Sunday, June 17, 2018

I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR PROGRESS


I’ve been writing 1000 words a week for about 5 and a half years now, and unfortunately, when you produce that much content, there is a tendency for things to get misunderstood or misinterpreted.  People will read what I write, but inevitably they’ll still discuss with me about how certain things make a beginner progress faster than others, so why shouldn’t they do that program instead of some other program.  Constantly I am inundated with questions and critiques about optimal progression rates, models and schemes, and it just blows my mind.  It seems I haven’t been clear in my writing, so allow me to absolve all ambiguity here; I don’t care about your progress. 

Image result for midvale school for the gifted
But it WOULD be nice if you'd at least get through the door

This isn’t me being ugly and saying that I don’t care about you, although to be totally truthful I have no idea who you are and most likely DON’T care about you.   But in the more global “you” sense here, to include “me” in with the you, I simply don’t care how fast a trainee is progressing.  That has NEVER been what I have been about.  That is NOT what I write about.  Jesus, how could you even misunderstand me to think that I ever once cared about optimal progression?  The fastest possible gains?  The quickest path to success?  Folks, I’m a strongman competitor with no coach or crew, training out of a garage by myself first thing in the morning for an hour a day with terrible technique: I am the complete opposite of the embodiment of optimal.  I’ve never cared about your progression: I care about your discovery.

There’s no value in just looking up the optimal mix of volume and intensity, plugging it into a spreadsheet, and mechanically grinding out reps until you’ve “won.”  That’s not being human.  That’s not being strong.  That’s simply being a machine, programmed to run and function by outside sources, with no autonomy.  I want you to fail. I want you to make mistakes.  I want you to choose poorly.  I want you to go against the party-line!  Stop running your state approved beginners programs with the exact right amount of sets and reps, and go off the rails and do something dumb, different and dangerous so you can LEARN something.  Go be experienced, find out what does and doesn’t work, and figure out WHY it doesn’t work.  THAT is the value of training.

Image result for squatting on a bosu ball
This guys is about to learn a LOT

“But surely you agree a beginner should do a beginner program and an intermediate should do an intermediate program, right?”  What the Hell do those words even mean?  I thought beginners were mythical unicorns capable of the magical “beginners gains” that mean that, if they even LOOK at a weight, they get stronger, right?  So why do they need a specially crafted approach to training?  Why can’t they just get big and strong like everyone else that lifts weights?  Are you trying to tell me there are programs out there that intentionally SLOW DOWN your growth?  Who would design such a thing?  Surely no one is out there looking to put a governor on their growth.  Any program built around making someone bigger or stronger will work for someone seeking that goal, no matter what weird internet name they’ve decided to classify themselves with.

No one can reasonably explain to me WHY optimal training NEEDS to happen, especially for a non-competitive trainee or one who makes zero income based off their physical ability.  This is primarily because few want to admit that this stems from a childish mentality of “I WANT IT NOW!”  Guess what; you ain’t getting it now, even IF your training is optimal.  It’s STILL going to take a long time, and the difference between your optimal training and someone else’s non-optimal non-optimal training is going to be so microscopic that it’s not worth even analyzing. 

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Hate to break it to you, but trying to rush your journey never turns out well

Hey, why don’t I clumsily break out some math, as I am prone to doing from time-to-time.  Say we agree with the currently en vogue notion that the max amount of muscle mass a human can grow over a lifetime is about 40lbs.  I’m not talking about lean mass, but pure, solid real muscle.  Well let’s say you’re Johnny Optimal, and you’re able to eek out 5% better growth than everyone else with your super optimal approach to training.  Congrats!  You gained…2 extra pounds of muscle.  Wow, that seems insignificant, considering how visually striking the first 40lbs were.  10%? 4lbs.  Still pretty small.  You’d have to be training in some manner that netted 20% better growth to even be getting into the realm of something SOMEWHAT significant, and realistically, how likely do you figure doing 5 sets instead of 6 sets is going to play into getting that extra 20%?

You can play that same stupid game with weight lifted too.  Beginner is supposed to optimally put 5lbs on the bar each training session, 3 times a week for 12 weeks if they’re following the optimal training program?  Cool story.  So looking at 180lbs added to the bar, assuming everything goes right.  Say someone trains sub-optimally, and only gets 90% of that growth?  Well damn, that poor fool only added…162lbs to the bar.  Hah!  What a chump!  Dude left 18lbs on the platform.  Wait, who cares about 18lbs?  36lbs at 80%?  Still not even a real plate.  These differences are insignificant in terms of results on paper, but MEANWHILE, what results did the guy get who just ran a cookie cutter program and put no thought in it vs the guy who gambled, tried something weird, and saw what happened?

Image result for starting strength results meme
But it's the BEST beginner program!

I do not CARE about your progress.  I’ve been lifting for 18 years, and I’ve done that with a torn labrum and a ruptured ACL and a bunch of other small nagging injuries.  You have SO much time to train, there’s no point in trying to rush to the end.  Hell, I don’t even like training and I’m still in no rush to reach the end; what the hell is up with all of you masochists out there they claim you LOVE training?  Don’t you want to do it for longer?  Why are you trying to get to the end so quickly?  Use this as an opportunity to grow, not just physically, but mentally as well.  Expand your mind and your horizons on what can and can’t work, and understand why and how people succeed with methods different than your own.  Don’t see it as a challenge to your paradigm; see it as an opportunity to get even better, expand your toolbox, and become well rounded and all encompassing.  You risk nothing by training non-optimally, and gain a lot.



  

Sunday, June 10, 2018

QUIT BEING A COWARD: STOP MICROLOADING



Boy am I certain that title is going to rile some folks up, but my regular readers probably have thick skin by now, and I’ll let you in on a little secret: everything I write in this blog is essentially my current self yelling at my past self.  I made all these mistakes, to include this one.  For my less insane readers out there that live normal lives and would have no idea what microloading even means, it refers to the practice of using fractional weights (1lb or less) to very very slowly add weight to the bar between workouts, eventually working up to the smallest real plate (2.5lbs per side) increase.  Why does microloading equate to cowardice?  Because a microloader is simply someone who refuses to abandon their current programming for ANY reason and instead seeks to apply the wimpiest, dumbest possible means to continue assured progression.  Rather than take any risks whatsoever, they instead insist on going for the guaranteed .000000000000001% return on investment.  They are the folks making $.17 a year off their investments and saying “well at least it’s progress!”.  No, it’s not progress: it’s cowardice.  Go be brave and get some growth.

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Stupid will do in a pinch

Microloading almost always goes hand in hand with linear progression, which is essentially the “hooked on phonics” of lifting as far as programming goes.  It’s kinda sorta programming, but really it’s taking just ONE aspect of programming (overload), applying it to only ONE aspect of training (weight on the bar) and then saying that all the necessary thinking is done.  Always keep the reps and weights the same, always keep the movements the same, always do things in the same order on the same day, just put more weight on the bar.  Congrats!  You can program lifting!  Quick, go write an e-book and make an app, become an Instagram coach, and be incredibly snarky on the internet whenever someone asks about training.  Hey wait, how come some folks use different reps?  Because they’re idiots of course!  That, or advanced trainees.  Or on steroids.  Probably all 3 really.

So where does microloading fit in?  Again, with linear progression being a total one-tricky pony, eventually that one trick stops working.  If the only thing you ever needed to do was just keep adding weight to the bar, there would be 1000lb benchers in every gym.  Milo of Croton’s story of the calf was a myth folks; eventually things stall and new programming has to be introduced.  But not if you MICROLOAD!  Nope, you don’t need to do anything different if you microload; you can just keep on slapping more weight on the bar and riding out your linear gains for as long as possible.  Well, slapping is probably the wrong term, because you’ll most likely break a microplate if you slap it on.  “Gingerly place it on”, is probably more accurate.  But either way, joy of joys, you STILL don’t have to think, and can just keep on being the lifting monkey.

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Just think: if you microload from the START, you'll NEVER stop progressing!

Coward!  Go take a risk and try something new!  Your program has STOPPED working: all you are doing now is just riding out the slow death rattle as the corpse settles.  You are the desperate clinger on in a failed relationship sending unanswered text messages and looking for ANY sign of hope.  It’s over!  Move on!  Because guess what?  You’re in the best possible situation you can be in!  What you are doing does not work, which means you now have the freedom to do ANYTHING you want.  Any program now is available for your undertaking, and will most likely result in something better than your current approach.  Even if your new program doesn’t work (which, by the way, is pretty much impossible with enough effort), you’ll learn more through FAILING a new program than you will from desperately clinging on to your old one.  Now is the time to make mistakes and learn something.

Want some examples?  Sure thing.  How about something that completely spits in the face of microloading: Dan John’s “Quarters and Plates” idea?  Only use 25s and 45s in your training?  “Hah, yeah, good luck going from a 135 to a 185 bench, let me know how that works out!” Hey, shut up for a second because you sound stupid, it works REALLY well.  Know how you make the jump?  Get to the point that you can bench 135 for 15 good reps, and then jump up to 185 and watch what happens.  And then, when you can get 185 for 15 reps, throw on 225 and watch what happens.  I’ve used this method with squatting (both regular and front squats) with amazing success to the point that I genuinely wonder why I don’t do it with other movements.  The opposite of microloading; this is MACROLOADING, and it works AND you will actually get bigger and stronger through the process.  And hell, you might actually learn something.

Image result for squatting on a bosu ball
Method may not work in all instances

There are SO many ways to create progress in training that it’s just about ridiculous, but it’s ALSO true that nothing works forever and changes NEED to be made to continue to grow.  The only thing you can do to really sabotage yourself in that regard is refuse to make changes.  Programs work until they don’t, and instead of trying to figure out how to make it all work again, be thankful for the good ride you got and move on to the next stage.  After a few different programs, you can most likely come back to what worked before and find out it works AGAIN: it just needed a break.  And this is why people cry “there are so many programs: it’s too confusing!” not realizing that this is an example of all the avenues of success available to them.  Just do yourself the favor of NOT trying to make your new program fit into the paradigm of your old one.  Don’t try to do 20 rep squats with 3x5s for everything BUT the squats, don’t try to do Westside Barbell’s approach with 5/3/1s loading, don’t try to run HIT training with a Bulgarian daily max, etc etc.  Your program STOPPED working, so quit trying to bring it back and go do a NEW program. 

Be brave, explore those uncharted waters, and reap the benefits of being a pioneer. Let everyone else stay back home and catch the plague.  Comfort never made anyone strong.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

RAISE YOUR FLOOR, NOT YOUR CEILING: SOCIAL MEDIA AND TRAINING


Before I begin, I know for a fact I’ve already talked about this subject before, but it’s a classic and still something that I’m figuring out in my own training, so it’s worth coming back to from time to time.  I’ve witnessed a few authors lamenting the negative impact of social media on training these days, and ironically enough I’ve witnessed this lamentation ON social media, but I digress.  The primary complaint here is that, with the constant 24 hour surveillance inherent in those individuals who choose to effectively live their lives on social media, there is a constant pressure to perform and, in turn, be at peak performance during all training.  What we observe are trainees that are always as lean as possible, always setting PRs in training, moving the heaviest weights, etc etc…in training.  Where is this performance on the day of the competition?  It’s when the excuses come out, assuming these people ever even compete in the first place.  These folks end up peaking in training and have nothing left to give when the time actually comes to perform.  They made the mistake of focusing on raising their ceiling so much that their floor has remained the same.

Image result for weightlifting snatch injury
And sometimes, you can get hurt when you keep trying to raise the roof

These days, people greatly misunderstand the purpose of training, but it wasn’t always that way.  Prior to the era where you could upload every meal you took, most people trained in solitude, with only their training partners aware of how their training was going, what they were doing, and what it looked like.  For everyone else, the only time you observed a trainee was when they showed up at a competition and displayed the benefit of their training.  In turn, there was a clear distinction of WHEN performance mattered: at the competition.  This meant that training was the place where the ugliness occurred, where “the sausage got made”, to borrow a pretty horrifically imaged metaphor.  In training, it was where you had bad days, looked bad, grinded out awful reps, failed to meet some arbitrary internet standard, etc etc.  It didn’t matter how you looked THEN, as long as it made you successful in competition.

But now, trainees operate with two different competitions in mind: the looming one at the end of the training cycle, and the daily competition to always look good and strong.  Unfortunately, you can’t compete every day.  Once again, we knew that BEFORE the internet, but somehow lost that knowledge.  With trainees recording every set to upload to the internet, they’re overly concerned with ensuring that they’re always lifting the heaviest weights possible so that they look VERY strong in training, they want to make sure they are always as lean as possible so that they look good in their selfies, they want to ensure they are at peak performance 24 hours a day, every day of their life, hitting perfect depth on squats and not grinding a single deadlift in fear of internet red lights.  How ELSE can they hope for the prestigious sponsorship that gives them 10% off the ONLY legal herbal testosterone booster on the market #BREASTMODE?

Image result for condom depot UFC
I suppose there are worse sponsors

The result of this insanity is ineffective training.  Training is supposed to increase your FLOOR, not your ceiling.  By this, I mean it’s supposed to improve your baseline, bottom of the barrel ability.  You train so that your WORST performance continues to improve, because if you improve your worst, your best inevitably gets better too, but that does NOT work in reverse.  When you take a handful of semi-legal stimulants and blast death metal until your ears ring and hit up the nose tork and slam your skull against the bar and hit a grindy squat single with the entire gym screaming at you, you’ve absolutely improved your top performance as much as possible…for a training PR.  Congrats. No one but the internet cares.  But when you add 5lbs to your “still asleep” squat, it’s only going to increase exponentially when you add all that other stuff.  When you finally let your abs fade so you can add 20lbs to your frame, you’re only going to look better once you chip away the fat again and let the abs out.  When you eat enough food to allow yourself to accumulate more volume in training, it means you’ll have better conditioning available to help you recover once that food goes away. 

Your training is where looks don’t matter.  This is where you need to do the things that make you better for when it DOES matter.  This means some reps can be not clean, some squats can be not to depth, some deadlifts can be soft locked, box jumps can be missed, etc.  It means LOWER weights can be used.  I’ve honestly taken the approach that I try to train in the least ideal conditions possible, because it means I get to lift less weight in order to achieve a desired training stimulus.  This was a boon when I was recovering from knee surgery and didn’t want to put a heavy load on my recovering knee.  And, amazingly enough, I ended up setting PRs and winning events in competitions with weights I never even came CLOSE to handling in training, because the training made me STRONGER for when it mattered.  Had I been concerned about making sure my weights always looked impressive in training, I’d never actually get to the point of actually getting stronger.


Image result for squatting on a bosu ball
But think about how COOL you can look!


Keep your eyes on the prize and remember WHY you’re training in the first place.  Training isn’t the goal; training helps you ACHIEVE the goal.  It doesn’t matter how you look on the way there, so long as, once you get there, you are big and strong.  Let the Instagram stars have their followers be all agog over their amazing training lifts, and let those some Instagram stars be the master of excuses when the time comes to either explain why they had such an awful competition or why they don’t even compete in the first place.  Spend your time being ugly in training so that you can come out the other side something unworldly.  Build your cocoon in training, focus on the goal, and transform.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

EMBRACE THE OGRE: I WANT TO BE STRONG, NOT SMART


Bringing back some DnD again, because that seemed to be popular with my nerd-based readers, and in a point of irony I intend to go against the nerd stereotype and embrace ignorance.  It’s amazing how, the further along we get in training, the more we tend to forget the original reason we started lifting in the first place.  At least for me, the goal was always to be big and strong.  It’s so incredibly simple and easy to grasp.  I grew up watching Arnold in 80s action flicks, Hulk Hogan’s 24” pythons as the WWF champion, Popeye beating up Bluto with his ridiculous forearms after eating his spinach, etc, and I wanted to be these men.  I wanted to be so big and strong that I was physically unstoppable.  At no point did I ever think to myself “I want to KNOW everything there is to know about being big and strong”; it was “I want to BE big and strong.”  So why the hell did so many of you abandon your goals in the hopes of being smart instead?  Embrace the ogre here; be strong, not smart.

Image result for revenge of the nerds ogre
Hah!  Different Ogre.  But same point.

Seriously, I don’t get you people.  What is your reward for being the smartest person in the room about lifting?  Did you watch Arnold throw a phone booth in “Commando” as a kid and think to yourself “Man, when I grow up, I want to COACH someone to be able to do that”?  Were you watching Hulk Hogan tear off his shirt and thinking “One day, I’m going to train a ton of wrestlers to be that strong”?  I can’t understand your ambitions.  What inspired you to give up on personally achieving these wondrous feats of strength and to instead relegate yourself purely to possessing the knowledge of HOW to achieve these things, rather than the sheer ability?

“Well how can I achieve these things if I don’t KNOW how to get there?”  Goddamn man, just how smart do you think Hulk Hogan is?  And I’m not saying that Terry Bollea is an imbecile, but he’s certainly not winning any Nobel Prize.  Arnold was born in the 40s, immediately post WWII, in war torn Austrian (which, spoiler alert, they had LOST the war, so things weren’t going so good over there); what sort of exercise science information do you think he had access to?  Paul Anderson was a high school kid that wanted to get bigger for football.  Bob Peoples was a farmer.  The Saxon Trio were a professional circus act; goddamn CARNIES people.  Somehow, ALL of these people managed to figure out how to get big and strong without the internet, 800 hours of research, exercise science degrees, a nutritional program put together by MENSA, etc etc.  Why do YOU need all of this nonsense?


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This looks SO stupid, but those women are digging it

Is it, perhaps, because intellect is so much more difficult to prove compared to strength?  You can go round and round citing poorly performed studies with dumb control groups and stupid variables (and really you’re only citing the abstract anyway) and then disprove someone else’s study for having the same flaws as your own, and the first person to resort to a logical fallacy “loses”, because you both took 1 semester of logic in undergrad (or you googled “logical fallacies”) and learned that this was the only way an argument can be wrong.  You can shout down someone else as a fanboy or for using “broscience” or get the internet hivemind of your current forum to rally against the interloper and get them banned and feel like you “won”.  But man, if you only deadlift 225 and another dude pulls 700…f**k, he’s stronger than you.  You can’t outangle him, use Instagram filters, play with lighting, photoshop, etc etc; you just have to be at peace that you are weaker than that person.  And it’s no fun losing, so why not pick battles where victory is far more nebulous?

Stop picking the easy battle here; you don’t get better at football by curb stomping a bunch of 5th grade pop-warner players.  You settled for being smart because it was “easier” than being strong.  Bring back that desire that was in you before and endeavor to be the strongest guy in the argument, not the smartest.  When someone cites 500 studies for how you’re wrong, take solace in the fact that the person arguing with you deadlifts 400lbs less than you do.  Be uninclined to argue because you gain nothing from the experience.  Have nothing to prove because it’s already out there, ready to be verified.  Be accomplished enough that your word is enough to carry the weight of your argument.

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Technically, the kid on the right is usually superior technique right now

What does this mean?  It means those hours spent pouring over obscure lifting journals and arguing with other lifting nerds are hours better vested in training, eating, and planning how you will succeed the next time you need to train and eat.  “B-b-but overtraining!” Hey, look at that; your big brain is getting in the way of getting some big muscles.  Embrace the ogre and quit being so goddamn smart for a second.  You are at severe risk of undertraining right now, because you’ve already decided to limit yourself before you even tried.  Exercise science is a fledgling field, and it’s basically in the process of currently discovering what we already know, if that.  There is still much undiscovered wisdom which is deridingly called “broscience”, yet it managed to WORK for decades.  Spend more time training, get in some daily workouts, or make your current workouts longer, or figure out how to get more volume in your current workouts in less time.  When I ran Building the Monolith, I spent a day planning out how I was going to run the program in less than an hour, which was a day many would piss away arguing about MRV and whatever the current fact-du-jour is.  Spend those hours cooking a week’s worth of food in a slow cooker and packing it so you can just grab and go in the morning, rather than spending hours on the internet lamenting about how you DON’T have time to eat, so could someone PLEASE tell you about all the hidden foods out there that are cheap, fast, easy to make and ALSO taste good.  Spend that time grocery shopping and finding good deals on cheap cuts of meat, spend it doing all that conditioning that you’re neglecting, spend it pushing your limits so that you can FIND them and THEN program around them, rather than waiting for someone to FINALLY released the definitive study on all human limits.

Embrace the ogre, go be strong, and beat some smart kid over the head with a club.  

Sunday, May 20, 2018

MORE THOUGHTS


-Kicking this off with a bit of genius from my wife.  Her and I both grew up with “clean plate club” parents, which was a byproduct of THEIR parents having grown up during The Depression, where food was scarce and you didn’t waste anything.  That’s a great mentality when you are starving, but when food is abundant, it’s a recipe for obesity.  We both had to learn how to get comfortable with throwing away food, just because American portion sizes are so huge.  However, my wife came up with a great way to be at peace with this.  One day, she realized that she would happily pay someone money to help her lose extra weight that was accumulated from eating all of the food on her plate,  which meant she could just cut out the middleman and “spend” that money by not eating all the food on her plate.  At that moment, the decision to simply not eat all the food on the plate was a no-brainer.

-I go through phases where I try to get leaner.  Usually it’s post competition, since I’ll have gotten a little sloppy in the prep for it, and I’ll want to cut some excess chub.  I never maintain the leaness, as I’ve found it’s hard to train hard enough to be strong on gameday while keeping it up.  However, what losing fat tends to teach me is that I DO significantly overeat when attempting to maintain a baseline.  When you start trying to cut fat and you reduce foods more and more, you’ll find that it really doesn’t take a lot of food to live, train and work. Guys that lift heavy wanna hop on board the “lift big/eat big” train, but it’s just a meme.  And unless you are a high school athlete, or a 400lb strongman, you can probably get by with a diet full of clean calories.  And if you wanna pretend like you don’t know what I mean when I say “clean eating”, you’re being a child.

-Speaking of children, I’ve said it before, but liquid calories are probably the biggest issue with childhood obesity.  I do say this with a case study of 1 individual, but it’s one thing I don’t allow my kid, and otherwise it’s pretty unrestricted as far as food goes.  My kid will naturally stop eating sweets/junk once they reach satiated, but on the VERY rare instances that we allow chocolate milk (something like Thanksgiving), they’ll try to drink the whole carton.  I knew I grew up chubby, and was sucking down kool-aid every chance I got.  We see this in adults too, with super sugary coffee beverages, energy drinks, alcohol, etc.

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This isn't coffee.  Quit telling yourself it is.

-After a 5 year break, I’ve started doing front squats again.  No harness, no rack position, just doing the arms crossed thing, because screw it.  Using it as a finisher on deadlift days, doing rest pausing and dropsets.  It’s working well enough, and I’m not getting the stupid amount of soreness that I used to when I did this with buffalo bar squats, most likely because the weight is lighter.

-I am at the point where I’ve trained in the AM for so long that PM workouts feel like cheating.

-I am constantly baffled at trainees looking to “increase testosterone” with whatever ways they can.  When did being an amateur endocrinologist be a thing?  At least the guys running gear are at peace with what they are doing, but all these kids trying to “naturally maximize testosterone levels” are simply baffling. 

-On the above, here’s a thought; maybe instead of trying to maximize your testosterone levels, you can try to get better results by working harder? 

-Only people with a surplus of free time think sleep, meal timing and training timing are important.

-I still think dips are the greatest assistance exercise for upperbody pressing.  And I probably think that because they require zero set-up.

-We gravitate to the lifters and coaches that resonate with ourselves.  I like folks like Kroc, Jon Anderson, Steve Pulcinella, etc, that are much more about the mental fortitude and philosophy behind training and far less concerned about the numbers and programming.  More cerebral types like Tuchscherer, Sheiko, Shaw, guys that are super meticulous about the details.  That’s not at all surprising, but what one SHOULD observe from this is that all of those dudes are great athletes/coaches, which means the methods all work.  The issue people run into is when they try to shoe-horn a method that doesn’t fit them because they’re under the impression it’s the best method.

-On the above, everyone is so concerned about being optimal.  Try shooting just for “good”, and then be good for 10 years.  You will be leaps and bounds ahead of the dude that has been shifting their program every 2 months in the search for the MOST optimal way to train.

-I swear to god I will have an aneurysm if I see one more person ask for a form check on face pulls.

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I mean, yeah, sure, I guess

-“Strengthlifting” is the new hottest thing on the market.  It’s like a powerlifting meet, except you strict press instead of bench, and sumo deadlifts aren’t allowed.  Oh yeah, also, you weigh OUT, instead of in, which is to say, you don’t get weighed until the competition is over.  So wait, you mean to tell me I don’t know what weightclass I’m in until the competition is over?  Which is to say, I don’t know who I am COMPETING against until the competition is over?  Jesus Christ, internet powerlifting has gotten ridiculous.  Remember when lifters used to compete against each other, and the goal was to win the MEET with the best total, no set some stupid obscure one off record for one lift?  How can no one see how ridiculous this is.  This isn’t a sport.

-I have no idea why I want the S-cubed bar from Ironmind.

-Ok guys, the American flag on the wall in the gym.  I don’t get this.  It’s always in front of the squat rack.  You’re either going to spit or fart on the American flag during an intense set.  I figure anyone hanging one of these babies up is meaning to present as a patriot, but that seems to be the opposite effect.  There is a reason I have a jolly rogers instead.

-There are kids in high school right now lifting weights with the dream of one day being a youtube fitness guru.  Goddamn we have fallen so far.

-Hey all you “hook grip master race” folks; go deadlift an axle.

-For the love of god people, it’s “5/3/1”, not “Wendler’s 5/3/1”.  Jim didn’t need to put his name on the program.  You wouldn’t call it “Led Zepplin’s Stairway to Heaven” just because some garage band in Iowa did a cover of it once.

-You can tell someone is new when they want to compare programs, movements, diets, etc.  When you’ve trained long enough, you’ll have inevitably tried them all.  Just wait; you’ll get your turn.

-If you have to ask “how come there is no max row/pull up progression in this program?”, you aren’t strong.

-People will spend 3 years trying to figure out what is the best program to run for the first 12 weeks of their lifting careers.

-Maybe my time is more valuable than others, because when it comes to finding out about how to run a program, I’d rather spend $10 on the e-book written by the author that literally explains every single part of the program and sets you up for success than spend 27 hours scouring the internet for every forum post and “free” piece of information I can find.  Folks, if you’re only making $10 an hour, you just “spent” $270 for your “free” advice that is just plain awful.  And this is to say NOTHING of all the time you’ll waste running the program wrong and having to correct it.

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Alternatively, they'll follow a program written by a person who never actually existed

-The more I hear about the Vertical Diet, the more I wonder how the Hell people were eating BEFORE it came out.  “Dude, it’s all about NOT eating the things that upset your digestion.”  Why did you just not eat those things BEFORE someone told you to do it?  I know I don’t like having digestion issues, and if something gives me gas or bloating or runny stools, I quit eating it.  “Nah man, it’s all about focusing on getting your nutrients in first and then getting all the protein and carbs you need from good sources”  You mean eating like an adult?  I seriously don’t understand.  And this isn’t to slam Stan a tall, because it IS a diet that makes sense, but that’s the thing; why did people need permission from Stan before they stopped eating food they didn’t like?

-Why do people take the time and money to hire a personal trainer or coach only to post their routines online and ask random strangers if their coach is right?  Of course, I say this, but f**k me people will do the same thing with medical advice from their doctor.

-I am pretty sure MHP no longer makes their old formula for “Up Your Mass”, and it saddens me far more than it should.

-I have told my wife that she has to talk me off the ledge about running my own strongman show, because I’m at the point where I have enough gear in my garage to make it happen.

-I guess all these people super concerned about frequency of movements never ran Westside Barbell, or DoggCrapp, or any John Meadows program, or a bodypart split, or HIT, or any of the other millions of examples out there of folks getting big and strong not doing the same 3 lifts 3 times a week.

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*Psh* What could he know about getting big and strong? I'll get my advice from the internet, thanks.

-Sometimes I think I do things just to prove that they CAN work.

-I love this quote from Jim Wendler.  “You can always tell a trainee is new because they want to deadlift more frequently.  It’s the lift you can move the most weight on, so they like it the most.  You ask a new trainee what their favorite lift is and they say ‘deadlifts!’  You ask a guy who has been around for a while and he says ‘I don’t know man, I hate them all.”

-I had a reader contact me the other day asking if they could send me some money as something of a “thanks” for all I’ve written.  I definitely appreciated the sentiment, but I don’t write for money.  This blog is incredibly selfish, and it’s just a chance for me to practice my writing and get my thoughts out.  If anyone out there is wanting to spend money and give me thanks, go buy a NEVERsate shirt or program from Brian Alsruhe.  He is unquestionably the most positive force out there in the lifting world right now, and deserves way more than he gets.