Saturday, August 24, 2013


I started lifting at the age of 14.  My whole life I had wanted to lift, but I heard that you shouldn't lift before you turn 13 because it could stunt your growth.  I learned later that all of that was bunk, and wish I had known that beforehand so I could have spent many more years making progress.  The intent of this post is to explore other facts I wish I had known back then, and what I would tell my 14 year old self now if given the opportunity to shape my future.  I realize I am not the first to write in this style, and make no claims that this will be original, and also understand that many of the things I am saying here are personal and may not apply to you.  However, if you have a new lifter in your life, maybe remembering those things you wish you knew could help set them on the right path as well.

1: Start squatting and deadlifting

Your coaches have lied to you.  Squatting and deadlifting are not unsafe exercises, squatting and deadlifting like an idiot is what is unsafe.

If you didn't see this picture coming, shame on you

You aren’t moving heavy enough poundages to worry about getting injured, and learning proper form now will make it so that you can stay safe and strong for years.  These movements are the money makers and gamechangers, and if you get good at them, you will become unstoppable in your sports and get bigger and stronger.  Right now, all you’re doing is benching and curling, and its making you look like an asshole.  It’s also why you aren’t doing so well in wrestling (along with the fact that you’re an uncoordinated goon, but let’s focus on strength here, because I can’t work miracles).  Very few people do these movements, which means you will stand out, but it will be in a good way, and the sooner you start, the stronger you’ll get in the future.

2: Eat some damn vegetables

Before you ask, no, these don't count

You’re eating like a kid, and it’s stupid and holding you back.  You’re getting too fixated on “protein and carbs” that you aren’t thinking of micronutrients and fiber.  Just because you eat a lot of meat and limit grains doesn’t mean you’re eating effectively, because all you’re thinking of is in terms of meat and bread.  Veggies will get some good stuff in you, fill you up, and help your physique.  You’ll also feel better in general after you start eating them regularly.  It doesn’t matter if you like them, just eat them.  If you need to, distract yourself by watching TV while you eat.  Fat people put away entire bags of chips without even noticing it with this approach, so it works with veggies too.

3: Do an assload of chin ups

You just lost a bunch of weight, which is great, because it means you can finally do chin ups.  Now you need to do 50 of them.

It doesn’t have to be all in one set, but get the volume in every time you workout.  Stop worrying about “overtraining”, you aren’t working that hard.  The upperback soaks up volume like a sponge, and the more of these you do, the better, bigger and stronger you will get.  This is one of the greatest movements you could do for both your physique and athleticism, and by getting good at them now, you will get amazing at them later.  Chin up skill is a terrible thing to let diminish, so stay current with them and you’ll be fine.  Stop stressing about which grip is best too, use them all.  Pull ups, chin ups, angled grips, close grip, whatever.  Use wide grip sparingly though, because your right shoulder sucks.

4: Keep up the conditioning, but limit the running/you can't outtrain your diet

You’re running 8 miles a day these days, and it’s just silly.  You think it’s getting you in better shape for wrestling, but honestly, you’re doing it because you think you can get a six pack from running a whole bunch.  Fat loss is about diet, not exercise, and if you really want to lose some fat, eat more veggies and meat and limit your gains and starches.  If you actually want to get better at wrestling, wrestle more.  If you can’t do that, look more for high intensity conditioning.  Sprints are great, same with circuit training and applying the tabata protocol to different lifts (squats, floor to overhead, etc).  You only wrestle for 3 two minute periods: an hour of running is not going to simulate a match.  Also, the more you improve your conditioning and general fitness, the harder you can lift, which in turn benefits your conditioning, it’s a great cycle.


  1. Title in the last subsection is "count" I think it should be can't as in "can't outtrain your diet"

    Great article though. Keep up the good work