To avoid having to check this page every ten seconds for updates on supplements, music, and sundry little details, hit us up on Facebook and like the page. That'll keep you updated without getting spammed with a million twitter-length posts!

10 July 2014

How Do You Make A Hormone? Don't Pay Her #2

After the heat that the last installment brought, you people know I could not help but come back for round two, because I enjoy hurt butts even when they're not the direct result of fisting porn.  Additionally, it's insane that women will fly off the fucking handle insisting that there's no reason to discuss the issues that female hormones create when lifting and competing, as ifegalitarianism does not extend to one's fucking endocrine system.  Your ovaries give two fucks about your bra burning, logic-free, Gloria Steinem-fueled misplaced rage- estrogen plays merry hell with brains and bodies and there's no shame in admitting that bleeding profusely for a week might make you a wee bit testy.

Before you go reaching for the nearest sharp implement and start googling my address, ladies, you might want to take a step back and remind yourselves that I'm not talking shit- this entire series arose out of the fact that it never occurred to me that the timing or overall incidence of a period could have any effect whatsoever on training.  Everyone trains hurt, or sick, or tired, so it was just a matter of rubbing some dirt on your vags and sucking it the fuck up, in my mind.  Then I started helping out my buddy Nuprin, and discovered that there's a whole host of bullshit you vaginally endowed people have to deal with that no man would even consider, because we're self-absorbed assholes who generally avoid the topic of periods to avoid getting screamed at (not because we're squeamish, because I would be hideously disappointed in any man who would wade in the red river but not drink from it).

It's claimed that the historical Amazon tribe had their right breast either burnt off or cut out to enable them to better throw their javelins, but this practice (if it indeed occurred) may have served a secondary purpose- lowering estrogen levels.  Given that aromatase expression primarily occurs in fatty tissue (Nelson), removal of a significant portion of these ancient bloodthirsty mankillers' extant body fat might have helped them increase body mass and strength, in addition to reducing the duration and intensity of their periods.  

Maybe they let the hottest Amazons keep both.

Though any man who's spent much time in the iron game likely feels compelled to view estrogen and progesterone as the hormonal equivalent of AIDS, however, both hormones play a number of valuable of roles in the lives of women.  Backed by a couple of studies and absolutely every argument-turned-attempted-murder-with-thrown-flatware ever initiated by a woman on her period, high estrogen levels confer improved verbal fluidity and improved motor skills, though perceptual object priming (the ability to associate like objects or words) is greatly reduced... which I suppose those arguments are so long and yet remain nonsensical after hours of repetition (Makia).  Estrogen also prevents bone loss and helps keep the vagina lubricated (Estrogen).  Not all of the effects are positive, however, as estrogen's role on female mental health is still a complete mystery.  As I have no interest in being accused of gender bias, allow me to simply copy and paste directly from Web Md:
"Hormones and the Brain
That's not to say estrogen isn't a major player in regulating moods. Estrogen acts everywhere in the body, including the parts of the brain that control emotion.
Some of estrogen's effects include:

  • Increasing serotonin, and the number of serotonin receptors in the brain
  • Modifying the production and the effects of endorphins, the "feel-good" chemicals in the brain
  • Protecting nerves from damage, and possibly stimulating nerve growth
What these effects mean in an individual woman is impossible to predict. Estrogen's actions are too complex for researchers to understand fully. As an example, despite estrogen's apparently positive effects on the brain, many women's moods improve after menopause, when estrogen levels are very low.
Some experts believe that some women are more vulnerable to the menstrual cycle's normal changes in estrogen. They suggest it's the roller coaster of hormones during the reproductive years that create mood disturbances.

Estrogen and Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
As many as 90% of women experience unpleasant symptoms before their periods. If symptoms are reliably severe enough to interfere with quality of life, it's defined as premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Generally speaking, PMS is present when:

  • Physical and emotional symptoms occur reliably a few days before multiple consecutive menses (periods)
  • The symptoms go away after completing a period and don't occur at other times
  • The symptoms cause significant personal problems (such as at work, school, or in relationships)
  • No medicines, drugs, alcohol, or other health condition might be to blame.
Bloating, swelling of arms or legs, and breast tenderness are the usual physical symptoms. Feeling overly emotional, experiencing depression, anger and irritability, or having anxiety and social withdrawal may be present. As many as 20% to 40% of women may have PMS at some point in life" (Web MD). 

Given that neither science nor women themselves have a handle on how estrogen levels affect their moods, it's unsurprising that the Amazons were as hard as they were after surgically lowering their estrogen levels.  The latter bit of the Web MD writeup was of particular importance for female athletes, though, especially when it comes to meet timing.  Bloating and swelling will make it hard to make weight, emotional swings will make it hard to focus, and the fact that women suffer pronounced ligament and tendon laxity, neuromuscular coordination, and postural control will make stability and power on the platform an issue, in addition to raising the possibility of injury considerably (Fridén).  Not when I refer to "power" I don't refer to the ability to generate strength- I'm referring to the ability to apply that strength against an unsecured load.  Actual muscular strength, as measured by machines, appears to remarkably unaffected by premenstrual syndrome according to studies (Frieden, et al), as are VO2 max and endurance (Xanne), though one study showed females peak strength to occur mid-ovulatory period and that strength decreased and susceptibility to fatigue increased as shark week drew near . 

Officially the greatest shark week underwear in history.

So, then, what's the point in caring what phase of the menstrual cycle a chick is in when planning a meet?  Of greatest import is the issue of tendon laxity.  Women are four to eight times more likely to suffer an ACL injury than men (Wojtys), and that seems to be due in large part to the laxity in tendons and ligaments in the follicular (days 1-@9) and luteal phases (@19-30).  This coincides with self reported evidence, in which women often claimed to feel muscular weakness during their luteal phase (PMS and the shark week itself).  Thus, it's likely unwise to compete in strength sports on one's period, if for no other reason than the drastic increase in the chance of a ruptured tendon or ligament, something to which I can personally attest blows ass harder than a leather-clad dude on meth and poppers in a gay scat video.   

Not pictured- the chick I asked.  This is just some random powerlifter.  Oddly, chicks are reticent to be associated with this blog.  Go figure.

Given that this is all conjecture on my part, I decided to consult a top ranked female powerlifter in regards to her opinion on competing during her period.  She felt that the biggest issue was making weight, and had the following to say on the subject: 
Meet Timing and Water Retention
I personally, never ever compete during shark week. I suppose I'm just fortunate in the sense my body works on a regular cycle and my stress levels (always high) remain pretty consistent. I've talked with more than one sister lifter who routinely competes while on it and can never quite match her gym totals.
Why would you ever?
If you're a chick you've been there. It's not a lack of aggression, it's a ton of unfocused white hot aggression. Everything pisses you off. Every single comment, every stupid misplaced dish, and your boyfriend's lack of understanding of how to just give you the damn chocolate and walk the fuck away.
If you bothered to read the earlier blog you'll realize we're not making this shit up. It's not really our fault we go bat shit crazy sometimes.
You'll stand at a bar getting antsy and angry at the same time. Concerned that you'll squeeze so fucking hard your blood stopper will slip out causing all kinds of embarrassment on the platform. Fuck it, it's not even worth the aggravation.
Cutting water is an even bigger nightmare. If you want to not even have problems cutting the water? Try timing meets right after your menstrual cycle.

I'm not saying you can't make weight while you're pmsing, just saying it is rather unpleasant and stressful.
Apparently a chick suffering from menstrual bloating.

As my buddy stated, women suffer from a sharp increase in fluid-regulatory hormones and plasma renin activity, both of which result in edema, during the crimson horror.  This means they're retaining water at a much higher rate than usual (Hirshoren).  Obviously, and as the anonymous female above stated, that's going to make competing a bitch from a "making weight" standpoint, nevermind the discomfort of feeling swollen and wearing a belt while your intestines are holding extra water and gas.  Neither of those two results are particularly conducive to setting records on fire at meets, which is yet another reason why the red scare makes competing a pain in the vagina.

Supposed to be what chicks say during their period.  I must know a lot of chicks on their periods.
Another issue facing women, especially those suffering through a crime scene in their pants, is anemia.  Around a quarter of the female populace in the United States is anemic (Percent), and this number likely increases during the luteal phase of menstruation.  That can have a profound effect on performance in the gym, and studies have shown that iron supplementation can increase sports performance in women with mild anemia (which of course would indicate that people with more severe anemia would benefit even more greatly) (LaManca).  Iron supplementation has been shown to increase VO2 max, decrease blood lactate, increase endurance time to exhaustion, increase muscular endurance and strength and decrease fatigue (LaManca, Brutsaert).

Cramps seem to suck pretty hard.

In summary, ladies, your body pretty much fucking hates you for about ten days a month.  If you're going to pick an ideal day to max out or compete, the middle of your cycle would be ideal, and the beginning of your cycle would be your best choice.  As we've detailed, however, shark week is definitely not the time to do it.  If you're training during that week (which is supposed to help relieve cramps), it might help to supplement with charcoal and goldenseal or dandelion root for the gas and bloating, electrolytes just to balance your salts, curcumin and white willow bark (or aspirin) for inflammation and pain, and vitex to help balance your hormones and control your progesterone levels.

And bros, don't consign your women to the red tent- chicks are crazy horny on their periods (Englander), and orgasms and vaginal stimulation in general increase women's pain threshhold (Whipple).  Less pain means less irritation means less fights means everyone's life is better.  Thus, you better up your oral skills, because not only do we not trust a man who will not wade in the red river at Chaos and Pain, we do not trust the man who refuses to drink from it, either.  

If she's doing this, you should probably just go ahead and dive right into her lap.

Brutsaert TD, Hernandez-Cordero S, Rivera J, Viola T, Hughes G, Haas JD.  Iron supplementation improves progressive fatigue resistance during dynamic knee extensor exercise in iron-depleted, nonanemic women.  Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Feb;77(2):441-8.

Englander-Golden P, Chang HS, Whitmore MR, Dienstbier RA.  Female sexual arousal and the menstrual cycle.  J Human Stress. 1980 Mar;6(1):42-8.

Estrogen.  Healthy Women.  Web.  10 Jul 2014.

Fridén, C.  Neuromuscular performance and balance during the menstrual cycle and the influence of premenstrual symptoms.  Thesis.  2004.

Fridén C, Hirschberg AL, Saartok T.  Muscle strength and endurance do not significantly vary across 3 phases of the menstrual cycle in moderately active premenopausal women.  Clin J Sport Med. 2003 Jul;13(4):238-41.

Hirshoren N, Tzoran I, Makrienko I, Edoute Y, Plawner MM, Itskovitz-Eldor J, Jacob G.  Menstrual cycle effects on the neurohumoral and autonomic nervous systems regulating the cardiovascular system.  J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2002 Apr;87(4):1569-75.

LaManca JJ, Haymes EM.  Effects of iron repletion on VO2max, endurance, and blood lactate in women.  Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1993 Dec;25(12):1386-92.

Makia PM, Rich JB, Rosenbaum RS.  Implicit memory varies across the menstrual cycle: estrogen effects in young women.  Neuropsychologia.  2002; 40(5):518-529.

Nelson LR, Bulun SE.  Estrogen production and action.  J Am Acad Dermatol. 2001 Sep;45(3 Suppl):S116-24.

Review: could Premenstrual syndrome cause Lack of strength, muscle weakness, weakness?  eHealthMe.  Web.  10 Jul 2014.,+muscle+weakness,+weakness

Sarwar R, Niclos BB, Rutherford OM. Changes in muscle strength, relaxation rate and fatiguability during the human menstrual cycle.  J Phys (1996), 493.1, 267-272.

Whipple B, Komisaruk BR.  Elevation of pain threshold by vaginal stimulation in women.  Pain. 1985 Apr;21(4):357-67.

Women's health.  WebMD.  Web. 10 Jul 2014.

Wojtys EM, Huston LJ, Lindenfeld TN, Hewett TE, V. H. Greenfield ML.  Association Between the Menstrual Cycle and Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries in Female Athletes.  Am J Sports Med. 1998 Sep-Oct;26(5):614-9.

Xanne A, Janse de Jonge K.  Effects of the Menstrual Cycle on Exercise Performance.  Sports Med.  2003; (33)11, 833-851.

06 July 2014

Blast From the Past: (Completely Rewritten) Baddest Motherfuckers Ever #7- Paul Anderson

Have you ever felt like just digging a hole in your backyard, then building a squat stand over it and loading a thousand pounds on it, then standing in the hole and doing partials with it?  Me neither. Paul Anderson, however, thought about a lot of crazy shit like that. Paul Anderson, if you don't know already, was an American Olympic weightlifter, proto-powerlifter, and strongman who was well known for his weird-ass training style and his penchant for shattering world records.

Paul's Stats
Height: 5'9"
Weight: 330-360 lbs.

Chest: 58"
Biceps: 22"
Thigh: 36"
Neck: 22.5"

Paul's Pro Boxing Record (You didn't know he boxed, did you?)

2W-1L (2 KO's)

Paul lost his first amateur fight from basically being Butterbean- he knocked his opponent down three times but was wheezing by the third round and asked the ref to stop the fight so he didn't die.  His pro loss came from a disqualification when he just picked up his opponent and body slammed him (Silver).

Paul's Best Confirmed and Alleged Lifts
  • Standard clean and press: 402.5 lbs (confirmed)
  • Snatch: 347 lbs. (confirmed)
  • Clean and Press: 445 lbs. (confirmed); 415x3 (confirmed); 424x2 (confirmed).
  • One arm overhead push press (with Olympic barbell): 250 lbs. (confirmed); 300 lbs. x 8-10 with right and 5-7 with left hand (alleged) 
  • Squat: 920 lbs. (confirmed); 1,202 lbs. (alleged); 800 - 900 x 10 reps (depending on the source) 
  • Silver Dollar Squat: 1,160 lbs. (alleged- the owner said it weighed 1000 lbs. and was $15k in coins, and the weights here hanging off the bar to improve the leverage)
  • Bench Press (Raw): 450 x 3 (confirmed); 627 lb (alleged)
  • Deadlift: 750 lbs. (confirmed); 820 lbs. (alleged)  
  • Backlift: 6270 lbs (alleged and apparently entirely unwitnessed)
  • Hip Lift: 4100 lbs.
  • Continental and Jerk: 460 lbs. (alleged)
  • Two Hand Overhead Press: 400 lbs. x 7 (alleged)
  • Push Press: 500 lbs. (confirmed); 545 lbs. (alleged)

Paul's Olympic Weightlifting Record
Olympic Games
Gold- 1956 Melbourne +90 kg
World Championships
Gold- 1955 Munich +90 kg

U.S. National Weightlifting Championships
1st- 1955 +90kg
1st- 1956 +90kg

As loudmouth internet warriors are wont to be incredulous about the poundages with which Anderson is credited, I posted both the lifts that have been confirmed in documentation or competition and the ones he's alleged to have lifted.  Though many of his lifts have been verified by some of the greatest lifters in history, including Bruce Wilhelm, Bob Peoples, and Pat Casey, and all of them would slap you out of your shoes if they witnessed you shit talking Anderson's epic lifts, Anderson's biography was apparently pretty well full of shit and people are prone to making outrageous claims about Anderson's strength (Neece).  Tommy Kono, however, one of the greatest American Olympic weightlifters, said of people's doubts about Anderson's lifts (before the claims started to get really outrageous):
"Anyone who never saw Paul lift should reserve judgement because his strength levels had to be seen to be believed- it wasn't just the size of the weights Paul handled, but the ease with which he handled them was so staggering.  People have to recognize that many of Paul's lifts were done under impromptu conditions-- such as Paul accommodating people by lifting whatever was at hand at the moment.  This contributes to the discrepancies in reported weights, etc., but should not diminish the significance of the lifts" (Wilhelm 12).

Additionally, Paul was reported by Tommy Kono to have done a set of ten full squats, with no warmup, with 700 lbs., "so rapidly that it was as if free squats were performed" (PP 16), and shattered the world record in the strict press lifting IN THE RAIN, pressing 402 lbs in strict competition fashion over his head- 72 lbs more than the previous record. Ten years later, he broke the record again with 420. You can see why people felt comfortable making outrageous claims about Anderson's lifts, then, because the real weights were so phenomenal they were easy to embellish.

I would venture to guess he'd not be a fan of this pic.

Before we get into his training methods, it would only seem appropriate to outline the man himself, as although he's certainly every bit the strength sports badass who generally receives treatment on Chaos and Pain, he is hardly the psychotic, misanthropic, purveyor of destruction of the other Baddest Motherfuckers are.  Paul Anderson was none of those things- instead, he was a deeply religious Southern Baptist big softie who some might say squandered all of his talent performing exhibitions rather than actually competing to raise a youth home for disadvantaged kids. Nowhere will you find stories of Paul Anderson, hard drinking, coke snorting, bulldozer of a man who once threw a boulder through the window of a McDonalds, or smashed his face open by headbutting a pay phone off a wall, or holding people hostage for a ham sandwich.  Instead, Paul Anderson was what can only be described as a really nice guy.

Born to standard, intact, Southern American family, Anderson was huge even as a youth.  According to Earl Liederman, "when he was 12 years of age he weighed 160; at 15 he tipped the scales at 200; at 16 he was around 210; at 17 his weight went to about 230; at 18 he weighed 250; and at 19, 270 pounds," and by the time he was 20 he was 295 (Liederman).  According to Clarence Bass, Anderson's noob gains were beyond fucking retarded, but as everything about Anderson seems larger than life, it should come as no surprise.  "In less than a year of training, Paul transformed himself from "just another small town Southern boy" into a 275-pounder with a 21 l/2" neck, 20" arm, 33" thigh and 19" calf.  In later years, his arms and neck grew to 25" and his thighs to 36"" (Bass).

No real record exists of the sizes of his parents, but with dimensions like those you'd expect to hear a story that Gojira was a female and King Kong knocked her up, only to produce Anderson.  Well, save for his height, but what he lacked in height, he made up for in girth.  Paul Anderson was a mere 5'9" and weighed around 350 pounds at the peak of his strength career, though he at one point ballooned to 400 and snagged his Olympic gold weighing 303. Though he was famous for his fast sprint starts and concomitant explosive strength, he was apparently hideously out of shape and usually wheezing in an effort to catch his breath. 

No matter his failings as an endurance athlete and the fact that Anderson was fatter than Chris Farley after a weekend locked inside an all you can eat buffet- his resultant strength has made him a legend in strength sports, a successful pro boxer, an Olympic gold medalist, an epic powerlifter, and the king of the odd lifts in the 20th Century.  Anderson's career was as all over the place as his bona fides would indicate.  He had a show for some time in Las Vegas, in which he squatted a barbell weighing over 1,000 lbs loaded with $10,000 in silverdollars.  Later, he appeared on the Ed Sullivan show, and other late night shows, in an effort to raise money for his youth home.  Given what is still continuing indifference to awesome feats of strength in the fat-ensconced brains of the American public, Anderson soon turned to professional wrestling and boxing to earn money.  Additionally, he continued to tour the country performing exhibitions wherein he would backlift while playing some kind of wind instrument to raise money for his youth home.  He did this so often, in fact, that "[Bob] Hoffman would later claim, with a straight face, at a USOC eligibility hearing that [Anderson] was a musician, not a professional weightlifter" (Archibald). 

Anderson could have cited his unique training methods as the key to his success, but being an evangelical Christian, he gave all the credit to someone else. It's all well and good if you're religious, but if you're squatting upwards of 900 lbs, chances are it was a combination of long, brutal workouts, a little genetic luck, and a lot of eating, since the Catholic Church doesn't seem to be fielding the majority of the gold medalists in the Olympic Weightlifting and Jesus wasn't well known for being a strongman.  Weirdly, however, Anderson rarely chose to compete, even though he was nearly criminally strong and was occasionally even at competitions performing exhibitions.  This is probably why so many people are apt to call bullshit on his lifts.  For instance:

"In 1958, in Madison Square Garden, he gave an exhibition after a USA-USSR competition in which the U.S. team was defeated. Hoping to soothe the crowd, he took the Soviet heavyweight’s winning clean and jerk of 424 lbs. and cleaned and pressed it for two reps. A few years later, in 1962, when Yuri Vlasov broke his amateur record with a press of 415 lbs., Anderson answered by pressing 415 lbs. for three reps in an exhibition in Dalton, Georgia" (Neece).  

In spite of the fact that he preferred exhibitions to competitions and some of his lifts are somewhat disputed, his methods for getting crazy strong still bear investigation.  I've already alluded to, and shown a picture of, one of his favorite training methods- squatting in a hole. As time progressed, he would add dirt to the hole, increasing his range of motion, and he eventually got to the point were he could allegedly squat 1,200 (though bear in mind he allegedly squatted 315 for ten reps the first time he got under a bar or 400 for a double, depending on the source [Wilhelm, Liederman]).  As you can see above, he had a multitude of ways to do partial squats and gradually add weight, and it seems he included the use of proto-crazybells in his partials as well (this rig apparently weighed about 1800 lbs).  The key to these partials was to start at the bottom, rather than the top, so eliminate the bounce out of the hole and increase the loads your body is capable of handling.  

Another wacky training method Anderson used was to set up two golf holes on his farm about 300 yards apart. He'd whack the ball down to the one hole, where he'd set up an outdoor rack with a bar loaded to 400. He'd do 3-5 reps in the overhead press with it, then whack the ball back to the other hole, where he'd set up a squat rack loaded to 800. He'd bang out 3-5 reps with that weight, then repeat, all afternoon. Yeah, that sounds pretty fucking awesome to me as well, save for the golfing. I'd rather do a set and get a bleach enema, then repeat. I truly despise golf. Anderson's typical workouts (according to Marty Gallagher in Purposeful Primitive) were 6 days a week and took 3-4 hours to complete.

Paul Anderson's Powerlifting Routine
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
Press Off Rack- 1x6x300, 1x2x400, 1x2x390, 1x2x370
Press Outs (from sticking point to lockout)- 1x4x500
Press From Shoulders To Top Of Head- 1x4x500
Push-Press Off Rack- 1x3x450
Bench Press- 1x6-8x400-450

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
Full Squat- 2x10x600, 1x2x825, 1x2x845, 1x2x900
Half Squat- 1x2x1200
Quarter Squat- 1x2x1800
Deadlift- 4x6-8x650

Bob Whelan gave another account of an Anderson Program- one that was specialized for Olympic Weightlifting.  Though many oly lifters would scoff at this routine, it was developed by a man who had no coaching in the sport, yet who easily took the gold at the Olympics and won the world championships in Olympic Weightlifting.  As such, you may want to bust out your pens and take some notes on the following routine.

Paul Anderson's Olympic Weightlifting Routine
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
Overhead Press- Lots of sets of 2x320 
Dumbbell Press- 7x3x135
Press Behind Neck- High reps to pump up the shoulder area.
Snatch- Singles, working up from 225 to 300 pounds.
Squat Clean- Singles up to 400 pounds.
Deadlift- 690 pounds, 2x3.
High pulls (to waist)- 500 pounds, 4x3.

According to Whelan, Anderson was a big fan of using straps and metal hooks to aid his grip.  For the Oly stuff, it seems, he used straps, whereas with deadlifts, he used hooks (and reportedly worked up to a grand with a double overhand grip).  His rest periods explain part of the reason he trained all day, too- he rested 10 to 15 minutes between sets, and would sometimes take an hour break between exercises.

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
Full Squats- Doubles, working up to 780 pounds for 3x2.

These were basically active rest days for Anderson, hence the low volume.


Anderson was also a big fan of day-long workouts, wherein he would rest up to 30 mins in between sets, sipping milk and bullshitting. He'd apparently drink a gallon or more of milk during the course of his workout.  Lest you think his workouts were limited to the above lifts, though, think again- Anderson was an all-round lifter who had a massive array of lifts he'd work into his daily lifts, and has was weak at nothing as a result.  For instance, there are pics of Paul training neck and grip incredibly heavy all of the internet, as well as walking on is hands in the pushup position using a rolling cart he designed for the purpose, and even doing upside down tricep extansions inside a squat cage.  He left no stone unturned and literally left no weight unlifted when he trained- there was no exercise too silly, or too beneath him, or too "worthless" for him to do, and he'd have even incorporated Bosu balls into his training if they'd existed.

Handstand pushups at 350 lbs.

 Traveling and think you can't train?  Anderson just called you a bitch from the grave.

I don't even have words... the man was an innovator, for sure.

Who would even think to do this?

Errr, sure.  That works, I guess.

To fuel his workouts, Anderson claimed that the key was protein.  Having been plagued by health problems as a kid stemming from Blight's Disease, which affects kidney function, Anderson was restricted to a vegetarian/fruitarian diet until the poor, malnourished little motherfucker plied his mom with enough tears to get her to feed him meat.  From then on, the man ate meat like it was going out of fashion, using what little spending money he had as a kid not on candy, like his friends, but on canned fish.  Later, he experimented with protein drinks made of sweet milk and raw eggs, and eventually adding ingredients until his ultimate formula contained "ice cream and milk shakes with... soybean meal, raw eggs, [and] milk" (Anderson).  On top of that, Anderson consumed any type of meat put in front of him, cooked rare, and not surprising to any of us after the Stew-Roids series, a very thick soup:
"This soup was usually made of some canned variety in which she added a liquid that she squeezed with a hand press from ground beef. She would put the beef on the stove in a large pan and add some water. As this started to get hot she would allow it to simmer for about a minute, actually just long enough for it to get hot, and then pour it through a lemon-squeezing press, that would extract all of the fluid. She would pour this fluid into the soup and serve it to me in that manner. Thinking of this, I decided I would add this type of strength-builder to my then fortified protein diet, and every morning for breakfast this is what I would have to start my strenuous day" (Anderson).

So how the fuck did the man get so fat?  He thought sugar was the key to digesting protein.  Nevermind the fact that this is quite literally impossible- Anderson believed it and ate accordingly.  
"Occasionally I would drink soft drinks during my training and noticed when I did this I could perform much better, and my digestive cycle would work much faster. This proved to me that I needed a great deal more sugar. It seemed that the more protein I took, the more sugar I needed to help digest the protein, and also give me quick energy. I turned to the greatest sugar supply I could find, which was honey. I soon found that much of the honey that could be bought in grocery stores did not do me as much good as honey direct from the beehive, bought from a farmer. It was my personal belief that much of the honey that was on the market had been heated in a pasteurizing process and had lost some of its quick digesting qualities.
Some days I would consume even a half pint of honey, when I was working out strenuously and carrying on my tremendous traveling schedule" (Anderson).
That might, and SHOULD, seem retarded to you, but I have witnessed with my own two eyeballs some old head at a meet drink three bottles of honey in a single day.  I waited for the man to go into diabetic coma and had "9-1-1" dialed into my phone with my finger on the send button, but wheeze as he might, the dude failed to die in front of me.  As he'd squatted in a suit and bench shirt, I was somewhat disappointed, but at least now I know why he did what he did.

So, there you have it. Another unconventional lifter in a world of bland, copycat bullshit. Guess who succeeds? It's not the douche doing bodypart workouts at your local Gold's- it's the guys who do weird shit, and A LOT OF IT, who make a name for themselves. Now, go do some reverse grip cleans and when some headband-rocking, heroin-chic, weak-as-you-little-sister-if-she-had-AIDS, personal trainer tells you you're doing cleans wrong, punch him in the mouth, roast him over an open fire, and invite anyone you know with a descended testicle to a barbecue... at least if you think you can get any meat off his sorry ass.

Interesting short bit from a documentary on Paul Anderson about his training methods.  You'll want to stab your eardrums with a screwdriver after listening to the mustachioed hillbilly jabber at you about how Paul Anderson  trained barefoot, but it's interesting nonetheless.

By the way, if you want an interesting read that disputes the validity of Paul Anderson's backlift numbers, go here; for his hiplift, go here; and in regards to the safe he used for the backlift, go here.  Given the propensity for exaggeration and misleading statements by Evangelical Christians, I can't imagine those articles will shock anyone.

Archibald, Dresdin.  Doug Hepburn and Paul Anderson: comparison and contrast.  Lift Up.  2005.  Web.  6 Jul 2014.

Bass, Clarence.  Paul Anderson, king Of the squat.  Ripped.  Web.  6 Jul 2014.

Gallagher, Marty. The Purposeful Primitive. St. Paul: Dragon Door Publications, 2008. pp. 9-17.

Kiiha, Osmo.  Paul Anderson.  Bob Whelan.  Web.  4 Jul 2014.

Liederman, Earle.  20-Year old Paul Anderson.  The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  30 Jul 2011.  Web.  4 Jul 2014.

Neece, Steve.  Paul Anderson’s Claims.  The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  3 Sep 2009.  Web.  4 Jul 2014.

A Paul Anderson Power Training Routine.  The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  3 Sep 2009.  Web.  4 Jul 2014.

Paul Anderson (weightlifter).  Wikipedia.  Web.  4 Jul 2014.

Silver, Mike.  Boxers 2, Strongmen 0.  Boxing.  18 Apr 2013.  Web.  4 Jul 2014.

Wilhelm, Bruce.  Paul Anderson: Force of Nature.  Milo.  1193 Apr;1(1):10-14.

Willoughby, David. The Super-Athletes. NY: AS Barnes and Company, 1970. pp 112-114.

02 July 2014

We're All David Rigert's Bitches: Smoke Em If You Got Em, Because Science Is A Liar Sometimes, 2- The Weed Edition

"I think we should legalize marijuana in this country.  So pot heads have nothing to talk about ever again. Come on, it does get a little annoying after a while… “Hey you want to get high?” No. “Why not?” Because I’m not in the 7th grade anymore and I have things to do. Why don’t you grow up and do coke like an adult?"
- Daniel Tosh

Before I start this segment, I'll just say I side with Daniel Tosh on the subject of weed.  I've smoked it maybe a dozen times and with the exception of one hilarious evening, all it's done is make me shitty at Grand Theft Auto, occasionally make me sleepy, and generally bore the piss out of me.  If I wanted that for an evening, I'd just befriend this weird-assed pillhead who dragged myself and the girl I was dating at the time back to his house for a foursome, whereupon we were forced to sit through most of a Steve Harvey standup before I finally just stood up and fucking left about halfway through.  Weed is to fun what Steve Harvey is to funny, which is to say not at all.  In any event, the subject of weed and sports performance is often discussed on message boards, and it seems only to be contended by potheads too stupid to formulate an argument or virgins who have nothing better to do than proselytize their sad little drug free lives from the safety of their parents' basement.

I do believe this man could make Whoopie Goldberg seem funny by comparison.

Perhaps the most annoying thing about the debate is that none of the participants apparently know any pro-level strength athletes, because everyone one of them I know takes whatever drugs they can find by the handful.  Of the top of my head, I know people who pop vicodin like tic tacs; a badass bench specialist whose idea of the ultimate preworkout is cheque tabs, weed, and beer; two epic, top tier powerlifters in the 181 and 220 weight classes who smoke more weed than Harold, Kumar, Cheech, and Chong combined; bodybuilders who will smoke weed, blow lines, drink their faces off, and then knock themselves out with GHB at the end of the night, and so on.  And fuck me if I know a single high level lifter who doesn't love coke and adderall.  Thus, this whole conversation is fucking stupid because elite athletes love drugs and will both take them and excel with them.  As such, the effects of weed on lifting are basically immaterial.  Nevertheless, people want me to do their research for them, so I shall.

Prior to 1900, only 140 cases of lung cancer had been identified, and smoking cigarettes is directly blamed for the prevalence of lung cancer these days.  Hilariously, the scientists seem to completely ignore the advent of the internal combustion engine and other modern air pollution in identifying smoking as the sole reason for the rise the incidence of cancer, but the link between lung cancer and smoking seems to be pretty strong.    Because of this, any idea that smoking might have beneficial effects has been overlooked in Big Brother's insanely devoted attempts to save you from yourself.  As we covered in the last entry in this series, smoking does seem to have some beneficial effects after all, and plenty of high level strength athletes have and still smoke with no apparent ill effects on their training.

This, then, brings us to the subject of cannabis, which is a polarizing topic no less contentious or stupid than gay marriage, in spite of the fact that it might be the most innocuous activity since hoop rolling was invented for bored frontier children.  Cannabis has been a point of contention for governments around the world for centuries, and while it's waxed and waned in popularity, it's never really fallen out of favor with a significant segment of the population.  Though no significant health problems have ever been associated with cannabis  (some studies do show very mild brain trauma over extended periods of heavy use, however), and in spite of the fact that cannabis is not considered to be addictive, it's been more maligned than its ostensibly more harmful cousin, the cigarette, for the last hundred years.  As such, it's thrust upon us to determine for ourselves whether or not it's going to fuck up our gains (in spite of the fact I've already established that it matters not in any case).

I've never seen a hacky sack game devolve into headhunting, but apparently getting high does not slake bloodlust in Taiwan.

Since its first recorded use in the 3rd millenia BC in China (though there is evidence it was used 10,000 years ago by the indigenous headhunters of Taiwan), everyone from mystics to warriors to lay people have used cannabis, in just about every corner of the world.  To this day, it remains the most widely used psychoactive drug, which seems to be a check in the box marked awesome if you enjoy giggling like a college girl at a frat party and exhibiting a level of intellect commensurate with those gibbering nitwits.  What is interesting, however, is the fact that cannabis was in heavy use by warrior cultures for two thousand years, and that many of the toughest warrior cultures on the planet were renown for their cannabis use.  Chief among them were:

  • the Scythians, a tribe of sexually egalitarian psychotics (the women had to kill three men in battle before they could marry) who "fought to live and lived to fight" who lived in Southern Russia (Bennet).  Nomadic badasses on horseback, the Scythians were the guys who popularized scalping, and they actually wore cloaks made of their enemies' scalps and drank from gilded skullcaps.  It's hard to imagine a pack of badasses harder than these guys, and what makes this particularly odd is that they were apparently high as fuck, 24/7.  Dave Chappelle likely wishes he could have hung with these guys on smoking, as Herodotus recounted at some length the Scythians' love of cannabis, and that love was spread to surrounding areas as the Scythians' sphere of influence spread (Ibid, Frater).
  • the Cimmerians, the tribe of violent lunatics whom the Scythians displaced, and who are credited with domesticating the horse.  The Cimmerians were so tough that just about the only phrases we have from their language all have "strength" in them, they were led into battle by priestesses who would slit the throats of prisoners and dissect others for divination into the outcome of battle, and when they were finally being pushed out of their homeland, the Cimmerian nobility just separated into teams like they were going to play kickball and proceeded to slaughter each other so they'd not be buried on foreign soil.  Like the Scythians, Herodotus commented on their cannabis use, stating they would have "spirit sessions" in sweat lodges wherein they would throw cannabis onto hot stones (Carlile 53).
  • the Mongols, conquerors of the largest bit of landmass in history.  The Mongols were purportedly incredibly fond of hashish, a habit they may well have picked up from either the Chinese, who had been using cannabis prior to 3000 BC, or from the Persians.
  • the Hashashin (Assassins), a tribe of Persian ninjas who were so fond of hash that they were named after it.  The Hashashin were renown for their ferocity in battle and their skill at assassination alike, in addition to their love of sweet, sweet hash.  Though they were eventually wiped out by the Mongols after trying to assassinate Genghis's grandson, Möngke Khan, they remain legends for being badasses who were higher than a Red Bull promotional parachute drop from space.
  • the Huns, the band of Turkic tribesmen who swept across Central Asia and Eastern Europe like locusts, laying waste to everything on which they could lay hands.  Invariably described as vicious, bloodthirsty, and stout badasses, the Huns smoked cannabis as part of shamanistic rituals in worship of their surroundings (Waldman 397).
  • the Goths and Celts, tribes who fought against both the incursions of the Romans and the Huns at various times, and who were well known in antiquity for being tall, muscular, and pants-shittingly brutal warriors as well as epic partiers.  The Goths apparently used cannabis as an aphrodisiac during an erotic festival in honor of the warrior goddess Freya, while the Celts seem to have preferred hash.  Either way, weed did not get in the way of brutality for either of these two broadsword wielding bands of maniacs (Wikipedia).
  • the Vikings, sail boating, hard drinking slayers of monks and conquerors of the British Isles.  Though there's no first-hand accounts of the Vikings' use of cannabis for its psychoactive purposes, it's thought that Viking sorceresses called Völvas burned cannabis seeds in a metal rattle to induce trances for religious purposes (Brady).  
  • Pehlwani, the Persian and Indian wrestlers who were legendary and dominant around the world until the beginning of the 20th Century.  In Northern India it is still popular to drink bhang (a drink made with milk and hashish) in wrestling gymnasiums, even in instances where wrestlers abstain from participation in all other vices (alcohol, tobacco, sex, etc), and it's said that any real wrestling gym should have a special place for the preparation of bhang (Alter 320).
  • the Sikhs, a hyper-badass sect of Indians whose culture is so heavily based on being warriors that every Sikh carries a knife wherever they go and their symbol, the khanda, is nothing but their three favorite weapons slapped atop each other.  The Sikhs drink bhang as part of their religious festivals and before and during battles, and bhang can be credited with some of the most amazing battles in world history, including a famous last stand of 23 Sikhs against 10,000 Afghanis... the Sikhs lasted several hours and fought to the last man (Bennett, Bhang,  Sikh Wiki, Wiki, AND A MILLION OTHER SOURCES).  Imagine how awesome the Alamo's defenders could have been powered by bhang- Mexico would be completely depopulated of indigenous people and would be called Texas.
Why these guys were such fucking badasses, however, is a matter for some debate, because science has been saying it literally isn't possible since 1974 (Kolodny).  According to science, consumption of cannibis causes "a marked reduction in the body weight and in the weights of seminal vesicles, ventral prostate, epididymis, preputial gland and perineal complex (Penis and its bulb and levator ani muscle)" and "in combination with testosterone propionate (TP) [inhibits] growth stimulation produced by TP alone" (Dixit).  In other words, cannabis is anti-androgenic and might shrink your dick... if you're a castrated mouse.  Interestingly, however, it does not cause the purported ill effects on testosterone and estrogen levels in humans we once thought (Cushman, Block).  In Block's study, chronic marijuana use had no effect on on testosterone, luteinizing hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, prolactin, and cortisol, and in another study, not only was no effect shown on test levels from smoking, but it was shown that chronic (get it?  Chronic?) smokers had considerably higher test levels than people who didn't smoke "dat ciggaweed" (Block, Mendelson).

Consider my test raised.

Does that mean chronic cannabis use over lengthy periods of time increases serum testosterone levels?  Not necessarily.  It might just mean people with naturally high testosterone levels seem to be drawn to getting high.  Regardless, it appears cannabis is not the testicle-destroying harbinger of estrogenic doom it's made out to be in the media.  Given its use by the aforementioned face-smashing hellspawn outlined above, it might seem that cannabis might have some positive effects on one's performance.  There is absolutely no evidence to support that contention in scientific literature, but one might get a performance boost conferred by weed through fearlessness, particularly in the form of fear memory extinction and decreased anxiety.  If you've ever hurt yourself training, weed might help you overcome that fear, just as it likely helped ancient warriors forget about the pain of having their limbs smashed and guts ripped open in previous battles (Mateus).  According to one researcher, cannabis
"this substance can only indirectly improve performance—it can have a euphoric effect, reducing anxiety and increasing the sociability of a player who may be particularly nervous before an important match. It can also have a relaxing effect after the game. In this way, cannabis can be considered as a doping product that calms the mind. It has already been described that use of cannabis in sporting environments is basically motivated by the effects of relaxation and well being, allowing the user to sleep more easily. However, if consumed regularly, it risks harming performance and motivation" (Saugy).
Dude's arms are fucking ridiculous and he smokes more weed than Bob Marley's entire family.

So, there you have it- weed hasn't hurt Ricky Williams' ridiculous tricep development, anyone's battlefield prowess, or the Indian wrestlers' dominance of the squared circle.  Quite the contrary, in fact, it may have even helped- if nothing else, it makes you fearless and gives you a brutal appetite. I'm not saying it would necessarily make the ideal preworkout, as it causes and "increase in heart rate and blood pressure, decline of cardiac output and reduced psychomotor activity", none of which are ideal for athletic performance, but that's not to say you can't toke up after your workout (Campos).  Should you decide to partake, I've no recommendations to make since I don't bother with the shit myself.  There are two strains, however, and according to High Times:
"As a connoisseur smoker there is nothing like a sativa high. The sativas are like a Chateau Lafitte Rothschild ’65: A fine wine that tastes even better with age. I’ve smoked sativas that have been cured for more than 24 months and the high had no ceiling, meaning that with every new joint you smoked you just got higher and higher. With the indicas I find the effect to be quite universal across multiple different strains. It is usually a couch-locked “I wanna sit and play Playstation” kind of feeling. That being said, it is actually the indicas that have the strongest analgesic effect when it comes to medical cannabis, it’s usually the sativas that have a higher amount of THC compared to CBDs" (Resin)."
So, there you have it- feel free to smoke weed if you've got it, because the bullshit you've heard online, in the gym, and was just old, bad science making you look like a bitch.

Alter, Joseph.  The "sannyasi" and the Indian Wrestler: The Anatomy of a Relationship.  American Ethnologist, Vol. 19, No. 2 (May, 1992), pp. 317-336.

Archer, Dale.  Is marijuana addictive?  Psychology Today.  5 May 2012.  Web.  1 Jul 2014.

Barnett G, Chiang CW, Licko V.  Effects of marijuana on testosterone in male subjects.  J Theor Biol. 1983 Oct 21;104(4):685-92.

Bennett, Chris.  Sikhs and Cannabis.  Cannabis Culture.  24 Dec 2009.  Web.  3 Jul 2014.

Bhang.  Sikhi Wiki.  Web.  3 Jul 2014.

Block RI, Farinpour R, Schlechte JA.  Effects of chronic marijuana use on testosterone, luteinizing hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, prolactin and cortisol in men and women.  Drug Alcohol Depend. 1991 Aug;28(2):121-8.

Brady, M. Michael.  The Viking drug mystery explored.  4 Apr 2014.  Web.  2 Jul 2014.

Campos DR, Yonamine M, de Moraes Moreau RL.  Marijuana as doping in sports.  Sports Med. 2003;33(6):395-9.

Carlile, Dennis J.  Rimbaud - The Works: A Season in Hell; Poems and Prose; Illuminations.  Bloomington: Xlibris, 2000.

Cushman P Jr.  Plasma testosterone levels in healthy male marijuana smokers.  Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 1975;2(2):269-75.

Dixit VP, Lohiya NK.  Effects of Cannabis extract on the response of accessory sex organs of adult male mice to testosterone.  Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 1975 Apr-Jun;19(2):98-100.

Entheogenic use of cannabis.  Wikipedia.  Web.  2 Jul 2014.

Frater, Jamie.  Top 10 Interesting Facts about the Scythians.  Listverse.  5 Jan 2010.  Web.  23 Jun 2014.

Gumbiner, Jann.  History of Cannabis in India.  Psychology Today.  16 Jun 2011.  Web.  24 Jun 2014.

Kolodny RC, Masters WH, Kolodner RM, Toro G.  Depression of plasma testosterone levels after chronic intensive marihuana use.  N Engl J Med. 1974 Apr 18;290(16):872-4.

Mateus M, Bergamaschi MM, Alexandre J, Crippa S.  Why should Cannabis be Considered Doping in Sports?  Front Psy.  2013 May;4:32.

Saugy M, Avois L, Saudan C, Robinson N, Giroud C, Mangin P, Dvorak J. Cannabis and sport. J Sports Med. Jul 2006; 40(Suppl 1): i13–i15.

Waldman, Carl and Catherine Mason. Encyclopedia of European Peoples.  New York City: Facts on File, 2006.