Monday, March 23, 2015

Myths, fallacies, and flat out bullshit

Almost every day I sift through an assortment of "information" (if you want to call it that) of training "gems" (and by gems I mean polished turds) and "wisdom" (and by wisdom I mean shit that makes me want to slap myself in the nutsack) doled out by people who apparently think they are doing people a favor by enlightening them.

This article is profanity laced.  So if profanity makes your pussy hurt, get out now.

Just go heavy - 

This has probably become one of my most hated mottos in lifting.

"When in doubt, just go heavy."

"Go heavy or go home."

"Some hardcore bullshit on a shirt about grinding."

The fact is, going heavy should comprise the LEAST amount of your training time for the year.  The LEAST.

Your low rep work like doubles, triples and such, should be fast.  Not grinding.

Your rep work, support work, bodybuilding, etc should all be in rep ranges that automatically mean you're using a fairly low percentage of your one rep max.

I once read a really simple peaking approach by Andy Bolton, who I think knows a lot about intelligent program design, and he basically summed up 6 weeks like this.

Week 1 - Light
Week 2 - Light
Week 3 - Medium
Week 4 - Medium
Week 5 - Heavy
Week 6 - Heavy

This looks smart to me.  Intelligent.  I have no idea what "heavy all the time" is supposed to look like, in regards to programming.   Maybe it looks like this.....

Week 1 - heavy
Week 2 - epically heavy
Week 3 - brutally heavy
Week 4 - homicidally heavy
Week 5 - makes ethic cleansing look like easter at Grandma's house HEAVY

The best way to grind your progress to a halt is to push weights onto the bar too quickly.  The best way to get bogged down mentally and physically is to "load the bar" every training session.  There's something to be said in regards to staying fresh, and feeling good and the impact that has on stringing together many weeks and months of productive training.

Using absolutes in training is usually a terrible idea (see how I avoided using an absolute right there?).  So if the answer is "just" go heavy, it's bullshit.  Going heavy is only a small piece of the training puzzle.

Cardio - 

Why so much fretting over it?  I see people debate whether you need to do HIIT or that steady state is worthless, or now that of all things, cardio will make you fat.  All those decades, bodybuilders did cardio only to step onstage fat.  When generally it was the ones that didn't do enough cardio (and clen) that stepped onstage fat.  And I know some of those.

To quote my diet guy Trevor Kashey on this matter, and something I've reiterated myself multiple times, from a muscular development standpoint, you can and probably will max out your genetic potential in 5-10 years naturally, with just proper training and nutrition.  If you don't stay natural, well, there's all sorts of possibilities and they vary from person to person based on the laws of individuality.

But let's cut through some bullshit here.

If you think you're going to lose gains or muscle mass because you did 30 minutes worth of cardio a few times a week, then you are a candidate for those suffering from extreme mental poverty.

It is true that if you just stop training all together that muscle loss will occur fairly rapidly.  However it doesn't take a lot of training to simply maintain what you have built.  The fear of muscle loss across the spectrum of the lifting community boggles my fucking mind.  People have all sorts of panic now over losing gains if they miss a workout or two, or miss a meal or go for a fucking hike for a few hours.

"Went for a hike bro.  All gains lost!"

Cardio isn't going to strip you of all of your mass.  Unless most of that mass is you know, FAT MASS.

It will help get you in better shape, help you drop some fat, and unless you're just going overboard with it, it's not going to rob you of all the precious muscle you built.  Especially if you keep it at a low enough intensity.  You know, like that same degree of intensity you just walk around casually at? Yeah, you're not going to suddenly find muscle falling off of you if you do cardio at that kind of pace.  Especially if you're not natural.

And so long as you're training even moderately hard and giving your body a reason to retain muscle mass, it's pretty much fucking impossible to just "lose muscle."  unless your diet is totally devoid of any adequate amount of protein or so low in calories not even a hamster could go a few rotations on a wheel.  So yeah, eat some protein, do some cardio, keep training.  You aren't going to suddenly wake up and find all of your muscle gone from some fucking cardio.

If anything, getting in better shape will help your work capacity tremendously and generally that means you can do more work in the gym in less time, and that actually means the ability to provide more stimulus to spark the growth process.  From there, it's rest and food.  But cardio isn't the fucking devil or even your ex-wife/husband.  It's not even a shitty one night stand.

It's not going to strip you of all your muscle and the constant fear of muscle loss in the training community is at a paranoid level and completely overstated.  Stop freaking the fuck out about it.

A big reason why so many guys think they lose muscle when they actually do cardio and diet properly is because (and I've said this before) most guys think they aren't as fat as they actually are.  The 15% dude is usually 20% or more.  So he always thinks he can just drop 25 pounds and be lean.  Then of course it doesn't happen.  So if he continues he usually has to end up losing a lot of fat, and complains he lost muscle in the process because now he's a "shell" of his former self.  When in all reality he was just too fat to begin with.

So do some cardio and train and stop fucking worrying about it.  If you plan on doing a bodybuilding show, and want to show up fat as fuck, then by all means avoid cardio all together.  Mission will be accomplished.

Natural vs Enhanced Frequency - 

There's been this ongoing trend, especially in the natural "community" to bench, squat, deadlift, etc multiple times a week.  Calling it the "natural community" makes me feel like "nattys" are similar to the Amish.  Except instead of going without electricity, they go without "sauce".  And just like the Amish, many of them need to broadcast their abstinence of "good things" quite often.  Like we care.

Juicers (no, not the people who mix up fruits and veggies in a highly powdered blender), apparently recover faster, can train more, train harder, run faster, swim farther, fuck harder and for longer (that part is really true), tan easier, cook tastier meals, free fall from the sky at greater velocity, shoot guns with more accuracy, and build faster drag cars than people suffering in the "natty community".

So if enhanced guys can recover faster, train harder, and more often, then why aren't they taking advantage of that by benching 10,087 times a week, squatting 392,302 times a week and pulling 12,304 times a week?

I keep reading that this is what natural guys must do in order to maximize their potential.  So they have to train more, because they recover less easily.


I'm confusing myself.

Lemme try this again.

The enhanced guy = recovers faster, so he can train less often and still make those sweet gainz.

Natural guy = recovers slower than enhanced man, must train more often because....he recovers order to make those sweet gainz.

"Paul, the enhanced guy can not train at all and gain muscle.  It's been shown in studies."

Oh I know.  I know so many fucking jacked roided out guys that do nothing at all in the way of gym time.  They just sit on their couch and blast tren and mast and test all day everyday, and get jacked as fuck.  Never lift a weight at all.

Now THAT most excellent sire, is truly cheating.

Unfortunately, it really doesn't work that way.  Regardless of what some study reported.

Both guys have to train in a way that suits their recovery ability.  Just because you get "on" doesn't mean you suddenly have super recovery powers.  If that were the case, then all the guys "on" would just train more, as the pundits constantly point out, and they would progress at such a rapid speed that people would accuse them of being on steroids.


Ok, nevermind.

I've literally heard every single side of this debate and it always sounds like people talking in circles to me.

So let's clear the air here a little bit.

Natural guys don't have to train the lifts more often.  Some guys may need to, and some may not.  It really all depends on how they respond to such frequency.  There is no magic in benching multiple times a week for everyone.  Same for squatting, and same for deadlifting.

When/if you get on or are on, the same rule applies.

I don't write programs and ask if the guy is a member of the natural Amish community, or a dirty fucking steroid user.  I just program him based off of the information he gives me, and we roll with it from there, and adjust based on what I'm seeing.  Sometimes you take things away, and sometimes you add.  It's all based on his own personal progression.

My own personal experience is that the systematic recovery of sauce is a bit overstated.  I think the localized muscle recovery process is sped up quite significantly.  However, as noted in my article about overtraining, there are many other factors that involve recovery that I don't believe anabolics play as much of a significant role in.  I know, some bookworm will link a study, but I am speaking from my own personal experience, and the experience of other dudes I've talked to about this.  None of them told me that their training frequency increased once they got on the sauce.  I do believe that anabolics make you more "training sensitive", i.e. your body grows better/more efficiently but again, I believe that is mostly do to increases muscle protein synthesis and that does not address the systematic issue of recovery.  So yes, I do understand "why" a guy on the sauce can train with less frequency, and still make sweet ass gainz.

However what I am getting at then is this....

If training the lifts more often each week is what works for the Amish, then why don't guys on the sauce do it, since they recovery better, and going by this particular anecdote, would make even better gains?

For some reason it just doesn't work that way for everyone now does it?


And this is why you can't always rely on a god damn study.

Conclusion - 

Anytime something goes against the grain of everything we have seen anecdotally, I question it until I can either rule it out, or until I understand it.

Lots of articles are nothing more than click bait to get people in an uproar (much like this I'm just kidding....but seriously maybe it I'm just kidding....but maybe...) and it often works.

The fact is, regardless of what science finds, we do IN FACT, already know what works.  At this point, studies and science are really just filling in some small details.  Many times, about things that in the big picture, largely unimportant.

This doesn't keep me from reading most of it, as I do want to know and understand these things to the best of my ability.  However it also keeps me from buying into a lot of bullshit, or even being able to say that regardless of what the study reported, or what some internet guru wrote (no I'm not a guru, so stop) is complete bullshit as well.


Get all LRB books on E-Junkie -

Follow LRB on Facebook -

Follow LRB on IG -


  1. Disappointed you forgot to address "high reps work only for juicers".

  2. There does seem to be a trend that the top natural powerlifters bench and squat heavy like 3 times a week (Ben Rice comes to mind) and these guys are strong as shit, however I never understood how they progress that way. I've tried that sort of frequency many times and every time I've done so my workouts start to suck and feel heavy and my joints begin to hurt a couple weeks in. I'm more of a fan of the sort of frequency you seem to recommend hitting the same body part/movement every 4-5 days.
    Also it seems like the guys who do the same lifts very frequently like that don't carry a whole lot of muscle mass despite being very strong. Do you have any idea why this might be? A limited movement selection is my best guess.

    1. Not to crap on Ben, because I love the guy, but he's really leveraged for squats and pulls, but not so much for bench. So that style of training hasn't really paid off for him on bench.

      I think guys that favorably leveraged for a lift can train it more often without the inroads to recovery that guys not suited for a lift are.

  3. So do you feel that the perceived loss of strength is due to loss of body weight and less surplus calories and not the cardio itself? It just seems that this myth is the most prevalent one. It even seems your strength fluctuates based on body weight. 275lbs numbers are a lot higher than 240lbs.

    1. It's due to a lack of calories, ATP, glycogen, etc.

  4. "Makes ethnic cleansing look like easter at Grandma's heavy"....Dude! I was laughing so hard that my wife started questioning my sanity. Spot on.