Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 - Goals met

From my Facebook 

So I had no intentions of posting this. I shared it with a few friends because honestly, for one of the few times in my life I'm proud of an accomplishment.

These pics are 53 weeks apart, and about 40 pounds apart.

I am not going to bore you with some nonsensical "I do this for me" bullshit.

I did it mainly for my kids.

I will be 41 next month. A year ago, I decided that I really wanted to get serious about my health, my eating, and really dedicate myself to training exceptionally hard again. That included doing conditioning again.

I know some guys could do this in 12 or 16 weeks or whatever, but I was not getting ready for some "show". I was getting ready for a better life. And that was more important to me.

I can tell you this. Being fat is kinda like being dead or stupid. Or it was for me.


When you are dead, you don't know that you are dead. It is difficult only for the others. It is the same when you are stupid.

When you see yourself everyday, you don't realize overtime how fat you are getting until you wake up one day and go "holy shit, I'm really fat!"

By normal people's standards I guess I wasn't fat at 280+ pounds but I sure felt and looked fat to me.

I also didn't realize just how much god damn fat you carry in your forehead. I mean it's like your body goes "ok there's no place else for this shit to go, so we're putting it on top of your god damn head now, fat ass."

Anyway, I'm still not "done" from a goal standpoint, but it feels very rewarding to look back now and see what the last year as brought. I can fucking sprint all day long. My strength obviously isn't where it was, but that's also hard to say because my training is so different now. All of my big movements come in a state where I'm incredibly exhausted. So I really have to way to compare.

But the fact is, pounds on the bar aren't really that important at the moment. I had other goals I wanted to achieve and I'm right on top of them. If my pec continues to heal then it's possible I may compete in another meet in the next year, but right now I'm not worried about that.

I wanted to say thanks to Trevor Kashey who helped kick things off last year and basically told me over and over again "you're still're still fat..........nope, still fat" during the early period in this transition. Honestly, that kept me motivated as fuck.

I also got my entire old wardrobe back. Which is fucking cool.

As I said, one of the few times I have taken a real moment to reflect back on the entire year of 2015 and what I accomplished. And for the first time in a long time, I feel pretty satisfied with my efforts. I can say without pause, I worked my fat ass off for them.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Your health starts in your gut

This little blurb probably isn't going to super charge anyone's libido or get you jacked to get to the gym simply because of the content matter in itself isn't very "sexy".  However the more I've read on this topic, the more I've come to realize just how important it really is in regards to health, training, well being, and literally your quality of life.

Talking about vegetables and gut health is not sexy. I get it. No one salivates over some steamed broccoli like they do a big piece of steak. There are no broccoli equivalents to the "she squats" memes you see on social media. 

I've yet to come across a "she veggies" anywhere on social media with a large male following posting up pics of flowers and offering marriage proposals or invitations to sex.

Best I could do to make veggies sexy

At the same time, I've never met a single obese person that hired a trainer to lose fat that said their salad and broccoli portions had just gotten way out of control.

If you've been eating like shit, there's a good chance your digestion is probably pretty poor. And you need to be aware of a simple fact. The better your digestion is, the better you can absorb and shuttle nutrients into the body. Not to mention that about 70-80% of your immune system is contained within the digestive tract.

Does that sound important? I think it does.

Studies suggest that the foods you continually eat are the ones your gut bacteria will make you crave, which means consistently eating nutritious food isn't just good for your waistline, it's good for your gut. It's also insurance for keeping your appetite in check. People who crave shit food happen to eat it a lot.

This is often why you read that eating lots of vegetables "makes you healthy". At a very basic level, this is a truth, and apparently mom had it right.

If your immune system sucks, then your recovery rate is going to suck. Your body composition is going to suck, and then your nutrient partitioning is going to suck. You're probably going to be sick a lot, and will be well on your way to unlocking life threatening achievements like Type II diabeetus grandmaster and cancer grandmaster.

This isn't just about fiber, either. So for the guy that says "I take a fiber supplement, so I'm ok", well you're wrong.

Probiotics are important, water is important, and gut bacteria is important. It's not as simple as taking some Metamucil and calling it a fucking day.

If you read anything on the "red and processed meats cause cancer" news a while back, then ultimately you may have read that eating green vegetables along with said meats can potentially reduce the cancer causing factors involved in eating said meats.

Here, in case you needed a study....

Green veggies fight with cows and shit in your stomach

Yes the study was done on rats. But I still don't think it should be dismissed as being unimportant.

For people who complain that veggies bloat them, and give them more gas than Exxon, then slowing down and crewing your veggies for longer can help. As can not drinking water when you eat.

Yes, don't drink fluids when you eat.

A while back, John Meadows brought this up in a discussion and it was debated by people claiming it was baseless. However, he used some "trial and error" on himself, and I did as well. And I found that sure enough, drinking about half an hour before eating, and then not drinking again for an hour after made me less bloated and my digestion seemed to improve. Your digestive tract needs to be hydrated in order to function optimally. However drinking water or fluids during eating can impede proper digestion, especially if the fluids are too cold. Sipping (not guzzling) something warm is a better option if you are going to drink while eating.

I could probably write a multiple part series on this however I don't want to. So let's just high level overview this shit.

1. Use probiotics - Make sure you get the kind that has to be kept in the fridge. The kind sitting out on the counter are useless. Probiotics help move food food through your gut, and restore balance between the good and bad bacteria in your gut. It's possible you may not need them, but it's a good start in regards to covering your bases.

2. Eat a variety of vegetables - There's a lot of debate in regards to things like grains, dairy, sugars, etc in regards to gut health. However there is zero debate on the fact that vegetables improve your gut health. Lots of greens will feed the good bacteria in your gut. If you haven't been eating veggies then add them in slowly unless you want to expel gas with such severe stank that it causes birds to fall dead from the sky or your significant other to leave you. If you are trying to achieve the latter, then you're welcome for the solution.

3. Hydrate the digestive tract - Drink your water half an hour before eating, then not until an hour after. If you are going to drink while eating, sip a warm beverage like tea or warm water. But sip it. Don't chug it.

Improved digestion will play a major role in how you look, feel, and function. Do not avoid taking care of proper digestive ability or everything else will suffer.

Thanks to Dani Shugart for contributing to this piece.  

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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Killing your inner midget

When I was cutting my teeth coming up through the years there were two types of articles that irked me in regards to learning how to train, grow, and improve.

1.  Written by guys who were so genetically gifted they grew mass just by walking past a class doing power aerobics.

2.  Guys that who wrote about how to grow that I couldn't tell that they had ever picked up a weight.

I remember reading articles back 20 years ago from guys who said no matter what they did, they grew.

What piece of advice could this person possible give me, when they cannot identify with the struggles I had in regards to getting bigger and stronger?  If you have 19" arms before you did your first biceps curl, then more than likely you aren't going to have to figure out every way possible in order to get them to grow.  I'm talking about biceps here, not fatceps.  No one cares about what your arms measure covered in 3 inches of fat.

As for point number two, I also had trouble taking a guy serious who was writing on how to build a big chest, or legs, or arms, when he was rocking the muscular development of a prepubescent boy on estrogen treatments.

To me, it seemed like there was no in between.  Muscle rags almost always wanted to talk to the guys who had freakish bodyparts, and ask them how they trained them.  I get the idea behind it, but it is incredibly flawed.  Asking a guy with shredded 30" thighs who says they grew regardless of what he did is like asking Usain Bolt how to run faster.

Yes, I do think it's important to learn from the very large and strong people in order to find the commonalities they are shared.  But you also have to discern who arrived at those places because they worked very hard in order to get there, and the ones who simply needed to thank mom and pop.

I liken this to eating.  The guys that ended up growing an enormous amount of muscle mass all eventually went through that rite of passage where they learned how to eat until eating sucked.  To the point where eating was a chore, and they hated it.  I've never known a single massive individual that doesn't have a story that echoes this.

So I never understand articles by guys who had the muscular development of a rodent writing articles on how to get big, or grow a particular set of muscles.

How would you know?

At some point there has to be some money where your mouth is.  I'm not saying the information is always useless, but I just struggled with accepting the advice of someone telling me how to grow, that looked like they had spent the last three years of their life with Tom Hanks and Wilson on that deserted island.

I'm not going to play the "oh poor me genetics" card bullshit here.  I swear to God, everyone I know claims to have shitty genetics regardless of where they end up.  Often times, they point to pics from when they were 17 years old and skinny as a rail to establish the fact that they had "shitty genetics".  Shitty genetics is when you've busted hump as hard as possible for a decade, in an intelligent manner, and still don't have a lot to show for it.  Lots of guys start off at 98 pounds only to end up in virtual super hero land either from a strength or muscularity standpoint less than 10 years later.  Shit genetics is more about your response, or lack of it, to training and proper eating rather than where you start.  Your starting point is irrelevant in terms of poor genetics.  Great or poor genetics become defined by the response your body has once it is placed under the stress of training and its response to proper food intake.

I was 98 pounds when I started training at 14 years old.  4 years later, I was 220+ pounds.  Did I work exceptionally hard over those four years?  Yes.  Unequivocally yes.  I can say that without hesitation due to the fact that I'm also honest that there were many years later on where upon reflection, I realized I had not been training very hard.  And of course during those years, little progress was made.

Genetically speaking, I don't think I have "poor" genetics.  I also do not have what I would call elite or outlier genetics by any stretch of the imagination.  I've gotten to where I am due to a tremendous amount of hard work, researching, studying, and being consistent more times than not, in regards to my training.

People are very quick to accept their perceived short comings.  Once they get an idea etched in their mind, their habits actually begin to form to cement that idea, creating a cognitive bias that the notions they have about themselves has to be true.

If you don't believe you'll ever be capable of performing something, you won't be.

At the root of all of this is self doubt, and disbelief.

If you don't think you're smart enough to get through college then your efforts more than likely will end up reflecting that lack of belief in your abilities.

If you believe that you're smart enough to make the Dean's List, then it's a good chance you'll do very well.

Yes of course there are limitations to self belief.  Which is why there are only so many world record holders in any major sporting evening, why there are only so many guys that make it into the NFL or major league baseball, and even then, only so many guys that make the hall of fame.

However, I can just about bet you that every single one of those people had failures on their way to achieving such successes.  Yet somehow, they ended up better themselves through those failures in order to find out how great they could truly be on the other side of things.

Most of the things we, as normal people, want to accomplish can be done by simply applying ourselves with a tremendous amount of effort, and an unwavering amount of discipline and dedication.  The problem is, most people are inherently lazy and realize that great things generally take an incredible amount of hard work and discipline.  At least, comparatively to what had been been applied by them in their life.

I don't know of a single person that wouldn't want more money in their bank account.  But I know very few people who are willing to risk starting their own business due to the fear of failure.  And I get that.  If you have a family and bills to pay and have a good job, it would be hard to give all of that up in order to pursue your passion with the hopes that it would also keep a roof over your head, and food on the table.  But you're never going to get wealthy working for someone else, making a set salary for the year either.

But the gym 9-to-5er's approach their lifting goals the same way most of the time.  They dream about what they want to lift, or look like, but they aren't often willing to give up the things they need to in order to make that happen.  They aren't willing to put in the consistent hard work in order to see it all come to fruition.

So when people talk about "genetics" as being an excuse, for some people it is, but for most it is not.  At least to a certain degree.

And this people, despite what all I wrote above, is how we arrived at midgets.

I often like to point out that regardless of your dreams and aspirations, they are still limited.  You'll never see a midget in the NBA.  And you'll never see a midget win the 100 or 200 meter dash.  You'll never see a midget climb Mt. Everest.  You'll never see a midget holding a UFC championship belt.  You'll never see a midget become the starting linebacker for the Chicago Bears.  You'll never see a midget win at pole vaulting or Olympic hurdling.  A midget will never kick your door down while your house is on fire and save you from smoke inhalation.  A midget will never fight off a ninja clan with his bare hands.  A midget will never stop a tornado, a tsunami, or any other natural disaster.

But you can be a firefighter if you're a midget.  Or be on Game of Thrones.  So there are things even midgets can do.

Look, I don't want this to become about midgets.  They are still capable of doing incredible things. Like taking second place to an elephant in an air plane pulling contest.  That's pretty impressive.

So there will always be limitations placed on you by your genetics.  IF IF, you are comparing yourself to the genetic elite, i.e. professional athletes and world record holders.

Like for example, a little person (so I will try to be more PC now) can go into the gym and work his ass off, gain muscle, lose fat, and become the best little jacked person he or she can be.  Or they can say "I'm a midget" and create a mindset that being a midget is what keeps them from reaching very attainable PERSONAL goals.

It boggles my mind when people believe things that are easily achievable by the great majority of the population, are almost impossibly hard for them.

Losing 25 pounds of flab is not hard.  It just requires some fucking discipline and effort.  Gaining 25 pounds of lean mass is not hard IF, you're willing to hang in there for the long haul, train very consistently, and are patient enough to see the process out.

The problem is, most people do indeed have a 9-to-5 mindset.  Not only about work, but about virtually everything in their life.  Most especially when it comes to training, dieting, and building a better/stronger physique.  They become mental midgets.  They say "this shit is too hard" and either quit, or never apply enough effort to actually accomplish their goals.  Their goals, usually things many many other people have done, somehow become impossible tasks to them.

Look, dieting is not "hard".  It's only hard if you're fucking mentally weak.

Training hard is not even hard.  It's only hard if you're a pussy.

Take a trip down to a physical therapists office one day, and you can see people who have it much harder than you do, working harder than you do, just in order to do shit like walk again, or write their name again.

Take a visit to a cancer ward sometime if you want to see what real struggles look like, when you are complaining about your next meal of "chicken and broccoli" and are feeling so fucking sorry for yourself.

The next time you complain about how hard squats are, think about that kid who would do anything to stand up out of his wheelchair and take a few steps.

Physique improvement, fat loss, and all of this shit that gets propped up on social media as being difficult really isn't.  And accomplishing personal goals isn't anywhere near as hard you believe it to be.  It's not your genetics that's holding you back.

It's midgets.

It's your own personal midget that won't allow you to do any of the things you think you can't do due to shortcomings you tell yourself on a continual basis.  So the reason you can't get it done, is because you've already made all the reasons why it can't be done, instead of finding all the reasons it can be.

Sure, you're never going to be Mr. Olympia.  Especially if you're a midget.  But that doesn't mean you can't get jacked as fuck in regards to what your body will allow you to.  That's called fulfilling personal potential.  But until it is fulfilled, that's all it is.  Potential.  And until you stop being lazy and making excuses you'll continue to be a part of that gang of midgets taking second place to the lone elephant in that plane pulling race.

And don't get mad at me about this.  After all, no one likes an angry dwarf.

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Monday, December 7, 2015

New year, new me: What you don't fucking know

Ahhhh, here it is.

We're closing in on new years.  Twenty-six-fucking-teen.

Another year is almost gone, plenty of you made no progress in 2015.  Plenty of you won't make any in 2016.

Hey, I'm not saying that to be a dick.  I've written plenty in the past about how I've let years go by without making progress, then waking up one morning and going "holy fuck, I'm not better today physically than I was last...4 years!"

It happens.

Complacency sets in.  We go to the gym.  We eat "mostly healthy".

I love that term.  Every overweight/fat person tells me they eat "mostly healthy".  It's such an ambiguous term.  Because they can neither define "mostly" in a true quantifiable measurement, nor do they understand what "healthy" even means.

Some people think eating "mostly healthy" means skipping breakfast, eating a salad for lunch, then eating "just two doughnuts" from the breakroom, then coming home to a white trash dinner of Hamburger Helper in scoop sizes that would make an oil rig worker smile with pride.

That salad, I suppose, was the mostly healthy part.

But hey, you still go to the gym.  Nevermind that your physique hasn't changed in half a decade.  Or that your lifts are basically about the that same half a decade.

If only you did steroids you would be just as jacked as the other jacked guys at the gym.  Except that most of those guys train their ass off, eat spot on more than 90% of the time, and do all the other things you won't and don't do.  Like spending the weekend chugging beers and eating basket after basket of bowel exploding hot wings from that local grease pot you and your buddies go to in order to escape your hostage/marriage/relationship situation at home.

Hey I'm having fun, fucking relax.

But no seriously, that's you.

I'm just having a go at you, it's all in good fun.

But no really, that's probably you.

Ok seriously, no I mean it this time, we all fall into this trap.  Some of us get back on the real war horse because we decide once again "ok, I suck and have been training like a bitch and need to get my shit together."

Then we do.

Or we don't.  And don't care.  And that's perfectly ok.  It really is.  I don't care if you don't go to the gym, or eat "mostly healthy".

What I do care about, is my space.

Yes, my space.

You see, in a few weeks, I will have less of it at the gym.  After being in some sort of gym for over two decades, I have found ways to avoid losing my space during the new year.  I go to the gym well before 5 P.M. and rarely go on Mondays.  Never ever, ever, ever, never, ever, ever go the gym after 5 PM on a Monday during the first six weeks after new years, if you are claustrophobic.  It's the weight lifting equivalent of black Friday but with sweatier people who are far more confused about their surroundings.

I train at home mostly during the first six weeks after new years.  If I do go to the gym, I go on weekends more, or as I said, long before 5 P.M.

My gym time is serious.  I'm sorry if you deem me hollow for saying that.  I am there to train, train hard, not talk and bullshit, then leave.  Despite the fact that I am there for that, I am actually friendly when approached.  And if someone takes up my equipment for no reason at all, I will ask them if they would like to work in with me.  I will even give a great spot if asked, and throw out some pointers afterwards if I can help.  So while I am there to train, I am not a gym asshole.

The other day, a fellow ended up joining me for my training and he made the remark between sets, "there's a lot of hot women that come in here."

I shrugged and said "I wouldn't know.  I am here to train."

"Damn" he said. "See, that's what I mean.  I need to get my mind right.  That's why I'm not making the progress I should."

I wasn't joking.  I see stupidity going on in the gym quite often, but I don't really give a shit about hot women in the gym.  Mainly for two reasons...

1.  I'm there to train (as noted)
2.  Hot women are already bothered enough in the gym by so many dick blossoms
3.  I'm there to train

Ok so that's three fucking reasons.  And what?

But he really hit on a serious matter.  Your mental game.

And this is where most people are going to fail after their "new year, new me" wears off faster than a buzz from cheap weed.

You don't know.

And that's the bottom line.  You don't.....fucking.....know.

You don't fucking know that it's going to take longer than 6 weeks to get your bikini body.  Nevermind that you spent the last decade undoing your teenage figure by slamming half of the picture menu at Waffle House at 3 a.m. after 17 rounds of shots.  Sure, you can wake up in six weeks by doing some ab work and "butt kicks" and boom, bikini body emerges!  No, you really can't.

You don't fucking know that the stupid "6 moves for 6 pack abs in 6 weeks" article you read in Men's Health is just bullshit to get you to buy a magazine.  If you honestly believe that your beer belly and love handles and awful fucking "dad bod" will be gone in six weeks because you did six exercises then I have some ocean front property in Montana you're gonna love.  Lemme get these papers drawn up for you.

You don't fucking know that all those "fat burners" and bullshit you're going to waste your money on after the first of the year, could have gone to someone who would write you up a diet to follow, and teach you how to eat properly.  You know, knowledge and shit.  Things that are going to last you longer than the 30 capsules in that bottle.

You don't fucking know that the guy on the cover of that magazine, didn't get his body with the routine you're reading about in it.  And I'm not talking about "gross" IFBB pro bodybuilders.  I'm talking about that 190 pound shredded dude that 99% of guys really want to look like.  You don't fucking know that he probably had great genetics, or has been training for 10 years, or that he dieted his ass off for anywhere from 12 to 16 weeks just to look like that for one day....for that magazine cover.

You don't fucking know that it's going to be harder than it looks.  You don't fucking know that for most of you, your desire to "change your life" is going to wane tremendously after a little more than a month.  You don't fucking know that it takes between 21 and 66 days for a habit to form.  So if the gym isn't habit forming after 4-6 weeks, you just hung in there for another few weeks, your mindset and your body would change dramatically.  Unless you're still eating "mostly healthy".  Then, not so much.

There are so many things you don't fucking know, "new year, new me" guy/gal.

You don't fucking know, that lifting and learning how to eat properly is a life changing process that is filled with far more positives than negatives.  That it will suck when your motivation wanes, and then later - if you stuck it out - that you'd learn to love the gym, the discipline, the soreness (yes, I swear to god you'll eventually love being sore, I swear it!) and all the other shit that comes with it.  Like more attention from the opposite sex.  Unless you're a dude.  And then when you get jacked you don't fucking know that basically, just other dudes are going to ask you how to get jacked.

You also don't fucking know that I wish everyone would learn these things, and use it to change their life.  There's nothing better than hearing from a "former fat guy/gal" who got their shit together, lost weight, got in great shape, and what it did for them.

Same for skinny people who finally hang in there long enough to pack on some real muscle, and watch their body change and transform into something they are proud to look at everyday in the mirror.  And fuck you if you think there is anything wrong with that.  The people that are proud of the body they worked for, and have every right to take pride in their work.  And generally, that pride is what keeps them in this game mentally.

And now we're back to square one.  Your mental game.

It will be strong at first.  Stronger than the stench of a fart after five pounds of broccoli eating.  Then of course, like all strong farts, it passes and is barely even a distant memory.  Maybe someone makes a joke about it later if you were all in the car together and the driver wouldn't roll down the windows.

You don't fucking know if you don't buckle down mentally, you're going to fail.  You'll be a statistic.  You'll be another "new year, new me" dropout.  Go and ring that bell to signal to everyone you're quitting.

You're a quitter.  Just admit it and be at peace with it.

That's not me being a dick.  That's me calling a spade a spade.  If you announce to the world that you're going to get in the best shape of your life because the new year rolls around, and then are back to eating "mostly healthy" in 7 weeks and never return to the clanging and banging of the iron, then you fucking quit.


And the world needs quitters.  Because I need my space back.  I love my basement cave, but I do like the gym.  And I hate having to dictate my time in it so that I can train in a productive fashion.  You know, because all the soon to be quitters are taking up all the equipment.

So I will leave you with this, before you call me a dick for not writing this in a "rub your belly and pat your bottom" style you are so accustomed to at this time of year.  You know what I mean...

"It's a new year.  And if you love yourself you can turn things around.  You're beautiful inside, so let your work show the beauty on the outside too!"


So let's examine what I really did in between all of those "F" bombs I laid down.

I just gave you the road map for how to avoid being a quitter.  How to avoid the usual mistakes.  How not to get trapped into thinking that you can wake up after 6 weeks and have a newly transformed sexy AF body.

I just gave you the reality that it will be hard, but that it will be worth it if you find a way not to quit, and hang in there.

I just told you so many of the pitfalls to avoid in getting discouraged, and even better ways to spend your money.

So if you didn't fucking know, you shouldn't call me a dick for this.  You should just say "thank you - I won't fucking quit." and mean it.

I'd rather the gym be full of people busting ass because they are there to train, and for everyone to have a burning desire to really find a "new me" on the other side of the "new year".  But the statistics bear out that it won't happen.

So don't be a fucking statistic.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The embracement of softcore

If you were to judge the title of this alone, you'd probably be expecting some Skinemax Red Shoe diary type shit, where you get to see some boobs through the steamy shower scene, but ultimately leaves you feeling very unfulfilled.

No, what I am talking about in regards to embracing the softcore here is a trend I consistently see throughout the strength and physique industry.

I'm going to do my best not to paint with broad strokes here, or make overall generalizations, but it may happen.  If it does, then it does.

The past few days there has been a bit of a debate going on about a post a bikini competitor (yes, we're already talking about bikini competitors so you know this is going places) saying, literally, "it doesn't matter if you fill your calories with 10 oreos or 5 gallons of broccoli" (so long as it "fits your macros"), and that basically you can get into contest condition doing this shit.

I'm not naming said competitor because I personally don't want to give her any more ridiculous pub she's gotten from writing such nonsense.  What I want to address are two things I see, that have become a big trend in the "fitness industry".

1.  Dumb shit like "it doesn't matter if your calories come from oreos or long as it fits your macros."

I'm not sure where to start with how stupid this is.  And I don't care what some PhD loudmouth or supposed nutrition "expert" has to say about that.  The last time I checked, no one needed a fucking PhD to know that oreos and broccoli aren't the same even if you somehow lined the god damn macros line up.

Before the IIFYM crowd starts flexing their massive 13" biceps in anger, let's get this out of the way.  Flexible dieting or IIFYM can work for some people.  But let's also get another thing straight.  It works for people who know their body really well, knows how to properly manipulate their macros, and has a very good handle on how their body responds to certain foods.

In other words, if you aren't in possession of this skillset, it's fucking not for you.  Sort of like how if you're a noob, you don't need cable crossovers for your bird chest.  You might want to simply learn the basics first, and get some weight on the bar.

If you're a casual Sunday driver, you don't get into a formula 1 car because "IF IT FITS YOUR DRIVING" nerds tell you "all driving is the same because there's a steering wheel and a gas pedal."

Just stop.

Second, it may not be for you anyway.  Not everyone can be flexible in their dieting and lose bodyfat, get lean, or get into contest condition.  This isn't conjecture.  It's fact.  I'm aware of lots of people who have to be strict pretty much year around just to stay in the range of "athletic bodyfat percentage".  They have very small margins for error.  And I know some people who have much larger margins for error to maintain such shape.

If you're naturally lean, and have some raging metabolism, and you're a bikini competitor that needs to lose a whopping 9 pounds to get in stage shape?  Yeah, this shit may be right up your alley come competition time.   But it isn't a good idea tossing out such ridiculous misinformation that oreos and broccoli are some kind of fucking equal food source.  Let's just completely ignore things like the hormonal and inflammation response of foods all together because you know, all foods are equal simple based on "macros".

It's just all about macros, bro.

I know every time I've ever opened up an IFBB pros food "case" it's just a mix of Pringles and tilapia and bloomin onions from Outback Steakhouse.  Because it doesn't matter if you get your carbs from Pringles or sweet potatoes.  It's all the fucking same once it enters your body.

"You're an idiot because you don't understand flexible dieting."

No, I understand it just fine.  It all comes back to the basic principle of thermodynamics and portion control.  If you want to lose fat, you need an energy deficit.  So we're all on board with that very simple concept. It's also about not limiting your food sources and allowing yourself to have things like ice cream and cake in certain quantities IF "they fit your macros".  However there are still issues with this concept whether you like it or not.

Pretending your food sources don't matter or that all macro food sources are equal as a valid concept is mind blowing to me.

Fructose.  A carb.  Doesn't cause the pancreas to secrete insulin.  Gets stored as liver glycogen.

Glucose.  A carb.  Causes the pancreas to secrete insulin.  Gets stored as muscle glycogen.

Seeing how insulin is the most powerful hormone in the body, I think it's safe to say not all food sources, even of equal macro value, don't have the same effect on the body.

And despite the fact that I've addressed this before, fuck it, let's science this bitch out for one second.

But oreos and broccoli are the fucking same!

Fuck it, we'll follow that up with a meme........

You can save all of your links and studies and everything else that points to (cue uber white guy voice) "similar body composition changes despite different food sources with the same energy deficit."

I don't care about the 12 fat people who don't lift weights that were involved in a study where one group ate brussel sprouts for 12 weeks and the other group ate gummy bears but lost the same amount of weight because the calories were the same.

We have already addressed that.

If you're in an energy deficit, you'll lose weight.  If you're in a surplus, you'll gain weight.  The problem is, there are so many other factors in regards to what those gains and losses look like based on other factors that it doesn't become that god damn simple anymore.

Did they lose muscle mass or gain muscle mass?

Were they doing cardio, or lifting weights?

How were the macros spread out?

If it was a study done on "well trained" individuals, how advanced were they?

How hard were they training during this time?

So I don't give a shit about those studies.  At all.  The same way I really don't care about the studies that involved noobs doing 3 sets of leg extensions twice a week while results were gathered and thus, it was determined that some effect that was derived from that is now "scientific fact."

That shit has ZERO bearing on guys who are spending 2 hours a day in the gym, 5-7 days a week, and have been training for 12 years with a massive hard on about clanging and banging the steel.  None.  Nada.  Nothing.

I've read studies where they "showed factually" that fasted cardio did not improve fat loss any better than cardio that was done after eating.  But I can get you a dozen competitors that will tell you when they did fasted cardio, they showed up leaner for their shows.  Not everything done in a lab in the name of nutrition or training REALLY is science.  It's just not.  The law of individuality is too great and wide, and due to genetic potential or genetic shortcomings, there is no way to accurately predict with 100% certainty what a diet or training program will produce for every single person.

That last point is literally not debatable.

And lastly, for people who are obese, the reason why they end up gaining most of their weight back on "traditional diets" isn't because of the bullshit I've read from IIFYM proponents.  It's because they have spent time modifying the reward receptors with shitty food choices that indeed rewire the circuitry of the brain that's associated with dopamine.  Ok, we will science this shit out one more time since these people are big on linking studies.

Link -

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.

Do you think it's a good idea then, to take someone who is obese, or needs to get lean, and has an eating disorder, and still allow them to eat foods that caused the obesity in the first place?  Look, for those people it's not the same as the person who hasn't had a "cheat meal" in 3 months.  They can't eat a "slice of pizza".  They eat whole pizzas.  They literally need to spend a significant amount of time "getting clean" no different than a crack addict or an alcoholic.  Which means abstaining from those foods for a significant period of time in order to establish and cement healthy eating habits.  For those people, they don't know what portion control is.  Three oreos signals to the brain that they need to eat three bags of oreos.  Until those pathways are rewired, their ability to show restraint is going to be negligible.

My beef isn't with flexible dieting per say.  It's with people who spread such horrible information that there's no difference in oreos and broccoli.  If you could get contest shredded eating oreos do you not think that 100% of the people would do that, rather than suffer and feel like zombies for months on end all the while eating tuna and lettuce?

"Hey, I can name you these 5 guys that use IIFYM that get shredded."

Awesome.  I love the 5 guys that are 175-180 pounds in contest shape that are naturally lean with hell-fire metabolisms as examples.  This is awesome.  Tell me more, my friend.

What about that guy that can't even have a few packets of equal during the last month lest he totally screw up his conditioning?  Or the guy that can't eat carbs the week of the show for the same reason.  Or the guy that has to slam carbs just to fill out enough not to appear flat?  Or the guy that can't tolerate sweet potatoes or brown rice because they bloat him so bad?

It's just not as simple as macros.  Not at the competitive level of physique competition.  And just because one asshole ate ice cream all week and accounted for it, and won some show that consisted of 7 competitors that was held in a high school gymnasium, doesn't mean shit.

Bikini competitors weighing in on this are even worse.

I've known bikini competitors that were so genetically gifted that they were practically gym noobs and won nationally qualifying shows.  Two weeks later they are writing diet plans for people and spouting off about how they ate Taco Bell twice a week going into the show "so it does work".  Oh you also left out how your coach put you on T3, T4, clen, anavar, and arimidex for that show too.  But nevermind that.  It was the fucking Taco Bell.  That was the ticket.

Hey I have an idea.  Enter a division that requires you to have a significant level of muscle mass, and a very significant degree of extreme conditioning and get back with me on that Taco Bell and tell me how much more time you had to spend in the gym to reach THAT level.

Before someone says I'm flat out shitting on bikini competitors, I'm not.  Ok, I sort of am, but I do know of some bikini competitors that train hard, eat properly, don't espouse dumb shit, and work hard at being competitive in that division. The problem is, people don't want to hear from them.  They want to hear from the people who say "you can totally transform your body and not really change your current life style."

And that's bullshit.

Which leads me to my second major gripe/rant.

2.  The idea that dream physiques, elite level strength, or elite level performance can be attained easily.

This idea has come about due to the popularity of surge of competitors in new divisions that don't require the same amount of discipline, hard work, and suffering that other divisions do.  Even worse, those divisions have become so popular because it caters to mediocrity.

If you are getting judged on your physique, then how in the hell can that be possible when no one sees your leg development?

We have come to a point in the physique world where we put mediocrity on a pedestal, and reward what I see as averageness as something to be admired.

Someone showed me some guy on Instagram this past week with over a million followers, and I could barely tell the guy had ever picked up a weight.  The best way I could describe his physique is if you took an ironing board, and drew abs on it, then that's what we had.

And that's what young males now, apparently, "strive" for.

It's not eliteness.  It's not the unattainable.  It's the absolute average in regards to physical development.  I can find 20 guys in every gym in the world that look like that.  To me, it's like knowing there is the NFL out there, filled with elite players, playing inside a mostly empty stadium, while 70 thousand people are lining up to watch a bunch of overweight dads play flag football on the weekend.  Because hey, "I too can be a backyard flag football all star."

You know why so many young men identify with this?  Because they feel it is something they can strive for.  And because women apparently prefer that look over "grossness".

Well fuck your grossness.  Pushing the limits to me in regards to physical development was something that was always to be admired and revered.  Because it took extreme degrees of hard work, discipline, dieting, training, and desire.  The grossness was nothing more than the manifestation of those things.  In other words, the form that was created from going the extra mile that others were not willing to go.

And that's what really creates the chasm between these underwear boys and guys who are still cranking year after year in order to become more "gross".  It's an evolution of identity.  No different than Walter White went from a guy just needing a few hundred thousand dollars, to a guy that was obsessed by the feeling of power and control.

Can you imagine people celebrating a dude climbing the tallest hill in some wooded area of the backwoods of Georgia while totally ignoring the people climbing Everest and Makalu?

No one is on ESPN due to running the 100 meter dash in 22 seconds.  No.  It's Usain Bolt smashing records and killing his competition.  And his competition is fucking elite.

But the physique culture has done exactly that.  Push the easily attainable to the forefront so as to appeal to the masses.  Because while people love elite level athletes or competitors in other sports, the physique culture has grown into the opposite.  People loving the easily attainable.

Now, you can have a line out of the Arnold or Olympia expo of people waiting in line to get a pic of them with some dude that's 180 pounds with abs.  If that's not average I'm not sure what is.  And this is why "bodybuilding" has gone backwards in regards to popularity.

Even with all of that said, I personally don't care if that's what the masses want.  Let me repeat that lest someone miss that sentence.

If being 175 with abs, and a "beach body" physique is what you're after, then go for it.  Work hard for it, and be proud of it.  It's your life.  Do what makes you happy and gives you joy in regard to your training, eating, and lifestyle.  I honestly don't have an issue with this.  Different strokes for different folks, and people have to decide what really creams their Twinkie.

My main issue is, if someone is going to find themselves in that degree of notoriety, with possibly millions of followers, then they should at least be held responsible for the information they dole out in regards to training and nutrition.  No different than I am going to slam women who go get ass implants, then pretend they didn't, all the while telling other women they know how to build glutes.  Lying and being disingenuous, the last time I checked, is sort of the opposite of integrity.  But I guess that's not really that relevant anymore either.  Likes and followers are.

And here is where it all comes together.

People do want to look a certain way.  They want their dream body.  And they go out on social media and find people that have their "dream body" and hashtag shit like #physiquegoals related to these people.  Then because they have a desire to look like them, get lost in the delusion that this person somehow has the keys to the kingdom for them in regards to achieving that body.  They don't tell people they got ass implants, or that they take thyroid drugs or clenbuterol.  They say shit like "I eat pizza multiple times a week and you can too.  Stop believing you have to eat clean and be strict in order to achieve the body you want.  There's no difference in oreos and broccoli."

And people eat this shit up.  Pun intended.  Because it appeals to their belief that attaining something incredibly difficult can be done quite easily.  It appeals to the "softcore" masses.

And maybe it can be easily attainable, if you fall into that small percentage of people who had great parents that make it easy.  But for the other 99% it's going to take a lot of hard work, a great degree of suffering, and a lot more broccoli than fucking oreos.

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Monday, November 16, 2015

Why I hate John Meadows

If I so desired, I could probably write a novel that would rival the likes of Moby Dick to describe all the reasons I despise and hate John Meadows.  However, I don't have that kind of time nor the inclination to do so because it would just mean more publicity for someone who has caused a great deal of grief and misery in my life.  What I will do instead, is continue to pray to whatever God will listen, and that John gets blown up by rockets one day.

With that said, I can give you a high level overview of why I hate John, and why you should as well.

1.  John is a former banker - Do I really need to write any more than that at this point?  I could probably end this right here but I will continue anyway.

2.  John is really short - Short people always have attitude problems.  John is no exception to this, as you will come to learn.

3.  John grows shitty lamb chops out from time to time - I have no idea why he does this, other than the fact that I bet he thinks he looks like Wolverine when he does it.  My guess is he enters a contest for ugliest human alive on a periodic basis.

4.  John was in Forbes - This is true.  He was.  They lavished over his success as a banker (puke) and then his successful transition from banker to snake oil salesman and professional rip off artist via his Mountain Dog website, training, etc.

5.  John got his IFBB pro card - True, it only took him 189 shows to finally find one where the competition was so weak they were forced to give him one, but it did happen.

This is just a small list, and not even the top 5.  I could go on about his diva personality to the degree that he has a personal driver that chauffeurs him everywhere.  How he fans his farts in people's faces randomly, and has a slave labor camp in Cambodia filled with old women and small children who work for pennies a day to make pancakes for him.  But those are somewhat sophomoric in nature compared to so many other things that makes him scum of the Earth.

To give you a better glimpse into the dark heart that is John Meadows, let me tell you what it was like being around him for the better part of everyday for over a week in Australia.

Each morning I would meet him down for breakfast.  John would go on and on about the quality of eggs there, and lament how shitty eggs were back in the states compared to there.  He bought me breakfast a total of zero times, and then spent the morning talking in third person and insulting me for no reason.

For example...

Me - "Good morning, John."

John - "Don't say "good morning to John Meadows.  You say "greetings, sire!"

Me - "I'm not saying that."

John - "Fuck you, Paul.  I'm John Meadows.  The Mountain Dog.  Sit at that table over there until you can learn some respect."

Me - ".............................."

John - "These eggs are delicious.  Pay for my breakfast, bitch."

These were my general morning conversations with John...on a good day.  On a bad day, he'd try to hold me down with his short little snausage fingers and try to force me to smell his farts.  Luckily, I am stronger than John so I would break free and ask him what his fucking problem was.

I might be smiling here but on the inside I was dying

"My problem?  You're asking John Meadows what his problem is?  You don't ever ask the Mountain Dog what his problem is.  Pay for my breakfast, bitch."

Eventually, John left to go back to the states, thank God.  And the reign of terror finally came to an end.

After more than a year of serious therapy and counseling, I was able to move past that week of trauma and abuse and resumed a somewhat normal life.

Until lately, however.

John hit me up a few weeks ago, and I immediately took my lithium so as to make it through the conversation without a panic attack.

"Send John Meadows your address." he told me.

"John, my therapist said that probably isn't a good idea."

"The Mountain Dog has something to send you.  Now pay for my breakfast, bitch."

"John, I'm in Kansas City.  You're in Columbus.  I can't pay for your breakfast."

"Are you talking shit to The Mountain Dog right now?"

"No John, here, let me send you my address.  What are you sending me?"

"Some food bars."

I had no idea what a food bar was.  To me, that sounds like a place where fat people go to socialize.

A few days after this, I saw a post from Shelby Starnes where he said he had received said food bars and was highly addicted to them.  That he couldn't stop eating them.

At first I thought this was Shelby being dramatic.  However he's not one for dramatics so I easily came to the conclusion that John was sending me some form of a highly addictive substance.  Something that could easily ruin my life and have me doing unspeakable acts in piss filled alleys in order to get more these "food bars".

A few days later, a got a package that contained two boxes.  On the top of each one was a picture of John that looked like something out of a comic book.  Seeing John's image immediately caused both an anxiety attack and sudden nausea and I almost threw up all over the place.  But I practiced my deep breathing techniques until it passed, and then peeled the pictures off of the boxes so I could actually look at them long enough to open one.

Inside was what looked like a normal candy bar.

"Interesting" I thought.

I looked on the back and checked out the macros, and ingredients.  I looked up and down the contents of this "food bar" but did not see "crack cocaine" or "methamphetamines" listed anywhere.

I cracked this thing open, and took a bite.

I was not prepared for that.

Unlike most protein bars on the market, this thing really was delicious.  The texture was amazing.  And it was really moist.  Because as the name implies, it is made with real food.  So it has to be stored in the fridge.  A place as cold as John's black heart.

And also unlike the bars you normally get, that feel like you're eating a slab of pasty goo, these were soft.  Just like John's glutes in all those contests he took second place at.

What really hit me when I looked on the back, were the macros.  The first place my mind went was that was a perfect food about an hour before training.  Enough protein to initiate muscle protein synthesis,  just enough carbs as not to cause a blood sugar drop, and a solid amount of fats to slow down the digestion of them.


Combined with Muscle Intrusion from True Nutrition, this would be ideal in every way for my pre and peri workout stack.  I mean perfect.

I took a valium to relax my nerves and called John to let him know what a great product this was.

"John Meadows knows what a great product it is, bitch.  You think the Mountain Dog would make anything other than great product?" he told me.

I reiterated my thoughts about it being ideal for about an hour before training.

"You don't think I don't know that?  John Meadows knows all.  Buy my breakfast, bitch."

I went to respond to this however he abruptly hung up on me.  Which was fine as I could feel another anxiety attack coming on.

I instituted the food bar into my nutrition plan and along with the Muscle Intrusion I felt fantastic during training.  A really solid source of energy and I didn't feel overly full from eating it an hour out.  No stomach issues at all like a lot of protein bars gave me.

My main issue with them was that they were overly delicious.  And I wanted to eat many of them at a time.  Much like Shelby had talked about.  They really are that good.

If you follow up your training with some Rice Chex, almond milk, and 40 grams of whey protein you've literally got the perfect pre-peri-post workout food sources in place.

You can chalk up my addiction to these as another reason that I hate John Meadows.  Anyone who makes a protein bar taste this good must be an asshole.  After all, the market was already saturated with shitty tasting protein bars, so what was the purpose in making one that actually tasted great and was made with real food ingredients?

Seems pointless to me, but I will keep eating them until my prayers are answered and John gets blown up by military rockets.

If you're interested in adding these to your pre and peri workout habits, you can have a go at them in the linkage below.....

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Friday, November 13, 2015

Beginner lessons - Early mistakes to avoid

Chasing poundage rather than technique -

As a novice, it can be hard not to get caught up in the early wild ride that is adding poundage very easy every week, or every few weeks.  However this often comes at the expense of maintaining or promoting proper movement execution.

Over time, these motor patterns of said lifter becomes established and these bad habits become hard to break later when attempts at maximal poundages are performed.

And while progressive overload should be the cornerstone of the novice and intermediate lifter, it shouldn't be adhered to "at any cost".

Believing a certain routine will make you look a certain way -

I remember when I was young, a few years into training, and I really thought that following a certain pros routine would make me "look like them".

I see this subtly still in the minds of young lifters or guys with little experience.  You know how?  With these phrases...

"well it works for him."

This is said by fanboys of guys they follow/idolize/want to be like...and they need to believe that because something works for their idol, that it will work for them as well.

"I'm using so n so's routine.  And he's jacked."

So n so didn't use THAT routine to get jacked, if he's an advanced guy.  He arrived at that destination via other means.  And those other means would probably serve you better than following his 6 day a week split routine that he worked up to doing over the course of the last decade.

Another example of this is any time some Hollywood actor gets in decent enough shape for a role to "stand out" on film.  Without fail, magazines and websites will report on his "routine", which no one can know for certain whether it was or not.  But this doesn't stop guys from believing that if they follow said routine they will look like that within a few months.

Dwayne didn't always look like this.  For the longest time he looked like....(see below)

From guys I've spoken with that are in the know about this, most of these guys run a cycle, train multiple times a day, have two or three guys helping them with their training and nutrition.  And they have millions of dollars in the bank to live comfortably off of in order to do nothing but train, eat, and "supplement" everyday in order to get ready for a role.  Do you have that kind of time and money?  Because if not, the shitty routine you are reading in that magazine where he trained "four days a week, doing 50 push ups and some swiss ball ab work" isn't going to do a god damn thing for you.

I mean how many times have we seen The Rock's workout and diet in a magazine at this point?  I wonder how many guys have done both of those in order to "look like the Rock?"

Nevermind that he's been training for over 20 years now.  Totally lost on them because apparently he just got jacked like, this year.

Newflash.  If you want to be jacked like Dwayne Johnson, be prepared to put in a couple of decades of hard work, take some anabolics, and go through phases where you were chubby, then lean, then chubby, then lean again.  None of this happens in a few months, or even a few years.  And no routine is going to make you "look like someone".  Last time I checked, your dad banged your mom and created you.  And what someone else does or did won't always help you.

...well, he looked like this.  Lots of years in between.

Part of the process of fulfilling your genetic potential is going through the process of becoming advanced.  It's actually not until you get closer to your genetic ceiling that you've made enough mistakes and tried enough shit to know what the hell really works for you.

So be prepared to do a lot of the wrong shit.  Just know that following a guys routine that has been training for two decades isn't going to make you look like him any time soon.

Chronic routine changing -

This is sort of an extension to the last point.

But even more so, I can't figure out what is going through the mind of people when I read shit like this.

"I just used X routine and had great results.  So now I'm going to try Y routine."


So you're using a program that is working well, and making some sweet ass gains, and you're going to change it because.....I literally have no snappy comeback to this.


I don't know, I'm at a loss.  But I read this over and over again.  And it makes zero sense to me at all.

Listen, if you are making progress you ride that shit out until it's deader than hell.  And you know what?  You won't even know that for months and months and months.  And you know what else?  Even then, you don't have to overhaul everything in order to keep moving forward.  In fact, that's often the worst thing you can do.  You make a change here, then see what happens.  If you progress again, that's all you do.  Until progress is no longer forthcoming.

Then you repeat that.  Make a small change.  Better?  Worse?  Nothing?

If something works, don't make a change until it no longer does for quite some time.  And then, make minor changes.  It could literally be something as slight as taking your reps from 5 to 12.  Or switching one movement out for another.

Neglecting back work -

This is another area I see with most novice guys.  And a lot of the novice routines that get used by so many of them.

Your back is basically the foundation for everything you do along with your trunk and hips.  So addressing it with a few sets of shitty rows once a week is just not going to be enough.

I will say this, in my early years I did not make this particular mistake.  I have no idea if I had genetics for a big back, but I honestly believe all the years I spent early on doing chins for hours on end, and doing a metric fuck ton of various rows played a part in it.

Yet, do you know how many guys I know can't do a strict set of 10 with bodyweight only even after several years of supposed, "serious training?"

How serious are you training if you can't do 10 chin ups/pull ups after YEARS of being in the gym?

Pulling your bodyweight up is one of the most basic strength building movements you can do.  And you're too weak or too fat to do a strict set of ten....after YEARS of training?

Either you neglected your back work, and ignored hard work, or you got into one of those stupid ass "perma bulk" modes and also neglected hard back work.  Now you're too heavy to pull your fat ass up for a set of 10 on one of the most simplistic and basic movements you should be doing.

Someone will probably get mad about that, but generally when someone makes you mad with something they say, it should cause a bit of self reflection.  I mean, in this particular case it should.  If someone tells you  you're a piece of shit....well, it's possible that should cause some self reflection too, depending on the source.

Either way, so many people spend too much time neglecting SERIOUS back work early in their training, because it's hard, and it's not fancy.  Make it fancy.  It will literally carry over to everything else you do.

Spot reduction -

This really is still talked about!  I swear to God it is.  I still see it all the time.

You cannot do an exercise to "get more definition in my arms."

"Get my legs more toned."

"Get my pecs leaner."

All of these things require two things -

1.  A reduction in bodyfat.
2.  An increase in muscle mass in those areas.

I will say this, the more developed an area gets, the less fat it does tend to carry around it.  This is not "spot reduction" however.  When I read the term "spot reduction" it generally means the person thinks doing a movement for that area strips fat off of it.

So if you hate that a particular bodypart tends to carry more fat in it, you can end up carrying less fat around that area IF that area becomes VERY developed (I've seen this not only in myself but lots of others).  But that takes time, and it still takes a reduction in overall bodyfat, and an increase in muscle mass.  Doing movements for that area don't make it leaner because you're working it.

But basically what your focus should be, right from the beginning is decreasing bodyfat, and simply increasing muscle mass overall.  You're going to have an area on your body that ultimately holds on to fat the hardest, and will always be the last place you lose it.  Even if that area becomes more developed it's still probably going to be your "problem area".  Doing a zillion sets of ab work isn't going to get you a six pack if you're rocking 20% bodyfat.

Not building balance/creating muscular gaps -

Talk to any therapist or psychiatrist in the world and they will all tell you that as adults, most of who we are gets shapen, or misshapen, in our most impressionable years when we are young.  The foundation for how we think, believe, behave, and act all starts getting built from the time we are very young.  And since it is the foundation, it stays with us for the rest of our lives unless one or two things happen...

1.  Experience teaches us otherwise, i.e. we have a paradigm shift due to something happening that changes us.

2.  Extensive therapy that allows us to process the fragmented parts of trauma that happen to us in our youth.

Now apply both of those things to what you are building as a novice, and ask yourself if you are building a solid foundation with a very balanced training and eating program.

One of my biggest issues with most beginner programs is that they lack total body development, and balance.  It's usually the same template.

Three days a week - Squatting, deadlifting, bench pressing, and rowing.  There might be one or two things in there outside of that but that's about it.

Does this look like balance to you?  Because it doesn't to me.

"Well a beginner doesn't need all those other things."

What other things?  Things that help to create stability at every area of the kinetic chain?  Things that make sure hamstring and quadriceps strength are in balance?  Things that make sure one side of the body doesn't become dominant because unilateral work was excluded?

I firmly believe that a lot of the injuries you end up with down the road are related to some of the things that get imprinted on you in your early stages of training.  You'll gravitate towards movements you love, neglecting the ones you hate, and this becomes a cornerstone of future training habits.

A beginner has the same muscles when he or she starts training, as they will have twenty years later.  So why do so many beginner templates neglect these areas when doing so means the beginner becomes intermediate or advanced, is then left in "catch up" mode in regards to developing them?  Why can't a beginner use a leg curl, or do work for their brachialis?

"Because they don't need all that extra fluff.  All the major muscle groups get hit with the big movements...blah blah blah"

Beginners need to work on complete development so that less energy needs to be devoted to specialization later.  This doesn't mean the beginner or intermediate specializes, it just means they don't neglect things because a few big movements "hit the total body".

Down the line, he or she will most likely end up with an injury due to improper mechanics, or because something has been left weak, or underdeveloped.

This is what creating a muscular gap is.  When a secondary or tertiary mover in a lift doesn't get adequate attention and is neglected for years on end.  By addressing them early in training, there's less of a chance of dealing with "trauma" later.

Think of it as good muscle parenting.  Neglecting certain muscles is like leaving your toddler alone all day to figure out how to cook because they are hungry.  It just doesn't make a lot of sense.

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Saturday, October 31, 2015

For maximum rage, take creatine

I honestly can't believe I am sitting here writing this.

I really can't.

However because of the fact that the media coverage of some cop slinging a young girl around in a classroom has become a major news story, I am annoyed enough to do so.

In case you don't know what I'm talking about, apparently a policeman was called into a classroom to remove an unruly student with a cell phone.  He lost his shit on her, and ended up slinging her all over the place in order to remove her.

I'm not getting into the debate about his behavior.  The issue now, that the media is running with, is that his rage was caused, or possibly caused, by creatine.

And here we fucking go again.

This reminds me of the witch hunt done with ephedrine years ago.

In case you don't remember why or when it was banned, there was a similar kick off (pun intended here) due to the death of an NFL player named Korey Stringer.  Who died of heatstroke after practice.


Ephedrine was found in his locker, but actually wasn't in his system when the autopsy was done.  These facts of course, did not keep the media from their ensuing witch hunt to make it appear as if taking ephedrine was right on par with free basing cocaine in regards to your health.

Completely ignoring the fact that at that time, millions of people took ephedrine for weight loss without any serious health issues.  Me being one of them.

Stringer died in 2003.  Ephedrine was banned in 2004 after the media ramrodded us with story after story of teens basically taking ephedrine and making it appear as if they all suddenly dropped dead faster than a Cambodian villager captured by the Khmer Rouge.

Never fucking mind that ephedrine was used for thousands of years by the Chinese.  However this didn't stop the New England Journal of Medicine to essentially declare ephedrine unsafe based on a total of...brace yourselves...10 deaths related to it over a two years span.

Ten.  Over two years.

Do you know how many die each year from a vending machine falling on top of them?

Around 10-13.

About 11 people die each year from firework accidents.

Can someone tell me why people are still allowed to get Skittles from the vending machine at work, but can't run down to the GNC and grab some old school Ripped Fuel?  Because this confuses me.

For anyone who says the media doesn't have power in regards to our freedom, you are either willfully ignorant or flat out stupid.  They are the driving force in most cases behind how and why OTC supplements end up being off the counter supplements.

But fuck that, let's really shed some light on things.

"It has been estimated conservatively that 16,500 NSAID-related deaths occur among patients with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis every year in the United States. This figure is similar to the number of deaths from the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and considerably greater than the number of deaths from multiple myeloma, asthma, cervical cancer, or Hodgkin’s disease. If deaths from gastrointestinal toxic effects from NSAIDs were tabulated separately in the National Vital Statistics reports, these effects would constitute the 15th most common cause of death in the United States. Yet these toxic effects remain mainly a “silent epidemic,” with many physicians and most patients unaware of the magnitude of the problem. Furthermore the mortality statistics do not include deaths ascribed to the use of over-the-counter NSAIDS." (Wolfe M. MD, Lichtenstein D. MD, and Singh Gurkirpal, MD, “Gastrointestinal Toxicity of Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs”, The New England Journal of Medicine,a June 17, 1999, Vol. 340, No. 24, pp. 1888-1889.)
16,500 deaths.  Related to NSAID drugs.

No witch hunt.

10 deaths over 2 years from ephedrine...a drug used for thousands of years in a safe and effective manner.  Completely unsafe and kills teens faster than Jason does at Camp Crystal Lake.

Seems legit.

Now, and don't take this lightly, there will be another long hard look at creatine.  Because this is how our politicians should be using out time and money.  To look at supplements that have been proven through countless studies to be safe and effective, and determine if they should remove them off the shelves.

And they would be doing so because why?

Creatine rage.

Sit down, take a deep breath, exhale, and let that sink in for a minute.


I don't want to get too sciency here but let's look at what creatine is, or does in your body when you take it.

Creatine, once ingested (I assume he hadn't gone full creatine injection route and was shooting it up...that's sarcasm) arrives at the muscle cells and gets converted into creatine phosphate.  Creatine phosphate then gets broken down into ATP which is used during short, explosive muscular contractions.

Once ATP is depleted, your body will then convert glycogen stored in the muscle to make more ATP.
The conversion of glycogen to ATP is much longer than that of creatine phosphate to ATP.  This is why using creatine, which creates a larger pool of creatine phosphate to be created to ATP, works so well in regards to increasing strength.

Creatine is nothing more than a supplement that gets converted into a fuel used by the body for contractile power.

That's it.

The chance of someone having "rage" from taking creatine is the same as someone having rage from carb loading from eating too many doughnuts.  There is literally no physiological link between creatine and it having the ability to make people angry.

Gotta get that creatine fix by any means necessary 

We're talking creatine here, people.  Not halotestin.  Not PCP.

This of course won't stop people from using "I did a creatine load the night before I killed my family" excuse to justify or rationalize their actions and behaviors.  And of course, if this ever reaches congress due to the media having nothing better to do than cover the Kardashians, then it is possible that just like in the death of Stringer, it could get pulled off the shelves due to it possibly having the potential to cause good cops to beat up high school students, and people to go on homicidal rampages.  Nevermind the fact that millions of people use creatine every year without beating the shit out of their family or roommates.   That won't matter.  What will matter is people will need an excuse for their shitty behavior and a scapegoat will be found for it.

In the meantime, people won't actually take the time out to look at the fact that creatine is the most studied OTC supplement of all time, and that it's never once been found to be anything but safe and effective at what it's supposed to do.  No, what they will do is see this cop yanking around a kid in school and go "Johnnie, you can't take creatine.  It causes rage and homicidal behavior."

I wish that was a scenario made up in my head, but that conversation is going to happen at sometime, somewhere in a GNC store in the near future.


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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Online vs real life coaching - the real scoop

Online coaching has become a big service in this modern age.

There it is - my captain obvious statement for the whole blog post right off the bat.

But for serious, there's a million "online coaches" now and virtually everyone offers a service for meal plans, training, supplementation, how to get laid, whatever.

Of course, the market is saturated because all it takes to know how to train someone or do a diet for someone is enter a single competition after a few months of training and you're good to go.  If you somehow find time on a weekend to get a certification you're even more legit than the next guy/gal who did the same fucking thing.

Not only that, but as an online coach myself, who rarely advertises his services (because I'm a shitty salesman), watching from the outside (I guess I'd actually be on the inside?) I see a lot of chest beating about how superior one guy's services are, compared to the rest.

"Why are you going to these online coaches that offer up cookie cutter programs?  I do custom programming that is tailored to your body, bra size, hair length, BLAH BLAH BLAH."  

This is literally the catch phrase I see over and over again from guys offering online coaching.  Personally, what it says to me is you're really trying to shit on other people to make your services look more appealing.

I suppose that's a part of marketing.  I also think it's horseshit.

First off, not everyone needs "custom" training programs.

There I said it.  Going against the grain, and also calling out some of this bullshit I keep reading.

The qualifications of the liter/athlete will determine what he or she really needs.

A rank beginner or intermediate level lifter needs a "specially customized program" about as much as Whitney Houston needed that last line of coke before bathtime.

In fact, most guys aren't elite enough that they need very customized programming.  Starting guys out on a base template then massaging that template from there, works quite well actually.

Then what do you end up with?  Something custom based on the feedback you are getting from them each week.

Generally speaking, if you know your template, and have made it work for tons of people, then you also know how to massage it to make it work for different people.  I love how certain online coaches say "we're not all special snowflakes" then proceed to say "I do CUSTOM programs.  Not cookie cutter bullshit that other guys are doing."

Well which is it?

So somehow you end up with the special snowflakes?  It is close to Christmas I suppose.  Some neighbors even have lights up already and it's not even Halloween.  Can you believe that shit?  I mean you might as well just put them up after Labor Day at this point.  Or just leave them up all year.  I left my Christmas tree up once until Summer.  The kids told me I should decorate it for every holiday that came along to make the house more "festive".  I thought about it, then realized they were mocking me and took it down the next weekend.

I know how to raise a smart ass.

On the flip side, if the athlete is very elite, then yes, they probably need something more in depth than a base template.  However, this requires a lot of feedback from the athlete to even create such a program.  A beginner or intermediate, or even guys who "think" they are advanced don't often know enough about their body or how to execute movements properly, to give that much feedback.  So you fix those issues first, and start them out with a base.  Not sitting down and writing out a program for 10 hours for someone that can't squat 315.

I've made countless of people better using templates.  So has John Meadows.  So has tons of very good, qualified online coaches.  Again, if you want a guy to end up with a custom program that is REALLY fit for him or her, and they are not exceptionally gifted or elite, then you always massage it as you go along.  Then they HAVE a custom program.  But it starts with a "base".  And even if the program is customized to start, it generally needs massaging as you go.  So what is the difference?  The program is going to change as you go regardless.  How much depends on how the trainee is progressing.

Same goes for diets.  Most of the top coaches start from base templates.  They aren't sitting down and writing out how much tilapia you'll have at 2 P.M. then how many ounces of broccoli to go along with it.  No.  They have a "base" they work from, and massage it from there, based on your progression.  You think a guy with 200 online clients doesn't have templates?  Seriously.

At the heart of it all, doing someone's diet is the easiest part.  Generally when the client fails, more often than not, it's because of their lack of discipline to adhere to said diet.  Is this always the case?  Of course not.  But if a coach has a string of success behind him there will be some stragglers that come along that simply do not adhere to what their coach has told them, then say their services were sub-par.

On the flip side, I see a lot of guys that do in person training bashing online coaching.  I will agree with them that to an extent, in person coaching has a ton more advantages over online coaching.  You can really fix a lot more problems with someone in person than online, even if you have video.  You get to know the person on a more personal level.  Although that can have drawbacks too.  Like dealing with all of their personal problems that they inevitably bring into the training session.  And if you're with someone long enough, that will most likely happen.  Now you're not only a trainer, you're a therapist.  Something you're probably not qualified to be one since you know, you're teaching them how to lift weights and scold them for sneaking a Snicker's bar when they aren't supposed to have one.

But in-person coaches shit on online coaches for the same reason online coaches shit on other online coaches.  To make one seem more credible than the other.  And that's horseshit too.

Truthfully, there's great in person coaches, and shitty in person coaches.  And there's great online coaches, and shitty ones.  I mean this is how everything in life works.  It's not limited to teaching people how to build a better body or move more weight.  You can insert this into every career on the face of the planet.

"There's great doctors, who save lives.  And shitty doctors who leave the scissors in your stomach as they sew you back up."

"There's great porn stars, and shitty ones who make your libido crash and die faster than walking in on your grandma and grandpa getting it on."

Or maybe you're into that.  I'm not judging.  Maybe I am in this case.  Because if that IS your thing, then seek immediate psychological attention.  You should never ever get turned on by seeing that.  So if you happen to be the person that does, and you're reading this, look for 5 star therapists in your area and book an appointment immediately.

Now where was I....

Oh yeah, in person vs online coaching and shit vs non-shit.

As for in person guys shitting on online coaching, you can walk into 100% of the gyms in the nation and find shitty in person coaches in there.  Or you can find someone who really knows their shit.  So in that regard, this is no different than online coaches either.

I am going to leave at this -

What all of it boils down to, is results.

Whether you spend 19 hours writing out a guys program (Freddie's programs generally take my half a day to write out because well, he's an IFBB champion) or whether or not you use a base template and massage it from there, what matters with coaching is one thing.


Does your online or in person coach get results from the majority of his or her clients on a consistent basis?

If the answer is yes, then the methods he uses aren't worth debating over.  Are they?

If the coach doesn't get results from the majority of his or her clients on a consistent basis, then they could spend 19 days writing something out, and it's of little relevance.  Who cares about how long it took someone to write out a diet or program if it doesn't produce results?

Your coach should have a lot of these to show you

I've seen tons of articles about what makes someone qualified and there's always some list of shit that honestly, doesn't matter if the coach isn't getting results with clients.

How strong you are, or how much weight you can lift has zero relevance on how great of a coach you are.

What someone totalled on the platform doesn't make them a good or bad coach.  What matters is, do they make the lifters they are training better?  Yes or no?   That's it.  Nothing else need be asked.

Does the in-person or online coach get their bodybuilder/figure/fitness/bikini/tuxedo get results, and put their clients in the best possible position to win?  Yes or no?

There is no list of "this is what your coach needs in order to be qualified."

It's easy.  Ask to see their success stories.  Either they have them, or they don't.  All the pre-sales hype bullshit means nothing without tangible results.  And all of the certifications and degrees in the world mean nothing without results.

To quote my friend and "coach", Trevor Kashey..."produce or shut the fuck up."  

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