Sunday, June 26, 2016


There is so much mysticism sorrounding training in the morning that I figure some debunking is in order.  From someone who has been training at 0500 since 2013 (to include weekends), I figure I could clarify a few things.


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People who suffer from a lack of internal motivation tend to not enjoy the external motivation they receive

If you were reading this part hoping I had some answers, AM workouts most likely aren't your thing.  I see so many folks wondering how you find the motivation to workout in the morning, asking for tips on how to get out of bed, wanting life hacks for setting an alarm clock, etc etc.  Like all things with training, motivation really isn't going to get you very far.  Motivation will get you through 1 or 2 workouts, but after that it fades quickly.

You simply have to want to train more than you want to sleep.  I have expressed many times how much I hate training, but I love what training does for me, so I do it.  I love the effects so much that I'm willing to wake up early to get them.  If you don't, that doesn't make you a bad person, it is simply a part of you that you have to accept.  You have priotized sleeping in above training.  Until you fix that, it will win.


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I heard that this is what daily food prep is like for Zydrunas Savickas

Here is an area you actually CAN benefit from.  It's honestly pretty obvious stuff, but amazingly the obvious tends to get overlooked.

-Get an adequate amount of sleep.  Guess what; this means going to bed early.  Once again, that seems obvious, but when I tell people I get up at 0445 to train, they immediately ask "What time do you go to sleep?!" and when I answer 2030, they are shocked.  People seem to think that successful morning trainees found some sort of lifehack to go to bed at midnight and wake up 4 hours later ready to rock.  Some folks can do that; I'm not one of them.

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If your eyes look like this; you're not one of them either

-Set our your training clothes ahead of time.  Nothing worse than trying to figure that stuff out first thing in the morning, especially if you have a spouse/loved one/one night stand/animal that is NOT partaking in your workout.  You don't want to be fumbling around in the dark here.

-Figure out what foods you can eat and train off of quickly.  I can eat a small meal and train within 2 minutes of having eaten.  Some folks have to take 2 hours after eating before they can train.  Be smart; some food can settle better than others for some people.

-Figure out your warm-up routine.  I'll get on my soapbox for a minute here; figure out if you really need your warm-up routine.  Do you actually need to spend 30 minutes foam rolling, performing dynamic stretches, hiting the agile 8, hitting the steam room, riding a bike, shooting hoops, pole vaulting, deep sea diving, and watching "Pumping Iron" to get psyched?  Maybe you can just roll into the gym, hit some light reps with the first movement of the day, and crush your workout.  Either way, plan accordingly in terms of sorting out your time.

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I mean, make sure you keep THIS in though


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Ah, to ask this question on the internet

Here is the other big thing people tend to not realize about AM workouts; the "you" in the morning who just woke up and only has a light meal in you is vastly different from the "you" that shows up to the gym in the afternoon after being awake for 8 hours with 3 full meals.  This means you can expect to hit the same numbers with the same intensity in the morning as you had been doing in the afternoon/evening.  For those of you following linear progression programs (why?!), this is going to mean swallowing some pride and figuring out a new baseline.  For you AMRAP folks, that means new rep PRs to establish/beat.  For you autoreg folks; business as usaul.  Whoever you are, just don't freak out over a number change.  As long as you are progressing under the same conditions, you are progressing overall.

Example: If, in the afternoon you were deadlifting 600lbs for 5 reps, then you start training in the morning and can only pull 550 for 5; when you can start hitting 600 for 5 in the morning, you will be able to lift even MORE in the afternoon.

Personal example: 1 week ago, in the morning, I pulled 520 off of a 7 mat height for 4 reps in the morning.  This week, I pulled 565 for 3 reps off a 6 mat height in the afternoon.  I didn't add 45lbs in 1 week; it was simply the difference between morning me and afternoon me.

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Afternoon you might be the Hulk and morning you might be Bruce Banner, but as long as you aren't Hawkeye, you're fine

-It's probably also a good idea to dress warm to start with.  You just woke up, your body is still stiff, staying warm is staying safe.  This'll mean it's time to retire the tank-top and quit checking out your guns in the mirror while you're "checking your form".  Don't sweat it though; no one else is in the gym to see you anyway.

-Your belt is going to fit differently, since there is less food in your gut.  With a lever belt, this can suck, but even with a buckle belt make sure you know what setting you need.

That's it for now.  Leave a comment if you have any other tips for the AM workout crowd.

Sunday, June 19, 2016


Apparently this needs to be addressed, as the question keeps coming up.  Do you ever find yourself wondering what you’re doing wrong?  Why is it that, when you try to get bigger and stronger, you always get hurt?  Why is it that, when you try to lose fat, you get ravenously hungry, or when you try to gain weight, you feel like you’re going to vomit?  What’s the secret?  How did guys like Arnold, Mariusz and Kaz do it?

They did it because they knew it wasn’t SUPPOSED to feel good.

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Tip: No one lookslike this when they're having a good time

This element of reality seems lost on the current generation of lifters.  They interpret discomfort as a sign of something being “wrong”: of ineffectiveness.  Surely feeling discomfort MUST be a bad thing, no?  We’re taught our whole lives to avoid discomfort at all costs and seek out comfort whenever possible.  Anyone intentionally subjecting themselves to discomfort is either a masochist or clearly someone making some sort of mistake…right?

The body gravitates toward comfort because it doesn’t WANT to change.  Change is a traumatic experience for a body to undergo, and it utilizes many precious resources.  A body at rest prefers to be at rest.  As such, when one starts engaging in activities that will create change in the body, the body fights back by sending signals of discomfort; essentially telling the brain to “knock it off”.  This is when it is up to YOU, the owner of the body, to fight back, tell it to go pound sand, and continue on your quest for excellence.

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Don't get me wrong; sometimes the body wins

THIS is the secret that many people are missing out on when they drool over the physiques and accomplishments of the successful.  As glorious as Arnold tried to make the bodybuilding lifestyle appear in “Pumping Iron”, NOT shown were the days he spent in utter misery prepping for a show while living off of a diet of lettuce and water.  NOT shown were the hour long meals in the off seasons where he ate until he felt like he was going to vomit.  NOT show were the unglorious workouts, where he just got to the gym and grinded away for YEARS to develop his physique.  Cry “drugs” all you want; the man still had to be miserable to succeed.

EVERY successful trainee lives miserably.  I’m not trying to make them martyrs; this is just lifting weights after all.  However, it needs to be understood that those people who achieve greatness in lifting spend far more time uncomfortable than comfortable.  People trying to emulate these success stories miss this part, and when they start encountering some of this misery, they fly off the path of success due to fear.  The very first time they feel the pangs of hunger while losing fat, they assume they must have screwed up their diet.  There is NO way that bodybuilders ever go hungry; that can’t be right.  As soon as they need to eat a meal when they aren’t hungry, they decide to get their hormone profiles checked; no way anyone ever ate food just to get bigger.  When they feel some aches and pains in their joints, they stop all training and immediately seek medical attention; there is no WAY that Kaz ever felt pain when he was training.

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Come on dude; you know it was all staged

Think of what a terrible legacy these trainees want to grant to the legends.  Isn’t it a FAR more inspiring story to imagine Arnold shivering in some crappy studio apartment somewhere staring longingly at a can of cake frosting while knowing that the Olympia was still 4 weeks out and he needed to hold firm?  Isn’t it far more impressive to imagine Kaz stumbling jello legged away from the squat rack, puking into a trashcan, and then crawling over to the leg press to finish his workout?  Wouldn’t we rather believe that, instead of being a prodigy, Mariusz missed birthdays, social events, and late nights so that he could practice the events to the point of perfection and being one of the most proficient strongman of his era?

Don’t think of these people as gods; it’s far more impressive to realize that they are men.  They experience the same agony YOU experience.  They get hungry when they don’t eat, they get sick when they overeat, they get beat up and broken and battered from training too hard…and they keep doing it because they know it WORKS.  And you can do the same!  You share their lineage as humans, with almost identical genetic material.  Everyone wants to cry “genetics”, but consider the reality that you have far more in common genetically with these legends than you do with any other species on the planet.  You can share their pain AND their success.

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Maybe even some facial expressions

Embrace the suck.  You can feel good when you quit, but until then you can feel miserable and BE amazing.