21 December 2011

Ask The Asshole #11: I Got A Lotta Mo

I've been besieged with emails recently, and I know I've promised to expand on my answers to a lot of people, but have lost their emails amidst the flurry of random questions I get asked that are usually simply answered by READING THE FUCKING BLOG.  If you are one of the people I promised to include in the ATA, email me again to remind me and I'll do another.  For the rest of you, here you fucking go.

Q: From Reddit: "I also don't know about the whole cold water thing, seems like a silly hack." "I don't know, it just seems like some major bro science, or an insignif hack."

A: The shit I post, for anyone who's keeping score, is as about as "broscience" as I am inclined to chase Type 2 diabetes by drinking Kool Aid and eating chitterlings while listening to Ja Rule.  Prior to this accusation, I didn't even know what the fuck "bro science" was, since I avoid lifting message boards like the plague they fucking are.   I did, however, cite more than one source on it when I mentioned it in a previous blog on cutting. For those of you in the dark, allow me to bring you up to speed-  I once mentioned that Tim Ferriss pointed out that the application of cold packs to one's upper back increases their rate of fat metabolism.  Ferriss initially experimented with ice baths, but found that he could get much of the benefit with far less of the unpleasantness with an ice pack applied to the upper back, which is the repository for one's brown fat stores.  According to Ferris,

"Not all fat is equal. There are at least two distinct types: white adipose tissue (WAT) and brown adipose tissue (BAT).  WAT is what we usually think of as fat, like the marbling on a steak. A WAT cell—an adipocyte —is composed of a single large fat droplet with a single nucleus.
BAT, in contrast, is sometimes referred to as “fat-burning fat” and appears to be derived from the same stem cells as muscle tissue. A BAT cell is composed of multiple droplets that are brown in color because of a much higher volume of iron-containing mitochondria. Normally associated with muscle tissue, mitochondria are best known for producing ATP and oxidizing fat in muscle tissue. BAT helps dissipate excess calories as heat. These excess calories would otherwise be stored in the aforementioned WAT and end up in your beer gut or muffin top.   In a nutshell: cold stimulates BAT to burn fat and glucose as heat. Cold, as well as drugs called beta-adrenergic agonists,19 can also make BAT appear within WAT in mice and rats. In other words, cold might help you increase the amount of your “fat-burning” fat. This has tremendous implications." (4 Hour Body)

Hot-as-balls Ironman winner Hillary Biscay is a fan

As everyone's apparently fucking retarded and completely incapable of doing their own research, I did it for them.  Again.  Wonder why you're fat as shit and can't put your bodyweight overhead, Redditors?  It is probably due to the fact that you're so goddamned indolent you can't type a sentence into a fucking Google search bar.  Before you guys do the right thing and shuffle off that mortal coil for shaming your family, consider this: One source I found stated that "resting metabolic rate was positively correlated with brown-adipose-tissue activity both under thermoneutral conditions and during cold exposure, indicating that brown-adipose-tissue activity is involved in energy metabolism." (Lichtenbelt, et al)  In other words, the more you activate brown fat activity to regulate your body temperature, the faster your metabolism goes. Another study supported this, stating that 
"Prolonged cold exposure causes the adaptive recruitment of NST (non-shivering thermogenesis) capacity by hyperplasia of brown adipose tissue and by hypertrophy of mature brown adipocytes which results in a severalfold increase in the capacity for NST.  Early studies demonstrated that in cold-acclimated animals brown adipose tissue may dissipate heat at a power of 300–400 W kg -1 tissue, and contributes more than ~60–70 % of total NST (Foster & Frydman, 1979; Heldmaier & Buchberger, 1985; Puchalski et al. 1987). This emphasized the outstanding importance of this thermogenic organ for NST, but also suggested the existence of other unknown mechanisms and sites of NST in the body."  (Klingenspor)
Thus, Ferriss's assertions that the application of cold to one's BAT would seem to have merit, wouldn't they?  If you're still unconvinced, perhaps Ferriss's cites might sway you.  

I love giant asses.

Q: What's your fucking deal with Rippetoe, anyway? You guys agree on just about everything. Are you just trying to stir up controversy or [sic] somthing?

A: Actually, no. A lot of people have taken the comments I've made about Rippetoe to be personal, which they're not, and I highly doubt he'd give a shit even if they were. The guy appears, by all acounts, to be reasonably cool. Frankly, anyone who walks around the gym brandishing a machete has to be at least somewhat awesome. My problem with Rippetoe stems from his proclamations and admonitions surrounding overtraining. From my perspective, he spends just as much time attempting to instill fear of overtraining into his beginning trainees as he does encouraging them to do useful exercise. As such, the net result of his recommendations is nil.

"We believe that adaptation occurs on a sliding scale that varies with the level of existing work tolerance and the proximity to individual genetic potential. Someone far away from genetic potential (the novice) will adapt quickly, within about 72 hours, as a stressor large enough to disrupt such an individual's homeostasis is not really all that large and is recoverable from within that time frame. On the other end of the spectrum, the advanced trainee might require one to three months, and possibly longer, to adapt to a training stress that is sufficiently large and cumulative to exceed his highly developed work tolerance." (PP, 25-26)"Stage 3 - Exhaustion. If the stress on the body is too great,either in magnitude or frequency, the body will be unable to adequately adapt and exhaustion will occur. Selye posited that an overwhelming stress of one to three months in duration could cause death. This is an interesting observation if we consider maximal exercise to be an overwhelming stress. In practice, this is most applicable to intermediates and advanced trainees and means that a period of relentless maximal work of four weeks or longer should be avoided. The bottom line is that no one wants to be in Stage 3, which we typically call "overtraining.""(PP, 26)
All of this arises out of the astonishingly ancient theory by Hans Selye entitled "General Adaptation Syndrome" that dates to 1936.  This is rather hilarious, given the fact that Rippetoe has stated repeatedly that he has no faith in sports science.  As such, the man's theories about the body's recuperative abilities are based on an incomplete grasp of physiology and a strong belief that you fucking suck at life.
This man makes Rippetoe cry himself to sleep at night.

Contrast this with the opinions of people who've actually produced champions, like Abadjiev, who stated that "'In Bulgaria, many other sports disciplines were built on the methods developed by the Soviet experts. The main concept is distinct periodisation, preparation stage, interim stage and competition stage... I threw it away... Is it logical to achieve outstanding results by hard work and then stop and go back to a lower level?” Unlike Rippetoe's model, which is based upon classic Russian periodization that forces layoffs and deloads, Abadjiev suggests that lifters never stray too far from their peak performance weights.  His results produced decades of champions- Rippetoe's produced a lot of pretentious dickheads who would lose a fight to a cardboard cutout of me sleeping, and who actually believe, contrary to everything we know about successful lifters ever, that "the stronger an athlete becomes, the more susceptible he becomes to overtraining." (SS 189)  While he does allow that more advanced trainees can add more sessions over time, he still spends far more time focusing on the dangers of overtraining than he does the aggressiveness with which one must pursue their goals in order to achieve greatness.  

To wit, he dusts off periodization, the unloved brainchild of the Eastern Bloc, and recommends a deload after every cycle, each of which is approximately one month in length.  For those of you who doubt this,  "during weeks five through eight, the trainee is actually "resting" from the previous high-training volume work."(PP 211) The high volume work? It's three days a week, with weights varying from 62%-82.5% of their 1RM and culminates with 25 reps with 85% of the lifter's one rep max.  Yes, I think we can all agree you'd need a three week recovery period after that horrifyingly heavy month.  Additionally, he recommends "a week or two of "active rest" or less frequent training with moderate weights is a good idea between cycles to assure that the trainee is rested and ready to undergo another period of stressful training."(PP 212)  Is it any fucking wonder I think the guy is full of shit?  I've trained heavier and harder in a cast from shoulder to arm the same week I had fucking surgery than his lifters train when healthy, in a "peaking" week.  It's fucking embarrassment and a slap in the face to humanity, who he apparently thinks is weak and lazy.

Finally, I don't know of a single elite lifter who credits Ripp with his success, and Ripp wasn't a particularly good lifter.  As such, I'm leery of taking his recommendations and find it odd that other people aren't.  I suppose their hesitance to question the mighty Rippetoe stems from fear of ostracization and a fear of hard work, combined with low self-esteem, possible impotence, and probably fatness.

Q: Anyway, my reason for writing is that a couple of months ago I was hit by a car that didn't look for pedestrians as it ran a red light. I was very lucky in that the only injuries I sustained were a dislocated shoulder and bruising up and down my legs. I had shoulder stabilisation surgery at the start of September and I want to start to get back into training in the next few weeks. The problem that I have is that I'm struggling to find any decent articles, books or blogs on recovery and lifting after surgery that was written by someone that wasn't weak in the first place. Do you happen to know of any articles or books on the subject that was written by someone with a clue?

A: I had surgery to repair a torn tricep and broken elbow spur two years ago, and I was back in the gym within a couple of days. I blogged about it here and here. When I was recovering, I focused almost exclusively on legs, and they benefited greatly from the attention- we're talking 8-10 times a week, and blogged about that here. My squat went through the roof, and I kept myself in damn good condition considering. Additionally, I worked a lot on my uninjured side with unilateral stuff, as I've read somewhere (although I can't find where I've blogged about it or the study) that you get compensatory growth along the lines of 75% across your midline. Thus, train everything but that arm. The only citations I could find on the subject, and they are legion, concern compensatory hypertrophy in kidneys and testes.  One thing to bear in mind, however, is that unless your your physical therapist is a strength athlete, they likely knows fuckall about PT for athletes.

 This guy, however, knows fucking everything.

Q: This is out of nowhere, but do you have any thoughts on fermented foods like yogurt? (not the sugary shit from the grocery store obviously)

A: Fermented foods are, by all accounts, fucking awesome for you.  Fermentation is actually the means by which ruminants begin their digestion, and is thus considered a more natural form of food preparation for vegetables than cooking.  According to  Charles Heizer Wharton, "A final major contribution of traditional diets is lacto-fermentation.  Lactic acid is a natural preservative produced by bacteria, usually lactobacilli.  The process enabled our forebears to preserve vegetables without freezers or canning.  Lactic acid not only enhances the enzyme content of vegetables but also apparently increases vitamin levels and improves digestibility.  Examples of lacto-fermented foods are sauerkraut, pickles, cucumbers, beets and turnips and include our relishes, chutneys and the famed Japanese umeboshi plum.  Other valuable fermentation products are (apart from alcohol and the rising of bread dough) in buttermilk, yogurts, cheeses and various sour beverages made from grains, fruits and nuts.  Kumiss, fermented mare's milk, is the principle food of wandering tribes in European Russia and the plains of south, western and southern Asia.  The fermentation of milk allows lactose-intolerant people to drink it; and both the vitamin B  and C content of milk appear to be increased by the process.  Like koumiss, there are a number of less well-known fermentation products."(
Wharton 100-101)  "In the midst of dreadful cancer statistics [in Soviet Russia after WWII], two districts in the central western Ural mountains stood out 'like neon lights' having any cancer, even though they were heavily polluted by toxins.  Investigators accidentally stumbled upon the fact that every home had crocks of Kvass or Kombucha."(Wharton 101)  "It has been said that the methods of preparing plants by primitives, pounding, soaking, and fermenting imitates the time-consuming processes that take place in the digestive tracts of ruminant animals such as cows and sheep."(Wharton 102)  There are plenty of studies showing the beneficial effects of fermentation if you feel like googling for them, and many books written on the subject.  Insofar as I know, the best book on the subject is Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions, so you might want to give that a look if you're interested.

I guarantee he's never been in a gym, but he drinks his fucking weight in Kumiss every week.

Q:  Just wondering if you could point me in the right direction. I've been having some trouble getting my clean up of late. Everything else is progressing nicely, but this bitch just won't budge! It's a fucking poor excuse as it's currently a dismal 140lb & I should be shot for how fucking bad this is.  I've been working on it with heavy singles, doubles and triples and then the occasional lighter session, but I just cannot seem to get anymore weight up on it. I've done some research but have yet to find anything that would have a good carryover to it. I struggle with the last 1/3rd of the lift, from the top of my ribs up. I'm going to try some partials from this height but are there any exercises you have tried to help when yours has stalled?

Also, have you found any info or links on the diets of the Russian, Bulgarian or Chinese weightlifters. Dmitry Klokov & Li Hongli are absolute beasts!!! I want to emulate these guys & I've tried searching for things but have been unsuccessful so far.

A:  If you have a 140lb clean, you should probably take up chess and leave lifting to other people.  If you really want to pursue it, I'd find a coach, explain the situation, wait until his raucous laughter subsides, and take his advice.  In the event you're just going to plow forward, the thing that helped me to a terribly ugly 315 clean was high pulls. Basically, I just started yanking the bejeesus out of the fucking bar and essentially hitting myself in the chin with it.  I don't squat under cleans at all, so that's about the only thing that works for me. I, however, am the furthest thing from an Olympic lifter as you're likely to find who can execute a hilarious interpretation of a clean and press with 300+ pounds.  I've no idea why you people ask me for Olympic lifting advice.

As to the diet question, the only thing I've seen about the Bulgarians' diet comes from the Wall Street Journal, and you're not going to like it: "
Mr. Abadjiev's 'horrible diet'" consists of "candy and soda".  This is predicated upon Abadjiev's theory "that injury and fatigue are less likely while adrenaline is coursing through the body, stimulating protein synthesis. Junk food is fair game."  The best I could find on the Chinese diet was anecdotal and comes from a Milo article in which a Chinese lifter was persuaded to join the team with the offer of "meat three times a day"(Mcdonald), and that Chinese Olympic athletes " are fed special diets with special herbs and exotic Chinese medicines. Swimmers have been fed a concoction containing ginseng and deer horn while runners under the infamous coach Ma Junren were given an elixir made of fresh turtle blood."(Olympic Training In China)  I believe that all three are of the opinion, contrary to bodybuilders the world around, that you can out-train a shitty diet.  The catch, however, is that you have to make training your full-time job.

Someone just called Li Hongli "Nuprin" for the last fucking time- prepare to eat steel.

Q:  What protein are you using?  Is whey good?  What kind of whey should I take?  What other supplements should I be taking?

A:  First, check out this blog, in addition to this and this, wherein I mentioned that supplements are neither magic, nor the cornerstone of a workout routine.  They should not be the bedrock of your diet, and they frankly don't bear nearly as much consideration as most people seem to think.  The perfect protein powder is not going to make up for the fact that you shit your pants at the thought of a heavy back squat and your estrogen levels are higher than a pregnant broad on set at the Oprah Winfrey Show during a puppy makeover.  I feel like I constantly tell you guys what protein I'm using and for whatever reason you don't seem to take note.  As such, once more, for the record, I like blended proteins- whey is a waste product, is in and out of your system too quickly, tastes like dogshit, and given the fact that it's the dairy industry's trash is far too expensive.  The proteins I've been using of late are Monster Milk and Muscle Infusion, and I threw Carnivor in there for a bit as well since I got some free.  The Carnivor was surprisingly good, and the Cherry Vanilla flavor looked like you were drinking a cup of blood, which is damn good marketing.  Additionally, it did not leave my shaker bottle stinking like I'd filled it with hot trash and dogshit if I left it unwashed for a day, so I'd jump all over that shit if I could find some at a price.

Q: I've been experimenting in my own extremity recently, and though trying to implement chaos and pain into my own workouts, my volume isn't even close to yours. Today, I went for a personal best of 415 in the deadlift, after pulling 405 easily twice the past two weeks. I felt like I could perform the lift no problem, I got the bar about halfway off the floor before my back decided to say fuck you to my spine. Lift failed, pulled and what feels like a pulled muscle on the left side of my spine in my lower back. I don't think it was a form error, my butt stayed low and my upper back came up first, I wasn't even rounding much. Does shit like this randomly happen when implementing CnP? How do you deal with this in your work outs? What would you do to keep progressing?

A: Of course- you train around it. I've been meaning to blog about that, and I'll get one in there soon, but just do everything you can to get around it. Foam roll, do high pulls, shrug, do rack pulls, squat more, Pendlay Rows... just say fuck you to your lower back and find a way over or around that motherfucker.  One thing you're going to have to remember is that injuries are part of the game.  If you're never injured, if you never sprain or strain anything, if you're never aching, you're almost certainly not performing to your potential.  Don't be a jackass and take that to mean that an injury is some sort of goal one should wish to achieve- it's just part and parcel of the activity.  If you're in a gangbang and you get splashed with some nut, life fucking goes on- it's a hazard of the business.  The same applies to the gym- you can't make an omlette without breaking a few eggs.  Suck it the fuck up and figure out how to keep progressing. 

I recently finished a badass squat workout with some glute-ham raises supersetted with donkey calf raises.  I wasn't even going all that hard, but I somehow managed to either incur a slight tear or a severe sprain in my right calf.  Instead of taking 6 weeks off and vowing never again to do either lift, as most internet weight room jocks would insist I do, I simply stopped doing either exercise for a bit.  I'd stretch my calf as much as possible prior to lifting, but I kept squatting and kept pulling.  My calf's slowly returning to it's natural color, and I've got the benefit of knowing that I can fuck shit up in the gym even when I'm half a cripple.  Is it the only way?  No, but it's the way you don't end up a fat piece of shit who pontificates endlessly about the best usage of TRX straps while jerking off to a copy of Heavyhands using the filling from a jelly doughnut as lube.  Don't be that guy (and as I have trouble walking some days with those sorry motherfuckers hanging off my jock while they talk shit, I shall prepare to be amused by their astonishingly poorly-formed responses justifying their hilarious weakness and disgusting fatbodies).
Some fat fuck on a messageboard is going to try to masturbate to this after binding himself with some TRX bands tonight.

Ferriss, Tim.  The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman.  New York:  Crown Archetype, 2010.
Lichtenbelt WD, Vanhommerig JW, Smulders NM, Drossaerts JM, Kemerink GJ, Bouvy ND, Schrauwen P, Teule GJ.  Cold-Activated Brown Adipose Tissue in Healthy Men.  N Engl J Med 2009; 360:1500-1508April 9, 2009. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa0808718
Klingenspor, Martin.  Cold-induced recruitment of brown adipose tissue thermogenesis.  Experimental Physiology.  Volume 88, Issue 1, pages 141–148, January 2003.  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1113/eph8802508/pdf
McDonald, Lyle.  "Why the US Sucks At Olympic Weightlifting, Part 8." http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/training/why-the-us-sucks-at-olympic-lifting-part-8.html
"Olympic Training In China."  Facts and Details.  http://factsanddetails.com/china.php?itemid=1008&catid=12
Rippetoe, Mark and Lon Kilgore with Glenn Pendlay.  Practical Programming for Strength Training, 3rd ed..  Wichita Falls:  Aasgaard Company, 2006.
Rippetoe, Mark and Lon Kilgore.  Starting Strength, 3rd ed..  Wichita Falls:  Aasgaard Company, 2011.


  1. In response to the question regarding cleans:

    "I struggle with the last 1/3rd of the lift, from the top of my ribs up."

    There is no "last 1/3rd of the lift"... The first pull is from the floor to above the knees and the scoop/second pull begins immediately after.
    The lift has finished it's upward path after the second pull. No amount of shrugging or yanking is going to pull it any higher.
    When the second pull is hit, the lifter should already by descending under the bar (if not already under it.)
    I wish every fucking novice would stop thinking of the Oly lifts as "pulls"-- yeah, they're pulled from the ground, but after they hit your hip/thigh the pull is over. Spend less time yanking the bar and shrugging and spend more time getting under the bar.
    Look at videos of Olympic lifters-- you see any more pulling, shrugging or jumping after the bar is about hip crease level? No. You don't. Power or full, the lifter's focus should be jumping down, not up.
    Keep doing cleans. Don't be a fucking pussy. Getting under the weight is the name of the game.

  2. What's your deadlift? While clean pulls are more specific, if one poses any semblance of passable deadlift, 140lbs++ clean is a joke, bad or worse form, doesn't matter. And squat more.

  3. I unfucked the post. No idea what happened there. My bad.

  4. I pretty much skimmed that email and didn't read it again after my initial reply. I'll edit that response.

  5. Another response to the clean question: I know they reccomend that olympic lifts be trained in the 1-3 rep range to preserve form, but for those of us who don't have any form to begin with, I think higher reps can be useful. For some reason, and I have no clue why, doing 5-8 reps even right before a max out attempt seems to help. Maybe it's some sort of practice effect or maybe it just helps to get me into a frenzy, I don't know. To show you how well this works for me, I first hit 275 after missing it three times in a row and then dropping down and hitting 250 for 6 or so, and have hit subsequent maxes in similar ways. Also I find that overwarming by doing really explosive jump shrugs with 500 or so really helps, especially with hang cleans.

  6. Nothing wrong with wave loading while practising oly, getting in grove and all that, however giving him benefit of doubt, and calculating his power clean as inefficient (<50% of deadlift roughly), it's still weak and best thing to do is squat and squat. There is a reason oly lifters do this, you know.

    On the side note, I'm interested in more info on Carnivore, I heard stories of stink of thousand carcasses an so on, and you seem to like it more than regular whey. Maybe (only?) cherry vanilla is chemically enhanced enough to cover it.

  7. Best trick for people learning the clean:
    After it hits the hip go into a low bar squat.
    Yes, you read that correctly.
    This does two things:
    - pushes (and keeps) the weight on your heels
    - keeps you from jumping forward and/or over pulling (they're closely related.)

    People like to jump forward and/or drop between their knees and it always pushes the weight forward.
    When you push your ass back the weight stays on your heels.
    One would think this would create a horrible "power-front-squat-goodmorning" in the catch but the bar is moving down so quickly that before you can push your ass back far enough to look like a Westside regular you've already got the bar in the rack and your weight on your heels.
    Problem fucking solved.

  8. Awesome post, Jamie. Lyle McDonald actually talked about BAT on his forums once and he seems unconvinced but it seems to be a worthy endeavor, especially since putting an ice pack on the back of your neck and back isn't very hard or time consuming. Here's the thread:

    Lyle's last post in that thread was April 2011, so it's fairly recent.

  9. Great post Jamie, man those cited sources were fucking dizzying.

    Godddam every single one of those people who email you seem to be retarded, and god have mercy on that gimp who can't clean 140.
    It seems most of the people who read your blog don't really READ it.

  10. I suspect that the beholder of the 140lb clean has technical issues but I'm even more certain that his basic strength lags even further behind, relatively speaking. A diet of ass to grass, bolt upright, elbows up front squats; flat back deadlifts (what Schmitz calls "clean deadlifts") and jumps squats with a loaded barbell on the back should be done many times a week. Poliquin says that you should be able to triple your best clean in the strict front squat. Flat back deadlift: 150% of best clean...I always believed that olympic lifts are built by focusing on strength for a while and then on lifting pretty for a while. lather, rinse, repeat. This got by clean to 350lbs at 205lbs.

  11. This post reminded me why I have read every single one of them.

    I swear my testosterone instantly doubled reading this. Very inspiring.

  12. Dude, your traps are absolutely ridiculous.

  13. Jamie, if you were looking for sources - here's 2 articles by Poliquin that describe how training the uninjured parts of your body can speed recovery / maintain strength in injured limbs.



  14. Eat your kimchi, mooks.

  15. Jamie (or anyone else reading) have you ever torn a hamstring?

    I've been really struggling with it for about three months now. I did it playing rugby but keep re-tearing the fucker because it's so tight.
    As a result of this my deadlift and squat have suffered a bit but I have tried to keep doing them although I'm massively over-compensating with my healthy leg. It's pretty balls but I refuse to sit on my arse for 6 weeks.

  16. Clenbuterol has been proven to burn BAT. Whatever...still my drug of choice.

  17. I can't clean 200 pounds and I'm closing in on a 500 pound deadlift. Got some work to do...

    Bought the ebook, really comes in handy when you want to look up an old article.

  18. Matthew,

    Your hamstring issue might not be that you have a tight hamstring but that you are in anterior pelvic tilt. While the hamstrings may be an issue, the pelvis position may be the "primary" issue. Or your hamstrings could actually be tight and you might be in posterior pelvic tilt (or you're a lucky individual and you have a fairly neutral pelvis position).

    Either way, it will be hard to tell you what to do unless someone actually is able to examine you or you've examined yourself. If you keep re-tearing it then that's an obvious sign that maybe you should, you know, start doing something to improve the situation?

  19. "His results produced decades of champions- Rippetoe's produced a lot of pretentious dickheads who would lose a fight to a cardboard cutout of me sleeping"

    After years of reading your blog, this may very well be my new favorite fucking quote!!!

  20. @ Injured Deadlifter

    It might be a piriformis issue. I used to sometimes get the same pain in the same spot after heavy deadlifts. I began doing a piriformis stretch before and after every deadlift session, and I haven't had a problem since.

    Paul Carter talks about it on his blog here:


    Elite FTS:


  21. Re: Chinese diet

    This is on a site by some guy in Thailand I believe. Somewhere in southeast Asia. Apparently he has been able to visit some training halls and such:

    "The food that’s eaten is usually high protein, medium fat and loads of rice. I’m unsure why they say starch is super good for recovery but it’s somewhere along the lines of rice increases a hormone (I’m assuming insulin) and helps recovery. Insulin isn’t a Mandarin words we use often in Malaysia and I was the only English speaking person there, so it was hard to get a translation. Finally, they described it as;

    “A gate that opens only after hard training, but that gate requires rice (carbs) to open. Once it’s open, the meats (protein and fat) can enter and start the repair process with the rice giving these meats the energy to work“
    It sounded ridiculous the first time I tried translating it directly to English in my head that I laughed for days thinking about it. I still do actually.

    But yes, the idea is to eat plenty of meats. Full good quality meats. None of those GMO shit here. And NO soya milk. Tofu yes, cuz it’s density of estrogen isn’t as high as soya milk and you can’t consume that much tofu without feeling sick. Lots of veggies and fruits. If you don’t want rice, eat more fruits. If you don’t like fruits, you’re a retard cuz fruits are awesomely sweet.

    What do I mean by a lot? No we don’t have macros, but if your plate isn’t covered in meat, go back to the canteen and get more of it. In general, about 500GMS of meat per serving should be enough to keep an athlete relatively full. Opt for more if you need to."

    This seems about in line with what our weightlifting coach in college told us (a former Chinese lifter and coach) - lots of meat and rice. They also said they use a few supplements, ginseng and I can't remember what else. Not much though, because supps are expensive. Some of the upper-level athletes get a few more, but not much. They seemed much more concerned with "train your ass off, train smart, and recover like a mother fucker."

  22. Oh yea, here's the site it came from:

    Also Jamie, I had emailed you a few weeks ago about a seminar I attended where Quinkui Zhao came and talked to us about the development of the Chinese weightlifting system. I can transcribe it and email it to you if you want.

  23. Not trying to stir up shit, but I've met Rippetoe a few times and even attended a seminar he held at my gym.

    Yeah, I don't completely agree with him in that you should avoid over training at all costs. I think you should definitely push yourself harder every time you're in the gym, and you need to "over train" to learn where your recovery/training threshold stand and improve upon them.

    Two things though: first, over training definitely exists, and it's good to take a deload/off week once every 10-12 weeks. I've over trained to the point where I had to be rushed to the ER with severe costochondritis (cartilage inflammation. Hilarious, I know, but it literally felt like fucking heart attack), and I only trained consistently for a period of 24-30 weeks for that program. Secondly, Ripp knows his shit when it comes to biomechanics. I actually give him credit for helping my put close to 75 lbs on my squat and 100 lbs on my deadlift in the past two months.

    Plus, the dude is hilarious. He says some of the craziest shit in person. I think him and Jamie would get along well.

  24. Mike,

    People tend to get fed up with the conversation because the word "overtraining" encompasses so much, which is why people now use "overreaching" as well.

    In any case, and no offense to you, but you most definitely did not overtrain. 24-30 weeks is a paltry amount of training without a deload in comparison to people who have actually overtrained (to the point they needed many, many months or even a year or two to recover). I am unsure of how costochondritis makes you think you overtrained. Someone who has trained a week can potentially get costchondritis, especially since its causes aren't well known.

    True overtraining, as Lyle likes to refer to it as, is much more severe and EXTREMELY rare in your non-elite population. Real overtraining requires months to recover from and sometimes years. Not only that, but the people who truly overtrained trained in the vicinity of 2-6 hours a day 6-7 days a week for more than a year.

    "dicking around in the snow just isn’t the kind of physiological stress that trying to run 200km per week is. He’ll probably never see true overtraining. But I have both seen it as well as done it to myself. Here are a few exemplary case studies; read them as nothing more.

    One teammate of mine during my time spent in SLC speed skating was a chronic overtrainer; constant high-volume, high-intensity work and he wouldn’t listen to our coach to cut back. He dug himself so deep in the hole that he came back a full year later and set PR’s after nearly no training. His comment “Man was I overtrained.”"

    "But if you recover in 2 weeks, you weren’t overtrained, you were simply overreached. Think of it as overtraining light; the same types of overload that generate overreaching in the short-term eventually lead to true overtraining when continued in the long-term."


    I recommend you read that and aware yourself. To say the least, this is why I agree with Jamie about deloading when you actually need it. Your body will most surely tell you when you've overreached, long, long before you overtrain. If you want to put a cool name to it then you have "cybernetic periodization," which was coined by the late great Mel Siff, writer of Supertraining.

  25. Hi Jamie!
    First off thanks heaps for all the awesome material on here, discovered your blog a few weeks ago and so far it's fuckin epic.
    I was curious on what you thought abou Martin berkhans idea of maximum muscular potential being roughly your height in cm minus 100 being what you would weight at roughly 5% bf. in your experience does this prove true? I feel that with consistent proper training over a number of years more than that would b achievable? Sorry for long post

  26. 'Sorry for long post'

    - You should be. That's six wasted seconds of my life i'll never get back, you selfish cunt. Try to think of others before you write such long, drawn out posts.

  27. Not to take away anything from Lyle, but his writing is even more entertaining, when reader acknowledges his strength athletic prowess.

  28. @Rozin Abbas

    Thanks for the comment. I saw an osteopath the other day and he said my pelvis was tilted slightly and did something which he thinks will have helped it. He also said there was a lot of congested scar tissue in the muscle and thinks he managed to work out some of the congestion. I'm going to have bi-weekly sports massage on it and here's hoping it'll be all good the new year!

  29. Simply, I think "overtraining" occurs when your training efforts exceeds the depth of your innermost drive to excel. For some people it doesn't take that much. Sure everybody wants to bench 4 or 5 plates or whatever...but very few really, really want it for a long, long time. Anybody ever read a vintage interview with Tom Platz?

  30. Couldn't agree more on overtraining - I'm 36, only lifting two years, I'm a cripple with bone dissolving in my collarbone, and I press four days a week, squat four days a week, deadlift twice a week, for a total of maybe 12 hours a week under the bar. If I can manage that shit as a middle-aged half-disabled beginner, I fail to see what the fuck a 20 year old in good health is doing 'going hard' three times a week for 45 minutes.

  31. ''I'm a cripple with bone dissolving in my collarbone, and I press four days a week, squat four days a week, deadlift twice a week''

    Yes, but this is a blog for weight lifters, not 'Wii Fit' you useless twat. Merry Christmas.

  32. In the ebook do you have recipes for wings etc? If not would you be willing to post them or maybe do a whole article on food prep? How frequently do you take your proteins? For example with Monster Milk it has 13g of carbs and doing a keto run that seems like a lot. I too am a fan of blended proteins but find they are so frequently "high" in carbs its hard to work into a keto run.

  33. ^^use the search function, dickhead.

    Jamie promised us a new ebook for xmas about diet shit, but didn't deliver.
    Probably too busy counting his $$$millions from reddit ebook sales and spud strap sponserships to remember us.

  34. I think he's still busy fixing the typos in the other ebook...

  35. Cool post and thanks for answering my question.

    But I gotta ask, where's all the naked asses? I expect better from you...

  36. Jamie,

    How's about another badass Squat video, or one featuring pendlay rows.

    Also, how's your training going? Hit any PR's lately?

  37. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/05/sports/vegans-muscle-their-way-into-bodybuilding.html?_r=3

    Thoughts, Jamie?

  38. Squat questions

    1. Elbow angle - I read Dave Tate's article saying elbows should be forward. Now the douche that showed me years ago had them back and high. It burns your back but kind of creates a shelf. Sometimes I feel like quazi moto? I tried basically elbows down just sitting here at my desk and it feels like I can get back tighter? What does forward even mean?

    2. Squat shoes - Do I need them? I squat fairly regularly in running shoes which from of these boards equats to burning an American flag. I'm at 410-420 parallel at 190 but also only powerlifting less than 1 year.

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