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

31 May 2013

Jump Muthafucka, Jump

As I've said before, the jump squat is to the competition back squat what liquid Viagra is to porn stars— it enables you to perform at the highest levels without fear that you’re going to go limp in the middle of the competition and make a total ass of yourself.  The jump squat makes getting out of the hole (the bottom of the squat) a simple affair, because you’ve conditioned your body to literally explode out of that position.  The powerlifting back squat is a fundamentally slow affair, and could easily be conducted to the slower parts of a Wagnerian opera in a Viking helmet.  Slowly grinding through the squat sucks, though, and the very worst part is that second at the bottom wherein you pause for a moment to wonder “is it really possible to get the fuck out of here with my life?”

Just as Justin Bieber is often asked the question "why don't you fucking die already?", I am often asked the question "why don't you do pause squats?", in spite of the fact that I've answered this question repeatedly.  To recap, I despise pause squats because they make sitting in the hole an even more protracted affair than it already seems to be.  For me, it ingrains a very bad habit of going slack in the hole, as well as staying there like I'm pausing a bench, in competition.  That, I discovered, is a terrible habit to have, and a hard one to break.  Thus, I abandoned the pause squats I'd been doing for a few months after my first full meet in 2009 and began experimenting with other methods, whereupon I decided jump squats were a far better option.


Though I've mentioned these in the past, I've not really gone into any great detail on how I conduct them.  Frankly, I thought the performance of these would be more or less self-explanatory- put bar on back, squat, jump off ground.  Not that much to it, really.  Since I initially posted on the subject, however, it's come to my attention that people like far more direction than I would in the performance of any given exercise.  As such, I shall provide it.  Due to the fact that you're leaving the ground, low bar squatting is out the window- if you attempt a low bar jump squat, there's a very real option you'll wake up in the hospital with a broken back and small stumps at the shoulders where your arms had previously been.  Rather than ending up a potential freak of nature, you might want to just squat high bar.  Quite frankly, I despise high bar squatting, but using it as a supplement, especially if you're a low bar squatter, gives you much more quad-dominant training, which will ultimately help your low bar squat.  Another thing that will help your regular squat is the varied stances you should be using with the jump squat.  As a general rule of thumb, you will widen your stance with each successive set.  I find that I use more or less the same stance from 135 through 315, then begin spreading my stance from 405 upward.  By the time I hit 505, I'm using my regular squat stance, only with a high bar (which is far harder than it has any right to be).

video

You'll notice that I go heavier than an Acacia Strain breakdown on jump squats.  Conventional wisdom, a sense of self-preservation, and a modicum of sanity would generally indicate otherwise, but I have been hovering around 80% of my one rep max of late on jump squats.  The only other maniac of whom I've heard who does jump squats as a part of his regular routine is Kolkaev, and even a man who willingly subjects himself to the dangers of a 600 lb no-hands barbell back squat doesn't go over 185 lbs on jump squats.  Frankly, I'm not sure why this is- maybe it's because I drink gallons of Diet Coke in lieu of the sedative-laced drinking water most people consume (Salon), it's the result of psychosis brought on by years of stimulant use, my giant brass balls, my desire to impose my will on the universe, or some fault with the rest of humanity.  Nevertheless, I go considerably heavier on jump squats than do most people, it seems to pay off on the platform, and I'm far more used to exploding out of the hole than a roomful of poorly endowed Japanese at a bukkake porn shoot.


If you're still skeptical, consider the following reasons to employ jump squats in your training:
  • explosive training induces more hypertrophy than slow reps (Chapman).
  • the utilization of different tempos in a training cycle produced far greater strength gains and hypertrophy than did a single tempo (Verkhoshanskii).  Thus, if you're using jump squats in concert with squats off the pins or regular back squats (or better yet, all three), you'll compound your gains like you're a fund manager named Madoff.
  • fast eccentric movements lead to a higher concentration of type IIb than type I muscle fibers and greater strength gains than do slower repetitions (Paddon-Jones).
  • consciously attempting to move explosively, regardless of the speed of movement, results in far greater  full-range strength than slower movements (Young).
  • old ladies had huge rates of strength development with heavy explosive training, and if they can do it, you people damn well better be able to (Caserotti).
  • going heavy on these works wonders- a study pitted  two groups of lifters against each other, one group doing 30%1RM jump squats and the other going with my much more awesomer 80%1RM, and the heavy jump squatters had significantly greater increases in their 1RM and their 1RM/bodyweight ratio (McBridge). 
Ian Middleton did make a good point I'd not really taken into consideration when developing this technique or recommending it to others- the participant's bodyweight.  Frankly, I generally give a person's bodyweight the same type of consideration Mel Gibson gives to good public relations.  Nevertheless, it stands to reason that the heavier a person is, the lower they should load their jump squats.  This is because a jump squat really includes the lifter's bodyweight in the total load lifted, as they're leaving the ground.  Additionally, the heavier a lifter is, the greater eccentric force they generate in their landing, which will affect their recovery rate considerably.  As such, he recommends utilizing a percentage of total system weight (body weight + one rep maximum bar weight) rather than simply utilizing their one rep max.  As this might seem somewhat confusing to those of you with widely spaced eyes, here's his example:


After trying to reverse my loading for the total system weight, I realized that it wouldn't provide any kind of useful example.  I generally use 455 for doubles and 405 for sets of 5, which is 70% of my 1RM and 62% of my 1RM.  If you'd like to convert that for yourself, feel free.  If you'd just like to use common sense, it'd probably be easier than doing the mostly useless arithmetic   If you're fat, use lower percentages.  If you're skinny, use higher percentages if you want.  Problem solved.

Squat as if Arnold was watching you.

In terms of sets and reps, I don’t recommend high reps for these due to the fact that your speed drops precipitously as your reps increase.  As the study I alluded to above stated, that's not necessarily a bad thing, at least until you actually lose the ability to jump off the ground.  Wishing you were moving quickly only goes so far in jump squats.  As such, I'd keep it to 4-10 sets of 1-5 reps.

There you have it- jump squats, in all of their glory.  Go do them.

Sources:
Caserotti P, Aagaard P, Buttrup LJ. and Puggaard L. Explosive heavy-resistance training in old and very old adults: changes in rapid muscle force, strength and power, 2008. Scan J Medicine & Science in Sports, 18: 773–782.

Chapman D, Newton M, Sacco P, Nosaka K.  Greater muscle damage induced by fast versus slow velocity eccentric exercise.  Int J Sports Med. 2006 Aug;27(8):591-8.

Harvey, Matt.  Your tap water is probably laced with antidepressants.  Salon.  41 Mar 2013.  Web. 30 May 2013.  http://www.salon.com/2013/03/14/your_tap_water_is_probably_laced_with_anti_depressants_partner/

McBride JM, Triplett-McBride, Davie A, Newton RU. The effect of heavy-vs. light-load jump squats on the development of strength, power, and speed, 2002. J Strength Cond Res 16:75– 82.

Middleton, Ian.  Jump Squats.  How Much To Load?  Published online.  http://www.dieselcrew.com/articles-pdf/DC-IM-JumpSquats.pdf

Paddon-Jones D, Leveritt M, Lonergan A, Abernethy P. Adaptation to chronic eccentric exercise in humans: the influence of contraction velocity. Eur J Appl Physiol, 2001 Sep;85(5):466-71.

Verkhoshanskii IuV, Biru AA. Patterns in the long-term body adaptation of the athlete to
physical loads. Fiziol Cheloveka. 1987 Sep-Oct; 13(5):811-8. Print.

Young WB,Bilby GE.  The effect of voluntary effort to influence speed of contraction on strength, muscular power, and hypertrophy development. J Str Con, 1993 7(3), 172-178.

21 May 2013

Ask The Asshole: The Flaming Asshole Edition





First, I shall start with something that's not a question, but that I'd like to address in any event.  Tim Lambesis, frontman for a band that's produced naught but monotone dreck for the entirety of its existence, As I Lay Dying, is blaming his attempt to hire a hitman to kill his wife on "roid rage".  No, I am not making that up- a Christian metal singer is claiming a nonexistent side effect of exogenous testosterone usage caused him to act violently and impulsively- so violently and impulsively, in fact that he calmly and collectedly attempted to hire another person to kill his estranged wife as part of a fiduciary contract to be executed at some undisclosed point in the future.  Generally, I log things like a snap decision to have a cheat meal or to take another crack at a 405 behind the neck push press as "impulsive".  Maybe popping into Texas Roadhouse on a non-carb day for a burger and fries.  What I don't consider to be impulsive, however, is to seek out a contract killer (a process I assume takes more than 45 seconds), meet with said contract killer, hand him photographs of my estranged wife and a list of the places she frequents, and then bargain with him over the price.  that, instead, strikes me as methodically, in addition to being incredibly non-violent.  An impulsive violent act is randomly punching a person in the face while you're walking down the street.  Haggling over contract details, however, is not.  All of that, of course, assumes that "roid rage" is a thing, which it (according to science) is not.  Instead, "roid rage" is a boogeyman invented by weak people to demonize the strong.  Sheep likely have a similar nonexistent mental disorder ascribed to wolves.  Given that Lambesis is a "lamb" it only stands to reason he'd act like a sheep.  Even more disturbing here is that I'd recently gotten back into Point of Recognition and was rocking out to Society's Finest the other day, both of which featured Tim "Ladykiller" Lambesis on guitars.  Hopefully, the court will rule Lambesis is too stupid and confused to incarcerate and will instead hand him over to Gorgoroth and Thy Art Is Murder to sacrifice onstage.

Gorgoroth.  Not big fans of JC, and their music is dogshit, though they can make the hell of a good video.

Thy Art Is Murder.  Their song "Whore To A Chainsaw" should be played while Lambesis is being tortured to death.

Having covered current events, let's launch into the meat and brotatoes of this Ask The Asshole, in which I shall mock the everloving fuck out of some of the people that email me.  Generally, my emails in response to people who take the time to ask me a question are pretty gentle, as I appreciate inquisitiveness.  I do not, however, appreciate dumbfuckery, and there appears to be some sort of competition to see who can jam the most dumbfuckery into an email and send it to me without exploding into flames from the hate I send their way.  Before I launch into the dumbfuckery, however, I would like to share with you people the best email I've received in a while.


I've been following you for years but your recent blog about Jón Páll Sigmarsson and Kaz rivalry has prompted me to write you an email. 

For a year I have been training at a gym called Jakaból (Giant's Nest) which is run by Magnús Ver Magnússon. Since the owner is a legend the gym has slowly turned into a nexus of some sort for the local wildlife.Once when I was incline benching an older beast approached me as I finished one of my working sets. He looked, unimpressed, at the weight on the bar and said:

"Kid, I trained around Jón Páll and do you know what he called people who couldn't incline 185 KG (407 lbs) for reps?"

I replied that I didn't and he said:

"Faggots."

His quip was met with murmur of approval from the other lifters present.  True or not I thought it was a funny story and so I decided to share it with you.

A:  That was awesome.

Now, onto some of the most ridiculous, uninformed, confused, willfully ignorant, lazy, saddie/fattie questions anyone has ever received, and I got these all in the last week.


Q: What are some lifts I can throw in my push/pull day?

A: Military press, push press, behind the neck push press, jerks, bench press, close grip bench press, dips, wide grip bench press, incline bench press, decline bench press, rows, dumbell rows, cable rows, pullups, pulldowns, chinups, one arm chinups, horizontal pullups... basically, anything that is a pull or a push.  You know, shit you'd see if you opened your fucking eyes while in the gym and cleaned the shit out of your ears. The aforementioned lifts were only listed to show you how catastrophically, epically, breath-takingly stupid your question was.  Were you really confused as to what constituted a push or a pull?  Do you have an IQ above room temperature?  The fact that you managed to turn on the computing machine you utilized to transmit your insipid question across time and space is astonishing given your apparent low levels of intellectual maturity.  Dumber questions have not been asked in elementary school special education classes.

I am not in the business of hand-holding and hope never to receive another question as pantently witless as the one this idiot has foisted upon me.  As I'm not an idiot and actually read books, I obtained the vast majority of my training knowledge from a variety of books, most of which were initially "encyclopedias" of lifting.  The ones I own/have owned are:


Q:  So, according to your last article, I'm not even in "Bitch Mode". I'm not even a person.

How do I become an actual person, and not be a bitch?

I got your book, but I find the routine you propose a bit confusing. I like the approach, and I'm trying to create a similar routine, but with a bit more structure. I want to focus on getting my numbers up on the big 4 lifts. I've noticed that, like you've said, more is better - the more often I lift, the better my performance becomes - so I definitely want to lift at least 6 days per week, and maybe even start fucking with 2-a-days if I can handle it. But I don't think I'm good enough at lifting to just follow my instincts and lift what I want when I want. You said you bench pressed 5-6 days per week to get your numbers up, but in your book, you say to not do the same lift 2 days in a row. Meanwhile, the Bulgarian method, at least one of them, is to bench press 6 days a week and set a PR each time.

So I'm just trying to work on a template right now. I want to train the big 4 lifts as much as possible. I was thinking something along the lines of a heavy squat/push/pull every other day, at least. Then either a light squat and heavy push/pull, just a heavy push/pull, just a light push/pull, or barbell complexes on days that I can't do a heavy squat/push/pull. Then I can just do accessory/hypertrophy stuff as I see fit.

Do you see anything wrong? Do you have any other overarching advice (other than to kill myself, haha)?

And thanks for verbally kicking my ass every week. It helps keep me motivated.

A: You missed the entire point of the article- it's not so much what you do is that you do it, do it hard, and enjoy it.  Your generation's retarded preoccupation with programming is why the lot of you suck shit at everything- you fiddlefuck around talking about shit and never actually do it.

There is no one perfect way.  

By virtue of the fact that you've asked how not to be a bitch, you're virtually guaranteed to remain one forever.  Instead of forging ahead and trying to figure it out for yourself with a liberal application of ball sweat and testosterone, you've decided to sit down, dither, write an incredibly whiny email, and do fuckall.  Congratulations.  What you need to do is:
  1. Purchase a firearm, preferably a pistol.
  2. Purchase a single round of ammunition in the correct caliber for your new weapon.
  3. Load the weapon.
  4. Place the barrel of your weapon in your mouth.
  5. Savor the taste of the bluing solution and the tang of the metal.
  6. Use whatever paltry strength you have to pull the trigger and pain the walls with your brains.
With any luck, this is what the email writer looks like right now.

I'm really not kidding about the fact that the writer of this email is fucked beyond repair.  He will likely live the bulk of his adult life in his parents' basement and will almost certainly die a virgin, swaddled tightly in his childhood blankie that reeks of failure and self-loathing.  To forestall the receipt of another email in this vein, here's a very simple training regimen:

Monday:  Squat and Overhead Press
Tuesday: Heavy Rows and Pullups
Wednesday: Bench and dips
Thursday: Front Squat and Light Overhead Press
Friday: Deadlifts.  Go fucking nuts
Saturday:  Bench again.

Do whatever rep range suits you.  If you're weak as a kitten, pretty much anything other than the silly bullshit you're currently doing (i.e. dithering and not really focusing on lifting) is going to work.  There is no golden rep range, and no magical number of sets.  There is no one volume that will be perfect for every person, nor is there a volume that will be perfect for you every week in a given month.  Frankly, there are more questions than answers when it comes to lifting, and you should be focused on the journey, rather than the destination.  Without question, however, focusing on details is not the way you get strong initially- it's the effort that counts at first.  You might want to just pyramid down on the big stuff (squats, deads, bench, and overhead press) and go 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 (after warming up) and just go close to failure.  Max out when you want.  If you want to do the same lift two days in a row, feel free- my point in the book was that I didn't think doing the exact same thing daily (exercise + sets + reps) was a good idea.

They'd look super sexy in a gas chamber.

I'm starting to wonder the generation called the "Millennials" gets their clothes on in the morning before leaving the house.  They must spend an hour trying to decide what underwear to put on, and then have to have a conference with their parents to ensure that 1) their parents still love them after making their decision, 2) that they're still a beautiful and special snowflake, and 3) they've exhausted every possible opportunity to dither, mindlessly debate, create a public exhibition of their stupidity, and 3) dishonor their family in as public a manner as possible.  If you're under the age of 21 and reading this, there's a reasonable chance everyone who knows you would be happy to see you dead, because they're sick to fucking death of watching you text incessantly and beg the world for attention and affirmation.

From there, the emails get progressively less stupid.  We can still all learn something from them, however.
This has something to do with hernias.

Q: Have you ever had any problems with hernias?  I got one a few weeks ago while deadlifting.  I went for the PR but I'm afraid I might have gotten the ER instead.  It's not bothering me too much, and I haven't stopped lifting, but my buddy's mom, who is a nurse, is urging me to get it operated on or at least looked at.  Any advice?

A: I have never had a hernia.  I'd have someone look at it and avoid squatting and deadlifting until you get it diagnosed.  I've no idea how or why you people get hernias with the frequency you do, but it's disconcerting.  Quite frankly, I cannot envision a scenario that would end in me getting a hernia.  You guys seriously need to start doing some fucking ab work.

If you have, or think you have a hernia, go to the fucking doctor.  If nothing's bulging, it's likely a strained ab, but go to the doctor anyway.


Q: I purchased Noopept,Oxiracetan,Aniracetam,Adralin,and Synedrex today via the web. How would you recommend stacking these  if you work out in the morning ? The only other supplement I would be taking is Animal Pak.

A: I don't use the oxi and ani preworkout- I use those for reading, writing, and listening to music.  Preworkout, I'll usually use two Synedrex and 20mg of noopept, then drink a Bang .357 for the caffeine.  In re Bang, if you can find it, DO NOT DRINK THE CAMPAGNE COLA FLAVOR.  Lemon Drop is awesome, and champagne cola tastes like what I'd imagine cow shit would taste like if you fucked it out of the cow using strawberry flavored lube, and then ate the cow shit off newly laid asphalt.  To call that flavor offensive would be like saying that raping a Muslim with a kiebasa is mildly out of line.  I've used Adralin preworkout but think Synedrex is the better choice, and Adralin works better for intellectual pursuits.


Q: I came across this and I was wondering what you thought about it. I know that you've most likely come across this research before but you still drink lots of protein in liquid form.

What do you think?

A:Makes sense.  Luckily, most proteins are fortified with enzymes.  Additionally, studies have shown that high levels of protein consumption raise absorption rates over time.

Pierre Van Den Steen, just because I've not yet used a pic of him.  Dude was fucking shredded.

Q:  Just wanted to ask your thoughts on something. I'm 19, and got the chance to get my test levels looked at recently. To my abject fucking horror, I found out that my test levels sit at a very uncool 461 ng/dl.

Obviously, I can't turn to anabolics, but these relatively low test levels probably account for at least some of the reason it's so hard for me to make lean, muscular gains. Any ideas? Everything I'd read says that median test levels for a man are 700 ng/dl. I've read your blogs on increasing test regularly, but just wanted to know if you had any other ideas.

A: Try megadosing D-Aspartic Acid, tribulus, and ashwagandha.  3g of the former, and 5g each of the latter per day, split into two doses.  They're all reasonably cheap, and the former and the latter have been shown in clinical studies to increase test levels.  Tribulus has not, but anecdotal evidence seems to support its inclusion in high doses.

... and with that, I'm out.  Coming up- jump squats, neck work, and possibly the end to the Indian blog series.

14 May 2013

Droppin' Knowledge Like Elbows On Fools' Faces- The Big Seminar II

Tragically, the seminar has been cancelled.  My write-up rules though, so I'm leaving it for posterity.

Though I sort of backed into powerlifting like a blind man at the wheel of a 1980s Cadillac, I've been invited to participate in a powerlifting seminar hosted by South Carolina Barbell and Total Performance Sports and featuring members of Team EFS.  This seminar will represent a couple of generations of geared and raw powerlifters, which is something you don't often see.  From what I've seen out of this bunch already, it should be pretty-much nonstop hilarity from the type of people most of us wish we were surrounded with on a daily basis, rather than the sloppy tards in which we're usually drowning.  Among the presenters will be:


CJ Murphy, aka Murph:  This dude is the man behind Boston's renown Total Performance Sports, which has been named one of the top 20 gyms in America by Men's Health a couple of times and churns out badass athletes like Score's churns out scantily clad Eastern Europeans with VD.  Murph's a former national champion in powerlifting and boasts pretty much every strength training acronym a person could have, in addition to being a former strongman competitor, boxing instructor, kettlebell teacher, and USAW club coach.  Additionally, Murph apparently knows how to throw a fireball Dragonball-Z style, but will only do so when it accompanies a Crowbar or Pro-Pain song, as he derives strength from his fellow shaved heads and goatees.  If you have no idea what I'm talking about, use the google machine- I would not be surprised to discover Murph was actually a member of Crowbar at some point, though I have no idea when he'd have found the time.


Molly Galbraith:  Yes, the hot broad above who's squatting 225 to depth will be presenting.  She's a figure competitor and powerlifter, which is about as common as finding a midget who can dunk a basketball on a regulation hoop.  Just as you'd pay attention to the midget, so should you pay attention to Galbraith.  She's a regular contributor to EFS's website, where most of her articles revolve around looking good while being strong, which is something all of us should get behind [ah, the double entendres].


Julia Ladewski:  Not one, but two hot chicks are presenting- Murph knows how to schedule shit while growing out epic goatees.  Ladewski's ranked 15th on the all-time list at 132 for geared lifters, just jumped to #5 on the all-time list (and is currently ranked #2) for 123 lbers in gear, is a former Division I strength coach, is the Program Director at the Parisi Speed School (aka the guys who train most of the dudes going into the NFL draft for the combine), and rocks abs the entire time.


Dave Kirschen:  Fifteen years ago, a princess kissed a bullfrog that then began an incomplete transformation into a human.  That semi-human's name is Dave Kirschen, who in spite of what appears to be debilitating tumors on his neck is 19th on the all-time list at 198 in multi-ply.  Dave's been featured in Men's Health, a frequent contributor to EFS's site, the master of all systems conjugate, and might have a stroke when he reads this writeup, but hopefully his stroke will be minor and he'll just drool and twitch a bit during his presentation.


Matt Rhodes:  Weirdly, I've likely met Rhodes before at the football weight room at the University of Arizona, though neither of us would have known it.  I talked my way into using that gym in spite of the fact that I wasn't a football player, only to get ejected when I bragged to one of the strength coaches that I pulled 500 for the first time (weighing around 150) while I had mono.  In any event, Rhodes played for U of A in the mid-90s, coached football at the University of Richmond, worked as a personal trainer for a while, is the current strength and conditioning coach at the University of Albany, has totalled 2110 at 308, and enjoys the occasional bout of sodomy using capsaicin as lube.  It's ok, though- he wears a condom so none gets in his pisshole, which apparently hurts like a motherfucker.  Happily fat and sweaty, Rhodes isn't just another pretty face- knows his shit and represents it on the platform.  As I meet none of the criteria for acceptance into Rhodestown, he and I will likely drown out all of the other presenters casually insulting each other while demonstrating random feats of strength.  I will win, obviously, as my superior abdominal vascularity confers victory on me as a matter of course.


Vincent Dizenzo:  Contrary to popular belief, he is not the lost third member of the Mario Brothers.  Instead, Vincent (hereafter to be referred to as Vinnie D, because typing "Vincent" for a guy with a name mafioso would jack off to is odd) is a three-lift geared lifter converted by the magic of ruptured discs into a bench press specialist.  At 322, Vinnie D benched 605 raw, and then dropped to the 242 class and hit a 770 shirted bench at 16% bodyfat, which is seriously impressive for a former circus fat man.  His personal motto is fucking awesome- “Anything worth lifting is only worth lifting once”, and he proved that by busting out an utterly ridiculous strict overhead press with 405.


Me:  I'm fucking awesome, and you already know this.  In case you just stumbled drunkenly across this blog in search of porn, I'm an inciter of riots, defiler of virgins, fomenter of revolutions, petter of dogs, and all around asshole who occasionally competes in powerlifting.

The Big Seminar II is going to be a two day event held at Williams Strength in West Columbia, SC.  On day one, each of the motley crew detailed above will expound upon the following topics:
Me: The Art of the Bottom Position Squat and (if there's time) ketogenic dieting for the strength competitor. I've been holding off on detailing how extensively I've been using the bottom position squat of late on the blog for really no reason whatsoever, and figured it was high time I talk about how I get all Bud Jeffries on the deal once a week.
Vincent Dizenzo: The Little Things-recovery, mental focus and more
Matt Rhodes: Training College Athletes
C.J. Murphy: The TPS Method-the superior training system for your clients
Julia Ladewski: From Treadmill to barbell-debunking fitness myths for women (great for men too)
Dave Kirschen: the Conjugate Method for beginners.
On Sunday we will put everyone through training stations covering the bench press, the squat, the deadlift, the power clean and Turkish Get ups/metabolic circuits.  I believe I'll be working the squat station on that day, as that's sort of my forte.  Since we're going to be at Williams Strength, the guys who run it are going to let us train on their badass equipment and are apparently going to take us around their workshop, which I assume will be manned by jacked elves who will be listening to King Diamond's No Presents for Christmas on repeat.  We're going to then grub on meat-filled working lunch on Sunday to learn about the use of the Tsunami bar, which Dave Tate has been raving about on his logs.  Given that I've been fiddling about with fat bars, crazybells, and chains on my second bench day every week, I'm pretty pumped to find one more wacky thing I can do to get my bench up.  In short, you can learn more from this group of maniacs in a weekend than you'd likely learn in a lifetime on your own.  Thus, you might want to up your frequency on car thefts, steal your little brother's lunch money more often, and sell some ass on Craigslist to get the scratch together to bask in the glow of our collective testosterone-drenched genius.

Register here for Big Seminar 2 at Williams Strength with the inimitable Jamie Lewis, two hot (and strong) chicks, a bullfrog, and some fat, sweaty motherfuckers who toss about huge weights like they're ultralight children's toys in the polio ward in a hospital on June 29th&30th.

I promised that I wouldn't put any porn in this post, so this is as close as it's going to get.


04 May 2013

Keto Diets- Why They Work, How To Make Them Work For You, Why Vince Gironda Made a Song About Them... And I Finally Use Decllenium In A Sentence

Vince Gironda says: 
“Fuck you, Carbos. You can suck my dick. You can’t get me, Carbos, because you’re just God’s farts.”

In the information age, more than ever, it seems extremely common for trends in what passes for rational and intelligent thought and discourse to emerge wherein a particular opinion is held aloft as unassailable truth.  For whatever reason, one of the most insidious and pervasive of these opinions in nutritional circles seems to be one that presents ketogenic diets as catabolic and useless for strength athletes.  Simply put for the new jacks in the audience, this means they believe that ketogenic diets will cause you to lose muscle mass faster than an AIDS patient in a Somali slum. This, however, is simply not the case- in fact, the polar opposite is true.  In fact, catabolism is blunted as the body metabolizes ketones for energy during a ketogenic diet.



Dave Palumbo's legs seem not to have suffered any ill effects from ketogenic dieting, unless "freakish muscularity" is considered an ill effect.

I realize it's a popular notion that I'm some sort of genetic freak who thrives on a diet that would kill a lesser man.  True, I am awesome, and true, most of the shit I do on a daily basis would kill lesser men, but I'm hardly a genetic anomaly in regards to the ketogenic diet.  A study conducted at the University of Connecticut in the early part of the last decade showed that thyroid function was greatly increased in a six week ketogenic dieting period, and that significant fat loss and muscle gain occurred- all of the participants had extraordinarily positive recomposition in a short period of time, and they accomplished this in spite of being fatties and saddies.  If fatties and saddies can lose an average of 7 lbs of body fat and gain 2 lbs of muscle in a six week period, I'd think that the average techno-death metal-Viking Hooligan would thrive on it.  Dave Palumbo certainly did- at his best, he squatted 800 for four and deadlifted 600 for 8, which is pretty fucking impressive for a guy training for size and definition rather than strength.


I suppose tentacle rape and ketosis go hand in hand.

For those of you unfamiliar with the myriad benefits of ketogenic dieting, allow me to educate you while I torture metaphors like they're Chechen teenagers in the greater Boston metropolitan area:

  • ketosis is protein sparing, which means your body will not metabolize protein for fuel at any point in your day, provided you're eating enough fat.  Your body will actually learn to love burning ketones for energy more than the Japanese love tentacle rape and your protein synthesis will dramatically increase (Nair, Harber, Kadowaki).
  • IGF-1 levels will raise like a true Belieber's current interest in shitty tattoos and girlish haircuts due to your body's low levels of insulin, which in turn will lead to greater hypertrophy (Harber).
  • ketosis allows your body to utilize stored bodyfat for energy because of the aforementioned low insulin levels, and insulin blocks stored fat utilization like a fat girl cockblocking at a bar.
  • ketosis suppresses your body's release of ghrelin, which means you will be less hungry on a ketogenic diet than you'd otherwise be.  This is particularly useful for the aforementioned saddies and fatties, who often have Charley Sheen-esque impulse-control issues when it comes to stuffing their faces (Halton).
  • it may make you smarter- ketones seem to be a more efficient fuel for the brain than glucose (Amerman, but for a ridiculously complex explanation, go here and skip to the paragraph beginning with "We will use Alzheimers").  
  • recovery will occur quickly and wounds will heal like you've got a hirsute, irascible, pocket-sized Uncle Logan (Nishira).
  • in ketosis, your body becomes a furnace that would be the envy of every man named Goering in 1940s Germany, as you burn fat simply by breathing and pissing (Perez-Guisado).
  • for those of you amusingly concerned with the effects of dietary salt in your diet (and there appear to a be lot of you people living in 1982 in that way), high protein diets seem to counteract the negative effects of high sodium intakes and lowers blood pressure (Debry).  As ketogenic diets are almost necessarily high protein, you're safe from an exploding heart on the ketogenic diet as well.
Living in the 80s has its perks- you get to wear cool outfits.

Sounds pretty fucking awesome, doesn't it?  Quite frankly, it is- I've been on a cyclical ketogenic diet for going on three years and have gotten continually stronger and leaner.  I'm not the only one who thinks this diet is the tits, either- one paper from the University of Cordoba (Spain) stated that "These diets are also healthier because they promote a non-atherogenic lipid profile, lower blood pressure and decrease resistance to insulin with an improvement in blood levels of glucose and insulin" and that "Such diets also have neurological and antineoplastic benefits and diet-induced ketosis is not associated with metabolic acidosis, nor do such diets alter kidney, liver or heart functions"(Perez-Guisado).



Keto doesn't appear to be hurting my gainz- weighing in at 195, carb depleted.

That's all well and good for the average saddie, you might be thinking, but it's got fuck-all to do with athletes and strength athletes in particular.  There's a reason for that- there've been almost no studies on the effects of ketogenic dieting on resistance training.  I was able to hunt down a single study on the subject, but it's not particularly relevant to the issue at hand, as it studied the effect of resistance training on obese, middle-aged women on the ketogenic diet.  We're about as dissimilar to that sample group as toasters are from Transformers, so there's no point even delving into that one.  Nevertheless, anecdotal evidence shows that ketogenic diets, in their myriad forms, have worked pretty fucking well over the last few decllenium for hominids.  




As I believe I've not ever done so, it seems useful to outline for you guys exactly what ketogenic dieting is, and what forms it can take.  A ketogenic diet is a diet in which a person consumes so few carbohydrates that their  body beings breaking fat down into fatty acids and ketones for use as energy.  Keto diets come in three flavors, standard, targeted, and cyclical.  They work like this:

  • SKD (Standard Ketogenic Diet) – This is the diet of which most people traditionally think when they hear the words "keto diet".  Developed in the West by an undertaker named Banting in the 19th Century, it was resurrected as the Atkins diet in the US in the 20th Century.  Amusingly, the peoples of the Arctic Circle have been eating this way forever and haven't known they were dieting at all.  In any event, on a traditional ketogenic diet you simply keep your carbs at a certain low level indefinitely.  
  • CKD (Cyclical Ketogenic Diet) – Cyclical keto diets are my personal favorite, and that's what my Apex Predator Diet is.  On a cyclical keto diet you rotate between ultra low carb and high carb days and in a less common fasion, rotate between low and high carb periods every day.  
  • TKD (Targeted Ketogenic Diet) – Targeted keto diets are diets in which one eats extremely low carb and then consumes carbs at very specific times of the day.  I wrote a bit about these types of diets in my Apex Predator Diet For Italians And Athletes entry and noted that there is a difference of opinion by noted authors on when best to consume the carbs, but they're generally consumed either immediately before or after a workout.


It was time for some Warhammer.

Clearly, I'm the biggest fan of the CKD, as that's what I've been on for years.  I monkeyed with the TKD a bit in the past, but I never liked the idea of eating high fat and then spiking my insulin, so I never ate high enough fat to really have called it a particularly ketogenic diet.  It was more of a paleoized TKD.  In regards to CKDs, I've given you guys the broad strokes of how I've modified the traditional cyclical ketogenic diet for myself (i.e. the Apex Predator Diet), but thought it might be prudent to share with you a few of the tricks, hacks, and cheats I've developed along the way to make the diet work even better. Thus, without any further adieu:

  • Protein is your primary concern at every meal.  I've seen nonstop gibbering out of people whose opinions would best be left alone in their empty heads about the value of coconut oil online, and it's ridiculous.  One douche actually asserted that his diet of naught but eggs and coconut oil was one to follow, which I found as fascinating as I found it absurd.  You are not eating unless you're getting upwards of 40 grams of protein.  Less than that isn't a meal and can barely be construed as a snack.  Cheat meals should start with protein and be followed by shakes- I always kick mine off with some kind of meat, be it hamburgers, wings, nuggets, or a meat-lover's pizza.  The more protein you consume, the greater the thermic effect of your meal and the better you will look and feel overall.
  • Get at least two grams of protein per pound of bodyweight per day.  Chicks can get by with a gram to a gram and a half- apparently more than that fucks with their hormone levels.  The mysteries of the vagina aside, no man is truly eating for strength if he's consuming less than two grams of protein per pound of bodyweight per day.
She might keto diet.  I find myself not caring so much about the relevance of this pic, however.
  • Take a break every once in a while.  That's not to say you should adopt the asinine practice utilized by people who follow a "periodization" routine wherein they take one week per month off from lifting.  Every now and again, though, it's good for your mind and body to stop giving a shit so much about your diet.  I realize that sounds fairly ridiculous for a guy who's essentially been on a diet for three straight years, but I do actually take a couple days to a week off from my diet after meets, and take a week or so off from my diet over the holidays as well.  I don't go nuts eating garbage, but I don't eat super-strict or super clean.  Instead, I keep my protein levels very high and fill in the gaps with whatever I want.  Again, caveats- I don't really care for ice cream or particularly sugary foods.  Thus, when I am am REALLY off my diet, the worst thing on which I'm generally snacking is Cinnamon Life, unless it's Thanksgiving Day or Christmas, when I'll eat desserts.  Eating sugary shit will make you fat.  It's science.
  • Modify your total food intake to match your activity level.  This does not mean you should count calories, which is pointless even off a keto diet by truly worthless on one.  Instead, you should be eating more if you're training harder, longer, or heavier, and less if you're training lighter.  
  • Do not skip your carbups.  Skipping your carbups might have a small effect on fat loss but will ultimately render all of your training feckless.  Type two muscle fibers require glycogen to function, and depriving them of that glycogen will force you to train lighter, which defeats the entire purpose of the diet in the first place.  No one gives a shit if you're ripped and you're weak, and no one gives a fuck if you're strong and you're fat.  The goal is to be strong as fuck and ripped to the bone, so you need to do your refeeds if you're keeping your carbs under 30 grams a day 5-6 days a week.
  • Experiment.  Once you get your bodyfat to a manageable level, feel free to experiment.  I've tried supplementing with BCAAs post workout, and I think that post-workout BCAAs with additional leucine are a tremendously good idea, since leucine uptake and utilization is higher when in ketosis.  Try utilizing insulin modulating supplements like cinnamon and chromium to see if they accelerate fat loss.  ProSupps has a new product out called iLoad that looks to be good in that regard.  Mix up days wherein you have multiple food meals and days wherein you only eat solid food once or twice if you're doing the Apex Predator Diet.
CKDs work and work well for powerlifting, no matter what the message board know-nothings might assert to the contrary- I'm living proof, and science has my motherfuckin' back. 




Eat like a beast if you want to lift like one.

Sources:
Amerman, Don.  Benefits of Ketosis.  Livestrong.  28 Jul 2011.  Web.  7 may 2013.  http://www.livestrong.com/article/503671-the-benefits-of-ketosis/

Butterfield GE: Whole-body protein utilization in humans.  Med Sci Sports Exer 1987, 19:S167-S165.

Debry G: Data on hypertension. In Dietary Proteins and Atherosclerosis. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 2004:191-203.


Deprospo, Jonathan.  In depth look at ketogenic diets and ketosis.  Bodybuilding.com.  25 Sep 2002.  Web.  4 May 2013.  http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/keto.htm


Harber MP, Schenk S, Barkan AL, Horowitz JF. Effects of dietary carbohydrate restriction with high protein intake on protein metabolism and the somatotropic axis.  J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005 Sep;90(9):5175-81. Epub 2005 Jun 21.


Halton TL, Hu FB.  The effects of high protein diets on thermogenesis, satiety and weight loss: a critical review.  J Am Coll Nutr. 2004 Oct;23(5):373-85.


Kadowaki M, Kamata T, Noguchi T.  Acute effect of epinephrine on muscle proteolysis in perfused rat hindquarters.  Am J Physiol. 1996 Jun;270(6 Pt 1):E961-7.


Layman DK, Evans E, Baum JI, Seyler J, Erickson DJ, Boileau RA.  Dietary protein and exercise have additive effects on body composition during weight loss in adult women.  J Nutr. 2005 Aug;135(8):1903-10.


Manninen AH.  High-Protein Weight Loss Diets and Purported Adverse Effects: Where is the Evidence?  J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2004; 1(1): 45–51.

Manninen AH.  Very-low-carbohydrate diets and preservation of muscle mass.  Nutr Metab (Lond). 2006 Jan 31;3:9.



Motil KJ, Matthews DE, Bier DM, Burke JF, Munro HN, Young VR.  Whole-body leucine and lysine metabolism: response to dietary protein intake in young men.  Am J Physiol. 1981 Jun;240(6):E712-21.


Nair KS, Welle SL, Halliday D, Campbell RG.  Effect of beta-hydroxybutyrate on whole-body leucine kinetics and fractional mixed skeletal muscle protein synthesis in humans.  J Clin Invest. 1988 Jul;82(1):198-205.

Nishihira J: Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF): its essential role in the immune system and cell growth. J Interferon Cytok Res 2000, 20: 751-762.

Paddon-Jones D, Sheffield-Moore M, Zhang XJ, Volpi E, Wolf SE, Aarsland A, Ferrando AA, Wolfe RR.  Amino acid ingestion improves muscle protein synthesis in the young and elderly.  Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Mar;286(3):E321-8. Epub 2003 Oct 28.

Volek JS, Sharman MJ, Love DM, Avery NG, Gómez AL, Scheett TP, Kraemer WJ.  Body composition and hormonal responses to a carbohydrate-restricted diet.  Metabolism. 2002 Jul;51(7):864-70.