23 March 2012

Apex Predator Diet If You're Lean As Shit

If you're following the Apex Predator Diet, it's highly likely that you didn't start out ridiculously lean.  As such, it'll have take you some time to get to this point- this diet's not a quick-fix or crash diet, but rather a way to lean out while getting bigger and stronger all at the same time.  By the time you hit 8% bodyfat, your metabolism should be wearing a pvc outfit and holding a cat o' nine tails tipped with metal rings, because it's dominant as hell and has made your bodyfat into its snivelling sissy bitch. You should now be at or under 8% bodyfat, so your abs are standing out in stark relief, your body looks like a Rand McNalley map due to your incredible vascularity, and you should be feeling like you can eat lightning and shit thunder at this point.  You are, officially, awesome, provided you're not bereft of muscle mass.
I'm not satisfied until every vein is forced up against my skin. Look how vascular I am Brian. If there's one thing women love it's a vascular man. I've got veins, they carry blood all over my bahday. That's how John Mayer would say it. Bahday. 

Assuming you had to work to get here, you'll know exactly how your body responds to both diet and exercise, which affords you a tremendous amount of leeway with your diet.  Before you head for the all-you-can-eat pizza buffet, however, bear this in mind- you'll never be so awesome that you can out-train a shitty diet.  As such, sticking to the Apex Predator Diet is a good idea, though you can have the occasional dalliance.  As always, I encourage you to explore your inner Nikola Tesla and get as mad scientist as you can with both diet and training, but just remember that until you stay lean for a considerable period of time, your body is going to attempt to return to whatever your previous fat setpoint is.  Thus, if you spent the last 10 years eating butter sandwiches and appeared to be one box of Milk Duds away from purchasing a rascal to get you hither and thither, take the following with a grain of salt.  Additionally, if you like Milk Duds, you have no working taste buds, so dieting shouldn't be all that difficult for you anyway.
Got the coke and the smile covered.

Candied gastronomic atrocities aside, the Apex Predator Diet will become for most of you a delicate balancing act, wherein you're going to try to maximize your caloric intake while remaining super lean.  Though it's not as simple as most would like, nothing fucking is, so have a coke and smile and shut the fuck up about it.  You'll find that you'll naturally cycle your calories, as your ghrelin and leptin production will be optimized at this point, and your body is going to loudly let you know what it needs when it needs it.  Your stomach will growl its fucking ass off all day if you try a PSMF, and you will be miserable in the gym, so you'll likely drop those days. They'll be replaced by the regular Apex Predator days from earlier phases of the diet, wherein you drink shakes until your final evening meal.  When your metabolism resembles nothing more than Slayer's War Zone in speed, ferocity and overall sentment, it's tough to live on protein shakes and nothing more.  As such, your weekly diet will start to look much more like this:

Monday - Thursday, Saturday and Sunday
  • 5-6 protein shakes evenly spaced throughout the day consisting of 40-60 grams of protein and less than 10 grams of carbs.
  • 1 medium sized meal midday (I shoot for 600-800 calories in the form of wings, generally, although I'll substitute other meats as well.
  • 1 large evening meal of 2000-4000 calories in the form of (preferably bone-in) meat.  Let your hunger levels dictate the size.
Rampage Day- Go here for details.

Alternate Saturday
At times, you're going to find both your enthusiasm and your energy waning for continued ketogenesis.  On those weeks, push hard to make it to Fridaywith the knowledge taht you're going to carry your carbup over onto Saturday.  As to when you'll want to do this, it's entirely up to you- I would use a combination of the mirror and your general level of enthusiasm for the gym as a guage.  If you find yourself incredibly burned out, a second carbup might be the boost you need.  Make Saturday more of a medium carb, low to moderate fat, high protein day than a Rampage.  It's important to remember that these carbohydrate refeeds are not supercompensations.  Supercompensations should only be used sparingly, as frequent use reduces their efficacy.(Zatsiorsky 13)  Additionally, I would not make a habit of utilizing the moderate carb Saturdays on a frequent basis, as there's only a small amount of glycogen resynthesis that occurs in the second 24 hours of carb loading, and there's the potential to regain some of the fat you lost during the week. As such, you should keep carbohydrate levels at or below 2 grams per pound of bodyweight on Saturdays.(McDonald 132-3)

It's Time To Take A Vacation
Another massive and awesome benefit of breaking your ass to get this lean is the fact that short dietary vacations don't do much harm, and in some cases will break you out of a plateau.  According to Torbjorn Akerfeldt, our "genes have not evolved much during the last 100,000 years; thus, they are still developed for our hunter/gatherer and, more recently, pastoral ancestors, who, whenever they succeeded in killing an animal, lived on meat for a week or two. At other times, when they had bad luck hunting and a crop failed, they lived on a low-calorie diet. This selective pressure gave man adipose tissue with almost unlimited storage capacity and a very adaptive metabolism to cope with periods of different diets."(Phillips)  Basically, once you'e lean, if you diet hard and undereat a bit, you'll get a consistent carryover of the rebound you get from your Rampage Day into multiple days.  I will generally not take this past 5 days or so, but one study showed that a three week period of overeating resulted in mass gain that was nearly evenly split between fat and muscle, and an increase in nitrogen retention that persisted even after the diet returned to normal.(Forbes, Oddoye)  Thus, protein retention after the overfeeding was increased, and the body was more anabolic.

Eat up, motherfucker.

Personally, I don't plan these.  They just sort of happen, and are generally the result of a long-weekend vacation or something similar.  You could try planning them if you wanted, and if you chose to do so, I would suggest they be limited to 4 or 5 days and occur on non-consecutive months.  Additionally, I'd suggest you undereat a bit in the week prior to the overfeed to accelerate fatloss.  Provided you jump right back into the Apex Predator diet, keep your training up, don't abuse the vacation and aren't completely ridiculous about it, you can get away with quite a few dietary shenanigans.

Up next, the Apex Predator Diet for Whiny Bitches and the innumerable rugby players who email me about this diet.

Forbes GB, Brown MR, Welle SL, and Underwood LE.  Hormonal response to overfeeding.  Am J Clin Nutr 1989 49: 4 608-611.
McDonald, Lyle.  Ketogenic Diet.

Oddoye EA, Margen S.  Nitrogen Balance Studies in Humans: Long-Term Effect of High Nitrogen Intake on Nitrogen Accretion.  J. Nutr. 1979 109: 3 363-377.
Phillips, Bill.  “Torbjorn Akerfeldt interviewed by Bill Phillips – Part I"  http://myoblast.wordpress.com/2010/02/02/abcde-anabolic-burst-cycling-of-diet-and-exercise-torbjorn-akerfeldt/
Zatsiorsky, Vladimir.  Science and Practice of Strength Training.

17 March 2012

Who Else See Da Leprechaun Say Yeah

Try to remember to lift something before you start drinking today.  Or after.  Just lift something.  I'm going hunting for the Alabama Leprechaun.


In case you wanted something new to rock while getting drunk, AOAA totally changed their sound, making them basically a tough as fuck Emmure.  I bought this shit off iTunes a couple of weeks ago and rock it constantly.  You can't not love a band whose opener begins with "PUREFUCKINGHATE."  The EP is called Dark Days.

12 March 2012

Apex Predator Diet, Part 3- You're Getting Less Fat. Congratulations.

The Not Too Fucking Fat, But Not Too Fucking Lean Approach.  

This is what I used when I was between 12% and 8% bodyfat.  I could see two abs clearly and two a bit hazily at the beginning of this diet, and I followed this fairly strictly for about two months.  Once I started getting into single digits, I noticed myself getting hungrier and hungrier, and had to start eating more to maintain my bodyweight.  Additionally, once you get into the single digits (or middle double digits for chicks) you'll find that your metabolism resembles the Israeli Killdozer- it crushes damn near anything in its path provided you have someone competent behind the wheel.  As such, this approach is going to alter slightly as you get leaner (should you wish to alter it).  I realize that some of you react like Luddites at a robotics convention when faced with changing a workout or diet if it’s still yielding results, and if you fall into that category stick with the more draconian approach until you hit the next stage of the diet.  For those of you who have less resolve for sticking with something than a meth addicted four year old white trash kid in the toy department at Wal-Mart, I recommend setting a hard start and stop point on the evolution of this phase of the diet to ensure that you make the progress you should.

This stage is not too much different than the previous one, except that I recommend only one day of Protein Sparing Modified Fasts and your Rampage day kicks in harder than a teenage erection at a Hustler party.  After you’ve made it to single digits, you may choose to drop the day of protein sparing modified fasts to ensure you don’t leave weight on the platform on training days and that you continue to make forward progress with your physique.  At some point, you’ll get lean enough that you’ll notice a very pronounced loss of aggression in the gym due to those days.  Additionally, once you hit single digits, I recommend adding a smaller second food meal midday.  This will help you stabilize your weight as you bring the diet home.

The Basics of the NTFBNTS Phase
Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday:
  • 5-6 protein shakes throughout the day (and one overnight, which I'd leave on the toilet and chug while peeing) comprised of 40-60 grams of protein.  
  • On two of these four days I typically substitute one shake at lunch with wings or other no-carb meat.  Once you hit single digit bodyfat, you can make this a four day affair.
  • On one of these days, try to fit in a protein sparing modified fast (i.e. consume nothing but protein shakes) until you hit single digits.  I recommend placing this day on Saturday, in between your Rampage and high-calorie keto days, so as to keep your metabolism stimulated and reap the benefits of alternate-day fasting.
  • 1500-3000 calories of fatty meat, preferably on the bone, in the evening.
  • 5-6 protein shakes throughout the day (and one overnight).   
  • Less calorically dense meat for dinner (t-bone, ribeye, or NY Strip steak, leaving the fattiest bits behind.  This is to ensure that you’re still cycling your calories, even if you’re skipping the protein sparing modified fast day.

Friday (Rampage Day):
  • Today is going to be characterized by medium- to low- (but not no-) carb meals throughout the day.  Restrict your meals to 50 grams of carbohydrates or less per meal, and keep your fat low to ensure carbohydrate reuptake.  This is the polar opposite of your typical day, so just bear in mind that your carbohydrates and fat should be inversely proportional at all but the Rampage meal.
  • Rampage!  This is going to be a three hour cheat window that I’ll detail in the next installment. 
  • Higher calorie keto day.  Ensure that you eat two solid food meals on this day, preferably of fattier meat on the bone- think wings, ribs, chops, etc.
  • 5-6 protein shakes throughout the day (and one overnight).   
Jesus tittyfucking christ.  Who doesn't understand the proper use of the word "too"?  ...Fratboys.

During this phase, you should be making progress like a fratboy with a sorostitute in his dorm room- you’re nearly there.  Unlike said fratboy, however, you’ll likely find rohipnol unnecessary, though you might benefit from the following:
  • Avoid doing cardio.  Though utilizing a CKD (Cyclical Ketogenic Diet) as opposed to a TKD should forestall muscle catabolism brought on by high volumes of work in the gym, aerobic exercise taxes your anaerobic substrates too heavily.(Duchaine 132)  Since this could lead to muscle loss, I’d avoid it.  For the forty three thousand rugby athletes who’ve emailed me about this diet (sweet fucking Christ a lot of you like wearing striped shirts), you’ll want to follow the Whiny Bitch permutation of this diet, which is forthcoming.
  • Supplement with Chromium Polynicotinate or Vanadyl Sulfate.  Both minerals work to regulate your blood sugar and insulin levels, and might aid in training and recomposition as a result.(Duchaine 131)
  • Don’t skip or skimp on your Rampage day.  I cannot imagine a person actually doing so, but based on the emails I get, a lot of you do some tremendously stupid shit.  Don’t be one of those guys- Rampage like your name is King Kong once a week.  If you’re curious as to why, there’s a good reason- you cannot sustain high intensity training indefinitely in the total absence of dietary carbohydrates and expect to make continued progress.  You do have some glycogen resynthesis that naturally occurs as a result of weight training, though it’s relatively small.(McDonald KD 122)  As such, you need to hit the Rampage once a week to ensure you replenish glycogen stores.  Skipping or postponing your Rampage in this stage will, at best, make you fucking miserable, and at worst, reduce or eliminate your gains.  Since this diet is all about being fucking awesome, reducing your potential for awesome is counter-intuitive.
  • Consume stimulants.  They’ll fuel your workouts and they help establish and deepen your levels of ketosis.(McDonald KD 116)   Additionally, amphetamines have been shown in recent studies to increase the effect of dopamine on your brain, which increases motivation for both physical and mental activities.(Ito) Happily for us, ephedrine is an amphetamine, so feel free to make use of the wonderful bounty that is ephedrine and all of its amphetaminy goodness.  You'll be focused like a pedophile on a preschool playground when you hit the gym, find dieting easier, and generally be more awesome.  For those of you with heart problems, moral issues, religious issues, or simply think you’re better than the rest of us, feel free to abstain.  Stimulants, while not necessary on this diet, definitely help.   
  • Drink if you want.  Though by no means necessary, and done to excess will fuck up your gains, drinking can actually help you deepen your levels of ketosis.(McDonald 115)  Alcohol itself gets converted to ketones in the absence of dietary carbohydrates, which means that it won’t fuck up your diet beyond replacing the ketones your body would produce from the conversion of stored bodyfat.  Thus, it can slow fat loss if done to excess, but will not fuck up your ketogenesis.  This is, of course, assuming you stick to non-carbohydrate laden alcohol like vodka, gin, tequila, Everclear, etc.  Additionally, Robb Wolff recommends you drink as early as possible to allow the alcohol to clear your system before bedtime to avoid completely shutting down GH release overnight.  One of the best things you can consume, alcohol wise, on this diet is the disgusting old-timey gin and tonic, garnished with lime.  The lime juice blunts insulin release while the tonic water acts as a “non-polar solvent” that delivers the alchol into your system faster.(Wolff 138)  Wolff actually recommends the Crossfitters’ drink of choice, the NorCal Margarita, but it occurred to me as I wrote this that the drink of choice in the period of British Colonialism will do the job just as well, while additionally conferring resistance to malaria.  Thus, feel free to show up to your local gin bar rocking a monocle and a comically undersized safari outfit to cover all of your bases.  At the very least, you’ll annoy the holy fuck out of the hipsters drinking that vile bullshit, which makes it a victory no matter what.
Up next- a detailed description of your Rampage.

Duchaine, Dan.  Underground Bodyopus.
Ito R, Hayen A.  Opposing Roles of Nucleus Accumbens Core and Shell Dopamine in the Modulation of Limbic Information Processing.J Neuroscience. 2011 31(16):6001-6007
McDonald, Lyle. Rapid Fat Loss.
McDonald, Lyle.  Ketogenic Diet.

06 March 2012

Pimpin' Ain't Easy #2- Ain't No Half Steppin' When You're Overhead Pressin'

Recently on Reddit, I was horrified to discover a discussion about Joe Defranco's comments regarding the overhead press.  His the gist of his article, available here if you want to spend five minutes screaming "HORSESHIT!" at your computer, is as follows:
"Only one in fifty athletes I see can overhead press without risk, but they're the genetic outliers, born with more "room" in there than most of us have. And even for them, we'll only work in two-week cycles of light to moderate-weight push presses, Bradford presses, and neutral-grip strongman log presses."(Defranco)
He's a genetic miracle, right Dr. DeFranco?

Rather than dismissing this article as the fucking poppycock that it is, a multi-page paean to weakness was created wherein everyone on that site whined like a dog with his balls stuck underneath a pile of cinderblocks about how horribly their shoulders hurt after overhead pressing.  They do this because they're not real strength athletes, and neither is Joe Defranco- they're idiots obsessed with bench pressing since they touched a barbell.  As such, their shoulders are horribly pronated due to tight pecs and weak backs, and this  ridiculous situation is exascerbated by the fact that the vast majority of them spend the bulk of their time sitting, slouched, and typing on a fucking keyboard all day long.  Clearly, this goes on long after the workday's finished, as they have time to blather about weightlifting on internet chatboards rather than getting their max squat over 315.  Thus, most people have biomechanically fucked themselves into a shitty physique and a lot of internet bitching.  On top of that, you have the fact that most people rarely do any kind of overhead pressing.  According to Greg Zulak, "Arthur Jones pointed out that the average untrained man can actually press much more than he can bench press, and the only reason powerlifters and bodybuilders bench more than they can press is that they practice benching more than pressing, and emphasize it more in their programs."(Zulak)  As such, they've got no groove on the overhead lifts and they're fighting tight tendons, a weak back, and an unremitting desire to sit or lay down on something padded every time they enter the gym.

So, how to resolve this issue?
  1. Start fucking overhead pressing.  Do these while standing.  You don't need to come out of the gates trying to hit the numbers I suggested in part one of this series- just start light.  Learn the movement.  I'm talking 25% of your bodyweight for very strict sets of 10 on military presses.  As you get stronger and more comfortable, your range of motion will increase and and shoulder twinges you have should be reduced.   Do this at least twice a week, and preferably three times a week.  You need to learn the movement, and the weight is going to be light enough that you shouldn't be too fatigued.  At least initially, avoid push presses and focus on getting smooth, full-range repetitions on strict military press.  That'll build tremendous strength in your triceps and shoulders and leave you in much better shape for explosive movements later on.   
  2. While you're doing this, start working heavy rows into your routine at least once a week.  I'm talking heavy fucking Pendlay rows, from the floor, blasting yourself in the chest with the bar at the top of your pull.  These will be the polar opposite of the rep speed and level of control you use on the military press, but you're in no danger of injuring yourself worse than a bruise with these, and you need to build back strength in a fucking hurry. 
  3. Once you've built a basic platform from which to press, namely a strong back and shoulders capable of pressing a weight overhead ("HORRORS!" says Joe DeFranco!), it's time to start training the overhead press seriously.  We'll say the watershed for this is hitting 85% of your bodyweight for 3 sets of 5 strict reps.  Once you're there, start upping the ante on the overheads.  De-emphasize bench pressing for the first time in your life and start doing standing military press, push press, or behind the neck push press first in your workout.
  4. Come to the startling realization that anyone with a brain's already had- Joe Defranco is full of shit.  His programs are shit, and he thinks you're a flaming fucking pussy with an asscrack full of whipped cream who wears a disposable party hat and matching anklets to bed every night.  I know that makes no sense- he's the one who thinks it, not me.  Take a look at his programs- they're as unoriginal as any I've ever seen, and low intensity to boot.  They're about as likely to produce champions as Ellen Degeneres is erections- that shit's just not fucking happening.  Check it out- for $40 you get the workout every high school kid does without ever hearing Defranco's name, in addition to warmups from track practice and conditioning from wrestling practice!  Congratulations!  You just paid a substantial amount of money to relive what was probably a shitty four years.
I realize that a great many of you might be considering a rush to DeFranco's defense.  Before you utterly embarrass yourselves, however, let's look at a little thing i like to call "reality".  In reality, where you and I live.  In reality, there's a country called Bulgaria that has a population that numbers almost a million fewer people than New York City, yet has amassed 36 medals at the Olympics in weightlifting (12 gold, 16 silver, 8 bronze) in the last 100 years.  By comparison, the US has 43 total medals, in spite of the fact that our population is comprised of roughly 300 million more people.  Using the produce of DeFranco's genius, Bulgaria shouldn't even be able to field a weightlifting team, much less dominate the sport, and yet they do.  Why?

Because they fucking overhead press.  Morning, noon, and night.  Six days a week, they're putting heavy weights over their heads and doing it with the sort of impetuousness and general contempt for gravity that you'd only expect out of a drunken midget shot out of a cannon.  Most Olympic weightlifting teams, no matter their level of success, follow the Bulgarian prescription to some degree, and those teams with the most success lift most often.  Their shoulders haven't fallen off, blown up, or caught fire, and Olympic weightlifters routinely have some of the most developed shoulders on Earth- all from putting weights overhead daily.

Even powerlifters benefit from overhead pressing- recently deceased badass Doug Furnas did behind the neck presses religiously and was the first many to total 2400 lbs twice at 275.  (Gallagher 53)  Ed Coan joined him in this, doing 5x2-8 reps on the behind the neck press once a week (Gallagher 62)  Former Olympic weightlifting phenoms and total assholes Bob Bednarski and Norm Schemanski both put weights overhead four times a week while working full-time, labor-intensive jobs.(Gallagher 28)  Jim Wendler recommends weekly overhead pressing for powerlifters (5/3/1 for Powerlifting).  Paul Anderson pressed overhead, fucking HEAVY, three times a week (Gallagher 15)  Fuck, even Paul Kelso recommends adding overhead pressing in his workouts, and he recommends you do virtually no lifting whatsoever.  The only person of whom I can think of off the top of my head who might agree with Mighty Joe DeFranco is Bob Cicherillo, the bodybuilder famous for not winning a motherfucking thing while preaching a gospel of not doing any real lifting in favor of fucking about on machines all day long like you work at Jiffy Lube.  His physique, as a result, is bizarre, unsettling, and generally godawful, and again- he never won a motherfucking thing.
The anti-functional physique- he can't bench, squat, deadlift, or overhead press a paperweight.

Thus, Joe Defranco's full of shit, most of the people who post on Reddit appear to be flaming vaginas, and you should be working overhead movements into your workouts at least twice a week.  If you need tips on the form, go here.  I'm not in the business of form critiques- just be fucking intelligent about it and utilize form that doesn't murder your shoulders.  That means that rather than debating with other idiots online whether you should pack or shrug your shoulders at the top of a movement, try them both and see which works for you- I found that shrugging my shoulders at the top of the lift completely fucked my shoulder to bits.  If you're unclear about the difference, go here for an explanation of the two.  I don't give a homeless guy's greasy balled shit which one you do- just figure out which works for you and fucking do it already.  If you're horribly inflexible, I'd recommend against the shrug.  All of the powerlifters I've seen with decent overhead presses pack their shoulders as well, so that's something to keep in your back pocket... i.e. avoid shrugging your shoulders when the bar is at full extension on an overhead press.

For those legions of you who've complained to me that you can't overhead press for shit and who've asked me for some panacea or quick fix, here it is- FUCKING OVERHEAD PRESS.  The only way you'll get better at it is to do it.  A lot.  That's how the greats did it, and that's how you're going to do it.  You're not genetically predisposed, physically, to sucking at the movement.  It's your goddamned brain that makes you suck, not your shoulders or your genes.

Go put some weight overhead, fuckers, and stop paying attention to assholes who don't understand that there's no "best" way for everyone to lift weights and who think that you're an even bigger pussy than you likely make yourself out to be on message boards.  With that, however, I will reassert that the only reason you'd lift a kettlebell is because you're too fucking weak to lift a barbell, so let's keep this out of the realm of Dragon Door and in the realm of strength training, shall we?

Gallagher, Marty.  Purposeful Primitive.
Rader, Pearry.  Training on the Olympic Lifts.  http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2011/12/training-on-olympic-lifts-peary-rader.html
Zulak, Greg.  The Press.  http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2011/12/press-greg-zulak.html