Friday, May 30, 2014

Training mindset part 3 - Letting PR's come to you

"But man, I just wanna get laid." Brian told me.

I rolled my eyes and shook my head.

"Even if that's the case, your approach is all wrong." I said.

"How so?"

"Well, that puts you in the wrong mental state.  And women can tell when you're just trying to get into their pants."

Brian laughed.

"I don't think so.  Every time I'm out and start talking to a woman, the conversation ends up being about sex."

"And how's that been working for ya?"

"Well....not so good.  Like, they start talking about sex, and...."

"And within five minutes they jet.  Right?"

"Yeah." he said.  "But they always take the conversation there."

"I bet they don't.  I bet you do and you just don't know it.  You find a way to somehow make the conversation about sex don't you?"

Brian pondered for a bit and then realized what I was saying was indeed correct.

"Yeah, I suppose I do."

"Well, if you just met a girl and within a few minutes you're taking the conversation to sex, she knows what you're after.  And she's going to spurn you more than likely.  She doesn't know you.  She doesn't have comfort with you.  So here you are, some guy she just met in a bar, and within five minutes you're talking about sex.  How in the hell do you expect to get a woman with that approach?"

Brian shrugged.

"Let me ask you a question." I said.  "When you're going out, and you're thinking "I gotta get laid", put yourself in that mindset.  Think about going out with the purpose of trying to find a chick to sleep with.  Now, what does your approach to that feel like?"

Brian closed his eyes, and thought for a minute.

"Rushed.  Anxious...." Brian laughed.  "Desperate."

"Right.  So how do you think that kind of energy is going to manifest itself in how you interact with her?"

"Yeah, not good." he said.

"Now think about this.  Think about seeing the most beautiful woman you've seen in a long time, sitting at a table.  You decide to talk to her.  But your mindset is one of seducing her.  What does that feel like?"

Brian closed his eyes again, and thought.

"Relaxed.  Comfortable.  Like, getting to know her."

Brian opened his eyes and the look on his face said it all.

"Man" he said.  "I see what you're getting at.  Simply changing your mindset totally changes how you feel in your approach."

"That's right.  And how do you think she'll respond to your approach if it's encompassed by all the things you just described?"

"Probably really well, man." Brian said.  "I believe so."

Yes this was a real conversation.  I have no idea if Brian changed his approach to "getting laid" after that but the point was made.

Getting the things you want in life often have to do with your mindset and your approach in attaining them.  Whether that's seducing a woman, or getting a better deal haggling with the car salesman, or getting a raise at your job.

This same concept isn't lost in the realm of lifting weights.

If you are after certain goals then your mental approach to reaching those milestones is paramount.

The parallel between Brian trying to get laid and trying to seduce a woman do indeed have a distinct relation to training.

When his mindset was one of just trying to get laid, he felt rushed, anxious, desperate.

When his mindset was one of seducing a woman, he understood there was a clear process involved.  And it was made up of patience and "putting in the work" to make it happen.  He had to allow HER to come to him by giving her the things she needed.  There wouldn't be any instant gratification of simply walking up to a woman, throwing a few lines down and then expecting her panties to hit the floor.

But this is often how a lot of guys approach their training.....and women too.

They get a goal in mind, then spend a few workouts or just a few weeks of training, then start testing and testing and testing to hit a new max.

They switch routine after routine to see if there will be some magic involved that allows them to finally hit that coveted three plate bench or four plate squat.  Then it doesn't happen, and doesn't happen, and doesn't happen.....and doesn't happen.

Or maybe it does one time, but for the life of them they can't figure out why they can't replicate that ability each week.

I swear every gym has that bench guy that maxes out every single week, and year after year he comes in, and his max doesn't move.  But there he is, testing it every single week.  Sometimes he gets it, and sometimes he doesn't.  It's very hit or miss.  And he often complains of the fact that his bench has been stuck at X amount for Y long, and doesn't know why.

Then he comes in next week, and does the same shit.  And bitches the same way he bitched last week, and the week before that.  That his bench doesn't move.

Much like Brian trying to get laid, these guys find themselves getting caught up in the "chase".  They start chasing a number week in and week out, and then training stops becoming "training" and becomes testing.  Then "testing" becomes a very hit and miss ordeal.

Yeah you get laid sometimes, but more often than not she's turning her back on you or checking her phone five minutes later.

In the case of seduction, it's about letting her come to you when she's ready.  And hitting PR's is really no different.

There is a process behind getting to new levels, and that process involves patience and the understanding that training in a consistent and productive manner is what will "get you laid" on a more consistent basis, than simply walking up to the bar and asking..."you want some sex?"

Everytime I found myself losing sight of the process, I found myself stuck for long periods at a time.  I needed to hit certain numbers in order for my mind to believe that training was being productive.  But hitting a certain number isn't the only way to measure meaningful progress.  It can be in a myriad of ways like bar speed, volume, and even performing the lift with better technique.

Mainly, you have to put the work in, and let the numbers eventually come to you.  This has been the most effective way that I have found to hit PR's on a consistent basis.  In other words, stop worrying about the max single, and worry about the quantity and quality of work you are putting in on a consistent basis.  If you approach the bar week in and week out with THAT mindset, then the PR's will come rather easily.

If your mindset is one of chasing something, then you can lose the appreciation and understanding for the process involved in obtaining what you seek.  Come to terms with the fact that you're in the gym to TRAIN.  Not to test all the time.  Testing can be a measuring stick but it should only be used as a PART of determining if training is efficient and effective.  It shouldn't be the last word or the all encompassing factor in how you measure the quality of your training program.  

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Strength, Conditioning, and Nutrition seminar in Overland Park, KS

Mike Israetel, Alex Viada, and myself will be doing a seminar at I35 Crossfit in Overland Park, KS on July 26th and 27th.

We will be covering a multitude of topics for those two days and this is a can't miss weekend if you're interested in getting stronger, eating better, and learning how to get into bad ass condition.

Sign up here.....

Sunday, May 25, 2014

If you're fat and lose weight, you're probably gonna get fat again

So I came across this article this morning, and I found it quite interesting.

If you don't feel like reading it, here is the high level overview....

Basically multiple studies showed that only about 2 out of a 1000 people who lost enough weight to get down to what was considered a "healthy weight" (I'm taking some liberties here), actually kept it off.

At first, my bullshit meter wants to go off, and say there is no way that's correct. But then I sat and thought about it for a while. And I realized, that's probably more accurate than I wanted to initially admit.

Now, I'm sure there will be lots of people chime in to say "I was X amount, and now I'm Y amount and have been for so many years." That's fine. What the article is starting is that through studies they found that is exceptionally rare. That the GREAT MAJORITY of people who were obese, then lost weight, became obese or at least "got fat" again later.

With more thought, I came to the conclusion that well, that's probably correct.

Virtually all of the people that I know that lost a significant amount of weight, gained most of it back later. Not always all of it, but a good degree of it.

The initial parallel that entered my mind was the relapse rate of drug addicts.  So, I went and researched what that rate was.  

According this this........

The NIDA estimates that 40 to 60 percent of recovering addicts will backslide, meaning that relapse is not only possible but likely.


So if you're addicted to crack, you're more likely to stay clean than a fatty turned thin person is to stay thin.

Well, that's the initial thought.  However that's taking all of these studies at face value without applying real world context to the situation.  

So let's expound a bit, and get back to that later.

First off, there's sort of a willing level of ignorance by many of us that doesn't get applied to the physiological portion of why this epidemic exists.  And I don't use the word epidemic here haphazardly.  

According to the CDC roughly 35% of American's are currently obese.  That's more than one-third of the population.  

The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008 U.S. dollars; the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.

To put it in terms that might make this jump out at you more, if obesity were replaced with a zombie virus, that would mean every third person living on your block or street would be infected.  

So about, 106 million zombies nationwide.  Give or take a bite.  Pun works all sorts of ways here.  

The reason why I say there's a certain amount of being willfully ignorant by many of us (at times, myself included) is because we narrow down the cause of obesity to nothing more than a lack of discipline.  And at the heart of it, that indeed is how someone generally becomes obese.  But what keeps them obese, or causes them to become obese again after losing weight, is probably a little more than that.  

I don't think I'm reaching here when I write that food can most certainly be a drug.  At least for many it most certainly looks like a drug, insofar as how the body ends up reacting to it.  However food addiction is still a controversial topic in the dieting and health industry.  

What we do know is, certain foods like cheese, chocolate, shitty cuts of meat, etc tends to release dopamine, the feel good chemical in the body, in massive amounts.  This is what's known as the "reward system".  You eat shitty food, and the body releases massive amounts of dopamine to let you know "hey, I like this shit.  Feels good, man.  Eat more of it."  

Over time, just like any addiction, the body ends up lowering the amount of dopamine released by eating these foods, and the dopamine receptors down regulate to basically keep the body in balance.  So now, in order to get that same "feel good" reward system that you got before, you have to eat more junk food to make that happen.  

Now ol fatty-in-the-making has to eat more of what he or she craved before, in order to "feel better" than they once had to.  So instead of eating a small slice of cheese cake, now one needs two slices, or some ice cream to go with it as well.  And that's after a meal that's already laden with fat and sugar.  

And the cycle begins.  Just like with drug addiction.  

Over time, the brain actually becomes rewired to seek out these foods.  From this study.....

Dopamine (DA) regulates emotional and motivational behavior through the mesolimbic dopaminergic pathway. Changes in DA signaling in mesolimbic neurotransmission are widely believed to modify reward-related behaviors and are therefore closely associated with drug addiction. Recent evidence now suggests that as with drug addiction, obesity with compulsive eating behaviors involves reward circuitry of the brain, particularly the circuitry involving dopaminergic neural substrates. Increasing amounts of data from human imaging studies, together with genetic analysis, have demonstrated that obese people and drug addicts tend to show altered expression of DA D2 receptors in specific brain areas, and that similar brain areas are activated by food-related and drug-related cues.

There are lots of these studies that back this basic physiological response, yet we're still at a point where food addiction is still "controversial."  Mainly because, in my opinion, it wouldn't be very financially sound for the fast food industry, which is roughly a 200 billion dollar a year industry, to agree with such claims.

And we as American's, or people in general, would probably have trouble buying in anyway despite all the facts.  Once again, we just fall back on ol fatty not being disciplined enough without understanding it may indeed more complicated than that.

Since drug addicts relapse at a rate of about 40-60 percent, it might be hard for us to reconcile that it's more than a lack of discipline.  But upon further examination, the person suffering from crack addiction isn't being bombarded with commercials and advertisements to go smoke crack on a daily basis.  They don't have to drive by "legal crack houses" on every street corner.  They don't walk into a store, and see crack readily available on the shelves.  They don't have to go to a casual gathering at a house warming and watch everyone else "light up" and enjoy the festivities.  

My guess is, and it's just my guess, that if you replaced all the fast food chains with crack stores, and put crack in every Quick Trip and every grocery store, that the relapse rate would probably be much higher. 

On top of that, some people appear to be more wired for addiction than others.  I personally can start a diet, and eliminate junk, and never crave junk after a couple of weeks of "eating clean".  I quit smoking back in 2000 cold turkey, and never once did I ever crave a cig again.  While some people go through all sorts of measures to quit smoking and just can't ever seem to kick the habit.  On top of that, because of genetic factors and different body types, some people are more inclined to be on the plump side.     

Now I don't want to let fatties off the hook here either.  I don't want to start piling up "excuses" for them.  

You became obese more than likely, because of a lack of discipline and self awareness.  The 130 pound high school chick that is now 30 and pushing 300 pounds had to cross 150, 170, 190, 200, 225, 250, etc.  There were a lot of bad decisions made on the way to 3-hundo.  A 20 pound weight gain shouldn't have gone unnoticed, and have been met with "shit, I've gained 20 pounds in the last year, I need to get my shit together."  

But then it didn't happen, and another 20 got packed on.  Women often lie to themselves because "I can still fit into my size 8."  Well, that doesn't mean a whole lot.  Lots of women can gain 15-20 pounds and still essentially be in the same clothes they were before, but that doesn't mean you didn't get fatter.  

Men do the same shit.  

"I'm not much fatter." and then GROSSLY underestimate their bodyfat, without ever actually getting it taken.

Fact is, 15% doesn't look a ton different than 18% bodyfat, however once you cross over that 15% threshold you tend to acclimate fat gain at a far faster rate than before.  And then guys are on some forever bulk cycle and still think they looked like they did back at 15% when everyone else can see they resemble the Michelin Man more than they resemble the "muscular man" they were before.

People are awful at enabling their shitty habits.  Especially when said habits are ones that make them "feel good".  So they constantly ignore the consequences of said habits until the results from them are such that they can no longer be ignored.  

Then the process to get back down to what was once their "normal weight" is a painful process, and one that is often met with failure, and obviously later on, relapse.  

In my opinion there are a few reasons why that is....

First off, most obese people don't approach their problem like an addiction.  People that are addicted to hard drugs go to clinics, go to support groups, have sponsors that keep them accountable, etc.  Yet severely obese people do things like hire a trainer, or find an online diet, and then try to follow it without taking into account the psychological (extreme cravings) and physiological troubles that will accompany withdrawal.  These issues need to be addressed, and addresses in a similar manner as people with drug addiction.  It's not enough to "find a diet" or "do more exercise."  You have to be honest with yourself, and treat it LIKE an addiction.  

One common issue I see with obese people is that they gravitate towards diets that still allow the shitty foods in their diet that caused these problems in the first place.  Would it make sense for the crack addict to talk about "going clean" then talk about "well, I only smoke one rock once a week now.  Sometimes three times.  It all depends on if that crack fits my macros."  

It has to eliminated, and over time, the brain essentially has to be "rewired." (I know, that's not the best term here but work with me.) 

The second thing I have seen personally and up close, are people that have been obese most of their life get down to a weight they are "proud of" when in all actuality they still have a ways to go.  I've trained several women in the past that eventually became very complacent with the size they got down to, and became very resistant to make the more difficult changes they needed to make in order to get to an ideal size for their structure.  

And in every one of those instances, those women got fat again.  100% of the time.  

People lose weight, and feel proud of their weight loss, but then don't realize they still fit the mold of being obese.  

"Well, I've lost 100 pounds in the last two years."

That's awesome.  But you're still 200 pounds at 5'5".  You still have work to do.  

These people become content, don't make all the changes needed in order to continue making progress, keep allowing themselves to eat the food that got them obese, and eventually they are back on that downward spiral.  

The other issue I see now, is that we've become a society of fat enabling.  I can't tell you how many memes I've seen that talk about loving your fat body, or "real women have curves." and such shit as that.  

Love handles and muffin tops are not "curves".  Ok?  

There is an overwhelming push by the media and society now to make big beautiful.  Nevermind that being obese carries both a heavy financial burden on the healthcare system, and is associated with just about every major health issue we see today.  Yet here we are as a society, propping up being obese as something that shouldn't be frowned upon or looked down at.  

I'm sorry, but that's just idiotic.  

I'm not saying we should "fat shame", but for the love of God, we shouldn't be propping up obesity as something that is beautiful or to be considered natural.  It's neither.  It's the physical manifestation of unhealthy eating habits.  There's nothing beautiful about that.  The reason why muscular ripped bodies APPEAL to the great majority of people as being sexy is because of our evolutionary hard wiring that it represents a healthy mate.  

If you are an obese person, it behooves you to take measures to address every facet of the problem properly.  If you've been obese for the last 10 years, simply "finding a diet" is not wholly addressing the problem.  And thus why people with eating disorders or food addiction often fail in their efforts to "get clean."  Because the underlying issue is not being resolved.  And the cycle happens again and again and again.  This is why so many people do a fad diet, lose weight, then gain it all back.  Then they look for the next fad diet.  And it starts all over.  The root of the problem is never being addressed, and cementing proper lifestyle changes that will remain in place, aren't being laid down.

If you're obese, and have been for quite some time, you're going to need to do more than "eat less, and move more."  You're going to need to approach your issue from one that looks very much like drug addiction.  That means getting help in all the facets that will allow you to carve out a new lifestyle.  It may also mean that you have this battle throughout most of your life.  If you fit into the spectrum of people who have more highly addictive personalities and also are more inclined genetically to be fat, then you have to find a bigger approach than hiring a "diet coach." or "personal trainer."  Those can be important parts of what you need to do, but it's not the whole picture.  And you're not going to see the big picture until you rid yourself of denial about your issue, stop resting on your laurels, and decide to approach this with a complete change in lifestyle and mindset.  

As with any addiction, the first step is admitting you have one.  Until then, you'll just keep passing bigger numbers on the scale. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Memorial day sale

25% off all merchandise in the store (sans books) from now until Memorial Day.

Use the follow code to get the discount.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Training Mentality - Part 2 - Wants, needs, and desires

When you are discontent, you always want more, more, more. Your desire can never be satisfied. But when you practice contentment, you can say to yourself, 'Oh yes - I already have everything that I really need.' -- Dalai Lama

Depending on where you are in life, this saying from the Dalai Lama can be construed as either a positive thing, or a negative thing.

Contentment can be a very good thing in regards to life.  When you feel like you have enough money, don't desire a bigger home, or a better car, and feel perfectly comfortable with what your life looks like in that regard.  That indeed can be a very beautiful thing.

In fact, finding contentment in those areas is usually the goal of many.  Most of us want to make enough money to live a comfortable life, and ease the stress and strain that comes from financial woes or burdens.  It's why many people work jobs that they don't really love, but give them a life outside of work they can be happy with.  And for many, that's enough.

On the flip side of that, finding contentment can be a very bad thing in terms of training.

Contentment is the absolutely enemy of desire.

Contentment will snuff out desire and take away every ounce of your passion for a need in your life.  It will dilute all of your "needs" and turn them into "wants".

At first, you may not think that's a very big difference.  But make no mistake, the difference between a want and a need are monumental.

Wants are made up of dreams, hopes, and wishes.  They are often legless and fleeting in our thoughts.  They don't envelope us or manipulate our habits.  They are just things that "would be nice".

"I want that Viper."

"I want to take a vacation."

"I want a million dollars."

"I want to bench press 405."

It'd be nice to have all of those things, but they don't consume us and they don't drive us the way a need does.

Generally, a "want" is something we'd like to do, or like to have, but eh, it's just not gonna happen right now and really, there may not be any urgency associated with it.

"I want to pay my mortgage."

That statement probably signifies that said person doesn't have the money to do so, and has no way to make it happen.  "Maybe it will fall in my lap.  Or I will win the lottery this week."

There are no plans made, and because it's a "want" it's just a passing thought in their mind.

Needs on the other hand, are an entirely different animal.

Needs are made up of necessity, and desire.  Needs are something we are actually working towards, or are making choices about so that we see it come to fruition.

"I need to make a million dollars."

There's probably a reason behind that statement.  It has purpose.  Thus, there will be plans made, priorities changed, and there will be an enormous amount of drive and purpose associated with it.  In very plain terms, there is a REASON for the need.

Wants typically have no reasoning other than coveting.  But needs are encased in purposeful actions.  We may want that Viper, but ehhh, I can't really afford it right now, and what the hell am I really going to do with it anyway?

If one NEEDS a Viper, it probably means they have intentions of doing something with it after purchase.  Like taking it to the track, or using it to pick up hot babes.

With a want, complacency will often whisper in our ear why it's not a necessity.  That we're already good enough.  That we can rest on our laurels, and be perfectly happy with all of the things we've already accomplished.  And once again, depending on the context of that, it can be a very good thing.  But in the realm of trying to become a better lifter, it is literally your number one enemy.

A "want" will tell us to slow down, relax, don't push too hard and don't stress too much.

A "need" is driven by desire and passion, and it will consume us and drive us to see things out until they are accomplished, and yet also leave us wanting for more.

I've been caught in the "need" world before.  Sometimes you don't realize it until enough time passes by and you wake up one morning and realize that you haven't made any significant progress in a very long time.  You realize you've been on auto-pilot in the gym.  Simply going through the motions because of the habitual nature of it all.  No different than you end up in the grocery store a few times a week to grab the same shit you've been grabbing for years on end.

We become the lifting version of robots.  Showing up, doing the work we always do, checking out when we're done.  There's no REAL purpose.  There's no real desire to improve, and there's no real passion driving us any longer.

Deep down inside, we tell ourselves in a very small voice...."this is as good as I'm ever going to get."

And like's gone.

We still go to the gym, and we still put in the work, but it's not the same as it was 5, 10, 15 years ago.  All of the "need" has been emptied out of us, and complacency has replaced it with wants.  There's no self examination anymore.  We're not introspective about why things aren't getting better.  We shackle ourselves to the sisters of mediocrity and contentment and are just fine being their slave.

Breaking the chains is not hard.  It simply requires one to wake up realize there is so much more that CAN be accomplished.  It may require a dramatic change in training or diet, or a complete paradigm shift in everything you used to believe about training.  I know it did for me.  Once I came to terms with the fact all the things that got me to where I was could no longer take me to where I needed to be, I overhauled everything.  And that's how Base Building was born.  And once I saw progress again, it invigorated me in a way I had not felt in years.  And soon, PR's started falling like clockwork.

Was it Base Building that did it, or was it just the catalyst that set my passion back in motion?

It's hard to say.  What I do know is, it stomped out all of my wants, and all of my NEEDS returned waving a Claymore and screaming a war cry that sounded a lot like..."fuck complacency!"

All of us will go through this at some point in our training life, if we stay with it long enough.  You'll wake up one day and realize you just haven't gotten any better in a long time.  And at that crossroads, you'll accept that the things you used to need are no longer that important, or you'll dick punch yourself for letting that mentality creep in for so long, and climb back on that horse and start riding again.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Breaking in high frequency training

The founding fathers of lifting are at the forefront of internet debate and discussion on a routine basis.

The founding fathers being volume, frequency, intensity, rep range, and recovery.

I have very particular thoughts and opinions in regards to each for myself, and for the majority of lifters.  However there are always guys that gravitate towards certain ideologies that run counter to my own beliefs, and make it work for them.

This isn't to say I'm wrong, and they are right, or vice versa.  As I wrote on the LRB Facebook page a little while back, people tend to gravitate towards a training methodology that "speaks" to them as a lifter.  Because it resonates with them as a lifter, they tend to make it work and work well.

The best methodology will always be the one you buy into, and adhere to with a passion.

One principle that gets debated often is the case for high frequency training.  That is, in powerlifting, training the big three multiple times a week.

For myself, I have found sort of a middle ground in this regard.  It's more or less represented in The Zenith routine in Base Building.

I squat twice one week, then once the next week.

I press twice one week, and then once the next week.

Some weeks I do assistance work twice that week, and then other weeks not at all.

I have found a balance in all of this that works for me, and keeps me progressing.

Lots of guys gravitate towards doing the big 3 three, four, and even five times a week.  I personally would not train that way.  For a myriad of reasons.

For one, it gets monotonous to me.  Doing the same movements over and over again with nothing in the way of variety makes me stale on training very quickly.  Not that I have a lot of variety in terms of movements I do use, but they do get a rotation and that keeps my mind and joints fresh.

Second, after more than two decades of training my elbows can't press three times a week.  If you want to watch your numbers plummet then train with achy joints or overuse injuries, and you'll be moving a lot less weight than if you feel "good" in that regard.

With that said, training the movements more often does have an enormous amount of benefits.

You get more "practice" with the movements, and sharpen the motor cortex to a greater degree, increasing efficiency in that regard.  And increased efficiency will translate over into better lifts, i.e. bigger lifts, over time.

Of course, this only works if you adhere to the sliding scale of intensity and volume, and adjust those two factors accordingly.  That means, you need to make sure you're training in an intensity zone (70-85%) that can be worked in without overreaching/under-recovering, and apply the optimal amount of volume within that intensity range while ALSO taking frequency into account.

So there are benefits to training the lifts more frequently.  I mean that goes without saying (so why am I saying it?).

However the issue for most guys that want to transition from training the big 3 from once a week, to multiple times a week, is that they don't "break in" higher frequency in a proper way.

When a lot of guys decide to make the choice to go from a traditional split of hitting the big lifts once a week, to multiple times a week, they tend to make the change immediately.  Then they wonder why after a few weeks, that they are beat to shit, and their lifts are in the shitter.

Like most things in life, a big change can fuck with your life.  Where small changes tend to be easier to deal with, and implement.

So if you are training the bench, squat, and deadlift once a week, it's not a good idea to show up on Monday and start a week of squatting three times a week, benching three times a week, and pulling twice a week.  It's better to make small changes to your CURRENT routine, and then over time massage it so that it becomes a high frequency routine.

This might take six months or longer.  That's ok.  Because it will give you time to acclimate to the changes imposed on your body, and you have more time to make proper adjustments to volume and intensity, to find the most efficient zones for those principles.

For a guy that is using a traditional, or standard routine of squat, bench, deadlift once a week, he'd be wise to do nothing more than add in a light squat day some other time during the week.

For example...

Day 1 - Squat
Day 2 - Bench
Day 3 - Deadlift
Day 4- Light Squat / 50% of what was used on Day 1, for 3 sets of 5

This kind of small change shouldn't impact recovery at all, and can be seamless in regards to the routine.

After a few weeks of this, throwing in a light bench day could be added.

Day 1 - Squat
Day 2 - Bench
Day 3 - Deadlift
Day 4 - Light Bench / 60% of what was used on Day 2 for 3 sets of 8
Day 5 - Light Squat

Again, this is nothing of significant impact in regards to recovery and shouldn't cause any issues.

After a month and a half of this, you could simply up the intensity on the "light" days, giving you a bit more of a meaningful workload for the week.

Day 1 - Squat
Day 2 - Bench
Day 3 - Deadlift
Day 4 - Light Bench / 70% of what was used on Day 2 for 3 sets of 8
Day 5 - Light Squat / 60% of what was used on Day 1, for 3 sets of 5

Once again, we're easing in to things, so that the body has time to adjust to a slightly higher workload for the week.  This still shouldn't be terribly taxing, and someone could use this day as more of a "speed" day as the intensities have risen within a proper range for that.

After a few months of this, the lifter could make a few new small changes and once again, give it a few months to acclimate.

They could simple combine some movements, or once again just up the intensity on the "light" days.

For example....

Day 1 - Squat
Day 2 - Bench
Day 3 - Light Squat Day/Deadlift
Day 4 - Light Bench / 70% of what was used on Day 2 for 3 sets of 8
Day 5 - Light Squat / 60% of what was used on Day 1, for 3 sets of 5

Now there are two "light" squat days over that same period of time.  Bringing up squatting frequency from twice a week, to three times a week.

The other option is to just up the intensity AND volume slightly on the existing "light" days.

Day 1 - Squat
Day 2 - Bench
Day 3 - Deadlift
Day 4 - Light Bench / 70% of what was used on Day 2 for 5 sets of 8
Day 5 - Light Squat / 70% of what was used on Day 1, for 5 sets of 5

Again, we're making small changes over time to allow for acclimation, so that overuse and fatigue management are kept in check.

This could continue on for quite some time as small changes are made.  Within a year or so, the lifter could be squatting three or four times a week, benching three times a week, and pulling once or twice a week.  Once again, making sure to keep the sliding scale of intensity and volume in check as these changes are implemented.

If you want to venture into higher frequency training from a more traditional "once a week" type of split, this is what I would recommend to do so.  It will give you time to adjust to more training, and allow you manage all of the principles involved in lifting, in accordance to how you feel as you institute each change.

Don't try to overhaul everything all at once.  That's the best way to end up being "that guy" that writes "I tried this for me and it just fucked me up."

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Q&A With Dr. Israetel of Renaissance Periodization

Today, Dr. Israetel and myself cover a myriad of topics including cheat meals, carb backloading, bulking, training for mass, shit that pisses him off, and his upcoming bodybuilding show.  

So without further ado.....

Paul Carter - Mike, the cheat meal has become such a big part of dieting now.  But I've found in the past that I often made more progress in terms of fat loss the longer I went without a cheat.  I get that when you get into single digits and have been dieting for a long time that a refeed has some significant benefits.  But don't you think that the cheat meal has become somewhat abused?  I see people now trying to justify 2 and 3 cheat meals a week because it "fits my macros".   If someone has a long ways to go in terms of fat loss, shouldn't cheat meals be few and far between?

Mike Israetel - Paul, that is a very interesting question. Lots of thoughts on this.
Here's the deal with cheat meals. There are two distinct POSSIBLE uses for them:
1.) Physiological assistance
2.) Psychological assistance
1.) Physiological assistance: hypothetically, cheat meals might be able to do several things physiologically:
a.) Upregulate the metabolism to keep it higher and allow more fat burning to occur later
b.) Re-stock glycogen stores and allow for fatigue reduction and future harder training
There is very good evidence that (b) occurs, but not nearly as much as (a). And both occur from added carbohydrate, not protein and fat. In fact, there is good reason to think that it takes days if not weeks of elevated eating to meaningfully upregulate the metabolic rate or fat loss proclivity, and not much reason to think one cheat meal can do this.
Thus, our tentative conclusion for cheating from a physiological perspective is to keep the cheating higher carb than anything else, and perhaps not include cheat meals so much as periods of diet re-sensitization that take 1-2 weeks (basically, you stop trying to lose weight for 1-2 weeks, then get back to work after that)
2.) Psychological assistance: hypothetically, cheat meals might be able to do several things psychologically:
a.) Reduce the tenacity, boredom, stress, and confinement of dieting by including non-traditional foods
b.) Provide motivation in a long term diet (I only have to make it to this Saturday and then I get my cheat meal...)
As to the effect of both, I'll say that in my experience, it REALLY depends on the individual. Some people LOVE cheat meals, and they really do de-stress them and help with motivation. These people come back after a cheat and hit the diet harder than ever, get another week or two worth of gnarly results, and then are ready to cheat again.
Another group of people have the opposite reaction. A cheat meal throws them off their routine. It's delicious during, but causes them to bloat up. The next day, their cravings are WILD, and they can't stop thinking about cheating again. Some people even get guilt DURING the meal... knowing that every single bite is one step closer to the beginning of the next phase of suffering.
MOST people tend to be a bit more in the second group, so I actually recommend that as a diet gets closer to the end (perhaps the last month or so), cheating should be replaced with just MORE BODYBUILDING FOOD. This food is not that delicious, fills you up, doesn't cause bloating or crazy cravings, and more of it (the carbs, per say) helps you increase glycogen and drop fatigue for better training ahead.

PHEW! Let me know what you think. 

Paul Carter - That's great.  So let's delve into carb backloading.  I know you're aware of it.  What's your thoughts on carb back loading?  The good at the bad.  

Mike Israetel -  Oh boy. Alright, the good first:
1.) Eating most of your carbs after your workout is prob a good idea. It leads to more anabolism and more glycogen repletion than eating them at most other times through the day.
2.) Focusing on more glycemic carbs post-workout is probably also a good idea, as it helps to spike insulin and accomplish the above point slightly more effectively.
The bad:
1.) Eating fats in your post-workout carbs LOWERS their glycemic index, which counteracts eating the delicious "fun" glycemic carbs outright. It also delays digestion massively, which keeps those nutrients you just ate from entering into the bloodstream nearly as rapidly and prevents them from having beneficial effects on the muscles trained during the post-workout window of sensitivity.
2.) Not eating carbs before/during your workout will have a negative effect on your energy levels during training and thus the benefits of your workout.
3.) In some renditions of carb backloading, John Kiefer has advocated that for morning workouts, eating less carbs though the afternoon is still a good idea, and most carbs should still be saved for the evening. This misses the workout window entirely and makes close to no sense. There is NO CONVINCING LITERATURE on circadian eating patterns with respect to body composition... eating carbs in the evening is NOT magic and will likely accomplish nothing special UNLESS you just trained! There is a workout window, not a magic time to eat carbs just cause it's 7pm or something.

Paul Carter - So fundamentally, it's flawed because the idea isn't always based around the workout window entirely, but the time of day.

Mike Israetel - Absolutely. And there just isn't the evidence to say any one time is better.

Paul Carter - Let's move on to some other shit.  Mike, there seems to be an inordinate amount of studies going on now in regards to exercise science.  I'm not a big fan, honestly.  I'm not saying some of then aren't interesting or helpful at all, but I just feel like too many people put too much stock in a study without real life application to it.  In other words, what we see in studies sometimes isn't always what we see in real life.  Not only that, but they often get interpreted incorrectly at times, and then misinformation gets spread around.  How do you feel about all of this?

Mike Israetel - I love this kind of stuff. Ok here we go. Studies are ALWAYS limited in their applicability. There are several distinct limitations that must always be considered when looking at study and trying to apply it to real world training and eating. I’m actually going to be going more into detail in an article Trevor Kashey and I are co-authoring.  Here are some of the most important delineating factors to consider:
1.) Internal Validity
The internal validity of a study is mostly a question of the controls imposed on the variables. That is, is the study designed and controlled well enough so that the conclusions proposed can actually be justified? For example, some high rep training studies do not equate for volume. One group did 3x10, the other group did 3x20 and grew more muscle, so the researchers conclude that the higher reps are the cause. Problem is, the 3x20 group did more work... And we've known higher workloads cause greater growth for DECADES. So what does the study actually conclude? We can't be sure until we at least equate the volumes.
So before any study is to be transferred into application, it needs to be screened for internal validity... And some published studies do NOT make the cut.
2.) ONE study means ALMOST nothing (error).
Once a study is deemed internally valid, its conclusions have a higher chance of being correct. However, most statistical tests have error rates of at least 5%, and for a host of other statistical reasons, JUST ONE study is a SUGGESTION for further RESEARCH, not application (just yet). When a new particle is discovered in physics, guess what their next step is? That's right, they conduct more studies. One study is only a suggestion for a direction of future research, not an end-all source of knowledge to take to the squat rack right away. The sum of ALL studies on a subject, if there are 10 or more, and now we have something to work with in application. So any one study... GIANT grain of salt.
3.) Population 
So now we have 25 well controlled studies on rep ranges and growth, let's say. But who are they on? Almost ALL studies in exercise science are on undergrads who either don't train or barely train. That means if you want meaningful results on training info, you'll have to dig deeper and find the studies on people who have been training for while! Brad Schoenfeld and others put them out all the time, but that means you have to find them. It's a very bad idea to assume you will respond to training like a newbie would... There are dozens of reasons this is not the case.
4.) Ecological Validity
Ok, so we have all the well-controlled studies on squatting reps and growth that have been done on trained individuals (not beginners). Another question is: do the studies have good ecological validity? That is, did they take bodybuilders and change their leg workouts and nothing else, or. Did they have them only train legs for 8 weeks? If it’s the latter, then the conclusions are suspect, as recovery is much helped if you only train one bodypart, and NO ONE DOES THIS IN THE REAL WORLD. It's like a mini smolov- can work great if you do nothing but squat, total disaster if you do anything else. So the best studies are the ones in which conditions close to real life are replicated.
5.) Attention to all variables
Lastly (for this quick chat, not for the subject as a whole), all the measured variables of a study must be considered if we want to know the whole story. I have good data that shows lean body mass has a minimal effect on strength in volleyball players. Problem is, the taller players have the biggest LBMs and the worst leverages for strength output. Once we ratio LBM to height, the prediction on strength is phenomenal... so if we have concluded that muscle mass does not make you much stronger... we ignored some very important variables.
A perfect example of this is Brad Schoenfeld's recent study on this very topic. You could draw any number of conclusions from his study, all of which are correct:
A.) You can grow the same from low or high reps, so long as volume is equated.
B.) Low rep, high weight, moderate volume training beats the crap out of you.
C.) High rep, moderate weight training is just as effective in growing muscle but is FAR MORE time efficient and less fatiguing too.
If you leave out part of the story, you can generate the wrong conclusion and say that low rep high weight, moderate volume training should be done by bodybuilders, but you'll really just leave a ton of hurt or overreached people in your wake. The correct conclusion, which is brilliant and can ONLY BE DRAWN LOOKING AT THE BIG PICTURE is that volume IS the single biggest determinant of growth (past a minimum intensity), but that sustainable and efficient hypertrophy training should probably be done with moderate loads and higher reps, not super heavy loads, low reps and tons of sets. And no surprise... bodybuilders (most, anyway) and weightlifters and powerlifters have suspected this for decades.
Thus, even when you have a good study (internally valid), there is much work left to do in interpretation before we should all alter our training plans.

Paul Carter - And I think the study you mention there is the one that drove me nuts.  One group did 3x10 and the other did 7x3, and hypertrophy results were the same.  And this is where misinformation gets spread.  Someone will inevitably conclude from that study, that low reps build muscle just as efficiently as high reps.  But that's simply flat out not the case.  The group that did 3 sets of 10 were done in 17 minutes, and wanted to do more.  The group that did 7 sets of 3, it took them 70 minutes to finish, and were exhausted after.  So the fact is, it's not the same.  If someone told you that you could graduate in a quarter of the time, with the same education, and the same amount of knowledge, would you think that's more efficient?  It's like people use these studies to say "A and B both got you to C", then leave out the fact that the destination wasn't the only factor.  Efficiency in training is of SUPREME importance.

Mike Israetel - Paul some people just wanna go heavy all the time and are the ones commenting on videos of sets of 5+ with 'lol cardio.' Those people will take anything out of context so they can keep doing high school-style lifting by going heavy all the time. 

Paul Carter - That leads into another discussion.  What's with so many guys now not understanding the value of rep training?  I see so many guys now that won't venture outside of the 3 rep range.  Why do you think there is such a gap right now in how most powerlifters train, in comparison to how powerlifters trained years and years ago, when most of them did a ton of bodybuilding style work?

Mike Israetel - Hmmm. You know I think it's two things. 
1.) A remnant of equipped lifting. Since a lot of guys used to train in gear or take advice from those who did, they still train more like geared lifters, which usually means lower rep.
2.) Guys just want to go heavy all the time... That temptation seems constant across the years.

Paul Carter - So lay me out how you'd have a guy train in the offseason to obtain as much lean mass as possible.

Mike Israetel
For powerlifting, I'd make sure to do a couple of things:
1.) Train each muscle group about 2x per week.
2.) Stick with sets of 5-10 for most movements... the average being about sets of 8.
3.) Make sure to move up in sets over the course of each mesocycle, so you start out doing set numbers you can easily recover from, and then each week you add some sets. This means you might start out the month doing 3x8 in the squat, and finish the month doing 5x8.
4.) The exercises need to be derivatives of the powerlifts like close grip benches, shoulder presses, dumbbell work, front squats, stiff legged deadlifts, and so on.
So you get to high training volumes with multiple moderate-heavy sets (of 8 reps or so), and you eat a hypercaloric diet, and viola, you get bigger!

Paul Carter - So Mike, even for powerlifting, guys are going to need to incorporate more than just the big three in order to get complete development right?  I mean Dan Green talked about when he needed to bring his quads up, he went to hacks and front squats.  The squat itself did not bring his quads up to where they needed to be.  He did need to grab some "bodybuilding" in order to help the squat.  I don't think the big three are enough to offer complete development for the competitive powerlifter.  Would you agree?
Mike Israetel - I think the big three will take you very far, but they will fall short of providing you with COMPLETE development. Assistance exercises allow for two benefits:
1.) Focus on a specific muscle or muscles
2.) Variation
1.) By allowing more focus on a specific muscle, assistance moves can allow you to fill the gap in a lift or address a weak point. For example, squatting definitely grows and strengthens the quads, but the quads can take a lot more volume (and benefit from it) than your lower back and knees can handle from heavy squats. Thus, it pays to leg press, front squat, and hack squat at certain times to really focus maximally on the quads, while allowing you to still keep your lower back and other more fragile structures intact. Same goes for dumbbell work and flyes for the bench, hamstring work for deadlifts, and so on down the line.

2.) Variation is important in training because if you do the exact same moves all the time, progress on them can slow and even stall completely. When doing only the big 3 lifts, your motor units are firing in the same way each time, the same areas of joints and muscles are getting stressed each time, and so on. After a while (months), the stimulus from these moves is so similar, that progress is just very unlikely. So, to get some growth and strength, it's good to move away from these basics by replacing them with other moves for the same muscle groups. This allows great progress in growth and strength right at that time, and allows the main moves to "refresh" and give you more gains later when you re-introduce them. Because the offseason is a perfect time to get away from the main lifts AND attempt to grow muscle, bodybuilding-type moves are a great choice to incorporate here.

Paul Carter - And that comes back to another question.  How much "bigger" should one aim to get in the offseason?  I've made this point for a while and John Meadows made it a while back.  In terms of bodyfat, what's the upper limit of where a guy should be in the offseason when he's trying to pack on more mass?  I see lots of guys that are in forever bulk mode and they just get fatter and fatter.  So what's the baseline there?

Mike Israetel - 10-15% is my sort of average figure
if you're below 10%, you either maintain or mass
if you're about 15% you either maintain or cut
for powerlifters, massing above 15% and cutting below 10% is pretty stupid as one costs muscle and the other costs formula.

Paul Carter - Well not only that, but once someone breaches 15% or so, the body tends to accumulate fat at a much faster rate.  Correct?

Mike Israetel - That seems to be the case, yes, so you start just getting much fatter and chasing a very diminishing return on muscle size and thus strength.

Paul Carter - And eventually when you take the fat off, it takes longer, and the longer it takes, generally speaking, the more lean tissue there will be lost in the process.

Mike Israetel - Indeed, and time is only one of the factors. Any time you have MORE fat to lose, you risk muscle loss more. So there is a good middle ground there… trying to stay super lean all the time, and you stagnate. Swing in bodyweight wildly, and you stagnate. Planned moderate masses, maintenance phases and cuts, and you get slow and steady muscle growth.

Paul Carter - I think so too.  I know a few guys that try to stay super lean all the time, and sure enough their lifts have been stagnant for a long period of time.

Mike Israetel - Yep.

Paul Carter - Which leads us into my next point.  We talked about this before, but one thing I've noticed is that most of the guys in powerlifting who are at the very top level, I mean 5% type guys, carry a LOT of muscle mass and are relatively lean.  That can't be a coincidence.

Mike Israetel - It's really VERY simple and I think some people get carried away with a lot of other stuff and tend to forget this.
1.) Muscle produces force. More muscle is almost always a good thing, so long as your leverages are not negatively affected on the net balance.
2.) Fat needs to be lifted yet does not produce force. Less fat is almost always a good thing, so long as the dieting to get there does not hurt your ability to train for strength or keep your muscle size on the net balance.
THUS, the best lifters in every class (save perhaps the supers) will gravitate towards being 10% or lower in bodyfat and be as heavy (and thus muscular) as they can for their class.
SO, if you're a 220 with a spare tire and you're trying to "Chase Jay Nera” or “chase Dan Green," your first realization must be that they might literally have 20lbs MORE MUSCLE than you and 20lbs less fat!  They have that much more muscle with which to produce force, and that much less useless fat to lift along with the bar. If you think you'll catch up with guys like that by playing with your foot position in the sumo dead or getting your low bar setup just right, you've got another thing coming.  One of your BIGGEST priorities as a powerlifter must be to add muscle and cut fat over the long term.  If you just want to eat and lift weights and not have to worry about appearance, that's cool. But don't worry about being as good as you can be, either.

Paul Carter - Jay Nera told me "look strong, and be stronger than you look."  That's basically my mentality as well.  Your training and diet should produce a "form" that is fitting with someone that is strong.  The issue is, "strong" gets determined by a single rep in powerlifting.  So you have guys still doing low reps all off season and not venturing into that "muscle building" zone in that time.  

Ok so let's give you some room to vent.  What is going on in the dieting and fitness industry that is most upsetting to you right now?

Mike Israetel - Yep. Gotta look at the big picture in powerlifting periodization. Build muscle, get stronger, peak for a meet, repeat.  Seems like some guys just do the last phase all the time, and they are seriously missing out.

As for the venting... you know, Paul, I'm at the end of a contest diet right now, and to be honest there is not a lot of stuff that DOESN'T piss me off.

Paul Carter - Go on....

Mike Israetel - Ugh let's see, how controversial can we get?

Paul Carter
Well it is me.......

Mike Israetel - Hahaha ok let's do some training irks...

Mike Israetel - 
1.) Pause squats. I think they have their place but are highly overrated. They are not loaded high enough to causes as much strength increase as they could if not paused. I think they allow you to still keep squatting after you're too beat up to hit bottom fast... and that's about their advantage, other than just variation.

I think the "pause" part does pretty close to jack shit for raw PLing, as you had better not pause at the bottom of your actual squat.

2.) Low reps with short breaks in between. People do sets of 3 with 1 min rest in between. I'm not sure why. You could get more volume training with higher reps and it would be more sustainable. If you're doing sets of 3 then you're training for strength... so why keep the weight so light by not resting enough?

3.) Taking the entire week before a powerlifting meet OFF. Tapering with lower volume/intensities has been consistently shown to work better than total rest.
Go in on the Tuesday/Wednesday before the meet and do sets of 3-5 (just a couple sets) with 135lbs on each main lift. This will actually recover fatigue better, keep you more limber, and have you performing better on Saturday.
If you accumulate fatigue doing 20% of your max for a couple sets of 3-5, you're so jacked up it will take you months to recover anyway.

Paul Carter - hahahahahaha

Mike Israetel - If I take a week OFF of the main lifts, I don't even know what a squat looks like anymore.  My technique is all off, and Paul, you've got guys coming to meets and this happens to them all the time! They looked great all month, then they are wobbly on meet day... duh, you haven't practiced the moves in like forever!

Paul Carter - What you're talking about is keeping the motor cortex fresh, for a lack of a better term.  Essentially it's not about the weight, it's about movement pattern.

Mike Israetel - That's right and that counts big time with limit weights, you better not move that bar a smidge out of the right track, cause that's a lost lift right there.

Paul Carter - But you still need a longer period of rest before a meet because you've just spent 6, 8, 10, etc weeks overreaching.  For supercompensation to kick in there has to be an upward recovery curve to be allowed at some point near the end.  So a guy shouldn't be taking his heaviest deadlift 7 days out either.

Mike Israetel - Abosolutely.
VOLUME must be dropped, starting 3-4 weeks out and intensity should be dropped (weight on bar) 2-3 weeks out for REALLY JACKED PEOPLE, deadlifts can be heaviest 3 weeks out, squats 2 weeks out, benches 1.5 weeks out

Paul Carter = You're implying to overreach early and then essentially start a deload process 2-3 weeks out?

Mike Israetel - Yep, tapering is the precise term.  For most people, DL, SQ and BP would be heaviest 2, 1.5 and 1 week out

Paul Carter - And then come in 3-4 days out from the meet, and do a very light workout for the big three.

Mike Israetel - Yep
I program some more advanced tapers, but that's the gist of it:
1.) 2-3 weeks out: Heavy weight and LOTS OF SETS to get super beat up
2.) 1-2 weeks out: Super heavy weight but VERY FEW SETS
3.) 0-1 weeks out: super light weight AND very few sets (with low reps for that whole period by the way)
That's the general outline for your average 198er. Those times dilate with increasing strength and contract with decreasing strength, thus a female 97er could do a whole overreach and taper all within 2 weeks while a SHW totalling 2000lbs raw prob needs to start his overreaching phase 4 weeks out.

Paul Carter - Well that's because the recovery rate for a stronger athlete tends to be on a much longer curve.  Some dude squatting 405 doesn't need the same recovery curve that a dude squatting 700 needs.

Mike Israetel - That's right but I always talk to guys at meets that squat 365 and pulled heavy squats out 3 weeks ago like Andrey Malanichev.

Remember paul, the way to be great is to simply copy what the great do. That's it... no thought required.
I had a guy ask me exactly what time I take a supplement during the day. I told him that scientifically it didn't matter. He said he still wanted to know, cause he wanted to be as jacked as me.
Let that roll around in your head for a while, Paul.

Paul Carter - I had a guy ask me the other night what exercises he should do to eliminate his belly fat.  I thought I was being trolled. I win.

Mike Israetel - Hahahah. You know if you're in this sport and field for long enough, you tend to forget that new people enter all the time, with the same misconceptions you used to have. And you think the sport is evolving, but that happens very slowly, and new people without even a basic understanding come through all the time.

Paul Carter - Which is why we so often have to repeat the basics so much.  I wish I knew how many times I read the same shit I espouse now as being "very productive" that I thought was far too simple a decade ago.

Mike Israetel - Oh, for sure.

Paul Carter - Ok before me move on, you're wrong about pause squats, but that's ok.  You can't be right about everything.  You didn't get into what upsets you in the diet industry right now.  What concepts really get under your skin?

Mike Israetel - Lol, can't win em all.
Hmmm let's see. Care for another bacon chat?

Actually, I'll give you a short rant on EXACTLY what pisses me off about diet (more so) and training (somewhat)
It's an attitude that some people have. The best way I can explain that attitude is "duh." There is a group of people that really get into fads, to the point where they seem CONVINCED that this fad is the only way to do things, or is 100% correct. And OBVIOUSLY it's true, so anyone that does not practice it is either wrong, stupid, or both. DUH. Perfect example, DUH, EVERYONE KNOWS that saturated fat is actually good for you and its negative effects are a myth. I mean, you'd have to be living under a rock or something to not have gotten the memo that Bacon and whole eggs (farm fresh, of course, we want to include the naturalistic fallacy) are amazing health foods. /sarcasm

And these people that say this crap (or repeat it, rather) have close to no understanding of the issues. So when I reply with THIS ONE LINK:

....nobody ever has ANYTHING to say

Paul Carter - You mean that bacon is a total shit food?  Who knew?

Mike Israetel - Yes. And I'll say this... before you claim that it's obvious that saturated fats are good for you, perhaps you should have noticed that out of 11 total lit reviews on the ENTIRE SUBJECT, 9 found that they are indeed bad.

Paul Carter - Bacon, Mike.  Bacon.

Mike Israetel - Saturated fat.
Butt wink (remember that one)
Mobility work
Concurrent training (cardio and weights)
Bench and lats

Paul Carter - I'm literally laughing out loud right now.


Paul Carter - Someone made a comment a while back that I ruminated on for a while.  And they wrote "if your diet has a name in front of it, it probably sucks."  I couldn't find a lot of fault with that.

Mike Israetel - I'll tell you this.... If  Shelby Starnes, John Meadows, Brad Schoenfeld, Trevor Kashey, Alex Viada and others answer "I'm not sure" or "it depends" or "we've still yet to find out." Maybe you can take your 165lb beard-having hipster self and try to make fewer "duh" definitive statements.

Paul Carter
That is going on?

Mike Israetel - LOL
And it's not the opinions that kill me… the opinions are FINE!!! It's the life and death certainty of fads

Paul Carter - Explain.

Mike Israetel - I mean that people will pick a fad they like, read articles about it by people they really like, and the fad fits the lifestyle they really like (eating bacon all the time, for example), and they will defend to the death this fad that they have not the slightest scientific or practical info about.

Paul Carter - Sort of like how people live a certain social lifestyle then pick parts out of the Bible to support that social construct, rather than the other way around.

Mike Israetel - Hahah, for sure. People just wanna do what they like and some people have trouble with accepting tradeoffs.
"I like eating fast food, but I know it's not very healthy, so I do it as often as I’m comfortable with." 
That's OK to say!!!  Just know the tradeoff.  Not everything you do has to fit ONE purpose.

Paul Carter - If you search long enough and hard enough, you'll find affirmation in your beliefs.

Mike Israetel - Indeed. And be deluded about the real state of things.

Paul Carter - So let's plug you a bit.  You have a bodybuilding show coming up.  When and where is it?

Mike Israetel - I don't wanna talk about it. I'm joking. 
NPC Muscle Mayhem in Overland Park, KS.  June 7th.  I'm looking to come in either at the top of the HW class or in the low supers right around 220-230lbs, depending on how water and carb manipulation works out.

Mike's wheels he uses to walk the walk, and not just cite studies.

Paul Carter - For those that don't follow bodybuilding, the HW class is over 198, and super heavy is 225 and above.

Mike Israetel - Yeah that's right. And I'm 5'6, so I make a funny looking bodybuilder... sort of a block or box look haha.   My conditioning will be MUCH better than my last show, but still not to my liking, but I'll tell you this... I'd like to meet the guy that out-muscles me.

Paul Carter - Didn't Jay Cutler win a bunch of Olympia's with that boxy look?

Mike Israetel - Jay was 5'9 at 265ish, so much bigger, and even more boxy!!
Gotta do what your genes set you up for... I wasn't gonna have pretty muscles (or face... eeeek), but by the time I'm done competing in BBing, if everything goes well, I'll be a very muscular.  

Paul Carter - You already are, Mike.  I'm the little guy here.

Mike Israetel - Ah yes, you're the smallest 265lb guy ever, Paul. What are you, like 6'8?

Paul Carter - You'll be asking my shirt size next.

Mike Israetel - Hahaha

Paul Carter - You're working with some top crossfit women now.  Tell me about how you structure their diets differently than say, a bodybuilder or powerlifter.

Mike Israetel - No idea, Nick and Jen work with all of them!

Paul Carter - Well fuck you then.

Mike Israetel – On a serious note, their fundamental approach (Paleo) is actually quite good, but the strategic addition of some carbs around workout times really helps a lot. Nick Shaw and Dr. Jen Case would be able to go into more depth on the details as they work with most of our Crossfit clients. RP is getting too big, Paul. I think Nick needs to be assassinated.

Paul Carter - He'll probably read this.

Mike Israetel - Hahahah. Good. Fair warning.

Paul Carter - Mike is there anything you wanna say before you close on an assassination note?

Mike Israetel - Hahhaha
Nick will probably actually kill me for suggesting the assassination.
I'd like to thank you for the interview, Paul. Always a pleasure to speak with you in depth.

Paul Carter - Oh the pleasure is all yours.

Mike ISraetel - And I'd like to remind those who read this to keep doing the basics, learning the science behind them, and staying measured and consistent in their diet and training.

Paul Carter - Mike, thanks a ton for taking time out from your professor duties to do this.

Mike Israetel - Hahhah my pleasure!

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