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31 July 2011

Rock Your Fucking Socks

Before the lot of you descend into jibbering about my off topic posts, know this- I get a shitload of emails asking me to recommend new bands.  As I spend a shitload of time researching new bands anyway, I figure it wouldn't hurt to give a few more suggestions, which I'll break up into genres for the sake of sparing some of you from the pain of exposure to new shit.
Hardcore Punk
Chest Pain- 7"
This band is exactly what you'd expect from a band that's considered hardcore punk- fast, brutal, political, and brief.  Their longest song, by far and away, clocks in at a minute and a half, and that includes 5-10 seconds of ringing out before they go fucking nuts.  If you liked any early to mid 80s hardcore, you will love this band, guaranteed.  Additionally, I've found that this band is perfect for anything that needs to be done fast and fucking hard- like high rep pullups or dips, and could work well for shorter-duration lifts for time.  Honorable mention:  Minor Threat, Warzone, and Judge



Tough Guy Hardcore
Knock 'Em Dead
Though I'm sure half of you were still busy playing Four Square and A-Ball (are kids still allowed to play that shit at school?  I'm betting that fun shit went out with Kill the Cow and would now result in criminal charges if they played it in school) in 1997, I was a rep for Equal Vision and pretty much did nothing but kick people in the face at shows and lift weights.  Those were the days- just before the influx of skinny jeans and white belts, where you'd show up to a show in workout shorts, a hoodie, gardening gloves, and a hockey mask with nothing but blood on your mind.  Well, at least that's what I did- I was straightedge, so I didn't have shit else to do.  In that era of hardcore, shit sounded Knock 'Em Dead- two steps, breakdowns, and lyrics that made you want to stomp someone's throat.  Honorable mention on this deal goes to The Last Charge, Lionheart, Your Demise, and the almighty Bulldoze, whose song Beatdown is the perfect song for singles.

Download the Album


Anarchist Techno-Hardcore
Atari Teenage Riot- Everything they've done
Before any of you get your panties in a bunch, give them a listen.  This band's cool as hell, innovative, and apparently has started a reasonable number of riots, although I doubt their on the level of Bad Luck 13 Riot Extravaganza.  In any event, this shit is perfect for high rep, frenetic stuff, and is IDEAL for sparring.  You will hyperventilate and puke, but if you're just going to crash and straight blast half the time, or crash and ground and pound, this is the ultimate pace-setter.  Forewarned is forearmed- this shit is definitely not for everyone.  Honorable mention:  Nothing, really.  Gabber fucking blows, and the male vocalist from ATR's solo work blows.

Download their new shit here.


Deathcore
Jerome- EP
Frankly, deathcore bores the shit out of me half the time, since every goddamned band sounds the same.  On the one had, you've got Acacia Strain knockoffs who all tune to A and somehow mimic each others' vocals precisely, and on the other hand you've got what amounts to Dying Fetus knockoff bands who can't decide if they want to play endless breakdowns or just be a fucking death metal band.  Jerome, however, combined the best of all possible worlds for their short-lived tenure as the best fucking deathcore band of all time, and broke up under the weight of their own awesome.  They reformed, more or less, as Monsters, but that band's not nearly as amazing.  Honorable mention here goes to deathcore pioneers Red Sky,  party metal icons Dr. Acula, and Cuz Seven Ate Nine, if only for the best song names ever.

Download the EP here.


Tech/Djent Metal
The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza- III
This band is just fucking sick.  Odd timings, but unlike the odd time signature bands that immediately spring to mind (*cough* Meshuggah *cough*), they lose none of the brutality.  I've actually got a couple of this band's songs on my lifting mix, in addition to honorable mentions Into The Moat (who have the sickest lyrics of all time in the linked song) and Psyopus. I find these bands to generally be great for listening to while writing, but shit for lifting, unless they're heavy on breakdowns (like TDTE) or they get "groovy" like the aforementioned bands.

Download it.


Metal
Man Must Die- No Tolerance For Imperfection
Though I rarely venture into "mainstream" metal like Lamb of God, this shit is fucking awesome, and is probably some of the most accessible stuff I've got in this blog.  Honorable mention: I'm willing to bet anything you guys post in the comments will probably suffice.

Download


That'll about wrap it up, though I think all of you should have the following song on your mix.  I know you'll all whine that it's rap, but it's fucking Necro and Jamey Jasta from Hatebreed.  The lyrics are awesome, the chorus is awesome, and it's imminently applicable to lifting.  There's no link for a single song download, but you can find it all over the place if you like it (which you fucking better).



For those of you who hated this entire blog, a hearty "go fuck yourself", and tits.
Before you ask, I've no idea which hotel, but I hate myself for not being there.

25 July 2011

[NSFL] Evil Will Always Triumph, Because Good Is Dumb: The Science... Continued.

Well, the bottom line, what I'm trying to tell you tonight, 
is that evil...eeeevil... is necessary. 
Evil is necessary, thereby, if it's necessary, evil... 
- Evil... - ...must be good. 
Evil is good. 


Brigands, thugs, hooligans, scoundrels... anti-heroes and anti-heroines.  That's who grabs the fucking ring at the top of a mountain after three movies consisting of nothing but a shitload of walking, punctuated by brief periods of sobbing and a hell of a lot of Liv Tyler not being shirtless, not some fatass and his pre-pubescent shitheel friend- that shit only happens in godawful movies and overly-long, badly written stories.  This is why the Punisher and Batman's sales will always beat Superman's, and why the white knights of the interwebz will continue to remain unlaid- no one fucks a nice guy, and few people will follow a "nice guy" anywhere but to church.  
Funny how none of the pacifists in The Chronicles of Riddick got any vag, but Vin Diesel couldn't wipe his ass without the hottest broad in the movie following him into the bathroom and asking if he needed help.

Not unlike the legendary strength and tenacity of Wolverine, regular people with  a mean streak have been shown in a variety of studies to outperform the nice.  This should come as no surprise to anyone- just like the ultra evil Darkseid killed off goody two-shoes, Cub Scout Superman, African honey badgers tear the living shit out of much larger animals like gazelles, fuels by nothing but hate and a diet heavy in meat products.  Like the honey badger and Darkseid, it's critical that you channel your inner Hulk and fucking yell and smash until whatever stands in your way is reduced to smoking rubble.
Ever notice that comic book characters clench their fists more than Channing Tatum clenches his jaws while trying to figure out how to get a single human emotion to pass across his robotic, crunk dancing face?  There's actually a pretty fucking good reason for that hand clenching- other than looking cool, it makes the clencher stronger.  Experiments show that physically gripping something boosts your endurance and mental willpower. This phenomenon hasn't just been restricted to a single study of meta-analysis of Jason Statham movies, who clenches his fists and bunches his shoulders better than anyone- rather, it's been proven in a whole series of experiments. In one, they found that people could endure pain twice as long (in this case, from holding their hands in icy water) if they squeezed the holy fuck out of an object with their other hand at the same time. Another study found that the same could be applied to people trying to exhibit a modicum of willpower when making food choices- if they rolled into the store with their shoulders bunched and their fists clenched like they were summoning their inner Hugh Jackman meets Ambrose Burnside, they were far better at resisting the urge to buy junk food.  Take note, those of you with shitty willpower- if you just act angry as all hell at your bodyfat when ordering a meal, you're far more likely to eat like a machine and hate yourself into looking good.(Daily Mail)  
It works for some.

And you know what makes you stronger still? Thinking evil thoughts. I realize that at this point it sounds like I'm making this shit up, but according to a study at Harvard, people who imagined themselves doing shit like raping puppies and knocking over liquor stores were able to hold a five pound weight far longer than those who tried to think up boring good deeds like helping old ladies across the road or telling your booty call that you respect them in the morning. Yes, ladies, this means that channeling your most horrible tentacle rape fantasy might enable you to squat more... although I cannot be held accountable if you kill yourself under a heavy weight dues to leg shaking brought on by fantasizing and involuntary kegel flexing.(Naughty or Nice)
Behold the dawn of a new type of preworkout supplement.

Speaking of hentai, porn does a body good.  According to some sources, pornographers pointedly attempt to elicit the "maximum drug/hormone release by mixing sexual images with male dominance, aggression and violent images intended to shock and stimulate simultaneously", which stimulates the production of much higher baseline levels of hormones essential to getting strong and lean, "especially testosterone, but also adrenaline, epinephrine, and others".  Not only does it create an awesome biofeedback loop, particularly in men, but watching porn causes an immediate release of "enormous amounts of additional testosterone, which further increase male narrowing, loss of reason, feelings of aggression, and sexual drive and arousal."  In other words, porn lets you win while you're watching it, and then win again thereafter when you experience heightened baseline levels of testosterone thereafter.  (Netnanny)  But what about furry porn / shit porn / tentacle rape / throatfucking or whatever dark secret-style porn you have lurking on your computer?  Great news, ladies and gentleman- that shit simply makes you more awesome.  According to M. Williams, paraphilias are triggered by, and cause the release of, massive amounts of testosterone.  That shit is so potent, in fact, that psychiatrists use massive doses of antiangrogenic drugs like methylprogesterone to control these "deviant" predilections.  As such, you should probably just go ahead and masturbate to www.hogtied.com to your hearts' content... though I'd refrain from doing so at work.  (Williams)
Testosterone... rising...

While we're on the subject of sexual piccadillos, spanking appears to increase aggression as well.  Studies have shown that frequent use of corporal punishment, even mild corporal punishment, correlates with increased levels of aggression.(Taylor)  Other studies, like that of Mazur and McDermott  have "stated that males with higher testosterone levels tend to be slightly more aggressive, and argue that this appears to be due to the way acting aggressively raises testosterone levels rather than the reverse."  It's not just the person doing the floggings who's gettine the benefit, either.  Aggressive and violent behavior has been definitively shown to increase testosterone levels as well, particularly when a person is on the offensive.(Salvador)  As such, the next time you're fucking, you might want to break out the flogger if you're interested in hitting a PR on the deadlift anytime soon- no matter which side of the whip you're on, you're bound to benefit... literally.

For those of you out there without a ready sexual partner, fret not- the Dark Side's got a lotta mo.  Aside from the aforementioned benefits of porn, you can still derive plenty of benefits from such activities as cursing, playing violent video games, and listening to aggressive music.  Yup, those weekend nights spent screaming expletives into your headset as you slaughter motherfuckers on Call of Duty while blasting metal in the background are definitely giving your endocrine system a boost, in addition to alleviating post lifting soreness.  A 2010 study by Bushman and his associates showed that "violent video games can stimulate aggression for an extended period of time."  This will, as I showed above, raise your testosterone levels in turn.  Compounding that effect is the music you've invariably got playing in the background, as I highly doubt anyone's rocking Abba or Neil Diamond while attempting to murder half the Western World.  No fewer than five experiments have shown that "violent songs led to more aggressive interpretations of ambiguously aggressive words, increased the relative speed with which people read aggressive vs. nonaggressive words, and increased the proportion of word fragments (such as h_t) that were filled in to make aggressive words (such as hit)."(Anderson)  Rounding out this trifecta of awesome is the fact that the curse words you're screaming at a rate that makes Goodfellas seem G-rated by comparison has actually been shown in clinical studies to reduce the perception of pain, which means that the DOMS you're feeling from five consecutive days of squatting won't feel so horrifying.  The effect of swearing on pain perception is actually shown to be more pronounced in women than men, so ladies, feel free to start swearing like sailors.(Stephens)  Either way, the use of expletives will allow you to endure more pain for longer than your goodie-two shoes opponents... all of which explains why the kids rocking clan tags like [GODS] suck so fucking badly as the night wears on.  In short, pretty much the only good reason to ever listen to ICP would be to help you through a particularly brutal squat of deadlift session, as even humorous violent songs will increase aggression levels, and singing along will alleviate a considerable portion of the pain.  Time to crank up the "Shaggy Show", I suppose.
Finally, for those of you who think that all of this anger is going to "burn you up", as posited by Powers Booth in Red Dawn, studies have shown that anger is actually a healthier response to external stimuli than fear.  According to researchers, people who responded to the World Trade Center attacks with anger-filled outbursts were much more optimistic later on, and another study found that people think better and more logically when angry rather than scared.(Lerner)  “Anger can sometimes be adaptive. We’re showing for the first time that when you are in a situation that is maddening and in which anger or indignation are justifiable responses, anger is not bad for you.”  This means that whenever you're driving, reading the poisonously insipid thoughts of ill-bred minds online, walking, speaking to someone in public, or brushing your teeth, you are actually doing yourself a multitude of favors by descending into a maelstrom of hate and destruction the likes of which the world hasn't seen since the gods destroyed Japan.  All that hate's not going to burn you up- it'll keep you warm, increase your protein utilization and give you a better sex drive.  Additionally, hate sex is great sex, so you'll have that going for you as well.
Anger is a gift, just like this fucking movie.


In my search, I did find one thing that both men and women should try to avoid before hitting the gym, and it's not just marriage.  As I blogged before, marriage has a deleterious effect on testosterone production, but even more pronounced than that effect is that which occurs when a man holds an infant.  (Mirkin, )  Women, too, might want to avoid handing small children before hitting the gym, as this effect could manifest in them as well, and because "women with high levels of [testosterone] are judged more attractive by themselves and others" in addition to possibly being more sexually active with more partners.  Additionally, studies show that in women "T [is] significantly related to "aggressive dominant behavior"" and that "the women's self assessment of their own status was positively correlated with the hormone" in studies on testosterone and aggression in women.  As such, it's best to do everything you can to maximize your test levels whether you're a man or a woman.  I'd recommend latex gloves when handling babies, but I doubt that'd do you too much good.  In some cases, it's unavoidable, but you can utilize some of the above strategies to cleanse yourself if you can't avoid baby-handling- and frankly, it gives you a damn good reason to hit up porntube.
Proof:  Batman is cooler than Superman

In closing, I feel my case is compelling- nice guys and girls will finish last in the gym (though probably first in the bedroom).  Aggression and testosterone work in a kind of feedback loop, each fueling the other and creating a perpetual motion machine of awesome, if you give them the right kind of boosts.  As such, you can literally fake it til you make it, and once you make it, you will continue inexorably into the land of brutal PRs, increased  "coordination, cognitive performance, and concentration"(Mazur) and generally just being a far more interesting individual.  
Maybe it's time to add a "get hammered, eat some meat, have a fight, and have wildly kinky drunken sex with a stranger" day (aka Viking Day) to your program.


Sources:
     Anderson CA, Carnagey NL, Eubanks J.  Exposure to Violent Media: The Effects of Songs With Violent Lyrics on Aggressive Thoughts and Feelings.  Iowa State University and Texas Department of Human Services. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 84, No. 5.
     Bradt, S.   "Strength in Naughty or Nice".  Harvard Gazette. 4/19/2010. http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2010/04/strength-in-naughty-or-nice/
     Bushman BJ, Gibson B. Violent Video Games Cause an Increase in Aggression Long After the Game Has Been Turned Off. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2010
     Dabbs, J. M., Jr., Carr, T. S., Frady, R. L., & Riad, J.K. (1995). Testosterone, crime, and misbehavior among 692 male prison inmates. Personality and Individual Differences, 18(5), 627-633.
     Daily Mail. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1321939/Tensing-muscles-helps-summon-willpower.html
      Lerner JS, Tiedens LZ.  Portrait of The Angry Decision Maker: How Appraisal Tendencies Shape Anger’s Influence on Cognition.  J. Behav. Dec. Making, 19: 115–137 (2006).  http://content.hks.harvard.edu/lernerlab/papers/files/Lerner%20Tiedens%20-%20Portrait%20of%20the%20angry%20decision%20maker%205.06.pdf
      Mazur A, Booth A.  Testosterone and Dominance in Men.  Behavioural and Brain Sciences.  1997.  http://cogprints.org/663/1/bbs_mazur.html
      McDermott R, Johnson D, Cowden J, Rosen S.  Testosterone and Aggression in a Simulated Crisis Game.  The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 2007; 614; 15.  
     Mirkin, G.  Does Marriage Affect a Man's Testosterone?  http://www.drmirkin.com/men/testosterone.html
     Net Nanny.  http://www.netnanny.com/learn_center/article/117
     Salvador A, Suaya F, Martinez–Sanchisa S, Simona VM, Brain PF. Correlating testosterone and fighting in male participants in judo contests.  Physiology & Behavior Volume 68, Issues 1-2, 1 December-15 December 1999, Pages 205-209
     Stephens, R. et al (2009). Swearing as a response to pain. NeuroReport 120: 1056-1060.
     Taylor CA, Manganello JA, Lee SJ, Rice JC.  Mothers' Spanking of 3-Year-Old Children and Subsequent Risk of Children's Aggressive Behavior.  PEDIATRICS Vol. 125 No. 5 May 2010, pp. e1057-e1065.
     Williams, M.  Ph.D.  "Sexual Compulsivity."  http://www.brainphysics.com/paraphilias.php

20 July 2011

I Like To Break A Mental Sweat, Too: Short Stories You Need To Read

I've read more short stories than I can actually recall, but the ones I've listed here had a profound impact upon me in one way or another.  That's not to say that they're necessarily life-changing, but these definitely left an impact on my psyche and kept me thinking long after I'd finished them.  The first two stories I've listed are without question two of the best pieces of writing I've thus encountered, and respectively echo my anti-egalitarian, anti-materialism, transhumanist sentiments.  Taken as a whole, they all have exactly fuckall to do with lifting, but I get a remarkable number of requests by people for both fiction and non-fiction suggestions, so I figured I'd knock out more suggestions as a batch.  For those of you who are interested in my other suggestions, check out my strength training and nutrition suggestions here, and my fiction novel suggestions here.  As I read for pleasure constantly and love discussing books, I thoroughly enjoy getting asked for book suggestions and am happy to pass them along.  For those of you who don't give a shit, feel free to go fuck yourselves after you enjoy this pic.

"Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut.  If there is a single story that will make you stand up and punch an Obama supporter dead in the fucking mouth, this is it.  That's not to say I really have anything against the man himself, but his vocal supporters are a pack of jackasses who seem to think that we are all equal in every way, no man is above another, and everyone's life should suck equally.  Fuck all that.  Socialism is an intellectually bankrupt philosophy predicated upon the patently offensive idea that all men are created equal, and I'm not fucking having any of that.  Here's a story of a man who knows he's better than everyone else, and despite the state's best efforts to prevent him from doing so, he proves it.
In Harrison Bergeron, everyone who's strong or attractive must wear a mask or weights to prevent them from looking better or out-performing anyone else, and the intelligent must wear hearing aids that emit loud screeches to inhibit deep thought and prevent them from out-thinking their dull-witted peers.

"The Subliminal Man" by JG Ballard.  This story's fairly prophetic, and I mentioned it numerous times in marketing classes an an example of what advertising should not become.  I, of course, was ridiculed for making that claim, as this is what advertisers see as heaven, apparently.  A pox on their children.  Essentially, the story's about a man who, try as he might, cannot evade the constant one-upsmanship between neighbors, and essentially lives in a world where everyone worlds three jobs they hate, just so they can buy a bunch of shit they don't need.  Throw on top of that a dystopic nightmare of planned obsolescence and a massive plot to brainwash the populace and you've got a vision of what the future could someday be- a giant bag of bullshit.
Much of Ballard's dystopic nightmare has already begun to take place.

"Sales Pitch" by Philip K. Dick.  I first read this story in homeroom in 7th grade, in an anthology with Harrison Bergeron, and both have stuck with me over the years.  I've reread each, inadvertantly, at different times and both have remained just as poignant to me as they were when I first read them.  In any event, this story points to the evil that lawyers and corporations have wrought and will continue to visit upon humanity until the end of time.  Terribly elucidative, right?  Essentially, the protagonist of the story is confronted by a robot salesman who will never leave him alone, as he's the product that he's tasked to sell.  It's a crazy fucking story, and I'm surprised no one's devised a way to make this happen in real life yet.
"Pump Six" by Paolo Bacigulpi.  Bacigulpi's got an interesting take on what will come after the collapse of the petroleum reserves, but this story's actually got nothing to do with that.  Instead, Pump Six details the gradual erosion of society and devolution of humanity into a weird, hypersexual, hermaphroditic simian creature as humanity becomes pointedly dumber.  I'm not sure if it's necessarily prophetic, but it definitely increased my desire to punch out the bitches buying OK magazine in line at the grocery store.  Many of you will draw a parallel between this story and Idiocracy, which is apt, though Pump Six is far more intelligently constructed.
"Do any of you even know what electrolytes are?"


"Chronopolis" by JG Ballard.  For those of you out there who claim you're OCD, here's a take on what horrors your kind could visit upon the rest of us if left to run the world.  In this post-apocalyptic story, Londoners in the future live in a nation wherein possessing any kind of timekeeping device is a capital crime, and chronicles a violator of their laws' efforts to track time as he awaits execution.  This story is usually bundled in with a number of other awesome Ballard stories, and is definitely worth checking out in an anthology.
I figure this pic's appropriate, because any time is a good time to check out Jaime Koeppe's ass.

"Quitters, Inc" (from Night Shift), and "Survivor Type", "The Mist", "The Raft" (from Skeleton Crew) by Stephen King.  Frankly, I think Stephen King is highly overrated, but those stories are some that have really stuck with me over the years.  Frankly, I've never read too much into them, though I'm certain high school English teachers have made great claims about the social allegories provided therein.  It's probably all bullshit though- they teach the stories because they're fucking amazing.  If you only own one short story horror anthology, you really could do no better than Skeleton Crew, which is one of my all time faves, and boasts the short story "The Mist" that was the inspiration for the movie of the same name.  Darabont definitely did that story justice, but nothing will top the original.

There are, of course, dozens of other stories I'd recommend, but those are the best of the bunch and serve as a decent jumping off point for those of you who've asked for recommendations.  This weekend I'll get back to the business of lifting the "heavy ass weights" of which Ronnie Coleman loves to yell incoherently and ungrammatically.

15 July 2011

Is It Better To Be Clubber Lang Or Rocky?

One facet of training, and a critical component in program design (if you're inclined to actually design one), that is almost invariably overlooked is that of the inclusion of a training partner or partners.  Though it's not immediately an obvious variable to consider, it's certainly an important one, given that a training partner or partners will change the exercises you can do, the speed at which you can train, and one's level of comfort while training with near max poundages.  In either case, while you can make certain accommodations, you can never get all of the benefits from the one that you might get from the other, so it's a matter of figuring out what's important to you and then working from there.
Personally, I find it's far easier and more efficacious to train by myself.  Though I'm certain half of you think it's because I think I'm the shit and no one can hang with me, that's not entirely true.  I've found that I spend an inordinate amount of time waiting on training partners, by and large, and if I'm not waiting on them I'm dragging my ass to the gym before I'm ready to train, or on a day I'm disinterested in training at all.  This is due in large part to the fact that I lack even the barest semblance of a schedule or program at this point, and will range from training heavy 8 days in a row followed by 3 lighter days and a day off to a mixed bag of training 5 days a week, all depending on my schedule and how I feel.  Throw on top of that the fact that I refuse to follow any kind of daily schedule in terms of training times and I'm really unsuited to being anyone's training partner.  Finally, I've no real use for training partners- I rarely lack motivation to train, do no exercises that require a spot, and never train to failure.  As such, a training partner would simply slow me down, as I'd have to wait for them to psyche up, do their set, change weights, etc. etc., rather than simply running to the water fountain and back in between innumerable singles.
In spite of his terrible choice in white trash facial hair, Doug Furnas approached powerlifting like a fucking accountant, planning all of his workouts months in advance and allegedly never missing a scheduled lift... or rep.  (Gallagher)


The obverse side of the training coin is people who can follow a more regimented routine, or those who train in such a way as to require a partner.  Before those of you who require or desire a partner get all bent out of fucking shape, I'm not saying you're too weak to train alone.  Instead, there are people who truly benefit from training with a partner or partners, usually do to the sport in which they're participating.  This goes for powerlifters in particular, as they often train using implements that require a second party, like Monolifts, bands, chains, and suits/bench shirts.  It's neither advisable nor in many cases possible to train with a lot of the gear powerlifters use for training without a partner, so having a partner or partners is a necessity.  Additionally, they get constant feedback on their form, which is critical in order to ensure that you're biomechanically efficient, and getting tweaks that might help you move extra poundage.
It's pretty tough to do board presses without at least one training partner and not die.

In my mind, the greatest examples of each paradigm come from one of the greatest motherfucking man movies of all time- Rocky III.  Not only did Rocky III serve as the movie debut for Hulk Hogan, but it introduced the world to a living legend- Mr. T.  In the film, Mr. T played Clubber Lang, a character who was mean as shit and pretty much acted like Ray Lewis, if Lewis developed a penchant for rape and contracted a serious case of rabies.   Also like Ray Lewis, T was a complete loner, living and training in what appeared to be a combination of basement gym/rape room in total isolation.  By the time he got into the ring, he was jacked and completely fucking insane, the latter of which is a common side effect of complete isolation from human contact.
I live alone. I train alone. I'll win the title alone.

This is definitely how I like to train.  Once I settle into a place I don't plan on leaving nearly immediately, I intend to rent out a space and build my own gym where I can train without distraction.  Though it's cool to be able to bullshit with people in the gym on days when I don't really feel like doing serious training, having other people around usually only serves as a general time waster and aid to procrastination.  Thus, if I were to train in total isolation, I could avoid those distractions.  The likelihood when training with large poundages is admittedly high, but I can get away with this because I do almost all of my training in a rack, making death by barbell fairly unlikely, and when I'm not in the rack I'm usually on the platform, where I can ditch the weight if I get into any shitty situations.


I am, apparently, not alone in my desire to train by myself.  Other Clubber Lang-esque trainers include guys like:
Bob Peoples- The grand world champion of making the deadlift his punk bitch and defying conventional form and training styles trained in the middle of nowhere on a farm in TN on homemade equipment. (Hise)  Nor was he the only champion powerlifter to train like this, as Pat Casey and Chuck Sipes both did the same, as did Olympic lifters and overall bad motherfuckers Vasily Alexeev and Marvin Eder.


Ed Zercher- The Nikola Tesla of lifting, Zercher usually trained by himself, probably because he was tired of explaining why he was doing unsupported free-bar leg presses when he could doing virtually anything else for legs and avoid the near-probability of dying while doing dumb shit in the gym.  "Training with him was like training in a time warp. We would descend into his basement gym, which was the closest thing to a medieval dungeon I would ever encounter. His weights were odd shaped pieces of iron, old fly wheels, anvils, wrecking balls, discarded pieces of machinery and chunks of things that I never could identify. But it was all heavy.
Ed trained a lot of different lifts. He did Hip Lifts, Harness Lifts, One Hand Deadlifts, One Finger Deadlifts, Bent Presses, Side Presses, Crucifixes, Two Hands Any How (actually the name of a lift), and more." (Strosnider)
Jeff King- Jeff King is a bodybuilder about whom everyone should know, yet virtually no one does.  The only bodybuilder to ever sport legs better than Platz's and a neck even bigger than his legs generally trained by himself, probably because no one else could handle his workout volume.
Benny Podda-  The man is a fucking legend for all of his nonsense.  Lives in a cave, destroys gyms, and is probably the only living embodiment of Godzilla.  Read more about him here.
Battling the immutable force that was Clubber Lang  in Rocky III was the speech-impaired yet impressively ripped Rocky, who after getting his ass kicked inside out by Lang at the outset of the film took on a team of trainers and went on to eventually beat Clubber Lang in the second most improbable victory in the Rocky series (the first being, of course, his victory over Ivan Drago).  Every Rocky film is replete with training montages, which is of course the reason why we all love the everloving shit out of them.  The training montages in the Rocky films are so fucking good that babies have been made to them, and I'm fairly certain half of the people in the developed world have used them as an inspiration for anything ranging from capital murder to weightlifting PRs to one or more dark masturbatory fantasy (per viewer).  As such, they fucking rule, and the overriding theme of the training montage in Rocky III is that there's no fucking way Rocky'd have beaten Clubber if he didn't utilize the advice and motivation of a training partner.  
Frankly, I think all of us would benefit from being friends with Carl Weathers, as he's without question one of the coolest motherfuckers on Earth- he's been a pro football player, Predator cast member, cast member in four Rocky movies, Action Motherfucking Jackson, and star of the hilariously bad yet awesome tv show Street Justice.  He's jacked, reminds me of Billy Dee Williams, and reminds us all in Rock III that "there IS no tomorrow!" enjoining us all to break our asses in the gym and live for today.  Training partners in real live are rarely as awesome as Carl Weathers, but can serve a purpose nonetheless.  I mentioned their myriad uses above, but I think it stands to mention some of the Rocky-esque guys out there and the manner in which they use training partners.


Chuck Vogelphol-  If you don't know who Chuck is, you're fucking up.  Chuck invented what is now the clicheed powerlifter look, and did so by rocking it while he was shattering records and deflowering virgins.  He trains wearing a shitload of gear, though, which means training partners are a necessity... this is hilarious because he seems about as even tempered as Malcolm McDonald's character in A Clockwork Orange.
Dave Tate- Tate, like Vogelpohl, is a legendary powerlifter, and like Vogelphol trained wearing gear and as part of a team.  From my understanding, his newfound bodybuilding-style workouts are done solo, which points to picking a style that suits you at a given time.
Ed Coan- Perhaps the single greatest powerlifter of all time. Coan trained with a variety of people, but apparently did most of his training with Doug Furnas, another powerlifting badass who had a short but impressive career in the sport.(Gallagher 51-63)  
The Barbarian Brothers- Though neither of them ever did much competing, these two lunatics were legendary for their antics in the gym.  They were never seen apart when they were Gold's legends, and did apparently insane shit to get psyched enough to outlift everyone of whom they'd ever heard.  They (allegedly) were famous for doing shit like "throwing Olympic plates like Frisbees, [and] kicking each other in the face for last rep motivation."


In short, as with everything, it's all subjective.  It's possible to be successful with or without partners, provided you adjust your training to suit your environment.  The endless discussions about whether or not one needs to train with partners online is little more than the poorly framed thoughts of weak minds- if you need to ask someone what you should do, you likely shouldn't be lifting in the first place.  Train the way that suits you best, and then succeed by wanting it more than the next guy.


Pick your poison and go slaughter motherfuckers on the platform.
I can't be beat and I won't be beat.
This time I'll train harder. There won't be no quick knockdowns.
I'm gonna torture him. I'm gonna crucify him - real bad.


Sources:
Colescott , Steve.  Unrealized Potential: Before Quadzilla, There was Jeff King! http://www.ironmagazineforums.com/bodybuilding-gossip/104518-retrospective-interview-original-freak-jeff-king.html
Gallagher, Marty.  Purposeful Primitive.
Hise, Bob. Bob Peoples- Deadlifter. http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2008/02/bob-peoples-deadlifter.html
Strosnider, Wally.  The Man Behind the Zercher Lift.  http://www.usaplnationals.com/wally/wallyA.html

07 July 2011

You're Focused On All The Wrong Sort Of Details- Post- and Peri-Workout Nutrition

With the release of the DSM-5, which pretty much states that everyone on Earth is highly dysfunctional and in dire need of a variety of pharmaceutical aids to be "normal", it's hardly surprising that everyone who ever enters a gym expects there to be some sort of panacea to aid their training.  As such, the fact that I'll see 135 lb weaklings dicking around on machines for an hour a day and then scampering over to the water fountain mid-workout to fill their bottles with water to mix with some retarded concoction shouldn't really come as a surprise.  Unfortunately for me, however, it does, as I appear to have some hidden reservoir of faith in my fellow man backed by nothing but hate for idiocy and baseless hope.
Likely confused because she's not on the list, herself.

Digging a bit deeper, though, marketing plays a large part in the issue, as does the fact that taking supplements is a time-honored American tradition.  Especially in the information age, marketing is pretty much ubiquitous, and chases people from hill to dale on the tv, internet, radio, phones, snail mail, and random advertisements plastered on billboards on on peoples' tshirts.  It's unsurprising that at some point peoples' bullshit filters are eventually overloaded, and they cave to even the most ridiculous of ad pitches.  That, combined with what appears to be a uniquely American reliance on self-treatment, makes for a dangerous environment when one embarks on a workout routine, especially when everyone around us is fat, lazy, and mentally defective.
Well, it's highly unlikely this broad is preparing to deliver her dissertation on population genetics, but I'm hoping she knows the moon is larger than an elephant.

In the past, I've blogged about what I consider to be useful supplements, although a lot of you seem to have missed those blogs and emailed me questions about the same 5 supplements.  If you're interested, it's scattered throughout the blog, but the main treatments are here, here, and here.  As it stands, the only supplements I consider essential are a low carb protein powder and a multivitamin.  Just below that are test boosters/estrogen blockers (like tribulus), omega 3's, and ECA supplements.  Beyond that, in my opinion people might as well just set fire to their fucking money.  That doesn't stop the average assbag you see in any gym, though.

As I mentioned, it's not entirely their fault.  Americans in particular have been obsessed with vitamins the first appeared in the popular press in 1910, and their interest has only increased over time, in spite of the government's best efforts to stifle them.  I suppose the press was in large part to blame for this interest, but Americans have been concerned with what they perceived as a steady decline in the quality of their food since the early 1930s, and have sought ways to mitigate that decline as a result.(Vitamania 7)  Concurrent with that phenomenon has been the marked decline in faith in the medical profession, which is only exacerbated by the fact that doctors don't know their asses from a hole in the wall when it comes to training and nutrition.  Doctors will invariably spout archaic soundbites about the dangers of excessive protein consumption and the evils of heavy weightlifting, in spite of reams of studies contradicting their decades-old "common knowledge".  Their ignorance of these subjects parallels the government's famous ignorance of the same, which has manifested itself in the progressively more idiotic and hilarious dietary recommendations and the its periodic crackdowns on dietary supplement sales.  Think the latest round of prohormone seizures was a new thing?  Hardly- the government's been in the pockets of the pharmaceutical industry and pharmacy lobbyists for over a century, and have tried multiple times to ban the sale of non-prescription dietary supplements.(Vitamania 55, 131  Throw on top of that nonsense the post-modernist hatred and distrust of the establishment and you've got a recipe for self-medication the likes of which the world hasn't seen since illiterate savages roamed the prairie in search of megafauna to stab to death.
Of note is the fact that self-medication and lay surgery was apparently prevalent in the Ice Age.  There is evidence that Neanderthals utilized ephedra for energy (Rudgely 194), Otzi the Iceman's body showed evidence of acupuncture, and trepanning (brain surgery performed to relieve swelling of the brain) was bizarrely common in the Ice Age. (Acupuncture Today, Restak 165)
In our haste to throw a hearty "fuck you" at the medical establishment and the government, however, we've become so enslaved to scientific studies that we've started ignoring anecdotal evidence altogether.  As soon as a study shows a correlation between a substance and a net positive gain for the human body, it becomes a necessity, which is ridiculous.  The first instance of this appears to have been the result of a study on cod liver oil in the 1930s, wherein it was shown that there was a significant statistical difference in the frequency and duration of illness between those who supplemented with cod liver oil and those who didn't.  Subsequent studies on the substance showed that it had a positive effect on a variety of other systems, and supplement companies were off to the races.  Soon, print ads were run stating  that "No mother would willingly deny her baby the chance to develop a well-knit frame or a fine set of teeth... yet many mothers make this mistake without knowing it", insinuating that mothers who failed to feed their children that noxious substance were consigning their children to a freakish appearance fit only for carnival sideshows or a Roman emperor's court.
Phocomelia- not just the byproduct of thalidomide consumption!

The same shit goes on today on a wide variety of websites, wherein they insinuate that a workout is wasted if it's not followed by the "proper post workout nutrition" within 45 minutes.  This is of course patently untrue, but arises out of old studies that show that post workout nutrition aids muscular growth and recovery.  Luckily for us, newer studies show that the window is actually 24 hours, which seems to fall in line with the evidence presented by pictures of old-time strongmen, stone masons, iron workers, and virtually every muscular person on Earth who's not wandering around Gold's Gym with a fucking shaker bottle in hand.  (Tipton)
Tom Jenkins- turn-of-the-century ironworker, wrestler, and all around bad motherfucker, who was in no way concerned with his post-workout nutrition beyond getting as much beer and steak in his stomach as would fit.

The same goes for peri-workout nutrition.  Do studies show it's helpful?  Yup.  Do they show that it's absofuckinglutely necessary, as T-Muscle would have you believe with their ridiculous Anaconda protocol?  Fuck no.  If it were, anyone who'd lifted in an era prior to their invention of a need for a protein shake mid-workout would suck, and people with $400 a month to blow on bullshit supplements would lead the world in strength sports.  In case you hadn't noticed...  they don't.
Peri-workout nutrition does not a 400 lb two hands anyhow make.

In short, don't let yourself get focused on the wrong shit- there's no panacea for getting fucking strong, ripped, or jacked.  What there is is breaking your ass in the gym lifting heavy weights, eating as much protein as you possibly can, as often as you can, and getting a shitload of sleep.  It worked for Hackenshmidt, Goerner, Saxon, and a shitload of other guys before Wieder convinced everyone that they had to take three days off a week and before the government ordained that you should eat as much bread as humanly possible. We've only sucked since we stopped paying attention to what's in front of us and started listing to a variety of bullshit sitting atop a mound of shaky scientific evidence.

Do your research, question EVERYTHING, eat some meat, and lift.

Sources:
"Ice Age Acupuncture?  Study of Mummified Body Raises Questions about Practice's Origin."  Acupuncture Today: June 2000 (01) 06.  http://www.acupuncturetoday.com/mpacms/at/article.php?id=27608
Apple, Rima D. Vitamania: Vitamins in American Culture.  1996.
Restak, Richard.  Mysteries of the Mind. 2000.
Rudgely, Richard.  Secrets of the Stone Age.  2000.
Tipton KD, Borsheim E, Wolf SE, Sanford AP, Wolfe RR. Acute response of net muscle protein balance reflects 24-h balance after exercise and amino acid ingestion. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2003 Jan;284(1):E76-89.