Monday, April 8, 2013

Thoughts about life, crap, training, and stuff - The "Power Athlete"

I answer a handful of questions a week.  By a handful I mean between 150 and 200 generally.  But that comes with the hazard duty pay doesn't it?  I keep awaiting that check for it to come in the mail, and I'm promised that it is, but my girl promised me she'd love me forever and that shit didn't happen either.  I wonder if the two circumstances are related?

Anyway, in that cache of 150-200 questions weekly, my favorite one always comes from the "Power Athlete".

This title is not given in admiration or respect.  No sir, it is given with a negative connotation attached to it.

The "Power Athlete" is that guy you see at the gym that takes advantage of everything the gym has to offer.  He does Karate.  Does Boxing.  Pushes the sled.  Plays basketball with his buddies there.  He does kettle bell  work too, and then goes and rides his bicycle or you see him on the treadmill or jogging on the track.  You get my fucking drift here.

Oozes testosterone....

Let me give you an example of the kind of question I generally receive from the "Power Athlete".

Paul - 
Quick question for you.........

Ok before we go on, this is much like the phrase "I'm not trying to offend you".  You know what's about to be said is going to be fucking offensive.

In this case, I know ol boy is about to write out an e-mail the length of the Constitution.  In this example I will shorten it as to not bore you to death or get a "tl;dr" response from your internal internet ADD.

I do MMA 6 days a week then some boxing that crosses over three of those days.  I also play Rugby on the weekends and do some Crossfit with my buddy Bobby every now and then (I know, it's cheesy but I'm doing it to help him stay motivated to lose weight).  Anyway I was looking at your stuff and I wanted to know how I should schedule my routine so that I can get as strong as possible while maintaining my other activities?

Thanks --

Well Jimmah, let me start by saying you're a good friend for sacrificing your testicles in order to help fat Bobby stay on track.  I surely hope there are some hot women in yoga pants in that Crossfit place and you're just using Fat Bobby as an excuse to get back in there every week.

Anyway, let me answer your question, Jimmah.

Let's just get some of your bullshit out of the way right meow.

You have no interest in getting "as strong as possible".  If you had phrased your estrogen laden question with something along the lines of "I want to get stronger for my sport(s)" or just a plain ol "I want to get stronger" I could work with you.  I might could even work with good ol Fat Bobby, however I'd ask for cell phone sneak pics of "DAT ASS" from your Crossfit box.  Mandatory.

Mandatory.  What was I writing about again?

I could see the logic in that that kind of question.  "Hey look, I do all this shit.  I just want to get stronger."  

But most of the time, Jimmah the Power Athlete asks me how he can get as strong as possible whilst However anyone who wants to get "as strong as possible" is not a "Power Athlete".  They are a fucking STRENGTH athlete.  You know, a guy that trains to get fucking strong FIRST and foremost?  If you're riding the fence and getting splinters in your ass because your bench or squat aren't climbing, then you need to decide what you want to do with your training.  Because getting as strong as possible isn't going to come with "6 days a week of shenanigans not related to lifting" EVER.

You can get strong, and get in shape (though you need to define what that means to you).  That's not that difficult.  365 will do that over the course of  a year if you stick to it.

Now some assclown will complain that I'm not being fair to Jimmah because "he's really just asking the question you're being a dick about."

I get that.  I do.

But I am trying to get Jimmah to think.

Jimmah, do you REALLY need to fucking ask me how you can get as strong as possible, when you know, YOU KNOW, that you're not going to get much stronger if you don't cut out all the other bullshit?  We both know that answer, and you know it too, but the truth is getting really fucking brutally strong isn't a NEED in your paradigm.  You just wanna bench 3 wheels or some high school shit like that.

If only Jimmah would find some roids....

Some may take offense to this, however if I walked into a Kickboxing studio and told the head honcho that I wanted to become the most bad ass kick boxer ever, and followed that comment up with a question of "I can I do that while I play football for an arena league team, kayak 6 days a week, do tennis with the wife and smoke all night at the casino playing some blackjack?" he'd kick my nuts into my tonsils.

Getting stronger for a sport is a great idea, but you have to keep in mind that you're still basically just performing "GPP".  Lifting to supplement is a sport is nothing more than "extra work".  The sport is the meat and potatoes of what you're doing.  Don't try to be Kaz if your goal is to be Lance Armstrong.  For some reason I feel like that won't mix, even if the drug cocktails could be helpful on either side.

Mt advice to all you Power Athletes out there is this.  It's fine if you want to do 47 things "athletically"(Though I personally don't get that, everyone has to do what makes them happy) just remember something, in order to get stronger for a sport you don't need peaking programs like I write about.  You don't need a mass gaining "routine" to put on "some size so I can throw down harder in the PAINT!"  You can get by just fine on any routine that focuses on getting stronger with progression.  Trying to work in a peaking program while you do your 92 other sports isn't going to yield the kind of results that you see or hear about from guys that are actually STRENGTH ATHLETES.  You know, they are training for the sole purpose of getting stronger?  If you want to get as "strong as possible" then train like a strength athlete.  Not like a dude with exercise ADD.

I knew you'd get that.

Now get back out there with Fat Bobby and do some kipping.


  1. Haha after reading this I now realize I've fallen into this "power athlete" role the past couple of months. Trying to follow a full body SPPC lifting schedule and kickboxing/boxing/grappling/sparring every other day is definitely NOT a very productive way to progress. Although my energy/motivation level is high at 24 years old, I'm finding that my joints don't appreciate the constant bashing. I went full retard!!

    Thanks for the reminder man
    Young guys like me need it!

  2. Never go full retard! Jennifer Lawrence didn't go full retard and she won an Oscar.

  3. Haha! So true...

    Seriously, i cannot even tell you how many times I hear stupid shit like that. Some of my "buddies" ask me to do crossfit with them, and I say hell no. That is not the kind of strength I am after. "But you can still get strong in Crossfit and probably in shape too!" I did not say that I would get weak in crossfit, i said thats not the kind of strength Im after. I'm not all-to-keen on the idea of running a quarter of a mile then banging out deadlifts, then doing whatever is scheduled next. I'm chasing my own strength goals, dude. This same guy was also involved in some kind of bodyweight bootcamp hogwash. A power athlete like no other, plfft.

    But that's alright, i'll let them hop around like little bunnies doing this and doing that, while i continue to get stronger as I intended, with a purpose.

  4. Hey Paul, quick question man....

    Am I supposed to take protein before, during, or after squats? Should I do whey or soy? What about xplode 8000? Also, how can I maximize hypertrophy from a basic 5x5 routine? After all summer is coming up and you know, i wanna do curls for the girls.


    -Matthew Garay.


  5. Matt beat me to my attempt at comedy.

    Paul, I noticed going through you old posts that you seemed to be in a better mood in your replies....then I find out you get 200 questions a week....and I understand. But I hope the satisfaction you get from sincerely helping people overwhelm the amount of frustration you must have to endure to get to that point.

    Personally I don't follow anyone's programming to a T but I have incorporated your 350 method during a 6 week training cycle and loved it. I also made 100 rep sets a part of every workout and I like that even more. I think my arms are actually bigger than they were 2 months ago and I'm putting in less time and experiencing less pain. If I didn't read it here I wouldn't of even considered using that high of reps

    So thank you for those two gems and all the entertainment you provide in your writing style.

    On a side note....I'm actually impressed by cross fit people...I just don't wanna be one.

    Thanks again

    1. Anytime someone can get something from me that helps them, it's all worth it to me.

  6. Paul, are you going to do an article/post on those of us in the military trying to get "as strong as possible"? I know you've said that you've tossed the idea around a bit, and I would definitely be interested in reading that. Being a powerlifter while trying to improve my PT score isn't as easy as it seems. In particular, I get little time to train (i.e., weekends only for the next ten weeks). Quick suggestions?

    1. I did an article about military fitness a while back. I personally think that article is best suited for military style fitness.

    2. Paul, I went back and found the article. Being away from the internet for three months means I miss some stuff. Need to search better next time. Thanks for writing it.