect me very differently to him because it's suited to him - strengths, weaknesses, overall work capacity, recovery ability, diet, etc etc. All those things that have taken weeks/months/years/decades to build up to.

    Same as when you first walk into a gym you're not gonna squat 405, if you're retarded with programming or try and include a million secret exercises or try and do strength, conditioning, power, hypertrophy and endurance all in one program....of course you're going to train yourself into the ground/get injured. That's not CNS burnout, that's the physical manifestation of being a moron.

  8. Yes - "over training" is basically the same as "under-recovering" but I prefer the latter, as I think it forces you into a smarter, more adaptive response.

    People who think "I've over-trained" tend, from what I have seen (think watching newbies to crossfit etc) to experience the boom then bust of performance (hammer yourself into the ground, get injured, then sit on your ass feeling sorry for yourself) more than people who focus on recovery as evidenced by consistency, or some sort of long-term progress in what they are doing. If you focus on recovery, you'll keep training, but hopefully in a smarter way.

    1. Great point on "under-recovering". Sleep is such a valuable tool in recovery, but one so often overlooked by many.

  9. Great post. Those guys go through hell over there. Brad W

  10. F'ng Monumental! Big Thanks to the writer and his buddies for their service and hell yeah to giving it all!!

  11. Major Respect for you and your company, sir.

    We all appreciate you guys living the big fight everyday! Your story is inspirational! Just to think, you put yourself through hell first and will continue to do so on a daily basis. But when it's time to serve, you'll be there in the front gunning after Mohammed. F**K CNS burnouts. F**k naysayers. Men like you remind us that we are never pushing hard enough.

    Thanks again!