07 October 2011

I Think This Is Officially Middle Aged- Random Shit I've Learned

When I told someone recently that I was going to be 35 today, they nearly shit their pants, which was a pretty cool reaction.  I suppose half of that is due to the fact that I'm fairly immature, owing to a near-complete lack of responsibility for anything other than myself, and the rest of it owing to my appearance.  Nevertheless, it was pretty cool compliment.  

My lifts and the way I look are entirely the product of doing a hell of a lot of research and experimentation over the years- I've never had a coach, only sporadically had lifting partners, and rarely consulted the internet beyond T-Nation scintilla of lifting information.  Instead, I read actual physical publications, and though they ranged from relatively shitty things like Muscle & Fitness to Men's Health, I've compiled a fairly impressive library of actual strength training and nutrition resources, and have scoured every library and bookstore for more information.  Despite all that research, I've found that a lot of my best discoveries come from just walking into the gym and trying random shit.  The following is a non-comprehensive listing of that information, with one point that will shock the living shit out of those of you who've been reading this blog for a while.
  • There's no such thing as "pointless" strength training.  I see a lot of bullshit on strength boards wherein people posit that strength training without a definable goal is "pointless".  This is, of course, utter fucking nonsense.  If you're engaging in anything that could be reasonably construed as strength training, you're building strength, and there's your point.  Most people are never going to compete in the world championships of any strength event, and as such should concern themselves with doing something they enjoy to ensure they'll keep doing it over time.  There's no sense forcing yourself through endless workouts of drudgery and incremental improvement if you don't enjoy them, especially when there's all sorts of random fun shit you could be doing in the gym instead.  Thus, there's absolutely nothing to stop you from doing six weeks of squat lockouts every fucking day for two hours if that's what you enjoy.  Frankly, you probably couldn't do much better than shit like that if that's what you enjoy- supports are one of the best ways to improve muscularity and strength on Earth, and provided you're not going to be competing in full-range events, doing them exclusively would be an interesting experiment.
  • While I'm on the subject, I've found in the last couple of years that one of the surefire ways I know of to lose muscle mass in spite of great training and diet is to eschew heavy supports.  This might not apply to everyone on Earth, but I know for a fact if I skip squat lockouts and partial deads/shrugs, I will lose bodyweight- it's more of a sure bet than it is that it would be to get Hepatitis if you showed up on Courtney Love's doorstep with a hard cock and a big bag of heroin.  If you want to gain weight, eating big and doing ultra heavy squat lockouts is a fucking lock.  If you want to lose bodyweight, I'd skip the lockouts for a while.  
  • On the subject of losing bodyweight, I intended to blog about this ages ago and don't think I ever did.  The first time I got really honestly ripped was when I lived in Vienna, and did so by doing nothing more than following Chad Waterbury's routines and eating a mostly paleo diet.  Should you want to see your lower abs in fairly short order, try the following- eat 1 kg of chicken breast a day in chicken broth with .5 kg mix of cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots every day, in addition to a couple of protein shakes.  Post workout I always ate a big fucking turkey durum kebap with nothing on it but turkey and as much hot sauce as they'd put on the thing.  Given that we're not awash in Turks in the US, my fellow Yankees likely have no fucking clue what a turkey durum kebap is, which is a motherfucking shame, as it's pretty much the greatest culinary feat man's yet achieved.  It's essentially shaved turkey in a burrito with some salad, Tzatziki Yogurt Sauce, and hot sauce.  I skipped all of the nonsense, however, and got right to the meat of things.  Yes, I am a witty motherfucker.  Once a week, I'd eat some pizza, and drank enough Jagermeister once or twice a week to drown a small village.  With that, I got down to 165 lbs and leaner than I'd ever been, even while wrestling 134 in college.  I've uploaded Waterbury's programs to Mediafire for you guys here and here in case you want to check them out.  Before you ask me which ones I did to get lean, try fucking experimenting first.
You guys were expecting scat porn, weren't you?  Sick fuckers.
  • Before you take a shit on Waterbury, remember that your mind can be your Yoda or your Emperor.  Closing yourself off to shit just makes you look like a fucking dick, especially if you've not even given the shit a shot.  Additionally, too much negativity can and will get the best of you.  I've blogged about this phenomenon a bunch, but I've noticed even in the last few months that I'll find myself stuck for months on a given weight or a given number of reps on a weight for no reason other than the fact that my brain tells me to stop, even while my body tells me to keep going.  That's one of the weirdest revelations I've had in the gym, but it's also one of the most poignant- I literally went from doing 5 reps on 275 on the bench to 12 in two sets, after realizing that there was nothing on Earth stopping me from doing more.  I spent the rest of that morning workout doing death sets with 275, just to grind into my brain the fact that even half awake, I could make 275 my punk bitch for a shitload of reps anytime I fucking want.  The following day I talked to another guy at my gym who is fucking gibungous, but whose squat had always been a fucking embarrassment.  Simply from my chiding and encouragement, he stopped thinking 405 was the end-all be-all of squatting and jumped up to a double with 600 in a month.  Not only that, but he did the reps to depth in spite of godawful bodybuilding form and the fact that he's a bodybuilder.  His legs have been growing like crazy since, as he realized that the only thing holding him back was his brain.  
Motherfuckers set off the lunk alarm on me on my second warmup set on bench at this very Planet Fitness.  In the Smith Machine.  
  • Your brain's ability to beat you isn't simply internal, lest you start thinking that you just suck and should have your parents take you out behind the shed and put you out of their misery- your gym is likely a huge part of the problem.  With the movement towards "fitness" in gyms, the environment in which most of you hoist weight is likely only conducive to getting a beach body and fucking around on the treadmill.  As such, you'll have to do what you can to combat that.  Getting a little evil would probably not hurt.
Shit certainly worked for Charles Bronson.

  • Your brain can also produce some cool shit and shouldn't always be ignored.  For instance, you can come up with some random and ridiculous ways to cut bodyfat if you'd spend a little time thinking about it.  One of the things with which I credit my recent fatloss, aside from the four months of dieting, tons of two a days, and stimulant overuse is pretty stupid-sounding, but I swear it helped- I started standing up while playing Call of Duty.  Though that sounds asinine, I've spent a lot of Friday nights playing eight hours of Call of Duty, and did it all standing up.  I noticed fat started coming off much faster when I began doing that, so I started doing it all the time.  Danny Bonaduce had some similar ideas, and credited dumbass games like Dance Dance Revolution with his ability to stay super lean as he got older.  Other things I've noticed help with fat loss are taking walks, which I did a fuck of a lot of in Europe and of which I've done a lot in the last month while dogsitting, and fucking. I can say with the utmost certainty that when I'm fucking a couple of times a day on the regular, I'm lean without even trying.  Really, really lean.  Whether that's due to the combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercise or the raised testosterone or a combination of all three I've no idea, but if someone'd like to fund that study I will be the first asshole in line.

  • Though I doubt the last bit came as a revelation to anyone, this will come as a bit of a shock- I'm fairly certain that mixing cable or band crossovers into your workouts here and there raises your bench press considerably.  I know it does mine.  I actually started doing them when I was casted up from elbow/tricep surgery two years ago, as it was just about the only thing I could do while in a cast to hit my chest.  I continued doing them after I got out, as I skipped PT altogether and rehabbed myself, and I thought that my constant aggressive rehab might fall into the category of "outright fucking retarded" if I started benching too soon.  As such, I just stuck with doing band crossovers as much as humanly possible.  I kept doing them while living in South Carolina, but after leaving there, I dropped them from my workouts... and my bench dropped with them.  In attempting to get my bench back out of the fucking gutter this year, I came to the realization that I'd dropped crossovers and added them back in, and lo and behold, my bench has gone through the roof.  My birthday tradition is to bench 10 times my age without a warmup, which I had to modify this year due to a niggling pain in my left pec when benching of late.  As such, I did three warmup sets and then did a paused rep with 350 for this birthday, which was easy as all hell.  While I don't credit crossovers for this in it's entirety, I will say that I think they've helped.  As for how much and when, I generally do them as part of my light AM workout two or three times a week.  I go pretty light, get a deep stretch, and do sets of twelve froma variety of angles.  I'm also a big fan of doing them unilaterally, so I hold one hand in the contracted position, do a rep with the other, and switch.  In case that's unclear, here's another description- start a  rep on the crossover, and hold it in the contracted position.  Then, return to the stretch position and then the contracted with your right arm, hold that in the contracted position, and do your left.  
Also, Roland Cziurlok was a big fan of crossovers, as I recall, and that dude had one of the sickest chests ever.
  • Finally, if I've learned one thing in the last 18 years that I'd say is of the utmost importance to impart upon other people, it's that you should give no fucking thought whatsoever to what other people are doing, and even less thought to what they think of what you're doing.  Without question, that sounds pompous and solipsistic, but it's fucking true.  People, by and large, go out of their fucking way to suck, and try hard to make you suck with them.  They'll fight you tooth and nail on the latter, as they resent the shit out of the fact that you excel, as it sets the bar that much higher and reminds them of their myriad inadequacies.  Thus, insofar as lifting goes, ignore everyone around you and do what you want.  It's a near certainty that if they object it's out of fear or jealousy or a combination thereof, and it's even more likely that they've got no fucking clue what they're doing anyway.  In short- fuck everyone.  Fight hard, fuck hard, study hard, play hard, lift hard, and generally be hard.  Enjoy yourself, and be awesome.  Everything else is bullshit.


  1. "Frankly, you probably couldn't do much better than shit like that if that's what you enjoy- supports are one of the best ways to improve muscularity and strength on Earth, and provided you're not going to be competing in full-range events, doing them exclusively would be an interesting experiment." Sounds a lot like Power Factor Training by Sisco and Little...without obsessive paranoia of overtraining I presume.

  2. I actually liked a lot of the theory in that book, but the execution was godawful. It was the 90s, though, and everyone was terrified of the squat rack during that decade, it seems.

  3. Well well, Happy Birthday then!

  4. You should review Bronson's exercise book. If you've not read it, it's mostly Charles Atlas bollocks but there's a chapter on making your dick bigger and another on meditation... In fact, I think I've said this before.

  5. Awesome post.
    Another cool trick to lose weight is to sleep a lot.
    I got the leanest I'd ever been this summer by eating bacon and eggs, chicken drumsticks and chicken curry (no rice, just coconut milk, vegetables and chicken+spices) and sleeping up to 10 hours every night.
    Probably wouldn't (and couldn't) pull that off now, but it's cool a few times a year.

  6. When was your birthday? Mine was yesterday.

  7. Awesome post, I love lockouts, nothing gets more looks of confusion from the beach bodies at the gym. ill have to try crossovers

  8. Turkey durum kebap - I thought this was a bunch of typos.

    Bronson was fucking awesome.

  9. That is a typo, it's called a "kebab" by anyone who speaks English or Turkish. Also, counter intuitively or otherwise, wikipedia has it that in Italy you would not be able to get the doner pizza.

  10. Doner pizzas are the nuts! Near enough every saturday night after boozing and watching football I ravage a large doner pizza covered in sriracha. No other cheat food can compare.

    Cool post man, may have to try that chicken broth thing. And happy birthday fucker.

  11. It wasn't a typo- that's the way it was spelled in Vienna.

    From wiki: oner kebab (Turkish: döner kebabı) or sometimes döner kebap, lit. 'rotating roast', often shortened to Doner (Turkish: döner), lit. 'turn around',[2] also spelled "doener", "donair", "donar", "doner", or sometimes "donner") is a Turkish dish made of lamb meat (mainly) cooked on a vertical spit and sliced off to order.

  12. The Dürüm, by the way, is a flatbread in which the kebap is wrapped, similar to a burrito shell.

  13. "Fight hard, fuck hard, study hard, play hard, lift hard, and generally be hard. Enjoy yourself, and be awesome. Everything else is bullshit."

    Best line in your whole post.

    Durum Kebab is the best, overhere we have a shop in every town.

    Have a good one, lad.

  14. Aside from "study hard," I can definitely get behind that.

    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)

  15. You got stalkers, man! You should be proud.

  16. @animalrage- I've intended to post about them for some time. There's considerable evidence, mostly out of Russia as I recall, that fermented foods have really powerful cancer-fighting effects. Apparently the yogurt lobby is not as powerful as the wine lobby, so the message hasn't really hit our shores about fermented foods. I'll try to get a longer writeup into an upcoming blog.

  17. Jamie

    I love the theme in some of these points.

    I always look at training as a sort of journey. And if you're in it for the long term, it really should be.

    I see posts on the internet asking questions like "I missed a workout what should I do", "missed a rep should I deload", "Can I change X exercise for y exercise"...stuff like this all the time.

    Tons of over-thinking.

    Just get in the gym and do it. Look down the long-term. Make some mistakes on your own and learn about your body while getting stronger.

  18. Thanks for another great post. Like yourself, I try to keep an open mind using myself as my own human guinea pig. Definitely agree with you on the lockouts/heavy supports. Are you still using the 'keto-runs' as your main approach to dieting?

    I thought your 'kebap' comment was a clever play on words. 'Baps' in Aussie parlance, is a another name for 'tits'.

  19. @Red- couldn't agree more about people making mistakes on their own. That's how people fucking learn.

    @Brains- Yup. Still using them. Since my newest Ask the Asshole's taking awhile, I'll throw up a rundown of my newest diet today for you guys.

  20. Any stims of choice Jamie? Finally ran out of Vasepro and am looking for suggestions, thanks.

  21. I really like Stimerex ES and Lipodrene, but right now I'm using the old Bronchaid/No-Doz combo.

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