29 August 2011

What, Exactly, Is Ideal?- The "To Cut Or Not To Cut?" For Meets Edition

One of the most interesting online debates (from a topical perspective, rather than a content perspective) is that in which someone asks the shockingly weak online assemblage if they should cut for a meet.  Hilariously and predictably, the answer is almost invariably "no".

The negative response is derived entirely out of fear, though it's fear of the wrong thing.  Instead of lifters fearing embarrassment due to the fact that their numbers suck and they're fat, they're worried that they'll lose weight off of their generally unimpressive lifts.  This fear is compounded by the fact that they'll be unused to cutting, which will presumably cause their bodies to enter into some sort of shock from which they cannot recover.
Somehow, I don't think Li Hongli's losing any sleep over the fact that somewhere in the world a fat man outbenches him.

All of this is, of course, fucking nonsense.  One's primary concern when entering a strength competition is winning.  As such, you should be focused entirely on what it takes to win.  If you're already focused on what it would take to win, you should be focused on what you can do to fucking embarrass everyone around you for even showing up.  Thus, having the highest possible relative strength should be your primary concern, rather than the greatest absolute strength.  This, of course, flies in the face of the conventional online wisdom that "he who lifts the most wins", as anyone who's not a sloppy fucking mass of adipose tissue would be far more impressed with a stupendous lift by a guy with visable musculature than they would with a Louis Cyr lookalike's world-shattering lift.  This is why everyone shits their pants about Stan Efferding, Joe Ladnier, and Matt Kroczaleski when there's a new record broken in the squat by a different circus fat man every 45 minutes.  This is also the reason why most of you know who 170 lb Bulgarian Olympic Ivan Stoitsov is, and have seen his pic a thousand times, but have no idea who Tatiana Kashirina is, in spite of the fact that she probably clean and jerks what you deadlift.
Quick!  Someone email Lu Xiaojun and tell him he's a bitch because he's only 170!

If you're wondering why no one knows the name of a fat Russian chick who holds the world record in the clean and press and the snatch (a chick who probably outlifts the vast majority of us on just about everything), don't.  Fat people aren't really people- they're placeholders where people should be.  No one wants to look at them, strong or not, nor be around them long enough to locate their genitalia and fuck.  They look like shit, wheeze when they breathe, and are in mortal danger of stroking out when doing anything other than doing a single repetition on one of their pet exercises or eating.  This doesn't change much when a fat guy or girl picks up something heavy- we expect them to be able to do so when the object they're lifting is a fraction of their bodyweight, no matter how heavy that object is.
Jeff Lewis squats 1202 in a bulletproof squat suit.  Given that he's 525 lbs and has cellulite on his knees, I can tell you confidently that I don't give a flying fuck.

Thus, if really doesn't matter that a fat person is all that strong.  You might be thinking, however, that you're not necessarily morbidly obese, but just have a "powerful torso" or somesuch.  All that means is that you're leaving weight on the table by which you might be able to fuck up the competition.  For instance, if you're competing 235 and sitting on something around 20% bodyfat, you're doing yourself a fucking disservice if you're competing at 242 because you're too fucking lazy to diet a bit.  That extra bodyfat is doing nothing but holding you back from greatness, as you could ostensibly be crushing shit at 220, or dominating everyone and looking ridiculous (Chinese Olympic weightlifting style) at 198.

Cutting weight is not, as some people would have it, the death knell for a lifter's total.  Provided cutting is done sensibly and fairly slowly, one's strength can rather easily be maintained, and can even be increased slowly if the cut is managed correctly.  The added volume you'll probably implement to cut the weight will just contribute to your total workload in the gym, and you could see random lifts jump up as you increase your mobility and strength to weight ratio.  Additionally, you won't feel like you need a nap if you have to take the stairs one day when the power goes out.

Throw on top of that the fact that strength does not increase proportionally with bodyweight- the law of diminishing returns kicks in like a motherfucker.  This means endless weight gains to shut up the fat guys talking shit on some message board are probably pointless.  At some point, you're going to hit a wall where your body's pretty much at it's upper limit for maximizing strength for your bodyweight.  Thereafter, your strength gains will probably be incremental, while your bodyweight increases could be exponential.  There's no point in asking other people at what point that will occur, either- it's entirely individual and completely unpredictable.  Thus, you should experiment with your bodyweight to find your "sweet spot".
Not a bodyweight sweet spot.  Also, is anyone else wondering why the Special Ed kids loaded that bar?

All of this is of course heresy to the myriad fatasses of the world, who will likely hold aloft one person as the entire basis of their argument- Ed Coan.  Coan was a fucking freak of nature, however, and it's relatively certain that unless you've recently destroyed every record within reach, you're not fucking him.  So why, then, would they postulate something so absurd?  To justify the fact that they look like they do.  There's no other possible reason, as there will always be someone stronger than they are, which obliterates their supposition regarding absolute strength.  Additionally, I don't think you'll find any of them criticizing Coan for dropping to 242 after competing at 275 for a while, especially given the fact that he looked fucking awesome.
Laura Phelps is stronger, and probably leaner than you.  Food for thought.

So, when deciding whether or not to drop weight for a powerlifting meet, consider the following:
  1. Should you bother competing at all?  This is the most critical, and usually the most overlooked question of all.  If you're not one of the strongest people you know, there's really no reason to do so.  That won't stop many people from doing so, however, which leads me to the following question.
  2. Are there weight classes in this meet?  If so, you should probably think about cutting to make a lower class, thus ensuring the highest strength to weight ratio and thereby placing you further away from the possibility of embarrassing yourself, whether it be when you disrobe or when you lift in the meet.
  3. Do you have weight to lose?  Chances are you do, unless you're already ripped to shreds.  Unless you're planning on smashing a superheavy record or sitting at 5% bodyfat, there's absolutely no conceivable reason why you shouldn't drop weight.
  4. Can you see your genitalia without a mirror and a partner?  If the answer is no, it doesn't matter if you're going to smash a record in any weight class- you need to lose some fucking weight.  If the answer is yes, refer to question 3.
There you have it- a simple, easy to follow guide to whether or not you should cut weight for a meet.    In the next installment of this series, I'll fill you in on how I cut, and how other people cut.  Now, flame away, flamers.
None of this applies to chicks with big asses, as they should preserve the booty at all costs, strength to bodyweight ratio be damned.

23 August 2011

The French Have Finally Given The World Something Of Value- The Dukan Diet

I am shocked and pleased to announce that the French have finally, after over a thousand years of nearly unmitigated suck, decided to give the world something useful.  That thing, as it happens, is a book about nutrition- The Dukan Diet.
I realize that the above statement makes about as much sense as an announcement to the effect that a  New Guinea tribesman has just made a breakthrough in quantum physics, but I am actually quite serious.  The French will surprise us from time to time, as they have over the course of the last 100 years produced Charles Rigolout, Rise of the Northstar's song "Protect Ya Chest", and the Dukan Diet.  In much the same way as the other two French products were excellent, the Dukan Diet is a damn fine nutrition book.

As a bit of background, the Pierre Dukan, progenitor of the Dukan Diet, is considered to be France's answer to Dr. Atkins.  Like Atkins, he's regarded as a saint by some (notable celebrities like the broad who married into British royalty, the ridiculously nicknamed J-Lo, and Gisele swear by the diet) and a devil by others (including another popular dieting author who essentially said that Dukan's poisoning the minds and bodies of the French).(Nazar, Pichi)  Additionally, Dukan is a legitimate doctor, and he seems to have developed his diet after years of receiving diet questions from his patients and combining what he found through research with what he saw working in real life.
Body by Dukan.

Though someone to whom I recently described the diet responded with something akin to horror at the perceived complexity of the diet, I think it's unbelievably simple.  The diet is broken down into four separate parts, all with very simple-to-follow rules:
  • Attack Phase- this is a pure protein diet utilized to kickstart fat loss
  • Cruise Phase- pure protein days alternated with quasi-paleo days on which you can add select vegetables
  • Consolidation Phase- intended to prevent rebound, this phase is a bit looser than the cruise phase
  • Permanent Stabilization Phase- basically, eat whatever the fuck you want, with one protein day
In my opinion, it hardly gets simpler than this.  Additionally, this appears to be the ultimate [effective] female diet (the ultimate female diets will be outlined in a soon-to-be-released "Dumbest Fucking Diets of All Time" blog series), as it eventually allows the women to eat their much sought-after carbs after training them and their brains how they should focus their dieting efforts.  
That's one of the most genius parts of the Dukan Diet, as it has built in game mechanics that essentially allow users to "level-up" and get access to tastier foods.  Additionally, this diet is far less draconian than anything I follow on a regular basis, requires little to no calculations, and keeps its food rules fairly simple.

Before I dive into the phases, I figure I'll give those of you who could give a fuck about this diet some interesting highlights:
  • On determining one's ideal weight:  it's better to ask yourself what weight is realistic and at which you'd feel good than to fantasize about looking like a celebrity.  Abstractions in shit like this generally lead to failure.  
  • Your body's biological memory of your most common bodyweight can never be erased.  As such, you should focus on losing weight gradually, rather than in big jumps- big jumps will waste the willpower you'll need to stabilize your weight at a reasonable level, rather than momentarily hitting a new high or low.
  • The DD includes a true weight calculator, which is pretty interesting, and Dukan notes that a man's stable bodyweight increases 2.6 lbs per decade, and a woman's increases 1.8 lbs.
  • On a diet, you should refrain from using too much salt- this will reduce water retention and help keep your appetite at bay.  Salt intake increases salivation and gastric acidity, which trigger feelings of hunger.  Also, Dukan mentions that an increase in water with a concomitant decrease in salt will reduce the appearance of cellulite.
  • Fats are public enemy #1, and simple carbohydrates are #2.  I, of course, disagree with this sentiment for strength athletes (see last blog for more info).


The attack phase of the Dukan Diet (heretofore D.D.) lasts 2-7 days, based on personal fatness, the average of which is 5 days.  During this phase, you limit yourself to foods that are as close to pure protein as possible- lean meats, skinless poultry, 90% lean ground beef or better, veal, pork, game meats, seafood, eggs, nonfat dairy... essentially, anything but duck, goose, and ribs.  This can be prepared any way you like, but without butter, oil, or cream.  As I mentioned, poultry has to be skinless, though it can be cooked with the skin on to preserve the meat's moisture as much as possible.  If you're eating eggs, you should limit yourself to two yolks during this phase, but you can eat unlimited portions of the rest.
Did I mention the dairy?  I found that to be the most interesting part of this diet, and especially to the fairer sex, who is forever fucking whining about the lack of cheese, milk, ice cream, cheese, and ice cream in their diets.  Also, ice cream.  Anyone who's ever tried to help chicks with a diet has suffered through this, as chicks tend to whine about ice cream a fucking lot.  In any event, no sugar added dairy is right at the top of the fucking list for Dukan, who somehow believes lactose to be more or less harmless.  As such, fat free cheese can be eaten in unlimited amounts, skim milk can be drunk, and sugar-free yogurt can be eaten.  This makes life fairly easy for most chicks, as they all seem to love cottage cheese, and you can pretty much make this phase the cottage cheese phase if you so choose.  In retrospect, I suppose it doesn't necessarily allow ice cream, but dairy is dairy in my mind, so all of you dairy aficionados can suck it the fuck up.  Also, there's an end around on the ice cream thing, as provided by the good people over at My Dukan Diet.
The only hard and fast rules on this bitch is that you must consume 1.5 tablespoons of oat bran every day (he recommends making it into a galette), drink 1.5Q of water per day, and eat as much of the allowed foods as you want.  Insofar as duration is concerned, he recommends a 3 day attack for people looking to lose less than 20 pounds (total), a 1 day attack for people looking to lose less than 10 lbs, and 7-10 days for Walmart fatties. Finally, he recommends 20 minutes of walking a day, but quite frankly if you think 20 minutes of walking constitutes exercise, then the series of odd decisions you've made in finding this site leads me to believe that you're probably here for the porn.  


The cruise phase essentially takes the attack phase and adds veggies.  Like I stated earlier, this diet is so simple, the fucking book could have been written in crayon and Simple Jack could have understood it without  a problem.  This phase is continued without a break until the dieter hits their target weight, and just alternates pure protein days with protein and vegetable days, all in unlimited amounts.  The average length of the phase is three days per pound of bodyweight lost, which is actually pretty reasonable, and retains the same oat bran and water prescription from the previous phase.

Vegetables that are ok'd by Dukan for this phase: tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, spinach, lettuce, asparagus, leeks, green beans, cabbage, mushrooms, celery, fennel, eggplant, zuccchini, summer squash, peppers, and provided they're not at every meal, carrots and beets.  No amount of whining, pleading, cajoling, or other tomfoolery will make potatoes or corn vegetables.  They're not.  It's science.  Accept it and move on with your lives.

Consolidate Your Position

At this point, you've conquered your body like Hitler raped France, and you've got to install your own puppet regime.  Instead of enlisting the help of the Vichy, you've got to continue the Cruisin' diet with minor modifications, and add in some "celebration" meals.  This is where the diet gets "fun" in female parlance.  At this point, you get to add two slices of bread and a portion of fruit every day.  Additionally, you can have two portions of starchy carbohydrates a week, and two planned cheat meals.

At this point in the diet, you should have a pretty fucking good idea of what got you to where you are, a healthy respect for that knowledge, and a desire not to blow the whole goddamned thing because you've already broken your ass dieting for a month.  This phase takes that and rolls it into a ball with what regular (FAT *cough* FAT) people consider a "normal"/"balanced" diet.  The idea here is to train yourself to have portion control so you maintain your weight.  Your body's not taking that shit laying down, however, and will fight tooth and nail to regain its lost fat.  At this point, people find they're cold, tired, constantly hungry, and have increased caloric absorption... essentially, it's a big bag of bullshit.
Beat your body like this guy.

To get your body to fuck right off with that nonsense, Dukan reintroduces whole grain bread, certain fruits, and the wondrous cheat meal.  I've already outlined the myriad reasons why cheat meals are awesome (here and here), and Dukan agrees with my sentiments.  He does, however, add limitations I do not, and which might well prove useful to a lot of you who are struggling with fat loss:
  • eat anything you want, but you only get a single portion, and your portion size should be moderated by reason
  • eat one of every one of the haute-cuisine courses to provide yourself with a full  meal experience- 1 appetizer, 1 entree, 1 dessert, and 1 glass of wine.
  • cannot have two celebration meals in a row
As I stated, this is in many ways similar to my suggestions about cheat meals, though my suggestions lack the effete trappings of that esteemed French gentleman's.  In any event, they're reasonable.  In addition to the above, he suggests that you have a single day of pure proteins per week, and recommends that the following fruit hierarchy to guide your decision making there:
Apples> Strawberries and Raspberries> Melon> Grapefruit> Kiwis, peaches, nectarines, mangoes.

You cannot have bananas, grapes, cherries, dried fruit, or nuts.  Additionally, you still cannot have starchy "vegetables" like corn, potatoes, or yams, unless it's one of your starch meals.
Speaking of which, the plan for the starchy meals is not too dissimilar from the cheat meal plan- it's governed by reason and common sense.  During the first half of the consolidation phase, you can only have one serving a week, and then you bump it up to two servings once you hit the halfway point.  As for what you can stuff down your gullet at these meals, you can have an 8 oz (cooked) serving of pasta, corn, breads, coucous, polenta, or lentils, 6 oz of white or 8oz of brown rice, or a baked potato without butter.  While it's not quite an evening at the Olive Garden, it's something for those of you who love their carbs.

At Least Your Weight Will Be Stable

The DD is structured so that you never have to return to a life of bulimia to manage your weight, and the Permanent Stabilization routine is the key to the whole shitteree, according to MM. Dukan.  This phase is actually simpler than the rest, as it involves eating whatever the fuck you want 6 days a week (provided you're still getting your 2TBSP of oat bran a day, eating the pure protein diet one day a week, and never using an escalator or elevator again in your life.  The latter recommendation only really works in sub-saharan Africa or a country that is bombed flat by its neighbor twice a century, but would likely be suicidal if you lived in the Burj Khalifa or wanted to stand at the top of the Empire State Building.  
Even Lance Armstrong would call bullshit on climbing the stairs in this motherfucker.

According to Dukan, however, this thing will keep you slender as a baguette-eater for the remainder of your days, and apparently does not require that you own a beret to do so.

Questions I Have Been Asked About This Diet Already
Q:  Is oat flour the same as oat bran?
A:  Nope.  Oat flour is entirely different from oat bran, and could be considered the yin to oat bran's yang, or the Skeletor to bran's He-Man.  On this diet you will have to eat oat bran, which is apparently hard as all fucking hell to find in some stores.  It should be located, however, in the cereal isle.  You can also get it cheap on amazon if you so choose.

Q:  I can't find sugar-free yogurt!!!  HELP!
A:  Yogurt, like all dairy foods, contains sugar.  This sugar is called lactose, and is the alleged culprit when any person shits their pants after drinking a glass of milk.  According to one study, "Approximately 70% of the world’s population has primary lactase deficiency", which means they are at least moderately lactose intolerant.  That fascinating sidebar aside, there's no way to get sugar-free yogurt.  What you want is "No sugar added" yogurt, which is sweetened with artificial sweeteners.  No honey, no agave, and no other hippie faux sugars are allowed either- you want good, old-fashioned chemical sweeteners if you're going to have yogurt, or just eat it unflavored.

Q: Where should I go to get recipes/more information/anything else because I'm too fucking lazy to read the book?
A:  My Dukan Diet seems to have some good recipes and breaks shit down a bit.  Thus, if you've got a member of the family with Down's syndrome but who wants to lose some weight (and when was the last time you saw someone with Down's who couldn't stand to get their ass around the block a couple of times?), or you want recipes, go here.

Q:  Is cum allowed on this diet? [Editor's note:  I very literally was asked this question.  Twice.]
A:  Yes, cum can be a very important part of any diet for anyone who wishes to partake (edited for the hyper literal readers out there).  This means that gays, bisexual guys, guys who like to eat their own cum, and straight or bisexual chicks can benefit greatly from the addition of cum to their diet.
"Although cum may look creamy and opaque, it contains very little fat, and few calories. One teaspoon of cum contains about 5 calories, and the average ejaculation produces about a tablespoon of semen, for a total of 15 calories. Because of the sugars in seminal fluid, we'd guess that it has a few carbohydrates, but considering the relatively small volume of semen per "serving" we'd guess the total amount to be negligible.Given that cum is a high-protein, low-carb snack, you'd think the Atkins Diet people would be all over it by now. Plus, when you factor in the calories expended in performing oral sex, chances are you're burning off much more than you're consuming. The only way that swallowing during a blow job will make you fat is if you cover your lover's dick with whipped cream and chocolate syrup." (Don't Spit)
Per Wikipedia: "Semen is primarily water, but contains trace amounts of almost every nutrient the human body uses.[citation needed] It has somewhat higher amounts of commonly deficient minerals, such as potassium, magnesium, and selenium. One typical ejaculation contains 150 mg of protein, 11 mg of carbohydrates, 6 mg fat, 3 mg cholesterol, 7% US RDA potassium and 3% US RDA copper and zinc." 

Dieting FTW.

Don't Spit, Swallow.  Cum Nutrition Facts.  http://www.dontspitswallow.com/cum_nutrition.shtml
Dukan, Pierre.  The Dukan Diet.  New York:  Crown Archetype, 2010.
Nazar, Robyn.  Dukan Diet: New Weight Loss Fad for Celebs.  http://www.emaxhealth.com/4214/dukan-diet-new-weight-loss-fad-celebs 
Pichi, Chuan.  War Plans: Dukan Lost to Cohen.  http://ya20.com/2011/07/05/war-plans-dukan-lost-to-cohen-2/

18 August 2011

Can't Gain Weight? Guess What- You're Doing It Wrong #3

This man's "health drink" consisted of a shot of gin and raw egg in a stout beer with some sugar added, and he lifted more on his off day with one hand than you can lift with both on your best. Coincidence?

Having covered myriad weight gain diets used by champion lifters throughout the last hundred years, a couple of prominent themes rose to the surface:
  1. all diets should be protein-centric. No true muscular weight gain can take place without making massive protein consumption one's primary goal.
  2. one's diet should be high in animal fats. Fats seemed to comprise the caloric majority of all of the diets I outlined and seem to play a vital role in muscular weight gain and strength training in general.
  3. a proper weight gain diet contains what would appear to a casual observer to be a ludicrous number of calories.
I believe I've found the perfect meal.

The utility of protein in any weight trainer's diet has been covered ad nauseam by myself and others, and hardly seems worth revisiting. Should you find yourself without the requisite knowledge on the subject to proceed, check out these sources for more information (here, here, and here). In short, without devoting a considerable portion of your diet to high-quality protein sources, you will not grow. Additionally, high levels of protein consumption is positively correlated with bone mass (Cooper et al), inversely correlated with serum concentrations of sex hormone-binding globulin (the shit in your blood that prevents your testosterone from binding to your receptors, aka "shit in your blood that sucks")(Longcope et al), may improve athletic performance, and despite vast amounts of negative press based on ancient studies (Campbell et al), do not negatively affect renal function.(Ibid)  Rob Faigin devoted half of his epic, must read book to protein, so it's got to be good, right?
Conversely, high fat diets have received either mixed reviews in the press or overwhelmingly negative reviews, but are rarely portrayed as anything but highly dangerous and possibly insane.  In my investigation, however, fat is the unsung hero of strongmen.  The utility of a diet high in animal fats is perhaps the most interesting theme running through the diets of sundry strongmen, and bears further investigation. If you'd care to briefly revisit the previous installments, you'll notice that every last one of those motherfuckers ate saturated fat like they were persistence hunting a coronary. Though I doubt any of them knew it, the inclusion of massive amounts of fat in the diet has been shown to markedly increase testosterone levels. According to a 1982 study, high fat diets resulted in markedly improved serum testosterone concentrations when compared with low fat diets. Additionally, the switch from one diet to the other caused test levels to change accordingly. In this study, dietary percentages of fat and carbohydrates ranged from 25%-40% and 45%-57%, respectively, and the results showed for the first time that a high fiber, low-fat diet significantly "reduces the biologically active, free testosterone in serum. (Hamalainen et al)
Perfect snack for those parties ranging from the awkwardly feminine to the possibly Canadian.

Another study was conducted in 2004 on the subject that made things a bit more interesting by comparing the effect of fat intake on strength athletes to non-athletes, and found that there was a significant correlation between testosterone levels and saturated fat intake in the strength athletes. (Sallinen et al)  This finding was especially interesting given the stated comparison, and would seem to corroborate the incidental correlation between the supermen I've outlined in this series and their diets.  This correlation was found to exist even more impressively in another Penn State study in 1994, which showed that the correlation between dietary fat and testosterone levels is even higher than the correlation between weight training (albeit a fairly ridiculous program of jump squats and bench pressing).(Volek et al)  The result of both studies, however, is the theory that "dietary fat and protein intake may lead to [positive] alterations in the regulation of the endocrine system during prolonged strength training" and that "saturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids are strongly associated with serum basal testosterone concentrations."  (Sallinen)  In short- if you train your ass off and eat a lot of saturated fat, your body will reward you for stuffing yourself with wings and beef ribs with lower overall bodyfat, harder erections, more physical strength, better mental health, and a whole host of other health benefits.(Kvorning et al, Men's Health, Kvorning et al, Svartberg et al)
Boom.  Testosterone raised, motherfuckers.

Finally, as JM Blakely stated so succinctly, "Remember - If you want to beat the man, you've gotta out-eat the man!" I am perhaps among the worst of the strength training community in over-analyzing the role diet plays in strength building, but I can find absolutely no fault with this statement. Certainly it bears mentioning that there are some caveats to this rule, and that the composition of one's diet is just as important as its volume, but volume is a generally ignored issue in weight gain, amusing as that sounds. Thus, if you find that you cannot gain weight, it's likely how much you are eating as opposed to what- the "what" only enters into play when examining the kind of weight you're gaining.  Thus, if you want to gain weight, you need to line up protein-rich foods and attack them like you're Kobayashi in an eating competition with Galactus.
Fucker would probably win, too.

The themes consistent across these strongmen's lifestyles actually extend further than their voracious appetites and amusing food choices.  Not surprisingly, most or all of the superhumanly strong motherfuckers I've mentioned in their series made mention of the necessity of making like a modern-day Rip Van Winkle.  Anderson stated outright that more than 8 hours was necessary, Hepburn apparently found 10 hours was the golden amount (Katterle), Pat Casey agreed with Hepburn (Casey), and Arthur Saxon got at least 8 hours a night. (Gaudreau)  Most of them mentioned the importance of sleep in terms of recovery, and should thus be a consideration for the lot of you as well.  Amusingly, I get a multitude of questions regarding the necessity of sleep, in spite of the fact that I've made my opinion on the subject fairly plain.  As such, here's a blanket answer to the question "is there a way around the sleep issue?"  NO.  There is not.  
Better hit up the nearest gay guy for some GHB or jump a fratboy and steal his roofies (which is probably a good plan even if you're not having any trouble sleeping-who needs a reason to fuck up a frat boy?).  
No time for sleep?  
Make some.  
You can't?  
I guess you're fucked, then.

The last trend I noticed in my research was the propensity for these trainers to stay in the "5 reps or less range".  Saxon, Anderson, and Hepburn all seemed to favor 1-3 reps, and the only person who consistently seemed to train at a higher rep range than 5 on a regular basis was Ed Coan, who would venture into the 6-8 range.  I've mentioned previously my problems with the rep range breakdowns in terms of their efficacy for certain goals, but I found this to be a nice bit of anecdotal evidence to support my supposition that the conventionally accepted ideas about rep ranges and hypertrophy are total horseshit.  I'll touch more on this issue in a future blog, so this anecdotal evidence will have to suffice for now.

  • eat more protein and saturated fat.
  • lift very heavy
  • get a bare minimum of eight hours sleep.
I never claimed it was rocket science- these are not men who spent a lot of time dithering about shit.

  • Booties brought to you by Alexis Texas.
     Campbell B, Kreider RB, Ziegenfuss T, La Bounty P, Roberts M, Burke D, Landis J, Lopez H, Antonio J.  International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: protein and exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2007 Sep 26;4:8.
     Casey, Pat.  I'm Going to Bench Press 600 Pounds!  http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2010/12/im-going-to-bench-press-600-pounds-pat.html
     Cooper C, Atkinson EJ, Hensrud DD, Wahner HW, O'Fallon WM, Riggs BL, Melton LJ. Dietary protein intake and bone mass in women. Calcified Tissue Intl. 1996 58(5) 320-325.
     Faigin, Rob.  Natural Hormonal Enhancement.  Cedar Mountain:  Extique, 2000.
     Katterle, Sean. Doug Hepburn's Raw Strength. http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2009/02/doug-hepburns-raw-strength-sean.html
     Kvorning T, Andersen M, Brixen K, Madsen K.  Suppression of endogenous testosterone production attenuates the response to strength training: a randomized, placebo-controlled, and blinded intervention study.  Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2006 Dec;291(6):E1325-32. Epub 2006 Jul 25.  http://ajpendo.physiology.org/content/291/6/E1325.full.pdf+html
     Longcope C, Feldman HA, McKinlay JB, Araujo AB. Diet and sex hormone-binding globulin. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2000 Jan;85(1):293-6.
     Men's Health.  The Hardness Factor.  http://www.menshealth.com/health/hardness-factor
     Sallinen J, Pakarinen A, Ahtiainen J, Kraemer WJ, Volek JS, H√§kkinen K.Relationship between diet and serum anabolic hormone responses to heavy-resistance exercise in men.  Int J Sports Med. 2004 Nov;25(8):627-33.
     Svartberg J, Agledahl I, Figenschau Y, Sildnes T, Waterloo K, Jorde R.  Testosterone treatment in elderly men with subnormal testosterone levels improves body composition and BMD in the hip.  Int J Impot Res. 2008 Jul-Aug;20(4):378-87. Epub 2008 May 15.
     Volek JS, Kraemer WJ, Bush JA, Incledon T, Boetes M.  Testosterone and cortisol in relationship to dietary nutrients and resistance exercise.  J Appl Physiol. 1997 Jan;82(1):49-54.

13 August 2011

Can't Gain Weight? Guess What- You're Doing It Wrong #2

Today we continue our foray into the "mysteries" of weight gain.  Mysteries more mysterious than the most mysterious Scooby Doo episode, and possibly more mysterious than the mysterious love child that would be produced if Sherlock Holmes, the cast of Scooby Doo, the Hardy Boys, and Nancy drew had a massive, week-long orgy.  That child would likely be called "Eat More, You Fucking Jitbag", and he'd look suspiciously like a plate of hamburgers, but he'd wear a cape so as to play up the mysterious angle.

To wit, more evidence:
JM Blakely
Vital Statistics
Height: No idea
Weight: Competed at 275 and 308, in addition to two other weight classes (220 and 242, presumably)
Benched 710 @ 308

Frankly, I could find little about JM Blakely online other than his prescription for weight gain, which has been posted ad nauseam.  One of his most famous quotes is "Remember - If you want to beat the man, you've gotta out-eat the man!"  Though it should come as no surprise, all of the criticism surrounding Blakely's diet prescriptions centers around how fat it would make a person... ignoring completely the fact that Blakely himself wasn't fat.  As such, groupthink predominates and Blakely's dieting suggestions are little more than fodder for online shit-talking by assholes who don't actually lift and justification for disgusting fatbodies to eat like they do, look like shit, and remain weak as kittens (likely because they spend all of the live-long day talking shit over the internet rather than lifting).  In any event, Blakely's bulking suggestions are as wild as they are obviously effective, and here they are as related by Dave Tate:
"For breakfast you need to eat four of those breakfast sandwiches from McDonalds. I don't care which ones you get, but make sure to get four. Order four hash browns, too. Now grab two packs of mayonnaise and put them on the hash browns and then slip them into the sandwiches. Squish that shit down and eat. That's your breakfast."
"For lunch you're gonna eat Chinese food. Now I don't want you eating that crappy stuff. You wanna get the stuff with MSG. None of that non-MSG bullshit. I don't care what you eat but you have to sit down and eat for at least 45 minutes straight. You can't let go of the fork. Eat until your eyes swell up and become slits and you start to look like the woman behind the counter."
"For dinner you're gonna order an extra-large pizza with everything on it. Literally everything. If you don't like sardines, don't put 'em on, but anything else that you like you have to load it on there. After you pay the delivery guy, I want you to take the pie to your coffee table, open that fucker up, and grab a bottle of oil. It can be olive oil, canola oil, whatever. Anything but motor oil. And I want you to pour that shit over the pie until half of the bottle is gone. Just soak the shit out of it." 
"Now before you lay into it, I want you to sit on your couch and just stare at that fucker. I want you to understand that that pizza right there is keeping you from your goals."

"Now you're on the clock," he continues. "After 20 minutes your brain is going to tell you you're full. Don't listen to that shit. You have to try and eat as much of the pizza as you can before that 20-minute mark. Double up pieces if you have to. I'm telling you now, you're going to get three or four pieces in and you're gonna want to quit. You fucking can't quit. You have to sit on that couch until every piece is done.
And if you can't finish it, don't you ever come back to me and tell me you can't gain weight. 'Cause I'm gonna tell you that you don't give a fuck about getting bigger and you don't care how much you lift!"
Did I do it? Hell yeah. Started the next day and did it for two months. Went from 260 pounds to 297 pounds. And I didn't get much fatter. One of the hardest things I've ever done in my life, though."(Green, N)
The caloric intake on Blakely's diet is colossal.  An EliteFTS contributor calculated that the total caloric intake on this diet is conservatively placed at over 11k calories per day.

Calories (kcal)
4 breakfast sandwiches: 1800
4 hash browns: 600
2 packs mayo: 160
Chinese buffet binge: 4000
Large pizza w/ the works: 3040
Olive oil: 2000
Total: 11,600 kcals (Patterson)
Somehow, Blakely's deep thoughts and introspection never led him to the conclusion that only Tom Selleck and Hitler could pull off a mustache.

In spite of his seemingly ridiculous assertions about bulking, Blakely appears to be a remarkably intelligent and level-headed guy about it.  He states, for instance:
"Remember that the weight gain is to be temporary. You should plan a reducing diet to follow at a specified time in your training. This is where you attempt to maintain most of the new strength you amassed during the bulking phase while lowering your body fat to the same level you started at. You are not training to get stronger, only to hold the strength you have while dropping the excess. Commit yourself to the goal of returning to your starting level of bodyfat and see how much of the new strength you're kept. If you diet right, it should be above 80%. So that is your true gain. The gain you keep after gaining and losing the excess bodyfat is what counts. If you gain 20 lbs on your bench and lose 15 when you diet, you missed the point. If you gain 20 lbs on the bench and keep 15 (16) you've achieved something and done it correctly. Now repeat this process as necessary!! I suggest that you only hold your weight heavy for no longer than 5-6 months before you diet back down. Each time you repeat this process, you will hold more strength and have more muscle mass than before. Avoid staying heavy too long. It is only temporary!"(Blakely)
Dave Tate.  Clearly, he's not a ringing endorsement for EliteFTS's neck harness.

In that light, the suggestions Dave Tate blithely applied to his own diet make far more sense.  The idea is not that one should become a giant fatass- the idea is that true dramatic changes to one's physique occur as the result of dramatic efforts both in the gym and at the dinner table.  Fears of fat-assedness can thus hardly be maintained with any degree of validity due to the fact that Blakely's diet is not intended to be conducted like a runaway train, but rather as a cyclical method for increasing lean body mass while maintaining one's level of bodyfat.  It is, if you will, the ABCDE diet (read more here) taken to an enormous temporal extreme.  Will that allay the fears of the internet's legions of skinny-fat know-nothings?  Certainly not, but those idiots are beyond helping anyway, so let's dig a shallow ditch, shove them in, plant a gym atop it and laugh as we shit on their burial ground.

Anthony Ditillo
Vital Statistics
Height: 5'6"
Weight: 258 lbs
Strict Standing OH Press:350 lbs.
Seated press to forehead: 435x3 (that's not a typo- that comes from Poliquin himself)

Ditillo's name isn't really a household name, outside of those people who read Dezso Ban and associate the name Ditillo with that site.  He was, however, an incredibly strong and insightful guy with some impressive lifts.  Charles Poliquin lists him as an influence, which is heady praise indeed.  Ditillo wrote for Iron Man magazine for a couple of decades and practiced what he preached- he bulked to 300 at one point and then cut down to 190 thereafter.  Given his pedigree, lifting accomplishments, and the fact that he was a master of weight manipulation, you'd think that he'd be the go to guy on the subject, but information on  this motherfucker is as scanty as the few biographical tidbits I could locate are obsequious.  Nevertheless, he had the following to say on the subject of weight gain, which I pared down from a rather lengthy article:
"Today the physical culture world is enveloped with training systems most of which are not worth the paper they are printed on. You hear all kinds of reasons for not being able to gain weight: high metabolism, low metabolism, high energy level, low energy level. What is all the ballyhoo about? If you have low metabolism than your problem would not be one of being unable to gain weight, but of controlling this weight and keeping reasonably lean. If, on the other hand, you have a high metabolism you must perform mass muscle movements in low sets of repetitions twice a week. You also must continuously force yourself to eat more and more good wholesome food. Drink lots of milk. It can really make you grow. Eats lots of lean meat. It’s good for you. And don’t forget the fruits and vegetables. They’re ALL important. 
So you see, it’s not all that involved when it comes to gaining weight. All you have to know is what category you fit into, and train and eat accordingly. Instead of taking one multi-vitamin per day, increase to three. Three to four quarts of milk per day, fortified with some protein powder and powdered milk can go a long way in increasing your weight. Six to eight meals a day (solid as well as liquid included) may be necessary to jolt your system to adaptability for gaining weight. 
All Italian foods are high in calories and loaded with carbohydrates for energy along with quite a bit of protein in the form of grated cheese, pizza cheese, meatballs, veal, according to the ingredients.
Sample Weight Gaining Soup
Three cups prepared vegetable soup.
One cup peas.
One cup corn niblets.
One pound precooked lean beef.
One cup pork and beans.
One cup lima beans.
One cooked potato, cut up.
Do not add any water to the above recipe.
Sample Weight Gaining Drink
One quart whole milk.
One pint light cream.
One pint heavy cream.
One pint ice cream.
Two packets gelatin.
One cup skim milk powder.
Three tbsp. honey.
One cup fruit salad.
One cup protein powder.
Blend the ingredients together. I would recommend drinking half this mixture an hour before a workout, and finishing the other half one hour before retiring for the night. Coupled with all the information and suggestions in this article I can’t see why anyone can’t gain all the weight he wants."
Clearly, he and Blakely were precisely on the same page about eating to gain weight- it's simply a matter of forcing yourself, no matter how unpleasant stuffing yourself might be, to eat as much food as you possibly can at every opportunity.  He was far more of a fan of getting his calories in liquid form than was Blakely, but the message remains the same- if you eat it, you will grow.

Additionally, Ditillo didn't believe that you should continuously stuff yourself until you resembled one of the disgusting tubby motherfuckers you see oozing around Wal-Mart on a Rascal.  Instead, Ditillo recommended periodic cutting phases to consolidate one's gains and ensure that you maximized your strength to weight ratio... an idea that seems to have died out in the 21st century as various fatasses justify their impending coronary with assertions that absolute strength, no relative strength, is the only true marker of overall strength.
Norbert Schemansky
Vital Statistics

Height: 5'11" (181 cm)
Weight: 90-121 kg
Set 13 World Records in Olympic Weightlifting
3 time World Champion in Oly Weightlifting
Pan American Champ
434.5 lb Jerk at 194 lbs.
441 lb continental and jerk at 194 lbs.
One of only a few people to lift the Apollon wheels (366 lbs of train wheels on a fat bar)

Presumably due to the utter ridiculousness of his name, "Ski", as he came to be called, is one pissed off motherfucker.  Though you've likely never heard his name, he's one of the best-built heavyweight Olympic lifters of all time, and pulled off a bevy of coups in the Olympics against the Russians, earning a medals in the Olympics over 16 years- silver in London in 1948, gold in 1952 (where he was the first Olympic lifter to put double his bodyweight overhead), and bronze in Rome in 1960 and Tokyo in 1964.  His story is actually fairly interesting, as he essentially lived in utter poverty throughout his lifting career to pursue his Olympic dream.  This was not because he was a Hepburn clone who couldn't communicate with other human beings and lived in the gym- instead, it's because he recognized that most people suck and was not afraid to tell them about it.  In Ski's words:
"I was working at Briggs Manufacturing and I asked for time off, and one of the guys from downstairs said, 'Give him all the time off he wants -- fire him,'"
"I said, 'Bleep you, I'm leaving.'"(Green, J)
In case you were curious about the above pic, that pic is of Ski at the end of his career, when he was a super heavyweight.  He started, however, as a middle-heavyweight, and continually gained weight and continued to dominate throughout his career, all while staying fairly lean.
Ski as a middle-heavyweight.

The diet he used to dominate the fuck out of the commies?  I like to call it "The American Dream."  This consisted of "Hamburgers. Pizza. Beer," according to Ski, in such quantities that he claimed Budwiser would have made him a millionaire with sponsorships, as would have Mike Illitch (founder of Little Caesar's).  (Green)

At least somebody knows how to bulk properly.

Random Tidbits
Frankly, I don't thing there's any amount of evidence I could proffer that would convince most of the dickbags whining about weight gain, but that's never stopped me trying before.  Some people won't listen to reason, no matter how much evidence is provided to disabuse them of their idiotic positions- I've even seen criticisms online taht I provided "no evidence" to support my claims that persistence hunting and the "evolution of distance running" were a pile of shit, despite the fact that cited 41 separate sources in the four evidence entries ranging from anthropological resources to Pubmed and everything in between.  Laughable as that is, it definitely points to the fact that emotions will blind the living shit out of people and they'll ignore evidence right in front of them so as to not feel like the pile of shit they know themselves to be.  In any event, here are a few more tidbits from a variety of lifters before I move on:
Ed Coan:  Coan wrestled at 98 pounds in high school, and holds records in powerlifting at 181, 198, 220, and 242.  The man clearly knows how to gain weight and make it fucking count.  His advice on diet is fucking simple: "I eat five times per day, try to get a lot of protein in, and when I cheat, I cheat." (Koenig)

Pat Casey:  I've blogged about this guy before, and he was another master weight manipulator.  Like everyone else about whom I've blogged, Casey believed protein to be the critical component of any diet, and when bulking "he would drink 6 quarts of milk daily plus ½ dozen eggs with protein. He would also take numerous vitamins."  His diet was based around meat, milk, and eggs, and everything else was a secondary consideration.
Paul Anderson:  Anderson was a fat motherfucker, but he was a strong, fat motherfucker.(Blog's here)  Anderson went after weight gain just like he did everything else- big and bold.  Exactly like Ditillo, Anderson believed that it was a massive pain in the ass to eat all the time, so he drank the majority of his calories.  According to Anderson, he "sometimes consumed three to four quarts of milk per day", and would occasionally blend a dozen raw eggs into sweet (condensed?) milk.  Later, he experimented with mixing protein powder into the sweet milk with eggs and ice cream, in addition to drinking cow blood and a bunch of other craziness.(Anderson)  He also ate massive amounts of peanuts, put gelatin into all of his juices to add protein, and ate a tremendous amount of "strength-building soups" invented by his mom, which consisted various combinations of meat and fish with beef drippings added. Just in case that wasn't enough, Anderson experimented with the additions of massive amounts of sugar to his diet:
"Occasionally I would drink soft drinks during my training and noticed when I did this I could perform much better, and my digestive cycle would work much faster. This proved to me that I needed a great deal more sugar. It seemed that the more protein I took, the more sugar I needed to help digest the protein, and also give me quick energy. I turned to the greatest sugar supply I could find, which was honey. I soon found that much of the honey that could be bought in grocery stores did not do me as much good as honey direct from the beehive, bought from a farmer. It was my personal belief that much of the honey that was on the market had been heated in a pasteurizing process and had lost some of its quick digesting qualities."
On that note, I can stop giving examples in good conscience.  If you're complaining you cannot gain weight, no matter what you do, but haven't tried adding liquid beef fat to your soup and consuming a metric ton of fucking sugar every day, you've not yet scratched the surface of trying to gain weight.  For those of you slavering for evidence supporting my contentions about the link between fat and testosterone, they'll be in the next installment of the series, in addition to some interesting common themes in the training methods of the lifters I've outlined here.
I'm still not half the cock tease this broad is.

Anderson, Paul. Diet and Nutrition.  http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2008/06/nutrition-paul-anderson.html
Ditillo, Anthony.  My Experience With Weight Gain.  http://muscleandbrawn.com/my-experience-with-weight-gain/
Everson, Jeff.  The Strongest Men In History. http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/planet28.htm
Green, Jerry.  Norbert Schemansky.  http://chidlovski.net/liftup/a_interview_schemansky_011102.asp
Green, Nate.  37 Tips and Tales from Dave Tate.  http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_interviews/37_tips_and_tales_from_dave_tate
Koenig, John.  An Interview with Ed Coan.  Atlas Speaks.  T-Nation.  http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_interviews/atlas_speaks
Patterson, Brandon.  Bulk, Cut, Bloat: The Basic Science of Weight Manipulation and Powerlifting.  http://articles.elitefts.com/articles/nutrition/bulk-cut-bloat-the-basic-science-of-weight-manipulation-and-powerlifting/
Wilhelm, Bruce.  Pat Casey - Part Two. http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2008/04/may-1968-september-2o-1969-police.html