30 August 2012

USPA Nationals After-Action Report And CfC Meet Prep

The new logo's pimped, right?

I realize I haven't posted a motherfucking thng in the last couple of weeks, but it's for good reason- I've been spending ten to thirteen hours a day on a new ebook that grew out of the blog entries on the three powerlifts.  It's called Destroy the Opposition, and it's a total rewrite of the blogs plus a ton of new material, and it's clocking in at over 100 pages eve though it's as yet incomplete.  I'm working on a print version as well, which will be an expanded version of the ebook.  I'm not going to state unequivocally that this is pretty much the seminal work on powerlifting, but if you guys aren't blown the fuck away by it, I will be surprised.  Rereading it for edits, the thing even impresses me, and I wrote the fucking thing.  Look for Destroy The Opposition to go on sale this weekend.  It will be well worth the money you spend on it.

Still exhausted and spacey a day after weighin.

Well, by now I'd imagine the lot of you have hear that I totalled 1630 at the USPA Nationals with a 633 squat, 336 bench, and a 661 deadlift.  Since the internet buzz appears to be that my bench has fallen into the shitter, I figure I'll address that first- it hasn't.  Though I don't have a video, 375 went up easy as pie on my third attempt, as did my ass.  I didn't feel my ass leave the bench and flipped the fuck out when I was red-lighted, so you guys can settle the fuck down.  375 was an easy third- my problem is that I invariably fuck up my second attempt on bench- whether due to overexcitement, underexcitement, or what, I have no idea.  I can tell you that in that meet, the weight drifted toward my face on my second attempt, so I decided to blast the fucker up on my third.  Rather than any problem with strength, I got a little overenthusiastic with my press on my third and my form got loose.  I seem to have figured out how to prevent that going forward, which I'll address later in this writeup.
I find it hard to believe I was mistaken for an ice giant, or a giant anything, for that matter.

Karmic Beatdown For Generally Being An Asshole?
I have no idea what cosmic powers I pissed off before this meet, but they handed me an epic beatdown before this meet.  I'd not attempted to cross multiple time zones for a meet before, and have never had a problem with jet lag, so doing a meet in San Francisco seemed like no biggie.  From Birmingham, I had to fly to Atlanta and then San Francisco, then drive to San Jose.  That would have put me into San Francisco just before midnight, so I would have been in bed by 1, letting me get about 6 and a half hours blissful sleep with the AC cranked to "Arctic Circle" before starting my cut at the gym.  My flight was delayed three hours in Birmingham, however, and I then had to wait for another hour and a half (at 230 in the morning) for a rental car, so I didn't actually get into bed until 5AM.  I then overslept (of course), and frantically searched for a Ballys I never found (driving around a strange town while dehydrated and hungry is about on par with a three-pronged attach into Russia in the winter, as stupid ideas go).

As a general rule, you should always have a backup plan for making weight- having one saved my ass, sort of.  The gym to which I went after frantically searching one-way streets for the Ballys I never found was actually my first choice for a gym, but it was further away than the Ballys.  As such, I tried the Ballys first, in an effort to spare myself having to drive 20 minutes each way to another gym.  I picked a gym with a dry sauna and brought a sauna suit and a towel to drape over my head to hold in heat, which worked well for my last meet.  For some reason, this cut was far harder than my previous cuts, and I spent a hell of a lot of time out of the sauna rather than in it because I honestly felt like I was dying.  I would venture to guess it was the sleep deprivation- that always fucks with my head and moods.  In any event, I put Die Antwoord's "I Fink U Freeky" pretty much on repeat for three hours, which for whatever reason made the misery of being in the sauna and sauna suit tolerable.  I then spent 2.5 hours in the suit and the sauna sauna and believed, according to the gym scale, I was underweight.  I generally operate under the golden rule of never trusting a gym scale, so I thought being a shade under 181 would float me.  It did not.  Upon arriving at the venue, I discovered I was three tenths of a pound over.  To give you an idea of how dehydrated I was at this point, my piss was cloudy and brown.  To say I was pissed was an understatement, but I grabbed a cup for spitting and hit the bathtub.  I spat into the cup and soaked in water so hot I could just barely stand to be in the tub for 45 minutes and soaked in a hot bath, which got my weight down to 179.  I honestly have no idea how I dropped taht much weight that quickly, but I can tell you that I will be picking a gym with a hot tub if at all possible for my next cut, as that seems like a far more pleasant way to drop weight than the sauna suit/sauna combo.  The hot bath seems to do far more than a sauna, or is at least a good follow-up to a sauna.

Lesson:  Be really careful about doing meets that require you to cross multiple time zones in places with which you're not familiar and in which you have little or no support structure.

This recomp was a bit haphazard, as I had a college buddy come visit from San Fran I hadn't seen in years.  I basically spent the next 6 hours drinking as much liquid as I could and eating pizza, Cinnamon Life, and burgers at hourly intervals, attempting to get as much in the way of carbohydrates, salt, and water into my system as possible.  I was too tired to really care that much, however, and was so full the entire time that I really didn't do all that I should have to recomp.  I was in bed by 930PM and asleep within minutes, and slept so hard I really didn't continue to rehydrate overnight.  As such, I was still really dehydrated in the morning.  Additionally, I couldn't find shit for breakfast worth eating and had to travel 30 minutes to Walmart in search of deadlift socks (which I'd forgotten) an hour before the meet.  Incidentally, soccer socks work perfectly as deadlifting socks, so if you find yourself without yours, they're cheap as hell and available wherever you can find sporting goods.
Apparently, I am not the only person who thinks Cinnamon Life springs forth from heaven and descends to Earth by sliding down rainbows into gilded pots.

Lesson:  Pretty much the same fucking thing as the previous bit.

The Meet:
The meet went, by and large, about how I expected.  My walkouts all felt shaky (which they were), so I went light on my third to avoid missing an attempt there.  I set a PR with my second, but I figured I might as well split the difference on my third and put up an impressive number.  The bench was a bit of a debacle, but I made up for it on the deadlift.  I was so bored by the deadlift that I really had no interest in lifting.  I warmed up with 225, 405, and 545, then pulled my first attempt.  In my next meet, I'm hoping that ingesting enough stimulants to kill a small horse will reignite my flagging interest in the meet.  When i say I was bored, I mean I left the venue after every flight because being there was driving me slowly insane.  I actually missed the medal ceremony (where I was declared the Best lifter) because I was eating Mexican... mostly because I couldn't stand to watch any more lifting.

Lesson:  Powerlifting meets are fucking boring.  Ritalin would probably be a good idea for the deadlift.
Round-back like a motherfucker, but I got it, and by all accounts it went up easy.  My C7 would dispute that, however.

Prior to the meet, I thought I had strained a trap, which thought was odd.  My upper back was killing me throughout the meet, particularly on and around my C7, which is the vertebra that sticks out the most in your upper back.  As it happens, I'd incurred a clay-shoveler's fracture on that vertebra, which means that my traps were ripping chunks of bone off my spine every time I lifted.  I laid off shrugging for a few weeks, as that seemed to be the culprit.  It seems to be fully healed, and I shrugged 855 for 4x5 and then 1x8 the other day, so I'm stronger than ever.  I am, however, amused at myself for putting up PRs with a fractured vertebra.  Next time you're thinking about making excuses and pussying out, bear that in mind.
Blurry, but you get the idea.  I was going for the Bronson pose in honor of our esteemed trapariffic crackhead.

What I'm Doing To Prepare For The Clash For Cash
Basically, my training over the last year has been a long test to see how much punishment my body can take while determining my best form on the three lifts.  It can take a tremendous beating, it seems, provided i don't do the few things that really annoy it.  Thus, I have made the following changes to my workouts:
  • Use a monkey/suicide grip on the squat.  Paul Carter from Lift-Run-Bang tipped me off to the fact taht hooking my thumbs under the bar on the squat was both unnecessary and counter-productive.  I was putting way too much pressure on my brachialis to hold the bar in place, as hooking my thumb under the bar transfered a great deal of the weight down my forarms and into my elbows.  As the brachialis is what rotates your lower arm at the elbow, that's what was taking all of the strain.  Since I rolled out all of the knots and quit that shit, I'm pain free in my upper arms and able to train the squat far more.  As such, I've been squatting between 3 and 5 times a week since.
  • Get a liftoff for reverse grip benching.  In addition to the knotting in my brachialis, I was getting huge, deep, Russiand Nesting Doll-style knots in my biceps.  I couldn't figure out what the problem was until I got them out, then tried to unrack 315 myself and felt them knot up immediately.  Thus, I've only reverse gripped twice in the last two months, once from the bottom position off the pics, and the other with a spotter.  In the latter, I got an easy single with 385 and a couple of very near misses with 405 after a hell of a lot of benching.  Additionally, I've been close-grip benching two or three times a week and doing weighted dips once to strengthen my triceps further.
  • Training more and heavier.  I've come to the realization that the lighter, small workouts that I had been doing were better suited to morning workouts, and have been training twice a day almost every day, doing light shit in the morning and heavy shit in the evening, 6-7 days a week.  As such, I'm leaner and stronger than ever.  My only issue with this level of frequency is that it's mentally exhausting, but I just force myself through it and keep going.  It has, however, caused me to scour the internet for ever more brutal music to get me through my lifts.  Die Antwoord being the exception to that rule, obviously.
Since you guys are always asking for my workouts, I'll share what I've done thus far this week.  Of late, I'm spending between one and a half and two and a half hours a day in the gym.

Saturday AM
20 minutes of arms, doing sets of 50-100.  I was bored.

Saturday PM
Pendlay rows: 15x3x365, 3x2x385

Sunday AM
Klokov press: 5x10x135, 3x5x185

Sunday PM
Close Grip Bench Press(Paused): 1x3x135, 225, 315.  10x1x365
We did random other shit but I've forgotten what.

Monday AM
15 minutes with 80 lbs of weighted vests ( I wear 2 of them at once) on the treadmill, walking and reading.
15 minutes pullups and dips

Monday PM
Bottom Position Squat, 2" above parallel
1x1x 315, 405, 495, 585, 8x1x675, 1x2x675
Standing Hamstring curls 6 x 8-15
Standing Calf Raise with the stack (~600 lbs) 4x15

Tuesday AM
Same as Monday

Tuesday PM
Shrugs: 1x20x405, 495. 1x10x585, 675, 765.  4x5x855.  1x8x855.
Pullups: 6x5x90lbs. 4x15x unweighted
Pushdowns: 3x25

Wednesday AM
Weight vest on the treadmill 20 mins

Wednesday PM
An hour and 30 minutes of Klokov presses with 135 for sets of 10, mostly.
20 minutes of standing wrist curls with 135
(I didn't bother counting sets and reps)

Thursday AM
Weighted vests on teadmill 20 mins
Ab Wheel with weighted vests, 3x12

I've not yet decided what I'm doing tonight, but it'll likely be jump squats with 495 for singles.

Hopefully, that will tide you guys over while I finish up the ebook.  If that isn't enough, perhaps this will push it over the top:

20 August 2012

Deutschland, Deutschland Über Alles

I've posted before about my endless lamentations over the death of beatdown hardcore as a genre.  It appears that the Krauts decided to find their fucking balls and get in on the game, however, and they've produced shit so brutal in the last couple of years that they should be up on charges in the Hague.  Luckily, I speak some German, so this shit is basically Rosetta Stone 2.0 for me- I get to hone my linguistic skills while crushing weight and screaming unintelligible German at the type 2 diabetes-cultivating xenophobes of the South.  Thus, I win several times.  Lest any of you linguistically-challenged fuckers out there fear music in a foreign language, most of this shit is in English, and the stuff that's not probably wouldn't be terribly intelligible in any language, no matter your proficiency.  Thus, you should just download this shit and enjoy it the way a dog enjoys drinking out of the toilet.  Just try not to get too German on the deal and drop four hundred pounds on your neck in a failed attempt at a snatch on international TV.

The Bands:

Butcher- I haven't been this excited about a band in years, quite frankly.  Butcher appears to have collected the sum total of Germany's remaining masculinity and jammed it into one badass five piece hardcore band.  They basically sound like Shattered Realm with half-German lyrics and a shitload of digital bass booms.  The breakdowns will liquify your bowels and make you shit yourself, if you happen to to be listening to them on anything with serious bass.  What's more, these fuckers throw in a decent amount of rapped lyrics into their songs, which makes any toughguy hardcore band eleventy million times tougher.  It's a verifiable fact.  If there's anything more fun than death growling "Wir machen euch kaputt!" at the toothless hillbillies in this shithole city, I have no idea what is.
Hitler's corpse spontaneously masturbates whenever a Butcher song is played within 100 km of his location, I'm sure.  Download "My Own War" here.

Words of Concrete- Pulling a very close silver in the Best New Beatdown Band event in the 2012 Olympics is Words of Concrete, and East German band that splits their lyrics up into English, German, and a couple of badass sounding Russian raps.  Basically, if much of Europe was conquered by a particular culture, they sing songs about being a hard motherfucker in the language of that culture.  Words of Concrete is equal parts E-town Concrete, Recognize, and Haymaker-era Throwdown.  Yeah, it's that fucking awesome.  If you don't want to learn Russian and German after listening to "East German Cold", you're a soulless pile of dogshit and your squat's probably south of 225.  You get an extra 100 testosterone points just for downloading their fucking music.
Download "East German Cold" here and their split with Delusions of Lunacy and New Kidz on the Block here.

Beatdown Heavyweights MMIX- There are few split hardcore albums I've not liked over the years.  Prior to the advent of the internet, it was one of the best ways to find new music, because when a band you loved did a split with another band, you'd generally hear someone new.  That was one method for finding new bands in hardcore back in the day, as well as reading the "thank You's" in the liner notes for cds.  You internet generation motherfuckers have no idea how easy you have it.  In the early 90s, all of the kids who wrote zines were vegan straightedge kids, and they had terrible fucking taste in music.  Thus, unless you lived in NYC or Philly, you were pretty well fucked finding new music without splits.  Beatdown Heavyweights brought that trend back, because I downloaded this after discovering the gigantic pile of blood-soaked German awesome that is Butcher.  The other three bands on this disc were just as fucking good, and managed to entrench themselves firmly in the same nubeatdown genre without completely aping Butcher's sound.  Created Hate might've gotten a little overzealous with the digital bass booms and the ridiculously bass-heavy mixing, but their vocalist brings a different style to the party by rocking more of an early-90's gruff shouted vocal style.  Balboa's shit is definitely better mixed, and they go much more death metal on the vocals and music, making them basically deathcore beatdown.  Yeah, it's fucking awesome- they're basically what Waking the Cadaver should have become after they released their first two song demo.  The last band on the split has a fucking cool ass sound- imagine the singer from Coalesce in a late 90s Florida hardcore band like Until the End, and that's what you've got.  They're toughguy bro-core, in which they basically just yell about how their friends are their family and they'll stab anyone who looks at them funny.  Download the split here.

Call For Blood- If you don't recognize the source of their band name, you haven't been studying your Hatebreed.  This band's actually not German- they're Swiss.  If I didn't tell you that their singer was a broad, you'd have no idea until she fucking told you (she's the one in the pic above).  Her vocals are harder than that poofter from Lamb of God and his effects-laden bullshit,  and these fuckers know how to write a breakdown, unlike LOG.  Not the greatest band on the list, but they're notable if for no other reason than the fact that they're the first (to my knowledge) female-fronted toughguy band, and because they speak Swiss German, which is fucking gibberish.  The songs appear to be in English, though her vocals are so gruff you can't really tell what the fuck she's saying other than "fuck" and "that's right, I'm a bitch".  Download their EP here to hear a broad tougher than you curse her fucking ass off.

Yesterday I Had Roadkill-  I got a bunch of emails about the rap song in the last video I posted, and that's "Shicksal" off  YIHR's disc.  This band brings together deathcore, toughguy hardcore, dubstep, and rap in one gigantic package of saurkraut-flavored "fuck yeah".  Random as shit, and all that much more awesome for it.  I've had both "Insides Outside" and "Anthony Facepuncher" on my lifting mix for a couple of months, and they never get old.  "Shicksal", on the other hand, is a 100% German rap song with one of the hardest fucking beats in rap sings Westside Connection stopped making music, in addition to death growls and a SICK breakdown at the end.  We're talking rip your grandma's spine out and use it to slaughter everyone at an old folk's home brutal.  Download "Feast for the Hoes" here.

Apparently Slam Coke's got some stupidly hot fans.  I don't know what's more awesome- her abs, her tats, or the fact that she's rocking a Slam Coke shirt. [Edit- further research shows she's Holly D and that was on the set of a metal-themed porn.

Slam Coke-  I actually checked out this band because I love the fuck out of Yesterday I Had Roadkill's song "Insides Outside", in which Slam Coke's vocalist does guest vox.  That song is literally face melting, and pretty much everything Slam Coke does is beyond brutal.  Like Balboa, they're deathcore beatdown, but more of their lyrics are auf Deutch and are hilariously nonsensical insofar as I can make them out.  For instance, their title track is "Fick die Bude kaputt", which literally translates to "fuck the broken shack", according to my dictionary.  I have no fucking clue what that means- maybe they hate the fuck out of squatters.  In any event, all of their songs are stupidly brutal and I've learned a decent amount of German trying to figure out what they're growling about. Want awesome beatdown?  Check out Fick Die Bude Kaputt.
Awesome deathcore?  "Mosh for Zombies" is your song.  Better dubstep than most of what Skrillex has produced of late?  "Dub" is your shit- the song is ridiculously cool, and I'm not the world's biggest fan of dubstep.  Download "First Cookie Fick Die Bude Kaputt" here.

Bench Press- This band is everything you would imagine a band by that name would be, and they're actually American.  I realize that's not in keeping with the theme of this post, but I didn't want you fuckers to sleep on these guys.  If you can't hit a PR listening to Hellbound or Stay Hated, you're not going to.  These fuckers pretty much stick to the original Hatebreed format- songs all at or under 3 minutes in length, chock full of two-step parts and breakdowns, everything chorusless, and tough-ass lyrics sung in a gruff voice as opposed to growled.  The best of the bunch is definitely th title track, whcih in my experience usually isn't the case, but these guys know what the fuck is up.  STAY HATED.  The breakdown is every bit as tough as you'd expect, and this is the perfect song to for lifting or fighting cops. "Broken lives and broken necks / this world forgives but it don't forget."  How the fuck could you not love lyrics like that?  For fans of Hatebreed, Throwdown, Lionheart, and old Bury Your Dead.  Download "Stay Hated" here.

It should go without saying that I threw these online here because they're fucking hard to find and you cannot get them off Amazon for download.  As such, you should buy merch and support the bands- Slam Coke's got some fucking awesome shirts available here if you like their shit, and WOC has stuff for sale here.

15 August 2012

Chaos And Bang With Jim Steel, Redux

We redid the interview with Jim Steel, and for those amongst you prone to whining about a dearth of training talk, prepare to shut your whiny fucking pieholes, because we talked about nothing but training.

Download here.

I felt pirate-y and went in search of booty.

14 August 2012

Dude, So and So Got SO Fucking Jacked For That Movie: Tom Hardy

If the blogosphere and message boards are any indication, there are a tremendous number of "straight" men masturbating furiously over Tom Hardy every night, then crying themselves to sleep wondering what it means to jack off thinking about another man's traps.  Granted, it's not traditionally ”straight" behavior, but given that most American men under the age of 30 are less manly than their grandmothers were at their age, you are to be forgiven if you've engaged in this sort of shameturbation.  In any event, Tom Hardy's transformation from a 130 lb crackhead model into Batman's Bane has been nothing short of awe-inspiring, and thus bears close inspection in a "my, what nice mitochondria you have" sort of way.

Tom Hardy over the last decade:
Pascal DuPont in Deserter (2002)

Handsome Bob in RocknRolla (2008)

Bronson in Bronson (2008)

Tommy Conlon in Warrior (2011)

Bane in Batman (2012)

Tragically, the internet seems to be even more stuffed with misinformation about Hardy's workout programs than most of you seem to wish his cock would stuff your asshole.  Luckily for you, I'm a tenacious researcher and filled with disbelief when I read most shit online, so I've gone to great lengths to suss out the truth for you.  First, should you be unaware, my pejorative statement above about Tom Hardy having been a crackhead was not a sly crack at how skinny he was.  Nope, Tom Hardy was, in fact, a crackhead.  As such, you might want to be concerned if you find yourself incapable of matching his physique, as you're essentially being out-trained and out-dieted by Pookie from Menace to Society.  Next, Hardy's done an impressive amount of bulking over the years to get where he is, and eats his fucking face off when training.  I'll get more into the diet aspect later, but it's worth mentioning right off the bat that if you want to get big, you have to fucking eat big.  

To give you an idea of Hardy's starting point, let's take a look at him in the earliest screen appearance I can recall of Hardy, which was Deserter (above).  In it, Hardy was 140 lbs soaking wet, but of note was the fact that 20 of those pounds appears to have been located in his traps.  As such, his traps have just grown in proportion to his physique as he got bigger.  Yes, fuckers- he has naturally huge traps, so you people can now cease your incessant whining about the lack of shrugs in his workouts.  Want traps like Tom Hardy's? Smoke crack and then walk everywhere with your shoulders shrugged up like a peekaboo-style boxer for 30 years.  Case closed. That, or engage in homosexual sex with men, which he's also done.  That's right, guys, your shameturbation is about to take a turn for the worse- instead of just masturbating furiously about giving him a shoulder massage, you can kick those fantasies up a notch or two.
A bit of man ass to help you out.

The real driving force behind Hardy's success appears to be a somewhat doughy former specops operator or Marine (depending on the source, so maybe he was Force Recon, though I don't know if that's technically special operations) and mixed martial artist with a much more Viking-esque moniker than his genetics would seem to bely- Pnut.  I guess due his background in specops, Pnut's a bit of a shadowy figure.  All I can tell you for sure is that he appears to know what he's fucking doing, for one, and that he's endlessly amused by spreading disinformation about Hardy's training techniques, for another.  His training has changed over the years as his roles have changed, but I can tell you two things unequivocally- 1) Hardy's training always includes the use of free weights, and 2) Hardy trains a fuck of a lot when he's in preproduction.(MotleyHealth)  

For Bronson:"As part of Tom’s fitness regime, Pnut gets Tom to carry him as well as do more traditional weight training. Carrying another person in a fireman’s lift is a classic martial arts fitness exercise and is an excellent way to build strength and stamina.Tom’s role as Charles Bronson was very impressive. He managed to really bulk up for the part and looked like a real strongman. He put on 7 pounds a week while eating and lifting. Pnut had him doing volume training, working the muscles over and over to build bulk. His focus was on the upper body only, to build big arms, chest and a thick neck. His lower body was neglected, but this was intentional to look the part on screen. His transformation for the role, which he says only took a couple of months, is on par with DeNiro’s Raging Bull and Christian Bale’s Batman. The real Charles Bronson is certainly not a man to be messed with. He was a bare knuckle fighter for a while before being imprisoned for holding up a Post Office.  While in prison his violent nature developed further and he was eventually moved to a maximum security prison and has spent much of his time in isolation. However, the real Charles Bronson is a fitness fanatic and works out tirelessly in the most confined spaces."(MotleyHealth)
After reading the guy's name 100 times, I realized PNut = "Peanut", not anything of a Viking origin.

For Bronson, Hardy had to pack a shitload of mass onto his upper body, as that's what Charlie Bronson actually looks like.  Thus, he and Pnut focussed entirely on heavy compound movements for the upper body, and specifically targeted forearms, chest, and neck.  "By the time I'd finished," Hardy said, "my legs looked like those of a stork in comparison to the top half of my body."(AskMen)  Like he later did for Warrior, Pnut had Hardy training pretty much all day, though the diet differed markedly in that they were trying to pack on as much mass as possible without worrying about Hardy looking like Bruce Lee.  Thus, Hardy ended up gaining about 7 lbs a week eating and training his fucking face off.  Hardy ate chicken and rice, his staple foods throughout the day, and then apparently carb-backloaded at night, eating "a pizza, Haagen-Dazs and Coca-Cola."(AskMen)  Hilariously, Hardy described his  training for Bronson thusly, "For Bronson I just ate chocolate and Pizza, lifted Pnut up and down the stairs, played Xbox, shaved my head and grew a moustache."(Telegraph)

That type of life appears to suit Hardy, as he basically just sits on the couch and watches TV in between movies, and his diet is almost unbelievably bad for a guy who's naturally pretty lean and muscular.  According to Hardy, he'll get up, "have a sandwich.... loads of coffee(it used to be cigarettes) and then eat a big meal before going to sleep.  Prior to  filming Warrior, he'd never engaged in a sport competitively, and he'd not lifted prior to Bronson.  As such, he's pretty much a genetic freak with some awesome fucking trainers and the ability to push himself to ridiculous lengths for no reason.  Had he not gotten into crack and acting and grown up in Iowa, the dude would probably be the greatest wrestler in the history of the sport.  As it stands, Hardy pulled his sloppy ass off the couch when he got the call for Warrior and started training harder than most people have ever considered in their lives.  

So, by now you're likely dying to know what sort of shenanigans Hardy got up to for Warrior.  Most of the shit you'll read about online in that regard is idiocy propagated by intellectually and physically lazy people.  Forget the Men's Health bodyweight bullshit you've heard- you're likely never going to match hardy's transformation, because what he actually did was fucking insane.  To wit:

For ten weeks, Hardy and Joel Edgerton ate a tremendous amount of food and trained for 8 hours a day, two of which were lifting.  During that time, both guys packed on about 20 lbs, though they were intended to actually gain more weight so they'd be able to play heavyweights.  According to one source, the actors' training regimes were pretty different, as the actors needed different looks, and because the sum total of Hardy's fighting experience consisted of wrestling cocks in and out of his mouth, perhaps for crack.  "The film's producers wanted Hardy to be more of a raging bull in the fights. So, Hardy focuses much more on heavy weightlifting with the goal of bulking up in sheer size."(Krumboltz)  Hardy's days were structured thusly- "Two hours of boxing, followed by two hours of kickboxing and Muay Thai, followed by two hours of choreography, and finally two hours of lifting", in addition to two hours of heavy weightlifting.(Keegan, Krumholtz) Edgerton, meanwhile, plays the underdog. With his smaller size, he relies on finesse, jiu-jitsu, and "slick maneuvers." Both actors had stunt doubles, but Hardy and Edgerton completed about 85% of the fight work."(Krumboltz)

Before we move on from this, I'd like to take the time to point out that in both instances, Hardy DID WHAT WAS NECESSARY TO ACHIEVE HIS GOAL.  He didn't do some half-assed, cookie-cutter, 5x5 bullshit program and expect fucking miracles.  Instead, these guys lived and breathed fighting and lifting for 10 weeks.  According to Edgerton, "We got to Pittsburgh two months before [shooting began]. And literally from seven in the morning until three in the afternoon it was fighting all morning, eat a massive meal with the stunt guys and then come back to lift massive weights.  I think at some point I was training seven days a week when I should really have been resting occasionally. But there’s a need to get fit, get big, and learn the skills. Because at some point Tom and I knew we had to get our shirts off, stand in a cage, put our feet there and look like we belonged there."(Lambie)

That, fuckers, is how you get jacked in a hurry.  Simply going through the motions of a workout everyone says is the tits is not sufficient to look and feel like a fucking badass- you have to get the right mindset and live a badass life.  On top of the heavy training schedule, Pnut would follow Hardy everywhere he went and put him through small 20 minute workouts throughout the day just to keep him tight and focused.  According to Pnut, this is called "signaling."  “Throughout the day you need to send constant signals to your body, so that it adapts in the direction you point it in. It’s better to do 10 press-ups every hour than 100 in a single burst. If you do things often enough, your body adapts for the task you set it, and you evolve.”(Tom Hardy's Warrior Workout)  That echoes my sentiments, especially in regards to getting good at bodyweight exercises, exactly.  The more often you can get in the gym and do anything at all, no matter how short the workout, the better.  I've found that over time, the cumulative effects of the small workouts you do on a whim as you're passing the gym far exceed the sum total of the volume you do.  Pnut had Hardy doing four bodyweight workouts a day in addition to lifting, which both of them credit with a lot of Hardy's insane conditioning in the movie.  Oh, and the fact that he carried his trainer around the set in a fireman's carry.  Yeah, he really fucking did.(Squiddoo)

In the event you're curious about Hardy's mini-workouts, they're what you've seen in Men's Fitness, and frankly are nothing terribly exciting.  If you're curious, however, here they are:
The Circuit
Perform these 3 exercises back-to-back, in sets of 10 reps, then 7 reps, then 5 reps, then 3 reps, each with no recovery time between each movement.
Perform the first set with your hands shoulder-width apart. For the next set, do it with your forefingers and thumbs forming a ‘diamond’ shape below your chest. For the third set, have your hands wider than shoulder-width apart. And for the final set, ball your fists and rest on your knuckles. 
Shoulder flies
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding an 8kg kettlebell (or dumb bell) in each hand, palms forward. Raise your arms through 180 degrees, maintaining your palm position, until your fists meet above your head. Lower to the start position. To increase difficulty, up the weight or stand on one leg. 
Sit on the ground, legs straight in front of you, and grab the seat of a chair with your hands behind you (fingers pointing towards your body). Keep your back straight and push down on the chair to raise your backside off the floor until your arms are extended. Lower yourself until you are almost touching the floor. That’s one rep. 
The Bridge
Gain back flexibility, a powerful neck and massive core strength. Only move on to the next level when you are confident of your strength, or you risk a neck injury.
Stage 1
Lie on a mat, with your feet on the ground, knees bent. Lift your hips off the mat. As you do this bring your hands to your ears, palms on the floor, fingers pointing to your feet. Do 10 reps, then 7 reps (counting 1 at the top), then 5 reps (counting to 3 at the top), then 3 reps (counting to 5 at the top).
Stage 2
Push to the extended position from stage 1. Press through your hands, lift your shoulders off and allow your head to tilt back so the top of it rests on the floor. Push from your heels onto your toes. ALL your weight should go through your toes and hands, NOT your head. Follow the rep count as before.
Stage 3
As your flexibility increases, rest 90% of your body-weight on your hands, and allow your head to carry 10%. Slowly increase this session by session until you can carry more weight on your head than your hands. Rep count as before. Warning: do not rush or you risk damaging your neck.
Stage 4
When you are able to carry all your bodyweight through your head, raise into the bridge position without using your hands for support. Keep them close to the side of your head in case they are needed for stability, and perform the same set/ rep count as before.
Stage 5
To be performed ONLY when stage 4 is easy. Assume the extended bridge from stage 3, holding a light barbell across your chest, or a 2kg dumbbell in each hand. Perform 5 bench-press movements (or 5 chest flies with the dumb-bells). As it gets easier, increase the weight.
Abdominal workout
This develops core strength and the size and power of your abs from the top to the bottom. Again, start with stage one and increase the difficulty as you get stronger.
Stage 1
Lie on a mat, with your legs together, hands clasped behind your head. Lift your head and shoulders and hold. Then, tighten your abs and lift your legs. Lower to the start position. Do sets of 10 reps, then 7, then 5, then 3.
Stage 2
Perform the movement from stage 1, then, at the top of the position, bend your knees and pull them in to touch your elbows. Then straighten your legs and lower back to the starting position, flat on the mat. Do set/reps as before.
Stage 3
Perform the movement from stage 1, then, at the top, pull your knees in to touch your elbows – but, don’t bend your legs. Much harder, right? Move your legs back to the start, then lower everything back to the mat. Do sets/reps as before.
Stage 4
Take an 8kg kettlebell and push the tip of your left shoe through the handle. Wrap your right foot around to hold it in place, then perform the movement from stage 1 with the kettlebell weighing your legs down. Do sets/reps as before.
Jesus Christ almighty.

If you're thinking that they were overtraining for that movie, you might be interested to discover that on top of all of the other exercise they were doing, Hardy and Edgerton did still more work.  Whenever they were caught just sitting around by the stuntmen, of whom there were apparently legion for Warrior, they would force Hardy and Edgerton through another workout.(Warrior MMA Muscle Workout)  That's right- those two motherfuckers were doing up to 6 strength training workouts a day on top of another 6 hours of intense physical activity, and they GAINED weight.  A shitload of it, in fact.

The how on that fact is somewhat amusing.  Hardy credits the vast majority of their weight gain on one food- pulled pork.  Apparently, they'd break for lunch every day and the entire crew would head to Texas longhorn or some such, then eat as much pulled pork as they possibly could.  The stunt guys kept encouraging Edgerton and Hardy to eat more so they could fuel their workouts and keep making gains, which worked quite well.  At least until the director made the following observation: "'We got fat,' [Hardy] said. And then they were like, 'Okay, so now, no more pulled pork. You are allowed to eat chicken and broccoli and that's it.' And we're like, 'You're having a laugh, right?' And they were like, 'No, and you're going to have to work a 16-hour day.' So we were all grumpy and cantankerous and belligerent.'"(Heller)  They kept eating that diet from that point throughout shooting, which was a long and arduous process, according to Hardy.  Each round of fighting took two days to shoot, so they were still training and shooting on a low calorie diet, for 14-16 hours a day, for a fairly long period of time after the initial 10 week training period.(Keegan, Snape)  "Even in a sparring session in the gym you get pretty tired after 20 minutes of sparring, and we were maintaining that illusion of being fired up for two days… and just eating chicken and broccoli at the same time. It was weird."(Ibid)  Supplementing that, of course, were copious protein shakes, which Hardy credited with keeping his energy up.

No, I don't know what kind of fucking protein he was taking, dawg.  You motherfuckers love asking me for protein recommendations, which is odd, because I figure anyone with the ability to read could pick one that worked.  Before you ask, I'm drinking Protizyme's retardedly expensive but incredibly delicious Peanut Butter Cookie flavor.  I know, it's not a blended protein, and I know I recommend blended proteins.  I was sick to fucking death of chocolate protein and was considering suicide if I had to have another goddamned chocolate protein shake.

So, you have the techniques Hardy used to gain 40 lbs for Bronson, gain 18 lbs and get ripped to shreds for Warrior, and are likely dying to know how he gained an additional 10 lbs for Bane.  Wait, you didn't know Hardy only weighed 191 when he played Bane?(Wilding)  Disappointed?  I sure as fuck was, especially since he was considerably fatter than he was in Warrior.  The truth, here, is that Hardy hasn't told a single motherfucker what he did to gain the weight for Bane.  He'd clearly slimmed down after Warrior, since he was pretty fucking svelte in This Means War, so it was likely necessary for him to get back to lifting and eating his face off for Bane.  As for how he did it, I think it's pretty fucking clear- he lifted until his fucking eyes bled and ate enough food to choke a full-grown donkey. 

... and appears not to have purchased Accutaine to add to his supplementation regime.

"A lot of why I wasn’t into martial arts before was fear of dojos, of fighters’ gyms, of that pack mentality, thinking ‘That’s a scary place, I’ll never survive in it.’ So I avoided that for many years, and I found drinking, found tattoos and other ways to avoid that and feel strong. But eventually you realise that being strong is participating, being prepared to be counted. You don’t have to be good, the fact that you turn up is massively respected. Because they need bodies." -Tom Hardy

     AskMen.  Tom Hardy: Becoming Bronson.  AskMen.  http://m.askmen.com/entertainment/special_feature_250/267_tom-hardy-becoming-charles-bronson.html
     Belfast Telegraph.  Tom Hardy: Bronson diet took its toll.  Belfast Telegraph. 9/22/11.  http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/woman/fashion-beauty/tom-hardy-bronson-diet-took-its-toll-16053660.html
     Heller, Corinne.  Tom Hardy say "Warrior" made him fat.  On The Red Carpet.  http://www.ontheredcarpet.com/Tom-Hardy-says-Warrior-made-him-fat-Video/8348895
     Keegan, Rebecca.  'Warrior's' Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton roll with the punches.  Los Angeles Times.  9/8/11.  http://articles.latimes.com/2011/sep/08/entertainment/la-et-warrior-20110908
     Krumboltz , Michael.  How to Look Like a ‘Warrior’: Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton’s Brutal Training Regime.  Movie Talk.  http://movies.yahoo.com/blogs/movie-talk/look-warrior-211519813.html
     Lambie, Ryan.  Joel Edgerton interview: training for Warrior, and fighting Tom Hardy.  Den of Geek.  http://www.denofgeek.com/movies/18065/joel-edgerton-interview-training-for-warrior-and-fighting-tom-hardy
     Snape, Joel.  Hard Knock Life.  Men's Fitness.  October 2011.  http://www.tomhardyparty.com/tom-hardy-when-i-train-everything-slows-down/
     Tom Hardy’s Fitness Workouts and Diet.  MotleyHealth.  http://www.motleyhealth.com/celeb/tom-hardys-fitness-workouts-and-diet#ixzz21plOFLSQ
     Tom Hardy’s Warrior MMA Muscle Workout And Diet Plan.  http://muscle.iuhu.org/2011/12/tom-hardys-warrior-mma-muscle-workout-and-diet-plan/
     Tom Hardy's Warrior workout.  Men's Health UK. http://www.menshealth.co.uk/building-muscle/fast/tom-hardys-warrior-workout
     Tom Hardy Workout Routine and Diet Plan.  Squidoo.  http://www.squidoo.com/tom-hardy-workout
     Warrior - Behind the Scene - Tom Hardy & Joel Edgerton Training.  Youtube.
     Wilding, Josh.  Tom Hardy discusses gaining muscle to play Bane and how he nearly missed out on TDKR!  http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/joshw24/news/?a=46132

09 August 2012

Dieting- More Mental Than Physical, and Harder Than You'd Think

Recently, I had one of my innumerable discussions with a woman wherein they expressed no small amount of angst, horror, disbelief, and a little bit of jealousy, at my "feed the machine" mentality towards eating.  For those of you who aren't already aware, I more or less eat to feed the machine- it's much more about the macronutrient composition and my dietary needs than it is about what makes my inner child smile.  In fact, fuck my inner child- my inner Hulk determines what I'm eating at any given moment.  I'd never really given much thought to why that is so easy for me and so hard for most other people until this recent dialogue, at which point I stumbled across what seems to me to be the most important piece of the puzzle.  Remember, however (especially any women reading this) that I am an outsider looking in on this subject.  Eating to satisfy some sort of inner emotional need is so far in the distant past I don't even remember if it actually existed.  Thus, I've no idea what I'll be able to contribute in terms of actual steps to take to become a fucking machine- I'm just going to identify the problem and give you theory on how to fix it.

The Problem, As I See It
The problem before most people when embarking on a diet, a real, restrictive, extreme-end-goal, fuck the world and pass the fat burners diet, is twofold.  First, they have to deprogram themselves from years of shitty dietary habits and the concomitant emotional attachment to foods.  This is a massive problem for most people, as most people associate certain foods with certain feelings.  Just about every broad I know, for instance, avoids the fuck out of protein and eats nothing but fat and sugar when they're upset, and that shit generally comes in the form of baked goods, pasta covered in cheese, and potatoes.  Frankly, that makes no fucking sense to me, because half the time they'll tell you they're depressed because they feel fat.  The answer, then, is pretty fucking simple, but they seem to prefer the emotional gratification of eating that bullshit than they do the rational solution sitting in front of them.  I assume guys do this as well, but all of the guys with whom I generally hang out are just as robotic about their eating as I, or take enough gear to make up the difference.

You might think, if you find yourself doing shit like that, that it's justified biochemically or hormonally, but hear this:

Larissa Reis- clearly not succumbing to her baser eating instincts.

Whatever biochemical/hormonal response you're getting out of the food pales in comparison to the influx of fire-breathing, life-giving, fat-burning, muscle-building, libido-increasing goodness of testosterone you'll have from eating meat, getting lean and jacked, and getting the fuck up off the couch.  Eating meat and getting lean does more for your psyche than you can imagine, as your body becomes a testosterone producing perpetual motion machine as you get leaner and more jacked. (Habito et al, Li)  Thus, you will be happier over time if you simply stay the course and abandon your short term fixes of brownies and mac and cheese, or whatever the fuck it is to salve your wounded inner child after looking at yourself in the mirror.  While we're on the subject of jacking off small children with Entenmanns’s, you're far better off jerking off yourself than allowing your brain to jump into a rape van filled with free candy for your inner child.  Remember, more orgasms=more testosterone, which equals better everything.
What women really want is a vascular man.

Additionally, the moodiness and irritability are likely due, in large part, to the high levels of estrogen running through your body if you're overweight.  Fat produces estrogen and suppresses testosterone.  Suppressed testosterone leads to moodiness. (Barrett-Connor et al.) Additionally, allergens and other toxic chemicals in your environment (like the preservatives in that horrible shit you call "comfort foods") can lead to moodiness and irritability.(Watson 42-46)  Furthermore, there appears to be a correlation between high protein consumption and high testosterone, as low protein diets show increased levels of sex-hormone-binding-globulin, a chemical that attaches to testosterone and keeps it from becoming bioavailable.(Schuler 70-71) This means that the shit most of you generally use to improve your mood is actually having the opposite effect, in a pretty fucking pronounced way.  Thus, there's something to be said for that ridiculously overused quotation you'll see on every thinsperation site on the internet, "Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels," because being lean feels fucking AWESOME.  Every time you look in the mirror, you feel good about being you.  Having a shitty day?  Guess what, there's a brand new vein on your bicep waiting to cheer you right the fuck up.  It's just that simple.
While I'm not really a fan of the waif look, you have to appreciate the dedication of being the hunger artists those broads are.  Turning starvation into a philosophy is pretty Kafka-esque, and anyone who's down with the author of "In the Penal Colony" is good by me.  Tragically, those broads are probably just too fucking stupid and lazy to diet and exercise correctly, so they just avoid food altogether and completely dissemble my argument above.  Alas.  

The second issue facing most dieters is what I'm going to call the "dark period."  That would be the time in which you seem to be spinning your wheels, since there's not really all that much appreciable difference in your appearance and you're just hungry and pissed off.  That period fucking blows, and I've gone through it more than once in my adult life in spite of my draconian dieting regime, simply because maintaining sub 8% bodyfat's incredibly difficult to do year-round while staying big.  Were I to simply resign myself to being a ripped 165, I could do a modified paleo diet indefinitely and rock a 6 pack without much of an issue.  I did it in Europe without even the benefit of fatburners, since every motherfucking thing in the world that's awesome is violently illegal over there, but I managed to get as lean as I'd ever been living on 2kg of chicken in broth with cauliflower and broccoli and a turkey kebap every day.  I was, however, fucking tiny.  Thus, I've got to overeat like a motherfucker and train my ass off to stay in the 190+ area, and at times that'll wear you down.  Thus, I'll let my diet slide, and I'll gain fat that's hard as fuck to take off while maintaining a level of musculature my body apparently hates.  When that happens, I go though the following stages:

  1. Denial that I'm getting fatter (So I keep eating the shit that's been making me fatter)
  2. Acceptance that I've gotten fatter (Deliberation about diet and half-assed dieting)
  3. Resolve to get lean again (Hard dieting begins)
  4. Initial awesome fat loss stage.  This is when veins I'd forgotten about start popping out on my biceps, and my lower abs start to show a bit.  This is massively encouraging, so I diet and train harder.
  5. The Dark Period.  At this point, my body and my brain fly into full revolt.  I'm pissed I can't eat the shit that made me fat in the first place (which for me is nothing more than sandwiches with lean meat and Baked Lays more than once a week).  At this point, I am angry as fuck that my relatively clean diet made me fat in the first place, and even more angry at the fact that my fat loss appears to be stalled.  At this point, I start to question if it's even worth it and if I should stay the course.

The Dark Period is the worst fucking time of your life.  For me it generally lasts a couple of weeks, which is livable.  That's because I think 12% bodyfat is horrifyingly fat, so I never really get to an unmanageable state.  My Dark Period still fucking blows, but it's nothing whatsoever like what most people have to endure.  For most people, the Dark Period can last multiple months, as there's a really weird period of time that occurs wherein you can see major changes in your physique, and it's disheartening as fuck.  Mine's really short because once you get under 10%, you pretty much see new detail in your physique on a daily basis.  That, in turn, spurs me onward.  Most dieters, however, have to contend both with the loss of the foods that gave them temporary joy while eating them and a protracted period in which nothing appreciable seems to be happening, and this is where most people consign themselves to failure because their lose their resolve.  They'll decide that they cannot get any leaner, and they'll make innumerable excuses for why that is.  Remember, however, that "certainty is a cruel mindset- it hardens our minds against possibility and closes them to the world we actually live in."(Langer 24)  Given that it's far easier to fail than succeed, and the fact that we're awash in a sea of fucking elephants these days, it's easy to convince yourself that failure is ok.  That, however, is nothing more than lazy thinking and defeatism, and fuck defeatism.  You're no more designed to be fat than house cats are designed to be vegetarians- humans are apex predators by design, not fat lumps of shit who need Lipitor to keep their arteries from fucking cracking and Viagra to get their dicks up.  That is, if they find their dicks to confirm this.

The Solution
The simplest solution here is a tangible, Van Damme-style hard target of a goal.  By this, I do not mean some sort of silly-ass intra-office weightloss competition- you need something REAL.  Something in which you'll look like an ass if you fail.  You need the fear of failure and a desire for success simultaneously pushing you forward, to ever greater heights.  As such, if you want to get lean, here's what you should do- pick a meet that's in a sport in which you want to compete and in which YOU HAVE A REASONABLE DEGREE OF SKILL.  For fuck's sake, there are a lot of you people trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, and it's fucking retarded.  Thus, this aside:
Certain people are good at certain things and not others.  Others are good at a shitload of things and seem to have few flaws, and others of you are just fucked.  The fucked ones likely aren't reading this shit- they're busy playing with My Little Ponies in their parents' basement and trying to hide their 3" hardons as they smell the ponies' hair.  The people who find the most success in life are those who work hard getting better at what they're good at, while devoting far less time (though some) to improving on their weaknesses.  If you spend all your time working on your perceived weaknesses, the best for which you can hope is mediocrity, and mediocrity is a stupid fucking goal.  Thus, you will need to first sit down and determine what your competitive strengths are.  Having done so, weigh them against what you enjoy.  The shit that has the most crossover is the shit in which you should compete.  Before you people start making claims about my claims about being unmuscular and generally unsuited for powerlifting, consider the fact that I NEVER consulted with other people about training.  I never asked detailed questions of a complete stranger about training.  If I did anything, I aped the activities of other people to figure out how it should be done.  I read a great deal about training, and I pushed the fuck out of myself.  As such, you are almost certainly nothing like me.  My success comes from nearly twenty years of breaking my fucking ass in the gym 5 or more days a week, through illness, training, vacations, travel, divorce... you fucking name it.  I have a burning desire to rule everything around me, and I will bend the fucking world to my will.  Thus, I can be pretty fucking awesome at just about anything I want, because I hate losing more than I like watching tv.  Get me?
No future in powerlifting.

In short, what I'm saying is there seem to be a lot of you out there who pick what you want to do before you figure out what you're good at, which is fucking retarded.  This is why I get so many retarded emails claiming improvements in their squat after 5 years and they're not even hitting 300 lbs at 190.  If you're 190 and you cannot squat 300 lbs in two years of training, DO NOT POWERLIFT.  you will not only never be good at it, but you'll just look fucking retarded in the process.  Same goes for people who want to be oly lifters but suck at overhead work, or who are slow, inflexible, or unagile.  If you're ugly, don't kill yourself trying to become the next super model.  This seems elementary to me, but the internet seems to have put it in everyone's head that they should research the fuck out of things (badly), then discuss those things on message boards (using pseudo-intellectualism that would make a beret-wearing junior college philosophy major blanche), THEN try them.  If you've done that, punch yourself in the face- you're likely too stupid to succeed in killing yourself, so you might as well not bother attempting suicide.

Moving on, figure out what it is in which you will compete.  If it's bodybuilding or figure, it's all that much simpler, as you don't have to worry so much about strength.  If it's anything involving a hell of a lot of running around (I'm looking at you, rugby players) you're fucking retarded if you aren't lean or you know exactly why you're not lean, and you might need to add some lead to your diet.  If it's a strength sport, you're likely going to be concerned about losing strength.  Don't be, for a couple of reasons:

  1. Dieting keeps you focused on training, and vice versa.  The harder you diet, the harder you'll train.  The obverse is definitely not true.  If you eat sloppily, you will not care as much when you hit the gym, because you've already made a shitload of concessions about your training (in the fuel selection), so you're retreating from success before you even touch a bar.  If you're entering the gym pissed off and a little hungry from dieting, you'll take out your frustration on the weights, and you'll want to break your fucking ass so that the effort of dieting isn't wasted.
  2. Provided you're eating ample protein and not in a ridiculous caloric deficit, you'll not lose muscle or strength from dieting.  Anyone who says otherwise was dieting like a bodybuilder, which is fucking retarded.  Bodybuilders diet the way they do because they're mentally weak and rely on drugs to do the majority of the work.  In strength sports, you do all the heavy lifting- a vial of test has never lifted a goddamned thing.
  3. Even if you managed to lose strength, dropping fat means dropping weight, which means dropping weight classes.  As such, your relative strength will likely rise.  For instance, you decide to do a meet, and you currently have a 1500 lb total at 200 lbs, with 15% bodyfat.  You diet your ass off, and in 5 months are 181 with 6% bodyfat, a badass set of abs, but only a 1450 total (which would be HIGHLY unlikely, but this is just for the sake of argument).  Your Wilks coefficient would have increased from 432.66 to 441.909, meaning you're actually much better off in terms of getting best lifter than you would have been as a fat 198 lber.  

In any event, you're going to pick a competition not more than six months away.  I say not more than six months away because you need a sense of immediacy driving you forward.  you need to hear a clock ticking in the background, and you need to be without room for error or failure.  you need a time limit so that your every action must be near-perfect to achieve your goal.  Once you decide on the meet, mail in your participation forms and fees immediately.  Spending money on something will guilt you into training.  Additionally, you will have to set a tangible goal on that form, because you will ostensibly have picked a weight class in which you realistically want to compete.  Like the guy above, for instance.  Take your bodyfat, decide what's doable in the time allotted, and where you would like to be, and then start dieting.  THAT DAY. Not tomorrow.  Not on Monday.  Right then and fucking there.

Starting the diet's not the hard part- sticking with the diet is.  Like I mentioned, you're initially going to see a lot of progress.  That will motivate you to train and diet harder, which will initially produce even more pronounced results.  Then, quite without warning, those results will seem to stall.  I have no idea what the fuck your body is doing in this period, or why it happens.  What I can tell you, however, is that it even fucks with my head.   You will start to doubt everything at this point, and you'll start blindly grabbing for solutions to the stall.  What people do most commonly at this point, if they don't quit altogether, is to either take a layoff or change what they're doing entirely. DO NOT DO EITHER.  Neither one of those things is what got you to where you are, and you're not a pre-industrial explorer who's run out of land and has to start building a boat.  you're simply a pilot who's hit a badass headwind in the middle of a fucking hurricane.  Like that pilot, you're just going to have to give it more gas to keep making any progress, and keep going the exact same way you're going to avoid having the hurrican just slam you into the fucking ground.  Make no mistake- if you stray from the course that got you to your stall, you will fucking crash and burn.  Instead, you just give that fucker more gas to get through the dark period.  Like that pilot, you will get out of the storm, and you will be fucking happy with the results when you do.

Sequential shifts in behavior spur the most change- not radical ones.(Young 45)  Thus, take a look at what you've been doing and find ways to tweak it to improve it.  Add a weighted vest to your light workouts and just wear it throughout the lift.  Add in a long morning walk on an empty stomach.  Stand up while you play Xbox.  Cut down on the number of carbs you eat during a refeed, spread them out throughout the day, or try concentrating them into one big burst.  Add a couple of sets to each workout of piddly shit you'd like to improve.  Any improvement you make to what has already been proven to work will help get you through the dark period.  If you spend too much time analyzing and not enough time doing, however, you will suffer from paralysis of analysis, and you will utterly fail.  Over-analysis anchors you in the past, causes you to associate the problem with odd and often downright fucking ridiculous things, and makes change difficult.  (Young 51)  I'm looking at you, Reddit.  Stop agonizing over your form, or the minor details of this or that, and just fucking TRY HARDER.  If I had a fucking dollar for every email I've received where the obvious answer was "try harder, you fucking pussy", I'd have a shitload of money.  If you simply do something, and you believe what you're doing will work, it will.  If sugar pills can cure 50% of depression cases simply because the patients believe in the efficacy of their treatment(Langer 110), belief in yourself and your actions will cause you to achieve success, because unlike the whiny pussies in the depression study, you're getting off your ass and taking charge of your own life.
Trying hard usually looks retarded.

During this period, you are going to have to work harder than ever to stay focused.  It is going to suck.  You're going to need more sleep.  You're going to get pissed off at little shit, because you're filled to the fucking brim with frustration at your perceived lack of progress.  People around you are going to start making suggestions about making concessions, about how what you're doing is unnatural and possibly unhealthy, and they're going to reinforce your doubts and that shitty little voice in the back of your head.  It is at this point that you need to remember that you're better than every single fucking person around you.  You're a fucking demi-god- you have transcended the human condition and become something better, and you're on your way to becoming a fucking godhead.  If, that is, you can stay the course.  To do this, I use a variety of techniques.  I listen to even more aggressive music, and I am constantly on the hunt for new music to get me pumped up.  I will only read books in which the protagonist is well-neigh superhuman, whether it be Michael Z. Williamson's badass libertarian sci fi novels, Lee Child's Reacher books, Vlad the Impaler's biography, or my ultimate pump-up book, Gates of Fire.  I'll watch Crank 2 every morning when I awaken to get my blood flowing some weeks, just to get my ass moving fast and aggressively.  On top of that, I'll diet even harder, reduce my carbs during my refeed days, and cut any sugars during my Rampage.  Prevention of mental stalls is done through pre-programming a response to cut reaction time.  "Preprogramming appears to circumvent the strategy formulation stage and directly downloads the motor program into the central nervous system"(Siddle 70-71)  For e, preprogramming is as simple as cloaking myself in superhuman, aggressive awesomeness.  It is NEVER, however, reading tales of woe and failure on the fucking internet, so avoid message boards like the goddamned plague during that time.  There's nothing in them but fucking fail.  135 lb form check?  I only want to see it if it's a 6 year old girl doing it and she cuts the throat of some dickbag in Under Armor gear thereafter.  Keep it positive, and keep it aggressive.  You will prevail.

Should you find yourself failing, it's because you lack the resolve to succeed.  At that point, you have two choices- be a strong person or a weak person.  There's no in-between.  If you fail at dieting, you're fucking weak.  There is no other reason- it's not your thyroid, or your genetics, or the fact that you didn’t use this or that drug- it’s because you’re fucking weak.  Should you choose to be so, that’s fine.  Frankly, I could care less if most people just walked themselves off a fucking cliff, and their mental state could not possibly matter less to me.  It should, however, matter a great deal to you.  Thus, you should succeed at your diet to make yourself a stronger, better person.  You will thank yourself, and the more miserable the experience, the more you’ll appreciate it thereafter.

Failure is not an option.

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