Sunday, January 15, 2017


-It’s cliché, but I am digging “reverse dieting” as a superior paradigm to “bulking”, as long as training employees the same approach with volume and conditioning.

-I haven’t used a barbell, outside of car deadlift simulators, since Oct of 2015.  If I had to do it all over again, I’d have bought the Ironmind Apollon’s axle first and never got the Texas Power Bar.  Anything the TPB can do, the Axle does better.

-That said, the Texas Deadlift Bar is still legit…but I also haven’t used it since Oct of 2015.

-I have no idea what my 1 rep maxes are.  Why do so many people care about their own?

-I wish my strict press carried over better to my push press.  In truth, I need to learn how to be athletic.  At least, if I want to win.

 Image result for glenn ross strongman
Well...maybe not

-I can’t push press while facing the power rack.  I have to press facing away from it.  Weird psychological hurdle, I know, but acknowledging it is half the battle.  I could spend months fixing the issue, or seconds turning and facing the way that works.

-Why train in the morning?  Because you look awesome with a pump when you aren’t bloating with a full day’s worth of food.

-The internet is starting to embrace 5/3/1…which makes me wonder if it’s a bad program. Of course, seeing how badly people butcher the program gives me hope.

-Whenever someone complains about “swole shaming”, “fit shaming”, etc, I assume these people bring it upon themselves by being attention seeking martyrs.  If you just live your life and mind your business, people tend to leave you alone.  If you want to be acknowledged, go win something.

 Image result for 3st place
No, this doesn't count

-I love all my toys, but sometimes I find myself craving an opportunity that forces me back to basics.  Limitations breed creativity.  Reference: training while injured.

-For mobility work, I have a reverse hyper against a wall and I have to duck under the front handles to put dumbbells on the feet to weigh it down.  Talk about functional!

-Let’s come together as a community and ensure that, when we see someone doing “farmer’s walks” with dumbbells, we call it “stealing dumbbells”.  Don’t get me wrong; more people need to do conditioning, but that doesn’t count.  Your grip shouldn’t limit your conditioning.

-Putting Ironmind bars in my New York Barbell’s power rack makes me giggle.

-When someone brings up drugs in a discussion on strength, I imagine that person isn’t very strong.

-When I see people complain about the cost of a gallon of milk a day or the diet in “Building the Monolith”, I just wonder how these people eat.  This is a diet for ONE person; how do you think people feeding families manage?  Maslow’s hierarchy of needs folks.  Get your finances in order, THEN lift.  Also, how much are they spending on Starbucks, pre-workouts, video games, etc?

 Image result for starbucks coffee
Full disclosure: I've never had Starbucks before, but I'm fairly certain you could buy a week's worth of ground beef for the cost of this

-Let’s all appreciate the humor that, there is one camp arguing that natural trainees need to train more frequently than drug users to create more protein synthesis while there is ANOTHER group saying natural lifters need to train LESS frequently because they can’t recover as quickly as drug users.  Let’s also appreciate how both methods work, and for both natural and assisted lifters.  Those on drugs simply get better results faster; it’s not magic.

-I miss 2008 era Elitefts.

-I own so many jump ropes.  I buy them thinking I will use them.  Never happens.

-Muscle is not built from food alone.  Stimulus must be present.  The bulkers miss this.  If the only thing you change is food, you just get fat.

-Go get injured and learn something.

-Once I stopped considering certain things inherently bad (injuries, muscle imbalances, back rounding, inflexibility, etc) my training took off.  Somethings simply “are”, not necessarily good or bad.

-It’s weird how small guys wear clothes that are too tight while big guys wear clothes that are too big.

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Wait: a tanktop OVER your t-shirt?  But how will people know that you are big?!

-Beginners need less plans.  Go out, have fun, push yourself, try a whole bunch of things.  Overspecializing early leads to stagnation.

-I think a lot of people want to read about lifting so they can find more excuses.  How else will they learn that their genetics, anterior pelvic tilt, low testosterone, high myostatin, etc etc are all holding them back?

-In case you missed it, Chris Duffin recently accomplished one of the most impressive deadlifting feats I’ve ever witnessed.  20x675 sumo, followed by 10x675 conventional.  I know it’s trendy to hate on the guy right now, but seriously, that’s gotta be in the top 5 deadlifts, and pulling with both stances is just nuts.

-I must have gone crazy, because I am front squatting, barbell (axle technically) rowing and pressing twice a week; all things I have sworn never to do again.  Maybe I’m operating under the premise that, if I do everything wrong, it will all work out.

-On the topic of front squatting, I picked up a cheap(ish) front squat harness off of amazon recently.  I might be using it wrong, but it’s not exactly like front squatting.  Clint Darden calls it “Viking squats”, and I can appreciate that.  The weight is a little further out in front of you compared to when the bar is resting on your clavicle, so it’s like combining the front squat and the safety squat bar.  Also makes it hell to breathe.  This, of course, means I’m a big fan of the movement, and I’m using it a lot more in my training.

Image result for viking berserker
Besides, vikings will never NOT be awesome

-You know what you can control?  How crazy you are.  People will be bigger, stronger, better, faster, and younger than you, but YOU have the power to be crazier than everyone else.  It’s not even a quality you need to develop; it’s a decision you need to make.  In many cases, crazy beats good.  However, in many cases, crazy also dies in a spectacular fashion, so be aware.

-My approach to training has pretty much boiled down to “why not?”  It’s gotten me pretty far.

-Once I started lifting weights less, I started getting much stronger.  Everyone wants to lift weights, no one wants to do bodyweight work or conditioning.

-Even I don't know what to think about the fact that I tell everyone that training method doesn't really matter but then wonder why people train so stupidly.

-Pavel Tsastouline's "Beyond Bodybuilding" was both the best and the worst thing to happen to my training.  Same with Westside Barbell.  I bet 5/3/1 will be the same too.

-Perception of time scales with age.  When you are 5, a year takes forever, because it's a 5th of your life.  When you are 80, a year is a blip.  It's the same with training.  New trainees want to change programs every 2 weeks, because it feels like they have been doing the same thing FOREVER.  I'll realize I have been training the same way for years every once in a while.

-People up in arms about amino spiking should eat more steak.

Image result for Gigantic steak
Hard to mess up the amminos on this

-Training isn't a competition.  Rarely is this understood by non-competitors.

-I have had people tell me that I am hardcore/they admire my training/etc, and all it does is puzzle me.  How are these people training?

-People that are smaller and weaker than me have a tendency to tell me how I should train so that I can avoid injury.  They seem to be under the impression that I haven't been injured yet.  They never realize that I have been injured multiple times, and I am STILL more successful than they are.

-It gets hard and harder for me to understand strength progress.  Everyone just wants to compare numbers against time and go "look; strength!" but that tells me nothing.  Was this a skill increase?  Did the person peak?  Was there any hypertrophy?  Etc etc.  I am at the point where numbers matter less; it's a question of how much effort was applied over how much time. 

Saturday, January 7, 2017


Longtime reader/poster Soman recently submitted 2 questions in the comment section of a previous article that I felt deserved it's own post to address.  Once again; if anyone has anything they'd like covered, feel free to send it my way.

Question 1:

Is it practical to set multiple goals at the same time (ex. getting stronger on a cut ) or just attack one with fervor?

The go to example of attacking one with fervor

This is an excellent question, because it demonstrates the somewhat multi-leveled approach one needs to take in training.  Philosophically, I believe one should set their mind to a very small number of goals, and, if one undertakes more than one goal, the goals should be related/self serving.  My prime example, of course, would be getting bigger and stronger.  Those two goals SHOULD go together, and in fact, only the internet believes you will somehow do one without the other, but that is of course another discussion.  What one does not want to do is undertake far too many goals (bigger, stronger, faster, leaner, better, more conditioned, etc) OR undertake a limited amount of goals that explicitly contradict each other (get bigger and smaller).

That having been said, I do not feel one should accept loss in other areas, let alone EXPECT it.  Can losses occur in other areas while we focus on one goal?  Absolutely; that is the give and take of training.  However, when trainees set out already under the impression that they WILL experience losses in certain areas, it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy, to the point that failures occur way sooner than they should.  Much like a woman who becomes pregnant and starts "showing" at 4 weeks because they've been eating everything in sight, you have trainees that decide they're absolutely going to lose strength on a cut, and experience RAPID strength plummets within the first 2 days of reduced calories.  They approach the training with failure on their mind and refuse to fight tooth and nail to hang onto as much as they possibly can.

Image result for 300 kick down the well
If nothing else, refusing to give up can make for an interesting movie

I know I'm a broken record about this stuff, but your mind has SO much impact on your body.  As much as we want to believe everything is biological, we observe time and time again how important the mind is to bodily processes.  Some folks beat unbeatable cancers because they come in like a warrior, other folks die from the flu because they give up and let it win.  It's the same thing in training.  A trainee that takes on a task and decides that they WILL NOT lose anything while they make progress is going to end up in a far better position than one that decides that, because they are focused on one, others will fall.

So, to sum up; don't spread yourself too thin, but don't believe that you have to suffer.

Question 2:

What are your opinions on goal hijacking ? A trainee sets out with the goal to to accomplish one thing but others convince them (usually on forums lol) to accomplish something else . Ex. a trainee wanting to look good for the beach but is convinced he needs to bulk to get a 315 squat for five reps lol and forget the beach .

Image result for starting strength memes
It's not like I even had to make this comic

This, of course, speaks to the toxicity of forums and why I am so opposed to them as a medium of information exchange.  Yes, I hang out on reddit and t-nation, but rarely am I there to learn vs to try to teach or just kill some time.

People hijack your goals because your goals threaten their worldview.  People want YOU to conform to THEM, because it's more comfortable for one to believe that they are right and everyone else is wrong vs engaging in some introspection and realizing that maybe they don't know as much as they think.  No one is hijacking your goals due to altruism or any actual concern for your wellbeing. Such activity would be pretentious and condescending at BEST; for who is anyone to decide what is in your best interest?  So, in any situation, someone hijacking your goals is not looking out for your best interest.

Image result for book of mormon musical
They aren't here to save your soul

Hijacking METHOD is a different argument though.  Many times, trainees set out with a goal and then decide to pick a plan that in no way will help them reach it.  How many times do we see someone pick up Starting Strength when they want to look better?  Or pick up running when their goal is to lose weight?  In such situations, it's quite possible that altruism does come into play; that someone sees a trainee making a mistake in the execution of their plan, and they want to point them in the right direction.

However, we still arrive at an issue here; anyone seeking the aid of the internet is one who truly does not care about the outcome of their efforts.  Think about it; in any other situation, you scale degrees of success linearly with the qualifications of the assistance received.  If I want a 0% success rate on having my oil changed on my car, I take my car to a swarm of wasps.  If I want a 50% chance, I take it to a high school kid with an owner's manual.  If I want a near 100% chance, I take it to a mechanic.  It's the same thing with your fitness goals. If you REALLY want to succeed, you find a qualified coach/instructor/whatever, pay them their fee or read their book and follow their method.  If you want a pretty good shot, you find the local big dude at your gym and follow his advice.  You want to fail?  Go to the swarm of angry wasps that is the internet.  Everyone's voice is equally loud, and you have to dig DEEP if you want to find qualifications.  Weak people love to hide behind the whole "just because I don't lift much doesn't mean I don't know what I'm talking about" (sorry for the triple negative), and a lost newb on the internet might just believe that nonsense.

So, to sum this one up: Never let anyone hijack your goals.  However, if your method is screwed up, eat some humble pie and do what it takes to reach your goals.  If you're married to your method, then change your goals.  HOWEVER, never trust the internet anyway.

Thanks for the questions.  Keep them coming!