Friday, March 2, 2012

Don't You DARE Tell Me You Can't

Tell me you can't do something... Go ahead...

  I hate, no, I abhor it when people tell me they can't do something when there is absolutely nothing wrong with them.   I see it and hear it all the time, not only in the gym, but in everyday life.  99.7% of the time the truth of the matter is, they don't want to do something.  Welcome to the fast-track to becoming weak willed, weak minded, and as a result weak bodied. 

  I was squatting a while back, someone walks up to me(young guy) and says, "I used to squat that much, but I can't anymore because my knees can't handle it."  Horseshit!  We have a guy in the gym that has been bodybuilding since before I was born and when he tells me he's got bad knees I believe him, not some 20-something year old who has lifted on and off for maybe 3 years.  You just don't want to lift, not to mention that you are not squatting 600+lbs at 165lbs unless you are an Elite Level powerlifter. 

  It infuriates me because I was told by everyone and their brother that, "You cannot ever train heavy again" or "You can't compete anymore without debilitating injuries".  When I see or hear someone who is healthy say they can't do something, my blood immediately boils.  The human mind is much weaker than the body. 

  If you want something go after it.  It is easy to make excuses, because they require no effort, but producing results takes hard work and determination.  Whatever your excuse is, trust me, I've run into it. 

  I work too much already and I don't have the time to go to the gym. 
Translation:  "I don't know how to properly manage my time".  While I train 30-36 sessions each week I am working much more than that.  I have a team to manage, programs to write, meetings to plan, not to mention keeping up on my own education and the education of the entire department.  Yet, I still make the time to train at least 4 days each week. 
  You have to make the time, not find it.  If something is important to you, you should have no problem going to the ends of the earth to make sure that something is taken care of.  Last time I checked, your health should be one of those "somethings" that should be important to you.  How many people's dying thought runs along the lines of, "I wish I didn't have so much time on this earth", or "I'm okay with this, I lived too long anyway".  Unless you lived into triple digits I'm sure that would be the last thing crossing your mind. 

I'm hurt and I can't train.
Translation:  "I'm not willing to work around my injury".  I was watching some footage of a powerlifting competition called "Night of the Living Deadlift" a few months back.  A young woman is called to the platform.  She hops to the bar, sets up and yanks that barbell off the floor.  Here is the kicker, the reason she had to hop to the bar was that she only had one leg.  With one leg, she performed an exercise that most people have a hard time completing with two legs.  When is the last time you showed resolve like that?
  In the end, we need to learn how to wipe the metaphorical sand out of our lady parts.  If you want something don't wait for someone to give it to you.  Take a plan of action, work that plan of action and see it to the end until you have reached the goal.  Don't ever tell me you can't again...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I Thought This Thing Went Dead!

Well, I've let this blog go dead for long enough, so I'm reviving this steaming pile of nothing-ness with a little update and to let you know what i have planned over my winter break from Rugby.  RUGBY?  I know, like I need to pick up yet another hobby on top of woodworking, powerlifting, strongman, Highland Games, and putting an edge on anything I can get sharp.  So some of the guys I play with are curious to see what I have planned to up my conditioning over the month hiatus, so here goes...

The plan is to take my severely de-conditioned ass and turn it into at least a decently conditioned rugby forward.  I am concentrating on energy systems here and the training and types of movements will reflect that.  Rugby is a Medium Muscular Endurance sport, so that means it still has a strong anaerobic portion(scrums, rucks and mauls) in addition to the aerobic demands of an 80 minute match.  This program is designed to help me cope with the pain and exhaustion of my time on the rugby pitch by exposing me to high amounts of fatigue.

Week 1
1.  Double Kettlebell swings x 30
2.  Gorilla Kettlebell Cleans x 30
3.  Alternating Kettlebell Jerks x 30
4.  Shouldered Sled Push (Right shoulder engaged) x 30 steps
5.  Reverse Swings x 15
6.  Jump Lunges x 15
7.  Curvilinear Sandbag Cleans x 15
8.  Side Lunges x 15
Rest 60s between each exercise.  Perform this 3x in the week
Endurance conditioning will consist of High Intensity Intervals on the rower, weighted sled drags and yo-yo runs.  Perform 2-3 sessions a week.

Week 2
1a.  Double Kettlebell swings x 40
1b.  Gorilla Kettlebell Cleans x 40
2a.  Alternating Kettlebell Jerks x 40
2b.  Shouldered Sled Push (Right shoulder engaged) x 40steps
3a.  Reverse Swings x 20
3b.  Jump Lunges x 18
4a.  Curvilinear Sandbag Cleans x 20
4b.  Side Lunges x 18
Rest 60s-120s between each set.  Perform this 3x in the week
Endurance conditioning will consist of High Intensity Intervals on the rower, weighted sled drags and yo-yo runs.  Perform 2-3 sessions a week

Week 3
1a.  Double Kettlebell swings x 50
1b.  Gorilla Kettlebell Cleans x 50
1c.  Alternating Kettlebell Jerks x 50
1d.  Shouldered Sled Push (Right shoulder engaged) x 50 steps
2a.  Reverse Swings x 25
2b.  Jump Lunges x 20
2c.  Curvilinear Sandbag Cleans x 25
2d.  Side Lunges x 20
Rest 120s between each set.  Perform this 3x in the week
Endurance conditioning will consist of High Intensity Intervals on the rower, weighted sled drags and yo-yo runs.  Perform 2-3 sessions a week

Week 4
1a.  Double Kettlebell swings x 60
1b.  Gorilla Kettlebell Cleans x 60
1c.  Alternating Kettlebell Jerks x 60
1d.  Shouldered Sled Push (Right shoulder engaged) x 60 steps
1e.  Reverse Swings x 30
1f.  Jump Lunges x 25
1g.  Curvilinear Sandbag Cleans x 25
1h.  Side Lunges x 25
Rest 60s-120s between each set.  Perform this 3x in the week
Endurance conditioning will consist of High Intensity Intervals on the rower, weighted sled drags and yo-yo runs.  Perform 2-3 sessions a week

After this we resume practice and have fitness testing.  During this time I will also quit eating like a powerlifter and cut back on the bulk of food I eat.  So instead of eating a whole chicken and a couple heads of broccoli for lunch, I'll limit it to 1/2 a chicken and 12oz of broccoli.  I figure that at 260 I would be more formidable seeing that 244 is my lean mass as it is. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Example Day From the New Template


Powerplate to loosen the hips
Dowel Rod Good Mornings
Shoulder Dislocations
Various groin and Hip Flexor Stretches


Main Lift: 
ME Squat to low box.  These were done to judge depth, not to sit back to a the box.  The box was set, so I would hit at about 1.5" below parallel. 
Bar x 15 or so
405x3 added belt
495x3 added suit straps down
545x1 straps up
I had to cut it there for time and I had a terrible headache for the lift

Supplementary Lift: 
Good Mornings

Finished with 3-5 sets of 8-12 on:
Leg Curls

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Training for Strength???

"I'm in a strength phase right now"  

Nothing makes me cringe more than this statement.  I'm talking about full on make the hair on the back of my neck stand up cringe.  This is usually when I have the ability to make the conclusion that this person has no idea what they are talking about.  I walked into another Personal Training studio and one of the "Trainers" told me this today in so many words,  it made my guts sink. 

"But Matt, my Personal Training certification taught me that I need to go through a Strength Phase from four to six weeks after I finish my Hypertrophy Phase"

Cue the hysterical laughing from me.  I promise I didn't actually laugh in this guy's face, even though I REALLY wanted to.  This is a huge problem.  If you need clarification look further down the page to see my feelings about certifications. 

If you are in the gym for "general fitness", a typical Western Style of periodization can work for you.  If you are shooting for getting bigger, better endurance, more powerful, or stronger it is not the way to go.  Let me ask you this simple question;  what happens to your strength or power when you switch back to your Endurance Phase?

Listen, I'm all for general fitness but come on... You can't pick a goal and aim for it?  Don't tell me, "I just want to be fit".  That is a weak excuse for, "I don't have the balls to make a decision".  You want to lose weight, then do it.  You want better endurance, go for it.  Want to become a gigantic gorilla beast, be my guest.  Just make an F'ing decision and go for it.  This whole "lukewarm" attitude of complacency is one of the biggest problems with the people today.  No one can make a decision about anything and then they flip-flop based on opinions put out by any Tom, Dick or Harry with the testicular fortitude to make a decision.

Find people who are bigger, smarter, faster, stronger, or leaner than you and learn from them.  Trust me, no matter how long you have been lifting there is ALWAYS someone who is better than you in some way, shape or form.  You just need to be smart enough to realize that.

LESSON OF THE DAY:  Grow some testicles and make a decision!!!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Training Template for the PLing Meet in October

Here is my training template for the upcoming meet in October.  I am not going to really kick it hard in the gear until I get about 10-12 weeks out.  I am in the gear right now because I am still trying to learn it.  The bench shirt is still a pain in my ass, but I am trying to get some work in it. 

Monday:  Dynamic Effort Upper
Main Lift:  This will always be Bench Press, but I will switch it up every three weeks in between straight weight, bands and chains.  Change grips with every set and REALLY focus on form. 
Supplementary and Accessory work.  The supplementary work will change every 3 weeks, with the main lift from ME Upper(see Thursday) and the accessory work will change every 6 weeks.  Goal here is to key in on Triceps, Chest and Delts.  I know that is pretty generic for the bench, but since my bench sucks so much I really don't have a specific weak point as of yet. 

Tuesday:  Max Effort Lower
Main Lift:  Change every 3 weeks in a circa max type wave. Back Squat, Front Squat, Zercher Squat, Deadlift, etc...
Supplementary and Accessory work.  The supplementary work will change every 3 weeks, with the main lift from and the accessory work will change every 6 weeks.  I am keying in on the Hamstring and the Low Back in my accessory lifts.  My Glutes take over for everything in a raw squat and now that I am in the suit my Hamstrings are taking a beating.  My low back is a hot mess and I'm just trying to keep it healthy.

Wednesday:  Off
No GPP, No Cardio, No Nothing.  If I am caught up on work I try to head home in the middle of the day, when I normally train and try to catch a nap. 

Thursday:  Max Effort Upper
Main Lift:  Will change every 3 weeks in a circa max type wave.  Bench Press, Board Press, Floor Press, etc...
Supplementary and Accessory work.  Same as above for DE Upper

Friday:  Dynamic Effort Lower
Main Lift:  Will switch between Box Squats and Speed Pulls.  Depending on how beat up I feel I will alternate between straight weight and Chains.  We don't have the setup here at the gym to handle band tension too well, so I'm going to keep it out of the programming.
Supplementary and Accessory work. Same as above for ME Lower

Saturday and Sunday:  Recover and do conditioning work if I feel like it.  Conditioning should read something like paddling around the lake while fishing or swimming.

Deload, in the beginning, will come every 3 weeks as my Central Nervous System gets used to the loads I can handle in the suit and shirt.  I will cycle in and out of the gear up until 10-12 weeks out from the meet, then I will work straps down to a box, straps down free, straps up to a box and then straps down free.  The Deadlift will not be the emphasis in the last few weeks as it kills my CNS.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Quick one...

Monday was speed bech day and I felt like crap.  My sleep schedule is crazy lately and it is starting to affect my performance.  So here is the awful-ness that was Dynamic Effort

Speed Bench
185x3 for 8 sets, switching grip every set from wide, medium and narrow. 

Triceps Pressdowns(straight bar)

Anterior Delt Raise
4 sets to failure

I threw a set of Jerks in there, after the bench and they felt so crappy I left it off there.

Tuesday was Max Effort Squat for this 3 week wave, but I still felt like crap and I worked out at 5pm instead of Noon.  Had just enough time to Squat so I went:

Bar x a few
405x3 added belt
495x3 added suit straps down. 
           I wore an Under Armor shirt under the suit and the material was slick as hell and the bar ended       up sliding off my back and making a huge commostion
545x1 straps up

Called it a day after that. 

Until next time...

Friday, June 24, 2011

An Update...

I have been a serious slacker as of late when it comes to blogging.  In between setting up new hire orientation, a Master Level Personal Trainer's class and setting up a in-house Kettlebell Certification my time has been devoted to other things.  I am going to still give you the lovely blog posts on things that make my blood boil, as well as try to keep you updated on my lifting habits. 

As of late I have found my cruising weight.  I feel my strongest in the 295-305lb range and I plan on staying here.  If I lose a little I'm not going to worry, I just don't want to come in too much heavier than 305.  Even at this weight I can make 38" box jumps from a seated position and do 200m weighted sled drags for 6-8 trips.  I am trying to eat to help fuel my training and trying to cut weight while looking for a PR almost every week is just not conducive.  I structure my meals with protein first, some sort of green leafy vegetable and some form of other carb source, usually brown rice. 

For my lifting I have gone back to the Conjugate Method with a 3 week wave on the Main Lift and changing the accessory work every 6 weeks depending on my weak points.  I have started to lift in gear lately and I absolutely love it.  It feels great and it allows me to really concentrate on my form.  I got my gear from Titan Support and they pissed me off.  I had gotten recommendations to go through Ken Anderson, but like the stubborn ass that I tend to be I went directly to the manufacturer.  I took almost 8 weeks to get it from them and they sent the wrong size in both my squat/deadlift suit and my bench shirt.  The squat suit was ridiculously hard to get on and the bench shirt is too loose and has very little pop.  I like the Titan Gear, but I may switch to Inzer or Metal for my multi-ply stuff.

Since donning the squat suit my lifts have skyrocketed.  I should have 600lbs in the bag this coming Tuesday and I start my 3 week cycle of deadlifts after that.  I am having some trouble with depth, not because of the suit, but an injury I sustained 5 weeks ago.  I have a torn muscle in my low back that is killing me.  I am going to have to eliminate Good Mornings all together from my programming and find another Supplementary Lift.  That sucks because I LOVE Good Mornings.

PRs since my last update:
Squat:  585
Rack Jerk:  255x3
Good Morning: 455x3

I had have been consistently PRing in each lift, but these are the most recent numbers.  I have finally committed to the bench press, even though it is pathetic.  I can hit 335 to a 3 board with a shirt and I'll work my way down to the chest in the coming weeks.

There is my update.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Let the Cutting Begin

I am a firm believer of getting stuff done the way it should be done.  No half-assing, no giving it a try, either you do it or you don't.  I take the same approach to weight.  You should actively gain(bulk), actively lose(cut) or actively maintain.  Notice that the word actively is included here.  That means that you are making an effort at each one of these phases and not just letting them happen to you. 

Over the past few months I maintained after a good bulk from August to December, where I went from 285 to 310.  Since then I have tried to maintain the weight of 310 with some fluctuation that was due to added activity that I did not account for.  Now it is time to cut and when it is time to cut I don't like to take a slow approach to it.  I want it done now and I want it done right.  I think that Dave Tate's philosophy of Blast and Dust is a good way to describe it. 

It started yesterday at a body weight of 311.  It is a modification of a diet given to morbidly obese patients by their physicians so they can drop weight to have surgery.  Basically it consists of tons of protein, lots of fiber, fish oil and one refeed a week.  The refeed is put in to help reset leptin levels as well as keep the body out of ketoacidosis.  It is similar to the Velocity Diet, which I have done twice in the past.  This time I had a client of mine show me the original plan and I modified it to suit my needs and schedule.

I will eat 6-7 times a day, get 400-450g of protein (1.3 g/lb of bodyweight), 35+g of fiber, 3000-6000mg of salmon oil and copious amounts of water.  All this with less than 50g of carbohydrates, excluding the fiber.  The plan is to lose 20-25lbs over the next 28 days. 

The last time I did this I kept the weight off for over 6 months, lost no muscle mass, and maintained strength levels.  To boot, I think I have the opportunity to lose even more this time within the same time-frame. 

During this time I will do very little traditional weightlifting.  I will keep with my throwing drills so that the weight difference doesn't affect my throwing in a negative manner (like it could get too much worse at this point).  There will be some added cardio, but nothing to write home about.  Lots of inclined walking and maybe some weighted walks. 

Well, wish me luck.  This is the hardest 28 day cycle I've ever experienced.  The first week the brain suffers a little because of the switch between fuel sources.  The second week is great because you are burning a ton of energy and you actually feel really good about the whole process.  Week three you get absolutely sick of eating the same friggin' thing day in and day out.  Finally, in week four you've lost a good bit of weight and think about stopping every time you go to eat because, well, you've already lost a considerable amount of weight.

Here goes nothing...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What Planet Did This Garbage Come From?

I did a little tour of a couple of gyms here in town and I REALLY got pissed off by one of them. The reason I got pissed is probably not reason you were thinking of.  We'll call the place (I'm refusing to call it a gym) PF. 

Yes, they have the lunk alarm.  Yes, they have all purple equipment.  Yes, everyone there was either a pencil-neck or looked like they were smuggling bags of loose nickels in their pants.  The culture of the "place" was what killed me.

This judgement free zone dog-squeeze is exactly what is wrong with society as a whole.  Disclaimer:  The next four sentences should be read with your best "whiney-bitch" voice.  If you are weak, no one should be stronger than you.  If you are stupid, no one should be smarter than you.  If you are lazy, no one should have better work ethic than you.  If someone makes more money than you it is because they were luckier than you were.  This type of mentality is exactly what you should stay away from.  It is no one else's fault that you are stupid, weak, or lazy.  It is your fault you are that way.

Guess what?  There are supposed to be stupid people, there are supposed to be weak people, BUT there are supposed to be intelligent people, and there are supposed to be strong people, and there are supposed to be successful, intrinsically motivated people.  If you want to be one of those that are strong, intelligent, or successful, you have to work at it.

You know what drives me nuts?  Dodgeball and trophies.  Dodgeball drives me insane.  Why?  It is non-existent today because of the same mentality that keeps PF in business.  But Matt, someone will have to be picked last for teams and some kids will get knocked out of the game first.  Guess what?  It is a lesson for life that every kid needs to learn.  Trophies are handed out like candy for kid's team sports.  You came in last place little Johnny, so here is a trophy.  What the hell is that?  I remember being in sixth grade and we just lost the last game of the season, which happened to be the championship game for the athletic association.  When we had the team party we got trophies and I can specifically remember thinking, "Why did we just get trophies for losing".

You shouldn't be angry that someone is better than you in any way, shape, or form.  That sort of thing should drive you to become as good, if not better, than that person you are looking at.  When I see other guys throwing better than me in the Highland Games it makes me angry.  Not because they threw higher or farther, rather I get angry at myself for not being able to match or beat their marks.  It is not their fault that they are better than I am, hell, they are working just as hard as I am to throw the way they do.  Which brings us to an old saying that I will probably butcher:

"Nothing worth having comes to you without hard work."

So, next time you encounter someone that is more successful than you at anything, don't run home, put your head down in the pillows, and turn on some Morrisey or The Smiths.  Make yourself better so that the next time you encounter that person you are more successful than they are.  Then you get to walk away looking like this guy:

All in all, don't be a sniveling piece of crap.  If you think you "deserve" better, think to yourself, "Have I EARNED better?".  No one deserves anything, you have to earn.  If you want stop being a worthless vagoo, drop the PF mentality and grow a set of testicles.  Little bit by little bit the world will become a better place for you and it will keep my blood pressure down.  At least until I find the next thing that lights a fire under my ass.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Results From the Bay Area Rennaissance Festival

I did okay at best.  I can't bitch too much, but performed poorly on a few throws where I thought I would do well.  Here is how it broke down:

Braemar Stone:  Threw a PR here and it actually felt pretty good.  I had plenty of pop, I drove well and I feel like I did an alright job of keeping my high and throwing up.

Open Stone:  Threw another PR here.  I didn't hit 40' like I wanted, but I had some good pushes and had 38'+ throw.  Special thanks to Dan Jessop and Dave Robinson for helping out with my form.

56# Weight For Distance:  I don't even want to write about this one.  It seems that every other Games I forget how to throw it.  The only PR I threw in Jax was the 56 and it felt like a crappy throw.  I have to make it down to Ocala to practice with another A Division competitor to get this one down.  I'm taking up about 1/2 of the box on the first spin, when the guys who are good at this are almost staying in place on their first spin.

28# Weight for Distance:  I needed to get my head clear, so my first throw was my old school single spin.  It went something like 47', but it was a throw away attempt, so I didn't care too much.  I concentrated on keeping my first spin tight on the next throw and it went 55'+, a PR.  Final throw I kept it tight and got a better pull and I threw 56'+ which is a huge PR and one of my goals for this Games.

Hammer:  This was frustrating.  I threw 69' in Orlando but only hit 64' in these Games.  I keep releasing after 2 spins because I feel like I'll lose it after the third.  In practice I keep my hips on a good rotation and stay stable, but the last two Games I've just screwed up.  Again I need to practice with someone who has technique.

Caber:  I usually am in the top 4 or 5 with this, but I had no pop after lunch.  It was too damned hot and I did not have the energy.  I need to start doing my workouts outside from Noon-2 to get used to the heat, so I don't suffer after our lunch break.

Sheaf:  To be honest I don't even want to talk about it.  Too many people trying to tell me too many different things and I just got screwed up.  Just like the caber, no pop.

56# Weight For Height:  I made it to 11' and barely hit the bar at 12'.  No excuse here, just no gas left in the tank.

I had a great time with some great people and I got to spend some time with my Uncle Bobby and Aunt Marty.  I need to spend less time in the gym and more time on the field.