With another year in the books, it’s a common tendency to look back at what did and didn’t happen in 2012, wondering what shoulda, coulda, woulda been…
Did you have a solid plan for getting stronger, building muscle and shedding fat, knowing exactly what to do every time you set foot inside a weight room? Or were you simply going through the motions of working out, without clear direction, focus and progression?
How were you dealing with inner resistance on days that you didn’t particularly look forward to making the trip all the way down to the gym? Were you able to overpower the sorry excuses your mind was coming up with? Or did you give in like a gutless wimp, rationalizing to yourself it was okay to skip training this time and you’d start again next Monday? We all know how that ended…
Did you prepare healthy, unprocessed, nutritious meals from fresh ingredients? Or was the sweet siren song of delicious pizza, pastries and candy too much to handle once you parked your lazy ass on the couch after a long, exhausting day at work and flipped on the telly?
Were you sound asleep by 23.00 on most nights, like you know you should have been? Or was watching stupid infomercials and late night talk shows more important than quality sleep and regeneration?
Which course of action did you choose at social gatherings? Staying up late and getting hammered at parties week after week with deadbeats or waking up refreshed and completing an early morning training session while everybody else was nursing a terrible hangover?
Maybe you did some stupid stuff, got injured and spent the better part of 2012 focusing on bodyweight exercises and rehab activities, building yourself back up like I did.
Or perhaps you simply got lost listening to too many people, chasing contradictory goals, ending up spinning your wheels with no progress to show for your efforts.
Whatever choices you’ve made in the past, now is the perfect opportunity to wipe the slate clean and make sure 2013 is gonna be your best year yet. I know it’ll be for me. I expect continual progress, consistent strength development, injury-free training, new personal records and shitloads of hustlin’ in and out of the gym.
Here’s how to make it happen…
Random Venting, The Big And Bulky Myth Revisited, Pics Of Hot Chicks Who Lift Weights And Why You Should Too
Disclaimer: I wrote this post over a period of several weeks. Taking the time span into account – plus the fact that I’m quite possibly a bit insane – may have translated the original text into a rather incoherent, distorted rambling even by my standards. You’ve been warned.
A while back I wrote about women lifting weights and how they shouldn’t fear becoming too muscular in the process.
In a world where strength training gets confused with bodybuilding, everyone who touches weights that need to be moved with more effort than a bag of groceries is frowned upon. Particularly so if that person happens to be a woman.
Consequently, an entire generation of young adult women buy into the asinine notion that lifting weights turns them into a freakish bodybuilder chick and choose to use lesser means of or skip effective training altogether. For those brave enough to attend the gym outside of group training classes, Smith machine squats, stability ball training and the elliptical machine comprise a large part of their workouts.
Of course, we could argue until the second coming (mmm… don’t you just love that expression?) about what “effective training” means. My definition for it is:
Maximum results as fast as humanly possible.
As I’ve been saying for a long time, barbells, dumbbells and advanced bodyweight exercises provide the fastest, most quantifiable results when structured into a smart training plan.
Depending on the equipment available and the specific goals of the individual, strongman training/odd object lifting/kettlebells can be very effective tools as well.
But telling a woman to start training for strength is almost useless unless we tackle and remove the more pressing issue at hand…
Starting out at 6’4″ and 279 pounds, Michael was bigger and stronger than the average gym bro. During our initial consultation he told me the following:
“The first program I started with and stuck to for a while was the eating five meals a day 3 hours apart that were high in lean proteins with only slow carbs like beans and veggies. I was working in the gym with 3 sets of 10 reps hitting different muscle sets each day (back and bi’s, chest and tri’s, legs, shoulders and abs).
While I was on this plan I did experience great gains and fat loss but they came to an end and I stopped changing.”
After that he had switched to Intermittent Fasting and 5×5, seen some improvements but was now looking to take his knowledge of training and nutrition to another level.
When designing Mike’s program, the focus was first on scaling the weights back while re-learning picture perfect technique on the big lifts, which would build the basis for him to eventually move on to match and surpass his previous bests with solid form.
Another goal we set for Mike was to drop 6″ off his waist in 13 weeks. He was well on his way to reaching that after having shed 4″ in 8 weeks, when he notified me that there’s a strongman competition taking place near him in a few weeks – something he desperately wanted to partake in.
So we put the fat loss goal on the back burner for the last remaining 5 weeks in order to prep him for his first ever strongman meet.
Q1. What was your fitness/training/nutrition background like before working with me?Continue Reading
I met Kari-Matti several months ago at the gym where I used to train people. He came across as a smart, open-minded guy (which most trainees are not), so we ended up talking about nutrition and training on a few occasions, and I gave him a couple of pointers on how to improve his technique on deadlifts and squats.
Later, he wanted to get leaner and we devised a proper training and nutrition plan for him. Here’s what happened during the 13 weeks we worked together.
Weight: 93.5kg -> 86.6kg (-6.9kg)
Waist: 98cm -> 87cm (-11cm)
No drop in strength despite shedding a respectable amount of fat. Some lifts went slightly up, with the deadlift increasing most notably 140kg x5 -> 162.5kg x5. This indicates that muscle was not sacrificed during his cut. The pics below tell a similar story.
Even though the lighting is somewhat skewed on the left, the difference in pecs and abs is obvious. Other pics demonstrated that his face leaned out considerably as well. No more puffy cheeks for this guy.
Still a work in progress though. Now that his upper abs are popping out, Kari-Matti told me he wanted to lean all the way down to a full 6-pack after his summer vacation, which would require still another 10cm or so off his waist (my estimate).
He was an exemplary client. Intelligent, observant, no excuses. I asked him for a testimonial, because I knew it would be good and thorough.
Q1. What was your fitness/training/nutrition background like before
working with me?
Every four years an interesting phenomenon takes place.
Billions of people sit glued in front of the television for hours (nothing new there actually) watching corrupted politicians and other assorted assholes deliver grand speeches where they praise God, hard work and human spirit while cozily spending the rest of the Games secluded from peasants, enjoying refreshments in unlimited quantities and – drunk from their own power as well as the free flowing booze – end up molesting the shit out of young, gullible VIP hostesses (again, this is standard procedure) who believe it’s part of their job description.
Meanwhile, the server systems at Askmen.com crash down when they release their gallery of TOP 20 hottest female Olympians pouting their lips and posing all sultry for the camera, disguised in what the fashion industry refers to as “clothing” but is merely an arbitrary piece of garment supposed to accentuate their tanned, nicely shaped buns.
When I was a young lad, you had to pull a girl’s panties aside to get a glimpse of her buttocks. These days you gotta pull her buttocks aside in order to see the panties.
Hey, I ain’t complaining!
Furthermore, the world gets exposed to the tremendous strength levels and ridiculously chiseled upper bodies of male gymnasts, and guys start wondering “Yo homie, whadda ya gotta do to get ripped like that?”Continue Reading
“I know of no better example of functional training than a 600-pound deadlift. Except a 700-pound deadlift.” – Mark Rippetoe
One of the highlights of my weekly schedule includes a trip to the adjacent library. I realize this statement will get me labeled a nerd – albeit a very good-looking nerd – by all the internet tough guys out there frequenting online training forums, powered by delivery pizza and cans of Red Bull in their parents’ basement. Alas, I’ve never been one to particularly care about what people think of me, hence I choose not to give a shit this time around either.
Between flipping through Max Brooks’ zombie tales and a less-than-stellar Baldacci novel, my gaze fell upon a book on training. I have a terrible habit of digesting any and all works related to training and nutrition, even the ones aimed at gen pop. I say terrible because many of them are not worth the paper they’ve been printed on, which implies a waste of my time and yet another chopped down forest somewhere in Amazon. Yes, the treehugger in me is weeping.
This one was no different. A book on functional training contained everything I had imagined it would contain. Cutesy pictures, self-professed gurus showcasing their “expertise”, very little substance for the price. I counted about 100 different movements or exercises and in the end my head was spinning like a b-boy on the dancefloor.
Why is it that athletes generally get far better results with a fraction of that and have striking bodies as well?
Why are the most reputable strength & conditioning coaches – those whose clients include Olympic athletes, NFL/NHL/NBA players, sprinters – sticking to the basics of basics in strength training?
If certain compound, multi-joint movements have been proven to produce results for the athletic elite, then why is there a need for hucksters to be marketing completely dissimilar methods to the masses?
Why is every functional training guru obsessed with the notion that no basic exercise is perfect without adding some twist, crunch, turn, hippety-hop, kung-fu kick or other gimmicky modification to it?
Since when is the pull-up – possibly the king of all upper body exercises – not sufficient enough performed on its own? How come you need to attach a cable pulley around your left ankle for “increased carryover”?
Albeit the fact that most people in the fitness industry try to tell you otherwise, making great progress doesn’t require complex and expensive methods, gadgets or diets.
Follow these 5 guidelines until the day you kick the bucket and you’ll be good.
1. Increase resistance over time. Barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, stones, calisthenics?
What equipment you use is secondary. Just get stronger.
2. Do more reps with a given resistance.
3. If you’re struggling to gain weight, eat more.
4. If you need to lose bodyfat, eat a little less and do more (smart) work.
Now get the hell out of this site and go crush some shit.
Tair came to me recommended by a mutual friend.
After having stopped training for a couple of years, he noticed he was getting out of shape and didn’t want to end up fat and ugly at 40 (his words, not mine). Working long hours at his job while no longer possessing the humming metabolism of an 18-year-old – coupled with lack of strenuous physical activity – had lead to adding fat onto his formerly slim, although not very muscular frame.
When I asked him about his goals, he told me the following:
- Build muscle
- Burn fat
- Get stronger
- Learn about nutrition: how to eat properly and have a healthy lifestyle
So basically he repeated what every client of mine wants to achieve. The good thing was Tair already knew how to do the big barbell lifts since this is a prerequisite for online coaching clients. All we needed to do on that front was tweaking his technique and he was good to go.
This allowed us to dial in the nutrition part for a body recomp with muscle gain as the main objective in the relatively short amount of time I was given to produce results (13 weeks).
Weight: 72.3kg -> 76.4kg (+4.1kg)
Waist: 80cm -> 77.5cm (-2.5cm)
Deadlift: 55kg x5 -> 125kg x5
Squat: 30kg x5 -> 90kg x4
Bench Press: 50kg x5 -> 80kg x4
Because of his 2-year hiatus from lifting weights (and training in general), I had him start very light so that he could hone his technique and get back into the groove, which would allow him to make solid progress on a weekly basis. One mistake I often notice beginners and those coming back after a layoff do is that they start too heavy, plateau quickly and then lose motivation.
Furthermore, the rather impressive jump up in numbers was not merely a consequence of gaining back lost strength.
For reference, his best numbers previously when he used to train on his own were 90kg on the deadlift and 60kg on the squat for reps, both of which he clearly blew right past within the 3 months we worked together.
Strength gains across the board on all other exercises as well.
As this project was a decent example of simultaneous muscle gain and fat loss accompanied by new PR’s, I decided to ask Tair about his experience for those of you interested.
Q1. What was your fitness/training/nutrition background like before working with me?Continue Reading
Woman. Tell Me One More Time Lifting Weights Makes You Big And Bulky, And I’ll Commit Autoerotic Asphyxiation.
Women are small, frail, helpless creatures incapable of performing even remotely challenging physical activities.
I said it.
As much as you’re itching to barge into my room and rip my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles posters off the wall for being a chauvinistic asshole, consider that the above is the exact same message women are being fed non-stop everywhere.
Whether it’s a celebrity trainer declaring “No woman should lift weights heavier than 3 pounds!” or your Pilates instructor saying “There’s no better way to tone those mucles and shed bodyfat than the control, the grace, the elegance, the precision of the exercise. A bicep curl is a bicep curl – but a Pilates bicep curl starts by engaging your core first, creating stability in your Being before anything else moves. That’s the power of Pilates.”, women are being labeled as weak individuals who – for their own benefit – are best kept inside this invisible bubble consisting of cushy exercises, gently wrapped up with absurd nonsense.
You know, she might just get too strong and muscular if she deadlifted her weight for reps, so let’s put her on the treadmill instead. There ya go girl, have a granola bar and a Gatorade while you’re at it.
A female client once mentioned in passing how she’d “die to get Kate Moss’ body”. I immediately dropkicked her in the face and made her do push-up/burpees until she passed out.* That’ll teach her to never utter such bollocks in my presence ever again.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for the enhancement of female physiques. After all, summer’s around the corner and nothing fills me with more bliss than trim babes with big, round glutes in short skirts filling the city landscape. I know. I’m such a hopeless romantic.Continue Reading