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30 September 2010

Baddest Motherfuckers Ever #19- Pat Casey

Nowadays, it's not uncommon to see a lot of guys weighing in the 200s benching 600+ lbs, so you'd think that a guy like Pat Casey would fall by the wayside in a discussion on big benchers.  That, however, is because most people wouldn't take into account the fact that triple-ply bench shirts can double your bench, and equipped guys often can barely handle half their opener in a warmup without their shirts or suits.  Casey, however, was the first guy to ever bench 600, squat 800, or total 2000, and he did like a fucking beast in a tshirt and shorts.  How'd he do it?  Sheer badassedness, some sick genetics, schooling from the first guy to officially bench 400, and by never missing a scheduled workout.  I'm not sure if you guys are seeing a pattern among these BME posts, but there's definitely a solid one at this point- consistency is the ultimate key.  Through wind, through sleet, through rain or snow, bitch betta have my money, and I'm going to the mothafuckin gym.
My bitch better have my money/Through rain, sleet, or snow/My whore better have my money/Not half, not some, but all my cash/'Cause if she don't,/I'm gonna put my foot in her ass. 

In re the second reason Casey was such a fucking beast- the Godzilla-strong cocksucker benched 420 at a bodyweight of about 215 when he was 17 years old.  Hideously unfair, for sure, in the eyes on anyone who was, like me, pumped about a 285 bench when they were 17.  Nor was this a big fucking deal for him- according to Bruce Wilhelm, "he did not have to check his bio-rhythm chart, or to be totally rested or to have his own equipment to do his best lifting on."  Oh, and to add insult to injury, Casey competed only as a bodybuilder at the time, rather than a powerlifter.

That's not to say that Casey trained like a poofter- he trained in marathon sessions on a regular basis, doing 7-8 hour sessions of weighted dips.  Once, at a bodyweight of 300, he did a single with 308 lbs hanging off him.  Additionally, he'd occasionally bench with no spotter in a shed without electricity, by candlelight (and nearly killed himself doing so on at least 2 occasions).  This wasn't uncommon for him, as Casey trained by himself, reading magazines to motivate himself, and then just busting his ass for endless hours doing the most ridiculous shit of which he could think, like a neck bridge pullover and press with 405 lbs.  According to the man himself, "At a bodyweight of 300 and using a 250 pound dumbell I did 200 repetitions. I started with sets of 5, then 4, gradually descending all the way down to singles. I did this over a 7 hour period of time and I can readily attest to the fact that I was totally thrashed. I felt shot for the next two weeks. But for some reason at that time I felt that they helped. On several other occasions I did over a 100,000 pound workload dipping, working over a period of 8 hours."

Insane.  Casey credited his massive benching power to his marathon dipping sessions, in addition to having done thousands of bench press lockouts in his homemade bench in the aforementioned shed.  He mentioned that he got the guy from Marvin Eder, another bonafide badass who lifted insane poundages prior to the advent of lifting equipment or the prevalence of gear.  Additionally, like Eder, his workouts were fucking beastly.  Wilhelm lists the following as a typical week in the gym for Pat Casey:

Monday:

Bench Press Lockouts: . Singles from 4 inches off chest. 3 singles from 7 inches off chest. After lockouts, 2 sets of regular benches with 405 x 3.
Dumbell Incline: 3 sets of 5 reps warmup. 120 x 10, 200 x 3 sets of 5 reps. Best: 220 x 6 @ 285 bodyweight.
Lying Triceps Extension: 5-6 sets of 3-5 reps.
Chins: 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps.
Curls: 3 sets of 5 reps @ 100 pounds. I feel that I should have done more curling.

Tuesday

Squats: 135 x 5, 22 x 3, 315 x 2, 405 x 2, 585 x 2, 650 x 5 singles, 515 x 10.
Leg Extension: 3 x 20 reps.
Leg Curls: 2 x 12 reps.
Deadlifts from below knee: (working on sticking point) 315 x 5, 405 x2, 515 x 1, 565 x 6 singles.

Wednesday and Thursday
Rest. I worked an 8 hour job during the day.

Friday

Bench Press: 135 x 20, 225 x 10, 315 x 5, 405 x 5, 515 x 1, 560/570 x 5 singles, 405 x 10, 315 x 20.
Seated Military Press: I had to turn my head to the side to get the barbell past my face. 135 x 10, 225 x 5, 315 x 3, 400 x 1, 315 x 5, 225 x 8.
Dips: Bodyweight x 3 sets of 5 reps, then 10 sets of 205 x 5 reps.

Saturday:

Lockout Squats: above parallel, squat down and stop on pins. Dead stop. No bounce at the bottom. 135 x 10, 225 x 5, 315 x 3, 405 x 2, 515 x 1. 585 x 1, 650 x 1, 750 x 5 singles, finish with full squat – 405 x 5 with a pause at the bottom. These lockouts were mainly for the feel of handling heavy weight.
Leg Extensions: 3 sets of 20 reps.
Leg Curls: 2 sets of 12 reps.
I would also throw in some bodybuilding movements and neck work.


Monday

Wide Grip Seated Presses: Warm up with 10 repetitions and then do 10 sets of 5 reps. Finish with one set of 20.
Cheating One Arm Lateral Raises: Perform 5 sets of 5 repetitions and finish with one set of 20.
Cheating One Arm Front Raises: 5 x 5, 1 x 20.
Dips: With body leaning forward. 8 x 5, 1 x 20.

Wednesday

Handstand Presses Against Wall: With hands on boxes. 10 sets of 5. If you cannot do a complete press-up from the position do a half press until your strength increases enough to do full movements. You can add weight by tying a plate around your waist.
One Arm Lateral Raises: On incline bench. 5 sets of 8, 1 x 20.
Bent Forward Lateral Raises: 5 sets of 8, 1 x 20.
Dumbbell Shrugs: 10 sets of 10, 1 x 20.

Friday

Seated Press Behind Neck: 10 sets of 5, 1 x 20.
Dumbbell Shrugs: 5 sets of 10, 1 x 20.
One Arm Dumbbell Presses: 10 sets of 5, 1 x 20.
Strict Standing One Arm Lateral Raises: 6 sets of 10. Alternate arms without rest.

Workouts like those detailed above made Casey insanely, frighteningly strong- we're talking super-chimp on steroids and HGH strong.  So fucking strong, in fact, that Casey once picked up a bench and moved it across the floor, failing to realize at the time that it had been bolted directly into the fucking concrete.  Thus, the next time you think you've fucking torn it up in the gym, remember- there's always someone who's taken it a step further, so it's time to take two fucking steps forward and lay down your fucking marker on history.

28 September 2010

When A Good Idea Goes Horribly, Horribly Wrong

Power Factor Training is a pretty good idea.  Initially, I planned to build upon their equation utilizing a percentage of a one repetition maximum to calculate an adjusted total workload on an exercise thatd look like this:  %1RM x (Total Poundage/Time taken to lift it).  I know, that's a pretty fucking cool idea, and would be an awesome method to track progress.  I abandoned it, however as it's unnecessarily complex, essentially useless inside the gym, and I'm an angry, over-educated weightlifter who vastly prefers screaming death metal and violently lifting huge weights in a cloud of chalk dust rather than a spectacled goofball busily scrawling figures, double-entry accounting style, into a lab notebook.  That shit, my friends,  is not my fucking style, in spite of my overbearing erudition and general amazingness.
Fuck.  That.  Shit.
In any event, Sisco and Little, the authors of Power Factor Training, had a pretty fucking cool idea that made sense- it's not just the total volume of weight you lift, but the amount of weight you lift in a given amount of time that determines total volume.  Additionally, they championed the idea that a full range of motion wasn't necessary to achieve maximal hypertrophy, as the lifter would be limited by the weakest point in their range of motion, and would thus have their gains retarded by the fact that they have to train with comparatively light weights to "get the full benefit of the exercise".  This premise, my friends, is where retards really jump on board, due to the fact that they feel justified in doing comically tiny ranges of motion for thousands of reps on machines.  I've already stated that I think that shit like deadlift and squat partials are awesome, but that's because they're systemic exercises, rather than localized bullshit like the leg press.  These exercises accomplish a great deal, as the stress they place on your body strengthens tendons, jacks up your GH and test, and prepares your CNS to handle much heavier workloads, as I've explained here.  Other than fraying your acls, however, the leg press accomplishes two things- jack and shit, and Jack just left town.  That, however, is hardly an impediment to these fucking asshats milling about half the gyms in America, and one of those asshats lifted at my old gym.

"Training to failure in your strongest range of motion with much heavier weights is a lot more intense and demanding than training to failure in your weakest range of motion"(8)  He could not have misinterpreted that statement more ridiculously than he did.

The idea of judging a worout or workload in pounds per minute is cool as shit on it's face- if I had an assistant with a stopwatch and a notebook, furiously recording everything I did, I might try this method.  As I don't, however, I'm not getting involved in this tomfoolery.  For those of you who are curious as to how it's done, you record shit thusly:
Then, you divide your total workload for a given exercise by the time it took you to get it, and you get your Power Factor, which is poundage lifted per minute.  According to Sisco and Little, this is a failsafe methodology for determining the efficacy of your workload, and the ideal number sets and reps scheme for any given person, through trial and error.  Thus, once you've tested out certain poundages with a variety of rep schemes, you come up with something like this:
To me, this seems like a tremendous fucking waste of time, unless you conducted it solely on major exercises like the big three powerlifts, and then applied what you gleaned from those exercises to every other lift you did.  Would it be a failsafe method?  Probably not, but for people who spend far too much time obsessing about programming rather than actually doing what they fucking enjoy in the gym, this might be a good idea.  If you, however, find yourself enjoying the shit out of leg presses with a two inch range of motion and don't have the musculature to justify it, methinks you've taken a good idea and made it go horribly, horribly wrong.  This can happen with any training style, lift, or frankly anything you do in your life, and we've all seen the results- the chicks who wear more makeup than an LA prostitute; the guys who drown themselves in Axe bodyspray because it smells better than their ass; people who eat ten fucking bags of those dumbass 100 calorie snacks at a time... the list is endless.

In short- don't be that fucking guy.  If you stumble upon something good, don't fuck it up and make yourself and the progenitor of that idea look like assholes.  By the same token, keep trying new shit, fucking get educated about what you're doing, and bust your fucking ass to get better at everything.
Source:
Power Factor Training : A Scientific Approach to Building Lean Muscle MassSisco, P. and Little, J.  Power Factor Training.

25 September 2010

Exercises You Should Already Be Doing- The Deadlift Carry and Load

There comes a time in every person's life where he or she will look into the mirror and say to themself- "Self, I am going to whip your motherfucking ass today.  Stop sucking and man the fuck up."  I've recently been taking it a bit too easy, having realized that my body was ripshit pissed about sucking weight, and pretty much cramping every time I tried to do anything at all.  Thus, after sitting in my papasan chair eating a massive bowl of taco meat and watching a marathon of Surviving the Cut, I decided that if some scrawny motherfucker in the Army can walk 30 miles with an 80 lb pack on his back after staying awake for 25 hours straight, I can sure as shit man the fuck up and get some shit done in spite of my body's, boiling, rancid hatred for me lately.  In the spirit of that sentiment, I decided to do some walking deadlifts and load the weight into the rack.  A lot.  Until I wanted to die.  As you can see from the video, which was taken over an hour into my workout, I was pretty fucking tired by the end- deadlifting 505 took some time, and it sucked.  When 505 sucks for me, I know I'm cashed- I can deadlift 515, cold, in jeans and a sweatshirt.
This show pumps me the fuck up.

There's really not a lot to this exercise- you pick it the fuck up, walk it into the rack, set it down, jump the bar, pick it up , and drop it back down to the ground.  Then, you repeat.  Like I said, I did this for over an hour, and spent the most time doing sets of 3-5 with 405 and 455.  I was using fairly short rests, so this was about as close to cardio as I'll get.  It was awesome- I currently hurt everywhere, which is an awesome indication that I busted my fucking ass inside out.  For my first 10 or so sets, which were done with 225 to warmup, I used a double overhand grip and no straps, and then started with the straps after 315 fell out of my hands.  That was more of a grip workout and cardio than anything else, but it was fun nonetheless.
Old school strongmen were fans of doing this, and given that there's been no one capable of touching Goerner's one arm dead since he pulled it and Peter Cortese pulled 3x his bodyweight with one hand, I think their opinions on pulling are something that should be heeded above all.
Three times bodyweight with one hand.  Insane.
This isn't intended to be a replacement for the deadlift in your routine, but it's definitely a welcome departure from the norm, a man-maker, and a badass way to test your mettle if you've been feeling like you're slacking, and a way to light a fire under your ass if you're mentally out of it in the gym.  To that end, I also recommend watching Making the Cut- it'll bring you back to the realization that your life's insanely fucking easy, and that you can always go harder, go longer, and be a bigger fucking badass.

22 September 2010

Simple as A, B, Bloody C, D, E!

I mentioned in a previous blog that I was a bit of a fan of a guy of whom you've likely never heard, Torbjorn Akerfeldt.  Akerfeldt is a former bodybuilder and doctor who pioneered a pretty innovative diet in the 1990s called the ABCDE diet, which Bill Phillips jocked like it was the second coming of Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Why?  Because based on Akerfeldt's theories, you can diet hard for two weeks, then blow your diet completely for two weeks, and still get bigger and lose fat.
Did this douche actually get something right?

For obvious reasons, this diet's been hit with a massive amount of scrutiny, and no longer really gets any press.  The science behind it, however, is compelling, and I'm of the opinion that it can be incorporated into one's diet, however sparingly.  How sparingly?  I'm of the opinion that if you diet your ass off for a couple of months, this might just be the way to get your body anabolic again, throw on some muscle in a hurry, and get your head right after weeks of deprivation.  
Ideally, you end up as lean as Andreas Munzer, though hopefully less dead.


How it works:
This diet's about as simple as they come- overeat for 2 weeks, then undereat for two weeks, then repeat ad nauseum.  According to Akerfeldt, you should end up with a net lean muscle gain and overall fat loss, no matter how shitty your diet during the two weeks.  Protein intake is not an issue on this diet, as the only thing you're tracking on this diet is caloric intake- you want 1000 surplus calories during the overfeeding period and a caloric deficit of the same in the underfeeding period, with no restrictions or recommendations on macronutrients.


I wouldn't be surprised to find that Lyle McDonald is at least a mild fan of this diet, as it seems to have similar aims to McDonald's Guide To Flexible Dieting- i.e. manipulation of thyroid, testosterone, and leptin.  A word to the wise, however- I've linked the studies associate with this diet, and I've yet to read a writeup on the web that's got the details recounted faithfully, accurately, or in some cases, even remotely correctly.  Science seems to support it as well, as one study shows that a 3 week period of overfeeding in a bunch of chicks resulted in an average weight gain of 9.5 lbs, of which about 4 was lean mass.  All of the subjects experienced increased testosterone, IGF-1, and insulin, which meant that they were highly anabolic.  Unfortunately, they also gained 5 lbs of fat in three weeks.  I highly doubt they were particularly psyched about this, but given that most females gain muscle at a far slower rate than men, it's definitely something for guys to consider.  In any event, the next study associated with the ABCDE diet shows that in small samples of men over 12 days, guys who ate more calories gained more muscle than fat, and guys who underate lost more fat than muscle.  I frankly found the most interesting finding in this tiny study was that fat oxidation is inversely proportional to carbohydrate intake- i.e., the less carbs you eat, the more fat you burn.  As such, it seems Akerfeldt might be making mountains out of molehills.  The final study associated with this diet investigated the effect of a caloric and nitrogen surplus on nitrogen retention, though this positive nitrogen balance was not maintained after the diet ended.  Thus, my take is that your body adapts to high protein diets by enabling itself to utilize more protein, but to reap the benefits, you've got to keep the protein high.
Lacking sufficient protein, House could only squat 315.  Tragic.


Why, then, tell you about this diet?  Because it's fucking interesting, for one, and because it could benefit you, for another.  Some excerpts from a Bill Phillips interview with Akerfeldt seem to echo my sentiments:

  • "scientific studies have reliably shown that when there is a drastic change in the diet, the body responds very swiftly and efficiently"
  • "Our genes have not evolved much during the last 100,000 years; thus, they are still developed for our hunter/gatherer and, more recently, pastoral ancestors, who, whenever they succeeded in killing an animal, lived on meat for a week or two. At other times, when they had bad luck hunting and a crop failed, they lived on a low-calorie diet. This selective pressure gave man adipose tissue with almost unlimited storage capacity and a very adaptive metabolism to cope with periods of different diets."
  • during a calorie [or any macronutrient] restricted period, the number and activity of enzymes which govern storage will increase, while the degrading enzymes and those which promote the efficiency or utilization will decrease in activity....  On the other hand, after a period of restriction, the body is now optimized for a forthcoming period of “excess” intake of calories. When this period takes place, the body will store excess calories at a tremendous rate. This applies to carbohydrates [glycogen] and is the basis for “carb loading.” It also applies to fats [triglycerides] and amino acids [proteins]. Sometimes this mechanism is called “super-compensation.”
  • "During the bulking phase of the ABCDE program, several things happen. First of all, fluid, glycogen, and amino acids are loaded into the myocyte [muscle cell]. According to Häussinger’s theory of cellular hydration5,6 and Millward’s “full-bag” theory,9 the cell will actually stretch. This stretching, or as Millward calls it, “bag filling,” occurs rapidly during the bulking phase of this system. Bag enlargement is remodeling of the connective tissue.  Remodeling is stimulated during the stretching or eccentric components of exercise and is further enhanced by the incredible pump you’ll get while training during this phase of the diet."
  • "The macronutrient profile of the diet is not nearly as important as the total-energy intake, but one could logically surmise that consuming a higher protein diet during the bulking phase may stimulate anabolic drive and produce even greater nitrogen retention. If you followed a high-carbohydrate diet during the low-calorie phase, the accompanying increase in fat oxidation would make you put on a lot of fat during the next bulking phase."

He seems to have surpassed the 2 week mark.
His recommendations for calories in the two phases:
"take your bodyweight times 12 [to approximate maintenance-calorie intake for an individual who's not extremely active] and add 1,500 calories to this number. For example, a person who weighs 200 lbs, like yourself, would consume about 4,000 calories a day during the bulking phase [200 x 12 = 2,400 + 1,500]. On the low-calorie phase, I would recommend consuming a number of calories equal to your bodyweight times eight. That would be about 1,600 calories for you [200 x 8 = 1,600]."
Periods of feast and famine work well for this fucker.

Seems fairly simple, right?  Though I might not agree with every bit of his premise, the theory is certainly enticing, especially if you know, for instance, that you'll be eating your ass off on vacation for two weeks.  Should you have such a plan, it might behoove you to undereat for two solid weeks prior to that caloric bonanza to get the most out of it (and look your best while you embark upon a Kobiyashi-style gastronomic catastrophe).  The best bit to take away from this diet- experimentation is fucking key.  Every bit of information you can pick up will be useful at some point, no matter whether you agree with the author's premise or not... but fuck you if you disagree with me.


Mary Kate Olson hates Armenian babies, too.
Sources:
http://myoblast.wordpress.com/2010/02/02/abcde-anabolic-burst-cycling-of-diet-and-exercise-torbjorn-akerfeldt/

20 September 2010

You're Focused On All The Wrong Sort Of Details


Lately, everywhere I look, I've noticed that people tend to focus on all the wrong sorts of details, in nearly everything they do.  They obsess about minutiae, but ignore the entirety of whatever it is that they're doing.  For instance, most people will now go and purchase "the best" materials and tools prior to learning their use, in the belief that the tools themselves, by their quality, will confer success on the endeavor, no matter how ineptly executed.  Kids think that they're owed degrees by virtue of the fact that they've paid for them.  Guys go to Home Depot and purchase levels with lasers on them and ornate, expensive power tools, then bitch when the tools fail to produce a spectacular result- which is due entirely to the fact that the guy was too busy learning about the tools to find out how to build his homosexual bird house, or whatever nonsense he decided to produce.  Though it's a prevalent issue in our society, brought on by what amounts to the collapse of our civilization, the demise of the human spirit, and the preface to genocide (hopefully).
If Rwandans had maps or books, they'd hate Armenia too.

Supplementation
The focus on random bullshit is different for men and women when it comes to exercise.  Women focus on clothing- few women will embark upon a program of physical fitness without dropping a couple of hundred bucks on shoes and workout clothes, no matter how fat, out of shape, or generally unsuited to spandex they might happen to be.  While few things are more comical than watching a couple of fat broads yammering away at each other while they waddle down the sidewalk or through the mall in their fancy Nike gear, the skinny idiots who walk into a supplement store yelling about how they need NO Explode are even funnier.  These idiots actually believe that their workouts are worthless without supplementation, and the only way they'll get any results is to spend $100 a month on sport supplements.  Just like the fat broads, no amount of expenditure will compensate for their lack of effort in their stated goal, their lack of education about exercise and nutrition, or just their general utility as a human being.  They're focusing on all the wrong sorts of details.
I love these ads.

Diet
Just like these people will obsess over supplementation, too many people are overawed by the Joe Weider conception of diet at 85% of muscular gains.  That's fucking idiocy.  Clearly, I spend a lot of time discussing diet- ways to get leaner and bigger simultaneously.  I've read a lot about it.  I'm well educated about it.  I fucking kill myself in the gym, and I require a dietary regimen extreme enough to support my workouts.  That stated, most people don't- they workout infrequently, at low intensity and volume, and no amount of dieting will resolve the negative situation into which they've put themselves with their lack of intestinal fortitude.  Thus, a diet obsession is helping nothing, and is sapping their reserves of discipline and effort that would be far better used in the gym.  You can't out-diet shit training.  Additionally, too many people focus on dietary minutiae while ignoring important points, like getting excessive amount of protein.  Getting kelp into your diet is fucking ancillary, at best.  Eat more meat, lift more weight, and quit obsessing over details until you have a reason to do so.
 That's allegedly a deadlift.  It appears he's focused on every wrong detail.

Form, Setups, and Routines
There are more inane threads on lifting message boards decrying poor form and pontificating endlessly (entirely theoretically) about lifting routines than I care to count.  Anyone who's been on bodyspace, t-nation, or any other major site knows this- it's fucking absurd.  They'll scream about how someone's out of position here, cheating there, or not hitting depth there, in spite of the fact that they cannot reasonably approximate the weights being lifted with any kind of form.  This, in turn, gets other people into the game, and they'll all but diagram lifts online, blather on about leverages and the danger of certain positions, and generally fear-monger half the readers and insult the other half.  The result- there are people in gyms right now lifting with nothing but pvc pipe.  Know what you can learn by lifting pvc pipe?  NOT A MOTHERFUCKING THING.  The very assertion that one could is the worst form of intellectual dishonesty and outright fucking stupidity I've seen.  These are the same people, who having learned the lifts going very slowly and so light that it cannot be called exercise, that spend a minute and a half setting up for a lift, and then lift ultra-light fucking weights.  They're focusing on the wrong shit- learn the exercise, get insanely strong, and fine tune your form at the end.  Oly guys bitch that I'm stronger than they are at their lifts, and it's because I fucking go for it when I lift, and they obsess about making every lift perfect.  They're not all fucking gems- gut it out, get brutally strong, and get your form right as you go.  Over-reliance on form is as bad as anything else- perfect form's not getting the weight up... brute fucking strength is.
The weight's off-center!  His upper body's out of position!  Mariusz has something to say about that, but not on the internet, because he understands those know-nothing bitches on the boards are too busy whining and typing to lift.

The same goes for routines.  Is it useful to have some guidelines?  Yeah.  Are there a lot of fucking great routines to follow?  Hell yeah- Smolov, Sheiko, the Bulgarian System, Wendler's 5/3/1... the list goes on and on.  That's not to say, however, that they're magical.  You'll get out of them what you put into them, and if you half-ass it through a badass workout, you'll continue to suck.  Conversely, if you bust your ass at a shitty program (maybe even HIT?), you'll get gains.  Intensity, dedication, and enthusiasm are the fucking keys there.  Stop focusing on the wrong shit.

Intensity+awesome genetics+coke-fueled workouts+shit program can still equal good physique

What You Should Be Focused On
Three things:
  1. More weight.  Lift heavier.  Then repeat.
  2. More protein.  How much is too much?  There's no such fucking thing, unless you shit out a kidney.
  3. More of everything- fucking, reading, fighting, lifting, living.  Stop studying how to live and just fucking do something already.
Worthy of focus, and drive.  With the hips.

16 September 2010

How I Prepped To Crush Shit At A Meet

First, a disclaimer- this is not what I suggest everyone does, but rather what I did in preparation for this meet for a month.  Frankly, it didn't deviate all that much from my normal training, and it's certainly not exact, as I detest recording my daily workouts.  With those things in mind, I'm not a powerlifter, so I've no idea if this shit is in any way ideal for that sport, but it afforded me the opportunity to kick a bit of ass.  As an fyi, I technically started my diet 5 weeks out, as I knew I would take 4 days off before the meet.

I'll have that.

First, the diet.  My diet was essentially low carb and low fat for the duration of the prep, as I needed to cut weight.  As such, I ate between one and two lbs of 93% lean ground beef a day, supplemented with 3 to 5 Matrix 5.0 or Myofusion Shakes a day (including one overnight).  This meant that I was consuming roughly 32 -64g of fat and 92-184g protein from the meat, and 138-230g protein, 12-20g carbs, and 12-20g fat per day from shakes.  For the first three weeks, I ate probably more along the lines of 2-2.5 lbs of ground beef a day and had around 3 or 4 shakes, but it depended greatly on my level of hunger.  To keep my carbs as low as possible, I made the burgers into patties and topped them with low carb beef gravy for the first 2.5 weeks, and then switched to Sriracha sauce and Piri Piri sauce to lower the carbs further.  Additionally, since spicy foods speed the metabolism, I thought this might aid with last-ditch fatloss.  In the event that I was particularly exhausted or hungry, I supplemented the beef with either beef ribs with a dry rub or my ubiquitous chicken wings, which helped stave off hunger and gave me a needed calorie influx to aid training.  Though it wasn't an exact science, I found that although I dropped visible bodyfat, my weight didn't really change until I started cutting down on my cheats.
Best. Diet Food.  Ever.
I had one cheat meal a week, friday night, during which I generally ate pizza and went to the movies, and then had one or two additional low-fat, medium carb days thereafter.  Prior to my cheat meal, I generally kept my carbs as low as I did during the week, but on the weekends, I made low-carb Flatout pizzas with low carb pizza sauce and had the occasional Chicken Schwarama, which is essentially a burrito, topped in this case only with the hottest Lebanese hot sauce.  If I drank, I'd do it on Saturday, during a medium-carb day, and drank vodka in Minute Maid Light Lemonaid to keep the carbs low.  I also ensured that I took extra fatburners on those days to facilitate more thermogenesis with the influx of the alcohol calories.  My fourth cheat was really just 93% lean ground beef made into taco meat, and eaten with Tostitos scoops after being slathered with Taco Bell hot sauce.  I washed that down with a liberal amount of Minute Maid Light Lemonaide and Vikingfjord, which got me hammered to pieces in very short order, and had me asleep before I was able to wreck much havoc.

For fatburners, I was taking 25-50 mg ephedrine, 200-400 mg caffeine, and 25 mg aspirin.  In the last week, I switched to a diuretic caffeine pill, Kranker2, to help me shed water in the last couple of days, and bumped my water intake up to 2-3 gallons a day until the Thursday prior to the meet.

I stopped eating and drinking on Thursday night around 10, and had nothing until weigh in.  That fucking sucked, but chewing gum the entire day definitely helped.

For training, not much changed.  I never lifted fewer than 8 times a week, and believe I lifted 11 times a week for the first two.  My morning workouts generally consisted of either bodyweight exercises or light barbell work for 20-30 minutes, usually done in a circuit fashion.  Evening workouts were 3 reps or fewer on everything, and I dropped arm workouts altogether during this time.  I squatted light in the mornings 2x a week, and heavy twice a week as well, working partials at various heights.  To my recollection, I might have done full squats three times in that month, which was ill-considered, given my subsequent inability to gauge my depth.
Monday after the meet.

For the most part, I abandoned direct arm work.  I would occasionally do a few sets of pushdowns here and there, and frequently did curl and press in the mornings, but more or less abandoned my arm supersets.  They appear, however, not to have hurt my arm development at all.

If I had anything approaching a typical routine, it looked like this:
Monday:
AM: 30 mins
Curl and Press 4x10, 4x5, 3x3
Bodymaster Machine Squat 10x10x225

PM
Shrugs
8x5x775
Reverse Grip Bench Press from the bottom position 8x3x315, 5x1x335

Tuesday: 30 mins
AM
Abs and Donkey Calf Raise (superset)
Dips and Pullups (superset)
Grip

PM
1/2 Squat 15-20x1x775
Weighted Dips 5x5-8x3 plates
Grip

Wednesday
AM
Clean and Press 10x3x225
Grip

PM
BTN Press 10x3x295
200 pullups
Abs
Grip

Thursday:
AM
Machine circuit for 20 mins, on whatever machines struck my fancy.  Found myself doing pullovers a lot, for some reason.
Grip

PM
Jump Squats 10x5x225
High Pulls 10x3x315
Grip

Friday
AM
I occasionally skipped this, due to exhaustion, but would come in and work anything that didn't hurt horribly.

PM
Either Reverse Grip again, or Flat Bench Press for 45 mins, doing singles, doubles, and triples.  I only flat bench pressed with a regular grip 2 or 3 times, due to the fact that 1) I fucking hate the flat bench press, 2) I was dealing with a weird shoulder issue, and 3) I fucking hate the bench press.

Saturday
Either a Pull and Squat or Push and Squat Fiesta.  This workout usually lasted 1.5-2 hours and consisted of whatever exercises I wanted to do that day, be they cleans, deadlifts (which I only did once in the 5 weeks leading up to the meet, for reasons I will describe in a second), rack deads, shrugs, or one arm lifts.  For presses, I mostly stuck to overhead work and weighted dips, and for squats, I worked off the pins at various heights ranging from parallel to just below lockout, but always singles on everything.  I also hit grip on this day, exactly as I did on the other days- a mixture of heavy wrist rollers, plate pinching, baseball curls, and simulating the lever with a sledgehammer with a cambered, preloaded barbell.  I never went to complete failure, but made sure I hit them hard every day.

My gym sucks ass, so it closes on Saturday at anywhere between 12 and 2 (they like to change their hours) and is closed on Sunday, which fucked me in my prep.  I let them know about it, loudly and frequently.

That was pretty much it.  I trained everything as heavy as I could, as often as I could, with as much volume as I could, for between 1.5 and 2 hours a day, every day.  As far as  deadlifts, my back cramps horribly, as I've mentioned, when I deadlift heavy.  Additionally, I couldn't train without straps because I've bent all of the bars in my gym into a U shape, and they're all bereft of knurling.  Thus, I stuck to a shitload of heavy grip work, squatting, cleans and high pulls, and shrugging.

Though I see things I might have done differently (like practicing full squats, for instance) and adding in more full squatting with front squats, I'm pretty pleased with my efforts.  I can't guarantee you'll all see the same results I did with this style of PL meet prep, but I can tell you that it seemed to work for me.

One last note- you do not need to carry on like a fucking lunatic whilst setting up to complete a lift.  As you've seen from my videos, I don't fret like a fucking bitch about foot placement, the clothes I wear, or take a minute and a fucking half to set up for a lift- I grab the bar or get the fuck under it and lift it.  I saw more ridiculous bullshit while people much larger than me prepared to lift much lighter weights than I, and couldn't help but wonder if they felt as embarrassed as I felt disgusted.  It's akin to setting up a press conference to display to the world the "artwork" of a 3 year old artistic kid.  You're embarrassing yourself when you do that, and it's fucking pointless- if you're not strong enough to lift the fucking weight, no amount of fucking carrying on will allow you to be.  If you're confused, I'm not talking about the slapping and and the poppers, which are simply amusing- I'm talking about the 30 seconds to set one's feet, then an ultra-dramatic rise of the arms in the air and equally slow and dramatic lowering to the bar on deadlift... the 2 minute setup underneath the bar to squat an opener... the 90 seconds spent getting a beautiful arch while benching.  I opened with weights I could lift cold, and still fucking crushed everyone.  Don't be that fucking guy- just lift the fucking weight already so everybody can go the fuck home.
See?  No shenanigans.  Grab it and fucking lift it already.

14 September 2010

Soy is the Devil, And Not in A Fun Way, 22 1/2

Though I'd prefer to witness a Katy Perry shocker, this will have to suffice.

For those of you who hadn't yet noticed, this blog focuses on the unconventional.  As such, soy's a pretty good topic for investigation, as it's a fairly unorthodox source of protein for a non-herbivore.  Given that both sides of the soy debate have dragged out their gigantic, Goebbels-esque propaganda machines, investigation of this issue gets even more interesting.  On one side you have vegetarians, the government, and massive chemical-agricultural companies.  These groups obviously have a vested interest in disinformation and obfuscation of any evidence pointing to the idea that soy is deleterious for one's health, and a very pointed interest in painting soy as the ultimate protein source.  Derek Poundstone claims to eat soy protein in massive quantities, which makes sense, given that he's sponsored by DuPont, who just built a new soy processing plant- the man makes chicken shakes... he's not getting 25% of his fucking protein from beans.  Think it through.  On the other side of the debate, you've got a bunch of people who are afraid of growing man-tits, and have seen enough studies showing soy to cause health problems to be rightfully scared, especially given that our current living environment is literally awash in xenoestrogens.

Female urine is high in estrogen, especially if they're on the pill.  As such, make sure you're taking anti-e's if you let chicks piss in your mouth on a regular basis.


To wit, here's what happens when animals are exposed to high levels of environmental estrogens:
"An upsurge in the number of male fish growing female reproductive parts is sounding an alarm bell for the dangers of pollutants and estrogen-like compounds in U.S. rivers, where millions of Americans get their drinking water, environmental experts say.
A recent survey of bass in the Potomac River, a major tributary in the nation's capital, found almost 100 percent of the smallmouth bass species were feminized, or had eggs in their testes. In largemouth bass the incidence of feminization was lower, but still highly prevalent.

Some evidence has suggested the chemicals also have a cumulative effect -- at low concentrations, it might take a month or two for the fish to be affected.

Kolpin examines a multitude of chemicals considered emerging contaminants, and some of the most egregious offenders are pills, which may also contain estrogen-like compounds. Drugs provide immeasurable benefits to human health, but there may be a downside, he said. Consumers get little guidance as to how to dispose of unused medication.

Leftover pills flushed down the toilet end up in the sewage system, and medication thrown in landfills could leach into groundwater. Sediments in riverbeds are also highly concentrated areas of emerging contaminant pollution." (Dell'amore)

Imagine a fish that has this going on.

In another study:
"In one lake," he explains, "they treated it with the pharmaceutical that's in most birth control, in a concentration of six parts per trillion -- similar to what we often see in wastewater effluent, although Boulder's wasn't quite that high. They treated it for three years in that concentration, and within two years, they'd virtually wiped the fish out of this lake, because the females couldn't make eggs, and the males were so busy making female protein that they weren't making any sperm."


Shit like this is why I think we should all don our fucking tinfoil hats and say fuck the soy- we've got enough xenoestrogens in our water to make us impotent anyway.  Have you noticed at the degree to which infertility and erectile dysfunction has risen and birthrates have dropped in the developed world recently?  Why add insult to injury?  And what are the studies showing these insults?

In one study of 42 healthy adult males, "Diets were isoenergetic, with either 150 g lean meat or 290 g tofu daily providing an equivalent amount of macronutrients, with only the source of protein differing between the two diets. Each diet lasted for 4 weeks, with a 2-week interval between interventions. Blood concentrations of sex hormones did not differ after the two diets, but the mean testosterone:oestradiol value was 10 % higher after the meat diet. SHBG was 3 % higher; whereas the FAI was 7 % lower; after the tofu diet compared with the meat diet. There was a significant correlation between the difference in SHBG and testosterone:oestradiol and weight change. (Habito et al)  This means that, at the very least, your test levels will be higher on a diet eating meat, even if soy doesn't lower your test levels.

In another study describes the short-term effects of dietary phytoestrogens on regulatory behaviors (food/water intake, locomotor activity and body weight), prostate weight, prostate 5alpha-reductase enzyme activity, reproductive hormone levels, and testicular steroidogenic acute regulatory peptide (StAR) levels in adult Sprague-Dawley rats. Animals were fed either a phytoestrogen-rich diet containing approximately 600 microg/g isoflavones (as determined by HPLC) or a phytoestrogen-free diet. After 5 weeks of consuming these diets, plasma phytoestrogen levels were 35 times higher in animals fed the phytoestrogen-rich vs phytoestrogen-free diets. Body and prostate weights were significantly decreased in animals fed the phytoestrogen-rich diet vs the phytoestrogen-free fed animals; however, no significant change in prostate 5alpha-reductase enzyme activity was observed between the treatment groups. Plasma testosterone and androstenedione levels were significantly lower in the animals fed the phytoestrogen-rich diet compared with animals fed the phytoestrogen-free diet. (Weber, et al)  The rub?  Sounds like a diet high in phytoestrogens lowers your test levels.  This finding was echoed in another study, which concluded that "soy protein, regardless of isoflavone content, decreased DHT and DHT/testosterone with minor effects on other hormones, providing evidence for some effects of soy protein on hormones." (Dillingham et al)   A study of 69 Japanese men and soy protein also found a inverse correlation between soy intake and testosterone, however minor, and found that  "soy product intake may be associated with the endogenous hormone levels in Japanese men."  (Nagata, et al)


The Japanese anti-soy.

So, what about that estrogen.  For those of you who are unaware, soy has been prescribed to menopausal women for years as an alternative to estrogen supplements.  Let me restate that- soy is considered to be herbal estrogen.  Why, then, would they claim it's not estrogenic?  It either is, or it isn't.  Instead, the soy industry talks out of both side of their mouths, and no one seems to give a fuck.  "Women who are pregnant are warned to avoid high doses of plant estrogen" according to a site about breast cancer, and "scientists also caution women who have estrogen receptor positive (ER+) breast cancer that phytoestrogens may not be safe."  Intriguing- now soy's not even good for chicks, due to the fact that it's super fucking estrogenic.(Flax)  A five year study at the University of Illinois, however, showed "that the positive or negative health consequences of exposure to soy isoflavones depend on the timing of the exposure (whether it occurs in early, mid, or late life), tissue type (breast or brain, for example), and dose."(Yates)  Positive for non-preggo women, negative for men, I'm assuming.  I did find a study showing that isoflavone content is lower in fermented soy products, which is what the Japanese typically eat, than in unfermented products (like soy protein), which means that if you want to eat the soy in your miso soup, you could be fine with that.  It shows fairly definitively, though, that the US consumption of soy is a fucking highway to hell.  (Chien et al)

For those skeptics out there who still insist that the anti-soy campaign is nothing but ridiculous scare tactics, I challenge you to identify for whom these tactics are working.  Propaganda does not exist without a motive, and I fail to see one inherent in this movement, as there's no danger whatsoever of the meat-farming industry going belly up.  Thus, think of this what you will, but I know that the only estrogens I plan to ingest are in female urine... provided I have clomid on hand.

You'd do it if she asked you to- and hers is probably high in test anyway.

Sources:
Habito RC, Montalto J, Leslie E, Ball M. "Effects of replacing meat with soyabean in the diet on sex hormone concentrations in healthy adult males." Br J Nutr 2000 Oct;84(4):557-63.

Dell'amore, C. Growing Concern Over Estrogen-Like Compounds In US Rivers: The American lifestyle of materialism has left an indelible impression on U.S. waterways, and no one knows the exact repercussions.  Washington (UPI) Oct 18, 2006


Weber KS, Setchell KD, Stocco DM, Lephart ED.  Dietary soy-phytoestrogens decrease testosterone levels and prostate weight without altering LH, prostate 5alpha-reductase or testicular steroidogenic acute regulatory peptide levels in adult male Sprague-Dawley rats.
J Endocrin (2001) 170, 591-599

Dillingham B, McVeigh B, Lampe J,Duncan A. Soy Protein Isolates of Varying Isoflavone Content Exert Minor Effects on Serum Reproductive Hormones in Healthy Young Men. J Nutr. 2005; 135:584-591.

Nagata C, Inaba S, Kawakami N, Kakizoe T, Shimizu H.Inverse Association of Soy Product Intake With Serum Androgen and Estrogen Concentrations in Japanese Men.  Nut Cancer; 2000: 36(1) 14 - 18. 

Yates, D. Team to study health effects of botanical estrogens.  Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News.  http://www.genengnews.com/keywordsandtools/print/2/93377528/

Is Flax the New Soy?  Breast Cancer A to Z.  http://www.a-zbreastcancer.com/articles/aflaxseed.htm

CHIEN HL, HUANG HY, CHOU CC. Transformation of isoflavone phytoestrogens during the fermentation of soymilk with lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria.  Food Microbio; 2006: 23(8) 772-778.

12 September 2010

Whoops! I Appear To Have Broken Something...

Though it's not official, as the meet promoter's computer didn't work yesterday, so he couldn't confirm the numbers.  I happened to be passing through Georgia yesterday and decided to pop into the APF Georgia State Championships for a bit, to see what was what.  According to the APF Website:
If that's correct, which I find difficult to believe because my openers broke all of those, they'll now read:
S: 257.5 Lewis, Jamie
B: 157.5 Lewis, Jamie
D: 280 Lewis, Jamie
T: 695.5 Lewis, Jamie 
This means that I totaled Elite as a Raw lifter (no wraps, no suit, no briefs, and no belt [just as a bit of icing on the cake, however unnecessary]), as the cutoff seems to be 1396, and I hit 1531 for the 181 weight class.  So much for the internet shit talkers who predicated the entirety of their criticism on the "fact" that I hadn't competed- that's right, I did this meet almost entirely out of spite.


Tonight, the lone wolf rides alone.
It was actually a pretty good learning experience.  I decided to do this meet about a month ago, so I started cutting calories and carbs back further, and knocked my cheat meals down to 1 per week.  Due to the fact that I've only got one meet on which to base my experience, I'm not entirely convinced of the veracity of the following reflections, but here are my initial thoughts:
  • I might have cut a bit slowly.  I leaned out nicely, but as of last week, I was still 195.  I hung onto my strength by cutting very conservatively, but it made the last day a literal hell, and I'm not certain how much that took out of me on meet day.  My diet for the last month generally consisted of 4 or 5 days of low carb and low fat, drinking around 5 shakes a day, supplemented with either a couple of lbs of 93% lean ground beef or a lb of that an something more calorically dense, like wings or beef ribs.  I never tested my bodyfat, but I was accused on many occasions of being a bodybuilder at the meet.
  • Shrugging and squat lockouts help the deadlift immensely.  I do not think, however, that squat lockouts have much of a direct carryover into the full squat.  My hips are retardedly tight and I have a hell of a time getting into the bottom position of a squat, but 1-2" above parallel, I am a fucking beast.  This is not conducive to making people shit out their spleens watching you squat in a meet.  Additionally, if you have to pay a hobo to do so, find anyone to call your depth while squatting- it'll save you the heartache of missing lifts because you're too deep or too shallow.
  • Deadlifting with straps in no way hurts your deadlift.  I didn't deadlift without straps once in training, due to the fact that my gym's bars are bereft of knurling and bent all to hell (by me).  Stiffness and boredom were my downfall in my final attempt of the deadlift (the reason for the stiffness will be addressed later, as it's awesome).
You might be asking, "how'd you lose 14 lbs in a week?"  I really ended up losing 10 lbs in a day.  I cut out my last cheat meal, opting instead for two medium carb days the weekend before the meet, and weighed about 191 a day out.  As I knew I would weigh in on Friday night, I started drinking 2-3 gallons of water a day on Tuesday, and from Monday through Thursday ate as close to 0 carbs as I could, and kept my fat under 50 g.  That basically meant 6 protein shakes and 2 meals of 1 lb of 93% lean ground beef, topped with Sriracha hot sauce, for Monday through Thursday- making sure to keep my sodium as close to 0 as possible, and my potassium as high as possible.  Incidentally, topping your food with Ms. Dash gives you the same amount of potassium as any potassium pill you'll likely to find in a health food store.  At 10PM Thursday, I stopped drinking liquids and eating.  Friday fucking sucked.  I spent the day popping ephedrine, caffeine, and aspirin in an effort to stay awake, and chewed so much gum that by the end of the day my jaw was horribly cramped.  I did, however, learn that massaging the jaw muscles from the inside of one's mouth is far more efficacious than the outside- you stick your index finger inside your mouth and push outwards on the muscle.  In any event, I weighed 185 at lunchtime, so I hit the sauna for a half hour, wore a sweatshirt at work for the remainder of the day, and then started the roadtrip from hell.  Birmingham is about 2 hours from Atlanta, so I alternated full blast heat and mild heat for the first hour, and then left the heat on high, wearing a sweatshirt the entire time, for the last hour of the drive.  I arrived alive, though I'm pretty sure I followed my spirit animal on a fucking vision quest during that drive, and weighed in at a paltry 179.  That's how you fucking make weight.


Refeeding was surprisingly difficult.  By the time I made weight, I was running an awesome fever and had heat rash all over my body- it was ultra hot.  I looked like a fucking tomato.  I slammed two liters of water, at half a box of Captain Crunch, and checked into my hotel.  Thereafter, I struggled to finish a burger, fries, and rolls at Texas Roadhouse, due to the fact that my stomach is now the size of a preteen girl's, and I had so much water and cereal in me.  I knew I needed the salt and calories though, so I pushed through, nearly crashed my car from exhaustion on the way back to the hotel, made two protein shakes and left out the Captain Crunch, along with a gallon of the mineral infused water for infant you can find at any store, and crashed.  Every time I awoke, I had some protein and as much Captain Crunch as I could fit down my gullet, and polished off the water by 4AM.  


The day of the meet was a lot more Captain Crunch, Supreme Protein Bars, Baked Lays and the like.  I tried to get as much salt into my system as I could due to the cramping I was getting, and the carbs and protein for obvious reasons.

The result?  I learned:
  • Cutting weight is much harder without wrestling practice to aid it.
  • I should not ever drive in that state.
  • Severe water and food depletion can make you oddly euphoric, in a wildly angry way, but you're too tired to happily smash anything.

As to my lifts, in anyone's interested.  I opened at 534 on the squat, as my legs were cramping badly and I had no one to call my depth.  As an aside, as much fun as it is to be the lone wolf who rides alone due to his acerbic wit and the fact that I'm surrounded by nothing but humorless, angry, judgmental evangelical Christians, having any moderately friendly person along with you to call your depth would help.  I sat way into my opener and 567, and then dropped way in the hole on 598 and crapped out halfway to the top.  Had I turned it around at parallel, my numbers would look far better.  On the bench, I opened at 331, then smoked 347, whereupon I discovered that I could reverse grip in the APF.  I had unracked the weight myself on the first two attempts and didn't want to risk dropping the weight in my mouth doing so with a reverse grip, so I stalled out halfway through my lift with a conventional grip and 363 lbs.  Next time, I'll reverse grip like a motherfucker, and hopefully have someone who doesn't want me dead doing the liftoff- the search begins.  On deadlift, I was a fucking beast on my opener at 574 and my 2nd at 617.  At the beginning of the 3rd attempts, some awesome chick named Erica projectile vomited in the midst of her pull like she was auditioning for the Exorcist and sprayed down everyone in the first row with half-digested Muscle Milk.  As such, there was a massive delay cleaning shit up, whereupon I lost my momentum and missed my 3rd attempt at 639, as did everyone else who lifted after the delay.  I wasn't pissed though, as the chick was fucking fun, tatted, and happily turned the meet (which was perhaps the most boring thing I've endured, though it gave me the time to finish a Vince Flynn novel and get halfway through Chuck Hogan's The Strain) into a fucking GWAR concert.  I've no idea what her last name is, but that chick's metal as hell, as she got three whites while puking her intestines onto the platform.

Final analysis?  APF meets are a pretty good time, all things considered; I kind of want to try to total Elite for equipped lifters while still competing raw and sans belt; powerlifting now boasts hot chicks; and finally, Alabama sucks ass- do not ever come here, as Georgia looks like fucking Vegas by comparison.  Apologies for the lack of pics, but all my cell pics were shaky, and I had no one to take pics for me.  Example of a shaky pic- me the morning of the meet:
Blurry and generally shitty.