Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Fitness Industry - Extremes and addictions - Part 1

The most paradoxical thing about the word "fitness industry" to me, has always been that there's so little about fitness involved in it.

What I mean by that is, when most people think of the word fitness, they think of healthy, or a lifestyle that brings about good health.  Oh hell, let's reference Webster's.....

  1. the condition of being physically fit and healthy.

I think for the average person, when they hear the word fitness, they envision power walking whilst wearing a Nike headband, then having some granola after.  Doing some "power aerobics" on Saturday morning, then a Yoga class on Sunday.  Lots of inhaling of the positive energy and exhaling of the negative.  Stocking up on kale, yogurt, and anything they heard on TV that had a lot of calcium.  You know, because calcium makes your bones as strong as Wolverine's.  And he's healthy.

"Look how fast he heals!  Of course he's healthy!"

Something like that.

In reality, the fitness industry isn't filled with a lot of "health".  Sure, there are healthy aspects that can be taken away from it.  But you need to be smart enough to have a filter to discern which parts those are.

For example, one of the funniest things to me is that pro bodybuilders will often shun drinking anything with an artificial sweetener, then go home and inject trenbolone.

"Well that's because the artificial sweetener can have an impact on how he or she looks."

No, I've literally had guys tell me they don't drink or use artificial sweeteners because, essentially, "it's bad for you."

These kinds of moments do make for great entertainment in my head.  I will say that.

Can you imagine this kind of thinking from the average street drug user?

"I won't eat McDonald's.  That food is terrible for you.  Now hand me that crack pipe."

Oh you think that's a dumb comparison?  Tren wasn't meant to be used by people.  At least cocaine still has real medical uses.  And there is at least SOME cocaine in crack.  You just gotta add baking soda, and boil some water...I don't know the ingredients or recipe, I'm just saying.

The goal of extremes will usually cause people to cast out sanity, and embrace the insanity that is often required to push one well beyond the scope of their natural limits.  All the while losing grasp on what really is logical, and what is not.

And let's be honest; we both admire and encourage that.  Meaning, every meme, t-shirt, or motivational quote that embraces never taking a day off, training until you puke or getting rhabdo, is somehow to be admired.  When in fact, most of these things are actually counter productive.

Personally, I've never thrown up from training ever.  Not once.  I've come close on a few occasions but it's never happened.

Sometimes the response to that is, "well then you've never trained hard enough."

I guess I haven't.  I've done 30+ rep squats with 315 pounds until I literally hit failure and couldn't stand anymore.  I got dizzy, and had to lay down for a long time, and almost lost my lunch, but never actually puked.  I've also never gotten car or plane sick, or threw up from riding roller coasters all day.  I guess the roller coasters I rode weren't hardcore enough.

I did a seven hour belt testing once when I was in Krav Maga.  In the middle of the summer with no air conditioning.  Despite going through over 30 bottled waters that day, my whole body cramped up so bad that evening I thought I was going to pass out.  Truthfully, it shouldn't have gone on that long.  It was some slugs that drug the testing out longer than it had to be.

I once did the 9/11 Firefighter challenge.  Climbing 110 flights of stairs wearing firefighter gear.  That was one of the hardest and most challenging things I've ever done in my life.  It took about three hours to complete, and I almost blacked out on a few occasions (I didn't train for it specifically and learned later that there are plenty of firefighters each year that do it, that don't finish).

I never puked.  Maybe I'm not a puker.  I have no idea.

Either way, the point is, puking and passing out and going far beyond what our body is capable of is often applauded and cheered with great reverence.  And honestly, I do it as well.

For competitors.

What I often have trouble coming to grips with, are those that embrace the extreme parts of this "lifestyle" that don't compete.

Years ago, I was on a message board and there was a guy talking about how he was loading up on his cycle.  He was going to blast this and run that, and get up to X amount of pounds before the Mr. Olympia.

Not to be onstage, mind you.  But, and I quote, "to be the biggest guy in the audience."

Hey man, I get it.  We all want the admiration and affirmation of our peers and fellow gym rats and iron slingers, but I'm not sacrificing years off my life so I could potentially be the biggest guy sitting down in an audience.  How is this any different than some girl saying she's going to starve herself for months before a fashion show so she can be the skinniest chick in attendance?

I really don't think it is.

"Well, anorexia and bulimia are unhealthy, and need to also be treated as an emotional disorder as well as an eating disorder."

I agree.

And clearly, injecting 6 grams of anabolics into your body a week and having a grocery list that reads 70 eggs, 14 tins of tuna, 10.5 pounds of beef,  10 pounds of chicken, 9 gallons of nonfat milk, 4 loaves of bread, and as many sacks of brown rice and whole wheat pasta as part of a "week of eating" to be the biggest guy in attendance, is completely healthy, sane, and normal.

Clearly, there's no emotional issues or eating disorders involved here.

Isn't this simple just reverse anorexia?  Muscle dysmorphia, I believe it's called.  A fear of being too small, or the perception of not being muscular enough.  Certainly, the "fitness industry" is filled with people suffering from said disorder.  Again, I'm not just talking about competitors.  I basically expect them to have this issue, as they literally put themselves up in front of people for the sake of being judges on how lean, muscular, and symmetrical they are.  For the professionals, it's also how they make a living, and feed their families.  Most elite level athletes and professionals I know, go to extremes because it is their livelihood.

I'm talking about people who end up gravitating towards this lifestyle, that find themselves "living it" without ever competing, yet try to live the competitors lifestyle.

"Well what's wrong with trying to be the very best you can be, Paul?"

Nothing.  Nothing at all.  But let's apply some fucking context to the situation as well.  You know, some common sense and god damn logic here.

Not a single person would ever tell a woman suffering from anorexia or bulimia, that it's ok.  Yet in this industry, we do often applaud even non-competitors who push to the same extremes in the other direction.  "Bro, you are looking jacked." said to the guy who is purple or a nice shade of magenta, sweating his ass off just standing in one spot.

We don't applaud anorexia or other eating disorders because at the core of "good people" we don't wish to see people destroying their life with emotionally unhealthy habits and vices.  Somehow, this often doesn't get applied to people on the other end of the spectrum, who are doing the very same thing.

"Well it's his life.  He'll pay for it."

Apply that same situation to someone standing over a girl who is performing self induced vomiting because she feels she isn't skinny enough.  Sounds fucking atrocious doesn't it?

"Good job, girl.  Some people just want to be the best they can be."

Does any of this seem logical to you?

Some people are going to try and tell me how these things are not paralleled at all, but I fail to see it.  For non-competitors, especially those who have a previous history of addictive behavior, one of the worst things they can do is try to emulate the diet, training, and overall lifestyle of people who do compete.  More importantly, if you have such a history, you need to understand that competing may lead you down a similar dark path that you had walked on previously.  But instead of the road being littered with amphetamines, ecstasy, or cocaine, it will be clenbuterol, DNP, tren, anadrol, and various form of diuretics.

And for what?  To be the biggest guy in the gym?  Or sitting in the audience?  To be the leanest girl walking around at an expo?

All of these factors come back to an inability to find a degree of self love and self worth that keep someone from self abuse.  When someone can't find enough self worth, then their only option is to find it from external sources.  And just like any drug or stimulus, over time, they need more and more of it to get the "fix" they desire.

A common bond that I believe most of us muscleheads share, is that we all came from a place where we felt unworthy, unappreciated, low on self esteem and self worth.  Lifting is what gave us so many of those things.  And the feeling of finding those things, is intoxicating.  To be told we look strong, jacked, awesome, etc.  This ends up becoming our addiction.  And we need more and more of it.  And for some people, this overwhelming need for approval is what leads them down the road to abuse.

I often think of the movie Requiem For A Dream.  The characters in the movie devolve from pretty normal people, just pawning a TV for pot money at worst, to full blown drug addicts willing to do anything to get that next fix.  It doesn't happen in an instant.  It doesn't occur overnight.  They took small, seemingly insignificant steps over time until they arrived at rock bottom.

And no one thinks it can happen to them.  Despite the overwhelming amount of guys that are on kidney dialysis now, or that have suffered from heart attacks at very young ages, they always blame these guys conditions on other factors.  Ignoring the single common denominator.


Again, this isn't just competitors.  This is normal people who end up trying to emulate a competitor's lifestyle, and ultimately pay for doing so.

What isn't often seen is that the people who feel the most insignificant on the inside, the more significant each of them tries to appear on the outside.  Trying to create a facade of invincibility behind a wall of muscle mass, strength, and appeal via physique.

Lost in all of this along the way for some people, is that they work so hard on their exterior, that they forget to strengthen the interior to go with it.  Some of the biggest and strongest people I have known, are also the most insecure, and emotionally broken.  Constantly being told how "inspirational" they are by the masses when all the while, they can barely cope with normal day to day stresses in life. Wilting under fairly basic life problems.

I've seen it first hand, and it's not a pretty thing to watch.

I absolutely am not out to change the industry, nor do I even have a wish to or a name big enough to do so.  The industry is far too big for that, and the fact is, people want to see "freaks".  And so long as there is a demand for that, there will be a supply.  No one will ever be able to change that.

Admire and respect it, no different than you would a lion or tiger in a zoo.  But throwing yourself into the lion's den is a pretty fucking stupid idea.  You're sealed off from that area for a reason.

If your goal is to be jacked, and be strong, but you don't have a desire to compete or chase world records or turn pro, then you have no reason to resort to extremes.  Moderation will serve you very well in this case.  If you have a history of addictive behavior, then competing probably isn't for you either.  Because more than likely, you're going to find yourself repeating previous addictive behaviors that simply manifest themselves in other ways.

Some people don't care that it will take years, possibly decades off of their life.  I've even read where people wrote..."it's going to be worst 10 years of my life, so they can have it."


I bet Mike Matarazzo thought that when he was in his 30's too.  When he was lying on his death bed at 49 years old he said "it wasn't worth it."

Being super human big and strong is cool.

You know what else is cool?  Longevity.

You always take the chance of losing one, when you chase the other.  So you have to ask yourself with some degree of honesty; do you want to be the "old guy in the gym still kicking ass" when you're 70, and in good health.  Or the guy that was 290 ripped in his 30's, now lying in a hospital bed, waiting on a kidney transplant or dying from liver disease in his 40's.

Guess who is still in the gym kicking ass and who isn't?

If you're the female that suffered from depression, anxiety, anorexia, or bulimia, then plunging yourself into a lifestyle that accepts and appreciates other types of extremes is probably going to lead you back down another dark and isolated road.

What this all comes back to is being introspective enough to know who you are, what you want out of lifting, life, and what really is most important to you.  Instead of living in the moment, ask yourself if achieving these extreme goals are worth compromising your health and sanity over.  Because it's very possible that is what you're going to have to give up.

At the end of the day, regardless of what you read on the net, no one gives a shit what you can lift.  No one gives a shit what your biceps measure.  I can tell you from experience those things are a well that will never quench your thirst.  This sentiment is echoed by so many that have walked that path, won, and said they still felt empty on the other side of it.

The love of self and the unwavering commitment of those who will always walk through fire with you will outweigh any amount you can ever put on the bar.  But you have to find a way to appreciate that more than what's on the bar, and what you see in the mirror everyday.

That's entirely up to you.

In Part 2, I will cover diets, and eating disorders seen in the industry............

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Friday, May 29, 2015

Maximum Muscle Mass book in the works

Sorry I haven't been posting much.

Christian Thibs and I are working on a new book, called "Maximum Muscle Mass".

This will be the most in-depth and most complete work I've done yet.  We've already got four chapters done with over 20,000 words and we haven't even scratched the surface of everything we're going to cover.

We intend to leave no stone unturned in this and will be a must have book for anyone looking to get jacked, lose fat, and gain more muscle.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day Sale - 25% off

Memorial Day Sale

25% off all shirts
 Sale will last until May 26th
 Coupon Code

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Starting off right

One of the worst mistakes I often see young dudes making is that of copying advanced guys routines.

They look at elite level bodybuilders or powerlifters and want to know what they do for training, then think that it somehow means if they use that routine, then they will make the kind of muscular gains the elite level guy does.

First off, each person needs to experiment enough to find out what he can tolerate in terms of recovery, what movements he responds best to for his leverages, his level of development, and the areas he needs the most work in.  And it takes time to know your body enough to figure these things out so that you can write your own training program to take advantage of your strengths, and correct your weaknesses.

An advanced lifter is usually arranging his routine based around the specific things HE or SHE needs at that moment in time, what they can recover from, and often times things they can do pain free (because of previous injury).

You're better off, if you want to ask them a question, ask them what kind of training they did at a similar stage in their training life that you are in now. Or what kind of training they recommend for someone at your level.

Copying the pros is really a terrible idea. If you're 155 pounds and haven't built a solid base of strength and muscle mass, then doing 5 sets of cable crossovers and then 5 sets of flyes is a huge waste of your time.

Second, regardless of what you read on the net, most cookie cutter routines are in fact a good starting place for novice and intermediate lifters just to get that base started.  

But outside of that, what are some "do's and don'ts" that a young guy should be adhering to when trying to figure out his own way?  

This is not an all inclusive list, but it's a good starting point.

Do - 

Train at least four times a week -  

A lot of beginner programs suggest training three times a week but I think it needs to be more.  

I will explain why.

When you are a novice or intermediate, adaptation to stimulus is at an all time high.  But so is recovery.  This is why growth and progress are so substantial in the early stages.  Because the body is having to learn coordination of the movements, incurs muscle damage very easily, and yet also because you're not very strong can recover quite easily.  

If you want to progress as quickly as possible, train four to six times a week as a beginner.  As you progress up through the intermediate ranks, you will then probably have to scale things back, and maybe even more become very advanced.  

Base your program around the big lifts -  

You've read this a million times more than likely.  But there's a good reason for it.  A beginner has no idea how to "make the muscle work" so everything you do is "moving weight through space."  

And this is perfectly fine for right now.  Until that mind to muscle connection develops, there's no need to worry about isolation movements or machine work.  

From top to bottom, movement selection should be - 

Chest - Bench press, incline press, dips
Shoulders - Overhead Press
Back - Barbell and dumbbell rows, chins
Arms - Close Grip Bench, barbell curls
Legs - Squats, stiff legged deadlifts, lunges

This is a great list to start with and one can arrange a myriad of routines just based around these movements.  

An easy way to split this out is as follows -

Day 1 - Chest - Shoulders - Arms
Day 2 - Legs and Back
Day 3 - Rest
Day 4 - Chest - Shoulders - Arms
Day 5 - Legs and Back
Day 6 and 7 - off

Start learning and applying some basic nutrition - 

This is a good time to ditch shit like fast food, simple sugars, and overly processed foods.  

At some point down the line, you're going to get a wake up call that your diet plays a major role in how you look and how you perform.  Garbage in is garbage out.  So it's important that you start making changes now that solidify good eating habits.  

A few sub-points to apply here are as follows - 

1.  Never train fasted - This is perhaps the dumbest idea to come along in a while from fad diets.  Intermittent fasting pretty much the dumbest thing in the history of muscle building diets I've ever read.  It violates all the principles we KNOW you must follow to grow (increasing muscle protein synthesis and reducing muscle protein breakdown as much as possible post training, as well as reducing cortisol).  Eat a few hours before you train.  A good protein source, some clean carbohydrates like oatmeal or cream of rice, and a small amount of fats.  
2.  Eat a good meal post training - Again, no one ever grew and got bigger from not eating.  Follow the same recommendation the pre-training meal has.  A good protein source like chicken, lean red meat, turkey, or eggs, and a good carbohydrate source.  You don't need to fret nutrient timing at this stage of your training life so there's no need to get overly complicated about it.
3.  Cut out fast food and junk food - Or reduce it as much as possible.  Which leads to point four.
4.  Learn how to cook - If you're a grown ass man, you should know how to cook some basic shit.  Eggs, steak, chicken, rice, etc.  It's not hard to grill up 6 chicken breasts at a time for the next few days of eating.  Cook a big pot of rice and you've got several meals ready for the next few days.  When you eat it all, repeat.  This is not difficult. 
5.  Learn how to count calories - I don't care what you've read, and what some diet guru tells you.  Counting calories DOES WORK.  The last few years the net has been overrun with gurus who try to confuse people by molesting science and studies to somehow prove that counting calories does not work.  It absolutely fucking does.  It is true that all calories are not equal, i.e. 100 calories from gummy bears isn't going to be the same as 100 calories from sweet potatoes, but once you understand good food selection calories counting DOES WORK.  Stop listening to these guys that tell you that basic calorie counting does not work.  If you're eating a quality selection of foods, then taking in fewer calories than you are using for the day will get you leaner.  Taking in more will make you gain weight.  It's really that simple.  No, it really is.  
6.  Understand protein, fat, and carbohydrate requirements at a basic level - Once you figure out how many calories you need for the day, if you're taking in 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight (this applies regardless of your level of experience) then you fill the rest of your diet in with 20% of your daily calories coming from fat, and whatever is left over coming from carbs.  That's it.  It's that simple.  By the way, 1 gram of protein is 4 calories, 1 gram of carbohydrate is 4 calories, and 1 gram of fat is 9 calories. 

Learn how to warm up properly - 

I see beginners fuck this up a lot.  They go to bench 185 for reps and do 95 for a million reps.  Then 135 for a million reps.  Then right to 185.  

A better option in this case would be like so -

Bar - 2 sets of 20
95 - 1 set of 8
115 - 1 set of 5
135 - 1 set of 4
155 - 1 set of 3
170 - 1 set of 2
185 - work sets

Work on perfecting technique - 

You're going to spend the rest of your training life doing this.  You might as well get in the habit of it now.  

If you don't have a good coach to help you learn, then spend a lot of time reading and watching videos from guys who have good technique, and figure out for you, based on your leverages, what that looks and feels like.  This is going to take some time, but if you're in this for the long haul then how long it takes doesn't really matter.  This is the best investment you can make early on that pays off later.  The last thing you want to do is worry about relearning all your movements after you've spent years developing muscle movement patterns that really aren't efficient for your leverages.  

Don't - 

Spend a bunch of money on supplements - 

A good protein powder at this point is about all you need.  You do not fucking need some pre-workout, creatine (no, you really don't), HMB, glutamine, an assortment of multi-vitamins, or any other pill or powder.  

I will give you an example of this.  

Creatine is a supplement that REALLY works.  It does.  However people soon started showing up saying they were "creatine non-responders".  Turns out, through studies, it was people who simply did not have enough muscle mass for creatine to work, i.e. the "container" (the amount of muscle they had) simply wasn't big enough for it to make a difference.  In essence, adding creatine made no difference because they got all the creatine they needed through food.  

One thing I know is that the things that apply to novice guys, often don't apply to advanced guys on so many levels, and vice versa.  This is just another example of why noobs don't need to be applying all the methods advanced guys use.

Get your FOOD right first.  

Max out - 

I still can't find a reason to max out in the gym after 26 years.  If you're competing, save your big lifts for the platform.  If you're a bodybuilder, you literally have NO REASON to max out.  If you're a gym rat that doesn't compete in anything, I still can't find a reason.  

"For fun." is about the only thing I've heard that is even applicable.  

If you need to "test" where you are, a hard triple or set of five will let you know.  But especially at the beginner or intermediate level, I just see zero reasons to max out in the gym.  Just zero.  There are far too many other things you should be concerned with than what your one rep max is.  

Is your technique perfect?  Or even really, really good?


So you're doing a one rep max using really shitty technique.  Awesome.  

Be smart.  Not stupid.  

Do a bunch of isolation work - 

I see so many guys that come into the gym with 11" arms and 36" chests that have horrible technique on everything, and are weak as hell, and they spend their whole time in the gym doing 1 arm dumbbell preacher curls, cable crossovers, and leg extensions.  

Those movements can and do have a place.  They just don't have a place for you if you're serious about making improvements as quickly as possible.  The more time you spend doing these kinds of movements, the less time you have to spend on working on the things that will pay off biggest in the long run.

Allow form to break down to get in more reps - 

This comes back to drilling your technique.  

You have to remember that you are creating habits in the early stages of your training.  So if you create bad habits, they become hard to break later on.  I still see advanced guys that get into shitty positions on their maximal lifts all the time.  The reason this is, is because they taught themselves in the early stages that it was ok to allow technique to break down in order to get a lift in.  

I used to think that on maximal attempts that "hey, some form is going to break down.  It's not a beauty contest."  But the fact is, if your technique is breaking down then it means something in the chain is very weak, and needs to be addressed.  Since you're a noob, and are weak everywhere, it behooves you to start creating habits now not to let technique breakdown, and understand that doing so is a great way to get injured, create muscular imbalances, and miss lifts later in competition.  

You should be able to hit maximal lifts in perfect technique.  If you've spent enough time perfecting technique then why would you break away from perfect technique to get a lift in?  So you spend all this time squatting, pressing, and deadlifting a certain way, only to deviate from it in competition?  Doesn't make a lot of sense.  

Learning the proper technique and applying it should mean you are in the best possible leverages position to execute the lift.  If your technique breaks down...then what are you in?  

Worry about "weak points" - 

You're weak everywhere.  The whole "weak points" thing used to be the biggest matra on the net and everyone became very obsessed with finding out every weak point they had.  When you're a beginner or novice, you're weak everywhere.  At some point down the line you may reach a point where you are in a position to ask yourself "where are my weak points?" but right now is not the time.  Just get stronger overall on the big lifts with proper form.  

Fret if it's not all perfect at first - 

To throw a cliche out there to end this, lifting a long journey.  It takes a long time to get certain things "right".  Don't worry if it's not all perfect within the first few years of training.  The point of training is to practice getting it perfect.  And that is going to take a very long time.  

But if you eat like a champion, train like a champion, and develop a championship mindset, then eventually it will all come together and you'll perform like a champion.  

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

The hard road of betterment

One of the strangest things about your walk on personal betterment is the realization that, once you start to get closer to actual improvement, the more obvious your flaws become.

Where contrary, when you think you're "doing pretty good" you're about as far away as you can possibly get.

I noticed this the most when I was a very spiritual person.

When I thought I was doing pretty good, and living a very spiritual life, is often when I was not adhering to the ideologies that I confessed I believed in.

When I was actually doing all the things I needed to do, is when I realized just how far off the beaten path I'd gotten.

Complacency makes it very easy for us to lie to ourselves. To find comfort in something that is actually breaking down, and falling apart all around us, yet we are oblivious to see it.

Walk into a fixer upper house. In your mind you see all of the things that have to be fixed before you would deem it livable for you.

At some point, that house was new. And beautiful. Someone moved into it and loved it. Then over time, paid less and less attention to it. So it slowly began to fall apart. To the point to where it became a "fixer upper".

So many facets of our lives often become like that.

Over time, we get used to behaving a certain way, talking a certain way, accepting certain things, and we don't even notice that the things that used to get a lot of attention...things we cared deeply about, have all become fixer uppers.

I read a long time ago that if you have a relationship that is falling apart, find a way back to doing the things you did for each other that made you fall in love.

I think that can feel hard when all you want to do is sell the house to "we buy junk houses" and move on with your life. Take a loss, and say fuck it. Let it rot.

I think that also creates poor habits in regards to learning how to take our own fixer uppers and make them new again. 

People often talk about overcoming odds and obstacles and how failing makes you better, then the road behind them is littered with excuses as to why it was "just too fucking hard".

Yeah it's fucking hard. The hard part is what makes you better. The hard part is what creates fear. And fear is good, because it gives us chance and a reason to show courage about something. So that even if it falls in around us, we can at least say "I did my very fucking best, and it failed."

And everyone likes these notions. Everyone likes these ideas and these sayings, but they hate the application of it. Because complacency feels so damn good. It's comfortable. It allows us to sit and believe, "hey, I'm doing pretty good." while the walls are lined with mold and roaches are scattering when the lights come on.

It's hard as fuck to get out of that comfortable chair and say "I can't live in this shit anymore. And this is my responsibility. I allowed all of this to crumble around me. I'm not very good right now, and I need to clean this place the fuck up."

But unfortunately, what most people do is throw their hands up in the air and say "fuck this shit! I'm out!" Very few people want to change. Even fewer ever do actually change. For most people it's not until things are too late, or there has been some cataclysmic form of loss in their life that causes a paradigm shift big enough to cause change. Because when it does, it forces them to actually look at just how far away they are from being "good enough". You know, the thing they think they are while their life is submerged in a huge pile of shit.

It's funny, ever notice when you walk into a place that smells really bad, after a few minutes you don't notice it anymore? The stench didn't go away, you just get used to it. And then you stop caring about taking out all the rotten shit out to the trash where it belongs instead of living with it.  

This is often one of the biggest roadblocks in regards to getting better at lifting, or anything in your own life.  The overtaking of complacency, and the inability to be introspective enough to realize how far away you are from being what you want to be.  Being good, or even great, requires a tremendous amount of self reflection so that one can accurately diagnose all the areas they are truly weak in.  And people don't often like taking a long look at their own personal flaws and weaknesses.  

"I'm a good person."

This is some shit assholes constantly say.  It's like the person who tells you how humble they are.  A truly humble person will not tell you they are humble, because that is an arrogant statement.  

"I'm just trying to get better."

"I have a lot of things to work on."

These words are the words uttered more often than not, by the people who have gone through the process of recognizing just how far away from being "good" truly is for them.  

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

8 truths to live (and lift) by

1) Chase your passions while you can.

Life is not short. It's the longest thing we will ever do. With that said, it is finite in regards to allowing us to pursue the things that will ultimately be the most fulfilling to us. These things are very individualistic, and may not always be understood by those closest to us, or even casual strangers. And that's good. It will be what sets you apart, gives you character, and makes you uniquely who you are.

If you never ever muster up the courage to take a chance on these things, then it's a lost opportunity to be courageous. After all, without fear don't have the opportunity to show courage. And more often than not, pursuing a passion will require a healthy dose of it.

Be willing to lose and say "I tried" rather than being left with "if only..." when the opportunity is no longer available.

2) Trust is a choice, respect is to be earned.

Regardless of what people tell you, trust is not really earned. Eventually it is something you have to make a choice about. You could do everything someone asks of you, and they still not make a choice to trust you. And you could do the same. Truly, it cannot be earned.

Respect on the other hand, generally comes from doing or saying things that garner admiration from both your peers and adversaries. Respect isn't synonymous with fondness. You can respect someone you don't like, and someone that doesn't like you can still respect you. Do your best to give both your enemies and your friends a reason to respect you.

Yes there are overlaps in regards to trust and respect both being choices and something earned, but generally at the end of the day, people choose to trust someone and give their respect based on what they have done, and said.

3) Strength, honor, integrity, compassion, loyalty, and forgiveness should be the foundation of your character and relationships

All of these virtues have a myriad of meanings and context. However it's hard to argue that at their core, they are all positive virtues. Many of the times throughout life, adhering to these virtues will be incredibly difficult because often enough, doing what is hard is what will make life easier. And doing what is easier will make life harder.

Don't take short cuts when it comes to meeting the highest standard of these virtues. Every time you do you will find it easier and easier to do so. Then eventually you will find that life has gotten harder and harder.

And that's when you wake up asking yourself "how did I get here?"

4) Be willing to hurt people you care about with honesty. If they care about you, they will forgive you for not bullshitting them. If you care about them, you won't enable their shit behavior by lying to them.

There's nothing worse than enablers.

These are the friends that never make you reexamine how you behave, how you treat people, and what your "weak points" are.

In lifting it's the guy that lets you squat high all the while telling you what a "beast" you are.

In life, it's the same friend that knows you're fucking someone over, yet agrees with all of your fucked up rationalizations as to why you're doing it.

Don't surround yourself with enablers, and don't be one. If someone values your friendship they will also value your constructive criticism. If you lose a "friendship" because of it, then it wasn't much of a friendship to begin with.

5) Tell your family and friends you love them daily, or at least at every chance you get.

I learned this lesson from my best friend who got killed when I was 13.

I have no idea why most "modern men" feel like telling their friends "I love you" is nancy boy bullshit. I always tell my closest friends I love them. I am forever thankful that one of the best friends I ever had, told me he loved me before he died. And that I did the same for him.

To quote Lao Tzu...

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.

6) Never let the sun set on your wrath.

This is actually from Ephesians. Regardless of your beliefs about the Bible or what faith, or lack of faith, you have, there are lots of great lessons in the Bible that can shape your life for the better. Don't be dismissive of an entire book because there are parts you don't agree with (even the skeptics annotated bible agrees the Bible has some "good stuff" in it).

I always find that when I am troubled or upset at someone, or about something in my life, I can't sleep very well. If you are at odds with someone you feel as wronged you, forgive them in your own mind, or in your own way. And then seek resolution for your problems the following day. Letting your anger rob you of a good nights sleep means you are intentionally depriving yourself.

Forgiveness can be hard. Which is why only the strongest of individuals can do so on a regular basis. It's the weak spirited that struggle the most with finding forgiveness. 

7)  Honor your word if you value your character.

It can be hard to hold to promises that we made when enthusiasm was at an all time high.  As circumstances change for the worse, people often go back on their word because staying true to those words can mean they have to sacrifice something they don't want to.  

It's easy to keep your promises when those promises mean something positive is added to our life.  It becomes infinitely more difficult when adhering to them means we will suffer.  Most of us don't want to intentionally suffer or have loss in our life, thus we often avoid keeping our word when circumstances require it.  

Your word has a degree of value to it.  And that value can increase or decrease with people based on your follow through of those words.  Remember that taking one on the chin for someone generally garners their respect (once again, earned) and more often than not, they will got to bat for you in the future when it is required of them.

The funny thing about this is, your strength of character often gives them the same thing because of your own sacrifices for them.  Most people value the courage it takes to see something through for them, even when it doesn't benefit you.  

People often talk of "be the change you want to see in the world."  This is because when you live in accordance with those changes you want to see, you will often see them returned to you as well.

8) Give back more than you take. Or life will eventually take away more from you than you have to give.

Unfortunately I see a lot of people in the industry get ahead by ripping other people off, and fucking them over.  

We often see this throughout all aspects of life.  But eventually, it usually comes back to them if they aren't willing to give back in some way.  Life and business will eventually crumble if it is not cemented in the areas described in rule #3.

Speaking of which, I want to thank an old friend for inspiring me to write these.  Your words are poignant.  

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Saturday, May 9, 2015

What the dadbod is really all about

I swore I wouldn't do this, even though I was asked by several people to give my thoughts on it.

But I've broken promises before.  And about much more important things, so I think I will be able to live with myself by breaking this one.

Right now, articles about "dad bods" are popping up all over the net.  Both showing affinity and disdain for them.  Just about all of them depict Leonardo Dicaprio running around on the beach, sporting a pooch belly, some very prepubescent looking boobs, and that awful top-knot/man-bun thing, along with a beard that looks like he stole it off of a drunken hipster.

Apparently, this is what women are claiming they find attractive at the moment.  Not all women mind you, because I don't want to use generalizations here.  Plenty of women are appalled by it, and think men with dad bods look disgusting.

Most of these women are of course, fit, or train, or care about what their body looks like.

Which of course creates a incredible amount of discord because the first thing that will come out of the mouth of women and men who support dad bods, are.....

"that's because you are shallow."

Indeed.  It has to be about being shallow, narcissistic, and self absorbed.  If one cares about their health, their appearance, and their body, that is the only logical explanation there could be.

If one is not attracted to the dad bod, these are the reasons why.

I'll get back to that in a bit.

Maybe it's just me, but it feels like every few months women, or a woman, starts a fire storm over what women should currently find attractive.  A few months ago, it was that whole lumbarsexual thing.  Which was nothing more than hipsters dressed up in flannel shirts, carrying axes.

Hipsters carry axes of course, because one never knows when a hipster will find himself inside a shitty pub that catches on fire, and he suddenly needs to become a firefighter.  Or when he's having coffee somewhere and suddenly a large tree will need to be cut down.  Women will swoon as he swings away like a homeless looking Babe Ruth.  By the time the tree hits the ground, there will be more panties dropped than world's largest broom could sweep up.

Before all of that of course, it was the man-bun.

Women have been telling other women what to find attractive as of late, and then other women see this and flock to it.  Like some massive sale on cotton panties at Victoria's Secret.

"Special two panties for one."

And then of course there is the "beauty at all sizes" movement, where women tell other men and women if they don't find obese women attractive, that they are shallow, narcissistic, and self absorbed.

I'm not sure why women feel the need to start "trends" based on what they should find attractive.  It seems like, based on articles like these that women are in a state of "man ADD".  Every few months something new is "hot" and "sexy", then it's something completely different few months later.

You generally don't see men doing this.  We figured out what we liked centuries ago for the most part.  Again, this is backed by science for the most part (that hip to waist ratio) and men don't really go around on the net telling other men what is NOW hot and attractive.  We made a decision long ago and just stuck to it.

So I will give a real life clue in here in regards to what people find attractive.

You cannot help what you find attractive.  It's not entirely a matter of "choice".  If you don't agree with me, then we can use that argument about gay people.  Do they choose to find someone of the same sex attractive, or do they tell you it feels instinctive?

Case closed.

I could end the article there, but I have other points to make so I digress.

Attractiveness, or beauty they say, is in the eye of the beholder.  What that means of course is, what I am looking at and feel is attractive, may not be for the person on my left, or the person on my right. Generally I don't find myself in a position where I surrounded by people like that, but you get my point.

To a certain extent, I agree with that.  Sometimes you even know when you look at someone, and find them attractive yet know deep down inside of you that most people would not see the beauty or attractiveness of that person.  At least, not in the way you do.

On the flip side, it's irrefutable that some beauty transcends these laws and is considered attractive or beautiful regardless of individual taste.  Some may argue with this, but I don't care.  There is a reason that women get paid millions of dollars for photo shoots and grace the covers of magazines and work for billion dollar companies.  If we didn't know what universal beauty looked like, such things would not exist.  No billion dollar company is going to promote an ugly chick and try to sell her off as being beautiful.

This is just science.  Yes, it's science.  It's actually been proven through science that beauty has direct correlation with symmetry.  I could research this and provide lots of studies but I just did an article that made me read about 1,223,452 studies and this is largely an opinion piece, so I'm not going to.

That brings us back to what people instinctively find attractive.

When I see a woman I find beautiful, I know it immediately.  It's not like looking at a menu when I can't decide what I want to order.  It almost always comes back to getting some form of grilled chicken with veggies anyway, but perhaps I like to appear as though I would order something else so I gravel over the selections for a while before eventually making the same order that I usually do.

We know what we find attractive, hot, beautiful, sexy, pretty, etc as soon as we see it.  Yes, there are times when we meet someone and think they are just "ok", then as we get to know them we come to find them more attractive through the virtues and attributes they exhibit as a human being, and that is indeed what I would call seeing someone's inner beauty.  But this is something that takes a certain amount of time or investment in someone and we don't always get the chance to do that with everyone we cross paths with.  So the whole "you should see someone's inner beauty" is really a bunch of horseshit.

Ain't nobody got time to do that with errbody.

Is that unfortunate?  Of course.  But time is our most precious commodity and unfortunately everyone doesn't get equal shares of it.

So that often leaves us with getting to know, or wanting to get to know the people we instinctively find attractive.

Which brings us back to people being called shallow by being repulsed by the "dad bod".

There's nothing shallow about not finding that attractive.  And there's nothing shallow about personal preferences when it comes to what you like, from a sexual standpoint.  You like what you like.  I like women with round, muscular glutes, great smiles (nice teeth), big lips, and big eyes.  After that, from a non physical standpoint I like women that have cultivated enough depth to them that if we got stuck in a traffic jam for a few hours, I'd be perfectly happy.  What that means is, we can have conversation that is just as stimulating to me as her physical presence.

Dating on looks alone is a recipe for disaster.  Because after the initial attraction wears off, after all of the new relationship energy has subsided, what do you have?  There's a good chance that it won't be much.  Not enough to sustain something lasting or fulfilling.

Perhaps the shallowness in all of us is when we do that very thing.  Ignore the fact that the person we are investing in is severely lacking in so many other areas we know we need fulfillment in, yet continue to date or invest in them because, well....dat ass.  In the case of women who find dad bods attractive I guess it'd be...dat gut!

Since we're back to guts, why is it that women are not proclaiming their lust for dad bods?

Is it really personal preference?

I can't say.  I absolutely cannot speak for all women, or even a single woman.

Women seem to care less about looks like men on the whole, and often can and do see men with great physiques as being overly self absorbed.  I've also been told on many occasions by women, that they would not date a man that gets a lot of attention from other women because they have "been there, and wasn't worth the headache that came with it."

The same goes true for men as well.  I've read from two high profiled bodybuilders where both stated they would never ever date bikini or figure competitors because of the same reasons.  Self absorbed, narcissistic, think it's all about them, and they did not want the headache that came with it.

I think these things have been said often enough that while it may not be true in every case, where there's smoke there is fire.

What the dad bod is probably really about are a lot of women who don't care about lifting, don't care about their appearance so much that they may actually see a man who looks like that, and sees confidence.

"How the fuck is that, Paul?"

Because through their own experiences, they may have dated men that were jacked and ripped as fuck on many occasions and found that underneath all of that blistering muscle mass, there was actually this very insecure, "small man" residing inside of it.

Is that possible?

I think it is.  After all, most of us started lifting weights in order to become something we were not.  Because of that very insecurity that reside inside of us that made us desire more muscle and strength.  And why?  Simple.  Respect and acceptance.  Which is ultimately what every single one of us truly want from most other people.  We want them to accept us, and respect who we are.  If that means it starts with something as "shallow" as our physical appearance, then that's where it starts.

It could also be that these women do in fact feel insecure as well.  The fact that one of the reasons the article stated that the dad bod was so attractive was because women "want to be the pretty once".

If that's not a cry of blatant insecurity I don't know what is.  You're going to find someone else attractive because they are less attractive than you?  Please, find a self help book and go to work.

You have issues.

I'm not really worried about women finding the dad bod attractive because these things seem to sort themselves out.  Men get all in a huff about women finding the dad bod attractive because they think it means suddenly women will be swarming the beach, ignoring their six pack in favor of the guy holding one.  But the fact is, if you care about your physical appearance, more than likely you will be attracted to someone who does as well.  And if she's busting out some knee to chest action to get across the beach to jump up and down on ol' dad bod, it's a good chance you weren't going to give her a second look anyway.

In a few months, the dad bod will be the lumbar sexual.  And some chick who has had less than two menstrual cycles will be writing some article for elitedaily about something new women should find attractive.  The same women that found the dad bod attractive will then run off to find some man based on this new trend.

And if you're dating people or finding people based on what is trending, then that ladies is truly what is shallow.  And that's what the dad bod is really all about.  Trends.  I mean let's face it, the reason they are using Leo as the poster boy for this is because he's surrounded by hot chicks 24/7.   But that's because he's Leo.  And is a famous actor.  And has hundreds of millions of dollars.  He could cover himself in rotten bison meat and still pull this off.  He's not surrounded by hot women because of his dad bod.

Men who stay in shape and take pride in their appearance; stay the course.  All you have to do in order to be considered sexy by these women again is hold out for opening day of Magic Mike 2.  Then you'll be back in trending style.  And in the meantime, there's going to be plenty of women who still find muscular, in shape dudes attractive.

Peace out.

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Saturday, May 2, 2015

Hypertrophy and Strength regarding frequency, volume, and intensity

I've been meaning to write this for a while and just haven't gotten around to it.  But Brad Schoenfeld just released this study regarding hypertrophy and strength in relation to bodypart frequency, so it sort of sparked me getting this done.

Like any study, there are lots of factors that could be debated to make it more robust and give more insight, but it's a decent look.


Results showed significantly greater increases in forearm flexor muscle thickness for TOTAL compared to SPLIT. No significant differences were noted in maximal strength measures. The findings suggest a potentially superior hypertrophic benefit to higher weekly resistance training frequencies.

What they found was that training a muscle group more times a week resulted in a higher degree of growth, where multiple times a week did not result in significant strength increases. 

This really is of no surprise to me.  

From my own experience with my own training and training others I've never noticed some marked improvement from training the competitive lifts multiple times a week.  I think that beginners/novice lifters will, and often do.  However noobs can do pretty much anything and show fast improvement.  So let's leave those types out of this because there really is no reason to talk about "what worked great for me as a noob."  Noobs need to be quiet with their opinions on what works and what doesn't.  

From a hypertrophy standpoint, I think this makes sense on a lot of levels to train with more frequency, than worrying as much about volume or intensity.  I will get to that.

I always factor in three important training variables to meet to single most important variable in regards to what is efficient.

I call this the sliding scale of frequency/volume/intensity to meet the recovery variable.  

Frequency - How often you train a lift or bodypart 
Volume - How much total work you do for a bodypart or movement or in a given training session
Intensity - The percentage of 1 rep max you are using or RPE (rate of perceived exertion)

The single variable that cannot be violated here when managing these three, is of course recovery.

If all three variables are too high, then recovery will generally not be met.  Two of the variables can be high, but the third variable needs to be lowered in relation to those two.  

So if you want to train many times a week, with a high intensity level, then you need to lower the amount of volume you will be using in said programming.  

If you don't/can't train many times a week, then you can train heavier with more volume.  

So forth and so on.  

For example, in Sheiko, you train only three times a week.  But you bench twice, squat two times, and deadlift once.  This is the usual practice with that programming.  

But the intensity used in each session is often pretty low.  In fact, it's between 68 and 72 percent on average.  

This is smart.  

If you're going to train with an insane amount of volume for a lift, and do that lift multiple times a week, you will not be able to train it with a high degree of intensity and still meet the recovery factor.

The interesting part of the study for me, which backs my thoughts about training for both hypertrophy or strength, is that if you want to grow larger, hitting bodyparts a little more often works very well.  But if your goal is strength, then hitting the lifts once per week works just fine in comparison to doing them many times a week.

The latter there is what will probably get debated more severely.  

Right now there's been an influx of the suggestion that you need to squat, bench, deadlift 1,234,954 times a week in order to really improve on the big 3.  I don't agree with that.  Especially with more advanced/qualified lifters. 

The idea behind this of course, is "practice".  The more practice you have with the lifts, the more efficient you are at performing them, thus because maximal strength has a neural capacity, you'll see results there.  

But there is, in my opinion, some flaws here.  

First off, I believe this "multiple times a week" thing has its roots in Olympic lifting.  Olympic lifters do their competition lifts, or some form of it many times a week.  And because some of the world's greatest lifters and coaches created their programming this way, it bled into powerlifting circles.  

However there is a problem with this in relation to training for developing maximal strength in the powerlifts. 

For the Olympic lifts, there is no eccentric portion of the movement.  And the eccentric portion of the movement causes a great deal more of damage at the cellular level than concentric only training (which is what Olympic lifters mainly do).  

This throws a bit of a monkey wrench into the sliding scale of F/V/I because one can more easily recover from concentric only training, than training that involves both eccentric and concentric.  Thus a high degree of F/V/I can be met and still meet the recovery factor.  

When the eccentric portion of the movement is added into this equation, then the sliding scale needs to be adhered to in my opinion, lest recovery not be met.  

Remember, recovery is both at a system level and localized, i.e. you need to recovery as a whole and the musculature trained needs to recover as well.  Fatigue will mask fitness.  So while training a sore muscle will often cause a decrease in soreness the following day, that muscle group will not be able to perform at it's zenith if it is sore from a previous training session.

Second, the Olympic lifts are far more technical than the powerlifts, and need to be practiced more often for the motor cortex to be patterned more efficiently.  This should make sense as there is another variable in Olympic lifting than doesn't play as big of a role in powerlifting.  


Speed plays a significantly larger role in making lifts in Olympic lifting than powerlifting.  No one makes it into the highest levels of Olympic lifting by being slow.  In powerlifting, some people are indeed explosive lifters, but lots of elite level guys are "grinders", and make maximal attempts for them, despite what looks like slow bar speed.  In fact, when you see a maximal lift made in powerlifting it often is slow, and grinding.  

What this comes back to is strength vs power.  

Power is largely unimportant when it comes to testing maximal strength.  I don't want to say it's unimportant, as a lack of speed will still cause someone in powerlifting to miss a lift if enough speed isn't generated to make it through the transition point in the movement.  But it's far more important in Olympic lifting.  

Maximal strength is about maximal weight moved.    

Power is about how fast one can move it.  

So as you can see, in powerlifting strength is more important than power, and in Olympic lifting, power is more important than strength.  Of course, they are important in both areas but the degree of importance varies between the two (I have to add that because without fail some asshat will try to disagree by saying you need both....yes you do.  But not to the same extent in each sport).

Where was I?

Oh yeah, so the other reason that Olympic lifting needs to be practiced more is because the competitive lifts are more complex because of the power/speed factor.  In powerlifting, the big three are not overly technical lifts compared to the Olympic lifts, and over time, once the technique is dialed in it's all about just getting stronger.  A guy in powerlifting can get a lift out of position, but be strong enough to finish making the lift.  I don't believe there are any such corrections in Olympic lifting as if the bar is out of the desired path it ends up just being a missed lift most of the time (I have to add so many caveats to articles now because people will add an exception to everything you write).

So to sum this way-too-long part up....

1.  Olympic lifters can violate the F/V/I scale because of a lack of eccentric portion in their movements.  The F/V/I should still be adhered to in regards to training for strength or mass. 
2.  Olympic lifting needs to be practiced more often because the competitive lifts are more complex because of the power/speed factor.  It has less of a factor in training for powerlifting and bodybuilding (it has zero factor in bodybuilding).

The two above parts are in my opinion very big factors in why powerlifters shouldn't pattern their programming after Olympic lifting programs to reach maximal results.  These are two very big factors and need to be taken into account.

From a powerlifting perspective, in order to meet the single factor of recovery, once someone becomes efficient at performing the lifts, doing them once a week should work just fine for achieving maximal strength.  Of course there is a caveat there too.  I've often seen guys benefit more from benching twice a week than once a week.  But I believe there is a reason for this.  And it has to do with what else we saw in the study above, and what I've seen with my own training and training my clients.

Hypertrophy - 

This article is getting long and I only wanted to sort of blurb it so I will get to the point here.

Because there is generally less musculature in the torso than the lower body, there is less overall taxation on the system as a whole, and localized as well, so recovery is doesn't take as long.  I believe for MOST guys, this is why big pressing tends to be a maturity lift.  It takes longer to really hypertrophy the chest, shoulders, triceps, etc in order to be able to push big weights.  This is why you will often see a very young kid squatting and deadlifting pretty significant weights (sometimes almost at elite levels) but not bench pressing anywhere near elite levels.  That is something that generally takes much longer to develop because the muscle mass to move elite level weights just have not been developed yet.  

Since the recovery factor tends to be quicker for torso muscle, especially pressing muscles, then one can train those muscles with more frequency, volume, and intensity, without violating the recovery factor as easily as lower body movements like squats, deadlifts, etc.  Thus, pressing twice a week tends to work well for people who have lagging bench presses.

This is why I believe that over time a lot of guys settled on a split that looks similar to this...

Day 1 - Squat
Day 2 - Bench
Day 3 - Deadlift
Day 4 - Light bench - Heavy Shoulders

Or something to that effect.

This leads us back into the hypertrophy part of things.  

So why does frequency look like it plays a much larger role in developing hypertrophy at a faster rate?

My own thoughts and experience from it...

More chances for muscle protein synthesis/repair from the training stimulus (this is what growth is, after all) without violating the recovery principle.  

Of course, once again the F/V/I scale has to be adhered to in order for recovery to be met (again, that's where growth happens).  So the more often you can tap into that stimulus and recover from it properly, the more instances you get to repair damage, thus the more chances you have for growth.

So why doesn't this apply to strength?

Because to reach maximal strength levels, as in a powerlifting peak, there tends to be a greater system recovery factor than localized one (I believe this is related to the neural factor).  

Again, muscle growth can be done by training at a very high volume, with great frequency, but the intensity factor is lowered (training with much lighter weights and more res).  My personal belief (again, an opinion) is that the intensity scale (going heavy - 90+%) causes more of a longer recovery period, thus must be managed more conservatively than frequency and volume.  

This is why bodybuilders can and often do train often, with a lot of volume, but don't always need to go super heavy in order to get very massive (tension is another factor here as well).  Where lots and lots of powerlifters can train the big three once per week, but use higher intensity ranges, and manage their volume appropriately, and get very strong.

Getting big and getting strong have overlapping factors, but they aren't always completely related to each other in regards to a training ideology, i.e. certain things can be used to get bigger but not stronger, and certain things can be used to get stronger but not bigger.  Or let me say this, not as efficiently as the other.

"What about Sheiko, Paul?  You referenced Shieko above!"

I did.  My point about that was that even for powerlifting, Sheiko takes into account the F/V/I factor by making sure not to maximize all three, so that recovery can be met at the neural/system/whole body level.  

But guess what?

When you look at the peaking cycle in Sheiko, what happens?

The volume gets lowered as the intensity rises.  Again, this is smart and what has to happen to make sure that recovery at the system level is met.

Conclusion - 

This should give an idea about how to plan both offseason or hypertrophy cycles, and then of course strength cycles.  This is exactly how I plan things from offseason, to pre-meet work, to peaking for competition.  

Working the sliding scale of F/V/I to meet recovery is a huge factor regardless of whether you are training for strength or mass.  If you don't recover, progress will be slow coming or not at all.  It's up to you to balance these factors into your training or find yourself stuck in a plateau.  

There's lot of opinion/anecdotal stuff in here.  I'm sure that will make someone go out and research lots of pubmed to "prove" me wrong.  Just take this article as an "insight" piece to my thoughts on the factors written about above.

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