Saturday, March 10, 2018


I’m just getting sick of this, so allow me to rant.  Every time I see a video of someone accomplishing some ridiculous feat of strength, I see the same dumb thing in the comments.  No, I’m not talking about the steroids accusations, I’m not talking about the bad form comments, I’m not talking about the “my back hurts just watching that” nonsense; I’m talking about the miscreants that make the video all about THEM.  And they do it in the stupidest way possible; using it as an opportunity to talk about how weak THEY are.  “Oh man, here I was happy doing only HALF of that”, “Oh wow, if I tried that I’d blow a gasket”, etc etc.  Jesus Christ; quit being so self-centered for a second and let this person have their glory.  It’s not about you!

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Oh man, if I tried to get a nosebleed like that, I'd probably only get 1 nostril going!

“But I’m just pointing out how STRONG that guy is!” No you’re not; you’re trying to reinforce your toxic mediocrity by shifting attention AWAY from greatness and focusing it on weakness.  You’re trying to create a culture of under performing to justify your OWN failings rather than letting magnificence shine when it is present.  There was no doubt whatsoever that Eddie Hall was strong when he deadlifted 500kg; you pointing out that you’d be happy to deadlift 500lbs is trite and a meaningless statement that did nothing to benefit the rest of us.  Respect the lift by admiring it or by shutting up about it, but when you try to take attention away from the athlete by shifting the focus onto you, you are truly committing a crime.

And quit your compliment fishing; this isn’t a therapy session.  You don’t need someone to tell you to buck up and that everyone has to start somewhere; we all know this already.  And hey, for those of you that watch these videos and say “that’s it, I quit”; good.  Get out, because your monument to weakness is offensive and is setting us all back.  “But my self-esteem!” I HOPE your self-esteem is low, because hopefully you’ll resent yourself enough to want to make a change.  People that are content have no reason to improve; it’s the people that absolutely DETEST their very being that are going to be out there making meaningful changes.  If you want acceptance, go make a tumblr, but if you strength, quit making this about you.

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You won't BELIEVE the sort of tumblrs this image shows up on...

“Hey man, I just want to establish some realistic expectations”, no, go away.  What you’re doing is the exact opposite of helpful.  Let’s abolish realistic expectations and give EVERYONE unrealistic expectations.  Let’s get bored of 1000lb deadlifts, let’s see so many 3000lb totals that it’s trite, let’s get so inundated with greatness that we expect nothing else.  When we normalize greatness, achieving it seems almost inevitable.  What you’re doing is dragging us all down with you as you do your best to turn the topic of conversation around and back to you.

Hey, know what you can do to get people to start talking about you?  GO DO SOMETHING!  Go do something that is WORTH talking about.  Don’t pride yourself on how weak you are; go into hiding and turn into some sort of horrific unstoppable juggernaut and come back decades later so that the whole collective internet hivemind sees you and says “What the F**K?!”  Go EARN the right to be spoken about.  Don’t try to steal it by attempting to turn the spotlight onto your weakness whenever given the chance; remain silent until you have something to say, and then say it so loud that no one can hear over your awesomeness.

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Eddie couldn't hear over how awesome he was...and because he was bleeding out of his ears

And why CAN’T it be you?  Why spend so much time wallowing in maudlin self-pity when you could go out and BE these things you idolize?  No time?  Genetics?  Drugs?  Excuses, the whole lot of it.  Because even if you can’t reach THEIR level, you can certainly maximize your potential, and in doing so you will reach levels that few other humans in total will ever experience.  You WILL be spoken of by others, because the person that has peaked, in whatever form that takes, IS impressive among others.  You won’t have to hog the spotlight or shift attention away from others or play weird psychological games to trick people into noticing you; you’ll be noticed because you finally went and achieved something.

But until that time, it’s not about you.  Don’t make it about you.  Let the greatness that is occurring occur before you, and praise it for what it is, and reflect on it for what it means to you, and give that person what they EARNED by achieving this feat.  One day, you might be able to earn it too.

Sunday, March 4, 2018


Humans pride themselves on their logic and ability to reason, but this blessing is also a curse, as humans often find themselves hamstrung by their NEED for reasons.  Whenever any event occurs, humans scramble to find the reason, as though knowing it somehow changes the outcome of events.  When there is a tragedy, we seek to find the reason why.  When the plan fails, we want to know the reason.  When WE fail, we seek the reason.  We do this because it’s comforting; if we can find the reason, then we can “fix” the problem and make sure it never happens again.  However, there exists in reality a frustrating and frightening realization that many refuse to ever come to; sometimes, there is no reason. 

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See this guy gets it

The most prominent place I observe reason seeking is in the instance of injuries.  First, allow me to rant (and even if you don’t, it’s my blog, I’ll do what I want); what the hell is up with people seeking out video compilations of trainees getting injured in the gym?  Follow-up rant; what the hell is up with people deciding to change how they train BECAUSE of these videos?  Riddle me this; how many times have you been driving and witnessed the result of a horrific wreck on the side of the road?  Car upside-down, looking like a smashed in accordion, broken glass and possibly even blood on the asphalt?  Now; did you change your driving at ALL after seeing that?  Or are you still listening to the radio, on your phone, not coming to full stops at stopsigns, speeding, etc etc?  This will kill you, and you change nothing, but a bicep tear video convinces you to stop using mixed grip and switch to double overhand exclusively?  Really?  Better safe than sorry I guess.

Anyway, back to injuries.  I remember when Brandon Lilly blew out both of his knees squatting over 700lbs raw, and INSTANTLY the internet was abuzz with conspiracy theories regarding WHY it happened.   Drugs, improper warm-ups, over reliance on wraps, too much volume, too LITTLE volume, etc etc.  Why?  Not for any sort of benevolence, not to actually find a way to HELP Lilly, but purely so that THEY (the internet hivemind collective) could convince themselves that this could NEVER happen to them.  The sheer prospect that this injury happened without reason was terrifying, and it simply could not exist in the psyche of the trainee…but it’s something we need to cope with.  Sometimes, you do everything “right” and your number still gets called and your time gets done.  Your body does not LIKE squatting 700lbs; it actually HATES it, because it was not built for it, and sometimes, no matter how big or strong you got it, it just says “no” and quits.  We need to understand that every time we set up for that big lift, it might be our last time doing it.  And if we’re not at peace with that, that’s fine; it means that it’s time to hang it up.

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The last guy who tried this broke his back in half and died...just for reference

We see reason seeking regarding programming as well.  With all the latest and greatest scientific studies out there in the budding field of exercise science, we’re absolutely CONVINCED that anything related to training can be scientifically proven, and anything that CAN’T be proven clearly does not work.  We conveniently ignore the reality that exercise science is a super new field of research, with limited funding compared to other more important scientific endeavors like curing cancer or going into outerspace or eliminating baldness, or making fat free potato chips that don’t cause colon leakage.  We convince ourselves that we know the optimal amount of volume and frequency necessary to elicit the optimal amount of gains because we read it in a study (or, more realistically, the ABSTRACT of a study) somewhere, and so, when we see someone violate that, we seek the reason.  People gaining on HIT?  On DoggCrapp?  On MountainDog?  On Super Squats?  On Stuart McRobert’s programs?  On John McCallum’s programs?  On Arnold’s 2 a day split?  But they break ALL THE RULES!  And the reasons are sought.  Clearly it’s steroids; take enough drugs and you can make ANYTHING work.  No wait, its genetics; with enough natural talent, you can make ANYTHING.  No wait wait…they secretly snuck off away from their coach and did even MORE training.  Yes, I have seen someone make that claim before. 

Maybe there is just no reason?  Maybe someone can still put on a massive amount of muscle even if their mitochondria isn’t optimally stimulated with exact 2:1 pulse timing.  Maybe “volume” realistically can’t be calculated when someone is using a combination of stripsets, forced reps, and heavy eccentrics well past the point of absolute failure.  Maybe these things work simply because they do, and that the reason is something either so incredibly complex we can’t fathom it or so incredibly simple we refuse to accept it.  But realistically, WHY do we need to know WHAT the reason is so long as we understand that it DOES work?  The more I embraced this, the better I became.  I cared less that I understood why things worked and cared more about understanding what DOES work.  Why do I drink a gallon of water a day?  Because every single big and strong person has said to do this, despite every scientific claim that says you only need to drink while thirsty and overhydration is bunk.  Why do I eat an “excessive” amount of protein?  Because every big and strong person on the planet has said to do this, no matter what the science says on the subject.  THAT is the reason.   Appeal to authority?  Sure.  I’m not making a goddamn logical argument here; your fallacies are meaningless. I AM appealing to authority, because that’s the whole point of BEING an authority; your statements have gravity. 

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Being logical is cool and all, but so is being jacked and strong

Quit looking for the reason; you’re wasting your time, and finding it changes nothing.  Reality continues to proceed irrespective of your understanding of it.  Do what works and let someone else figure out why later.

Sunday, February 25, 2018


I previously reviewed “5/3/1 Forever” and have announced in many other posts how much I am a fan of the program and Jim’s philosophy.  That having been said, up until recently, I had been co-opting 5/3/1 principles into my own training to suit my specific goals.  After my most recent competition in April of 2017, I had enough downtime that I figured I might as well run some 5/3/1 programs legit and see what happens.  From that time, I ran “Building the Monolith” (which I have reviewed here), a leader and anchor cycle of “God is a Beast” and 3 leaders of “SVR II” before moving on to my own training approach which once again steals from 5/3/1.  I have sense observed some fantastic growth in my own training along with some paradigm shifting, and figured this was as good a time as any to share what lessons I’ve learned and what takeaways you may experience.

1: You don’t need to set PRs in training all the time

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Dude, Kaz, we still have 2 more sets

One of the big critiques of 5/3/1 Forever is that “the PR sets are gone!”  What actually happened is that programs have built in leader and anchor cycles, and the PR sets don’t happen till you reach the latter, but in either case, you spend a LOT more time working in the 5 rep range now than you did with 5/3/1 first edition.  I’ll admit that I approached this with trepidation at first as well, because the meathead in me said that, if I’m ALWAYS doing sets of 5, then only the final week of the program is where I’ll really work hard, because the first 2 weeks will be too light.

And then I ended up setting a lifetime PR on the press during the anchor of God is a Beast. 

Solid PR on back bending too

I’m not going to pretend to understand it, but Jim is some sort of alchemist when it comes to training, and the way he structures the programs work in such a way that, when you follow them, you get stronger.  It seems all that time spent grinding away on the sets of 5 over a few cycles sets you up for some big results when you actually go to push for PRs.  In fact, I’m STILL reaping the benefits of this set-up, and despite being now 9 weeks removed from a 5/3/1 program proper, I am smashing PRs in the press every time I train it.  The non-PR sets are where strength is built, and the PR sets are where it is realized.

2: Full body workouts are viable at any level

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Although you don't need to do the whole thing all at once

Maybe I’m being presumptuous with that statement as I’m not “advanced”, but odds are, if you’re reading my blog, you aren’t either, so this works for you.  I thought for sure I was beyond this point in my training, and so I used an upper/lower split for years, specifically ala 5/3/1 first edition with a day for benching, squatting, pressing and deadlifting.  However, Building the Monolith got me back into full body training, and Jim’s approach to assistance work has you train the entire body every day, even if the focus is on one movement.  In turn, frequency of muscle group training is high, as is total volume, yet it works in a fashion that is completely recoverable.  Instead of having 1 day where I absolutely hammered my delts, I’d hit them 4-6 times in a week, and get in even more volume.

This has also been a boon for training for strongman competitions, as before I would need to figure out how to fit event training into my 4 days a week of lifting.  Now, I’ve learned how to consolidate my lifting into 3 full body days so that I have more time in the week to focus on event work.  I still get in adequate volume and frequency in lifting, but don’t need to make events an “afterthought”.

3: You can train the same muscle groups many times in a row

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In this case, you train none of them all the time

Similar to the above, I was stuck in the mentality that, after you train a muscle group, you have to let it rest for 48ish hours, because of reasons.  This mentality forced my training to be pretty restrictive, and many times my schedule would get chaotic.  However, with 5/3/1’s approach to assistance work being that the full body gets worked every time you train, I found out that it was totally possible to recover training the same muscle groups back to back to back, so long as volume and recovery were accounted for.  Yeah; if you do a full on hour workout just for your shoulders, you shouldn’t touch them again for a few days, but if all you did was 50-100 reps of some raises, you can come back the next day and so some presses and be fine.  And in the end, your total volume for the week will be about the same as if you hammered them for an hour on one day; it’s just a different approach.  This opens up a lot more options for training flexibility and more creative approaches to assistance work.

4: You can’t push supplemental work and main work hard at the same time

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I swear to God I will pistol whip the next person that calls this an "accessory exercise"

This was the big revelation in Jim’s “leaders and anchors” approach to training, and something I never wanted to admit to, but was the absolute truth.  The main work in the program tends to be those lifts we are specifically focusing on; for a powerlifting, the big 3, for a strongman, upcoming competition lifts, etc.  We push those lifts hard whenever we’re trying to improve those specific lifts, but when that happens, it means that the supplemental lifts, those additional lifts that DRIVE up the mainlifts, need to throttle back.  Volume or intensity needs to be reduced in order to accommodate for how hard we’re pushing the top stuff.  So what do we do when we want to push the supplemental lifts?  We throttle  back on the main work, hitting hard and heavy but not super taxing sets in order to maintain our ability to move weight and our technique, but still allowing us time to backfill with more work in the supplemental portion.  This is also why, once the leaders are done and one moves onto the anchors, they get to experience so much growth; because resting on the mainwork and pushing the supplemental stuff laid down the foundation for this growth.

Sunday, February 18, 2018


Nothing is more powerful than the moment when you have decided on something, for it is at this moment that action can occur and change will be made.  Despite claims to the contrary, we ultimately have the greatest control of our lives.  You can be a stoic ala Aurelius and decide that the power you have is the ability to decide how you react to the world, or you can embrace the very tyranny of your radical freedom ala Sarte and understand that every action you make is a choice, but the end is the same; your actions are a result of when YOU have decided to do or not do something.  But I say you take this even further; cast out all reality and make it merely a product of what it is that you have decided.  Ignore science, good sense, convention, historical evidence and all doubters and let your battle cry be “I have decided!”

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Not a bad second choice...yes, I realize this is censored from the original

Bend reality to your warped, fractured and diseased mind, and make it conform to YOU.  Make it such that, when you say “I have decided that I will lose weight and get stronger, despite all claims to the contrary”, it occurs.  “I have decided that I will train one side of my body while the other heals, and encounter no imbalances and only become stronger”, “I have decided that I will become stronger by lifting lighter weights”, “I have decided that I will get better at full ROM work by training partial ROM”, “I have decided that there is no such thing as overtraining”, etc etc.  In all these instances, the power resides in YOU to make things happen.  You are not an agent of reality; reality is an agent of you.  It is YOUR reality to bend, shape and beat into conformity, and you make it happen because YOU have decided it will happen. 

This means shutting out the negativity of others that refuse to take control of your reality.  Those that will quote studies at you, that assert their own failures at your attempts, that degrade your intelligence, that mock you by calling you crazy.  Crazy as a mockery?  That is true insanity; being crazy is the way that one becomes different, and different is a side-step away from average, allowing growth into something more.  Read your Focault; what was classified as “insane” was traditionally simply those behaviors that drew too much attention to the very failings of society.  You exemplify these failings WITH your success.  You should be so lucky that your methods are considered ridiculous by others, because those sane people are getting some pretty sane results.

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It is amazing how many times I try to use this as a punchline and it ends up refuting the paragraph above it

I’ve done this many times in my life.  The instant I blew out my knee, I decided right then that I would do whatever it takes to heal and come back bigger and stronger than before.  Making that decision in that moment set me up to do what it took to accomplish my goals.  It meant getting surgery, training whatever I could, and using every tool I had access to for my recovery, and it meant I came back and won my first show post surgery.  I did the same thing the first time I decided to drop weight, in that I decided I wasn’t going to get weaker while it happened, and ended up dropping 30lbs while breaking through a 3 year deadlift plateau, hitting a 601lb deadlift at a bodyweight of 181 after failing to clear 550 at 217lbs 3 years prior.  Once the decision was made, it was up to me to execute it.

You won’t be beholden to what others have decided FOR you, because YOU have decided instead.  And this holds true for your negative decisions too.  Went on a 2 day ice cream bender because “the cravings got the best of me?”  Negative; YOU decided to indulge.  This was a choice, and you made it; embrace your empowerment.  Slept in and skipped a morning training session because you “really needed the sleep?”  Untrue; YOU decided to skip training.  Again, embrace your empowerment; how absolutely fortunate you are to HAVE such autonomy.  You are the ultimate arbiter of your own success and failure; what freedom!  The freedom to dictate if you reach your goals or never meet them; the freedom to be something great or something average, and all it takes is for you to make the decision. 

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And when you make that decision, OWN that decision.  If you decide to skip training or eat poorly, admit that it was a decision you made, because that empowers you to also UNMAKE that decision in the future.  You are still in control of your reality and your destiny, and in being control you have the freedom to make poor choices just as much as you have the freedom to make good ones, but in all instances, the results are the product of something that YOU have decided.  When you attempt to pawn off your actions on outside forces, all you are doing is removing power from yourself.  As unintuitive as it may seem, you are much stronger when you decide you will not train than when the decision to train is removed from you and vested in outside cosmic forces.  The man who is able to decide his own fate will always be stronger than the one who is a mere victim of circumstance, for the latter, no matter how strong fate has made them, lacks power over the self.  And in turn, one who decides to fail STILL holds more power than one who fails because of circumstances.        

I have decided.  No one else decides but I.  And once I have decided, I will act in accordance with my decision.  Let it be your mantra.  Let no reality exist that is not the reality that you chose to create; the you decide to create.  Let nothing happen unless it is within your will; unless you got to say “I have decided it is so”.

Sunday, February 11, 2018


Lord help me I’ve been on the internet again, and I have a feeling one of you is to blame.  Someone took the photos I posted way back on entry 1 when this whole thing got started and uploaded them to a subreddit with the goal of determining if the person in the photo is natural or on steroids.  From there, much comedy unfolded, but thankfully with it came an opportunity to write, learn and educate, and thus I have the chance to write this post.  The more you get exposed to the paradigms of others, the more you get to understand your own operating paradigm, and through this process we find where the disconnects exists.  Fundamentally, during this experience, those that originally assumed I was a non-natural trainee discovered that the difference between them and I didn’t exist on a chemical level, nor did it exist on a biological level, but simply on a cognitive level.  It wasn’t drugs, it wasn’t genetics; it was being crazy.

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Maybe even THIS crazy

The debate over my photos went in a pretty predictable pattern. First, accusations of steroid usage were based purely upon the appearance of certain bodyparts, because that’s apparently a thing now.  Somehow, WADA can’t tell if someone is on drugs unless they knock on their door at 0400 and demand a urine sample right there on the spot during the off season, but meanwhile there is a crack team of superheroes on the internet that can manage this amazing feat with just a photograph.  From there, they used alleged statistics to for certain know that I was on steroids, to include my height and weight combined with the exact bodyfat percentage they were able to determine from some blurry photographs.  Once again, I had to go sit naked and fasted in a bodpod with a swim cap on to get my bodyfat measured to within a 2% margin of error, but these experts have eyeballs that are so highly calibrated that they can tell within a fraction of a percentage, and they of course have SERIOUS hardcore studies to back up their findings.  And then, once that was all said and done, they looked at my youtube channel and from there could absolutely conclude I was on steroids, because I was “above elite” on lifts.  And again, these “elite” determinations were taken from a SERIOUS website that had lots of graphs and numbers that absolutely concluded without a doubt what was in fact an elite lift, irrespective of the fact that most of those very elite lifts wouldn’t even grant you entry into World’s.  But, once again, I digress.

Some were willing to concede to the ability that I may in fact be the natural trainee that I am, but from there we went in an equally silly direction; superior genetics.  The fact that I’m 32 and have been training in some manner since I was 14, and had been engaged in athletics since I was 6, was of zero consequence to the discussion; I simply MUST be in possession of superior genetics.  It’s the “no true scotsman” all over again, where the end result dictates the method, rather than the other way around.  Not only did I have these superior genetics, but with it I was apparently beholden to a moral imperative wherein I MUST “share my secret” with the rest of the natural trainee world, once again disregarding the fact I’ve been writing a free blog once a week for over 5 years now.  Since I was “gifted”, I now owed it to the world to share my gift.

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Another gift no one really wants

And from here, things took a real interesting turn.  I refuted the charge of superior genetics under the baseline that, traditionally, one does not consider needing to train hard for 18 years to accomplish something an indication of superior genetics, and shared that I have had to make sacrifices along the way in terms of health.  Things turned ugly here, as people became outright upset that I would dare to get injured in pursuit of getting bigger and stronger.  The sheer notion was abhorrent, and I was called things such as irrational and crazy.  And I don’t refute that.  I am both of those things…but I am also big and strong.  And my goal was never to be rational or sane.

This is where we find the disconnect, and why large demographics of people have come to assume that anyone more successful than them must be using performance enhancing drugs; these people are operating under the paradigm that everyone ELSE must be as preoccupied with avoiding injury and being rational as they are.  These people cannot fathom the notion of someone willing to push hard enough that injuries occur, that pain is encountered, that sacrifices get made.  They believe that all people engaged in the pursuit of getting bigger and stronger do so thinking that being big and strong would be dandy, but being injury free is the goal.  They believe no one would want to blow out all the blood vessels in their face on a super ugly max effort set where form goes out the window and you just hold on and grind until the rep is over.  And when you believe that everyone else is training with the exact same lack of intensity as you are, it’s easy to believe that anyone achieving superior results must be using some sort of chemical assistance to get you there.

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Sure, Lance Armstrong WAS juicing, but he ALSO didn't look like this when he trained

This is what I harp on when I talk about how some folks just plain don’t understand what effort means, and in turn, why they don’t get the results they want.  They’ll swear up and down on a stack of Bibles that they’re always busting their ass at the gym, but the truth is, they’re only pushing as hard as their own internal governor is allowing them.  They’ll approach right to the point where progress may finally start happening, and immediately ramp back down before they run the risk of actually succeeding.  And they’ll spin their wheels for years and make marginal progress at best, and assume this is an indication that they’ve reached their genetic limit.  Bullcrap.  Your genetics have TONS of potential, but they need to be unlocked, and that occurs through significant and consistent stressors that push you well outside your comfort zone and FORCE growth as the only possible recourse.  And yes, this is riding a razor’s edge, and it means sometimes you’ll push too hard and get hurt, but it’ll ALSO mean that, even while hurt you’re still ahead of the people refusing to do so.

I suppose the lesson out of all this rambling is that, if you see someone more successful than you, maybe it’s because they “cheat”, maybe it’s because they’re gifted, but maybe it’s because they’re simply working harder than you are because they are crazy.