31 August 2010

Just Because You're An Endurance Athlete Doesn't Mean You Need To Look Like You Have AIDS

Last year, Triathlete magazine carried an article I found hilarious, due to the irony of having a hot, ripped chick on the cover, about whether or not triathletes were body image obsessed. Expecting the thing to be jammed with hot chicks, and to at least be marginally impressed by the Pavel-esque physiques of the guys, I opened the thing up to be confronted with a pack of walking skeletons unseen in the western world since the POW camps of the last world wars. Amusingly, the article went on to describe how the guys seemed to be more obsessed with being skinny than the women, as they believed that a low BMI would lead to greater victories, provided they didn't die of starvation in the meantime.  I was under the impression that everyone on Earth was aware of the exploits of Dean Karnazes, which should have laid all that bullshit to rest long ago.  The guy's not super jacked, by any stretch of the imagination, but he's not 10 calories from the threshold of death by starvation, either.  For those of you who are unaware, he's won all sorts of ultramarathons, completed 50 marathons in 50 days, ran 135 mi across Death Valley in 120 degree heat (the Badwater 135), and is an avowed paleo guy, laying all of the nonsense about high carbs for endurance athletes to rest.  
Just about every guy in your gym has smaller legs than Karnazes.

Clearly, Karnazes isn't going to be winning any bodybuilding competitions anytime soon, but he is a fan of resistance training, mostly in the form of bodyweight exercises.  This is why he carries more muscle than the average runner, which he claims is key in injury preventions.  "Too many runners only run" says Karnazes, "hence their overall muscular development isn't very good.  I carry a little more bulk than your typical runner, which may slow me down a bit, but ultimately helps with injury prevention and being able to go those super-long distances."

Lance Armstrong is also a big proponent of lifting weights, which he presumably does so as not to look like Matthew McConaughey's little brother when out picking up chicks at the bar.  He's recommended weightlifting to his legions of adoring fans, as well, and reportedly lifts three times a week.  For reasons I cannot fathom, his workouts consist of hang cleans (with form that truly makes mine look impeccable), step ups, dumbbell rows, and side lunges, all for sets of a commendable 5 reps.  Given Armstrong's credibility in endurance sports, perhaps his half-starved companions in lengthy, boring, and painful endurance athletics might take a page out of his book.
The people at the clinic told him no antiretrovirals unless he hit a sub 5 min mile.

Certainly, by now, a great many of you a silently screaming "Who fucking cares?" and considering throwing your laptop against the wall due to my acknowledgement of a seemingly irrelevant topic.  You'd be surprised, however, at the number of goofballs out there who actually train in both endurance sports and Olympic weightlifting, and who read this blog because they're quite obviously insane- birds of a feather, and all that.  Personally, I would rather trip and fall facefirst into Lil Kim's vagina during her period after she'd contracted ebola than run 10 miles, but to each their own.
Am I the only one singing "Cherry Pie" in my head right now?

Not surprisingly, science falls on the side of common sense, Karnazes, Armstrong, and anyone who doesn't want to look like they just wandered out of Auschwitz in this debate.  Clearly unbeknownst to triathletes and other endurance athletes, strength training has a wide array of positive effects for endurance athletes, not the least of which is improving their physical appearance.  Studies have shown fairly definitively that the faster a runner is anaerobically, the faster they are in endurance runs.  Although you would think that those two times would contraindicate, if you look at the times of Olympic milers, at this point, they run competitive 400s, which would put them competitive Division I 100m sprinters, as well.  Looked at that way, it makes sense that plyometric leap distance and the 50m sprint correlate very strongly with 10k times, and that the 5k and the 20m dash correlate strongly. (Paavolainen et al) Another well-respected study showed that those with the highest peak running speeds on a treadmill had the fastest distance times, and attributed that fact to greater "muscle contractility".  (Noakes)  

As such, it seems that at the very least, endurance athletes should be less worried about simply having the aerobic capacity to finish these races, and far more worried about increasing the contractile power of their muscles, which will in turn make them faster in sprints, and thus carry over into distance running.  In particular, endurance athletes should consider taking up Olympic lifting in particular, as it seems that explosive lifting correlates more strongly with improving times on endurance events.  Low repetitions with relatively high weights in the Olympic lifts should, according to these studies, produce far better distance times.  Thus, exercises like the high pull, clean and jerk, and snatch could prove extremely beneficial to distance athletes.  Additionally, quick lifts conducted with kettlebells could prove useful, as will plyometrics (and in particular depth jumps).  I would also caution distance athletes that they should absolutely not ignore their upper bodies in the belief that their lower bodies are the primary muscles involved.  A quick glance at nearly any sprinter will reveal pretty fucking good upper body development as well, particularly in the shoulders.  
Jon Drummond of the US 4x100 team.

Champion trainer of sprinters, Charlie Francis, believes that upper body strength is essential for powerful arms and fast hands, and that this will translate to faster foot strike time.  As multiple studies have shown that foot strike time contributes to faster distance times as well, you might as well make sure you've got ample upper body work in there.  Lastly, Prof. Michael Yessis asserted at one point that he had read in some uncited Soviet literature that Olympic weightlifters had, by virtue of their muscle contractility, the ability to beat Olympic sprinters over the first 10 meters of a sprint.(Yessis)  If that's true, it would suggest that the lot of you should get your asses in the gym and start moving heavy weight.  Even if it's bullshit, however, there exists enough evidence that heavy strength training will help that you might want to consider dropping some road work in favor of some good old-fashioned weightlifting, in the form of singles, doubles, and triples.  Lifts should be done as explosively as possible to enhance your contractility (which I'm not 100% sure is actually a word, but I pulled it directly from the Noakes study), so leave aside the traditional powerlifts in favor of the more explosive quick lifts and plyometrics, unless you're doing Westside-esque speed work.
I googled "Westside speed day" and got this.  Awesome pic though.

... and for the love of all that's fucking holy- start eating.  If Karnazes can 135 miles through the fucking desert without eating a bagel, you can too.  Bring on the motherfucking steaks and heavy barbells!  Be more like Lee priest and less like the half starved douche in the middle of this article and you might find yourselves winning- at least with the opposite sex.


BISHOP D, JENKINS D, MACKINNON L, McENIERY M, CAREY M.  The effects of strength training on endurance performance and muscle characteristics.  Med Sci Sports Exerc 31(6) 886-891, 1999.
  --The present data suggest that increased leg strength does not improve cycle endurance performance in endurance-trained, female cyclists.

HICKSON, R. C.; ROSENKOETTER, M. A.; BROWN, M. M. Strength training effects on aerobic power and short-term endurance.
  --These findings provide evidence that HRT is capable of dramatically increasing short-term endurance, when the muscles involved in the training are used almost exclusively during the testing without an accompanying increase in Vo2max.  Med Sci Sports Exerc 12(5):336-339, 1980

Hickson RC,Dvorak BA, Gorostiaga EM, Kurowski TT, Foster C.  Potential for strength and endurance training to amplify endurance performance.  J Appl Physiol 65: 2285-2290, 1988
-- These data do not demonstrate any negative performance effects of adding heavy-resistance training to ongoing endurance-training regimens. They indicate that certain types of endurance performance, particularly those requiring fast-twitch fiber recruitment, can be improved by strength-training supplementation.

NOAKES, T. D.  Implications of exercise testing for prediction of athletic performance: a contemporary perspective.  Meet. Sci. Sports Exerc, Vol. 20, No. 4, pp. 319-330, 1988.
  --This review proposes that the factors limiting maximal exercise performance might be better explained in terms of a failure of muscle contractility ("muscle power"), which may be independent of tissue oxygen deficiency.

Paavolainen L, Häkkinen K, Hämäläinen I, Nummela A, and Rusko H.  Explosive-strength training improves 5-km running time by improving running economy and muscle power. J Appl Physiol 86: 1527-1533, 1999
  --In conclusion, the present simultaneous explosive-strength and endurance training improved the 5K time in well-trained endurance athletes without changes in their O2 max. This improvement was due to improved neuromuscular characteristics that were transferred into improved VMART and running economy.

Yessis, Michael.  Letter.  http://www.elitetrack.com/forums/viewthread/7841/

27 August 2010

If You're Not Cheating, You're Not Trying

I believe that scheduled cheat windows are absolutely necessary for the maximization of one's metabolic and hormonal efficiency, and that to abjure their use is to consign one's self to both dietary failure and place one's self in jeopardy of going completely insane.  I realize that there are a few vocal advocates of 100% clean eating out there, like Pauline Nordin, but frankly, I could give a shit- I'm not a competitive bodybuilder, and I can maintain mid-single digits bodyfat with no problem and no cardio utilizing scheduled cheat windows.
Awesome to look at... intolerable to eat with.

First, a bit of semantics.  I initially believed that the precepts I held regarding cheat meals were at odds with those of John Berardi, whose opinion on all things diet I value highly.  Not so, it seems- we merely disagreed semantically.  Rather than rewrite his description of cheat meals, refeeds, and planned overfeeding (as some of my fellow bloggers have done, without giving credit where it's due), I'll simply cut and paste Berardi's definitions:
Cheat meal = unplanned dietary transgression in which someone eats foods not on their diet (and not considered “clean”) and/or over consumes these foods. Cheat meals are usually the consequence of getting hungry and not having good food options available. An example of a cheat meal is being on the road and not having a chicken breast and vegetable dinner available so you stop at a restaurant and eat a burger, fries, and a milkshake.
Planned overfeeding = planned increase in calorie intake for a single meal. Planned overfeedings usually occur when eating maintenance intake or above since this meal will probably bump your calories up above the maintenance or habitual level of intake. Planned overfeedings can be carried out with excess amounts of “clean” foods or with other foods not considered bodybuilding friendly and are usually in place to allow time to eat “fun” foods so that athletes don’t feel so deprived as well as to help with recovery. An example of a planned overfeeding is ordering 4 large pizzas for yourself and 3 friends every other Sunday afternoon when in the midst of a serious strength and power phase.
Refeed = planned increase in calorie intake that lasts 8 – 12 hours and usually consists of a large increase in carbohydrates. Refeeds usually occur when dieting and are planned in order to provide a brief day of psychological relief as well as a number of physiological benefits that we’ll discuss later. An example of a refeed is following a strict diet of 1500kcal 5 days per week and consuming 2500kcal of clean bodybuilding foods (the additional kcal coming mostly from carbohydrates) on the other 2 days.
Frankly, it's never occurred to me to define an unplanned dietary transgression, because they're nearly impossible to make if you've got a scintilla of willpower.  If you don't, stop reading this blog and go back to playing with your Star Wars figurines and eating Cheetos while you wait for something, anything, to happen in World of Warcraft.  Fuck my life, that game is beyond boring.  In any event, when I refer to a cheat meal or cheat window, it is the second, not the first, definition to which I am referring.

The key, then, is that these are scheduled, timed affairs.  They should last only 3 hours at a time, in my opinion, and they should occur one to two times per week.  I plan these out in my head prior to engaging in them, purchase whatever I need for them just before doing so, eat my fucking face off, and toss anything that's still extant at the 3 hour mark.  No starving kids in Africa is going to be able to eat the two chicken fingers you were unable to stuff down your gullet, and they'd likely cut your cock off for being a godless infidel if they were around, so fuck them.  That adage is a pile of bullshit, and it will only serve to fuck your dieting goals by tempting you while you're playing Call of Duty or when you come home hammered and starving at 4AM.  Don't stock up on forbidden foods- when you need them, they'll be easy enough to find.

In re the duration and frequency of your cheat windows, there are basically three schools of thought on this- don't do it at all (Chris Aceto, Pauline Nordine, and various other psychotics), do it twice a week at regular intervals for 3-4 hours (Lyle McDonald, Warren Willey), and do it once a week for the entire day (same guys).  I've already addressed the first school of thought, so I'll now hit the latter two.  Obviously, I think that cheat meals are essential- at least one study has shown that short breaks from high fat diets will not have an adverse effect on lipolytic activity, and lipolytic activity in people who take high carb breaks from high fat diets are actually higher than those who are on a high carbohydrate diet.(Saitoh)  As I advocate low carb diets, this is rather important.  It becomes moreso when you consider one of Dave Palumbo's comments in re cheat windows, wherein he stated that if "you use a keto-diet, you'll need to have a cheat meal (to spike insulin) at least once per week to keep the thyroid functioning normally." 
Dave knows a thing or two about getting lean... and about having a gigantic fucking head.

Also, as I stated in my previous blog on bulking, cheat windows speed the metabolism, (Matsumoto)  replenish your glycogen stores, (Bowden) and increase your thyroid, adrenal, and sex hormones, (Poehlman) in addition to providing an awesome forced break from clean eating.(Westrate)  Given that you're reading this blog, I think it's no mystery that I'm hyper-intense, slightly insane, and not terribly amenable to long-distance, low intensity events, which is what a cheat day would be.  For those, most authors recommend that you keep your cheating fairly reasonable, or you run the risk of undoing a lot of the metabolic goodness you've created with your 6 days of dieting.  They also recommend those days for occasions wherein dieting simply isn't feasible, like taking a trip to an amusement park, or some other day-long event at which it'd be a pain in the ass for you, and a major inconvenience and annoyance to those around you (mostly the latter, because no one gives a fuck if you have veins on your abs but you).  

In re the shorter, more intense cheats- that's not to state that it's a foregone conclusion that they're better, but the science (cited above) seems to point in the direction of shorter, more intense cheats in order to obtain the more extreme metabolic enhancements.  Luckily, that's my cup 'o fucking tea- brief, vulgar, and going for the jugular.   
I have always been uncomfortable around babies.  Now I know why- they eat motherfuckers.

Thus, in my 3 hours cheat windows (which should always come on non-consecutive days, or you'll again run the risk of obviating the point of the exercise), I eat as many calories as I can possibly fit down my gullet.  I find that I'll generally have a raised core temperature (i.e. I sweat my ass off while eating), and more energetic, and feel like a giant killer robot with a 50 foot boner who shits hundred dollar bills- that's how I know that I'm getting the proper metabolic response.  What do I eat to achieve this sensation?  This sort of shit:  

1 Small Pepperoni and Sausage Pizza
10 piece Chicken Nuggets
Small, heavily buttered movie popcorn

12 KFC Hot Wings
Most of a Digiorno 3 Meat Pizza
Half a bag of Baked Ruffles or Low-fat Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls

Medium Papa John's Spicy Italian Pizza
Cheese Breadsticks

20 Breaded Spicy Garlic Hooter's wings 
Large DQ Blizzard with Heath Bars and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

As you can see, there's a pattern- I literally eat for three straight hours.  If I'm not eating, I feel like I'm missing out.  Thus, I usually pick foods on which I can graze.  There's no metabolic reasoning for this- it's just what I like to do.

For those of you who are about to throw Lyle McDonald in my face, relax, I've read the same shit.  His contention is that during these structured refeeds, you should definitely not "use the concept as an excuse to eat yourself sick or eat three times what you’d normally eat."(McDonald, 34)  I'll tell you this from experience- the farther you get in a given diet, the less you can consume in three hours- it's a matter of pure biology.  Thus, at the beginning of your diet, you'll be able to eat more during your cheats, which will likely slow your progress.  It will, however, completely obliterate any reason you'd have to abandon the fucking thing.  As you get further along in your diet, and you start seeing definition you'd never seen before, or veins you never thought you'd ever see, you're going to naturally restrict yourself on your cheats, or cut yourself down to one ball-out cheat a week and one minor one.  If that doesn't happen naturally for you, take McDonald's advice.  I, however, like challenging myself, and seeing how much food I can fit down my throat in 3 hours serves 3 purposes: physical, because I get the metabolic advantages listed above, psychological, because I get all the foods I might want on a regular day at once, and emotional, because I feel satiated and satisfied with my personal level of success and freedom in my diet.  Should you find that your body is not responding thusly, start putting the brakes on manually- treat it like you're a blind man at an orgy... you're gonna have to feel this one out.
Greatest comedic genius of our time.
I usually choose to have my cheat meals at night.  From a insulin standpoint this is probably not ideal, but from a lifestyle standpoint, I don't care.  There's not enough of a difference in hormone levels between morning and night to justify worrying about my insulin levels, and I find that it's awesome to go to bed full to bursting and have the night to digest and bomb out my place in peace, rather than force myself to eat a meal when it's inconvenient.  

Some nutritionists believe that pre-workout is the best time for a scheduled cheat window.  Anytime I've tried to schedule a cheat meal early in a day and train later, however, I find that my lift's a disaster, and I spend the majority of the time trying not to throw up or shit my pants, or both.  As such, evening cheats seem to be absolutely ideal, as I'm already operating in a caloric deficit, so my body's sucking up nutrients, it fits with social events like going to the movies, and it allows me to digest my massive influx of calories in bed, where blood can pool in my stomach and occur with a minimum of disruption from physical activity.  Additionally, it's on this day that I'll occasionally take the opportunity to drink absurd amounts of Jager or some other liquor, and I'm of the opinion that the cheat meal both mitigates the possibility of hangover and facilitates the assimilation of far more alcohol without negative effect, in addition to dropping the glycemic index of sweeter liquors (like Jager).  I realize that some of you may be screaming "but it lowers your test levels! SCREEEEEE!"  Relax.  According to a study published in 2003, "Heavy acute alcohol drinking decreases blood testosterone in men due to an effect on the testicular level", which means that if you drink your fucking face off, your test levels will rise accordingly.(Sarkola)  A far more in depth explanation was provided by Patrick Arnold in Muscular Development, in which he stated that alcohol consumption gives a short-term testosterone boost due to the manner in which ethanol is processed by the body.(Arnold)
Two supplements that will increase the effectiveness of your cheat meal are:
ECA stack- It increases your thermogenesis anyway, but "ephedrine alone can increase the thermic effect of a meal by 30%"(Berardi).  As such, make sure you whack that back prior to the initiation of your feeding frenzy to ensure that you're getting the optimal metabolic response to your overfeeding.

Digestive enzymes- Before, during, and after.  Trust me, they'll help.  If you've been eating clean, your body's going to have something to say about what you're eating, and it's going to let everyone in the room know what it thinks about it.  This should prevent any non-alcohol-related pants-shitting, and keep you from smelling like you've shit them.  Lastly, it'll increase the absorption of the nutrients you'd so rudely and crudely stuffed down your ravenous gullet, increasing the positive effects of that meal and hopefully negating any of the negative ones.

One last word on this, which I also mentioned in my last bulking blog- don't include these feeding frenzies if you're not already lean.  If you're a fatass, you don't deserve them from a mental standpoint and cannot really utilize them from a metabolic one.  As such, you'd be wise to steer clear until you can see some abs.  For guys, this means under 15%, tops.  For girls, that means... whatever the female equivalent of 15% is.  We'll call it 25-27%.  If you can see abs, have at it- otherwise, wait until you can.  Additionally, if you find that cheat meals are either not helping, or they're actually hurting, monkey with the timing, duration, and what you're actually eating.  I find that at times I have a hell of a time leaning out using these if I'm not on an ultra-low carb diet for at least three days out of the week and I'm eating massive amounts of both carbs and fat during the cheat windows.  Make a note of what works and what doesn't, and actually utilize that information.

On that note, it's time for me to begin mine.
One can never have too many pics of Pauline Nordin.

Arnold, Patrick.  A Steroid for Flu Prevention.  Muscular Development, 2/10/10, p. 276.

Berardi, John.  "Q & A with John Berardi."  Iron Magazine.  http://www.ironmagazine.com/article466.html

Bowden VL and McMurray RG. Effects of training status on the metabolic responses to high carbohydrate and high fat meals. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2000 Mar;10(1):16-27.

Faigin, Rob.  Natural Hormonal Enhancement.  Cedar Mountain: Extique, 2000.

Matsumoto T, et al. Comparison of thermogenic sympathetic response to food intake between obese and non-obese young women. Obes Res 2001 Feb;9(2):78-85

McDonald, Lyle.  A Guide to Flexible Dieting.  Taylorsville: McDonald, 2005.

Palumbo, David.  "Q&A with Dave Palumbo." http://www.rxmuscle.com/articles/qadave/590-qaa-with-dave-palumbo-august-6-2009.html

Poehlman ET, et al. Genotype dependency of the thermic effect of a meal and associated hormonal changes following short-term overfeeding. Metabolism 1986 Jan;35(1):30-6.

Saitoh S, Matsuo T, Tagami K, Chang K, Tokuyama K, and Masashige Suzuki.  Effects of short-term dietary change from high fat to high carbohydrate diets on the storage and utilization of glycogen and triacylglycerol in untrained rats.  EUR J APP PHYS OCC PHYS; 74 (1-2):13-22

Sarkola T, Ericksson TJP.  Testosterone increases in men after a low dose of alcohol.  AL Clin Exper Res; 27 (4): 682-5.

Westrate JA, Hautvast JG.  The effects of short-term carbohydrate overfeeding and prior exercise on resting metabolic rate and diet-induced thermogenesis.  Metabolism. 1990. Dec;39(12):1232-9.

Willey, Warren.  Better Than Steroids.  Trafford: Pocatello, 2007.

25 August 2010

Baddest Motherfuckers Ever #18- Ken "I Beat Up A Bunch Of Cops Once" Patera

Another douchey wrestler in tight pants?  Yeah, and fuck you.  For all of his bleach blond wigs and professional wrestling tomfoolery, Ken Patera was one of the baddest motherfuckers ever- strong enough to hang with Vasily Alexeev and crazy enough to be right at home with Benny Podda and Charles Bronson.

We might, at this point, have stumbled across the ultimate human being.

Pertinent Statistics
Height: 6'1.75"
Weight: 340 lb (at the 1972 Olympics)
Billed weight WWF: 256 lbs.

Best Lifts
Power Clean: 501-1/2
Squat Clean: 515
Clean and Jerk: 505.5
Clean and Press: 505.5
Snatch: 387.5
Total: 1395
Press Behind Neck: 418, 405x2
Squat (belt only): 820
Front Squat: 650
Good Mornings: 573-3/4
Press off rack: 535
Overhead squat: 440-3/4
Steep incline press: 485
Bench press: 560 (a lift he never did and apparently put this up with ease)
Clean grip deadlift: 785x2
Snatch grip high pull: 440-3/4

  • Set 84 National or higher level records
  • 4 Gold Medals at the 1971 Pan Am games
  • Competed at 1972 Olympics
  • 2nd in 1971 Worlds
  • 3rd in the 1968 NCAA track meet(shot put)
  • 3rd in the 1977 World's Strongest Man Contest (competed in only 5 of the 10 events)

Ken Patera was not born- he erupted from a singularity that was created when the world's first DVDA was consummated in 1942, coinciding nicely with our victory over the Krauts in World War 2.  Growing up in Portland, Oregon, Patera apparently took to the weights like a lesbian does vagina, and quickly became renown for being the strongest kid at his high school.  To be fair, he was just about the only person there who lifted weights, as everyone else was afraid of becoming musclebound, but little Kenny didn't give a fuck. Ken excelled in pretty much every athletic competition he entered, and was able to grab the rim from a standstill under a basketball net. 

He was still able to do this years later, weighing 340 lbs., when he was training for the 1972 Munich Olympics.  The 72 Olympics were a shitshow for everyone involved, save for perhaps Vasily Alexeev.  Patera was apparently favored to win, since no one could touch his strict press, but the asshole Palestinians decided to do the only thing they know how, and shot a bunch of civilian Israeli athletes the day Patera was supposed to compete.  The competition was delayed indefinitely while the Krauts hunted down the terrorists and shot most of them, leaving the remainder for the Israelis.  Patera took that time to attempt to fuck every broad in West Germany, and according Verne Gagne would have won the Olympics if he hadn't been out all night banging sluts the night before competition.  As he was busy all night, and his hip flexors and extensors were likely completely exhausted from the beating they took in Patera's efforts to ease up in anything he could find in a dirndl, he bombed out on the snatch, crushing his Olympic hopes like the Hun vagina he had already dominated.

Patera became a "strongman" in professional wrestling in 1973, as a way to make money while training for another shot at Olympic gold.  He dropped that dream when his best lift, the strict press, was dropped from Olympic weightlifting like a fat kid from an up-and-coming boy band.  Wrestling, however, proved to provide him ample opportunity for success, and succeed he did.  He was essentially an old-school Mark Henry in that they both blew ass at their Olympic efforts and they were both billed as the "World's Strongest Man"- a dubious claim, however entertaining.  He kept that name even as his weight dropped to a bodybuilder-esque 250 lbs, as he competed in the 1977 World's Strongest Man and performed a variety of feats of strength on TV.  Perhaps his greatest feat of strength was picking up Andre the Giant's fat ass, but his typical money moves were to stand against a wall and put his feet on the front bumper of an Econoline van, then have the driver gun the engine and spin the wheels, trying to crush him, in addition to your standard strongman fare, such as bending nails and iron bars, driving nails through boards, and blowing hot water balloons until they popped like a bad guy's head in Riki Oh.

I've no idea how reliable this is as a workout template, as it lacks any mention of sets, and it's pretty hard to believe that the guy did 15 lifts and then headed home for the next 48 hours, but he was a total genetic freak.  This workout was in Milo, however, and at least give you an idea of the absurd poundages Patera was using while training for the Olympics.

Overhead squats: 135x3, 203x3, 255x3, 295x2, 325x2
Front squats: 225x3, 315x3, 405x3, 455x2, 520x1
Snatch high pulls from blocks: 225x3, 315x3, 365x3, 405x3
Press Behind Neck: 135x3, 205x3, 255x3, 305x3, 345x1

Press off rack: 135x5, 225x3, 395x2, 355x2, 405x1, 440x1, 480x1, 325x5
Clean grip high pulls: 255x3, 305x2, 355x2, 405x2, 455x2, 505x2, 555x2
Hyperextensions: three sets of ten (no weight)

Snatch: 135x3, 205x3, 255x2, 295x1, 315x1, 340x1, 360x1
Inclines: 225x5, 395x5, 345x3, 405x3, 430x1
Good Mornings: 135x5, 205x5, 255x5, 305x5

Patera, ever the caged maniac, was clearly bored with this lifestyle.  As such, he found an appropriate outlet for his energies- grabbing his tag team partner, throwing a big-ass rock through the window of a McDonald's after hours, and then ambushing the cops when they came to arrest them.  "The true tragedy began innocently enough. Late, on a snowy night, in Wakesha, Wisconsin, when a hungry Ken Patera went to a fast food restaurant after a grueling match. According to newspaper reports, Ken Patera was denied service, told the restaurant was closed for the night. It is alleged that Ken Patera and a co-defendant threw a rock through the restaurant window, resulting in a call to the police."  In the ensuing melees, of which there were allegedly two, as Saito and the 43 year old Patera utterly fucked up the first wave of cops, ignoring tazers and mace and breaking one of the cop's legs in the process, Patera earned his true status as a legend in strength sports.  He then spent two years in prison, after which he returned to the ring for the second time.  He continued wrestling on and off for another decade, proving to the world that it's not just Hulk Hogan and Rick Flair who can kick ass well into retirement age. 

In summary, Ken Patera was an all-around badass who spent his days being stronger than everyone, one of the first WWF strongmen, an elite Olympic Weightlifter and powerlifter, the first American to lift over 500 pounds in both the military press and clean and jerk, the winner of four straight national championships in the shot put, and an avowed nemesis of both law enforcement and McDonalds.

MILO, Vol 2, No. 2, 1994

22 August 2010

You Can Gain Weight Without Looking Like a Fat Fuck, the Third

Before I really get into the exact methodology and science behind my approach to bulking, I'd like to address conventional bulking diets.  I've dabbled in them, cutting them off when I thought I was gaining too much fat, and as a result never really saw a whole lot of steady muscular bodyweight gain.  Sure, I gained a bit of muscle over the course of about 8 years, but it wasn't until I really started dabbling in nutrition, experimenting with different macronutrient profiles, and tinkering with everything from my calories to my eating frequency, before I started to really see an increase in my lean mass gains.  Thus, here's a short appraisal of conventional wisdom regarding bulking diets.

From suck to suck and man-tits.  Out-fucking-standing.

GOMAD- The great-grandpappy of all modern bulking diets.  This seems to have grown out of the turn of the century strongman's penchant for drinking milk- all of them seem to have drunk a great deal of the shit, and Saxon took it a step further and drank heavy cream.  Historically, milk has been considered to be a near-perfect food for humans, given its high calcium and protein content, and the fact that raw milk is tremendously easy for a healthy person to digest.  Hippocrates advocated a raw milk diet to cure tuberculosis, and both the Masai and Swiss based their diets on milk (the Masai consuming primarily cow milk and blood, supplemented with meat and maize). (Bieler, 212)  

Building on the belief that raw milk is the stuff of greatness, a writer for Strength and Health, John McCallum, penned articles touting raw milk as the way to grow (later compiled into the book The Complete Keys to Progress.  Randall J. Strossen, editor of that book, took that idea a step further, and suggested that everyone drink a gallon of milk a day and do his 20 rep squat program.  It's my understanding that Strossen merely repackaged McCallum's ideas about milk and squats, which would make sense, as it was still legal to produce and transport raw milk in the US in 1965 (when McCallum penned the book).  In retrospect, I'd imagine the fact that Pat Casey (the first guy to bench 600 lbs raw) and Doug Hepburn (the first guy to bench 500 raw) drank 6 quarts of milk a day factored into the belief that a gallon of milk a day is the way to super-strength as well, as it really drove home McCallum's suppositions.

No matter who invented it or why it became so popular, the adoption of that diet in this century is fucking ridiculous for a variety of reasons, starting with the fact that it's impossible to purchase raw milk easily in the US, and pasteurized and homogenized milk borders on indigestible for most people.   Whereas raw milk merely ferments in your intestines (which actually makes it better for you), pasteurized milk putrefies. (Bieler, 211)  Additionally, pasteurized milk is shown to be among the top three food allergies, and has symptoms ranging from ear infection and bad breath to asthma, admonial cramping, diarrhea, croup, and asthma, even in people who are lactose tolerant.(Audette, 58)  Throw into the mix the fact that even skim milk contains 205g of sugar per gallon (and has a higher GI than fatty milks), and you've got a fucking recipe for disaster.  Thus, in straining the shit out of your digestive system, you're getting a paltry 145g of protein for your efforts, not all of which will be digested, due to the fact that the fat molecules in homogenized milk are broken down into smaller parts and become a stealth delivery system for the proteins that puts them directly into your bloodstream, causing allergies.  Pasteurization takes care of the rest, killing all of the enzymes that would aid in the digestion of this chemical monstrosity, putting the final cards in place to facilitate the transformation of milk from a benevolent Dr. Jekyll into a slavering, soul-rending, baby-raping, eviscerating horrorshow of a Mr. Hyde.  At best, it's a quick way to get fat as shit, in my opinion, unless you swing a sledge all day long at work, or you've got the most freakish metabolism of all time, and at worst, you can pretty much wreck every one of your body's internal systems with GOMAD.

Uh... hanging gut and abs?

The traditional bodybuilding bulking diet- this generally consists of the diet that was popular in 1990 amongst everyone, for some reason, but in massive quantities.  Low fat, high carbs, moderate protein (though they'll assert it's high).  Thus, you're eating brown or white rice, veggies, and chicken breasts, in amounts that will afford you 1-1.5g protein per lb of bodyweight, 2-3g of carbs per pound, and .5-1g of fat.  All day.  Every day.  Does it work?  For those amongst us with stout metabolisms, and who do an inordinate amount of daily cardio, apparently.  Perhaps those who flourish on this sort of a diet are carb- or mixed-type metabolisms.  I know that I never really gained much weight on this diet, nor was I particularly lean.

The see-food diet- the favorite of guys like Lee Priest, who appear to be circus fat men with some muscle beneath their blubber in the off-season.  It will put muscle on you, but eating garbage all day long is neither conducive to good health, nor does it make for a particularly attractive physique.  As the goal of the enterprise on which we've embarked is to lean bulk, this diet's useless to anyone who isn't running massive amounts of clenbuterol, test, and GH... and looking at Lee Priest, it doesn't work all that well for those guys, either.  While it might work for putting on sheer mass, it's not useful for lean gains, and the fat you put on is a pain in the ass to take off later.  
Franco stayed lean year-round.

My bulking and cutting approaches are remarkably similar, and are the outgrowth of the works of a number of people, including Ray Audette, Dan Duchaine, Warren Willey, Mauro Di Pasquale, and even a bit of Torbjorn Akerfeldt, all under the umbrella of Wolcott's Metabolic Typing.  My carb and calorie cycling approach is essentially an amalgamation, then, of Warren Willey's Zig Zag and MCD (modified carb drop) diets, Audette's Neanderthin recommendations, and Duchaine's Body Opus, with a bit of steering from Wolcott when picking my macronutrient profiles.  

As I'm a protein type, I trend my protein extremely high(2g+/lb of bodyweight), followed by fat and carbs.  If you're a carb or mixed type, you might want to tinker with my recommendations to better suit your metabolism.  Through hard training and the gradual introduction of more protein in your diet, Wolcott asserts that anyone can become a protein type, but the change is apparently extremely gradual.  In any event, kicking off the basics is Willey's Zig Zag diet, which is based on a three day rotation of low-even-high calorie days, using the BMR to determine total caloric intake and working backwards from there.  I've already stated that I have massive problems with BMR calculations, but for the sake of exposition, he uses the BMR as a baseline, and then multiplies that by .8 on low cal days and 1.2 on high cal days.  He then uses an isocaloric macronutrient ratio to determine protein/carb/fat intake.  Personally, I think Zone dieting is the single fastest way to mediocrity, but I liked the underlying theory behind his plan.  
In defiance of the gods and any clinical evidence I've seen, these broads look sick on a Zone diet.

In re my protein recommendation, there would appear to be a great deal of "evidence" to show that no one needs the massive amount of protein I recommend.  As I've got mountains of anecdotal evidence backing me, I'm inclined to tell those parties just to go and get fucked, question their manhood, fuck their girlfriend, and possibly leave them in a gutter broken and bleeding, but I've also got science on my side.  Like my contention regarding BMR, a 2004 meta-analysis of protein studies called "Protein and amino acids for athletes" concluded that there are too many factors that enter into setting protein requirements, "including the timing of ingestion in relation to exercise and/or other nutrients, the composition of ingested amino acids and the type of protein."(Tipton)  As such, they suggest that athletes go with the "more is better" philosophy, as there's no evidence whatsoever that high levels of dietary protein will have a deleterious effect on a healthy individual's performance or overall health.  This is why I'm going to 2g/lb of bodyweight, and then working my other macros around that.  

What protein could be more bioavailable than human flesh?

Though Willey would likely disagree with my take on protein, Lyle Macdonald would not.  Despite our protein dispute, I still like the guy's ideas, and like the modified carb drop Willey recommends, which consists of 2 and 3 day keto runs followed by high carb days.  As I'd used this to great effect, and have blogged about it in the past, I felt that combining these two diets might be efficacious.  To further increase this, however, it seemed that the inclusion of a paleo day in the place of the occasional fast might provide a simple method by which one could create a caloric deficit while still remaining anabolic, flush any toxins one might have accumulated, have a day easy on the digestive tract, and balance blood glucose levels that might have been out of whack with the high-carb days and/or cheat windows.(Paleolithic)  Finally, I threw in the two cheat windows, which I've found make the entire fucking diet awesome- they speed my metabolism, (Matsumoto) allow me to eat my fucking face off, replenish my glycogen stores, (Bowden) and increase my thyroid, adrenal, and sex hormones, (Poehlman) in addition to providing and awesome forced break from clean eating.(Westrate)  Though he provides no citations of any kind, Lyle Macdonald is also a fan of the cheat meal, though to a far more limited degree than I am.  I will suggest, however, that the effects I described above are really only seen in people who are already fairly lean- if you're fat (15%+), I would limit your gorging during cheat meals, as they're not going to have quite the same effect.  In fact, there's a very real possibility that they'll have a fat-deposition effect rather than a fat-reduction effect, in addition to the fact that it will renew your love of food.
Side note:  I've stated on a couple of occasions that I disliked working with the obese or women on diet.  This is due in large part to the fact that their dieting issues are far more psychological than physical.  They've a love of food, and emotional response to food, that I fail to understand or for which am I willing or able to account.  If you call yourself a "foodie", you probably can't be trusted around cheat foods, and a cheat meal is likely to become a week-long binge that ends in type 2 diabetes.  Thus, you should stick to eating clean foods, and seek psychiatric help.  Clearly, as I have only two emotions, happy and super-ripshit pissed, I'm not the guy to help you through your repressed emotions, fear of abandonment, and sitophilia.
Alright... maybe there's something to food fetishes.

There's nothing like big titties covered in pudding.  Either that, or she just got bukkaked by the 100 guys who work at a plant that makes nothing but Yellow #5.  Either way, that pic is awesome.  In order for a guy to have enough nutrition in order to drop a gallon of nut on some broad, he'd need to eat fairly regularly.  I know a number of you out there are enamored of Martin over at LeanGains, as his philosophy lends itself to a somewhat less structured approach to dieting.  I'm unconvinced, however, in the efficacy of the theory backing intermittent fasting, though they seem to work wonders for him and for the progenitor of that theory, Ori Hofmekler.  The human body is designed to store bodyfat for use during periods wherein one cannot find food, so his methodology seems apt to fail, given that you're training your body to expect daily famines for which it must store fat.   According to the science I've seen, regular feedings, as opposed to infrequent feedings, improve one's insulin profiles, thermogenesis, lipolysis.  (Farshchi, et al., Yunsheng, et al.) This is important, as these frequent feedings should speed your metabolism enough to aid in keeping your bulking phase lean.  Old-school strongmen will contend that this will retard your gains, but I'd suggest that the utilization of my method allows for far great lean mass gains without concurrent fat gains, which makes it far more efficacious for our original goal.

Physique you get from three meals of a half gallon of milk,18 eggs, and a bunch of bananas every day.

As we'd probably like to guard against too much encroachment into muscular gains by the thermogensis created by frequent feedings, it would behoove us to ensure that this is not going to negatively impact anabolism.  Science to the rescue again, as studies appear to show that protein utilization and anabolism is decreased when one force-feeds rather than spreads their nutrient intake throughout the day (Cohn et al).  The delivery can either come in the form of slow-digesting protein a couple of times a day, or faster digesting protein at regular, frequent intervals, but studies do seem to show that protein utilization is improved if it's spread throughout the day, rather restricted to infrequent, large feedings.  (Mosoni and Patreau) 

So, with what are we left?  Flexibility.  I'm not talking about stretching your muscles- I'm referring to stretching your mind.  Obviously, dogmatism really never enters into my dietary or weightlifting regimes, as I pull from a wide variety of clinical studies and esoteric sources.  I'm constantly evaluating both my performance and appearance (I don't test my bodyfat levels), and tweaking my diet therefrom.  I'll tinker with a macronutrient ratios, timing and frequency of cheat meals, the number of my meals, and any number of variables in my workout routine.  To fail to do so would be beyond insane, but I've heard umpteen stories about people following bullshit diets for months on end, seeing no results, and bitching about the failure of their diet, their genetics, and virtually everything on Earth other than their own failure to evaluate and adjust their diets to suit their needs.  It's akin to putting your car on cruise control and then going to sleep, thinking that the fact that the road is straight means you'll arrive at your destination safe and sound.  

Progress in diet and in lifting is far from a steady progression- it's more like a sine wave, though you're hoping to end up more above than below the x-axis.  The key is to recognize downward trends and adjust your diet and training accordingly, to thwart your body's continual efforts to return you to homeostasis and mediocrity.  If you can do that, while keeping your goal in sight and refraining from the urge to spend all of your time online dithering about what to do, rather than simply doing it, clean bulking should be a goal entirely within anyone's reach.

Thus endeth my longest blog.  It was a bitch to write, but I hope you fuckers enjoyed it.

Just because that's about the pinnacle of awesome.

Audette, Ray.  Neanderthin.  New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999.

Bieler, Henry.  Food Is Your Best Medicine.  New York:  Ballantine Books, 1965.

Bowden VL and McMurray RG. Effects of training status on the metabolic responses to high carbohydrate and high fat meals. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2000 Mar;10(1):16-27.

Cohn C, Joseph D, Bell L, Oler A.  Feeding frequency and protein metabolism.  Am J Physiol 205: 71-78, 1963.

Farschi, HR, Taylor M, MacDonald I.  "Beneficial metabolic effects of regular meal frequency on dietary thermogenesis, insulin sensitivity, and fasting lipid profiles in healthy obese women."  Am J Clin Nut 2005 Jan;81(1):16-24.

Lindeberg S, Jönsson T, Granfeldt Y, Borgstrand E, Soffman J, Sjöström K, Ahrén B.  "A Palaeolithic diet improves glucose tolerance more than a Mediterranean-like diet in individuals with ischaemic heart disease."  Diabetologia. 2007 Sep;50(9):1795-807. Epub 2007 Jun 22.

Matsumoto T, et al. Comparison of thermogenic sympathetic response to food intake between obese and non-obese young women. Obes Res 2001 Feb;9(2):78-85

Mosoni L, Mirand PP.  Type and Timing of protein feeding to optimize anabolism.  Curr Opin Clin Nut Metab Care. 2003 May; 6(3): 301-306.

Poehlman ET, et al. Genotype dependency of the thermic effect of a meal and associated hormonal changes following short-term overfeeding. Metabolism 1986 Jan;35(1):30-6.

Tipton KD, Wolfe RR. Protein and amino acids for athletes. J Sports Sci. 2004 Jan;22(1):65-79.

Westrate JA, Hautvast JG.  The effects of short-term carbohydrate overfeeding and prior exercise on resting metabolic rate and diet-induced thermogenesis.  Metabolism. 1990. Dec;39(12):1232-9.

Yunsheng M, Bertone E, Stanek E, Reed G, Hebert J, Cohen N, Merriam P, Ockene I.  Association between eating patterns and obesity in a free-living US adult population.  Am J Epidemiol 2003; 158:85-92.